Monday, June 30, 2008

I Lost Money in Vegas

This past weekend, my wonderful boyfriend took me to Las Vegas in celebration of the completion of my 23rd year (of life - to be clear).

While there I ate the following delicious meals:

Wasabi Mashed Potatoes - not technically a meal, they came with an entree of salmon, but I was less impressed by the seafood. As I don't generally like Wasabi, I just find it frankly amazing that the spice doesn't ruin this easy side. We ate these potatoes at China Grill, where said wonderful boyfriend proceeded to steal the chopsticks. This isn't a sign of kleptomania though, it's a response to the distinct lack of chopsticks when ordering Asian delivery. He's resourceful!

Chef's Veggie Burger - I treated boyfriend to a Kobe beef burger complete with blue cheese and caramelized onions while I tried the chef's veggie burger with pepper jack cheese and salsa. We declared both delicious. I also enjoyed two varieties of fries: sweet potato and regular. This meal took place at Burger Bar where honestly I was a little worried about the waitress. Something about the enormity of her surgically enhanced chest, her voice at a pitch only dogs could hear, and the confused look she gave me when I asked for a straw bothered me, but I couldn't put my finger on it.

Adult Macaroni and Cheese - Any time Vegas labels something as "adult," I assume it means you can contract a disease if you're not careful. These fried nuggets of goodness were totally STD free. We stumbled into FIX trying to grab dinner before going to Cirque du Soleil's "O" (incredible by the way). The meal ended with three banana filled donuts that could be dipped in chocolate sauce. So, so, so good. Before I recommend the whole place though, I must add that my butternut squash ravioli with feta left a lot to be desired.

Nachos - I don't really remember what restaurant this was at, as the nacho eating occurred after 1.) ChipnDales, 2.) A giant fishbowl rum drink with dry-ice 3.) The Playboy Club and 4.) Moon Nightclub. What I can tell you is that they were mind blowing. The ChipnDales dance routines were pretty great too, as was the lady in the second row who was celebrating her divorce. I was a little concerned for the safety of the men when she would get too close to the stage though.

In summary - healthy? No. Vegas has never, will never, be the pinnacle of a healthy lifestyle. However, no want goes unsatisfied there, including the desire for good food. A final mention: I didn't find one bad pina colada.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Getting the word out

The first and most important step about this process is getting the word out about the project. Now, I admit, maybe this is just the most important step so far, but one thing at a time right?

I started by emailing some of my friends and family. Seems simple. You know me - you might have even given birth to me and this is your present - so you should sign up. But after a disappointing day of no additional members on my campaign, I realized something wasn't working right. So when today the number rose I checked out my first convert: my roommate. I think she partly joined because she knows the sooner we get these recipes, the sooner she gets to help me make them, and taste them.

Roomie* told me she wasn't aware that she could join the group without having her recipe ready to go. Well of course! That would slow some people down; finding a recipe takes a lot more work than just signing up online. So I went for round 2 of emails, this time explaining exactly what I was asking of them, and sure enough I had another member. I wonder if Gandhi got jazzed about people believing in him. I sure do. So now I have an important aspect to my strategy: make it clear, make it simple and make it still sound smart. After almost a year of not having to answer for my writing habits (don't like the lack of capitalization and punctuation in my emails? welp, sucks for you) I find myself having to return to clear and concise. I hope I can get back into the groove.

*I don't know if Laura cares if I put her name in here. Seeing as how I only have one roommate at the moment and taking into account the amount of Laura's there are in the world, I don't see how using Laura instead of an asinine pseudonym like "Roomie" could affect her in any way.

Now I will return to searching the masses for cooks and mothers, hoping that they too will want a part of the eternal offering of a listing on I briefly considered sending out emails that said at the bottom, "if you don't forward this to 10 of your friends I will steal your favorite shoes," but then I read a rant on religious spam mail and decided Gandhi would not be down with those efforts.


Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Start of the Journey

Literally. I've started the journey. But maybe a little background on the journey itself.

I've always wanted to write. I wrote storybooks about my Barbies and I wrote college essays as a sophomore just to have an excuse to write more. For my senior project I sat at home and wrote four (rather boring) chapters of a novel. Sadly, the novel never made it to completion - as I hit college I decided a novel about how much I hated high school might need a little work. I wrote a column for the newspaper in college. I called it "Clarification," - how clever am I? If you google search my name (stalkers) you still find my stories of beer pong and frat land. This is a bit embarrassing, but some credibility beats none.

Now you should also know that I'm not great at picking out presents. I like to give presents that people love, but I always fall short somehow. So for my mother's birthday this year I thought long and hard about what she would just adore. Granted, I could still make a finger painting for her and she would love it, but I thought I would do something more age appropriate. I also have little to no money. So I thought and I thought and I sat like Pooh Bear sits in his thinking spot, and I too was struck by inspiration, though Piglet was nowhere to be found. I would make a cookbook for my mother!


As much as I love to write, I also revel in cooking. And if the title didn't give it away - Stirring and Whirring will chronicle my cooking adventures, and how they fit in with my lovely struggling young life. My mother introduced me to cooking; she taught me how and she shared all her favorite recipes. What a great gift! I'd print out some of our favorite recipes, maybe put a photo or two of us in lamination and bundle it all up for her. What a freaking great daughter I am. But then I started thinking more. I didn't just want a pot of honey; I want the whole tree! We all know what happened when Pooh dressed up as a bee - but I decided my efforts would be a bit more successful.

So came the cookbook plan. It started as an ebook, and then a full published book, and now I have settled on self publishing through a website (I haven't decided which). A lovely coincidence is that my job at thepoint was asking for ideas from me to use on their website for campaigns. The big wheels kept on turning, and before long I realized I really could take this to the next level and get contributions of recipes from others to include in the cookbook. Others like my mother herself, her friends, our family, my friends, and even some complete strangers. A collaboration of recipes that celebrate the mother-child-food-birthday-extravaganza.

That's the journey I'm on now. I can't see it as clearly as a yellow brick road, but I can see that it will involve lots of recipe testing, lots of writing, maybe lots of frustration and hopefully some ridiculous stories. That's just a guess. But as I put myself through this you can follow along.

If you want to be a part of the cookbook see my campaign - you can join!