Bankrupt hostess

It’s happened again. I should know better; this always happens. We’re having some friends over for a simple dinner tonight, I couldn’t find the recipe for the spicy hot nuts, and now I’ve fallen down the rabbit hole of terrible hors d’oeuvres ideas from old recipe booklets.

I can’t really blame The Calvert Party Encyclopedia for its miserable-sounding ideas – snacks called Hot House, Tongue Treat, Cheese Breeze and the like – because the thing was compiled by a gin manufacturer who wanted to add a few more pages to their “hey, mix this with gin, and you could also try this with gin” marketing effort.

It’s this Good Housekeeping’s Appetizer Book that gives me pause. I believe I’ve discussed this book here before, but the last time I looked through it I don’t think I noticed the “I’ve given up” recipes. Here are a few examples in the “Quickies” section:

English Muffinettes: Spread split English muffins with butter or margarine; sprinkle with poppy, caraway, or celery seeds. Broil till bubbly; cut into wedges to serve.

Seasoned Popcorn: Pop a big bowlful of popcorn; sprinkle with seasoned salt.

Potato Chips: Heat in oven; serve in basket.

That’s just sad. I prefer the happy, bat-shit crazy attempts. Let’s try some Ham-Grape Pickups, shall we?

Ham-Grape Pickups

12 scalloped round crackers
1 2 1/2 oz. can deviled ham

About 1/4 cup commercial sour cream
6 halved, pitted green grapes

Just before serving: Spread each cracker with deviled ham; top with small mound of sour cream. Press grape half, rounded side up, into cream.  Makes 12

Or maybe you can try that. I just found the spicy hot nuts.

You’re never fully dressed without one

Last week I found this flyer in front of the vacant lot next door.

I just checked on the status. Only two more have been taken, so there are still a few left if you’re interested.

Published in: on July 21, 2014 at 6:52 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Out of the inkwell, into the fishtank

Poor Koko. Held captive, periodically mutilated, and drugged to boot. No wonder he acts up from time to time.

Oh, hey. Benny is having an open studio event at 1 pm tomorrow (Sunday, July 20th) where he will be selling Series Two of his amazing Klown Bricks and a bunch of other astounding art. If you are in the LA area, you should come by. If you’re not in the LA area and want to reserve a brick (check out the bricks here), comment here or send me a message ASAP and I’ll give you more info. Hooray for Klown Bricks!

Looks more like Chewbacca

Down along the LA River this week, we found two versions of a lost pet notice regarding Chuy the chihuahua.

Here’s the modest version:

And here’s the somewhat more grand version:

Eleven-year-old included for purposes of scale.

Published in: on July 18, 2014 at 3:59 pm  Leave a Comment  
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A little dab’ll do ya

Normally I find these teeth with teeth troubling, especially ones with those one long shelf tooth on top and one on the bottom, but

Super Molar here has a hairdo made of toothpaste. Come on. This guy is clearly a winner. He’s also blushing.

Thank you for finding Super Molar, Jenny Torpedo!

From upbeat magazines and television

What kind of world do we live in where a cheese cutting demonstration on YouTube gets over a million views and this one has less than a thousand? What kind of world?

Published in: on July 15, 2014 at 3:01 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Etiquette & superstition: cutting

My old writing partner recently reminded me of an entry I had written in our now long-abandoned etiquette book project. “The cut direct!” he said. “Did you completely make that up or is that real?” I couldn’t remember. I knew the cut direct was a real thing, but could not recall what on earth I had written about it.

Well, I unearthed one of our rough drafts, and found that the cut direct entry includes this tip: “Remember to use proper headgear. The pink pearlized ‘chiaroscuro’ helmet has been in fashion over the last few years, but the authors have found it not to provide adequate protection of the hypothalamus.” So, yes; that entry was completely made up. The item below is not.

ETIQUETTE: A cut direct is the practice of refusing to acknowledge another person’s greeting. A person says hello to you or bows, usually in public, and you just stand there staring at them. This is obviously to be employed only when wishing to completely sever a relationship. This is not the same as pretending not to recognize someone. This is a straight-up stoneface. Use it sparingly.

Additionally: men may not cut ladies, unmarried ladies may not cut married ladies, and people may not cut other people on the street.

SUPERSTITION: If you have been cut, you can heal your wound by simply cleaning and polishing the implement that delivered the cut. Put it away in a safe place while you’re at it. Pliny says that if you have cut someone else and you feel bad about it, spit into the hand you used to injure the person. They will start to feel better immediately.

Photo by Martin Deutsch on Flickr

Flipping the bird

Oh, Flip the Frog. That honking your horn instead of going up to the door bit to pick up your girl is not very gentlemanly. My dad would never allowed me to date you because of that. Well, that and the fact that you’re a frog.

Published in: on July 12, 2014 at 11:01 am  Leave a Comment  
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Etiquette & superstition: licking

Lick machine

Not too long ago, I got bitten on the leg while babysitting a four-year-old. I yelped pretty loudly in response; this four-year-old had never previously bitten me or anybody else that I had noticed. Before I could even ask him what that had been about, he said, “Sorry. I just meant to lick your knee.” Okay, then.

ETIQUETTE: Licking one’s plate or fingers is not acceptable in most cultures. There are some apocryphal tales online about finger licking being a sign of respect to the cook in “certain regions in India” or “some areas of Ethiopia” or “Texas when you’re eating ribs,” but it seems a rather chancy proposition to undertake this custom without observing a respected member of the community doing it first.

If you find yourself absolutely needing to lick your fingers, please do it at the end of the meal and not in the midst of eating – particularly if you are eating with your hands and taking food from a communal plate. Lick the middle finger first, then the index finger, and lastly the thumb. You may also wish to quote the prophet Mohammed: “You do not know in what part of the food the blessing lies.” 

SUPERSTITION: If a newborn baby has a birthmark on his head, the mother merely needs to lick the birthmark for several days in succession if she wishes it to disappear.

Photo by Max Braun on Flickr

Storming the castle

Several years ago about this time of year, I tried to cross the border into Canada with a bunch of fireworks. When the border agent started confiscating said fireworks, I asked him, “But don’t you like fireworks? Tomorrow is Canada Day!” He answered me thusly: “We like things that fizz, not things that bang.” So, Canada.

When we went to Mexico earlier this summer, Benny and I bought a bunch of fireworks in town and set them off on the beach. I can assert most confidently that Mexico prefers things that bang, not things that fizz.


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