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The Cynical Elf

Christmas 2011
Christmas 2011 (Photo credit: jreifegerste)

Part and parcel of being an old-fashioned-I-like-to-digest-my-news-in-print-form-darling is getting the really great advertising inserts that proliferate this time of year.

Quite frankly, they beat the heck out of the recent spree of front page ogre-inspired images  of our mysoginist-drug-adled-personal-black-hole-of-ethics-and-dignity mayor. But I digress….

Today, I brought home the LCBO ‘Give Cheer’ insert. I opened up the 41 page glossy mini-mag with the eyes of cynicism. “Beer & Cookies: Surprisingly Sweet Matches”, seemed like another annoyingly magnificent effort to appeal to the glamping/foodie crowd.

Pul-eaze, I thought as I sipped my bourbon. Beer and cookies? Really?

Spare me the obvious effort to be avant-garde and just give me shortbread and eggnog. Even I, the culinary-Christmas-cook thinks that anything other than butter or chocolate added to shortbread is a little too far-fetched.

I can’t say I was convinced by the beer-cookie pairings. I would likely give it a try if someone put any of them in front of me; Dark Beer and Coffee Toffee Shortbread or Winter Ale and Gingerbread Cookies aren’t likely to be on my top ten must-serve selections this holiday season. But if they’re yours, I’d love an invitation and wouldn’t mind having a swig and a nibble.

What did catch my attention were some of the delicious sounding cocktails like the Winter Spice Sour with Cinnamon syrup and deluxe whiskey. Espresso with Sortilege Maple Cream Whiskey  kind of lit my fire as did the Golden Cider (main ingredients are Goldschlager and Canadian Cider).

I’ll be cheeky and let you know that the ‘Snug Sailor’ kind of made me warm in my girly bits just thinking of getting snug with a sailor, but I think that may be the bourbon talking.  Unfortunately the cocktail does not involve a sailor, cock or tail. It does however involve Crabbies Ginger Beer which I love, love, love, and Sailor Jerry spiced rum.

So, as I flipped through the beautifully presented advertising piece from the LCBO, once again it became apparent that I am not a ‘leading-edge-consumer’.

I am not a trend-setter.  In fact, I think that trend-setters lack the deep-rooted self-confidence and grace that define classic style and taste.

I also happen to like to think I fit into the self-confident-classically-styled-individual category.  On occasion, I also like to think that I fit into a size zero and look like Marilyn Monroe, but that’s usually the bourbon cheering me on.

Although it is rare that I ride the edge of seasonal style, whether it be fashion or food, I do like to know what’s current and trending. Trends are fads, and fads are fun.

Fun, my sweet sugar plums is a big part of what this season of giving and sharing is about.  Heck, you may even find me at home serving up maple cream liquor lattes and shortbread spiked with something nutty….

Happy Holidaying to you. I’ve gotta run and get a bottle of that maple cream whiskey before it’s sold out!

 

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May “Two-Four” For Grown-Ups

English: Petunias Petunias with trumpet like f...
English: Petunias Petunias with trumpet like flowers that come in many different colours. These can be found in the conservatory in Thornes Park formal gardens. Ref. 969164 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I grew up on the lake. We had beaches, freedom, youth and fearlessness on our side. The Victoria Day weekend was the first real celebration of Canadian summer, and it was aptly nicknamed May “Two-Four” for the numerous cases of beer that were consumed.

Everyone needed at least one ‘Two-Four’ for the weekend. In my tiny little Canadian town, the firemen held a pancake breakfast, and the Provincial park was full of the first wave of campers that would take over for the hot, summer months.

Fishermen came in droves, and the locals let it all hang out, with partying as their top  priority. It was a ritual celebration to welcome summer.

And then there were the adults. The gardeners. As a rule of thumb in my neck of the woods, you didn’t plant anything until the May ‘Two-Four’ weekend, as that was the magic date that made the risk of frost a mere pip-squeak on the list of natural threats.

Although life has changed and I’m a city girl in every way possible, I still like having my own small patch of dirt to call my own. I have a guerrilla-garden in the city, and this May ‘Two-Four’, I’m looking forward to getting some earth under my nails.

I hear the basil, mint, cilantro, tomatoes, eggplant and zucchini calling to me. My petunias are waving at me from their little plastic shell packs to let them out.

Ah yes, the May ‘Two-Four’ weekend, the ceremonial ribbon-cutting for gardeners across the country is upon us.

Rest assured, I will also be indulging in the Canadian tradition of cold brewskies as well darlings. After all, when you’re this fabulous you must celebrate daily.

Happy first-long-weekend-of-the-summer my friends. Enjoy!

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Baseball Etiquette

Ace the Toronto Blue Jays Mascot
Ace the Toronto Blue Jays Mascot (Photo credit: mutrock)

Spring heralds baseball season, and in the height of spring fever, fans, and wanna-be-fans flock to the ball parks.

Most of them for a one-off guzzle of beer, purchase of team gear, and a slew of selfies in the stands.

For the die-hard fans, the ones who actually go to watch the game, ballpark etiquette is de rigueur. It allows us to enjoy the game in close proximity to tens of thousands of other fans in  a civilized manner.

We do not behave like ‘football’ fans, trampling one another in our exuberance, or getting into brawls. Baseball is a gentleman’s game darlings.

As a female baseball fan, it’s terribly unbecoming to have to pitch a fit. Like today for instance, having to politely tell the gentlemen next to me to, “Sit the fuck down,” I was reminded that perhaps the poor young man was not aware that folks actually show up to watch the game.

As a seasoned baseball fan, I felt it was incumbent upon me to let the young man know that we do come to watch the game, and not how many beverages he  drinks,  or get a rather less-than-awe-inspiring view of his underwear as he scoots back and forth in front of me mid-at-bat.

“Sweetie,” I gently said, ” the beer guy actually comes up here. You don’t need to go get one.” I’m nothing if I’m not helpful.

After getting up and down more times than a sinner at Easter Mass, I felt a list of helpful etiquette hints might help out those poor lost souls who act like ignorant tits at the ball park;

1) If you must get up during the game, do so when mid-inning when the fielders are switching places on the field. Expect a steaming wiener in your ear if you wiggle your way through the bleachers while the home team is either pitching or at bat.

2)If you came to drink, sit down and shut the fuck up. Again, beer guy comes to you. No one needs your inebriated slobber flying in their personal space as you trash talk the other team.

3)Children. The ball park is absolutely the place for kids. If you bring one, engage them in the game so they enjoy it and learn something.  If I have your ketchup-faced kid breathing down my neck and kicking my seat, expect to be given the stink-eye.

4) Streakers. Please, please, please, run faster. There’s nothing like a good streaker to liven up the outfield. I do understand that we’ve become a more punitive society, so I understand if you don’t streak in your birthday suit, but don’t rule it out. We love  streakers.

5) Booing the home team. Really? Don’t boo your own team – stroke their ego, pump them up, treat them like the vulnerable-talented-multi-million-dollar-large-children that they are.

6) The wave. Do it.

7) The national anthem. Also, shut up or sing. Those are your only two options. The time for woo-hooing, cheering, and yee-hawing is just after the first pitch leaves the pitcher’s mound.

8) Large purses. If you bring an over-the-shoulder-anything, or a back pack, please make sure it doesn’t disembowel anyone on your way through the crowd. This unfortunately is for those who are up and down like popcorn.

I hope this helps clarify etiquette at the ball park. Please do all of us baseball fans a favour and pass this along to any would-be-fans.  Let’s keep the ball park wholesome my sweet little dumplings.

If you only remember one thing, please, for the love of all that’s holy, let the beer guy come to you.

 

 

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Savoury Sunday: St. Patty’s Hangover Casserole

"Here's to a long life and a merry one.    A quick death and an easy one.    A pretty girl and an honest one.    A cold beer-and another one!"
“Here’s to a long life and a merry one.
A quick death and an easy one.
A pretty girl and an honest one.
A cold beer-and another one!”

St. Patty’s Day Hangover Casserole

My favourite holiday is here, and for you my darlings, I offer up a simple, hearty casserole.

It’s sure to cure you of your annual March 18th Green-Ale-Flu.

Serve with festive green beer , or a glass of ice water accompanied by two paracetamol.

*****************

Ingredients

1lb peeled white potatoes, sliced thinly

1 cup each diced  Jerusalem artichoke, carrot and parsnip

1 tbsp oil

1lb ground lamb

2 cloves garlic, crushed

2 cups chopped onions

1 tsp thyme

2 cups chicken/veggie stock

1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1 cup grated cheese

Scant 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Method

1) Boil  potatoes until tender but not mushy. Remove from boiling water, but don’t dump the water out.

2) Add Jerusalem artichokes, carrots and parsnips to leftover boiling potato water. Cook through and drain. Sprinkle with salt to taste.

3) Heat oil in a pan and add lamb and garlic. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cook through, remove from pan.

4) Add onion to pan and saute until almost golden. To the onion add the Jerusalem artichoke, carrots, parsnip. Toss with thyme.

5) Stir in chicken stock, Worcestershire sauce and  balsamic vinegar. Stir to combine, and cook for about 10 minutes until the sauce is reduced.

6) To a buttered casserole dish, add half of the potatoes, reserving the other half for the top.

7) Add meat mixture on top of potatoes.

8) Cover the meat mixture with reserved potatoes.

9) Sprinkle cheese and parsley on top.

10) Bake uncovered at 350 F until the top is browned, the cheese is bubbly, and your tummy is hollering for dinner.

 

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Ode On The Single Life

I found this piece of writing from a few years ago. I can still relate – how about you?

Ode to the Single Life

Oh late nights of nachos and beer in bed
Day old underwear, and hair not combed on your head
Weave gently this melancholy from one day to the next
Play the sad songs too loud. Repetition. Repetition.

What scent does this late mid-week night bring
leaving the dark theatre; popcorn, sweat, stale seats?
Week old champagne in a tumbler still bubbles.
Without this time, so much time, long minutes of night
who would discover these things? Who would care about famous indiscretions?

Tight skirts or pressed shirts, tossed – wine or beer soaked
to the floor, virgin to the touch of anyone but the wearer.
The shirt, The pants, The outfit that makes you sparkle
Stares you in the eye in the morning. Too much money. Too much effort.
Waking ashamed of your rendezvous with fashion that matters not

Who are you coupledom? What GPS guides us there?
Forever wandering, mass consumers of individual satisfaction,
just one drink, one purchase, one book or coffee away
from fulfilled enlightenment; That magic spark that will illuminate this journey

Dreaming of forever, locked into domestic bliss
The dank beer shirts and wine stains give way to order
tea towels, tidy linen closets and matching drapes.
Nachos and beer sulk in the guest room
The bedroom – the “master suite” matures into
a haven of other things besides sensuality and passion;
Snoring, flatulence, vapour rub , laughter and tears

Oh single life! So fleeting. So agonizingly rich
this experience of self in the gaseous state.
No form or order. Just being – curious, free and all alone.
What is this love? This seeking and rescue of the other
locked away in that fairy tale turret.
While I’m here. Wash me in your Smirnoff, polish me with Segura
And promise you will remain beautiful and fleeting.