Nailed

When NewWifey(tm) took the plunge and decided to turn her passion into a business two years ago she very nearly crashed and burned the very first month. That’s because the very first month she had to drive our 2001 Ford Escape SUV with 245,000 miles on it from Mt. Krumpet, NJ to St. Louis, MO for her very first trade show.

The distance from Dangerhouse to St. Louis is 972 miles.

The Ford made it 971.

On the literal last turn that NewWifey(tm) needed to make on her trip, the exit ramp from I-70 into St. Louis, the Escape suddenly decided it didn’t want its steering wheel to work any more. Rather than turn, the car kept going on a straight trajectory across the lanes to the far barrier. At speed.

Fortunately NewWifey(tm) was able to instantly summoned her Furious IrishWoman strength and wrestle the beast to the side, stopping before hitting anything. She got out, popped the hood, and saw the steering belt had snapped. That’ll do it, alright.

She was actually in sight of the Expo Hall where she was supposed to make the big debut that would make or break her career in just a few hours. But instead of unpacking and setting up her presentation at a leisurely pace, as she’d planned, she was trudging down the shoulder of an unfamiliar highway trying to find an auto parts store that stocked a steering belt for a 15 year old Ford.

Incredibly she did find one rather quickly, quick enough that she was able to trudge back, replace the belt (she always travels with a full tool kit), drive to the hall, wash up, set out her wares, and rock her presentation as if nothing had happened.

When she called that night and told me about having to play mechanic I was sympathetic, but not surprised. This is the same little lady who’d already done a full exhaust replacement on that car in one afternoon (just scroll down and look at the pics) and diagnosed and replaced a bad ignition coil in a parking lot shortly after. My delicate little flower of womanhood. I think I’ll keep her.

Anyway, that was the first time the Escape balked at making a long journey. But it wasn’t the last. At least 3 or 4 other times the Ford stranded her on the side of some road either to, or from, a business gig. Once it completely shredded its manual transmission, and there was nothing she could do. It had to be towed, and then she had to spend 2 days in a fleabag motel waiting for a new one to be installed.

The last time it died it was at 3am on a backwoods pass in the middle of the Ozark Mountains. I’m firmly convinced that she only survived this one because a passing cop spotted her before the local redneck cannibals did. He drove her to a Ford dealership in the next town  where she huddled next to the front door until they opened at 6 and she could buy the part she needed. They were kind enough to have a service guy give her a ride back to the dead Escape, and he even gave her a hand fixing it. Heart warming as that is, she’d had enough.

I want a new car” she said – well, screamed – when she got back from that one.

“We can’t afford a new car” I said. “How about a used one? We could probably find something 5 or 6 years old in our price -”

I want a new car! One with a warranty. One where they’ll send out a tow truck if you’re stuck and fix it for free. One that doesn’t smell like someone else’s McDonald’s wrappers. ONE THAT I DON’T HAVE TO CRAWL UNDER IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT AND FIX BEFORE THE CANNIBALS GET ME.

“We can’t afford a new car.”

But it turns out we could.

We got hit hard by the financial collapse of 2008, which is why we were still driving around in a 2001 SUV with almost a quarter of a million miles on the odometer. We’ve been clawing our way back ever since though, so even though we are still on pretty tenuous financial ground, some car dealerships were willing to extend us credit. On a NEW car, not used.

In the end we found a Nissan dealership that was trying to get the last of their “Rogue Select” models off the lot, dropping the price on their few remaining ones several thousand dollars AND offering an additional 2 G’s off to anyone who’d requested a test drive online (which we had). So what we were looking at was a brand new crossover SUV with a full factory warranty, anti-cannibal tow service, no pervasive fast food odors, and free “I Heart Nissan!” baseball cap for a bunch of Benjamins less than 20k.

And…they’d give us credit!

We drove it home. Or rather, NewWifey(tm) drove it home. I nursed the Escape behind her all the way back to Dangerhouse. The Nissan dealership didn’t want it even for scrap.

Turns out that for a bottom-of-the-line model, the Rogue Select is an awfully nice car. It’s really comfortable, and has plenty of space in the back for NewWifey(tm)’s inventory. Oh sure, I can quibble about its relatively low power, poor visibility (especially compared to our Subaru Forester, which is basically a rolling greenhouse), and its stupid CTV tranny. But those are all moot points, really. The thing is reliable, cruises comfortably at speed, and after now at least a half a dozen trips to stitching shows far and wide, NewWifey(tm) has not been consumed by man eating hillbillies. So it wins.

However, one thing has really started driving me nuts about the car. After a year of owning it, there are all these little chips in the paint. Tiny rocks, large rocks, grit, winter salt, all pelt the Rogue as it barrels down interstates for hours, sometimes days, at a time on the way to gigs. They blast through the top coat of paint and leave white flecks scattered all over on the ruby red body. I hate that. Aside from the aesthetic insult, I worry that water might get down to bare metal and start rusting away the things that hold it together. NewWifey(tm) could have the car fall apart under her during a trip and she’d get eaten by cannibals!

I can’t let my wife get eaten by cannibals. I decided to fix the chips.

The fix is easy enough. The dealership sells these nifty paint pens for just this purpose. They come with an abrasive “eraser” on one end, to smooth the edges of the chips, and the barrel is filled with paint that is matched to your car’s serial number. You can either dot the paint onto smaller chips with a ball point cap, or brush it on with a different cap. Then another part of the barrel shoots out a clear coating, that you smooth on with another thingy. I hope that’s not too technical.

So I picked one of those things up on my way home from work yesterday so I could get it done today. This morning I got dressed, unpacked the pen, and was reading the instructions at the kitchen table when NewWifey(tm) walked in.

Whatcha got there?” she asked.

“It’s touch up paint for Miss Scarlet” I said. (WHY do chicks always name their cars?) “I’m gonna fill in all those little white craters.”

She looked at the box. “Let me do that. It’s just like putting on nail polish.”

“That’s ok” I said. “I’m sure I can handle this. I’m good at brushing stuff on pastries, remember. How much harder could this be?”

Brushing pastries is nothing like doing nails. Trust me. Let me handle this, willya? You’re just gonna fuck it up.

“I bet you I won’t.”

She rolled her eyes. “Fine. What do you want to bet?

After agreeing on terms I was out the door, paint pen in hand.

It was a piece of cake. The technology they built into that little cylinder was pretty impressive. I ground the edge of each chip, applied a dot to some, a blob to others, and brushed each one smooth. All I had to do then was wait 10 minutes for the paint to set. Then I could apply the clear top coat and go in and collect my bet. Just 10 minutes…

And it started to rain.

HARD.

A fast – and I mean fast – moving storm came blowing into our area while I was hunched over concentrating on white fleck. I didn’t even notice it getting darker, I was so intent on getting those stupid pockmarks filled. But I sure noticed when I got hit with a wall of sideways rain at about 40 mph.

I scrambled to roll up the windows on the Rogue before she filled with water, then sprinted up the driveway into the garage. The crummy imitation shearling slippers I was wearing were completely soaked by my third step, and you could count my chest hairs right through my now clear Ren and Stimpy t-shirt. This was a hard storm.

How’s it going, Rembrandt?” NewWifey(tm) stood at the top of the basement stairs, arms folded.

“Fine” I said. “A little shower popped up out there, so I’m taking a break til it stops. I just have apply the final clear coat and it’ll be all done. Better get the KY and Anal-Eze ready, I’m gonna win this bet.”

She snorted and went back to her stitching.

I peeled off my sopping clothes and got in to new, dry ones. (I may have to throw out the slippers. The glue holding the rubber sole to the “man made uppers” seems to be water soluble, and is separating. 9 dollars sure don’t get you much in the way of footwear these days.)

After about 15 minutes the storm passed, the clouds parted, and except for some pools of water here and there you’d never know that just moments ago people were getting ready to board the Ark. It looked practically arid. I grabbed the pen and headed back down the driveway to apply the finishing touches to the Rogue. I could practically taste the KY.

But when I got to the car, this is what I saw:

rear-blob

rear-side-blob-1

rear-side-blob-2

Can you see them? Those discolored, blobby, streaky, wrinkled bits? Those were carefully smoothed over patches of fill-in paint, completely indistinguishable from the bodywork around it, just a half an hour before. The gale that sprang up blew a river of water so hard into my car that it splattered my carefully applied art work to smithereens!

I frantically tried rubbing them out with the abrasive eraser thing on the pen, but no dice. It just made things worse. I’m gonna have to go full tilt bodywork if I want to repair this damage now; sandpaper, primer, the whole thing.

Worst of all?

You didn’t see the weather report this morning, did you?” NewWifey(tm) stood at the front door. She could see the car acne from there, no problemo. I knew she wasn’t gonna let me off the hook, but I had to try anyway.

“It was perfect!” I yelled. “It was just like brushing pastry! I shouldn’t be penalized for some stupid rain!”

Sorry bud. A bet’s a bet. Get in here.”

Shit. I knew arguing further would be futile. I went inside.

Where she did this to me:

nailed

That was the bet. If my brushing skills weren’t up to snuff on the car, she got to use her brushing skills on me.

And I have to wear it for a week.

God, I hope it doesn’t rain….

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Four Hours Later Update:

After seeing me mope around for a while, NewWifey(tm) showed some mercy.

C’mere” she said. She took her shirt off, grabbed my painted hand, and placed it on her breast. “Doesn’t it look like a chick is rubbing your wife’s boob? That should cheer you up.

It did! I rubbed and looked from as many angles as I could. NewWifey(tm) was looking too, and after a minute said “Y’know, that is pretty hot. Where’d you put that KY…?

“Sorry” I said. “I just had my nails done. You’ll have to take a rain check.”

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Naaaaaaaaaaaaaaah. Just kidding. I fucked her.

And my nails looked perfect. Booyah!

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Have a good night, kids. I’ll be back with my regular, ragged, UN-painted manly fingernails next time.

Er…I maybe wouldn’t bet on it, though. You never know….

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I’m Gonna Mount a Girl!

Oh my god:

womens-hunt-pic

I guess this was bound to happen now that Trump’s been elected. Still, I thought it would be catch-and-release. At least at first.

You know what bothers me more than anything about this story in our local paper? Our town is allowing us to hunt women inside the refuge. The whole point of that refuge was to give women a space where they could roam free without fear of predation. We voted on it, people!

Additionally, I happen to know that many of these women were raised in captivity. They have no natural fear of hunters, having been hand fed and cared for by humans almost since birth. Where’s the sport in that? This is the very definition of “canned  hunting”, and I for one am not looking forward to shortly seeing Dick Cheny come strolling past my house with a loaded 12-guage on his shoulder.

Which brings me to my other objection.

“Shotguns will be provided”?

Shotguns?

If you’re gonna stuff and mount a Trophy Girl, you do NOT want her riddled with shot. I guess if you just want to mount the head on the wall, you can nail her in the chest with the choke all the way down so there’s no dispersion above the neck. But even so, a certain amount of luck is needed. If even one pellet mars the face, you have to toss the whole carcass.

No, if you’re all gung-ho to display her in the classic “She Was Charging Right At Me!” pose in your study:

2wgehvo

you really should be bow hunting. That’s just common sense.

So that’s what’s happening in my little backwater town. At least according to our little backwater newspaper.

But of course, the actual story is not nearly as juicy. My town has not, sadly, declared open season on blondes. It’s just that ever since our paper let go of their editor and proofreaders as part of a cost saving plan, we’ve been getting lots of, well, surprising headlines (and copy) on a regular basis. I’m sure the 19 year old community college dropouts they pay $8.75/hr to file stories are doing their best. However it does occassionally lead to our wimmin folk running scared.

Speaking of wimmin folk running scared, it’s about time I checked on NewWifey(tm). Maybe stuffing and mounting a girl IS in my future!

Ciao!

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Nuts.

Whew. Sorry for the hiatus. Between NewWifey(tm)’s lingering Flu-pocalypse and then her overly generous sharing of it with me, I’ve had my hands – and lungs – full with many things that did not involve typing. My apologies also to bloggers I normally read but couldn’t during this time. I know how you pine for my comments, poor souls. To make up for it then, here comes a supremely over-long and stupidly pedantic, almost cooking-centric Norse epic of an entry! With diarrhea!

Oh, before we start I need to post some Sewing Machine Porn for the weirdly obsessed with them Jane:

necchi

That’s a vintage Italian “Necchi BU” sewing machine that our local historical society set out in the trash the day they were ordered to vacate the premises post-haste because their building was in danger of collapse. Everything they couldn’t fit into one covered wagon they had to discard, including this beauty. It works, although it needs a new main drive belt. The little blue “Gurlee” thing on the left is some kind of miniature sewing machine that NewWifey(tm) found at an antique store. I think she had one in her youth, but I fell asleep midway through her story so I’m not absolutely certain. I just know it works, and she paid 20 dollars for it. Behind that a basket filled with antique sewing bobbins or something.

Yep. I’m married.

Ok, back to bizniz.

There are only a few things NewWifey(tm) won’t put in her mouth. (And no, that’s not one of them. I heard that.) She’s neither squeamish nor unadventurous, and she doesn’t profess any sort of weird gluten/MSG/kiwi/BPA phobia. But she does have three really wacky food allergies. In order, they are:

1. Raw lemons.

2. Walnuts.

3. Something they put in the taco salad at “Taco of the Town” in Sussex, NJ. We’re not sure what.

Whenever she has even the tiniest taste of any of the above, and I mean the tiniest taste, her tongue swells to the size of a rugby ball and develops a series of cracks and crevices across the surface. Because the cracks form in a series of concentric circles, her doctor calls it “Orbital Tongue Syndrome”. But NewWifey(tm) just calls it, “mfmmmmmmmgrrrlmmmmff!!!

This has made for some rather exciting dining out moments over the years. One grab of a water glass without spotting the decorative lemon slice could end her meal before the menu even arrives. (I myself will still order and eat, but very sadly.) A stray walnut accidentally mixed in with the pistachio filling of some Middle Eastern confection means dessert is an exercise in pain, not pastry. You get the idea.

At home she’s safe, of course. You won’t find Avgalemono soup on the menu, and I don’t top my Boozy-Woozy German Chocolate Cake with decorative walnut halves. The only time I, er, “slip up” is when I want a little peace and quiet. But that’s a last resort. I’m not cruel.

Sadly, this makes it tough on me. I love lemons and walnuts. I could live on walnut cake and lemonade. I have lived on walnut cake and lemonade. But no more. The only time I get to include those two treasured ingredients is when she goes away, or it’s my birthday.

The end of January was my birthday. However, if you recall, NewWifey(tm) was laid low with some sort of Hantavirus or something that weekend. The celebration was postponed until she could stop vomiting blood and hallucinating sandwich gnomes coming to steal her hoagie. That took a week. So last weekend we finally held the deferred celebration, drinking and bonking, then bonking and drinking. (Or is it “boinking”? I always get them confused.)

And eating. Lots of eating.

I pause for a moment here to recount something that will be instantly identifiable to anyone who’s been married long enough to have celebrated their wooden anniversary:

On my first birthday after we were declared Man and Chattel, NewWifey(tm)looked lovingly into my eyes and said, “You can have anything you want for your birthday dinner. It’s your day, my love.” (With the caveat: no lemon or walnut of course.)

So I made the meal I’d want before being sent to the guillotine: a terrine of duckling, billibi soup, a roast leg of lamb, and a tureen filled with Peanut M&M’s. I opened a special bottle of wine from my collection and we tucked in, NewWifey(tm) looking lovingly across the table at me the entire time.

It went over so well I repeated the menu the next year.

And the next.

By the fourth year I noticed that NewWifey(tm) was taking slightly smaller portions, particularly of terrine and lamb. In fact, her terrine plate was starting to primarily consist of bread rounds and cornichon pickles, which were supposed to be the garnishes. And Casey the Wonder Corgi was spending almost all his time sitting right against her chair, head cocked way back. And her loving gaze was starting to look a little…forced.

Year 5 she dropped the pretense. All she ate was M&M’s. And drank wine. Lots of wine.

Year 6: “For godsake, will you make something other than duck and lamb this year? I hate duck and lamb. And I’m sick of that stupid soup, too.” Oops. So I make an Ethiopian “Doro Wat” with chicken, taking pride in mixing my own  berbere and even making injera bread from teff flour that I ground myself and fermented. That was the year I found out NewWifey(tm) does not like chicken, very spicy foods, or injera. But she liked the “tej”, the Ethiopian honey wine I managed to score. In fact, that was pretty much her entire meal.

I got the message. After that meal I asked her, “What do you think would be a good meal on my birthday?”

Which is why:

Year 7 – Present: I make Cream of Roast Butternut Squash Soup, Châteaubriand, mashed potatoes, some veggie prepared however I feel at the time, homemade bread product of some sort, and wine. Strangely enough, this is also the menu I invariably produce every year on HER birthday. What a coincidence, huh? For dessert, as I mentioned a couple of entries ago, I get my cassata. That, at least, I never tire of.

Back to the story.

For Christmas this year NewWifey(tm) gifted me a 3 pound bag of shelled walnuts that she found on sale and told me I could go nuts with (so to speak) on my birthday so long as she got her Châteaubriand. Three pounds! My eyes boggled. Usually when I spring for walnuts it’s one of those little 4 oz. Diamond tins. All month long, from December 25 to January 27, I planned my attack. It was gonna be…well, you know. Nuts.

Because I had so many, this year I didn’t have to confine my nutty gormandizing to just one day. From Friday afternoon until my alarm clock went off Monday morning to go back to work I had free reign to whip up as many walnut laden dishes as I wanted.

I won’t bore you with the entire list, but I must describe one of the concoctions because it’s germane to the story.

I’ve occasionally seen in food forums some person or another describe how orgasmic the Honey Walnut Shrimp at the chain restaurant Panda Express is. I’ve never been to Panda Express, and some of those aforementioned forum dwellers seemed more than a little suspect, but I like honey, I love shrimp, and I adore walnuts. So I decided to go out on a limb and whip it up for my Saturday dinner. Watched a few YouTubers make it, got the ingredients, and was good to go. Frankly though, it sure didn’t look Asian to me. A sauce of mayonnaise and evaporated milk? Seriously? Oh well, dozens of forum comments can’t be wrong. Can they…?

I had at it anyway.

The first thing you have to do to make Honey Walnut Shrimp is candy a bunch of walnuts. That’s easy enough, despite some of the instructions I read from…idiots. Seriously, people waaaaaaaaay over think things when it comes to cooking sometimes. If you want to make candied walnuts, just pour some water in a pan (I used a wok), heat it up, dump in some sugar, stir to dissolve, then toss in your walnuts. You don’t even have to measure anything. (Btw, I blanched my walnuts first if you must know.)

Now just keep it over high heat, stirring now and again, until all the water evaporates (that’s why you don’t have to worry about measuring – no matter how much you put in, it’s gonna evaporate eventually). At that point you have candied walnuts. You can cook them a little longer for a deeper caramel if that’s your thing, but otherwise you’re good to go now. Just spoon those babies onto wax paper or a silicone sheet or the like (NOT PAPER TOWELS, FOR GODSAKE ARE YOU CRAZY? THEY’LL STICK!) and let them cool.

At this point some recipes call for frying the coated nuts, so I did…and didn’t like them. I put that batch aside and candied another half pound or so, not frying them this time.

After that you just fry off some coated shrimp and mix them with honey, mayo, and condensed milk. Lastly, sprinkle over the walnuts.

Oh.

My.

God.

People.

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It was awful.

The final product was sweet but simultaneously bland, with a pasty, slick sauce that masked any other flavor. Completely unbalanced. If it weren’t for the crunch of the walnuts I’d swear I was eating a bowl of hot mayo and honey. A real waste of a pound of shrimp.

Which meant, of course, that NewWifey(tm) LOVED it. Having been weaned on those gloppy, viscous, artificially flavored “Cream Of Whatever” based casseroles in the midwest, this dish was like mother’s milk to her. She begged for a taste before I added the walnuts, and I almost had to stop her from eating the plate when she finished.

Don’t get me wrong, despite my disdain I still polished off two bowls of it myself. It had walnuts in it after all. That trumps everything. What was left after that I packed in a Tupperware and threw into the fridge.

So that was my dinner Saturday night. But that only accounted for 1 pound of the 3 pound walnut haul. Outside of that I also made a few other dishes, and the remainder – including the fried candied walnuts mentioned before – I just ate out of hand. By Sunday afternoon they were all gone. I ate three pounds of walnuts in just over two days.

Did you know that eating three pounds of walnuts in just over two days has a laxative effect? I sure didn’t. Not prior to Sunday afternoon, anyway.

Shortly after finishing my fourth (fifth?) bowl of homemade maple walnut ice cream, something…odd….started happening right behind my belt buckle. It felt like snakes, or maybe very small ponies, were racing around inside my abdominal cavity. And they wanted out.

Then –

They did come out. Explosively. Uncontrollably.

I managed to make it to the bathroom just in time.

The first thing that hit me was the smell. It was pure, unadulterated nut extract. It’s what I imagined squirrel poop smells like.

Then there was the sound. Oh my god, what sound. We’re talking cartoon tuba blasts, amplified by the parabolic reflector of a porcelain bowl.

And it would. Not. Stop. For a solid hour, at least.

After a while it became kind of funny. I mean, it wasn’t like I had to go anywhere. And as impressive as the various bodily emanations were, there was no pain associated with any of it. On reflection I supposed I should have known this would be a potential consequence, but…so what? I, for the first time in years, ate my fill of walnuts! I literally started to laugh while sitting there.

But then I had to stop laughing. NewWifey(tm) was pounding on the door.

We have two bathrooms, so she couldn’t have been desperate for a toilet. On top of that, I’ve made it very clear that a Man’s bathroom time is sacred and not to be intruded upon except under the most dire of circumstance. So this must be a dire circumstance.

I gave one final grunt, hitched up my pants, and opened the door. On the other side stood NewWifey(tm). Her mouth was wide open, and sticking out of it was what I had to assume was her tongue. It sure didn’t look like a tongue, though. It looked like a chunk of tread cut off a truck tire, all black and run through with deep treads.

“Oh my GOD! Honey! What happened??”

She started to grunt some kind of answer but suddenly stopped. She looked over my shoulder into the bathroom, then at me. The color drained from her face as she brought her hand up and covered her nose.

“Yeah, yeah” I said. “It’ll simmer down in a day or two. I think. C’mon, let’s go into the kitchen.” I grabbed her arm and led her down that hall.

In the kitchen she tried to make herself understood with interpretive dance. Either that or she was stricken with sudden onset cerebral palsy. After a series of seemingly random limb movements and head jerks elicited no expression of comprehension from me she threw up her arms and grabbed a Sharpie and a paper plate.

I ATE THE LEFTOVER WALNUT SHRIMP” she wrote.

“Yeah, that’s what I figured” I said.

She stared at me, then wrote furiously “WHY THE FUCK DIDN’T YOU JUST SAY SO?!

“It was fun watching you imitate Michael J. Fox.”

She gave a muted scream and threw the pen at me.

Fortunately when NewWifey(tm) gets hit with these episodes it doesn’t last long. It’s not like some shellfish allergy where she risks going into anaphylactic shock if she even watches an episode of Spongebob Squarepants. She just had to put up with me pointing and laughing at her cracked and distended tongue (in between bathroom stints) for a little while before her anatomy returned to normal and she could scream at me to her heart’s content.

All in all then it was a pretty rockin’, if belated, birthday celebration. I mean, it was nuts!

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****** BONUS FOODIE FOOTAGE ******

Might  as well give the Valentine’s update while I’m here.

NewWifey(tm) and I decided last year that the whole flowers/chocolate/stupid card thing was a bogus money grab by the Hallmark people, so we resolved just to get drunk and have sex like we do every night instead. But I cheated a bit and made some little treats to have between boink sessions.

One of my favorite food/wine pairings is blue cheese and almost any good sweet wine, like Port or Sauternes. Usually with pears, but it could also be apples or just good bread.

Two weeks ago I picked up a half case of an inexpensive sweet wine that I think is one of the better values out there: BV “Muscat de Beaulieu”. It’s no Chateau d’Yquem or Taylor Fladgate vintage, but on sale for 6 bucks a half-bottle you gotta be crazy to pass it up. I had it with one of my birthday dishes, with extra walnuts.

I had so many bottles that I splurged and turned one into a sauce. I reduced a bottle in a pan down to about half it’s volume then added it to a bechamel sauce. Then I pulled it off the heat and added the remainder of the blue cheese from the night before. Viola! A blue cheese muscat sauce, that went perfectly over whatever the hell else I made that night. I don’t really remember, I was pretty drunk.

So anyway, I had plenty of that funky sauce left last night when I started making Valentine’s dinner. I didn’t want to just make something and cover it with the same sauce, so after mulling it over a bit I decided to make a Brazilian snack I’d had once years ago and really liked. It’s called “Pão de Queijo”, and it’s kinda like little cheese balls. It’s not a cheese puff, like you make with choux paste, but rather a dense, baked ball that uses tapioca starch instead of flour. They’re really good.

Normally they’re made with milk and Parmesan cheese, but I decided to use that sauce instead. It had milk in it, after all, and cheese too. Just a different cheese. And sweet wine. Welcome to Home Cooking 101!

And you know what? They came out GREAT. I mean, GREAT. The sweet/salty thing was going on in spades, along with the delicate perfume of the muscat in the background. NewWifey(tm) couldn’t get enough of them.

And finally, have you ever had this stuff?:

chocovine

That’s exactly what it says it is. It’s chocolate red wine. I bought a bottle of it last Valentine’s Day, but after drinking half of it NewWifey(tm) and I decided that chocolate and red wine was best consumed separately. I put the half empty bottle in the fridge and forgot about it until last night. Spotting it in a back corner, curiosity got the better of me. I tried it.

It was still good! Take that, First Growth Bordeaux’s!

Of course, I still didn’t want to drink it as-is. But I thought I should probably do something chocolate-y given the day.

Long story short: I turned it into pudding. Mixed corn starch and sugar, added the Cacao-Grape Chimera wine, egg yolks and butter, and…it turned out great! Again! A real alcoholic kick, too, but not harshly so. Just whipped up some heavy cream as a topping, and it was quite the treat. NewWifey(tm) bolted that one down, too.

Here’s the pudding and my Brazilian balls, ladies, just for you:

chocovin-pudding-and-muscat-blue-cheese-puffs

Hmmm. Doesn’t really look like much, does it. You’ll just have to take my word that you’d do me too if I served you them. You guys, too.

Ok, gotta scoot. Hope you all had as great a week as I did…although perhaps not as nutty.

Ciao!

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Gun Shy

I’ve been wanting to post here for a while, but I’m scared.

Last week NewWifey(tm) was on her laptop browsing online pictures of kittens or hosiery or Menudo or whatever it is that modern women look at these days. Spotting a particularly squee-worthy kitty, she clicked. Immediately up on her screen popped not the adorable 3-week old Maine coon dressed in an absolutely precious sailor outfit like was shown in the thumbnail, but:

“HI!

WE ARE COMPUTER MEN GUYS IN ESTONIA. WE’VE WRITTEN A NEW PROGRAM CALLED ‘SPORA’.

CONGRATULATIONS, YOU JUST DOWNLOADED IT!

HERE’S HOW IT WORKS:

ALL YOUR FILES ARE NOW ENCRYPTED. IF YOU WANT THEM UN-ENCRYPTED, SEND US MONEY.

WE’RE NOT MAD AT YOU. WE’RE NOT MAD AT YOUR FILES. WE JUST WANT YOUR MONEY. AND WE PROMISE THAT IF WE GET YOUR MONEY YOU’LL GET YOUR FILES BACK WITHOUT DELAY OR HARM.

YOU HAVE TWO DAYS.”

I heard her scream all the way from work, 50 miles away.

NewWifey(tm) did not pay the ransom. She didn’t have anything really critical on that machine, fortunately. Although even if she did, she’d sell herself into white slavery before sending money to extortionists. So she lost about 7,000 pictures of kittens and hosiery and Menudo, or whatever she had in there. Probably porn. But not much else. Still, she was PISSED.

When I got home from work I could practically smell the fury. The acid. As her loving husband, I knew I had to do something. And because I am her husband, I knew only one thing would help.

I guffawed in her face and called her a retarded cow for not knowing how to keep herself safe online and how did she even remember to breathe if she’s that stupid until she got so mad that she chased me around the kitchen island with my good Dexter boning knife until she got dizzy and collapsed on the floor hyperventilating and nauseous.

Thank you” she said when her color came back. “That helped.”

“Anything for you, babe” I said. “Do you need more, you stupid fucking moron…?”

Her eyes narrowed. “I said I’m fine. Don’t press it.”

“Just trying to help, babe.”

Crisis over.

But it got me thinking. If NewWifey(tm), who’s Mrs. Smarty McSmartypants when it comes to computer stuff, can get taken like that, what chance do I – who still can barely find the “On” button on his 9 year old PC –  have of not being skinned alive? My god – I might lose all my RedTube bookmarks!

How does all this tie in to my not wanting to post here lately?

Well, see, at work a little while ago I had to read a story about WordPress being hacked. Hacked BIG time.

Even though I read the copy flawlessly (of course), I had no idea what the story actually meant. To me, it sounded like anyone who’s ever even seen an ad for WordPress was now infected. As were their children. And their pets. It sounded bad.

Ignorance isn’t bliss. It’s scary. Did this mean my Dangerspouse web page was gonna wipe my computer clean if I visited it? Was my encyclopedic collection of midget revenge porn going to be shot into space, never to be enjoyed again, if I tried to post a picture of my latest culinary triumph here?? I just didn’t know. I needed to consult an expert.

You’re being a stupid fucking moron” said NewWifey(tm). “You don’t have to worry about this because –

And here she started talking in tongues. That’s my best guess anyway, since I didn’t understand a word of what came after. But I nodded and looked serious, and when she came up for air I said, “That makes sense. Thanks.”

Which is why I’m here now.

But….I’m still not totally, absolutely, unequivocally without a doubt 100% dead certain about this. NewWifey(tm), after all, is not on WordPress. How would she know? (Other than reading the technical details and doing something called “research”, I mean?)

So, ah, I’m gonna ask you guys.

Any of you been hacked? Do you know anything about this? Is it something that affects us Basic Level non-commercial users, or just the Money Machines? Do I have to worry that some 14 year old in a suburb of Bucharest has found a back door vulnerability into my site and is now directing all my embedded links to some guy advertising dog killing services on the Dark Web?

Will my beloved readers lose all their porn?!

I can’t let that happen.

I do feel safe posting this written stuff at least, now that NewWifey(tm) assured me that…whatever the hell it was she said. But I still feel kind of ill at ease posting links (oh what the hell, except for this one to today’s Daily Prompt: Awarejust don’t click on it if you don’t need a professional puppy killer) or pictures of food that’s better than yours. At least until I get assured that it’s safe to do so by someone who can dumb it down for me. Way down for me. No – lower than that. Think “algae”. That low.

Anyone?

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Taking Stock

When I saw today’s Prompt du Jour, I immediately thought “Yellow Journalism”. Being a radio news readin’ guy that’s a subject I’m acutely aware of, especially these days. I was all set to go off on a(nother) self righteous defense of my chosen profession, pontificating on how a free and independent press is essential to democracy. Then after that I’d start in on a vitriolic tirade about how Steve Bannon, evil Grand Vizier advisor to the President of the United States (edit: and, I can’t believe this, just moments ago promoted to the NSC’s principals committee, godhelpusall), can pronounce “the media is the opposition party”, while simultaneously adding an ominous warning to the Fourth Estate to “keep its mouth shut”. Y’know, the usual.

But it’s Sunday and I’m off the clock. Anyone wants to pay me SAG/AFTRA rates, I’ll scribe it. Otherwise, until 4:30 tomorrow morning when I start writing my first newscast of the day I don’t wanna even even THINK about how the current administration seems hell bent on turning us into Turkmenistan, complete with gold, rotating memorial to the nation’s leader. (since replaced with a stationary model, alas). (And yes, I know the memorial is to their PREVIOUS leader. But don’t expect the current Cheeto in Chief to wait for that nicety. “It’ll be beautiful! Amazing! And the Chinese will pay for it!“)

So instead I’ll write about cooking. You have been warned.

Years ago I had the great good fortune to work alongside a fabulous saucier at a ritzy little restaurant called “L’Auberge de France”. It was my second cooking gig, having been sent there by my first chef in order to broaden my culinary horizon.

(This is a very old school European way of training chefs. You apprentice to a chef who teaches you the basics, then after a year or two s/he arranges to have you cook in other kitchens to learn other techniques and styles. You might spend a month, you might spend a year, in your new kitchen. Then off you go to yet another restaurant to learn even more. After you’ve finished your Grand Tour 5, 6 years later,  you’ve had a really good grounding in each brigade and can now start working your way up to sous chef or even executive chef status somewhere.)

Anyway, at L’Auberge I was a line cook – saute, primarily – but also assigned to help with prep during off hours (like most line cooks). A large chunk of a restaurant’s day is taken up with drudge work you never see on FoodTV porn shoots. Prep takes up probably 90% of the back of the house’s time. The other 10% is service, much of which consists of just assembling dishes from all the stuff you just spent hours chopping and peeling and mixing and putting in plastic or steel tubs.

This being a classic French establishment, sauces played a huge role. They had a dedicated saucier – one of only two restaurants I ever worked at that did – and a huge part of each day’s prep revolved around his sauce production. In fact, in order to produce the basic meat sauce bases (first stock, then from that: “Glace de Viande”,”Jus de Veau”, “Espagnole”, and finally the reduced, enriched “Demi-Glace”) most of us had to work on the restaurant’s closed days, since that was the only time you could dedicate that many resources to one single dish.

By the time my stint there ended and I moved on to an Italian place, I was pretty well practiced at producing not only all the mother sauces, but also many, many of the constituent daughter sauces, plus emulsified and dessert sauces. In many ways, this is still my favorite field of fine cooking, although I rarely get to use the overwhelming majority of what I learned any more. I mean, when the first line of a recipe reads, “Get 15 pounds of beef shins and 15 pounds of veal shins, saw them into 3-inch chunks and splinter them”, you know you’re gonna have a tough time just with space considerations alone. Not to mention cost. And that’s just one ingredient; the list goes on rather extensively after that.

For the most part, then, I stick with chicken stock for the vast majority of my meat sauces. “Fond Blanc de Volaille”, and the veloute made from it, is relatively quick, infinitely less expensive, and works pretty well in just about any dish you would normally use beef stock. Or at least, that’s what I’ve convinced myself is the case.

So today I decided to make up a batch of chicken stock. Partly because I was running low, and partly because my local grocery has chickens on sale for 79-cents a pound this week. Woot! I went shopping this morning and came back with four whole chickens. One is roasting on a bed of carrots and fennel right now, two are in the freezer, and the fourth is being made into stock.

I’m doing something a little different this time with my stock production, though. Years ago I read an article by some celebrated chef or other, and he was singing the praises of a way of making chicken stock that he had recently come up with. Basically, he took a whole chicken, stuck it in a pot, added no liquid, put the lid on, then stuck that entire pot inside a much larger one that was partially filled with simmering water. (A “bain-marie”, if you’re familiar.) This was kept at a low simmer for 8 – 10 hours, after which you’re left with pure, concentrated chicken essence. No dilution from added water, like traditional stock. I gave it a try back then and it was indeed excellent, although as you might expect the volume was very much lower than when made the usual way. It’s probably telling that I don’t remember making it ever again following that first batch.

But this morning, looking at four naked chickens on my counter, it hit me that this might be a good time to give it another shot. Particularly as I have – you guessed it – a theme-appropriate bright yellow cooking vessel! It’s kismet, I tell you.

Oh, one other thing. I’ve had a hankering for some Asian dishes that require Chinese style chicken stock. So I’m varying the original recipe – which pretty much just calls for a chicken and nothing else – and adding in some aromatics to suit my anticipated future dishes. Home cookin’, baby. There are no rules.

Ok, so here’s the mis en place. A chicken, ginger (I’m not using the whole thing, just a few slices), star anise, scallions, and white pepper. Two cooking vessels, one nestled inside the  other. That’s it:

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And here it is ready to go. The chicken’s been skinned and the aromatics stuffed in the body cavity. Just have to pour hot water between the two pots and set it to simmer:

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I won’t know if this works for another couple of hours. When I pull it off the stove I’ll update this entry with pics of the finished product (unless it sucks and I’m too embarrassed and worried that my reputation will be ruined, ruined!).

I’m sorry those of you who are not cooking pedants and were bored stiff by this entry (if you even made it this far). I’ll come back with more risible fare in the not-too-distant future. It’s just that, y’know, yellow. I didn’t really have an option.

Later! (Hopefully)

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UPDATE

C’est fini.

After 7 and a half hours in a bain-marie, this is what we have:

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I don’t know if you can make it out, but that’s just shy of 3 cups of stock (technically “broth”) in the measuring cup. In fact, it went just over 3 cups when I added the liquid that pooled at the bottom of the chicken while taking the picture.

It was strained through muslin, and only required the slightest de-fatting (no skin).

One good sign: the chicken meat on the left looks like it’s nice and poached, but it has absolutely no flavor at all. Not even good for cold chicken salad later. All the flavor got dumped into that elixir of a stock.

The stock itself, on tasting, was intense. There’s no other word for it. Look at that color. You usually only get color like that with roast chicken stock. This rich amber wasn’t from roasted bones, but rather just sheer concentration. Very unctuous mouthfeel, also. If anything, it’s going to need to be diluted for some dishes.

So there ya go. I think I’m going to start making chicken stock this way more often. Not every time, because it’s just too…too… for a lot of applications. But I tell ya, I could pass this off as a double consommé de volaille no problem at all, practically as-is. All I’d have to do is clarify it and no one would guess I hadn’t gone through the usual time consuming process that requires. I know I wouldn’t.

Alright, time to take the toque off and get to bed. Tomorrow morning at 4:30 I’ve got to go back to chronicling the destruction of the free world.

And that’s something you can take stock in.

Ciao!

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Broccoli and Beer and Tiny Apple Pie

Yup. Again.

I don’t normally make a big deal out of my birthday. The cake-and-animatronic-mice thing at Chuck E. Cheese’s got old by the time I turned 35, and I only kept doing it for maybe another decade after that. Mostly for the ball pit.

Now it just passes like any other day: in quiet contemplation, filtered through a haze of apathy and booze.

No wait – it doesn’t. Because I’m married.

NewWifey(tm) DOES insist on making a big thing out of my birthday, although to be honest I suspect it’s only because she knows it’ll make me feel obligated to do the same on hers. Regardless, every January 27th I get the song, a card, mylar balloons, a Sicilian cassata cake, and my choice of orifice. THEN quiet contemplation and booze. Or at least booze.

Don’t get me wrong, all that stuff is appreciated. Especially the choice of inputs. (“Ooo! The ear! The ear!!“) But more and more I’ve come to *almost* equally anticipate that cassata.

Cassata cake, if you’re not familiar, is God On A Plate. It’s Sicilian, so you know it’s gonna be overly sweet, overly dramatic, and probably armed. My Sicilian grandmother used to make me one every year when I was a kid.

When I mentioned that last fact to NewWifey(tm) shortly after we were married, in the context of staring glumly at the birthday Devil’s Food Cake she’d made from a box, she took it as a challenge. As she always does.

So the next year I got a cassata cake:

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Then another one the year after that.

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On and on, year after year, one cassata after another, each more elaborate than the last.

Unil eventually….

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Look at that thing!

The wife, I mean.

Seriously, look at her. You can practically smell the combination of pride, and hot, salty perspiration right through the monitor. Matted hair, bulging veins, forced smile. I don’t think she slept the entire two days it took to assemble that monstrosity of a confection.

And make no mistake. It did take two days. You can’t see it, but underneath that cacophony of colors there is a real Sicilian sponge cake supporting the entire edifice. (This sponge is unique to Sicily, btw. It’s delicious, but so time and money consuming to produce that you hardly ever get it in even in the nicer Italian bakeries around here. However NewWifey(tm) was gonna be DAMNED if she skipped it, if it meant showing up my grandmother.)

So that Sicilian sponge has to be made the day before. As does the marzipan. She makes her own marzipan. Then colors it by hand. (Yes, that’s a sheet of hand-rolled marzipan that bards the outside of those cakes, not fondant. Pfffff. Fondant.)

Also the day before: make the candied fruit. All those glittering jewels and wedges and blobs have to be prepped and simmered in syrup and cursed at when it burns your fingers and cooled and pried off Silpats and trimmed. The only things she didn’t make in that lower picture were the candied citron (couldn’t find citron fruit) and the green cherries. Everything else – the orange wedges, the red cherries, the figs, the orange zest, the pineapple, etc. etc. – were the product of her paring knife and a lot of tears.

What ultimately ends up coming out of the kitchen (besides a sweaty wife) is a birthday cake that far, far exceeds the rather workaday version my Nonna used to crank out in an hour using store-bought sponge cake as the base. Sorry, grandma. You’ve been bested by an Irish girl. The shame, the shame….

Unfortunately though, this year there will be no birthday cassata cake.

NewWifey(tm) has the flu.

She gamely offered to rise from her sick bed and attempt one, but frankly…ick. No thank you. I see how much trouble she has staunching the flow of snot onto her lap. I wanna know that any glaze on top of my food is sugar based, not mucous.

Of course, this also means the postprandial multi-input boink-fest is also off the table. So I guess it’s back to filling the toy cement mixer with warm mashed potatoes and cranking away again.

Here’s the thing, though. I am completely content to just carry on like every other day. Like I said at the beginning, I don’t make a big deal out of birthdays. So I told NewWifey(tm) not to worry, that when she felt better we could do it up in style and all would be right in the world again.

Nope. Not happening.

You have to celebrate your birthday ON YOU BIRTHDAY” she said. “I don’t care if I die on your birthday, you still have to do something, even if it’s small. That’s the Rule.

NewWifey(tm) is all about The Rules.

Alrighty then. Looks like I’ll be making myself my own birthday…something…when I get home. But what? I won’t have time to whip up a cassata if I want to eat it while it’s still technically my birthday. And frankly, I’m just too shagged out from getting up at 3am. It always hits me hardest at the end of the week, and today is no exception. I think I’m gonna go with something light and quick.

Something like what I made a couple of years ago for Thanksgiving: Apple Pie in an Apple. It’s quick, easy, and I can make a single portion.

I posted the steps on Pinterest a while back, so I’ll cut-n-paste ’em here to show you. Because I’m an unapologetic egomaniac.

1. Peel the top third or so of your apple(s):

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2.Core out a cavity from the top with a melon baller. Don’t break through the bottom:

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3.Mix the scooped out apple with pie spices, and whatever else you add to your apple pie filling. Stuff it into the cavities. Make some pie dough, and either cut it into strips or large circles, your choice:

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4. Place the dough over the apple (form lattice if using strips, vent circle and dock edges if using circle). Brush water, egg white, or whatever you usually use on top and sprinkle with decorative sugar. Place in pan with cider or other flavored liquid and bake off. When crust is done, dish is done:

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5.Done:

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A couple of notes: 1. I’m going to skip the colored sugar this time. The color washed out and looked dingy in the finished dish. Just white sugar from now on, the large crystal baking stuff. 2. What’s not shown here is that after I took the final pic I reduced the liquid in the cooking pan and built a caramel sauce out of it. That got drizzled around each apple so it looked like it was sitting in an amber pool of goodness. And it was. Try it. 3. Yes, the corgi is mandatory.

So that’s what awaits me at home today, in lieu of cassata and ear hole sex. I guess it’ll have to do.

Ciao, kids. Enjoy your second rate cakes. Poor bastards….

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Wax On, Wax Off

Remember how in my last entry I kept going on and on and on about how women and men are equal and anything a man can do a woman can blah blah blah blah blah? I still stand by that, but I want to draw your attention to the brief comment I also made noting that women could also be just as prone to err as men. That’s the downside to equality.

Two days ago I got an email from NewWifey(tm) while I was at work. This is pretty unusual. She knows I’m normally so busy that I don’t have time to check messages, so she holds it til I’m off the air. But I just happened to catch this one coming in, and since, as I say, I know she generally doesn’t bother, I figured it must be important. So I opened it.

Honey, would you buy a bottle of Dawn dish soap on your way home from work?

That’s all it said.

What?

She interrupted my show prep to send me a shopping list?

I had to know more.

“Yeah,  no prob” I wrote back. “But there’s an almost full bottle of Palmolive under the sink. Why don’t you use that?”

Because I read online that Dawn is better for getting vegetable oil out of your hair.”

Okaaaaaaay.

I knew I was gonna regret it, but I wrote back anyway. “Why is there vegetable oil in your hair??”

Well you see” she replied….

NewWifey(tm), as I’ve mentioned previously, is – to my ongoing amazement – a prodigy at needle arts.  Specifically, the art of cross stitching. She can embroider a chicken like nobody’s business. AND have it featured in a needlework magazine a week later. She’s so good, in fact, that people started writing asking where they could buy her chickens. Then they asked her to teach them chicken stitchery.

At that point the little bell went off in her head. ‘I bet these idiots would pay!‘ she thought. And she was right. They would. So she started a business selling and teaching chicken stitching.

Ok, ok. I lied. It wasn’t chickens that propelled NewWifey(tm) to fame. It was stuff like cross-stitched alphabets, historical samplers (ie: old alphabets), and holiday themed wall hangings. But that stuff sounds boring, so I went with “chicken”.

That stuff sounded boring to NewWifey(tm) after a while, too. Alphabet after alphabet. Santa Claus after pumpkin after Easter Bunny. Same stuff, different frame.

I wanna go off the wall” she said to me one day.

“What do you mean?”

All these samplers I do, all these fucking alphabets, and cats, and hackneyed aphorisms ...” she swept her arm around the walls where much of her handiwork hung, “it all just hangs there gathering dust. It’s getting boring. I wanna make stuff that doesn’t hang on walls.

“Go for it, babe” I said. (I mean, seriously, what did I care?)

So NewWifey(tm) got her stitching freak on:

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Yes.

She started stitching eyeglasses. On the glass, not the frames. Sunglasses and readers.

She made up patterns, templates, and a jig to hold the lenses while she carefully drilled holes in them. Then she packaged the pre-drilled glasses with thread and instructions, and little old ladies went nuts. This was 3 or 4 years ago, and they still sell like cronuts.

She’s added plenty of other off-the-wall designs to her collection since then. Her popularity has risen as a result to the point where she’s constantly being invited to trade shows, exhibitions, and individual needlework shops to hold workshops and display her new designs. In fact, if anything she’s more in demand now as a teacher than a designer. She gets calls from all over to instruct other stitchers on how to do the specialty techniques she’s mastered, some of which are obscure, some she actually developed herself. If I wasn’t so bored by cross stitching in general, I’d actually find that rather impressive.

But back to the story.

I brought up the glasses because of a problem she found after she started making them: drawing floss (that’s what they call thread…I don’t know either, so don’t ask) through the sharp edged holes in the glass often made them shred, sometimes even break. As a solution, she used some kind of floss strengthening goop available on the market. But she was never really happy with the stuff, and it was pretty expensive. Instead, she hit on an old school solution: running the floss along a block of beeswax first. That made the floss stronger and slicker, allowing it to glide right through those eyeglass holes without catching or tearing. Best of all, you couldn’t tell visually they’d been treated.

I’ll cut to the chase here. She started making her own thread waxers, and packaged them along with everything else in the glasses kits.

An odd thing happened. People went CRAZY for the waxers. I mean, moreso than the product they were supposed to support. Shops started calling asking if she could send them just those little blocks, without the glasses. Soon NewWifey(tm) hit on the idea of making them in cutesy shapes with cutesy names.  Now those little 3-dollar items are probably the biggest part of her business. They certainly are volume-wise, if not dollar-wise.

They do take a lot of work to make, though. It starts with melting large blocks of pure beeswax very slowly. It’s like tempering chocolate; it has to hold at a specific temperature in order to both flow freely and cool at a proper rate so it doesn’t shrink too much. When the wax hits its sweet spot, NewWifey(tm) carefully fills mold trays one after another and cools them down – again, at a specific rate. After that the waxers are hand trimmed and packaged. “She works hard for her money. So hard for her honey….”

To help her in this endeavor she got herself an induction burner. You’ve seen these things, right? They use magnetism to heat up the pot, but the burner itself stays cool. The critical feature for her, though, is that these things are digital. That means she can just dial up whatever temperature she wants, and it will automatically keep it there. Science to the rescue!

That little induction burner, and the dedicated steel pot she bought to go with it, has been a real time saver. What used to take all day, what with constantly moving pots on and off the regular stove to get the temperature right, now gets streamlined to just a couple of hours. So now she only has to make waxers once a week or so, rather than every day or two.

This past Monday was Wax Makin’ Day. Wax Makin’ Day was supposed to have been the previous Friday, but it got pushed back due to preparations for the Women’s March on Washington. That meant the large blob of solid wax in the pot had been sitting there almost three days longer than normal, getting harder and harder. No biggie.

So on Monday NewWifey(tm) got up, had a croque-madame, and got to work. First things first, turn on the induction burner so the wax could melt. While that was happening she assembled the rest of the ingredients.

Once everything else was set up and ready to go, she looked in the pot. To her surprise, the wax hadn’t melted at all. It was still solid right across the entire top of the pot. She checked the induction burner, but that was working correctly. The side of the pot was hot, so there had to be power getting to it. She decided to see if the wax was at least soft.

To do this, she grabbed out a metal shish kabob skewer and poked the top of the wax.

KAAAAAAAAAAA-BLOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOEYYYYYYY!

Instantly, a geyser of molten wax shot through the hole straight up to the ceiling. It didn’t stop after the initial eruption, either. A plume of ejecting beeswax kept spewing from the widening hole, with such force that the splatter from the ceiling-strike ended up coating the wall behind our stove a good ten feet away. The floor was completely resurfaced with hardening wax in an arc probably 5 feet wide around the induction burner. Our landline phone directly behind the burner took a direct hit, and now the handset is completely welded to the charging base.

And, of course, NewWifey(tm). Fortunately she had poked down with an extended arm, so the volcanic spray didn’t catch her full in the face. If it had, she would have looked like one of those Jurassic bot flies trapped in amber. Her hand got instantly and completely coated, but the rest of her was mostly hit with side-spray. A certain amount also ricocheted off the ceiling, so hard that it slammed into the back of her head and matted her hair with marble sized clumps.

Thankfully the wax was only 130 degrees, 140 tops. So even though the impacts stung, she wasn’t actually burned. Well, her hand turned red and wrinkled up a bit, but otherwise she came out ok. Kinda like she just got a full body Brazilian.

Check it out. (And no. Despite how it looks, that’s WAX. This time.)

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See that layer of wax in the pot? It’s only about a quarter inch thick. The pot is completely empty underneath. What must of happened was the wax on the bottom, right on the heating surface, melted waaaaay before the heat could reach the top. There was a LOT of wax in there – the pot holds something like 3 gallons. So the bottom layers kept heating and building up pressure, while the top solid layer kept it all clamped down. When NewWifey(tm) pierced the surface with that skewer,  it was like popping a zit. A zit filled with 3 gallons of hot, pressurized wax. (Cool that it formed a perfectly circular hole as it exploded out, don’t you think? Strangely, NewWifey(tm) didn’t seem all that impressed when I pointed it out.)

After getting over the initial shock (and of course, taking those selfies), NewWifey(tm) scraped off as much of the solidified wax as she could from her face, hand, and arms. But trying to get it out of her hair was taking off more hair than wax. So…to the internet, Batman! Various sites recommended rubbing vegetable oil through one’s hair, so she tried that. And it worked! (You may recall a similar thing happened to me when I got my head stuck to a glue mouse trap recently.)

But she now had a head full of salad oil. And she doesn’t even like salad!

Back to the internet.

“Use Dawn dish washing soap” it said.

And that’s why I got that email Monday morning at work.

So, yeah. Women! They can do anything a man can do.

Including wax profound.

Ciao!

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