Sunday, September 25, 2011

friday photos

giraffe series.

Friday, September 16, 2011

friday photos

I love this series of "people trying to do fun things with Genghis while he pointedly ignores them". Followed by a photo of him contentedly playing on his own.

One-year-old Genghis is introverted. While he loves to smile at and babble to and pull hair of other kids when they're around, he gets his energy from solitary, introspective activities. One morning after a nap, he sat and read in the corner for 45 minutes. I was reading too, and got bored first.

Cousin with Genghis on a tractor at Grandma's farm. You can't see his expression unless you click to zoom in, but it's wonderful. (Genghis: "I am way too small to be anywhere near this thing.")

Riding ponies at Bay Beach in Green Bay. (Genghis: "What is that smell?")

Grandpa playing with Genghis at the park. (Genghis: "Seahorses are undignified.")

Reading at home in the afternoon. (Genghis: "Mother, can't you see I'm reading?")

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

how to eat a potluck

A few years ago I got completely sick after eating at a potluck. Since then, just looking at a table filled with mismatched dishes of mismatched foods makes my stomach churn. But because of some church service I'm involved in, I end up at about 1 potluck a month. I've cultivated some careful potluck habits, and thought I'd share my strategies.

A disclaimer before I begin: If I have ever eaten your dish at a potluck, I'm sure it was wonderful and gave me no digestive troubles.

Potluck Rules.

1. Bring cut fruit or vegetables.
The potluck table can almost always use more produce. It's easy to prepare, and it always comes out tasting good (as long as your produce is fresh-ish). If you wash well, you aren't likely to make people sick. Picky potluck eaters like me will appreciate it.

2. Err on bringing the vegetables if going to a BBQ.
These potlucks are notoriously overloaded with watermelon and grapes. Some peppers, tomatoes, and cauliflower are a good alternative. But if you are thinking about bringing that shark watermelon (from a friend's blog), then by all means bring the fruit.

3. Since we can't all bring produce, another option is a food you make often.
If you make it often, that probably means it's simple, easy and reliable. Although it's fun to show off your culinary skills, I learned this lesson from my sister. She made beautiful and time-consuming stuffin muffins (not the same recipe, but you get the idea) for a potluck that were immediately devoured by 7- and 8-year-olds before the adults even got a look at the spread. And in true kid fashion their deliciousness sat only half-eaten on plates loaded with brownies and snickerdoodles.

4. When eating, see the table as a menu, not a platter.
Often, I think potluck pains are caused, not by poor food quality, but by the unprecedented mixing of all kinds of foods at once. I used to choose my food starting at the head of the table, selecting small pieces of each thing that looked good. Now I glace through the entire spread and select a main dish, 1-3 sides, and dessert that look like they could have come from one kitchen.

5. Find the best chefs, find their dishes.
Okay, this is a little below the belt. There's sort of an unwritten potluck rule that the identity of the chefs isn't widely broadcast. But if you know a few people in attendance that are reliable cooks, find out which dishes are theirs and go for the safe options. In the monthly potluck I attend, I always select the main dish of one particular contributor who makes excellent food.

6. No matter how much you think you want 2 desserts, you only want one.
I have always regretted picking up a second dessert. First, because my original dessert choice is usually superior and I feel obligated to waste precious no-nutrient calories on finishing the second choice so no one is offended. Second, because even if both desserts are good, it's just too much for me in one sitting. If I must have a second dessert, I choose one that I can wrap up and save for later in the evening.

Friday, September 2, 2011

friday photos

I'm glad I caught this on video a few weeks ago, because now Genghis refuses to repeat words on cue.

In case it's not clear from either of us, his words are:
- Arrrrrr
- Bath
- Hot