a pee too far

here is a TBT.  I was super pregnant with Rex.  There are always some issues that bother us more than others… for me.. a wet towel on a rug  (grr), kid who want go to sleep when you are beat (everyone)  and then the good old pee on a brand new couch.  It does remind me why I still get this couch steam cleaned every three months..

The Bacon effect

First kids can’t run around a car while it’s in motion.  Then a lover can’t greet you when you get right of the plane, now they are taking bacon.  I’m of course referring to the latest report from World Health Organizations (kill joys) that processed meat specifically, and meat in general are a tiny notch above asbestos for causing cancer.  I just enjoyed the heck out of hot dog on the 10th hole the other day at a golf tourney.. who knew it would be my last!

I can’t take it.  Even though I had no make up only my phone I felt compelled to record this moment

Oh and ham!  What next sex?

what if you have the “bad” kid


As a parent who volunteers more at her kid’s school than people who draw a salary I get to see all sides to a school.  So often parents find the fault with a school and lay it a teacher or principal or a child that is not theirs knee.  When maybe, it is their kid.

I heard a mom a while back talking about how some teacher wasn’t stimulating to her little genius.  Then I was volunteering and saw this kid and thought I would need a lasso and a muzzle to deal with him.  ( Hence, I didn’t go into teaching).

As it was one day when I thought my little precious, angel might have the makings of serial killer

Child’s educational needs vs. your ideals and anxieties

–Couldn’t figure out a pithy short title for this one.

As parents know there is nothing like having a child to make you review your own childhood.  From the “I had to make my bed every morning so should you.”   To, “I was sexually exploited by family members and I will never let that happen to my child.”

It’s not really accurate for us to compare our childhoods to our children’s when it comes to the new world order of the economy, education, social mores, etc.  I am still jarred by seeing a tattoo covered lady, but no one else is.  I’m gladdened that it’s not okay for kids on the playground to say some of the racist things I use to hear when I was a kid.  I can’t believe how much harder schools are now then when I was a kid.

is this what I want for my kids?

is this what I want for my kids?

I recently had an ah, hah ( is that how it is spelled?) moment when I was hearing about a charity that supported underprivileged kids gain entry into private high schools.  My knee jerk reaction was “why do they have to go to private schools?  Why can’t public school be better? Is that the only way for poor kids to do well is to go hang with the snooty snoots?”  They talked about having to get their academics up in middle school, laudable.  But, also take them to the beach, because many had never been.  To take them to museums.  To coach them that when they are in these high schools they will have friends who get Italian sports cars for their 16th bday and know that they will not.  The reasoning is something like this, to succeed in the world, really do well, you have to be comfortable in the milieu of the rich and educated.  The high schools, the college, the social arenas.  My leftist, child of boho upbringing, middle class, went to city college than to a public university self was stunned.  I think I thought because I was a sophisticated, educated white lady that I was in the the In crowd.

But, really.  I’m not, never have been.  I’ve been invited in for glimpses, but that’s it. Ditto my husband.  He is a public school educated, middle class outlook kind of dude.  So, that is the trajectory we set for our own children.  But, is that a good idea?  When the world is different than when we graduated from high school.  My tuition was $650 a quarter.  While my kids are not strangers to the beach they aren’t kicking it at country clubs either.

Barack Obama was raised in a middle class, single mom with help from his grandparents apartment.  But, they got him into the best prep school in Hawaii.  It has given me pause.

I’m such a proponent of the egalitarian society and education, but maybe I’m wrong.  Is this one of those things were I should do something different for my kid than was done for me?  Besides, trying to figure out how we could pay for a private high school, but I’m struggling with this philosophically as well.  I know it’s harder in LA where are public schools are not great and private schools are pricey.  It would be different in other areas I’m sure.

But, what educational path are you chartering for your kids?


volunteering at school lunch

So, When Viv was first in Kindergarten I volunteered, but as this video shows it didn’t quite go as I had planned.  I tired a few more times, but it always seemed to be school lunch time just as Rex fell asleep so I’d be looking for parking right outside of the school when he would nod off.  I test the mom in charge, “Sorry, can’t do it, Rex asleep.”  An unreliable volunteer, what are the chances?

So, last year when Rex started Kindergarten I started again.  Daphne Dishes.. up food.  There is a lot of running back and forth so I always get a lot of steps for the day.  I learn a lot, not so much about my kids, but which kid is going to flip out if I make him/her take the required veggie/ fruit.  How anyone below 3rd grade can’t be asked a complex question like, “with cheese, or without?”  Sometimes I’m standing there in my hair net thinking, you know, I host a Food Network show?  But, no one cares.  They just want another glass of milk.

The sweep up at the end of the shift is the worse.  Mashed food on the ground.  invariably piled high in the trash cans big chunks of the fruit and veggies we made the kids take (federal law).


children’s music class

I just popped in to my neighborhood book store to get some books for Vivien.  I do my very best not to buy books online from the place that rhymes with parmesan and go to our locally owned small book store full of charm and questionable profit models.  I was clearly doing the right thing because in the back of the store they had a toddler music class going on.See, a store in the community cares about community.  I smiled.  Transported to those years,  not that long ago when I took my children to music classes.  Sitting a in a circle with an earnest adult playing guitar.   ( sidebar, there was one kid there who looked about 5 or 6 and I thought if I brought Rex to something like that now I’d be a victim of matricide).

With my first kid I trucked all over for little kiddo classes.  I thought it was good for her.  Was it?  Good for me!  Naw, truth is if you stay home and don’t stress that they fell asleep for a nap right before you get to the class you spent $200 on it’s easier on mom.

So, when Rex came along I was wiser and poorer so I did my own music class.  It turned out great!


The Italian Tampon

As I’ve written about we we lucky to go to Italy this summer.  What can you say about Italy that hasn’t already been said?  The food is sublime, the language is beautiful.  Contribution to the art world is deep.  The lifestyle, the wine!  Bellissimo.

However on my trip there was one Italian thing I did struggle with.  This is my story

Prosaic adventures in Italy

More on that Europe thing. No, not the humanitarian crisis, just my little trip.. right before the pudding hit the fan.  There are the instagramable moments when you travel abroad, but there are more that are not.  So often travel is more about all the little bits inbetween the “Hey Facebook friends, look where we are” moments.

So, beside Milan expo we stayed in a villa ( we were lucky to be asked to be there) North of Milan in the Lombardy region.  The first 3 days we were very jet lagged and their was a wicked heat wave. jet lagged with kids So despite the fact that we were in Italy. We barely moved.  The kids and I in particular stayed low and I perfected my Cacio de pepe.  ( buttery spaghetti with parmesan and black pepper)italy with kids


I did spend a fair amount of time in Italian grocery stores.  Most excitedly I learned there Rex is a supermarket tycoon!  Rex supermarkets in Italy

The non fancy grocery stores have such nicer food than we have in US markets.  They don’t have has large a variety, but what they have is great.  Fresh pasta galore, great meats, Vitello tonnato at the ready.  Yum.  They do organize things differently.  We were all confused that toilet paper and paper towels where on opposite sides of the store.  To us, it’s all paper.  To them they probably think, oh, gross, why put your hand towels next to butt towels.

Because of heat and jet lag I wanted to lay low the first day, but had to rally. Mark and I and his business partner needed to go to a chef event associated with the expo.  My luggage had been lost (found a day later) so I borrowed my sister in laws shoes and dress.  My feet are smaller so combined with cobblestone sidewalk I went down.  Hard.  A kind woman came running up as I lay spread eagled on the ground and she asked in English “Are you okay?  Do you need some water?”

Are American’s known klutzses? Is that why she spoke English?

We naively drove and drove around the expo for about an hour looking in vain for a place to park.   Well laid out highways, big, new asphalt parking lots.  But, no room at the inn for us.  This is a “sustainable” event which made parking unattainable.  We were told by guards the only parking must be made by reservation online.   I thought, oh, but SURELY, like would happen in the States, there is some scrappy entrepeneur who will flag us down and sell us a space on his brother in laws lawn for $40  ( exactly what happened to me once when I tried to go to a Trojan game).  After an hour we would have paid anything.  We couldn’t figure it out.  We finally sort park/abandoned it in a corporate area, and grabbed a cab.  Luckily we weren’t towed. When we got to the Expo I blabbed to every English speaking Italian I could pigeon hole “what’s with making parking so hard?  Why is no one trying to turn a buck here?”

They shrugged, “It isn’t done.” (one of those I am so AMERICAN moments)

The next time we went we made a reservation, but the parking was more than a mile away with Rex’s little legs and my little crankiness it was not ideal

parking for expo milano

now this is a parking structure!

The third time was the charm  I searched and searched online and found a parking lot that promised a shuttle to the expo.  When we finally found the lot it looked like it was semi abandoned space ( good I thought, it’s these kind of areas that have reasonable priced parking.) Manned by two immigrants… I think East Asians (Yes, scrappy Immigrants, this is what I’m use to).  “Where is the shuttle?” Over there they kept gesturing.  Apparently,
“shuttle” must be Italian toward “walk that way”.  We used our divine trust in enterprising immigrants and walked.

Seriously, this is the way to the big international event?

Seriously, this is the way to the big international event?

It looked like we were headed toward a freeway.  But, lo and behold, once we rounded the top of the ramp.  There was the entrance to the expo! Eureka.

When the heat broke we did explore Lombardy.  Major highlights:  A cooking class with a real down home Italian chef.  A wonderful woman named Giovanna.  I highly recommend her class if you are ever in the area and in general it’s a great thing to do so that you feel connected to where you are.  cooking class in lombardyOur group of family was a diverse group of professional chef, Mark to Vivien, to a friend of my niece who can’t boil water.  We all enjoyed it and learned.  The great thing too about cooking is while there was a language barrier between our teacher and us, it didn’t matter.  We spoke a different language.

Watch out Food world.  Vivien was very good

Watch out Food world. Vivien was very good

Then we sat in her lovely garden and ate the food, drank wine.  Perfecto.

Our day in Lake Como was also a perk.  So many places in Italy are over run with tourists but not here.  We took a boat up and down the lake.lake como with kidsThe wind, the light rain starting as we looked out on the vista. It was exhilarating.  Everyone always looks better with a wind machine. mark and daphne in italy

But, you look even better as an action star! how to be an action star

Speaking of stars.Yes, I did see George Clooney’s house. But, I’m not saying where it is.  I’m a degree away from someone who once stayed there.

I said how I wished we’d find a good wine store.  Mark found an enoteca online.  Charming place that gave me MANY tastes. enoteca in lake como I wanted to take some wine back to the house where we were staying with many others, but I didn’t want to schlep back to the car.  Then they said one of the workers could bike it back to our car.  Oh, well, then I’ll buy a case.

Vivien guards  the wine

Vivien guards to the wine

When it comes to wine I’m an old world sipper.  The California wines that were big, bold, oaky, buttery 1990’s wines.. NO thanks.  I’ll take a dry, crisp, mineral vino.  I like Italian wines.. but I LOVE French wines.  Of course, lot’s of California wines have improved since the old buttery days.

Another moment when I felt my Americanist come over is when I was driving in Italy.  Stick of course, small, winding roads.  Our Tom-tom would say every few Seconds “make a right in 400 meters, go around the roundabout, make a left in 500 meters, make a right in 300 meters, go around the roundabout.”  I think round abouts a great idea, but I was muttering, Ah, my kindgdom to just be able to gun it down a long straight away!  The 101 heading into Ventura!  The other problem with the small, windy roads was some of us got car sick.  Then I’m trying to spot from the road what looks like the “Italian Target” so I can get a change of clothes for the sickie.

Yeah, I guess there are moments that are not instagramable.


When your child makes you realize you are as dumb as dirt

He, he, this cracks me up.. I’m humbled all the time being a mom, but never more then when my kids ask me questions that I cannot answer.  Have you been there?  I’m sure you have.  Vivien is now a 5th grader, but I know I’m not smarter than a 5th grader, I was falling behind years ago.  Combined with my spotty, progressive ’70’s education it’s a wonder I’m walking upright.

Labor day fun

I hope you got to watch the Season Finale of Daphne Dishes.  Backyard Camping.  Check out recipes here.  It was great to make the 13 episodes for season 2 and I worked with such lovely people.  Everyone was super kind and supportive of my kids which is was my first priority.

crew photo

crew photo


shooting Daphne Dishes

shooting Daphne Dishes


friend and Production assistant takes my kids to school

friend and Production assistant takes my kids to school

My kids are good sports about having a wacky mom who has a camera enter their home at regular intervals.  First for Coolmom and Momversation and now Daphne Dishes.  They are use to people being in our home and are happy to see them when they return.

kitchen crew Daphne Dishes

kitchen crew Daphne Dishes

You can’t do this alone!  Food Producer Tim Macklin, Food stylist David Domedion ( who also works with Pioneer Woman Ree Drummond), Food stylist Sarah Blair.  They make the food look pretty for beauties and help me figure out how to make things look better, taste better from my original idea.  For example: I make something and it’s not quite right to me.  We all stick our spoons in it, “needs more honey, needs a bit of lime juice, no, I think it’s fine, etc”  While the camera folk are standing around waiting for us to make up our mind.  We had a tight schedule for season 2 and Mark was busy with Bombo opening so Sarah and I worked form 10 to 8 every day a for a week before shooting testing recipes.  Some were not finalized till we were on set.  Tim always let Rex play a game on his phone when he asked.  Sarah was very motherly to the kids.  Nice people.

I like to work with people I’ve worked with before.  So our second camera was Chung Ming Huang, who shot some of my best Cool mom Vids and even made a cameo once

Make up  and hair artist Crystal Bernal ( oh I wish I could the braids she can do) and Brittany Merideth, stylist Lauren Francis.  I worked with them all at TV Guide Channel.  Lauren has dressed me, skinny, fat, pregnant, not pregnant, crying after my dad’s death, inbetween nursing.  She is unflappable and always sees me prettier than I see myself.  Which is nice when you are getting naked in front of people! Lauren always let Vivien be her assistant when she came home from school.  Viv has an eye!  Vivien hates getting her hair cut, but one day she allowed Crystal to give her a trim.

with stylist Lauren Francis

with stylist Lauren Francis..I’m doing my mean look




producer of daphne dishes


Our super sweet producer Craig Anderson of Concentric.  He took us out to dinner the day we shot our last shot for Season 2.  Food Network had me meet a few producers when we were figuring out this show and I picked Craig.  He has a very warm vibe, he is a dad and was gentle with all of us as he helped me loosen up and be myself doing the hardest hosting I’ve ever done.  Cooking and talk to camera is more difficult than it looks!

typical exchange when we worked on the pilot

“what are you doing?”



“so it blends, so it doesn’t burn”

“Say that to camera”


“smile when you talk”


“does this make you think of something.”

“um.. um “

“did your mom make you this?”

“Oh, no she never made she would make..”

“Okay, tell us that story.”



I do my thing

Craig, “That was great!”

Me: “it was?”


impossible to get a screen grab where I don't look crazy. Hazards of an expressive nature

impossible to get a screen grab where I don’t look crazy. Hazards of an expressive nature

So, obviously I hope we are back for more.  I have lot’s of recipes riffing off stuff I tasted in Europe and just fooling around as I slowly got my colon back in order.  Thanks to all the folks who watch and gave us nice tweets and such.  Keep going back and look up recipes.  I know I do!   If you missed any the shows are on itunes.

For those of you who are just finding my site through the show here is one of my more successful and madcap videos.  It’s sort of  food.. muffin.. except, not.  Happy cooking.