Let’s Talk About Paulatics

For the record, and I say this with all the love in my heart, I’ve never liked Paula Deen. It was a combination of her accent and personality, which were pretty unavoidable, and I rarely, if ever, watched any of her shows. This didn’t stop me from finding her recipes online and praising her for her regular use of butter by the pound, but Paula Deen, TV Personality left me wanting. A lot.

Photo courtesy of totalrewards.com

Photo courtesy of totalrewards.com

As a regular viewer of the Food Network and regular eater of the butter, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about her most recent antics that got her essentially nixed and why I totally stand with the network.

Officially, things really started to decline for poor Paula when it was revealed that, due to her eating habits and supposed lack of exercise, she’d ended up on the Type II Diabetes bandwagon and then hid it for as long as she could while encouraging the rest of America (specifically those of the homemaker variety, I’m assuming, although that’s more speculation on my part because I’m not that interested in finding the statistics online. But really … I feel like that’s who she was really aiming for) to add an extra stick of butter just to show them you care. When the news broke, she underwent an immediate and nearly overnight transformation that took her from lard lover to healthy substitute maven, and something about that felt kind of like — how shall I put this — a ploy. I mean, I felt for the gal — after all, FDR went his entire presidency without anyone knowing he had polio, so I can see why she’d hoped to escape the press, but when you live in the 21st century and have a household name, it’s inevitable. Some sort of crash will occur.

But that didn’t deter America or the Food Network, and they pushed forward, re-branding her, re-sizing her, and creating an all-new empire for the Deen family that included healthy recipes that tasted like the real thing and a lot more vegetables not poached in butter or, you know, animal fat (which, if we’re going to be really honest here, is how I like them). And that was pretty much fine. Three cheers for a healthy casserole. So it didn’t seem like the crash was all that bad, and the lady bounced back in an almost weird way (to me), and it seemed like everything was going to be good for eternity.

And then that deposition happened.

Now, we’ve all read every Buzzfeed about it, I know we have, so I’m not going to bore you with yet another internet recap, so let’s go ahead and break this thing down.

1. I don’t see why it’s okay to use the word, whether an individual has just attempted armed robbery (and do we have proof this occurred? I mean, I’m just saying) or is just walking down the street being his/herself. I’ve worked in the restaurant industry, and I can nearly testify that the skeeviest, most offensive and foul people seem to work there. Racial slurs coming out of blue-eyed Paula’s mouth? Yeah, I can see it.

2. So she grew up in a different generation. I totally get that — I do. I’ve stopped counting the number of times an older person (who probably served in either WWII or the Vietnam War) has made some sort of racial comment that was probably not malicious but nevertheless there and really awkward. [And while we’re on the topic guys, THE ORIENT HASN’T BEEN A PLACE FOR A REALLY LONG TIME. SO LET’S STOP CALLING ME ORIENTAL.*] But you let that one slide with Grandpa. You don’t really let it slide with people who are constantly in the public eye.

3. This leads to her generally cavalier attitude about it when she was first caught red-handed. It was like, “Well yeah, hasn’t everyone? Duh,” and I’d say that’s ultimately what really offended people. Like when good old Mitt strapped his sick dog to the roof of his car — certainly we were all really dismayed that happened, but then we were even MORE upset when he said he wouldn’t do it again because people didn’t react favorably to it. Like if it wouldn’t affect his running, he’d totally do it again.

4. And then she cried and cried and cried. Like Jason Mesnick on “The Bachelor.” While I should probably feel pleased that she made several (and I mean SEVERAL) attempts to ensure all of the world knew how sorry she was, I mostly feel all cringey inside. *shudders* One Youtube apology is probably enough.

5. Let’s set something really, really straight right here, right now. Paula Deen wasn’t actually fired from the Food Network. They simply made the smart business choice to not re-up her contract, which is entirely within their right. And let’s look at this from a business perspective.

  • There are several famous chefs on the Food Network who are not Caucasian, and it would feel kind of fishy and hypocritical (and awkward — let’s not forget awkward) to have all that housed under one umbrella together. Although I imagine, late late one night/morning, someone at the network considered making a show with Paula and, I don’t know, Sunny Anderson, to show how utopian the food world really is. That was probably dropped after a few seconds.
  • At the end of the day, the Food Network is a business. Nothing more. They want to make money, they want to be successful, they want people to like them. A situation like this will inevitably lead to an enormous divide — if they’d kept her on, people would have protested, had they decided to part ways as they did, people would have protested. It was ultimately a real lose/lose situation for them, which they probably didn’t love all that much. But it’s probably easier to deal with the protesters who are in favor of using the N word because (and I swear to you, this is paraphrasing what dozens of PD fans wrote online) “They call each other that, so they shouldn’t be offended when we do.”
  • . . .

6. Not all minorities use racial epithets casually. I know there are some that do, but there are also some Democrats who hunt and some Republicans who are gay, so that argument is pretty moot in my opinion. And I can say pretty firmly that there’s a pretty big group of us who don’t care for them one bit.

7. I don’t think this was a harsh decision to be made. Although they have a well-documented love for Bobby Flay and Guy Fieri (it’s almost embarrassing, you guys), there are several Food Network stars who have come and gone over the years, so Paula Deen can join the pity party with them. And it’s not as though the Food Network is the only place where she can continue her probably world-wide fame. I’m sure another network will pick her up as soon as her Food  contract is up, and even if they don’t, the woman can just keep on cranking out cookbook after cookbook after cookbook. It’s not like we should feel that bad for her. Think of it like an NBA player whose injury has led to his athletic demise. Dude’s still living in a mansion.

So move onward and upward, Paula Deen. Learn from those really bad mistakes you’ve made again and again, avoid frozen hams, get a new PR manager (and then another for good measure), and keep on keepin’ on. And Food Network? Really, when those people say they’re never going to watch you ever again for the rest of eternity because you dropped her, they were just kidding. I’m sure of it.

*Things that are Oriental: fine tapestry rugs, Top Ramen, a famous trading company that sells cheap, plastic toys in bulk.

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A Bevy of Low Points

I’ve kind of had a low point drought, to tell you the truth. I mean, we know this happens to me – I’ll have a perfectly fine life and then suddenly I will get hit with a ton of horrible things. I haven’t actually been hit with a ton, nor have they been all that horrible, but here goes anyways:

1. I’m not what you’d call a homemaker or housewife (so it’s funny that’s all I ever want to be). So … dishes pile up. Counters get sticky. Floors get hairy (look I shed OKAY. IT’S NOT A BIG DEAL, GUYS). And for the most part, Husband and I tolerate it. But the other day, enough was enough, and I decided to clean the bathroom counter and sink.

Used a Clorox wipe. The bathroom may still not be clean, but darnit, it’s disinfected and lemon fresh.

Image courtesy of clorox.com

Image courtesy of clorox.com

2. Spider in my bed. Heart attack. I no longer feel safe at home.

3. Last night, whilst sprinkling some delicious pre-shredded, bagged bulk cheese into my quesadilla, I burned my arm on the pan.

That's probably a 5th degree burn. My skin has melted away. My left arm is actually gone now.

That’s probably a 5th degree burn. My skin has melted away. My left arm is actually gone now.

Harshing my mellow.

4. Over the weekend, I had Arby’s and McDonald’s in one day. It’s really a huge low point that I had McD’s in the first place, and then that I went there around 8:00 pm so I could try their new fish nuggets, and then that I would totally go there and eat them again.

Photo courtesy of mcdonalds.com and my deft cropping abilities in Paint

Photo courtesy of mcdonalds.com and my deft cropping abilities in Paint

5. My new BFF and fellow blogger/Tweeter/Asian went to visit her home in New Delhi FOR, LIKE, THREE YEARS WEEKS and had limited internet. Something about being in a third world country or spending time with family. Bunches of nonsense. I was devastated, to say the least, but luckily she is back in New York, and I can bother her essentially any time I want. (Btw, Puneet, the musical assault is still coming — don’t think I’ve forgotten. I’ve just been busy what with having two jobs and two blogs and two Church callings and two husbands — wait, what?)

6. Husband saw a fluffy black kitteh in the parking lot of our complex and he didn’t snatch it up and bring it inside for me to love. He lost points with me, I’m not going to lie. His argument? “But we can’t have pets anyhow. Our landlords won’t allow it.” A likely story. That fluffy black kitteh was going to be mine and I was going to love it.

On Pinterest, Laughably

I’ve decided once a week to start a new segment called “On Pinterest, Laughably.” Obviously, since that’s the title of this blog post.

*coughs*

I spend a pretty fair amount of work lunch break time on Pinterest, and while I find gobs (yes, gobs) of delicious recipes and great organization ideas, there’s always that one pin that is utterly laughable. And I want to make fun of it in a public arena.

**Disclaimer: this is not a place for me to make fun of human people.**

Today’s laugh

On Pinterest: “Skinny Snacks: Tastes like Arby’s Curly Fries”

What makes them healthy: You use egg substitute (I just died) and spray them lightly with cooking spray prior to baking them (I just died again).

Fact: If I’m hankering for a curly fry, I’m not going to take any substitutions, and I most certainly don’t want my craving to be fixed by something healthy. I want it deep fried, I want it salty, and I don’t want the word “substitute” to be part of the ingredient list.

Scratch that. I might want real food substitutions. And preservatives.

Updation Station

You know those awesome Mom blogs that are full of crafts and recipes? And at the end of the year (or the beginning of the following), they re-post the most popular? And there are pictures and tutorials and it’s so awesome?

This is going to be kind of like that, except without crafts or recipes or tutorials. Also, I’m choosing which posts I want to update you about because it’s my blog and I can do stuff like that. I’ll throw in a picture or two, though, I promise.

Okay, fine. Here’s a recipe I found on the internet by typing in the word “recipe”:

Recipe: Roasted sweet potato pâté
As found on the Seattle Times

This smooth, sweet vegetable pâté is perfectly complemented by the crunch of the nuts and the bite of the mustard.

Makes about 2 cups (8 servings)

2 pounds sweet potatoes (about 3 medium potatoes)

1/4 cup olive oil, or more to taste

1 teaspoon sherry vinegar

1/2 cup chopped onion

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 cups canned no-salt-added chickpeas, drained and rinsed

Hot water, as needed

For serving:

Whole-grain mustard

Crushed roasted cashew nuts (salted or unsalted)

Baguette toasts

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Peel the sweet potatoes and cut them into 1/2-inch chunks; they don’t need to be perfect, because they will be puréed. Transfer to a mixing bowl and add the oil, vinegar, onion, cumin, allspice, salt and pepper; toss to coat. Spread the mixture out on a baking sheet and roast until the potatoes are tender, 20 to 30 minutes.

Allow the mixture to cool just a little, then transfer to the bowl of a food processor. Add the chickpeas and purée until smooth and creamy. The pâté should be quite thick but still able to move around in the food processor. If it’s too thick, drizzle in a little hot water. Alternatively, for a richer pâté, drizzle in more oil.

Allow the mixture to cool in the refrigerator, covered, for at least three hours and preferably overnight.

Serve in ramekins, accompanied by other ramekins filled with the mustard and the nuts, and offer toasted slices of baguette.

Nutrition per 1/4-cup serving (pate only): 230 calories, 5 g protein, 36 g carbohydrates, 7 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 370 mg sodium, 6 g dietary fiber, 5 g sugar

From chef Rich Landau of Vedge in Philadelphia

Gross. I’d never make this and there’s not even a picture.

  • I still occasionally get MRIs and, yes, I still look smokin’ hot in the scrubs.
Case in point.

Case in point.

  • I’ve given up on Pandora. Moved on to Grooveshark and then Spotify and then realized they all fail, so I either sit in stark silence or I plug in my iPhone. BECAUSE I HAVE AN IPHONE.
  • Sunburns. They still happen.
  • There is the possibility that my expensive, fancy schmancy running shoes have been downgraded to “shoes I wear while donning yoga pants.”
  • Shadra remains, to this day, awesome.
  • My vocabulary still sucks, but I’ve decided in my old and wizened age to be okay with that.
  • I’m pleased to report that there is really awesome sushi in Japantown, San Francisco, and I have decided once and for all to abstain from grocery store sushi for the rest of my life.
Full stomachs courtesy of Isobune Sushi in Japantown

Full stomachs courtesy of Isobune Sushi in Japantown

  • Yesterday, Husband and I went shopping and we were checked out by three different young men who were all skinny and all dressed like girls (not, like, transvestites. Like hipsters.) and it made me sad for humanity. Also, I figure the population is going to eventually get depleted because there’s no way a guy can maintain his manhood in skinny jeans. That just can’t be good.
  • Being a Democrat in Utah still sucks. But I’m less angry about it.
  • I’m getting laser eye surgery. It’s really happening — a person is going to shoot lasers into my brain and bore holes into my soul. Date has been set, but for the benefit of my mother, who wants to crawl into a hole and die every time she thinks about this impending doom surgery, I’m not disclosing it till after everything goes right. I might start wearing prescription-free glasses, like the young’uns do these days, though. You know, for fashion’s sake.

Hipster Mary

This much cute. This much cute just happened to you.

This much cute. This much cute just happened to you.

All in all, 2012 proved to be a pretty decent year for me. Scratch that — aside from the confusion over my Asian face and Caucasian name, it was rad. Super rad.

So happy 2013, you guys. Just rock the crap out of 2013 for me.

Dangerously Close to the Edge

We’re now teetering into the zone of “This is officially low point material that is no longer funny … just low.”

Yep, another person figured I couldn’t possibly be Mary. That Asian face — it’ll apparently get you every freakin’ time.

If anything, the hair, eyebrows, makeup, and wardrobe should generally give away that I am not actually from the homeland.

In other news, Husband is away on a business trip till Wednesday evening, I nearly gave myself food poisoning with last night’s dinner, and school has begun, which means slow walking, confused 18-year-olds dominating campus. Which is cool, I suppose, if you’re a fellow confused 18-year-old looking for friends, but isn’t particularly desirable when you’re trying to get stuff accomplished in a timely manner.

A Tale of Disappointment

Something to get out of the way: I reckon you may never find another person on God’s green earth who loves cream cheese as much or more than I do.

Photo courtesy of kraftbrands.com/philly

Knowing this, emotions will probably run even higher for the dear protagonist (that would be me.)

The other day* I got $9 in cash for taste-testing salsa because I work at the coolest university ever, and it only made sense that I spend all of it on food for the remainder of the week. So yesterday morning I headed downstairs to see what the vending machines had to offer.

As it turns out, vending machines don’t really offer that much. [And as an aside, the refrigerated vending machine had apples in it. Not in packaging. Just apples. I feel sad for people who buy apples out of vending machines.] But there was one delicious looking blueberry bagel with cream cheese, so I put my money in, watched it drop (my favorite part), and heated it up to bring upstairs and devour.

Bagels are the vehicle by which I get cream cheese into my system. To tell you the truth, I’m not sure I actually like bagels all that much, but as we know, I love me some cream cheese. 

It only made sense, then, that I bagel up again this morning. It started out rough, with an enormous lack of sleep and a young man who cut me off on the road and then nearly hit a bicyclist (so maybe he was the one with an enormous lack of sleep), and I was certain some cream cheese would make it better. I grabbed my $1.25, headed down the stairs, and walked toward the refrigerated vending machine.

Unfortunately, nearly all the bagels had been eaten, and my options were asiago cheese or pizza. And since I am not 5, I opted for the asiago cheese bagel. As I watched the swirly twirly contraption spin around to drop my bagel down, I started thinking about how delicious it would be, warmed up, causing the tangy cream cheese to melt ever so slightly.

I grabbed it out of the machine, opened up the plastic packaging, slid the bagel out, and …

Okay, I think I need to take a minute here. I’m very upset.

Why I’m very upset: There was no cream cheese. None. As in, somebody figured anyone who would purchase a cheese bagel would not want to double cheese up and spread a healthy layer (or two) of cream cheese on it.

Dear Somebody: You were wrong. 

Oh, sure, I could gag down the cream cheese-less half that had, you know, cheese all over it, but the bottom half of a cheese bagel is, well, plain. The embodiment of everything that could possibly disappoint a human being and the biggest problem with the cheese bagel.

If that’s not disappointment, then I don’t know what is.

Shadra said, ” … at least you have blog fodder now?” and that’s true. I’ve been experiencing  a dry spell of low points (except for Monday evening when I tried to go for a run with three slices of Costco pizza in my stomach and ended up walking around town in running clothes, people zipping by in their cars, but that’s more pathetic than hilarious (unless, I suppose, you’re an onlooker)), so I suppose this was the universe’s way of providing for me something to write about.

Dear Universe: Really mean, man.

 
 
*Every time I see or hear or say “The other day,” it immediately launches that bear song into my mind. You know, “The other day (the other day) / I met a bear (I met a bear) / a great big bear (a great big bear) / with tennis shoes (with tennis shoes), etc. et cetera. Is this just a me thing?

Maybe?