Monthly Archives: December 2014

Like Serving Vegan to a Foodie

Okay, so I get that vegan food doesn’t taste as good as non-vegan food. I’m not trying to disprove that or to recruit new converts. I eat vegan because I take a medication that makes my metabolism similar to that of a large, dead man. Eating vegan is the only way I’ve found to avoid having to buy a new wardrobe.

God blessed me with special gifts in a few areas. Cooking is not one of them. So, I shore up that weakness with a subscription to a service that delivers ingredients and full-color glossy instruction cards to my home. And still I feel pride each time my kitchen doesn’t catch fire. I’m good at celebrating the small victories.

eating our vegan sloppy joes

Luc and I love our vegan Sloppy Joes. Everyone else? Well…

When I invited the child of a couple who own shares of Cooks Illustrated stock to our home, I knew meal time would be interesting. My brow began to glisten as the 6 year old enthusiastically shared stories of his father’s flambe victories. I had pulled out my big gun (Snobby Joes) but was beginning to realize it was more like a fly swatter.

The child with the sophisticated palate was unimpressed with lentils in tomato sauce and maple syrup. He actually gagged while dutifully trying to choke down my second try, the results of my no-fail delivery service. Finally, I gave him an apple and put some Costco banana bread in the oven.

What do you do when your kid really likes a kid and you really like the parents, but they are foodies? You know that every time they come to your house, some thought will run through their head along the lines of “I need to eat before I go over there, but I should probably try to swallow a few bites of whatever gruel she serves.” How is it fun for them to come over? Maybe the new plan should be the path of least resistance: delivery from someplace delicious.

On the bright side, people love to cook for my son and husband. My boys are unceasingly amazed by the deliciousness of everyone’s cooking … by comparison.

Moving Day – The House (part i of ii)

The Real Rock ‘n’ Roll Movers showed up at the condo right on time on moving day. I introduced myself as I hopped in the car to take some supplies to the house.

While at the house, I noticed an odd looking couple with troubled expressions watching their dog frolic in my yard. The people seemed hesitant to enter and retrieve their dog. So, I went outside and told them they were welcome to come get him.

“No, no, he’s not our dog,” the man said.

“He’s a runaway,” explained the woman just as the little dog shimmied under our picket fence into the driveway and trotted down the road. I wished them good luck and continued my prep work.

On my next trip to the car, I found a plate of food carefully laid in the grass next to my open tailgate. Odd placement, I thought as I stepped over it to get to my supplies. I considered moving it, but didn’t want to upset the new neighbors. Maybe there was a specific need for the plate of food to be exactly in my path.

After fifteen minutes and several trips to the tailgate, I was ready to leave. As I closed the back, I noticed the woman walking toward me with a very serious expression.

“Didja find him?” I chirped.

“Noooo,” she almost whispered, “He got hit.”

“Wha?? The dog got hit by a car??”

“Yes, he made it to the highway and then he got hit and died.”

“Already?!?!” I callously wondered at the speed and finality of it all.

“Yeah, the driver didn’t even stop,” the woman said. Then she bent down, picked up the plate of food from my grass and crumpled it into a ball. I was impressed because the design of the plate made it look like a real plate instead of like a paper plate. I looked up from the ball of paper plate and ?? to find the man storming up the street. His right arm was shaking a lot, left arm not so much, and, I now realized, he was wearing black socks and no shoes. The woman followed my eyes and noted, “Oh, there’s my brother.”

“NEVER GET IN THE CAR WITH A STRANGER!!!” he hollered as he got closer. I started to explain that I wasn’t trying to abduct anyone. But, frankly, I was speechless.


“She wanted to help the dog too,” the woman’s voice was disproportionately quiet in response to her brother shouting at her.

They went back and forth about the likelihood of psychosis in an unknown woman who stops her car on the highway to help a stranger help a dog. I quietly imagined him screaming and running, in black socks, on the highway after a car that was chasing a small dog that was running on the highway.

I wondered which of these two was the caretaker and which was the patient. Was the brother a paranoid, anti-social comics fan type who lived with his sister because there was no hope of him ever holding down a steady job? Or was the sister an overly trusting schizophrenic poetry fan type who lived with her brother because she practically had “scam artists welcome here” written on her forehead? Or were they both a couple plates short of a full set and their parents willed them the house so that they could have shelter and look after each other?

And then they were quiet. Just staring at each other.

“Okay, well I’m gonna go…” I volunteered.


“I’m Allison. My little family is moving in today.”

Silence. But now they were both staring at me.

“I’m really sorry to have brought death to the neighborhood and all…”

“I’m Bill.”

“And I’m Susan. Welcome to the neighborhood.”

Moving Day – Back At The Condo (part ii of ii)

I was a little dazed after my bizarre experience at the house. So, the death metal music blaring from the retirement community seemed acceptable. The music got louder and louder as I walked toward our unit. The Real Rock ‘n’ Roll Movers movers were strangely quiet as they hauled an armoire down the walkway. I guessed that maybe they were studying the harmonies? Were there any harmonies in death metal?

I found my husband and told him what happened with the dog at the house. The death metal scream-groaned, accompanied by a sound that must have been someone repeatedly hitting a baby calf with an electric guitar.

One of the Real Rock ‘n’ Roll Movers movers popped his head in to say we were welcome to change the music if we wanted to. We politely declined and said we were happy to listen to whatever they liked.

Then another Real Rock ‘n’ Roll Movers mover with a dolly full of boxes also noted that we were welcome to change the music. So, I asked which band they would like to listen to. They suggested Journey, Fleetwood Mac, and Led Zeplin.

Confused by the contrast, I asked who had picked the currently playing death metal (at this point I think we were listening to a microphone being violently digested by stomach acid, but I’m guessing). The Real Rock ‘n’ Roll Movers movers informed me that my very own Brooks Brothers shopping, Volvo driving, penny loafer loving husband had picked the Death Metal iTunes channel. Why? They did not know. What they did know was that the current playlist was scaring them a little.

So we changed to Fleetwood Mac and enjoyed a fully productive and musically pleasing move day.