His Hat Was His Home

This is just sad:

Has knife; has yet to get a grip.

About the Show

Lisa Lillien is not a nutritionist. She’s just hungry. She’s a “foodologist”, whose Hungry Girl email newsletter reaches 1 million subscribers daily. She invents simple, delicious recipes that are guilt-free, satisfy cravings and taste great without adding lots of extra calories and fat grams to your daily diet. In her series, Hungry Girl stops at nothing to provide us with the answers we all need — what to eat, what to buy, what to cook, how to read labels. She’ll have lots of tips, whether at home or out in the world. Each week Hungry Girl will feature low-calorie recipes and makeovers of fatty favorites; feature survival guides for restaurants and eating situations; alert viewers to shocking (yet fun!) facts about the food we eat; and share all of her secret weapons to “chew the right thing” through her fun and inventive approach to food.

All that emphasis? Yeah, that’s mine. You probably think I’m exaggerating when I say this woman and this show pose an actual threat to idiots fascinated with shiny objects. Watch this culinary crazy train. THAT’S NOT FOOD, IT’S MALNUTRITION ON A PLATE.

There’s a lot wrong with Lisa Lillien’s fun food philosophy that relies so heavily on guilt avoidance and daily dieting; essentially, food is your enemy and you are your enemy and your enemies go dancing every night without you, though they call you up to tell you every exasperating detail. Who develops such an incredibly hostile and fraught relationship with food? Women, of course. Women who’ve been on diets since before glorious puberty tied their paths to svelte fame and fortune into Gordian knots fraying near the bathmat fringe. This isn’t eating for your health, to feed your deeper self the vitamins and nutrients key to building a strong body and a calm, active mind. No, this is colorful self-sabotage and trying to plug the hole where Mommy’s bitterness poured in like icy bilge water. You can never be good enough. Why not skip the flowers and say it with rickets? Though she never mentions vitamins, electrolytes, fiber, grains, calcium, Omega fatty acids or anything else a nutritionist should, Lillien goes on ad nauseam about calories, fat reduction and large portions. She mentions protein, probably because without protein in your diet your hair falls out and the other Real Housewives of your condo complex will TAWK. It’s a prescription for fatigue, bad skin and useless muscles, but if you’re underweight, that’s a rock-hard victory, right?

Wrong. I didn’t spend years horking up every meal and getting over it to lie to you about this shit. Lillien doesn’t seem to have a problem suggesting the most ridiculous, metabolism-wrecking horseshit to people stupid enough think a dozen chocolate cupcakes constitute diet food. Maybe they deserve each other, but maybe they don’t. Certainly, Lillien doesn’t deserve a platform on the Food Network spouting this utter crap for cash.

And Face the Strange

The unnamed university sent out an email describing in cold, technical terms that its employees should come to work this morning, weather or no weather. This was followed by the city declaring that only emergency vehicles should be on the streets, so everyone stayed home and a good thing that was: once a road into the city was cleared, the ambulances and helicopters ran to the two hospitals all day. Even so: people gathered on the bridge, the flooded highway and in the parks to see for themselves what the rain had done and the river was doing.

Yesterday, as the eye of the storm sat over us, Pete and I got on our bikes and rode over to the family stores. Rainstorms have typically not been kind to the buildings that house the stores and this one was an outright bastard. We could tell the basements had been flooded differently, one more than the other, and both were draining. Boxes that’d been left on the floor were wet and there were too many of them for us to do anything to help the situation. Discouraged, we rode over to a house we’d promised to look in on and found that too had a full basement, draining after a flood. It was fortunate for us, then, that the catsitter arrived and though we had keys she plainly wanted us out. We rode over to the bridge over the river, where the flood raged and a carnival atmosphere prevailed. We took pictures that astound us still – and we were there.

We also went back last night to see the progress of the river’s recovery and we were not impressed. Though we walked this way and that, we could not find a clear, safe path to the unnamed university. I called Gianna, my boss, who lives three blocks from my house and whose picture window is safety glass for a reason, and told her there was no safe way across the river that wouldn’t end in a ditch on the back roads. She called this morning to say the head of the libraries had decided there was no safe way across the river, period. Thus, I had the first snow day of my illustrious career that involved no snow whatsoever.

This morning, we got on our bikes and went back to the bridge. For the first time, we could see the road along the river was under the river as it was currently constituted, horrible pun unintended. The water level had fallen remarkably, perhaps as much as ten feet, but the river is tidal and officials are saying tonight that by morning the level might be higher than last night’s. That would be very bad news for commuters. Pete and I are fairly confident we may be able to cross the river on bicycles in the morning – probably. Our housemate drives one of those rescue trucks for AAA. We haven’t seen him since Friday afternoon.

I had such a good snow day I made compound butter of sage and rosemary from my garden with a little lemon juice. In the winter, smeared under the crisping skin of a roasting chicken, this butter will remind us of the snow day at the end of summer.

Make Sure She’s All In

About a week ago, a whole lot of small, annoying setbacks finally kicked my ass. This afternoon, things started to come back together. The hurricane weekend suits me. I’m tired and can hardly wait for a peaceful Sunday inside my house. You, however, get some Johnny in the sunshine.

I Won’t Get Any Older Now

This OpEd covers many of the right points on the subject of J-1 visa exploitation, but it omits one truly important point: imagine the situation reversed. Imagine American medical students on a summer work/study vacation in an ostensibly friendly country – let’s say France – being forced to work for $1 an hour. You can’t imagine it because it would not happen without an international incident. The reason we heard about it at all was that those students were middle class kids insisting on being treated like middle class people.

We treat poor people all over the world this way every day, all the time.

To Be Brave Save

I hate crowds.

Sometimes I think the stupid thoughts. Sure, I pass for smart, but now and then a dumb idea pops up with every bit of the surprise and seeming eurekosity of an inspired notion. Recently, I had one of those dumb ideas: I’m having a great time and learning a lot about jarring and food in general; why don’t I help other people jar? That doesn’t seem like a dumb idea, does it? If I had a time machine, I’d go back about two months and smack myself in the forehead.

Two of my co-workers expressed interest in learning. We set up a date and took vacation days, but they had meetings, canceled and went to work. I jarred two cases of peaches, which was in no way regrettable. They postponed until today, but I told them that if they wanted to do this they should order the peaches. Yesterday, they were both out of the office, but both told me after I left work they had a meeting today – which, presumably was planned – and could we do this in the evening or something? If I had to guess, I would surmise that no one ordered cases of peaches, so they knew we would not be doing food work today, but neither said anything. Leek stock is simmering, sage and cranberry compound butter is setting up in the fridge, pickles, roasted red pepper spread and spiced honey rest in jars; that’s what I did with my second vacation day. I believe my co-workers did not intend to insult me, but I also think I’d have to be pretty stupid to take a third vacation day to work with them. Also: they will be surprised I’m steamed and think spending time with them is a dumb idea.

Wonder Why Someday Some Way

It’s rained every day for the last week. Over the weekend, we bought fenders for my bike because riding in the rain without fenders meant water flying off my front tire directly into my eyes. On a couple of occasions, I rode my bike with my eyes closed and a plume of water pouring into my already limpid pools, if you can picture THAT circus act. Pete installed the fenders and we rode to the library this morning. The road was wet, the sidewalks were wet and puddles pooled everywhere. The air smelled fresh and dewy. I zipped down the hill on the tiny town’s main street toward the bridge, where civil engineering has plainly gone to die. I flew to the edge of the bridge, wove carefully around the puddles and slowed down almost to a stop where I couldn’t avoid a puddle. It was at this exact moment that a car on the bridge rolled so fast through a puddle that standing road water splashed my face.

I laughed so hard I almost fell off my bike.

We Are We Are We Are Mature

I'm like the McGyver of Bronze Age dairy products.

Yogurt warmers hold six cups. Considering the time and trouble involved in a batch of yogurt, the yield has to be a little more persuasive. After a little study of the average temperatures of yogurt warmers and food warming trays, I realized those temperatures weren’t even shouting distance from one another, so I thought about things in your house meant to safely generate some heat safely for long periods of time and stumbled on heating pads. I took an old, old roasting pan, lined it with cloth napkins and tested the temperature of water in a one quart Pyrex measuring cup and found it stayed consistently in the right range for as long as I needed. So. With careful stacking, I can get two pints and twelve 1-cup containers into the lined roaster, which is plenty of yogurt for just shy of two weeks. Also, I’m glad I had more to work with than a few paper clips.