When I was a child, I ate like a child, I used margarine like a child, I used the butter of a child. But, when I became a man, I put away the things of a child.
If you’ve never tried Président butter then you haven’t lived. The Europeans put bacteria in their butter (like yogurt) which gives it the most wonderful flavor. Do yourself a favor, go purchase some real butter today. I recommend a bake-at-home baguette to accompany it.
Luc’s desire to obtain as many Legos as possible is nigh unquenchable. He is always looking through catalogs, browsing the Lego website and asking to go to the Lego store at the mall.
Being the 3 1/2 out of 5 star dad that I am I saw an opportunity to teach my boy how to work and save for the things he wants to buy. The question was, what could Luc do to make money?
So what does Luc do really well? You’re probably thinking, “He can sew!” Alas, he cannot, which meant that making and selling knickerbockers to the pant-less misfits that roam our neighborhood was out of the question.
What Luc can do is bake. Luc has memorized the Cook’s Illustrated podcast on Apple Galette so a bake sale seemed like the perfect way to raise some money.
Here are some pictures of Luc dragging his little red wagon around the neighborhood selling pieces of the Apple Galette he made. He had some success early on and was excited. He suffered through a period of no sales over by the high school and almost gave up. He finally sold his remaining stock a hundred yards from our house and ended on a high note. He received many compliments.
When all was said and done Luc made $9, $1 per piece. Here is a totally unrelated picture of him being thrown into a pool.
— Begin short story about papaya —
There once was a papaya that lived at the grocery store. The papaya was sad and lonely because it wasn’t as popular as the apples or bananas. People would walk by the papaya, only stopping long enough for a quizzical look to form on their face before they moved on to a more traditional fruit.
Then one day a fruit tasting table was set up so that all of the less popular fruits might have a chance to find a home. This is when Heather first encountered our little orangish/greenish/yellowish friend and brought him home.
Once the papaya arrived at our home there arose a question of what one can do with a papaya. Do we give it to Cassidy and Matt? Nooooooo. Matt thinks papaya is the devil’s fruit. Do we find a Hawaiian with whom we could share a little taste of home? Nooooooo. We don’t know any Hawaiians in these parts.
In the end Heather did with the papaya the same thing she does with all fruits that cross her path – she jammed it. This made the papaya very happy and he settled into his new home in the fridge.
— End short story about papaya —
While looking for a way to elevate my eclairs to the next level of yumminess I decided to try mixing in Heather’s papaya jam with the custard filling. Here is a picture of the custard and jam before I mixed them together and stuffed the eclair.
After trying one of these Hawaiian Eclairs Heather said, “It was delicious.”
Others present stated, “It was yummy-delicious.”
Once in a while a person jumps out of bed ready to meet the day. Sometimes he senses that there is something special in the air. He senses that today is going to be different and that great things are bound to happen.
Saturday was not one of those days for me. I had retired to bed around 3 a.m. the night previously and Heather had the 7 a.m. shift at the hospital. When the children woke up they would have needs and they would hunt down an adult to help them meet those needs. That adult would be me.
When I became somewhat coherent Saturday morning I could tell that Addison had already stopped by the room as objects on my book shelf had taken up new positions on the floor. As I descended the stairs I was greeted by garbage bags. Garbage bags are funny things. They take up so little space when they are wound up in a tight roll. When unrolled, however, they can cover an enormous amount of area. And so the day began. On days like this you are just happy if nobody gets hurt.
Around 10 a.m. Tiffany called. Tiffany was at Giant, our local grocery store, and in the parking lot there was a tomato contest going on. NatureSweet Tomatoes was having a contest to see who had the best small and large tomatoes with a $2500 grand prize going to the winner of each category. Tiffany had been chatting with the folks in the booth and thought I should grab some tomatoes out of the garden and bring them over before 11:00. There had not been an overwhelming number of entries so far and maybe I would have a shot. I needed to do some shopping anyway and kids out of the house are usually better than kids in the house so I decided to do it.
After picking out a couple of large tomatoes and a number of cherry tomatoes from the garden I herded Luc and Addison into the car. After parking the car we headed over to the booth with our tomato offering. After learning that I could only enter tomatoes in one category I settled on the cherry tomatoes. I had tried one of the large tomatoes before leaving the house, and while excellent in tomato sauces it wasn’t a spectacular eating tomato. The cherry tomatoes, on the other hand, were tasty.
So I submitted the cherry tomatoes and picked up our goodie bag and a Food Network salt box. Luc then got a chance to spin a wheel to see what other prize we got and we picked up another coupon for free tomatoes. We then hurried through the store and grabbed what we needed before heading home.
The announcement was going to be at noon so I passed the time picking raspberries while Addison pretended to take a nap in my bed and Luc played with the neighbor. As noon drew near I had to drag Luc away from his friend and the WII which he was none too happy about. For a moment I thought of not going back for the announcement because I thought my chances of winning were pretty close to 0, but in the end I just blocked out the yelling and pouting and headed back over to hear who won.
I dragged Luc through the parking lot and over to the booth (nope, he still didn’t want to be there). Once the emcee started talking he stuck his fingers in his ears. The first announcements were for the large tomato category. There were two runner ups before the grand prize winner was announced.
Next was the small tomato category, which really is the only important category. The large tomato category only exists so that NatureSweet doesn’t have to listen to the big tomato growers complain about being left out. The emcee began by announcing the 2nd runner up followed by the 1st runner up. Neither of them was me which was both good and bad. A runner up received $250 worth of store voucheers which is far better than $0 worth of store vouchers. As the emcee prepared to announce the grand prize winner I wondered if I would feel any different inside then I currently did if I were in fact the winner. Would I sense that I was gong to win? If so then I definitely wasn’t going to win. I felt less like someone who was going to win a contest and more like someone who was really tired from not having slept. But maybe those two feelings are really one and the same because when the emcee opened his mouth to announce the winner out came Trevor. But wait, Trevor who? The emcee didn’t have his glasses on and was having a hard time with the last name. But once I heard that it started with a “D” I was pretty sure it was me.
Luc and Addison didn’t really know what was going on but Luc took his fingers out of his ears so that he could hold the oversized check while we had our picture taken with the NatureSweet folks. Addison was a little scared of all the hubbub but I think she looked at the camera at least once while not crying. As for me, I was thrilled. I never win anything so this was very exciting. The tomatoes from our garden had just beat out at least TWO other people and I got $2500 for it.
After getting all of the necessary papers, a nice plaque and another free tomato coupon Luc, Addison and I made our way back into Giant. We just needed some drinks but we were in no hurry this time around. This time we were holding a giant prize check. This time I was no longer aware of the effects of sleep deprivation.
So you never know what kind of day you are going to have. It could be a bad one. But it could also be a great one. Maybe your sister will happen across a contest that you have unknowingly been preparing for for months. Starting with the moment when you found out where your grandma purchased her seeds, followed by your wife ordering a particular variety of cherry tomatoes and finishing off with lots of tilling, weeding and fending off of children who would otherwise pluck unripened tomatoes from the vine. And then maybe, just maybe, you might win that contest and get a leg lamp in the mail.
See the announcement on the NatureSweet site.
Arrangement by Jon Schmidt of “Love Story” and “Viva la Vida”.
When I was somewhere between the beloved age of 8 and 10 I saw a commercial that changed my life. I don’t remember all of the details but it involved a llama, a penguin that could whistle the A-Team theme and Mr. T singing something about mothers in the background.
Although no such commercial actually exists, I think we can all agree that Mr. T should have followed after a music career. Ah, the road one should have traveled. I do, however, want to recount a true story about a visit to a store that has changed my life: Restaurant Depot. Let’s take a trip down memory lane together and visit a post from February 21st. In the post I tried to visit Restaurant Depot and La Cuisine but Restaurant Depot was already closed. La Cuisine did not disappoint and since Alexandria is a long enough drive so as to be slightly inconvenient I had not yet returned to check out the Depot.
Thank heavens for baby showers though. Cassidy is responsible for feeding 40 carnivorous baby shower attendees later on this week and had settled on pulled pork salad a la Cafe Rio. She wanted to serve the salads in the aluminum containers that Cafe Rio serves them in so she called me up. Knowing that a restaurant supply store was our only hope (sorry obe won kenobi) I finally had a reason to make the drive.
Now Restaurant Depot is a wholesale supplier of all things related to restaurants so you have to have a business license in order to get a free membership. Lucky for me I have a computer business. Even more lucky for me is that Restaurant Depot doesn’t care whether or not your business has anything to do with food. So after digging out the license Luc, Addison, Cassidy, Matt, Nancy and I set sail for a world of adventure.
Upon arrival we entered through the front doors and started filling out the necessary paper work at the front desk. I knew I was in the right place when I was told I had to sign a release form because I was bringing children into the warehouse. You see, Restaurant Depot ain’t no sissy warehouse and hasn’t been designed for young children. It is filled with industrial shopping dollies and moving fork-lifts. At any moment a small child could be crushed by a 10-gallon container of peanut oil or eaten by an industrial waffle maker (think little shop of horrors people). Turning back was not an option so I signed the waiver and put Addison up on my shoulders. Luc is Indiana Jones so this was just a great adventure for him.
I don’t know that I can put into words just how excited I was. The best comparison is probably that of a young child going to Disneyland for the first time. A whole new world is revealed to you and as you look around you think to yourself, “Man, a whole new world has been revealed to me.” For the child at Disneyland that world involves a giant mouse that has no peripheral vision and who could accidentally sit on you if you aren’t careful. For me it was the realization that I could buy 16 lbs of pork butt for $20 (which Cassidy did) or 5 lbs of shredded Mozzarella-Provolone cheese for $8 or 105 ounces of crushed tomatoes (used for making my pizza sauce) for $4. Oh, and 200 round aluminum containers with cardboard covers: $25. And would you believe that someone like me could purchase a pizza peel? The very thought fills me with inexpressible joy (Cassidy convinced me it might not be a good idea to bring one home though).
In the end Cassidy and I barely scratched the surface of all that Restaurant Depot had to offer and merely wet our appetites. Cassidy walked away with pork butt, chicken, pizza screens and aluminum containers. I left carrying shredded cheese, crushed tomatoes, personal sized pizza screens, and a dough docker.
Here is a picture of the cute new pizza screens. I ran out of pizza sauce after two pizzas so the other two used some new combinations. Top-left: Barbeque sauce with pineapple. Top-right: red sauce with mild italian sausage. Bottom-left: olive oil with italian sausage and balsamic vinegar. Bottom-right: red sauce with pineapple.
Today I’m starting a new category of posts dedicated to our little alchemist named Addison. Whenever she asks for a second serving of a drink it is not because she is thirsty. It is because she is done, bored and ready to mix. When I see her make interesting blends I will post them here under the category Concoctions.
Tonight’s entry is brought to you in part by:
Juicy Juice fruit punch mixed with ricotta cheese – Cheese, the other white fruit.
What better way to finish off your manicotti?
Well the garden has now been officially somewhat planted. Yesterday I transplanted the Rosemary bushes from the old garden to the new garden so that Heather and I could convert the old garden to a play area for the kidlets. We had planned to convert the old garden last week but I think we all remember the tiller story and in the end there just wasn’t enough time.
This week we got off to a good start though and made some quick progress. I removed some grass and Heather rolled out the black covering. Then we got to work spreading the mulch. This is when we realized we didn’t have nearly enough mulch. The bags always look so big and the area you have to cover so small. This meant yet another trip to the garden store for 20 bags of mulch and 10 bags of top soil. Luckily such a hefty load was a piece of cake for our mighty mini-van, although the mini-van’s bum did scrape while backing into the driveway. Poor mini-van bum.
Well 28 bags of mulch was just the ticket. We now have a nice (assuming you don’t get close to see the crooked line I made for the edging) little area in the back corner of the yard. There are no sharp edges and the mulch is soft so the kids can go crazy doing whatever it is they do to entertain themselves with little to no fear of severe injury.
There was one problem though – the kids area was done but the garden only had two rosemary bushes in it and our bush beans and squash had outgrown their little soil pellet homes. I was exhausted (have I mentioned how heavy raw dirt is?) so I initially decided to leave the planting until Monday and went in the house. Round about this time my appetite started poking at me, poking at me and so I rummaged around in our little jar above the fridge. I found some Easter candy and had somewhere between 1 and 6 mini chocolate bars (Mr Goodbar and Krackle). I was then able to draw from a seemingly endless energy supply provided by our friends Goodbar and Krackel and I prepared the rows and planted the bush beans and the squash. One of these days I will finish the rest of le jardin. Until then may the beans and squash thrive in their new home.
By the way, today is creme caramel Sunday. Let us pause and enjoy our little yellow friend creme caramel.