Saturday, January 28, 2012

Goldenberg's Peanut Chews

It was news to me when we moved to Philadelphia last summer that Goldenberg's Peanut Chews are a local product.

Since I'm a sucker for 70s nostalgia (makes me feel 6 years old again), I naturally love this current ad campaign.  Not quite the same font, but reminds me of the video in this recent post about a classic 70s movie.

Kind of funny that the company has been around since 1917, and yet it has the 70s look it.  If they were really going old school, wouldn't they have invoked flapper (1920s) or art deco (1930s) imagery?

I guess they were at a loss for what would be Old School 1917.

For the Kosher among us, I do know that it was a sad day in the late 80s or 90s when they went from parve to dairy.  They were a favorite handout at my Jewish day school by one of the rabbis.  I heard through the grapevine that he was very sad about that.  There were no longer a reliable and readily available non-dairy sweet treat in every drug store.

I was never a big fan, but I like their ad campaign.

Leon Leonwood Bean, You Always Did Good By Me

Growing up in New England, the old-money world educated in prep schools was always within a few minutes' drive away.  When The Official Preppy Handbook came out in 1980 when I was not even yet a preteen, I read with great interest its various humor essays and studied its diagrams about WASP culture.  

If I wanted to see a 65 year-old bluish gray haired, elegant woman sporting navy blue slacks covered in green embroidered whales, all I had to do was head down to the local A&P supermarket.  A Preppy Yuppie could easily be seen coming off the 5:07, Burberry coat in one hand, Prince racket in another. These type of folks were never part of my family's social network, but there is one thing that we definitely had in common.  The L.L. Bean Boat and Tote Bag.

Here's what I have done with our L.L. Bean Boat & Tote Bag.  Our Shoe repair shop sewed on each patch for $5.  Should I fully cover with patches?  Might be overkill.  It really needs a Hotchkiss or Andover patch to round out the look.  

We took ours to the swim club and to the beach at my grandparents' (which was most definitely not down in Cape May or up in Newport).  The annual display of fireworks was a common place we brought our boat bag.  We took it on a trip to Nantucket.  I saw many in Tanglewood.  My dad took it on his fishing trips with his buddy Donny.  There were only a few colors and it was only available with an open top.  I don't even recall too many sizes.  We always had a big bag, the size of the one above.  And we had it for years.  Many, many years.  Until the handles unraveled.

It didn't really matter who you were or where you came from.  The bag itself was durable, affordable, and well-designed.  It still is.  LL Bean's boat bag was always a go-to reliable.  Nowadays you can get a zippered-top bag.  What an innovation!  And the varied sizes and colors!  And now, there is free shipping!

Oh, L.L. Bean How I Love Thee.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Food Tip #3: Girl Scout Cookie Mint Pie

It's Girl Scout Cookie time, and you know what that means.

That means I bought 3, count 'em, only 3, boxes of Thin Mints.  But wait, how do I manage even those 3 boxes which are so easily hidden away from my husband and children?  It's not even like I love Thin Mints.  I would rather eat homemade chocolate chip cookies.  But they do have that addictive quality that even I, not an ardent chocoholic, have trouble with when it comes to eating only 2.

That brings me to Girl Scout Cookie Mint Pie.  We entertain a lot on the weekends (Shabbat dinners and lunches), and tonight we have a table of 9 people for dinner.

That means I am all good with this pie.  Everyone will get a slice and maybe there will be leftovers.

My mom found this recipe in Theatrical Seasons:  Encore! a cookbook published by the Syracuse Stage.

It is essentially a meringue with crushed Thin Mints and nuts folded in.

I added a sorbet filling, so it is more of a crust now.
You could add whipped cream.
Or eat just plain.
Just make sure you have guests over or you will eat the whole thing.

It is sublime.

Girl Scout Cookie Mint Pie

preheat oven to 325

16 Thin Mint cookies, crushed
3 egg whites, room temperature
dash salt
3/4 C sugar
1/2 C chopped walnuts (optional)
1/2 tsp. vanilla
6 additional Thin Mint cookies, crumbled

Beat egg whites till soft peaks form.
Gradually add sugar till stiff peaks form.
(yes, a Kitchen-Aid mixer is what I use.  Ideally, freeze whisk and bowl first for ultimate egg whites)
Fold in vanilla, crumbs, nuts.
Spread into a greased 9 inch pie pan.
Bake 35 minutes.
Cool in fridge 3 hours

1 pint chocolate sorbet, softened at room temp for 15 minutes

Spread sorbet into pie.
garnish with Thin Mint cookie crumbles

Cover with Stretch-Tite (my preferred plastic wrap).

Freeze 1 hour at least

Cut into pie slices and your guests will be singing to high heavens.

*N.B. to my Jewish and Kosher readers:  Lest you be thinking, wait, how is Rachel serving this to her guests which is obviously on Shabbat and I am assuming correctly she cooks meat on that day, since the hechsher on the box is OU-D which means they are Dairy, and is Rachel this huge apikores?

Rest assured, dear reader, that I am a savvy mama and consumer as well as Kosher food eater.  I have full knowledge, in case you didn't, that the Orthodox Union discontinued its OU-DE designation years ago because the whole conecpt of Dairy Equipment, which is what the DE stands for, was apparantly too confusing for the average individual.  I do not consider myself to be the average individual.  We fully hold by Dairy Equipment and Thin Mints have zero dairy in them (they are made on shared equipment, as the box states).  Don't try to convince me there is a trace of dairy in these cookies.  It would say Milk as an ingredient.  No, no, this are fully OU-DE, and our practice is to remove all the meat food from the table before we serve DE food.  However, you might have a different practice and that is ok.  You might be that  individual who doesn't remove that meat from the table.  And guess what, you're still good!  You  might be that more machmir person who no longer holds by DE because you have joined the wave of humras that have swept our people.  And that is ok, too (I realize I might be exaggerating or misinformed, thinking that people aren't holding by DE because of humras.   Your Talmudic interpretation may not really be a stringency but a middle of the road thing.  Nah, it ain't middle of the road in my book if you don't hold by DE.  Could be you aren't well-versed on the halachot of DE.  Am I, you ask?  If you're curious about if there is a nafkamina involved, I really couldn't answer because I am the furthest from an illui that you'll every meet.  Oh, if I could only match up to Elie Weisel and Rabbi Weiss HaLivni.  Now, those men could really take this whole DE rant somewhere.  Who am I, anyway, just a pisher.  Back to the DE discussion, if I feel sad if you don't even hold by DE.  You just won't be enjoying this fully acceptable dessert after your Shabbes meal.  There's always Shavuos.  Girl Scout Cookies don't go bad.  They have enough preservatives in them to last a while.  Oh, I guess if you're Cholov Yisroel  all of this is a moot point, to which I say:  Chassidus totally rocks!  And if you're not chassidish, I am curious why you don't hold by Rav Moshe's tshuva on this issue.  (Assuming of course you are living in the United States.  And maybe Canada?  I am not really sure on that.  Naturally if you are in J-Burg or Zurich or if you're lucky enough to be traveling through India and for whatever reason you have found yourself on then this assumption is clearly irrelevant.  At which point I let you know you have wasted way too much of your time reading this horrific paragraph.)  

Thursday, January 26, 2012

It's a Rainy Day in Philly

The Wolfman's Brother's response to this classic Sesame Street segment is:

"Yes you can go outside if you have boots."

Oh, that intelligent 4 1/2 year old of mine.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Not Your Mama's Uncle

This offered great comic relief this morning to the Wolfman and Concealed Light.


If only Uncle Moishy still sported those glasses which have now become hipster, he could pretty much fit in at a Williamsburg bar.

For the sake of the Jews out there who love his work, I actually contacted his management company, Suki and Ding, a few years ago to tell them it would be simply great if he had a YouTube channel.   Think of all of those yeshiva kids in Brooklyn (i.e. my cousins) who are allowed to access certain things on the Internet but not others?  Uncle Moishy is signed, sealed, delivered, and most of all approved, and it would be a boon to his fame and notoriety!

You think they take my advice?

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

An Age of Miracles...Before You Go To Sleep, Say a Little Prayer

Do Western people think of overt miracles happening on a daily basis in their very own lives?  Certainly, the types of miracles that appear in The Bible which detail discussions between man and God do not happen in our day.  Plagues such as blood on the Nile River are of the past.  No sea is going to split open and an oppressed people will just prance on through to the Promised Land.  These grandiose, larger-than-life miracles are difficult for some to believe, and yet.

My esteemed teacher Rabbanit Chana Henkin taught me a few lessons about everyday miracles for which we should be grateful.  The daily sunrise at a beautiful shoreline.  Waking up after a night's slumber.  The first flowers of a fruit bearing tree.  The appearance of a rainbow serves as a reminder of the covenant between God and Noah that the world will never again be destroyed, as was the case after the Great Flood.

TV On The Radio is a Brooklyn-based band which came out with the song "Golden Age" a few years ago.  Only today did I watch the video.

I presume the use of symbols connected to no organized religion was purposeful:  I like it.  I love their glasses, too.  The white-clad-angelic figures versus the dark-clad-law enforcement-evil figures set the stage in a place somewhere between heaven and earth.  Except that eventually the presumed bad guys (the fuzz) end up turning good, grooving and sending out love-hearts.  The angels send their symbols of peace upward.  Are they turning into animals that will be ultimately used, in a positive way if you can believe it, for animal sacrifice (korbanot)?  I don't purport to fully understand the genius behind that one, but it is there.

Everyone loves a rainbow, but do viewers realize its symbolism with regard to the promise of world peace, unity, and ultimate redemption?  This video got a lotta rainbows coming down from the heavens.  It's all good.

Thank you to TV on the Radio for an artful, insightful interpretation of the world's state of affairs.  Let's hope it keeps getting better and better.

This is not a spiritual blog.  Just in case you thought that.

Mommies Are People, But Am I A Grownup?

On our drive this weekend to visit my parents and to celebrate my sister's birthday, my children and I listened to the "Free to Be You and Me" soundtrack.   The close-quarters of being in the minivan enabled me to ponder this song, and I started thinking about how it has poignantly come full-circle.

there is a YouTube video  here, so if you get this in an email link you might need to click through to the website itself to see this video link

Like so many children of my generation, I grew up listening to this record.
I picked it up again in college and then started thinking of its message that all people can be whomever they choose to be.  I doubt my mom ever read Ms. Magazine cover-to-cover like I did in 2004 while nursing Conealed Light in New Haven (I have been told I need to clarify that Ms. is pronounced mizz, and it was part of the foundation that backed this record), but she knew the good stuff and Free To Be You and Me was it in the 70s.

When I was little, I was the girl listener, envisioning all of the mommies and daddies and all the things they can do.  And now I am the mama.  And while I haven't become a professional baker, doctor, or funny joke-teller, I have done a lot of things so far.

This song sends the message that parents can and should shoot for the moon.  And that college isn't necessary to get there.  I have told Stango that our children can become skilled tradespeople.  He doesn't see it my way.  Despite that I am the first woman in my immediate family to obtain a college degree, I wonder if it is necessary.  Can't Concealed Light become a pastry chef if she so desires?  Can't The Wolfman apprentice as an electrician?  Better yet, he can become the pastry chef and she can become the electrician.  Two years ago,  my former HBO colleague James Altucher made a compelling argument for this in "Don't Send Your Kids to College."  One of the reactions to Altucher's argument was that unless you are a superstar in your field like Bill Gates or Madonna, a college degree is still necessary.

As for me, I am a mama.  With a lot of interests (read any one of my blog entries and you will get an idea). While it is still hard for me to swallow the reality pill that makes me a grownup and not a little girl riding her banana seat bike in 1979, Marlo Thomas' message for children and adults alike is fresh and current in 2012.  And because of that, a tear of joy rolls down my cheek.