Friday, January 23, 2009

Paper AND Plastic

Paper or plastic? My grandmother has solved this age old problem by insisting on both. This makes carrying the grocery bags nigh on impossible since the paper bag gets in the way of the handles of the plastic bag. At first I'm not sure if this is some sort of weird store policy. Maybe the store manager has an intense hatred of Al Gore and is bound and determined to prove that global warming is a myth? But the bagger woman tells me she's known my grandmother for 12 years and this is what she insists on. I can't even begin to fathom the logic but I've long ago given up trying. Often my trips home are like something out of a 'Seinfeld' episode except maybe not so amusing when it's happening to you.

I had to make 2 trips to the Skokie Jewel yesterday, one with my grandmother and another when my aunt realized there was no real food in the house and sent me back with the real list. Many of the items on this new list were still baffling to me but I did what I was told and hopefully no one will go hungry. Plus it is always an interesting cultural experience going to the Skokie Jewel, a great place to people watch if you're into that sort of thing. The afternoon crowd consisted of lots of slow moving little old Jewish ladies sporting garish but probably very expensive full length fur coats. One such woman decided to befriend me at the deli counter and it's a good thing since I needed help. One of the items on my new and improved list was sliced turkey and chicken. The pre-packaged stuff looked particularly vile so I decided to get some 'freshly' sliced stuff from the deli. Probably just as vile but somehow it looked better. I had no idea how much meat to get so I randomly chose a 1/2 lb of each and when I saw how much it was, well, it looked like a lot. Just as I was wondering if it could be frozen a fur clad woman shuffled over and informed me that boy was I going to enjoy this meat, it's most excellent. She insisted that I keep a bit in the fridge at a time and freeze the rest, it will be delicious and fresh. I thanked her and told her I was grateful for the info. because I'm a vegetarian and have no idea about freezing meat or what is good meat or anything about meat for that matter. Well, this was absolutely the wrong thing to say because that generation in this part of the world still considers vegetarians to be communist freaks. I'm not in Boulder anymore, Toto. She scrunched up her nose and gave me a disdainful look but continued to chat away to me because old ladies at the Jewel on a Thursday afternoon love to give you advice even if you're a communist freak. Maybe even especially if you're a communist freak.

Did you know that eggplants can sweat and that making them do so supposedly makes them taste better? It must be true because the internets told me so. I decided to make Eggplant Parmesan for my grandmother which yes I know is not super uber healthy but is better than the crackers and Chex Mix she has been eating and I found a recipe that seemed healthier than the stuff you get in restaurants. Instead of frying the eggplant in a heavy batter I used a light egg/breadcrumb coating and pre-baked them instead. I also cheated and used tomato sauce out of a jar instead of making it from scratch but I figured this venture was already iffy enough, no need to make it harder just for the sake of it. I did go to the bother of sweating the eggplants though, it seemed worth it if it would guarantee they would not be bitter. In the end there were no fires (I'm much better with the oven than I am with the stove), a minmum of mess and my cooking was a big hit with my grandmother. She loves eggplant parmesan but for some reason never prepares it for herself so I knew it would be a nice treat for her. I thought it was good too, maybe there's hope for me after all. Now if anybody has any helpful hints from Heloise on how to get charred oatmeal off the top of a smooth topped electric stove I'm all ears.

I can haz Eggplant Parmesan??!!

No? Fine. Be that way.


  1. You're in a whole different world there! What a good thing you are doing though, being there to help out and even cooking!

  2. A different world, that's for sure. It feels like I grew up here a lifetime ago.

  3. I lived there for college and I know it would strike me as weird now too. (Especially now that I'm all healthy-like LOL)

  4. "I can haz Eggplant Parmesan??!!" --OK, it's laugh-out-loud funny when it's unexpected in a literate blog like yours. But a whole web site--thousands of pages of it?--erg.