Monthly Archives: November 2011

Purging the files

Last weekend, I purged my recipe file. I have this big green file folder that I use to store recipes. For the past 5 years or so (okay, maybe 10), I have been collecting recipes that looked good. And stuffing them into the file folder (organized into categories, of course. Sort of.) And I thought about it recently and realized that if I were hit by a bus tomorrow, Emma would go through that file and instead of thinking fondly about the great family dinners we had, she would think, “Look at all these recipes that don’t even sound familiar.” So I decided to purge. This requires getting honest with yourself about what you’re never going to do. Kind of like going through your closet and getting red of anything you haven’t worn in a year. And here’s what I purged:

1. Any recipe for sorbet, ice cream, granita, sherbet, popsicles, or anything found in the frozen treats section. Easier to buy it. And probably better.

2. Anything that requires pounding something with a mallet.

3. Crock pot recipes for anything that is not intended to be served mushy. Because it always ends up mushy.

4. Anything that contains both chocolate and noodles.

5. Anything that has more than 10 ingredients. (Unless a) it’s for a special occasion and b) I’ve already made it so I know that it’s worth it.)

6. Anything that contains both fruit and meat. (I make an exception for apples and pork. Yum.)

7. Anything that has a jello-like consistency and isn’t jello. Like aspic.

8. Cold soup. (I know that some people like them. I don’t.)

9. 10 recipes for variations on “chicken in peanut sauce”. Because I have one that we all love and who needs more than one way to cook chicken in peanut sauce? Ditto for chicken enchiladas.

10. Candy. There are lots of professional candy makers who can make it better than I can. And that whole candy thermometer thing is a pain.

I got rid of about half of my recipes. In all honesty, I probably could have gotten rid of 3/4. But it’s a start.


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Filed under Cooking, Family, Uncategorized

Decisions, decisions

My heart is breaking over the situation at Penn State, which seems to get worse by the minute. As a native Pennsylvanian and lifelong Penn State fan in a family of Penn State fans, I cannot believe the horror of it all.

Joe Paterno made a really bad decision. Or more likely, a series of really bad decisions. And he deserved to be fired over it, and I’m glad the Board did what it did.

But I feel very sorry for him. And I think it’s okay to feel both those things at once.

Think about a time in your life when you made a bad decision. (You’ve made them. We all have. It’s part of the human condition.) Did you say to yourself, “Wow. This seems like a really bad decision. I’m going to do it anyway”? Probably not. If you’re like me, you made that decision thinking that, based on everything you knew at the time, it was the best decision to make. My bad decisions are always clearly bad in the rearview mirror. And so are yours. But in the moment, they seemed like the right thing to do.

Fortunately, most of us are not in situations where our bad decisions will harm a lot of people. Usually it’s just ourselves and those we love who are lucky enough to deal with the fallout of our bad decisions.

I don’t know the circumstances around Joe Paterno’s decision not to go to the police. Maybe he was afraid. Maybe his good friend Jerry Sandusky tearfully begged him not to go to the police…and swore that he would never do it again. Maybe he was afraid that the whole Penn State football empire would crumble. (Which it now has.) I don’t know, and you don’t know, and we’ll probably never understand it. But I believe that he made the decision believing that it was the best decision to make at the time.

He’s 84 years old. He has spent 46 years building something that has now been ruined overnight. He will never recover – he simply doesn’t have enough time left.

So maybe just a little compassion is in order?


Filed under Current Events, Uncategorized