An entry for the Bake-Off

Benny used to work in a Chinese restaurant in Oklahoma called the Fortune Cookie, and he learned how to make a really good fried rice there. He’s going to make some of this fried rice tonight, and I’m so excited that I started looking for an accompanying dish in this old Chinese cookbook that some exiled Benedictine nuns compiled after WWII. I love this book, even though I haven’t tried making any of the recipes. The pictures are so great that I can never make up my mind about what I actually want to cook.

Behold the illustration for pork with tofu:

Mushrooms with spinach (look how strong!):


Walnut bars (There are some other walnuts in the original illustration that are drinking coffee. If they’re at a bar shouldn’t they be drinking cocktails?):

And the simply incredible sour cream pudding:

Ha! Look how old he is. Of course that cream is sour. Oh, but geez. It’s happened again. I can’t decide what to make. Maybe I’ll just try Benny’s recipe for Chinese Fry Bread. I think I posted about Chinese Fry Bread before but I didn’t include a formal recipe so here’s your chance to try it yourself. I don’t think the Fortune Cookie will get at me posting their secret recipe if I leave something out.


  • 1 package Pillsbury® Buttermilk Biscuits
  • hot oil for deep fryer

Open biscuit package and cut the biscuits in half so that each biscuit is a semi-circle. Heat oil in a deep fryer to (redacted) degrees. Place biscuit semi-circles in hot oil and fry until golden brown, making sure the inside has been fully cooked or you will get sick from eating all that uncooked dough. Probably serve this with some beer.

Actually, I don’t even think the Fortune Cookie exists anymore, but it’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to potential litigation.

Etiquette & superstition: champagne

Go ahead; celebrate. It’s been a tough couple of weeks.

ETIQUETTE: The appropriate wine to serve with Chinese food is champagne. Clearly there should be more champagne delivery services, but maybe somebody is working on that. When opening a bottle of champagne, unless you’re a football player you don’t pop the cork out with the intention of maximum velocity and fizz. Twist the cork out carefully and pour the champagne into the glass at an angle to avoid a big foaming head (champagne people call the foam “mousse”) and a waste of bubble gas. And the glass you’re supposed to use? Unfortunately, it seems that the current preferred glass is the long and skinny flute. I find that a shame because I prefer the more old fashioned coupe-style glass pictured above. One reason is because you can’t use flutes to make a champagne tower and champagne towers are hilarious, and the other reason is I like the legend that the coupe was shaped in the form of Marie Antoinette’s left breast. I hope the champagne flute’s form does not mimick the shape of anyone’s breast.

SUPERSTITION: A new ship is supposed to be christened with the breaking of a wine bottle (preferably champagne bottle) against its bow. Supposedly it is a very bad omen if the bottle does not break, but considering the glass thickness of a champagne bottle, it seems a miracle that any ships are sailing at all. If you’re at the christening of a baby instead of a ship, or at a wedding, or some other celebratory event, you should make a slit in the cork after you’ve opened the bottle and put a coin in the slit. This will ensure good fortune for the people being celebrated. Some people put a gold piece into their champagne glass in the hopes of gaining wealth, but this seems to be more of a choking hazard than anything. Maybe some opportunistic ass somewhere choked on the gold piece and successfully sued the treasury for making a dangerous gold piece that someone could choke on, but that sounds like a pretty iffy gamble to take, and you don’t want to be that person anyway.

Photo by Maverick Liew on Flickr

Long after the getting has ceased to be good

Today is my last day at work, at the job I have held for a little over 16 years. I have been telling people that it’s time for me to move on, find a new path, follow my muse, blah blah. But to be honest, the real reason I am leaving is that I’m scared for my safety. Where there were once funny faces on Post-Its and mysterious creatures made of fruit abandoned in the break room and messages on the garbage cans inspired by Magritte, now there is only violence and mayhem. To wit:


There is a theory that these signs inspired so much rage because our company has been employing a huge number of temps who are not considered fully “employees,” but this is just a theory. Sometimes people just hate being told to wash their own dishes. And then there are more lunchroom hijinks (please click on all photos for larger versions; it is well worth it):


I am supposing he preferred his lunch meat to the free Chinese food, which is perfectly understandable. It should be noted that this email was sent to all US offices as well as the head office in Berlin.

Here is a goodbye note when the author of the above email had finally had enough:


Now, I think this would have made sense if it had been sent to the head office in Berlin, as the photo appears to depict some Pennsylvania Dutch versions of Krampus and maybe the head office would have looked at the photo and wondered, “Have we been so naughty as to deserve switches to our bottoms this year?” and been frightened. However, this goodbye note was photocopied and deposited in physical form on certain employees’ desks solely in the LA office, so we recipients were merely frightened in a vague way without understanding the Krampus tie-in. Krampus isn’t really big in LA yet.

Oh, here is a Post-It that my perhaps-too-dedicated assistant affixed to some paperwork after trying to make some sense of something that would never make sense:


That’s never the answer, kid. Especially not for something as dumb as that pile of paperwork. And then finally, here we come to the grandaddy of  something that would never make sense:


I suppose it’s neat to know that you can send an anonymous fax; I never knew that before. I just don’t know why I got this fax, and I don’t think I’ll ever know, and I think if I stick around in the hopes of finding out, something pretty bad might happen.

So off I go to a new, safer career as a roller derby queen or a war correspondent or something. Wish me luck.

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