Sweet Clove and Bacon Kettle Corn

Sweet Clove & Bacon Kettle Corn

Want to know the wrong way to make an impression at the dinner party your husband’s boss is hosting?


Several years ago I was diagnosed with Neurocardiogenic Syncope, which sounds a lot more impressive than it is. Basically it means from time to time, if certain factors like a soaring heart rate, prolonged acute pain, or oppressive heat are in play, I crumple to the ground like a losing lottery ticket.

It’s not an enormously life-changing medical condition – for which I am grateful. But it is inconvenient unless you happen to be a character in a Jane Austen novel where swooning was quite the thing to do. Its effects on my life are fairly limited – forcing me to give up fencing, keeping me out of saunas, and, apparently, occasionally leading to spectacles in front of the hub’s colleagues.

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Pear Pudding Cake Galore

Pear Pudding Cake

During the time that Mark was deployed to Afghanistan I started the habit of putting baked goods away in the freezer. It was a coping mechanism for my hips to deal with my own coping mechanism of evenings with an oven mitt on one hand and a glass of wine in the other. This method kept me from chain-eating the lemon bars and oatmeal cookies that came out of my kitchen each night, and even when he got back I kept the practice up, because it turned out to be highly effective.

That is, of course, unless you are a red-blooded American male who doesn’t let things like sub-zero internal temps and the probability of a broken jaw come between you and a chocolate cupcake. For Mark, the freezer is not a deterrent – it’s a giant rectangular cookie jar – a jar that, in his logic, makes the cookies something akin to ice cream.

So I should not have been surprised when I found him in the kitchen last week using a large knife to excavate a container of frozen Pear Pudding Cake. In response to my look of incredulity, he asked “Wha??” around a mouthful of frigid, rock-hard pear and pastry. Continue reading…

Dueling Nachos

Smoked Pork Nachos

When you’ve been married to someone for a over a decade, it is always a little surprising to learn something new and unexpected about them. Like how they can be so utterly wrong about what makes the best nachos.

After years of sharing various versions of cheese-topped tostadas, I found out that – contrary to the well-established knowledge that the best nachos are those with bubbly, melty strands of cheddar – my own husband prefers cheese sauce. So after an in-depth discussion on the subject, an upturned table or two, and a four-month separation, Mark and I decided to reconcile our differences based on the results of the Sudden Death Nacho Standoff of 2014. Continue reading…