Thursday, April 29, 2010

Chickens Sweeping Down The Plain

Rogers and Hammerstein certainly knew Oklahoma when they wrote those famous lyrics ...the wind comes sweeping down the plain.
It not only sweeps, it howls, gusts, blusters, tornadoes, and sandblasts. But most of all, it just blows, a lot, all the time.

My brother called today.
He's a true Okie through and through.
He lives on the other side of the state.
The converstation went something like this ...

Me: Hello! Little Brother!

Little Brother: How ya doin', sister Michelle?!

(I use exclamation points because we are a loud, goofy family.)

Me: Pretty good! What are you up to?

Little Brother: Oh, I had to take a horse to the vet today and now I'm just settin here, doin' nothin', starin' at the Oklahoma prairie.
Me: Sure is windy!
(At this point I must add that my brother and I live on opposite sides of the state. But if it is windy at my house, it is most certainly windy at his house, too. Like the song says, the wind comes sweeping down the plain. And it sweeps clean cross the state.)
Little Brother: Well at least the chickens aren't blowing yet.
Me confused: Chickens blowing???
Brother: Yeah, one time a storm 'picked up' and it blew so hard that the chickens went tumbling across the yard like tumbleweeds. So now, that's our wind gage. If the chickens aren't blowing, we figure it's not too bad.
Me chuckling: Poor Chickens(!).
Brother: Only in Oklahoma(!).
Me: I think there's a redneck joke somewhere in that.

This is Little Jerry Seinfeld. He has a girlfriend named Elaine.
My brother has lots of chickens.
He and his wife like to give them funny names.
One day my husband came home and I told him, Jerry Seinfeld died.
My husband, clearly confused, was very upset.
Not the actor, I said, The chicken.
My hubby knows only a family as nutty as mine would name their chickens after television personalities.
My brother also has a rather amorous rooster named Bill Clinton.

And two goats - Bert and Ernie.
My seven year old nephew named them.
And people wonder why we call their place the Funny Farm.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Miss Dahl's Kitchen

In a perfect world I world, I would be like the gal in the picture below: a tall glamorous super model living in a cozy English cottage with the most adorable kitchen and a farmhouse sink. 

As it happens, I barely stand five foot three, live in a suburban rental with a dark, inadequate kitchen and a tiny Holly Hobbie sink. Oh, well.

But we can always dream, right?

And that is what I did when I watched these clips from England's latest cooking show The Delicious Miss Dahl. A younger, blonder Nigella, with some nostalgic music thrown in. I found myself glued to these clips on You Tube, just to see the beautifully busy British kitchen. Yes it is a bit cluttered for my taste, but for some reason, I really liked it.

I have a feeling, however, that men aren't tuning in to see the cute, country kitchen. They're looking at the former, gorgeous super model Miss Dahl who just so happens to be the granddaughter of Roald Dahl the famous author.

A lot of people here in the states may not be familiar with Sophie Dahl. She is from England and along with her new show has a cookbook Miss Dahl's Voluptuous Delights. Her grandfather was the author Roald Dahl, and her grandmother the actress Patricia Neal. Roald Dahl wrote James and the Giant Peach, Matilda, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, and my favorite, The Witches, all of which have been made into movies. My kids loved The Witches. We've read the book twice and watched the movie at least a hundred times.

Anyway, I am bummed because Miss Dahl's new television show, The Delicious Miss Dahl, only airs on BBC 2 and I can't get it here. There's just something about those British cookery shows that draw me in. They make me want to set down in their kitchen with a cup of tea and hang out a while. They seem a little more laid back than our American cooking shows. And best of all, they show us that a women can be smart, and sexy, and cook, all without having to be a size three.

I am hoping Food Network will eventually pick this one up. But in the mean time, I'll keep my eye out for more episodes online.

Anyone else out there watch cooking shows just to see the kitchens like I do?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

I Hate Peas

Dad sets at the head of the table and likes to watch The Porter Wagner Show while he eats supper.

I am in the first grade. Home alone with my father, eating supper which includes a giant helping of stinky, mushy, grayish canned peas. Peas repulse me. I am not allowed to get up from the table until I eat the peas. Thus the battle ensues. I squinch my face and try feeding them to the dog. But Dad catches on and throws the dog out.

Slowly, the minutes tick by. I set at the table with my feet dangling. Dad sets in his arm chair like a despot on a throne. He seems taller. I am getting bored with this standoff but the more my father presses, the more repulsive the peas become. By now they are not only mushy and stinky, but cold as well, and there is no way in hell I am going to eat those peas.

Its seems like we've been setting for hours. Dad is cajoling, threatening, even bribing me to eat the damn peas. But I am obstinate and never realized vegetables wielded such power.

Time is strange and I have no recollection of how this ordeal ended. But I think it was with my dad in exasperation because, to this day, I have never eaten a single pea. And dad and I never went to battle over food again.

Occasionally, at family reunions, when he is in a jovial mood, Dad will say, "Michelle, have you eaten any peas?" And I always respond, "No dad, I haven't. I won that battle."