Browsing Archives for December 2010

Filthy Fizz

December 30th, 2010

I heard Nigella Lawson on NPR for the first time a few days ago while I was taking my boys to school.  She was rattling off her favorite holiday recipes to Steve Inskeep on Morning Edition.  Having never heard Nigella Lawson before, I was somewhat startled by the following factoids…

She was a famous cook of this era who seemed to also have a fleet footed mind.

She had an uncanny ability to brandish what seemed to me to be a somewhat formidable wit in a manner that seemed both effortless and original!

I was so stricken by the cleverness of Nigella and her simple holiday recipe/dry British witty/ comedy radio show that I went right out and bought the ingredients to make one of her suggested Christmas concoctions – her filthy fizz.

I know very little about the world of celebrity chefs.  In fact, the amount of information that I know about people who curry a career out of cutting cookies in front of a camera could easily be contained in a very small nutshell.  Here is what I do know…

1.  Paula Deen always looks like she is frightened and claims to have had agoraphobia (self diagnosed after she saw a story about it on Oprah).

2.  Ree Drummond also claims to have agoraphobia (also self diagnosed, Oprah not involved in this one).

3.  Rachel Ray makes me feel tired, but she seems likable.

4.  I am scared of Martha Stewart.

5.  Oh!  Is that why Paula Deen always looks frightened?

So as you can see – there are gaps in my knowledge, but I do love a funny lady, so when I got home I googled Nigella Lawson’s recipe for filthy fizz to make a list of necessary ingredients.  It was then that I noted that the text that accompanied the recipe was almost word for word what she had said during the interview on NPR.  Mmmmkay…. I thought.  So I guess she is just as schticky as the rest of them, but my curiosity and my disdain was now peaked… uh I mean PIQUED! and I had to take a look at this Nigella Lawson lady and see if her appearance said ‘cook’ to me.

Uh no.

And then I hearkened back to the good old days…

When a cook looked like a cook.

And not like the cover of a dime-store romance.

Oh the halcyon days when a cook talked like a cook!

And dressed like a cook!

And it was all about the cooking!

And not the cleavage!

But I made the filthy fizz anyway.

And it was kind of fun to make a drink called filthy fizz.

I carted the makings around to a few parties and everyone enjoyed my filthy fizz.

I made it with sparkling pinot grigio (no prosecco around these parts) and a few splashes of ginger syrup from Starbucks (the barista gave me a cup of their syrup for free!).  This is the recipe that Nigella spoke of on NPR and not the one mentioned in the linked recipe.  It was very nice and very holidayish and sort of new and sporty.

That is all I have to say about that.


For at least a year (maybe two… quite possibly three) people have been recommending the show, William and Mary to me.  Of course, I valued this recommendation and nodded agreeably and then tucked it away in my brain and kept right on with my usual viewing habits of period pieces set in the English countryside, filled with characters who flit around in white dresses, and breeches, top hats and bonnets and climb in and out of ponds only to sit astride a horse looking both gallant and wistful and then gallop off at full speed into a fragrant forest with coat tails flying out behind, pausing only for a cup of tea accompanied by a hefty slice of pound cake and then dancing and then piano and then orgasmic duet followed by a gut wrenching confession that leads to a broken heart and a grim future of bleak spinsterhood which is saved at the very last possible second by a letter that flutters down from a window where it was caught on a nail and then apology and then proposal in a garden with a wicket and a picnic basket and then kiss and then a wedding with a carriage and  clip clop horse hooves beside an old stone church and everyone lives happily ever after….!

except for the body that is floating in the lake…

But that is the next movie…(same stone church, same top hat, entirely different picnic basket).

The end.

But I must have stuck William and Mary in my Netflix queue at some point because a few weeks ago I got the first disc in the mail and after initially sighing in deep disappointment because clear lack of breeches and white dresses, I sat down to watch it and in only nine point seven seconds I had fallen deeply in love with a midwife named Mary and then three point five seconds later I was deeply in love with an undertaker named William and then seven point two seconds later the three of us are all in the bathtub together at a very nice hotel along with a crazed mother, the father of Mary’s children, her depressed ex-boyfriend, four sullen teenagers, three lunatic pregnant women, and several grieving families.  It was a bit crowded, but I was enjoying myself so much that I hardly noticed!

William and Mary and their crazy, misbegotten lives are wonderfully authentic and such a terribly beautiful mess.  It will remind you of yourself and all the people you love.  Because really – we are all such a terribly beautiful mess aren’t we? You simply must adjust the lenses sometimes to see it right. That’s what William and Mary did for me.  They adjusted my lenses.

Now if I could only get my hands on the dang third season! It is killing me not to know what happens next!

Dear Friend with Sick Baby on Facebook,

I too am very relieved to hear that your baby survived his recent harrowing ordeal with a very grave illness.  I thought of you often while you were with your baby in the hospital and I hoped that you had extra smart doctors, extra attentive nurses, and the full benefit of all the most recent medical breakthroughs to help your baby get better.  I followed your updates with concern on Facebook and was glad to hear about the eventual turn-around in your infant’s well being, how he gradually improved and is now home and continuing with a steady recovery.  Yay!

Unfortunately, I feel that I must inform you that your insistence that ‘God’ is the reason your child has recovered is not only faulty logic, but demeaning to all the people who were legitimately involved in the care and cure of your child.  I find it strange that you incessantly refer to this ‘God’ of yours as being the primary reason that your baby is well again and that the ‘prayers’ of your friends are the main reason that your child recovered so quickly.  None of this could possibly be true – or if it is true, your ‘God’ must be an asshole.

Case in point #1  – Over 30,000 children die everyday in the developing world from starvation and malnutrition related diseases.  I am sure that many people pray for these kids as well, and yet they continue to drop like flies.  Why would the ‘God’ who saved your baby from a very complicated illness by making sure he had access to all the advantages of modern medicine, allow over 30,000 babies in the third world to die from simple lack of food?

Case in point #2 – Prayer has been proven over and over and over again to be completely ineffective.  Patients who are prayed for in double blind studies do no better than patients who receive nary a single prayer.  In fact, some studies on prayer show that it actually decreases a patients likelihood for full recovery because it increases a patient’s anxiety which can wreak havoc with the healing process.

Case in point #3 – If you are so positive that the prayers of your friends to a ‘God’ are what cured your son, perhaps you should organize those same people to pray for those starving kids in the third world.  If it truly works, there should me a marked drop in the occurrence of malnutrition related deaths among children within a matter of days (hours even!).  I am positive that if the number of dead children from starvation went from 30,000 to say 10,000 it would be a newsworthy event and we would certainly hear about it (especially at Christmas!).

Case in point #4 – Prayer and ‘God’ did not cure your baby.  Modern medicine did.  Thank your child’s doctors.  Thank your child’s nurses.  Thank the medical research team who invented the drugs.  Thank the engineers who created the diagnostic machines and tiny tools used in pediatric medicine.  Thank the hospital administrators who hired the brilliant surgeons who saved your kid.  Thank the janitors who kept the hospital sanitized.  Thank the ambulance drivers, the secretarial staff, the cafeteria ladies, the guy who stocked the vending machines, there are thousands of people to thank for creating and maintaining a place where sick babies can get better.

But please don’t thank the imaginary deity who only lives in your head and in the pages of a stupid, cruel book.

Remember what the bible says about kids…?

Deutoronomy 5:9 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me…


That doesn’t really sound like a God who gives a fickwicket about kids….

Or maybe all those 30,000 kids in the developing world had great, great, great grandpas who hated your God and they deserve to starve to death?

Which would bring us right back to my working theory of…

If there is a God

That God must be an asshole.

Honestly glad your baby is better,