Meat and Greet

But first, a cautionary tale:

YinYang Cake 1

See that? That’s what happens when someone who was apprenticed for years to a CMC until becoming sous chef at a fancy French restaurant drinks half a bottle of The Glenlivet single malt on a dare. He suddenly realizes the cake he made for use in a trifle the next day had better be eaten RIGHT NOW. Wait – but with frosting! Wait – with frosting dyed black and white and shaped into a yin yang! That would be sooooo deep! Wait – I don’t have black dye. Wait – if I mix every color in the box together I bet it’ll turn black. It’s not like it’s gonna turn out some sickly shade of goat vomit green or anything. And hey! NewWifey(tm) has a box of tiny sugared donuts! I bet if I stick some mini chocolate chips in them they’ll look like faces. Hmmmm. They don’t. Wait – they will if I add noses! Ummmmm….aha! Baby carrots! No – CANDIED baby carrots. Yes! It’s beautiful!

Kids, don’t drink. You’ll just end up dyeing.

You know what the worst thing about that whole fiasco was? I don’t remember how it tasted! Going down or coming up. I’m sure it was good. I made the cake while I was still sober, after all. (This is in sharp contrast to the bread I made on Ambien: I remembered eating it, but not making it.)

So here’s the scoop. NewWifey(tm) is shooting out to her annual industry shindig next week, me in tow. While there she’ll try to sell enough stuff to afford gas to get home. She’s pretty chuffed about her prospects this year, as last fall she released a new product and it got a lot of good press in industry rags over the winter. Shop owners will probably mob her booth to get their arthritic mitts on this Latest Greatest Gadget.

Without going into detail, the Gadget is a thread waxer. NewWifey(tm) did a smart thing. Last year the maker of a popular synthetic thread waxer decided to stop making their product, leaving a lot of beehive hairdo’s who stitch very unhappy.

NewWifey(tm) decided to step in and fill the gap, but with a natural thread waxer. She already has a line of 100% beeswax decorative waxers. Packaging them in a more industrial form to capture the market looking for a substitute was a no brainer. So that’s what she did, adopting a honey bee theme to emphasize the “all natural” aspect.

It took about 5 weeks of constant work down in her basement office designing the thing, melting all the wax (thankfully without repeating her previous waxing disaster), printing off labels and card stock, forming packaging, etc.

Finally she emerged from the basement with this:

Beeswax Bliss Combo 2

Yep. That thing is why I didn’t get sex for 5 weeks (with her, anyway).

That aside, I was very proud of my funny little honey. And I told her so.

“I’m very proud of you, my funny little honey” I said. “You worked hard, and it looks great.” (Guys: if you can fake sincerity, you can fake anything. Practice.)

Funny you should mention ‘honey‘” she said. “I’ve decided to deck my entire booth out in bee stuff to help promote this thing. I’ve got black and yellow table coverings, plastic novelty bees to hang up all over the place, and I’m handing out honey sticks to everyone who passes by. And I’ll be wearing this.”

And she pulled out a plastic bag with a black and yellow blob inside. Which looked like this when un-blobbed:

Bumble Bee Outfit

I laughed. “That’s too cute! I love it.”

I’m glad to hear you say that” she said, “because you’re wearing this.”

She pulled out another plastic bag, this one with a beige blob inside. She gave the blob a shake and held it out.”

Ohhhhhhhh no. No. I am NOT wearing that.”

“Ohhhhhhhhh yes you are” she said.

“Nuh-uh. No way. It’s enough that I’m going to this stupid thing with you in the first place. I’m not dressing up in some demeaning outfit on top of that. I’m a star – I have to consider my image.”

A ‘star‘, huh? Well, star, I’m gonna kick your astral if you don’t play along. I put a lot of time and effort into this thing, and I want everything to be perfect when the curtain goes up on opening night. That means all cast members in costume.”


Remember those 5 weeks without sex? How’d you like it to be 5 years?


Eh. Stardom’s overrated.

So I’m going to the national gathering of needlework professionals this year dressed as a beekeeper.

NewWifey(tm) better come across with that honey.

(BTW, a word of advice should you ever be tempted to impersonate the proprietor of an apiary yourself. That “one size fits all!” suit was made in China, where there IS only one size: small. I’m a regular manly-man sized American. I can’t breathe. Just get an American sized beige shirt and write “The Beekeeper” in Sharpie on one breast. You’ll be much happier. You can order the hat, though. Chinese people apparently have morbidly obese heads just like ours.)

That solved, we moved on to discussing the trip itself. I’m taking a couple of extra days off so NewWifey(tm) and I can do a little sightseeing after the event, maybe try some nice restaurants, and fuck on clean sheets for once. That sort of thing.

Hey, my friend “B” and her husband live not far from there” said NewWifey(tm). “Can we go visit if they say yes?

“Yeah, sure.” (“B” came to visit us without her husband while she was on a business trip last year. She stayed for a few days, and I enjoyed her company immensely. She complimented my cooking. That’s all it takes.)

NewWifey(tm) called her friend, and stayed on the phone for about an hour.

When she hung up she said, “We’re welcome to come, but on one condition. You have to cook dinner. She’s been telling her husband about the ChΓ’teaubriand you made while she was at our place, and he wants in on that action.”

I groaned. I hate working vacations.

But…fine. This isn’t the first time a good deed has come back to sting me in the astral.

“Oh, alright” I said. “So she wants me to make that ChΓ’teaubriand?”

Not quite. She wants filet mignon. They don’t want to buy a full $100 tenderloin just for one meal.”


I hate making filet mignon. You know why? Because butchers. As in, there are none. When you buy filet mignon in those plastic covered trays in the supermarket, you’re buying the product of some sleepy $14/hour corporate wonk with a knife who came in at 4 in the morning to put as many trays on the shelves as he could before the store opened. Do you think he cares if all 4 of the meat discs in any given tray are a different thickness? Pfffff. He has a quota to meet, and caring takes time!

That’s a real problem. Different thicknesses mean different degrees of doneness if you cook them all together. And with tender, lean cuts like filet mignon, there’s little margin for error. They transmit interior heat more readily than fatty cuts, so they’ll over-cook much more quickly if you don’t pull them off the heat at the right time. If you have 4 rounds of meat on the heat, each just *slightly* thicker than the next, and pull them off the heat at the same time, you run the risk of having the thickest one practically raw, the next thickest medium rare, the next medium well, and the thinnest a briquette.

Unless you’re a foursome where one likes bleeding, another likes pink, another brown, and another carbon, you’ve gotta stand there and pull each off in turn. Which then presents another problem: unless you want everyone to eat at different times, you have to keep the thinnest ones warm until the thicker ones cook. Setting aside the fact that most home kitchens are not equipped with warming lights, filet mignon is so finicky that even warming lights can throw things off.

Wow. I just wrote three paragraphs about something probably no one cares about.

Woo hoo, I rock!

Anyway, what could I do? I’m a guest who’s being asked to do a favor for his host. I’ve gotta suck it up and just do the best I can.

“Ok” I said to NewWifey(tm). “Tell her filet mignon is fine.”

Oh, one other thing” said NewWifey(tm). “They’re taking us sightseeing first. And they know how much we like wine, so for lunch we’re going to a place with an extensive cellar. After that – get this – there’s a distillery just a few miles away that gives tours and samples! How cool is that? We’re gonna be absolutely plowed by the time we get back and you have to start cooking!


Filet mignon. For four people.


Please, somebody, email this picture to my host:

YinYang Cake 1



Ciao, kids! I probably won’t be able to update from Beehive Central for a few days, so play nice while I’m gone. Or I’ll kick your astral when I get back.




37 thoughts on “Meat and Greet

  1. Among the many things I am grateful for, your blog is on the list somewhere and that you used “astral” in it appropriate and traditional mean of “pertaining to one’s ass” makes me very happy. I hope you and NewWifey(TM) have a great time. Bee careful with the filet mignon.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Favorite phrase… So I’m going to the national gathering of needlework professionals this year dressed as a beekeeper.

    Cannot stop laughing.. actually I can. I stopped, so I can help you out.

    buy a sous-vide and stick it in the luggage. For the filet mignon.

    Problem solved.

    I know, you want my address to send me a thank you gift… don’t bother, I do it all out of the kindness of my heart….

    (ducking fast)

    Liked by 3 people

    1. What a great idea…if I could afford it. Sadly, an Anova is on my “to buy when I hit the lottery” list (it’s a very long list). But good call – if I had one, that would be the answer.

      Y’know, I think a “Thank You” gift is definitely in order. I’m thinking maybe a nice yin yang cake….


      Liked by 2 people

  3. You enjoy making filet mignon. My other half’s thrilled I got the wherewithal to make him some homemade country-fried steak and gravy. (To be fair, I did get us a NY strip steak a few days ago on sale for $4 a pound, so he got a better class of steak then.)

    However, if you and Wifey ever come to visit, I’m fine with cooking something for you, though it might do weird things to your palate. How do you guys like pork green chili stew, with sopaipillas and raw honey for dessert?

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Oh man, pork green chili stew! Yes! SO yes! (Midwestern wifey, though, can’t take heat. Can she just have a corn dog or something?)

      Ooooh, I loooooooove raw honey. My uncle actually did have an apiary, and when I was a kid we’d go visit him sometimes and he’d send us home with a huge mason jar of *barely* filtered raw honey with the comb. I remember chewing on the comb, sucking out the honey like the world’s best chewing gum. So yeah, serve it forth! And if you buy a gallon of milk, I’ll make us some fresh ricotta cheese to pour it over πŸ™‚


  4. Be sure to take your yellow food coloring along with you and to invest in some black as well. No one takes a cake dressed as a green and yellow bee seriously, overdone, underdone or perfectly done. Leave the filet mignon the color it is. Don’t mess with Mother Nature.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. You know my philosophy – it’s gotta taste as good coming up as going down. Woops, I possibly need to re-word that philosophy. I would totally wear that bee outfit. If the beeswax doesn’t sell, you can always use it to protect your leather boots or your man bag. Believe it or not, I’m trying to keep this clean.

    Thanks for the cooking lesson. It’s the reason why my husband does all the cooking. I do make the occasional cake for the fam though, cos’ how difficult can it be!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Loved the post even if the cake shot was a bit of a shock to start things off. You know what they say … ‘less is more’ cause the green yin yang cake decoration was fine without the chips and carrots. IMNSHO

    Hugs to your beekeeper wife even if she made you dress up as the beekeeper. (She DOES raise bees or did I get it wrong?) My dad used to have bees back in the old country, although not here in sw-Ontario. He kept saying he wanted to one day … when he could afford to buy a small farm. There used to be beekeepers locally (no idea if that’s still the case) and when my brother and I were kids, 40 plus yrs ago, I remember picking up containers with comb honey on the way back from trips to Point Pelee or Colasanti’s Tropical Gardens. We may even have bought the honey AT the Gardens after eating lunch there.

    I love pure beeswax candles and still have some that I picked up at a gift shop in Stratford, Ontario. One day, I may even light them. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Haha! Yeah, sorry about the cake pic. I should have eased into it, maybe with a slightly misshapen cupcake first, then a fallen souffle, THEN the Green Monster. Sorry.

      Ah, no. NewWifey(tm) does not raise bees. Sorry if I gave that impression. She’s a needlework designer ( and one of her products is a line of beeswax thread waxers. The lttile old ladies love them.



      Liked by 1 person

      1. The needlework design/waxers confused me I guess as I conflated things. I used to do cross-stitching and bought many a magazine and pattern kit before time shortages and failing eyesight led me to stop. Thank you for the encouragement. πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

          1. RL distractions and then by the time I wanted to get back into it, it just seemed such a chore.

            I think I was a pretty eclectic dabbler … soft doll sculptures, a single unfinished quilt (quilted top done but the assembly never happened), collecting trading cards and attending sci-fi conventions with my nephew (there’s a reason I was his favourite aunt besides the fact that I was his ONLY aunt, or uncle for that matter), a brief foray into writing fanfic (I still read it), macrame, knitting and crocheting (though I couldn’t touch my mom’s work) … gosh, I’ve gotten old and boring. The hobbies link below on my LJ touches on a few of them.


            These days, I seem to be cooking obsessed. πŸ™‚

            Liked by 1 person

  7. You should visit Ireland we have craft butchers on every corner. All our cows are grass-fed which I think makes our meat and dairy pretty great.

    Definitely better than that yin and yang cake. *cough*

    Liked by 1 person

  8. If your filets end up all that different thickness wise, can’t you just stagger the start times so they all finish up close to the same time? I have to do that with my and the spousal units steaks. I like mine mid rare, she likes hers mid-dead. Can be 6 – 8 minutes difference in cook time. Your mileage may vary.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I’d recommend goggling area restaurants to find where they serve filet mignon. When the time arrives for you to cook, feign or cause a major hand injury to get out of cooking, then offer to take everyone to β€œRstsurant X” instead. You can wave a google snapshot at them for verisimilitude. Or you could actually cook the meal and deliberately give everyone food poisoning-yourself included (again, for verisimilitude.) That way no one ever asks you to cook for them again. Bon appetite!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Hahahahaaa… I thought you made a snowman head w/ bad hair. Now, I know better. And, I can visit… and you can make me anything chicken… except feet, heads and ass. You should do what the grandmother did in “One Crazy Summer” and charge the guests after the meal. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

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