Getting a mouth ready for Valentine’s day

I’ve put those trays on my teeth some evenings to brighten my smile.  Discolored teeth are so unattractive, but tough when you like coffee, tea and red wine like I do.

HMM, MAYBE I DID DRINK TOO MUCH RED WINE WHILE WATCHING “DOWNTON ABBEY LAST NIGHT?  MAYBE I SHOULD HAVE SNACKED ON SHITAKE MUSHROOMS”

I got a pitch in the mail bag from www.ManhattanDentalArts.com . listing food that dirty your teeth and those that clean them up.  So, getting ready for kisses on Valentine’s day by drinking pineapple juice and carrying a straw to a wine bar.

1.     Black Coffee and Black Tea—The darker the beverage, the more staining that can occur. So try adding a little extra milk to lighten the color and reduce the staining effect.

2.     Wine—Both red and white wines if taken in excess will stain your teeth.   Although red stains, white wine’s acidic composition actually etches tiny grooves in your teeth making them more porous and more easily stained.

3.     Colas and Sports Drinks—Because they are so highly acidic, they help promote staining by other foods.

4.     Berries– Blueberries, raspberries, cranberries, cherries and other berries, although excellent for your overall health, can stain your teeth. So, if you’re crazy for berries, be sure to rinse out your mouth thoroughly with water after each indulgence.

5.     Beets—Now here’s a vegetable that could put a powerful stain in your t-shirt, so, like all foods that stain, moderation is called for with this one.

6.     Sauces—Soy sauce and tomato sauce, as well as other deeply colored sauces, are believed to have significant staining potential.

7.     Juice—Grape, pomegranate and cranberry are highly pigmented and can cause staining.  So, if you must imbibe, try rinsing your mouth out with water or drinking juices through a straw, thereby bypassing the fronts of your teeth

8.     Pickles and ketchup—These acidic foods are good at opening up the pores of your tooth enamel allowing for easy staining.

9.     Balsamic Vinegar—While great on a salad, causes havoc to your teeth.  If you must, try it on lettuce, which has a natural ability to provide a protective film over your teeth.

10.  Candy–Sweets contain teeth-staining coloring agents. If your tongue turns a funny color, there’s a good chance that your teeth will too.

11.  Curry—Although great on Indian food, this yellow-staining food flavoring can be harsh on teeth. So make sure to rinse thoroughly after indulging.

12.  Popsicles—Did you ever look at your tongue after you’ve finished your fruity, sugary pop? Not only does it color your tongue, but also your teeth.  Plus, it has added double whammy negative effect produced by all of that sugar. So, limit your intake and rinse with water after finishing.

12 Tooth-Whitening Foods 

1.     Apples and pears increase salivary production which flushes away stains over time.

2.     Pineapple acts as a natural stain remover.

3.     Carrots contain vitamin A which is needed for healthy tooth enamel.

4.     Cauliflower and cucumbers also help to increase salivary production the natural way to flush away stains.

5.     Green vegetables like broccoli, lettuce and spinach contains iron which helps form an acid-resistant film or barrier that can protect the enamel on your teeth.

6.     Shitake mushrooms help inhibit bacteria from growing in your mouth.

7.     Onions help reduce bacteria that cause tooth decay.

8.     Cheese is rich in protein, calcium and phosphorus, all of which can help safeguard the acids in your mouth.

9.     Salmon provides calcium and vitamin D, nutrients needed for healthy bones and teeth.

10.  Poppy and sesame seeds help scrub away plaque.

11.  Ginger acts as an anti-inflammatory to support healthy mouth tissue.

12.  Basil is a natural antibiotic that reduces bacteria in the mouth.

This is why you should cook for people

So few people cook that if you do they will think you are a rock star.

They will talk about how good your cooking is.

Especially if it’s a pot luck.

Rex’s school said they were doing a community night. Now, none of us parents really understood what that was.  I had been cajoling the room parent ( a dad, thankfully who gets acerbic humor) that we needed  a wine night for the parents to bond.  I’ve been down this road and after pre school the parents aren’t as much fun.  Let’s hang out while we still like each other.  But, this community night threw off our planned wine-o night.  Well, that’s okay, I’m sure it’s a chance for them to tell us how genius our kids are when they finger paint or some profound reflection about blocks.  Don’t we all want to hear that stuff? So we all trekked into the teeny, tiny classroom per instructed and brought something to eat or drink, per instructions.  I made a savory tart.

However, it was really a wine-o night in a teeny, tiny preschool room with teeny tiny seats.  One of the teachers was there, but there was no slide show about development or where they were going to go to college.  The parents are a great bunch and we did all enjoy the gab, but it would have BETTER to have been in full sized chairs. Also, there were only a few bottles of red wine brought ( my kingdom for a dry white) and when one latecomer brought in a  bottle after all the others had been drained, the opener had vanished.  I snuck into another group of captive parents to grab theirs. 

I hurt for them.  They were in the teeny tiny chairs IN A CIRCLE. No chance for sex jokes in that set up. They looked glum.  I ran back to my room.  “Ha, ha, the Dolphin room ( names changed to protect the innocent) is in a circle”

“suckers”  jeered one dad. As I tore into the last remaining bottle.  Back off I yelled, in my head, it’s all for me!

So, the other issue is the FOOD.  One other mom made meatballs, good choice.  There was a cheese plate on a dish that wasn’t level, so when you went to the cut the cheese (no fart joke intended) it kept flopping over.  There was a couple of other things in PACKAGES.  In some cases, not out of their packages. How appetizing. No one touched them.

I made an inadequate savory tart.  Ricotta cheese, some spices, carmelized onions on puff pastry.  I had high hopes for it, but it was a bit on the dry side.  I have done better in the past.  But, people like it, because so few people cook.  People don’t even know what home made food looks like anymore.

I could get evangelical, but instead I’m going back to the drawing board for my savory tart.

The morale of the story is: cook for people, they appreciate it and drinking is more fun in an area where your kids don’t nap.

Mean lunch lady needs a break

Inauguration! ( don’t like Michele’s new hair do)

MLK jr day!

No school!

I watched the first episode of Season 3 of Downton Abbey.  Disappointed.  Not as gripping and Lady Mary is becoming unlikable again.  Poor Mr. Bates.  When I told Mark season 3 is not as good.  He replied, “Does that mean we can have sex again?”

I’m so happy not to have the morning school rush.  I’m taking the kids to a friends pool.  The other day I was volunteering at Vivien’s school for lunch duty.  I put that fish net cap on and the power goes to my head.  I became the mean lunch lady.

kid “I don’t want salad”

me “You take the salad, you need to eat vegetables.”

After I had foisted salad on kids who no doubt chucked into the trash I was told if they take the fruit we don’t have to make them take the salad. But, I was mad to make some mark on these kids

kid “no salad, fruit”

me “Please?  Say thank you.”

The other moms looked scared of me.  Not sure.  We all had different native tongues so hard  to bond.

This recent mail I got didn’t improve my mood.

Are 40’s the new senior? Or is it the hair net?

 

 

don’t chase the party

My motto for New Year’s.  Granted it’s harder to chase a party with a 3 and a 7 year old in tow, but I wish I had figured this out when I was like, um 24.  It’s so magical when everything comes together.  Everyone is on the same wavelength.

For several years I had lovely dinners at Campanile on New Years with friends. But, the last few years I didn’t go as baby sitting is difficult and I was tired.  I started doing East Coast New Years.  Countdown at 9pm with a few friends at home and then lights out.

This year was the first in over 30 years that Mark didn’t work New Year’s Eve.  I’ve always had to share him with others.  So, Mark, Viv, Rex and I went down to Palm Springs and spent a couple of nights in a condo.   It was pretty cold down there, but we hiked one day.

We went to a kid’s museum where it’s a treat to pretend to be grocery shoppers. As opposed to when are an adult and it’s the dullest, most repetitive chore this side of unloading a dishwasher.

We went to the snow via the tram another day. It’s pretty fab that you can go from desert to snow in ten minutes.  We learned that our kids are as snow adverse as we are.  Two hours were more than enough for all.  Phew, was afraid I’d have to pay for skiing one day.  Let some other white mom do that.

Sure, first it’s fun.

Then that fluffy white stuff gets cold.  I think this is the moment when the Vivster turned on the winter wonderland.

So, that brings us to New Years.   No planning= magic.  Or at least managed expectations.  Otherwise New Years can be as bleak as Valentine’s day after a break up.

It’s easy to stay at home (or temporary, rented condo home) on New Years when we travel with one of the best chefs.  While Rex napped, Mark made a great dinner, anchored by his roast chicken.  Vivien and I watched “Empire Strikes Back”.  I felt like I was giving her a hit of the pop cultural crack pipe.  “THIS IS THE BEST MOVIE!” I gushed like a pusher.

Viv, “Why is that man in that black case?”  Since Star Wars runs through my brain as if it’s my own life it was odd to have to explain Darth Vader.

“Okay, I’m going to pause it.  Yoda just said to Obie Wan, ‘there is another’, Bookmark that.”

We had a our dinner.  Popped New years crackers with funny hats and toys. We were all chatting and laughing.  Toasting MP for his great dinner.

I asked everyone to say what were the best things about 2012.

“Okay!” everyone went along with me.  Mind you, had the kids not been there Mark and I would have been howling “WHAT a F–ing awful year!  We closed two businesses.  UGH”  But, instead I concentrated on the positive, “Kevin being nominated for an Oscar and Leslie’s wedding“.

Then I asked everyone to write down something they wanted to leave behind in ’12.   I asked that they stay private and that then we burn them.  Everyone was game.  I told Rex he could just scribble his down and think it. But, he said he wanted to share.

” I don’t like being in the car on the freeway.” I was sorry he mentioned it because there is scant chance we can go through 2013 without driving on a freeway.  If so, what does that do to the pain I want to leave behind in ’12? Maybe I can take more surface streets.  My belief in New Years Magic might be challenged.

We went out to the patio and watched the dregs of 2012 quickly burn.  I wanted to have a moment to mediate on us  leaving our hardships behind.  I wanted to allow our collective ritual to digest in our mind.

But, it was really cold and Mark spied the TV,

“Return of the Jedi’ is starting.”  They all ran toward the door.  As Jabba the hut spoke I interjected, “Hey, didn’t everyone feel good about that leaving behind, burning thing? ”  Silence. “That was good, huh?”

Silence as they were focused on trying to get Hans Solo unfrozen.

Princess Leia was in her bikini chained up.  “You know”, I said to no on in particular, use to being ignored at this point. “Carrie Fisher was starving herself and doing drugs to get that thin for this movie.” 6 eyeballs stayed focused on the screen.

The party had peaked.  It’s best to know when to wrap it up.

Happy New Year

 

it’s getting real

We are now 36 hours from the close of Campanile.  It’s been a month long wake.  Great to see people, lots of drinking, yet tinge of sadness.  It’s hard to write about as I’m going through.  I did finally cry yesterday.  I was talking to a total stranger. A friend of a waiter who had a kind face and without expecting I blubbered for a few seconds.

My sister’s said “we want to be there for you for the last night, to support you.”  Really, why?  I thought at first, so deep is my survival denial.  But, now it’s sinking in.  The epicenter of my husband’s professional life and that which we schedule most of our family life around is closing it’s doors.  Forever.

PACKING UP Mark's OFFICE

Will there be other projects, jobs?  Sure, but the place where my husband cemented his reputation, where I accidentally walked in one day and met the man I would marry and have babies with is closing.  Forever.

I saw the chef and restaurateur who are taking over the building in there the other day looking at the space with their architect.  Sizing up their remodel.  I said nothing.  I turned away.  LIke seeing a body measured for a coffin before it’s cold. That chef blabbed to a food blogger before Mark could speak to his staff.  I have nothing to say to him.

This reminds me of when I had to sell my house years ago post Madoff.  One more fucking loss.

I am an optimist and I always try to keep it together for my kids and show them that no matter what the core is our family.  But, I have to find a way to process this, feel it so I can move on.  I think that’s often the hard part for parents. How do you go through your own emotional crap without inflicting it on your kids?

I’m going to shoot “Vivien’s Campanile” today.

campanile kid

My support, sisters, mom, niece

A video of how she has seen it. Per her request I cannot share it outside of our family.  I want to record her memories, her special hiding places.  My dear step daughter Vanessa has come out from NYC for the close ( and happily missing Sandy).

siblings

It’s great to have her here.

our friend Jack
My sister Cecily and Mark

Hugs from friends and regulars

I still am not clear how I feel… maybe next week I’ll know.

Fine Dining Tramp

The announcement of Mark’s iconic LA restaurant, Campanile, closing has met with many stunned expressions.  Regular folk commenting on their Facebook page or in person how sad they are, how much they will miss it.  I love the respect and attention Mark and his staff are getting.

My sister and I couldn’t help injecting some humor into the final days. We created “Occupy Campanile” shirts.  The slogan, “So, we can still eat like the 1%”.  

I have had a lot of insomnia trying to conceive how it will feel on November first when we can no longer go there.  How will Mark feel?  I can’t wrap my brain around it.  They are doing a final blow bash on Oct. 31, all you can eat and drink for $89 ( the year they opened).  Black and White masked ball.  I’m taking the kids trick or treating, then deposit them with a sitter and go to the final soiree.

What time should the drunken crying start?

Lot’s of taxis will be called and I’m having the sitter spend the night and take the kids to school the next morning. I’m fully expecting Mark and I to be wiped out. I’ll be hung over, but I think we will both be emotionally exhausted.

However.. I’m enjoying every last minute of Campanile.  Vivien looks at me after we have done her homework, “Are you going out tonight, AGAIN?”

“Yes, I told you I’m going out a lot to the restaurant.  I’ll be home in November rocking back and forth in a dark room.”

Every night, it’s with someone different.  I’m a fine dining slut.  One night with my sisters and mom.  The next night with my friend Inge Lise, the other day I had a lunch date and a dinner date in the same day.  I walked to dinner to work off lunch. Two in a day. Such a fine dining hussy.

Then the kids and I got dressed up and met up with my “school husband” my co room parent Jasen and his son.  We also brought Flat Holden, a representative of our friend in Nashville, and enjoyed the last ever fried chicken night at Campanile.The next night I went there with a couple. Such a harlot.

Then I went with my entire dinner club, past and present, and a couple of babies.  It was my dinner club that lead me to meet Mark and then get asked out by Mark.

Magic moments have occurred here for me, and many others.  I’ve been so fortunate to have this dining salon to meet old friends and make new ones.  I’m not taking this lying down.  I’m sitting up, chatting and eating.

What a way to go.

Better start cooking: crispy eggs

Since Campanile is closing at the end of the month I’m going to have to step up my game.  Granted, Chef Peel will be home more so I might get some home cooked meals, but I am usually the cooker or at least the Executive Chef.  So, While I’m running to feast at my husband’s fantastic restaurant for dinner as much as I can I thought I’d start on breakfast.  When Vivien was little we went out to breakfast a lot, but Rex doesn’t have her ability to sit still so I’ve been working on creative breakfast for longer. This recipe came about the other weekend after I had made bacon for Rex. I cooked this in bacon fat with a small pat of butter for flavor.

1 corn tortilla, 2 eggs, ( you could use olive oil instead of bacon fat), butter, salt and pepper, boring taco cheese. When I do it again I will also add a little diced onion in the saute.

Cut up the tortilla in small strips. Put in iron pan with olive oil, don’t be stingy

I’m trying to make a crust.  Cook till you see it brown on the edges, about 5 min.

crack in two eggs and pierce the yolks to spread around.

throw on the pre grated taco cheese.  Could I use better cheese? yeah, but I always have this stuff on hand because the kids like it on their tacos and I’m in a hurry and don’t want to chop or grate anything in the morning.

then, flip it over

There it is.  It looks like fried potatoes.   I meant to eat half and give the other half to Mark, but I inhaled the whole thing.  I was full till 3pm!

 

I need a better name then “crispy eggs”.  Any ideas?

June Gloom

IT has arrived IT is the haze that moves in on Southern California every June ( sometimes May, but we were spared this year).  People who live in colder climates will know doubt say, “cry me a river”.  For us who are use to days on end of perfect days the unceasing haze can drive us to re up long dormant prescriptions for happy pills, or try out new cocktails.

The trip I had postponed so I could be home for Oliver’s prom. With five offspring there is never a good time to get away. By going away this weekend we missed Viv’s best friend’s birthday party and spending time with my stepdaughter who is visiting ( we will see her this week however), but I would lose the money I had put down on the cabin so we went.

Just getting my husband away from striking distance from his restaurant has value.  He is trapped, he has to stay with us.  We drove north and stopped at this cute little place in Summerland.  I really wanted a non corporate cup of coffee and this place, Cafe Luna, reminded me of college days in Santa Cruz.  The kids loved their smoothies.Just when we were going to get back on the road to our “glamping” site Mark spied an outdoor oven in the back.  Ends up they have a chef and make a few things in this outdoor oven for dinner.  Oh, let’s stay I said.  I chatted up the owner ala John Carl Brogdonand ordered the roast chicken- fantastic and the meat loaf, good, but would use a tad less sauce and peppers.  The smashed potatoes had rosemary and truffle oil. Yum.  We brought in our bottle of Sancerre we had.  The kids could scamper on the patio.

a little self portrait

Great places for a family.  We hit the road the next morning awoke to a gloomy day north of Santa Barbara.  Sigh.  There goes the beach swim thing.

Fortunately, a Llama farm hike saved the day.  We hiked up a hill to visit with Llama and goats and sheep with a view of the water. Usually I only see this view from the window of a speeding car.  It was nice to be in it instead of looking at it. We didn’t need clear sun to make this a sweet outing.

 

For dinner we made tri tip over an open fire.  Great for the kids to scamper outside.  Dodge poison oak instead of cars, avoid skunks instead of creepy people who park their cars a little long on a street.  But, dang it, there is NO way to look pretty when you camp.  It can get to me. 

I told Mark that if we could cover our computers, TV and phones at home we could stay in our home comfy home with our full bar and save a lot of money.  He would have to vow to stay with us for 36 hours.  Even on the hike I caught him checking his phone sometimes, “put that down” I yelled.

That night the place we stayed had an awesome band, “The Rawhides”.  Country by way of rocka billy.  They were tight.  I loved hearing music, outdoors and being able to dance with my kids.  The normal schlep of concerts.  Babysitters, late at night, sitting down or standing up in a stinky bar does not appeal to me, but I miss out on the magic of live music.  Here we got it.  I danced some, but the sweetest thing was to see Viv and her dad dance.  They never sat down.

The next morning more haze.  I needed some reframing, ” let’s see the beautiful overcast beach” in my head I thought, “I’ll pretend it’s the Oregon Coast”.  My sensitivity to cloudy weather is a big reason I fled back home after many years in Northern California.  But, this morning I adjusted, we all did.  

I love this picture.

Of course when we got back to the big city the haze had burned off.   I did three loads of laundry. And more gloom with my dinner. It laid an egg.  Oliver didn’t eat it because I had served him a late lunch, Vivien said, “Is that all there is?”  Pork and Salad. What more do you want?

“all pork is dry”

” Where are you picking up these crazy ideas.  It’s pork shoulder not a chop.  I brined it.”

She was use to Sunday dinner with dad when their are more things on the table.  I found some leftover arancini balls and she ate those.  Rex was wound up. Literally.  He was lying in my suitcase, nearby as I had unloaded it’s contents into the washing machine.  ( Later I tricked him into eating while he watched Mickey Mouse on youtube)

I fell asleep holding Rex and smelling the campfire in his hair.  I’ll deal with that tomorrow.

 

Memorializing and a quiz

Memorial day is a funny day to celebrate.  People died, that sucked.  But, nonetheless Vivien greeted us in the morning, “Happy Memorial day!”  It was a day off for her and the opening of her cousin’s pool for the season, so it was a happy day.

Later a big table of family and friends went to Campanile for it’s annual Memorial Day BBQ insert shot of me shoving pork ribs in my mouth, had I thought to take a picture).  We had three departed dads between us.  We toasted them.  My father was in the service during the Korean War.  He never left Virginia, but knowing my dad I bet he saw action!  ( ba- dum)

Sometimes there is almost a moment where you forget your loved one is dead.  The  next moment you think it can’t be true.

The food of course was great and I’m picking the rib meat out of my teeth still ( well, I ate leftovers for lunch).  My contribution to the dinner was making a Quiz for the diners.  I love games and I thought I would share it with you.  It’s from a variety of sources.  Answers below.

Have a good week.

1)These three holidays are tops in BBQing.  Please rank from 1 to 3

Memorial Day
Labor Day
4th of July

2) Decorating soliders graves took off during which war?

3) Memorial Day was declared a Federal Holiday under which President?

Grant
Wilson
Roosevelt
Nixon

4) The United States Naval Academy is located in what state?

Maine

New York

Maryland

Virginia

5)Their motto, “Semper Paratus,” means “always ready.”

Marines

Coast Guard

Army

Air Force

6) In which war did Deborah Sampson disguise herself as a man so that she could go to battle as a solider?

 

7) What is the Maximum Number of Dependents (under the age of
18) that one is allowed to have in order to enlist in the U.S.
Armed Forces?

8) Whose picture is on the Purple Heart medal?

A) President Lincoln   B) An unidentified soldier   C)President Washington
D) The First Secretary of Defense
a) One    b) Two    c) Five     d) No Maximum

9) In which war were tanks introduced?

10)
Which Country introduced them?

11)
What was the nickname of the B-17 in WWII ?

 

Answers below

////////////////////////////////////////////////////

1) 4th of july is number one, then Memorial, then Labor

2) civil war

3) Nixon… 1971 it became a federal holiday

4) Maryland

5) coast guard

6) Revolutionary War.  I was fascinated with her as a kid.  My mom use to take us to the Sisterhood bookstore in Westwood.  I bought a book called “The Secret Solider“.  How Debra Sampson disguised as a man fought the British.  She was found out when she was shot and they ripped off her pants to give her medical treatment.  She was cool.

7) 2

8)  Washington

9) WW1

10) Britain,  most people guess Germany, but there tanks were not great

11) The Flying Fortress