Monthly Archives: July 2011

Grill-iant Weekend

I am no longer able to deny my status as one half of an Old Married Couple. The highlight of my weekend was not watching Transformers in 3D, nor my crosspatch viewing of Legend of the Seeker (for which my sister-in-law is to blame, as she has coaxed me into an addiction to the books and the televisual equivalent is not really an equivalent at all).

Nope, the memory I shall carry forward from this particular summer’s Sunday is the maiden voyage of our brand new outdoor grill. It’s pint-sized and inexpensive, but already my favourite cooking implement – and not something one could call an everyday device in old Blighty.

My waistline has not adapted well to the change in diet, largely because it is slave to my brain, which seems convinced that devouring everything I come across is a good idea. It is not. The grill was bought as part of our attempt to curb the gluttony; after all, you can be as greedy as you like with salad and vegetables, yes?

And so we were; our first grill-fest featured steak and barbecue sauce with buttered mushrooms, corn, grilled potatoes and salad. Accompanied by a hot dog, just because we could.

Our second attempt was no less enthusiastic: chicken marinaded in a lemon pepper dressing on a bed of couscous, accompanied by large amounts of kebab-grilled pepper, onion, cherry tomato and mushroom and a salad. Also accompanied by corn, just because it needed using up.

Hubby tells me that such fare has seen him through most summers – an alien concept for someone who is not only used to living in a city (in an apartment with a broken patio door), but is from a nation that regards barbecue as a luxury (because announcing one’s intention to cook outside immediately causes the sky to cloud over).

This side of the ocean, the luxury seems to be in filling the fridge with healthy leftovers that – unlike the limp, depressed salads I’ve always relied on – are actually more tempting than the candy. If I was still intent on my pizza-sheet tent idea, I’d consider using the kebab sticks as tent poles.

 

 


Roving and Reporting

A quiet and seldom expressed dream of mine (because my professional experience has slowly led me in a different direction) has always been to become a proper, newspaper journalist. I have vivid memories of cuddling up with Pappy (my grandfather) at about the age of six and discussing who I’d like to be when I grew up. I toyed with doctor, but didn’t like the idea of blood and guts, and was then dissuaded from “member of the Battlestar Galactica bridge crew” (on the basis that it would be difficult to work so closely with Richard Hatch, my first crush). My third answer, and the one that has secretly always remained the only answer, was Kate Adie.

Intrepid, trustworthy and dominating the news during my formative years, Ms. Adie seemed the voice of all that was interesting in the world. I’m not sure whether it was the influence of my father, who always encouraged me to find out as much about anything and everything as I possibly can (although he was probably not referring to cakes and science fiction), or the sheer pull of the knowledge that woman must possess, but I adore her to this day.

The meandering trail of my career took me back and forth between magazines, books and websites and sometimes tantalisingly close to newspapers, but never close enough for my liking. I had all but given up on that quiet dream… and then I moved across the ocean and essentially rebooted my life.

Today marks the end of my first week as the reporter for The Sundance Times, the local newspaper I’ve had my eye on since I began considering the idea of a transatlantic move. During my twiddly fingered down-time, while waiting for my green card, I dreamed up several potential ideas for columns and articles that might interest them, once I was able to begin the pestering process.

I didn’t have to. My uncle-in-law (to whom I shall be eternally grateful) poked me with a heads up that the reporter post had become available and, after a frantic update of my resume, which didn’t have my new name on it, let alone my most recent work at Amazon and FlowMotion, I called, emailed and crossed everything my body would allow me to cross, including my eyes. I was invited in for an interview, and given the job on the spot.

I have my own office (something that seldom happens in England, as we tend to utilise our lack of space with open-plan mischief), my first article is almost complete, I have attended my first meeting of the City Council and pitched a full 10 articles from what I learned – I am in heaven.

To be the staff reporter for the newspaper that published my wedding announcement as my first job in the US is a dreamlike experience. I know my father is proud, and Hubby wore his Superman pants in tribute to being married to Lois Lane (not over the top of his trousers, disappointingly), and I would like to think that Pappy, too, is looking down and smiling, and probably muttering that he told me so.

For my part, I should like to alter the claim I made in my last post that my American dream is to wake up in a pizza-sheet tent, chewing on a cookie pillow. It turns out that my American dream is also my lifelong dream, and has come true.


Independent Eating

 

The Fourth of July weekend is about to begin, and I am excited to be joining in as a sort-of-American. It seems somehow fitting that my first holiday as an honorary citizen will be the one that celebrates breaking away from England. Fitting in a melancholy way.

As an outsider, Independence Day is not yet ingrained in my brain as a holiday. It did, however, get my full attention when I came across this display in the grocery store.

Never mind the trays of mini-muffins and the frankly amazing cakes (you can’t see from the picture, but there’s an eagle made of icing on the other side). What caught my eye was the cookie. Yes, that tray in the foreground is one giant cookie. With chocolate chips. And icing. And twinkly bits. It’s the size of a dinner plate, and then some.

I’m sure it’s intended for sharing, but frankly I’m not that generous. I am much more inclined to add it to my Perfect Morning Wishlist: I should very much like, one day, to wake up in a tent made of pizza sheets, with a giant cookie pillow, and have ABSOLUTELY NO CHOICE but to eat my way out.

That is my American Dream.