Sunday, October 12, 2008


I can't take it any more. I need help, badly.

Will someone please prevent me from ever reading another Paula Deen recipe ever again as long as I live? Surely there ought to be a 12-step program for this. There must be others who are doggedly running their eyes through her recipes in the (invariably vain) hope that something - anything - will explain this woman's reputation. Or is one forced to conclude that all the rest of America is utterly delighted to cook with cream of mushroom soup in 2008, for God's sake? I thought we got over that somewhere around 1963 or so. And she evidently serves this crud in a restaurant. IN THE SOUTH! What has happened to our grand old traditions?

This particular diatribe (I'm always happy to yell about Paula Deen, of course) is prompted by the fact that I was running my cursor through the Food Network site for no good reason. I found myself in the Casseroles section, and there it was...a casserole that announced itself as Shrimp and Wild Rice. Well, what could go wrong with that?

Yes, you got it in one. Paula Deen could go wrong with that. Paula Deen puts in - oh, gee, go on, guess. Yup. Cream of mushroom soup. Can you think of a reason -hell, ANY reason - why anyone would start out with shrimp and wild rice and throw mushroom soup on it? This really is vandalism. Admittedly, some truly terrible sins are committed in the name of casseroles. I'm thinking here of one I ran across by James Vilas, a food person whom I otherwise like very much, that involved pumpkin and eggplant - two words which should not be in the same room with one another, let alone the same casserole dish.

And I am only the most forgiving person in the world. Really. I even judge Rachel Ray's recipes on their own merits, which, I have to say, are many. There's absolutely nothing wrong with her cooking - it's her personality that's so bloody awful. Yum-o? EVOO? Yuck. But her recipes are quite sound - just don't EVER watch her live. (Cute animals, yes. "Cute" people - no. Wouldn't you just love to get Tony Bourdain and Rachel Ray on the same stage together? That would be an episode of Iron Chef that nobody would EVER forget.)

Well, now. Joshua has started receiving large chunks of money from the government. One check for 800 bucks or so, one for 700 or so, and one for $20,000 - give or take a few bucks. For my pains in keeping him under my roof for the last three years without any monetary help with the cable bill, the electric bill, the maintenance, etc., he proposes to give me $1500. I don't know about you guys, but this seems somewhat wrong to me. So I've been siphoning off a little money here and there, and am now the proud possessor of my good $100 inhaler, of which I was in desperate need, some nice pills (ditto), and I had a lovely dinner tonight - sauteed scallops and an avocado (thank you, Gourmet Garage!). It was wonderful. And if Joshua asks me what happened to the money, I'll tell him, of course. If I sound slightly bitchy here, God knows I'm allowed. Also I haven't yet recovered from his breathtaking remark of Friday, when he called me at the office to inform me that the cable and computer were down again. I told him that I really couldn't think about it because I was in such need of prescriptions - to which he replied that we should deal with first things first. Oddly enough, if Joshua feels that the cable hookup is more important than my health, I feel absolutely no compunction about lifting a little bit of cash. I actually (because me being me, of COURSE I felt guilty about this) sat down and worked out on paper what he owes me for three years of half the maintenance, half the cable/computer, and half the electricity...and it works out to $32,800. I think I deserve my inhaler and my scallops...and what the hell, that nice avocado, too. Hell, I should have bought myself some caviar while I was at it.

Love, Wendy

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