Savior on a Stick

Corn Dogs Recipe

June 1988. I stood on the front porch of my friend Patty’s Arlington, Texas, home with suitcases in hand, not unlike Felix Unger in the opening credits of “The Odd Couple.” Like him, I was being thrown out–not out of a tiny Upper East Side classic six–but rather a sprawling six-bedroom casa, complete with pool, three-car garage, automatic sprinkler system, and, what I would miss most, a freezer full of corn dogs. As Patty’s lawyer–a bowling ball with legs who had skin like tobacco-colored crepe paper–put it, I was an “unnecessary risk.”

Patty and her husband, Dan, were getting divorced. While he was shacking up with his dental assistant, I was living non-conjugally with his wife and three kids after I had, for the nth time, denounced New York City. The greater Dallas area was my new home, I told myself, and I embraced it with all the excitement and innocence of Kennedy in 1963.

I chose Dallas because Patty and her two friends, Laverne and Maxine (clearly, not their real names), were planning to open a spiritual center and wanted me to join as advisor. (This was during the time known as the Great Shirley MacLaine Epoch, so forgive any star-blinded lapse in judgment.) I was no more qualified to rope and brand a Texas longhorn that I was to advise these under-sexed, overpaid housewives. But we had met at a conference for the great spiritually unwashed and took a shine to each other. Plus, I’d sublet my apartment for three months as a first step in escaping my strangled existence in NYC. Read more »

He’s the Reason You’re Fat

Calendar Boy

It’s time we lay our cards on the table–our cards slicked with Mamma’s down-home fried-chicken grease–and admit in one glorious raising of voice, “Two thousand and eleven’s New Year’s resolutions are dead.” Not just dead. Cremated. Scattered. Gone.

Come on, fess up. If you’re reading this blog filled with all sorts of fatty-fat-fat recipes, chances are one of the promises you wrote down on January 1, either in your journal in happy purple ink or in that sexy iPad of yours in an expectant techno-blue font, had to do with weight: either lose it, firm it, suck it, or disguise it. Me, too.

I don’t know when it happened to you, but for me the stake was plunged into the hopeful heart of my resolution sometime around Valentine’s Day. I could feel the pull, the siren’s call, “Come to me, bend to me!” of personal pan lasagna, lobster fra diavolo, and linzer heart cookies. My ruin was titanic, not just in size, but in progression–slow, sprouting leaks of willpower that soon turned into uncontrollable hemorrhaging of resolve, eventually resulting in the sinking of what was this time the greatest, most airtight resolution ever made. Read more »

A Cold Day’s Feast

Wintry House

Call me cruel and unkind, but I often fantasize about suing the entire fricking backlot of Disney characters. Growing up, I bought into their Technicolor rhetoric that all I had to do was wish upon a star or confide in a ridiculous talking cricket sporting a cheap morning suit to live a perfect, happily-ever-after life. And my 4-year-old brain believed it.

Then one day I awoke to discover that I had careened from underpaid to overqualified by the age of 40, and that I would outlive my IRA by two decades. It’s times like these I dream of slapping charges of whopping misrepresentation on Snow White and her chittering band of merry midgets, er, little people.

Then along comes winter in Connecticut, and suddenly I don’t feel so litigious. From December to March, I can skid out our front door and find the snow-covered clapboard houses, the hills hatchmarked with kids on sleds, and, occasionally, horse-drawn sleighs that most people only see on holiday cards. And even the sight of the plow guy writing his name  in yellow in the snow can’t burst my reverie. Read more »

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