Stories

roseanne-pointing1.jpgCan you believe it? I ended up on the nut farm! OK, no wise comments. I’m talking about a real nut farm in Hawaii, where my five kids and five grandkids can ramble around, work up an appetite (I don’t have to work at it), and then enjoy some of the luscious macadamia nut cookies that I’ll be making for them on Mother’s Day. (I know that’s backward — they should be making them for me.)

Mac nuts are the best — pearly and buttery, with just the right texture and so easy to crunch. Everybody loves them. Of course, that includes the wild pigs that have grudgingly agreed to let Granny (that’s me, I still can’t believe it), the kids and their pals share the place with them and the wild turkeys.

The gorgeous greenery, the ocean in the distance, the sound of the rain that keeps it all lush and fragrant: It’s a sweet slice of heaven, and I hope everyone can find their own little slice of that, wherever they are.

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They say that being a mom is the hardest job in the world.

I don't doubt it.

child giving the fingerMy dad always said that children were like small drunk adults. They walk around with little regard for their safety, they say stupid things, and they vomit. I am probably not going to have them. And I'm going to be real: I don't want to get fat. I don't want my body to change into something I don't recognize. But most importantly, I don't have the patience to be a mom. I have no idea how my mom put up with me. I would sabotage grade school Christmas shows by dressing as Michael Jackson. I would argue about everything, especially regarding bike safety (I didn't care that my helmet was a Barbie licensed helmet damnit.) I wouldn't eat anything she cooked.

In short, I was an asshole.

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ImageThere were no more than 300 students in grades 1-12 at Baker Academy and I graduated with pretty much the same 17 people I started 1st grade with. Needless to say, I knew these people quite well and knew exactly what I wanted their mother's to make when I came to visit. Lisa's mother, Ms. Martha made an 'apricot nectar cake', Susan's mom "Ms. Betty" made a 'peach pie' and the list goes on. My mother has many of these recipes saved in a nice little recipe box after her Baker Academy cookbook was reduced to shreds.

The "Baker" cookbook was the first one I ever used. It's a compilation of the best recipes from all the families I grew up with. I wish we would have been more gentle with it as was typed on plane paper and bound with spiral plastic; no doubt a project a group of mother's took on, probably 'assembly-line' style in the school lunchroom. 

Several years ago, when my grandmother died, guess what we found? An old Baker Academy cookbook. The cover is missing but it's in pretty good shape. I'm thinking about making copies of it and giving them to all my friends, who ask me for the same recipes that I always ask my mom for that come from the Baker Academy cookbook.

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pastaitaly.jpg“With all that great food in Italy, how do you guys stay so thin?”

This kind question came during a book talk we gave last Monday night in Holbrook, New York – at the Sachem Public Library. It was very generous of the questioner to include me in the “thin” category along with Jill, but indeed I still wear the same suit size I did back in our L.A. Law days twenty-some years ago. I’m not thin, but at least I’m not any fatter than I was then.

We answered her by pointing that Italians don’t eat much processed food and that makes it much easier to keep our weight down over there. But of course it’s not just what they eat that allows them to maintain una bella figura, it’s also how much they eat – or how little, I should say. Italians don’t pile it on like we tend to do over here. A bowl of pasta is not intended to fill you; it’s to prepare your mouth and stomach for your second course.

This truth was driven home dramatically a little later in the evening.

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nosyneighbor01.jpgThey know when you leave your house.  They know when you return.

They know when you have company.  They know when your company left. 

They know if the brown truck delivered today or yesterday and how many packages were left on your doorstep. 

Yes, your buttinsky neighbors, you know the ones; THEY KNOW EVERYTHING...about you.

Ever have the feeling that the minute you set foot outside, someone is peering at you from their blinds across the street or watching your every move from the shadows of a doorway?

It's horrible isn't it?  That feeling of reconnaissance surveillance in your own yard.  What's wrong with these people?  They need to get a life.

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