Stealing Ingredients

Here is Daphne Dishes, without the production value. No lighting, no make up and clothes.. I have a cold.   I did this a while ago, but thought it would really fit with my Food Network show running.

One of the yards I take from belongs to the best couple of people you could ever hope to live next door too.  They were at Mark’s pop up last night.  They leave the side gate open so the kids can play in their yard if they like.  They are the borrow sugar kind of folk.  Although, I think it’s usually been olive oil.  Plus, they let me raid their citrus tree. I think the hip name is “forage”.

Who can you steal from?

bittersweet recipe

It’s very exciting these few Sundays now.. where I watch my show.. where I get tweets from people I don’t know saying they like the show.  I get emails from distance cousins who I have heard not from in years that they are loving seeing my show.  I also loved in the most recent episode bringing in some of our friends to be on the show.  I also thought that overall of all the Daphne Dishes, this one was the best.  It held together. I loved making the food, loved my cocktail.   It’s a light, fun show… I hope… with some information. However, the making of it was more fraught than is seen.

One clue to that can be seen at the end of this show..”In Memory of Jeff Wannberg.”handsom

I have made reference to there being a big loss that shadowed the filming of the show.  The night before we started shooting my brother killed himself.  Jeff was not my blood brother, but a brother he was.  We came into each others life at about 2 or 3, start of pre school.  I got kicked out because my mom was the teacher and the school thought it better if she didn’t teach her own kid.  But, Jeff stayed.  It’s hard to describe to people who didn’t know us in childhood, teen years, 20’s, but each year he became more and more part of us, and visa versa.  Our homes were a few doors away and he was the only kid in his house.

4th of July in Culver City in the '70's. Dad, Cec, Jeff, me

4th of July in Culver City in the ’70’s. Dad, Cec, Jeff, me

We needed a brother, he needed us.  We went to the same progressive school for a while, so we had short hand for our unconventional childhood.  “We joined a cult” Jeff said just a couple of years ago in his characteristically dry humor.  In our teen years organically we began to call him brother, he called us sisters.  It annoyed us to no end if someone said, “but you aren’t REALLY siblings.”  We responded with annoyance or cut them out.  As he once said, “I’m not going to say, they are my really, really, really, really good friends.  That’s not right.”  It wasn’t.  We were far more ingrained than that.

I cannot sum up our relationship or Jeff in a blog post and it wouldn’t do him justice our lives together. But, since September 9th everything has been…different. He was in my sister’s weddings.

Happy Day

Happy Day

I officiated at his US wedding.  I was his best man at his Australian nuptials ( where is wife is from). We are use to him being here for family events.  It was hard having him in Australia the last several years, but he wanted to come home.  We wanted him to come.  It was just a matter of time before he did.

He was always with us at Thanksgiving. We started playing football at Thanksgiving because of Jeff.

Thanksgiving. Jeff behind, brother in law Kevin next to my mom.  I'm the one with the mullet next to my dad

Thanksgiving. Jeff behind, brother in law Kevin next to my mom. I’m the one with the mullet next to my dad

He often made a turkey.  Jeff loved to cook.  He loved French food and classic American food.  He opened his own American steak house in Australia.     I, like all those who love him, are left bewildered and bereft.  In my case I’m puffy and bewildered as I’ve put on some big grief pounds.

He was so smart, quick witted, a brain like no other.  Even while he was living far away I kept up with him with skype, phone calls, email, social media. But, it’s no subtitute for being there.  When I moved back to LA in 2000 I took an apartment that was less than a mile from him.  When I decided to do my solo shows he was the only one I wanted to direct me.  The only one I trusted.  He was a photographer, a post production producer, an app producer, dog lover, bon vivivant.  He was and is someone very special.

love

love

I didn’t know if I could get through the filming, as I mentioned before Food Network kindly offered to postpone the shoot, but I know these opportunities might not come again and I know how hard Jeff hustled to get projects that he wanted off the ground.  His wife said, go for it.  That shot at the end of the show  (“Eat up Sports fans”) When I catch the ball from Vivien was the only time my face was onscreen that first day. I can see the puff and the pain in my face. Bewilderment.  People who are also survivors of suicide know the bewilderment.  The shock.  The first few days I would wake up early before the crew arrived.  Make coffee, talk to Jeff, “Why, why?  How could you leave us?”  I would lie down on the floor and cry.  Then I would get into hair and make up and when the producer said, “Sparkle in the eye”  I turned it on.  Everyone I worked with was very patient and kind with me.

“What do you need?”  a Food Network executive said that first day.

“Ask no one to bring it up.  I will come un done.”  She did and they didn’t.

Vivien was with me the first few days.  She would stand by the cameras before we started, give me a smile and a thumbs up.  “You can do it mommy.”  It would fuel me.  I was torn up by grief, survival guilt, and guilty that I had a big project going on when he was having a hard time making his opportunities come to fruition.  When Vivien wasn’t there I would look at her pictures on the fridge and then turn around and cook for camera.  Like so many moments in my life my kids are joy gas.  I’d be a broken down jalopy without them.

my kids there for me on a shoot day... before my grief weight set in

my kids there for me on a shoot day… before my grief weight set in

When we had a day off I really collapsed.  That’s when I realized how much the show was good for me.  I loved the absorption of work.  The first few days I was trying to contact everyone who needed to know about Jeff. I had a great need to speak to people who knew us when we were younger, before something went wrong, something went sideways.  But, then I switched and I couldn’t speak about it.  If I did I wouldn’t be able to work.  I clicked over and while the camera was on, or even with the crew I started to have fun.  Jokes were coming more easily.  So, for the Game Day show it was later in the process ( except for the football scene) and I was feeling better.  When Trish showed up, who is truly one of my best friends and who knew Jeff, I could let my guard down a little.  When I give her the drink and we toast it’s pregnant with meaning.  She knew how special he was and how deep our connection was and how I was hurting.

After the shoot we had his memorial, his celebration of life.. what is the right thing to call it?  We decided on JeffCon’14.

While we were shooting I asked if he could have a memorial credit.  It has to go through some channels.  Then a few weeks ago I got an email.  Yes, his name would be there.  I was glad, but I got back down on the floor and cried.in memory of jeff wannberg

Like anyone who has lost someone you don’t want your loved one to become “the dead guy” and with suicide you don’t want their method of departure to define them.

Some of Jeff’s friends and I have connected or reconnected like never before.  It’s been a great source of support. Also, I went through an 8 week Survivors of Suicide group.  A lovely group of people.  That helped a lot to sort through the layers of feelings with people who were on the same journey. The sense of failure, rejection, lost.  One friend of Jeff’s was over a couple of months ago and said that I should start posting and talking about the show coming on.  Really?  I was not feeling like celebrating.  Then I remembered what one woman in my group said, “Fake it till you make it.”  So I did start posing about it and talking about it and people were very sweet and excited and that felt good.  I just want Jeff to be here with me.  So by having his picture in the first episode about my mom’s healthy eating and his name in the game one I feel there was a touch.

Of course the way my brain and humor works is so influenced by him he is part of it.

So, it might seem just like a light little food show, but there was a lot going on.

My Favorite Vids… Moms with scarves

This video is one of my favorites.  When I was on Hallmark’s “Home and Family” recently this was one of the videos I sent to them to show.  The producers loved it, except I use the word “Vagina” in it.  But, on the innerweb we don’t have to worry about  questionable vulgarity like they do on basic cable.  So, for those who have never seen it, Enjoy!.  Revisiting, enjoy again and remember when Rex still had his curls!

New Eatery!

We just announced the name of Mark’s new eatery: Bombo! bombo This will be his first ever fast casual concept after a lifetime of winning praise and awards in the fine dining realm.  After Campanile closed.. or as Rex calls it,  “your cooking job”, we talked at length about what he wanted to do and how it needed to work with our life as a family.  Our dearly departed Tar Pit was a cocktail driven place so the hours were terrible for a family with young kids.

We also felt strongly that fine dining while not completely over was played out.  In post recession America even if you have money most don’t want to flaunt it.. at least not in a restaurant.  Even if people in LA still spend $100 on dinner they want it to be in a relaxed environment while they were jeans.  A few strong fine dining places can withstand this Age of Casual, but not a lot. They’ve been dropping like flies.

Plus it was played out for Mark.  He wants to cook.  He likes cooking for people, not necessarily rich people or having the artifice and overhead that goes with a ‘fancy’ place.  So in my capacity as his business development manager I started thinking locations.  Areas of town, and then where within those areas.  Eventually our search landed at Grand Central Market in downtown LA.  Built in 1917 it’s been getting a lot of press lately as they revamp it.  It combines many elements of LA’s culture.  Latin, Asian and now celebrity chef driven.  Bombo is going to emphasize seafood, but not just seafood.  There aren’t many places in LA that you can get reasonably priced seafood outside of  a sushi joint in a mini mall.   Mark was keen to work with steel jacketed steam kettles.

something like this

something like this

They are pretty and will be prominent in our design.  They will allow him to cook things quickly using his 4 broths as his base. Cut to a montage of financing, design, approval for permits, negotiations and now we arrive at the moment where we have announced the name.  It’s inspired by the kettles as Bombo is Spanish for bass drum, as well as used loosely to indicate a kind of musical energy, excitement.  Also, we liked how it sounded.

So I’ve been setting up pop up nights for Mark where he can try out his new dishes on real people, not just me in our kitchen.  It’s great for focusing him and I like it because a couple of times there was a critique  I wanted in a dish, and the public backed me up.  Hurumph.  But, really he is making some tasty dishes, reasonably priced, but still flavor packed like his food at Campanile was.  Tonight he starts a trio of Tuesday nights at our neighborhood favorite, Rascal.  If you are in the area come by.

Our friend Eric, Mayor of LA, stops by our pop up in Nov.

Our friend Eric, Mayor of LA, stops by our pop up in Nov.

After a couple of under eventful work years both of our projects are debuting roughly around the same time.  If “Daphne Dishes” gets a second season maybe I can make something at Bombo for the show. It’s been a great partnership, we both assist and advise each other.  Almost ten years of marriage and it all seems to be working well. (knock wood)mark peel daphne brogdon

it’s beginning to look NOT like Christmas…

January 14th.. not to bad for taking my tree down right?

When my brother Jeff, was a Lothario in the ’80’s, and he was on the verge of breaking up with yet another girl he had been crazy about for two weeks previous, he famously said (paraphrasing), “Love is like a Christmas tree.  It’s starts out smelling so good.  It’s pretty, it makes you happy to see it sparkling, but then it dries out and becomes a fire hazard.”

That girlfriend was toast.

As I was undressing my tree I thought of the difference from the night we brought it home, the kids so excited to decorate it as I made hot coco, Frank Sinatra carols,  the warmth of our home on on a cool evening.  To this morning, harsh glare of Eastern light coming in the window, applying the anti aging wrinkle cream Santa brought me .  christmas tree and kidsI’m alone in my black sweats,  covered in flocking.

A Flocking Mess

A Flocking Mess

IMG_0746

Cody, smile for the camera

I have to pry the ornaments of the tree because the tree is dying and has curled over the hooks.  Parts of the tree come off and I pull the dead branches off the ornament so I can neatly put them away in my ornament storage ( took me 20 plus years to figure out the importance of that).  “Get off of me you dead tree. I’m done.”

The promise of love, the promise of yuletide glow.  It’s over.  Unstringing the lights it felt like the morning after a one night stand.  Heated, and exciting the night before,  But now my lipstick has been kissed off, I’m tired, look bad and Romeo doesn’t look so hot now in the glare of the sun, and I’m just wondering, “Where is my bra?”

Get your crap and get out of here.

Get your crap and get out of here.

But, hope springs eternal.. we will hop in the sack again next year.

 

 

If only we had a Stunt Mom

Through blogging I’ve met some very cool woman.  One of my faves is Shannon Colleary. She is funny and writes a lot about how women’s body images and how our sense of self changes through the years.  We feel worse about ourselves when we are young and thin, and finally get some self acceptance when we have parts of our body start to jiggle .  And not in a cute way.  A crude summing up, but you know.  Well, Shannon’s writings frequently get picked up by Huffington Post and on one such occasion she included a video of mine.  It went viral and I said, who is this smart, funny woman who thinks I’m a funny, smart woman?  We had lunch and a friendship bloomed.  I asked if she would make a guest appearance in one of my videos.  She agreed and I came up with the idea of Stunt Mom.  The woman who appears who can do the work you don’t want to do.  It was all improvised and Shannon was spot on perfect.

What would you have your stunt mom do?

 

Am I raising a bad boyfriend?

Am I a young woman’s worst nightmare, or future buddy?  If I raise Rex to be good to the woman in his life I’m gold, if he has all kind of f–ed up mother issues some chick will be trashing me which she goes to lunch with her girlfriends.  By they way, if it’s a future boyfriend, that’s fine too.

Do mothers shape the boyfriends of tomorrow?  Am I messing him up?  Do I care?

Cooking on Live TV

Out promoting my Food Network show.  It doesn’t all go to plan, but  it’s fun.daphne dishes

I love performing live.. so rarely get to do so.  If at the end I get to eat my dark chocolate sauce with berries with a weatherman, all the better!  Watch

HERE to see my appearance today on KCAL 9.  Thanks to Josh Rubenstein for being such a nice host.  We ran out of time before I got to show my desert. But, inhaled afterward.  So much for looking like Giada.

weather man Josh rubenstein

Where is the Funk?

Someone was just remarking to me about the stench that was coming from their refridge.  It rang a bell in my head… I remember it as if it were yesterday….. ( da,da, da, da,)

Funky smell, bring in the funk, bring in the smell. This is a condensed version of a real life event. It was HOURS before I could find the culprit. As we have an open kitchen the stink started to move out into the house…like the blob.

Every time someone opens the fridge the smell shoots out stronger.  But, sometimes it’s so hidden you can’t find the culprit. People can start to turn on each other.   “I looked, I don’t know where it is coming from!”.  The best part of this vid was Vivien’s brief part. I think I should have a t shirt made with this image:fridge
Stinky fridges are well discussed online. The worst smell I ever smelled in a fridge was when the power went out and the raw chicken smelled so rank I became a vegetarian for a few years.
This pic sums up how we all feel when a funk is upon us. ( not Rex, found this online)

fridge

This is why preservatives can be good. cuts down on the funk

it’s almost time…

For my show to start.  SUNDAY JAN. 4th at Noon on Food Network.  I’m getting nervous.  Nervous worried- that Food Network will write and say, “we’ve never had NO ONE watch a show before, until now.”

Nervous Excited – OMG I’ve never had my OWN show.  I’ve always been part of an ensemble.  Its got my name, my stove, my toaster.. oh, not my toaster, they thought it looked too dingy so they moved it for the show.

You'll never make toast in this town again!

You’ll never make toast in this town again!

If you all can watch the 6 episodes that will be rolling out over the next 6 weeks I’d be mighty appreciative.  If you are on any social media please use #daphnedishes and @coolmomdotcom @foodnetwork in any posts.  They do notice this stuff.

I really hope you like it.  Please give  me any feedback, because if it gets a pick up I can incorporate your notes into future shows.

Mom in the make up room, otherwise known as my bathroom. Expert work done by Crystal Bernal

Mom in the make up room, otherwise known as my bathroom. Expert work done by Crystal Bernal

The first episode is very dear as my mom and sisters are featured.  I’m reworking healthy recipes of my mom’s but making them taste better.

My kids are in it a bit.  Mark will be in some episodes, he is always in the opening title.  (See how fast he can chop onions)

The day before we started shooting we had a deep loss in our family, which I haven’t been able to write about yet.  It was very hard to carry on, but everyone from the Food Network to my kids were very supportive.  I loved having Vivien on set when she wasn’t in school.  She is my little ray of sun and when I was on set and downcast she would say “Mommy” and give me a smile and thumbs up.  Then I could put a smile on my face.

Vivien sets up the shot

Vivien sets up the shot