I want to be filthy and stinking. period.

After loosely following the stories about the Wall Street protests this last week, I was surprised to learn, a few days ago, that about a hundred of the protestors actually marched down the residential streets of Manhattan’s Upper East Side, verbally pummeling their frustrations against the front doors of some of our nation’s wealthiest businessmen.  It seems that this particular vein of the protest was well advertised ahead of time, so I have to wonder:  did the protestors think they were going to catch anyone at home?  And if so, what would they have said, specifically, to each of the Filthy Stinking Rich People?

I don’t know.  But I know what I would ask the Filthy Stinking Rich People if  I were marching in righteous anger through their front yard.  I have it all planned out in my head.  I would rub my hands together, twirl my mustache (I’m in desperate need of a wax, my faiths), and pick up my large white megaphone with the Ridgeview Coyotes logo on the side.   (My kids’ elementary school.  Yes.  I would think of everything.)  I’d raise said megaphone to my freshly-glossed lips and demand some answers with my best leftover cheerleading yell:

  • Did your GPA really make a difference?  (Didn’t think so.)
  • Do you really all get together at Bohemian Grove once a year and decide how to rule the world?  (Didn’t think so.)
  • Are your wives’ boobs real?  (Didn’t think so.)
  • Are any of you leaving your wives’ boobs anytime soon?  If so, is there an opening for a new wife?  (Didn’t think so.)
  • Do you know Gwyneth Paltrow?  (Thought so.)
  • Will she be launching a clothing line at Target anytime soon?  (Hope so.)
  • Is there any way I can have your life?  (Didn’t think so.)
  • Will yelling at you about it make me feel better?  (Thought so.)


Upon setting down my megaphone to give my raspy voice a rest, I wonder if an accommodating tycoon would venture to his front porch and respond to my pleas.  Perhaps Rupert Murdoch would appear in a gorgeously overpriced bathrobe to ask me a few questions of his own:

    • You want this life, lady?  (Thought so.)
    • Then why did you major in English?


I believe that last question would end our Q and A session; some past misdeeds cannot be undone.  I would then bend over heavily, pick up my Ridgeview Coyotes mouthpiece, and march away.  Let the Filthy Stinking Rich people have their fun; I was going to use my megaphone to hiss in a Gollum voice and scare people on the bus ride home.  That would show them.


Summer was hard on my waistline this year.  You’d think opening the new pool would have motivated me to shape up, but instead it just encouraged me to sit around with my friends noshing on Pringles and ice cream.  I have therefore decided that between now and Halloween, it’s time to bring out the big guns:

That’s right:  fat-free, sugar-free, instant chocolate pudding-like substance.  Oh yeah.

(And that glass is actually clean, we just had hard water for a long time.  I know.  Don’t you wish you were coming over for dinner?)

Let me take you back about six months.  You see, every spring, I get on a “I’m gonna eat healthy, work out extra hard, and really lose that winter insulation” kick.  I usually muster up this annual motivation sometime around March.  I try for a few weeks, get bored, give up, then start all over again in April.  Sometime around Memorial Day, I finally find my mojo.  I cut calories and sweat all over the place and eat my fatfreesugarfreeinstantchocolatepudding-like substance as though it’s being taken off the market for harboring too many toxic additives.  This highly disciplined regime usually carries me into at least the third week of June, when the family reunions and camping trips kick in.  (I know.  You summered in Greece this year while I pitched a tent with my kids in the rain, didn’t you?  That’s why I don’t read your blog.)  About midsummer, I decide it’s pointedly rude to keep turning down my mom’s potato salad or my husband’s barbequed hot dogs, so taking a breather from my disciplined dogma is a kind of obligatory etiquette.  (Did Emily Post ever recommend fatfreesugarfreeinstantchocolatepuddin-like substances in social situations?  I didn’t think so.)

But come September, it’s time to get back into a routine: bedtimes, healthy eating and exercise.  I survive on my fatfreesugarfreeinstantchocolatepudding-like substance for awhile.  But changing leaves means pumpkin bread and hot cocoa, and boy does Halloween sneak up on me fast, and it is the kids’ favorite holiday, and who wants to be the uptight mom who won’t share in a mini Milky Way or take a bite (or ten) of an ooey-gooey caramel apple?  It’s the least I can do to honor motherhood.  And of course, I have a moral–no, spiritual–responsibility to host a splendid Thanksgiving dinner for my beloved family. The shopping and prep for this event usually require at least two weeks of heedless eating on my part, but what can I do?  I’m the cook, after all, and I owe this event some foretasting.  And once we get through Thanksgiving,  really, girls, is there any point to counting calories until after Christmas New Year’s?

Okay.  So after New Years, I’m back on My Diet (still don’t have a tight definition for that.)  But wait–oh, wait, my three faithfuls–Valentine’s Day is right around the corner!  And I refuse to be the cold fish who disregards my hubby’s lovingly bestowed sweets on the grounds of self-discipline.  (Didn’t you see Chocolat?  I’ll be the Sexy Chocolate Salesvixen, not the tight-lipped mean mom, thankyouverymuch.)  Okay.  So we’ll get right back on it after V-day.  We’re on to March, and it’s time to get serious.  I make it until St. Patty’s, but then really, wouldn’t it be cute to get the kids some gold chocolate coins and make Irish soda bread?  And I do feel like I should honor the Irish with a little “consumption” of my own.  Okay, start over.  Mid-march, round one.  Diet, exercise…made it to Easter.  Took a teenytiny little break for (the entire week of) Easter.  It is an important holiday, after all–equal to Christmas in its theological underpinnings, but reduced to bunnies and pastel eggs by our society.  But unlike common folk, I try to make Easter as important as Christmas by eating equal amounts of chocolate for both.  What can I say?  I’ve always been spiritual.

And after Easter, it’s into May and my fatfreesugarfreeinstantchocolatepudding-like substance.  It’s brown.  It’s cold.  It’s kind of sweet and kindofbutnotreally chocolate-y.  I’d call it chocolate-flavored foam.  Chfloam.  Add a dallop of whipped chemicals (i.e., fatfreesugarfreenondairysubstance) and I’ve got a winner for those long days of sugarlessness that plague me for at least six weeks of every year–three in May, until my teensytiny summer break, and another three in October until my teensytiny autumn break.

So here we are, and here I am, making you feel guilty about all the full-fat pudding you’ve been eating.  I know–I’ve become one of those bloggers, intimidating you with my nutritional discipline and fitness savvy. But don’t worry, my three faiths;  underneath all the muscle and tone, I’m still just me.  We can still be friends.  In fact, let’s start by talking about your own, personal chfloam.  What do you live on when you’re trying to be “good?”  I’m guessing it’s something kindofbutnotreally healthy, kindofbutnotreally tasty, kindofbutnotreally food.

Come on.  Tell me.  I need to know, because if I don’t find a replacement soon, this mocklate’s* gonna kill me.  Or at least get a really thick skin on the top.

*name that sitcom.  embarrassingly easy bonus question.*

Puree my what?

Eight o’clock last night found me standing over the kitchen sink, scooping baked butternut squash out of its skin and glopping the orange mess into my blender.  With no new baby to feed, you might wonder: why I am pureeing squash?  The answer is easy:  Jessica Seinfeld told me to.

I can’t help it, my three faithfuls.  I keep letting not-smart strangers tell me what to do.  Jessica Seinfeld isn’t famous for being a nutritionist, cook, or author; she’s famous for jumping out of her brand-new first marriage into a hurried second one with Jerry Seinfeld (total elapsed time between first and second marriage: eighteen months.)  I remember feeling contempt for the young (double) bride when the scandal broke out over a decade ago.  These people, I thought.  And yet here I am–twelve un-rich and un-famous years later–mashing and blending gourdes per Double Bride’s cookbook that I bought during a moment of weakness at Costco.  (What can I say?  The cover was cute.)  In said cookbook, Mrs. Seinfeld suggests that rather than forcing our kids to eat vegetables, we should just puree the vegetables and blend them into foods that kids do like to eat.  (Rearranging food so kids like it?  Great concept.  But I think the people over at DinoNuggets came up with it first.)

I flirted a little with the book’s recipes, and while most are just so-so, my kids love the squash-hiding coffee cake.  So like a dog to his slop, I keep turning back to Ms. Seinfeld’s book for guidance in making it.  It makes me mad that she has something to tell me, this gold-digging adultress.  And it makes me even more mad that I listen.  I should be condemning her morals, not looking to her for domestic advice.  Funny how so many famous-but-questionable women have babies, clean up their wardrobe, and are suddenly telling the rest of us how to parent.  And why do  these women get away with it?  Because women like me listen.  And because the cover of the cookbook was really cute.

As the cashier rang up my purchase that day, I remember feeling a vague impression that if I cooked from this book, my life would take on the simple and stylish sheen shown throughout its chic, homey pages.  If I couldn’t have lunch with the Seinfelds, I could at least be eating the same food as they.  And if I couldn’t dress like My New Friend Jessica, I could at least cook like her.

I’m thinking that’s why these celebrity cookbooks have gotten so popular.  Gwyneth Paltrow, Eva Longoria–even Sheryl Crow (gag) wrote a cookbook, all of them promising a taste of the good life for those of us watching from the sidelines.  My favorite quote is from the famously organic Paltrow, who says she’d “rather do cocaine than eat cheese from a can.”  (That is certainly an option for you, Emma, since your wallet affords you the choice.) And yet we all want to belong to the group that Doesn’t Eat Cheese From a Can.  And now, for the $12.99 it costs to buy their cookbook, we can pretend that we do.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve about had it with these celebrity “chefs.”  What do they know?  Why can’t they listen to me  for a change?  I may be poor, plain and inconsequential (name that book-turned-movie), but I could certainly tell them a thing or two about how to feed their kids.  Such as:

1.  Cut the hot dogs up crosswise, not lengthwise, before placing them in the bowl of macaroni and cheese.  (Lengthwise leaves the dogs too long to be easily gulped down with blue Kool-Aid.)

2.  A turkey baster works better than a paper towel for absorbing the grease off a Dominoes pizza.  In fact, I have personally calculated that using said baster will cut the calories of said pizza in half.

3.  If your kids are adventurous like mine, try mixing the ketchup and barbecue sauce together before serving it with the DinoNuggets.  It may seem exotic at first, but Trying New Things is an important first step in the world of culinary wonder.

4.  Couscous is Fancy.

5.  Any decent recipe will call for Cream of Mushroom soup.  I have yet to see a celebrity recipe calling for Cream of Mushroom soup.  I am surprised, since doing so obviously eliminates the need for fresh mushrooms, milk, salt, and monosodium glutamate.  Be smart, ladies; never chop or pour multiple ingredients when you can get the same result by opening a single can.

6.  And speaking of cans:  canned green beans, day after day, night after night, aptly fill a child’s dietary requirement for green vegetables.  And your kids will get extra sodium to boot!  (Moms know that more of any nutrient is always better.)

7.  Forget scrutinizing your produce.  Instead, carefully assess and select the cereal you will be serving for dinner tonight.  A high sugar content will always be offset by a cereal that is “fortified.”  And look carefully for words like “wholesome” and “natural.”  They couldn’t put words like that on the package if they weren’t true!  Case in point:  chocolate-dipped granola bars (sugar coated with more sugar) is a “wholesome” family snack.  Whew!  Thought it was junk food for a minute.

8.  Kids love tearing into unopened packages, so make sure you have plenty of packaged food in the pantry.  Fruit snacks, twinkies, and mini-bags of potato chips provide some great options.  Our children need to learn to choose for themselves in a non-threatening environment, so stay well out of their way while they forage through the kitchen after school.  (I generally use this time to cue up the Wii for them.  Exercise is important, too.)

9.  Jell-o is a versatile addition to any meal.  It can land in either the dairy or fruit segment of the food pyramid, depending on its color and your mood.

10.  If you put a bowl of iceberg lettuce on the table every night and nobody ever eats it, you are still Feeding Your Family Vegetables.  Nobody can take that away from you.

Are you listening, Jessica?  I’m here if you need more tips.  In fact, maybe I’ll write a cookbook of my own.  Instead of Deceptively Delicious, it will be titled Overtly Bland but Do-able.  I think I’ll bypass Costco, though, and market it at discount through Wal-Mart.  I know my audience.