My husband knows his meat


In the ramp up to our one night only event at The Tar Pit Mark and chef Roy Choi visited the best butcher in Los Angeles.  Harvey Gussman is a legend to chefs in LA.  In France their is a great appreciation for a good butcher.  In our jumbo corporate food world this art gets lost.  But, you can taste the difference between a good steak and a lousy one.  It’s not just the chef, he needs the right tools. on Flickr”>meat
I learned a lot watching this video.  I also know that if I became a vegan my marriage would be in jeopardy.  Well, Mark says we’d have to go to counselling.

Check out two food legends discuss their knowledge of meat.  Food lovers, like moi, love this stuff.

What a week


a death,

a stomach bug,

a big food event.

This has been the last few days.  Sunday morning I was at cheap hair salon in a rundown mini mall getting a blow out in preparation for Oscar night.  I went there because there is not a lot open in the way of hair on Sundays and it’s cheap.

My friends Heather and Nina, with her darling little girl Ruby, had road tripped down from San Francisco for the fun times.  Feeling good.

Then my sister Cecily called and told me her father in law Louis Mitchell had just died. Ugh.  My tummy started to hurt. Hurt for his family and recalled for me my own father’s passing.  So sad for my brother in law.  I knew he would feel the pain in his head, stomach, neck.  His father had been sick for a while, but it’s always a blow no matter how prepared you think you are. Now my brother in law was “in the club” as my friend Nina puts it. That means someone who has lost a parent.
“I can drop everything, do you need me?”  Cecily said no.  The Oscars didn’t seem quite so important anymore. Nevertheless, that hard lesson when someone you love passes is life does go on.  Although what was to be a total fun day had a tinge of darkness on it. It was also a tad annoying to have the guy who was doing my hair, “What happened?”

I told him.

“Oh, God bless, light some candles.  Light some candles.”  He repeated this so many times I was tempted to say “why is there a power outage?”  I wanted to be sad for the moment, but didn’t want to mourn next to this guy who reeked of tobacco who believed candles held the key to grieving.
I raced home to take Rex to a kiddie party, but he was asleep.  So, Heather and I decided to go and see if the Oscar attendees needed our help.  The show starts at 5:30 so Carole’s hair and make up lady arrived at 11:30.  Kevin got tickets to the big show for his brother and his wife, Meaghan and my nephew.  I was glad I showed up because I helped Meaghan with her hair.
It was fun to see Carole getting all dolled up.  The nominee was relaxed.  He was jotting down a few things to say in case he won, but he wouldn’t share them with us.  The car arrived at 2, though they didn’t get in the car till about 2:45.
Heather said, “We have to get ready!”  So, back home we went.
Seeing Carole’s pro make up made me spend a bit more time on my own.  I was walking the red carpet , but was presiding over an Oscar watch party and Campanile and then Heather and I were going to the Fox Searchlight post Oscar party.
Rex said, “I want to wear something handsome.”  So, we put on his vest and good pants.  Vivien loves to get dressed up.  My mom had arrived at our home at 3pm and settled into watch the red carpet hoping for a glimpse of Carole and Kevin. We figured they wouldn’t do an interview with him on the big stations, but we might see him. She kept moving the channel around from E! to TV Guide ( oh people still work there?), to the our local coverage.  She didn’t see here.  Meanwhile I was getting texts from my cousin Mary and another friend, “I just saw her.”  “She is by Octavia Spencer.”
Me, my friends, kids, mom, Mark and Oliver and Dolly our baby sitter went of to Campanile.  It was so cool.
The catering director had set it up perfectly.  He had a big TV set up on one wall and rows of tables in C shapes fanned to the back.  Friends of ours trooped in.  I ordered everyone to fill out their ballot. The winning one would win a $50 gift card to Campanile.
As the show began we were all craning to see if we could spot them.
“They are in Row k”  My mom started counting back from the stage, “a, b, c”  Then our friend yelled, “there she is.”
They were towards the back, but visible and Kevin was on the aisle.  My mom was chuffed.  We all knew what it meant.  Winners are sat on the aisle. Time seem to fly ( not something I usually say watching the Oscars.) The Oscars are more fun to watch with 42 of your friends and family while you served the best food in LA. I didn’t have a seat for awhile.  Rex had kicked me out of our shared seat, “mommy, go get your own chair.”  But, he got tired so Dolly took him home and I got to sit down in front next to my mom.  Vivien was happy hanging with her cousin and grandma’s.

Cecily and Lily had shown up.  She had been tending to her grieving in laws, but said, “not to be insensitive, but I’ve got an Oscar party to go to.” They all understood, “Good Luck to Kevin.”.
All of a sudden it was the editing award. What?? Everyone figured his competition was from “the Artist”, as they were favored to win best picture. The day before the editor of “Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” ( who had won last year for “Social Network” told Kevin, “I”m rooting for you.”) They showed quick clips of all the editors talking.  When Kevin’s face came up we don’t know what he said because we were all screaming.
“and the Oscar goes to…”Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.”
We all slumped our shoulders a bit as we saw my sister Carole in the audience mouth “Wow.”  The winners were behind them and she said they were surprised as well.
After a few minutes I got up in front of the crowd and said, “Okay, let’s all do this together, AHHHHH.”
Many of us were saying, “hey he was nominated!” or “he will be back”.  Cecily said, “I’m taking this harder than everyone else, I just wanted some good news today.”
We did get one thing to cheer about Alexander Payne, and his co writers took the gold for adapted Screenplay for “The Desendants”. He is one of Kevin’s best friends and good person.  It would be the pictures only win, I’m glad they got something.
We also whooped it up when we got some more good shots of Carole and Kevin.

Particularly when they gave an ovation to Oprah, James Earl Jones and the other special award winners there was a shot primarly of them clapping and smiling.
I got texts from my cousin “great shot of Carole”.  People were cheering for Kevin all across the country.  His family who live outside of Buffalo even had a story about their watch party.  With a world full of cynics it’s sweet when people root for each other.
Party was done and all departed.  Heather and I drove up to the after party.  Some of the stars of “The Desendants” were there.  My nephew and his aunt and uncle.  We heard about their time at the Oscars.
After a while Carole and Kevin showed up.
The were in a great mood, it was all exciting even without the win.   Then a big cheer went up.  Alexander had walked in holding his gold.  It took him a while to get to us and when he did I asked if I could take a picture with he and his Oscar.
“Only if you hold it” say things that make me love you more.  Heather snapped the picture.  But the flash didn’t go off.  I turned and Carole, Kevin and Alexander had walked out the door.  I went after them.  “What’s going on ?”

“We are going to the Governer’s ball”  Carole said.  It was perfect timing because I was exhausted, but I was gouch enough to want my picture.  So I asked Alexander fro a retake. In reality he obliged kindly, but this picture makes me look like a crazy stalker and he like he just had root canal or perhaps fears the crazy stalker.
I’m not going to kid you.  I was trashed the next day.  Trashed.  I can’t stay up till 12:45, and not be.  Plus there was so much emotion in the day.  I cancelled everything on Monday to spend time with Cecily.
Tuesday I woke up sick, sick, sick.  I’m just coming out of it now. But, since I’ve only eaten jell-o and tea I’m almost at my ideal weight!
Tonight is the big Mark Peel Roy Choi mashup that I came up with ( yeah me!).  I’m telling my tummy to get it together because I want to eat the great food.  The event is sold out.
Ah, La Vida.

Diner home cooking and Roy Choi, Mark Peel Mashup

I get asked a lot “why do you ever cook? Your husband must do all the cooking.”
My standard answer is “if I am at his restaurant he does.” Even when Mark is home at night ( at most two nights a week) I am the executive chef and he is my sou chef.   I tell him what we have and what I was thinking, then he takes and comes up with something.  Is that something that would be featured on a special tasting menu at Campanile?  Not usually.   The kind of food a great restaurant makes is a little too involved for a family of five when small kids and one grown lady will get really cranky if they don’t eat on time.
Also, I have to remind Chef Peel about what the kids will really eat.  I use to say, “okay, we have sausages, broccoli, grape tomatoes and various pasta.”  Mark would cook it all, and spice it well, then he would put it ALL TOGETHER.  For a my little kids that was a big yuck.
“No, the sausage, must stand alone, the broccoli, must stand alone, and so on.”
I will never be a chef like my husband.  Not even close.  But, I have realized I am a diner cook.  If you walked into a NY diner and looked at the menu, that’s the kind of stuff I can do pretty well.  Chicken Milanese, fettucine alfredo.  My vegis are way better than a diner, though. When I want exciting food, I can go out.
Speaking of going out. I’m very proud of putting together a special culinary event. Even people out of LA have heard of the Kogi truck.  Chef Roy Choi put delish Korean meats in a taco and a cult following was born.  He is a very creative chef who has branched out into restaurants without wheels as well.  I went to his latest restaurant, The Sunny Shack and loved it.  I knew Mark would love the adventurous spices, the stewed goat.  Mark kept back with me one night and they chefs were pleased to talk about their shared passion.  Roy had been a fan of Marks.  I said, “Hey, would you do a special night at the Tar Pit?”
Several weeks and our team and Roy’s great team meeting and such and an exciting night is born.  Here is the flyer the Kogi gang put together that I love.
choi peel

The event is almost sold out.  I don’t even have a seat.  I’m meeting with our managers today about the event and one thing on my agenda is, “can you guys set aside some food for me?”

Packing for the Park


I always get hungry when I take my kids to a park or playspace.  I think because I know there will be NOTHING to eat or only cheddar bunnies my fear of starvation kicks in.  I well remember dragging Vivien out of the park for no better reason than mommy was hungry and getting cranky.
I figured this out when I was picking fights with 2 year olds over whose shovel that was.  “I wrote our name on it kid.”
So, I do gas before I go.  But, I still feel like a piker in the park planning department.

and the winner is…

One more week to the Oscar’s, but this past weekend was the A.C.E. awards, the Editors associations awards known as the Eddy’s. My brother in law Kevin Tent has been nominated before, but the first year he is also nominated for an Oscar.  It was a big gala at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. Yes, I did see the Whitney Houston shrine outside. Before the award show my sister Carole and family went to a rooftop party where Kevin snapped this stunning picture of her.  Who says you have to be 20 to be a knockout?
Fwd: pic by LT
The Brogdon Tents walked the marble carpet.
Fwd: marble carpet
The Bev Hilton has a big room where a lot of the award shows are done and my prom was there.

Kevin got my mom and I  and his sister Lauren tickets.  Carole, Kev and my nephew Charlie were sitting up front with people from Fox Searchlight.  We were farther back, but staked out seats with good views of the show.  It was an enjoyable award show. Most are dreadful. But, this moved along and Patton Oswald was a hilarious host.
“I haven’t seen this many cutters in the room since the Teen choice awards.”

Clint Eastwood handed out an award. He was charming and funny and you know, he was Clint Eastwood! Kevin and Reese Witherspoon , looking thin and sophisticated in a black suit presented a special award to Alexander Payne ( who lavished praise on KT).

“The Artist” has such a buzz behind it I wasn’t thinking of Kevin winning, but about 30 minutes into the show I suddenly thought, “Kevin is going to win”. My wise nephew (14) said, “I knew he was going to win when I saw “The Artist” was in a different category.” Savvy Hollywood kid.
Fwd: love
By the way, most banquet food is pretty banal, but the Bev Hilton did a darn good job with the food.  Serving 1,500 people is no small thing at that level of quality.

The Eddy’s divide best editing in dramatic and comedy/musical.  “The Artist” was in the latter.  They won that.  “The Descendant’s” was in the drama category.  Before the show got going I ran down from the “bleachers” and visited with Carole. She was sitting next to two of the actors from the film. Judy Greer, who I think is rubbing embryonic cells on her face as she has the best skin.  She said she loves going to The Tar Pit, which made me like her even more.  Matthew Lillard, who plays her spouse was there.  Very nice guy.  I told him he is one of the those guys who gets cuter as he gets older.  I followed that up with , “I have to flirt, my mom is my date tonight and I don’t think she is going to put out.”

Okay, so after the baked Alaska the show was humming along.  The VERY last award given out was for best edited film dramatic.  I was sitting in between Lauren and my mom.  I had butterflies in my tummy. I grabbed their hands as that hunk from “Friday Night Lights” said, “and the Eddy goes to Kevin Tent!”

We jumped up, screamed, I said to Lauren, “aren’t you glad you came? ( from Buffalo)”  It is VERY nice to hear the voice called you want to hear.
Unlike when I was nominated for a Northern Cal. Emmy and lost to the now defunct Tech TV.  Yes, I’m bitter.
Kevin got up and thanked his wife of 25 years Carole Brogdon first.  Then his son Charlie, “who our life revolves around.”  He did great.  He said he was nervous and doesn’t remember what he said, but he was gracious and dear.

You can see we are pretty happy.

I am so glad I still have some nice duds from when I had money.  I was wearing a Prada dress my BGF Michael told me to buy years ago ( thank you) when it went on sale.  I had patent leather burgundy Manolo’s that Mark gave me as a push present when Vivien was born.  I had on underneath a bustier which was more valuable than spanx.
My dogs were barking as I limped to the valet, but it was a great night.

Moo business cards ( give a way) WINNER PICKED

THANKS TO ALL FOR PLAYING!  The winner is Hippittie ( aka Jill)  ENJOY YOUR MOO CARDS, I  LOVE MINE.

Want to win free business cards? How about  3 sets of 100 business cards and also a StickerBook (180 stickers). Pretty colors, nice card stock.

This grown up thing sort of throws me sometimes.  I should put on make up, oh, but running to get the kids out the door.
I should not wear a track suit…oh, but see above.

People ask me for a buisness card.  Um, I don’t have any.
I use to have cards that Deca ( the company that I partnered with to create cool mom and momversation) made for me.  They ran out a while ago and I’m more of a contributor/freelancer there now than partner, so I’m on my own. I’ve been scribbling my info on post it’s or taking my husband’s biz cards and writing my number and email on them.  Shoddy, really shoddy.  I didn’t want to go get the cheap kind I had years ago.  The one with the generic logo of a plumber or a rose that you can get at Staple like stores.  Blah card stock.

So, enter  Last year they asked me if needed some cards of any sort and could we partner for a give a way.  Months later I finally pulled the trigger.  I wanted to try out their site and product before I would share it. I am happy to say their site is VERY easy to navigate for making business cards.  I wanted the mini cards.  I uploaded a picture easily.  The same on I use on bio page ( thanks TV Guide for hiring the pro photog for that session back when you employed me.)  I picked a color that went with my site and done.  They arrived promptly and very nicely displayed.  of course in my house they look like this now:


But, when they arrived they looked like this:

So, this goes with my 2012 theme of REINVENTION.  Is it time to for you to take yourself seriously and get some business cards.  If you are a stay at home mom, you need them.  Why scribble crap down, being a parent is a job.  Are you a jack of all trades, freelancer, SAHM like me?  Well, make up a title or don’t put one.  I chose “vlogger/humorist”.  I figured that encompasses my other work in case I’m allowed back on TV or radio again.

I need cards also because my handwriting is like a seriel killer. People say “I couldn’t send you an email,it bounced back.”  (because my writing is cryptic better suited for “look for the bodies over here”) Oh, the lost opportunities!  Ellen, try again, I love JC Penny.

2012 is Reinvention year, give yourself whatever title you want. Leave a serious or joke title below and you will be entered to win a set of gift cards from Moo. My sister said this is confusing, just comment anything, I want to win, HI Daphne, whatever and you will be entered to win.
I’ll start : rocket scientist,  globe trotter, chanteuse.

3 sets of 100 business cards and also a StickerBook (180 stickers) WIN


Good Luck.
So, leave a comment…now.

Lactation help


I don’t often interview folks here on Coolmom. But, if someone is going to talk about crusty, bloody nipples, I’m in! I don’t interview many people mostly, because they don’t appear in my kitchen. If they did I would interview lots of people.  But, recently a PR gal asked if I wanted to interview Sara Chana, “international board-certified lactation consultant, birthing instructor, classical homeopath and herbalist can guide your viewers from adolescence, through pregnancy and childbirth on to menopause.” Well, that’s a lot to cover and since I don’t like any video that goes on longer than 2.5 minutes I would most like to talk lactation.  Sara, is also the mother of 7.

Would she appear in my kitchen?  No, but she could appear at her PR gal’s office blocks from Rex’s pre school.  So, before pick up I threw the tripod and my Z18 kodak camera and off I went.  We talked on the roof, and we were back lit and I didn’t bring my clamp for my camera light!  But, next time I try to be coolmom reporter I’ll do better.

Meanwhile, check out the energetic Sara telling me something about lactation I didn’t know.  Which is something as I nursed both of my kids past two years.

For more on this plucky educator go to her site


Today Rex is 3.  Today is my son’s 3rd birthday.

  • 3 years ago today Mark and I went to the hospital and met my mom there.  We waited as I was prepped.  We were all happy.  I had been fasting in anticipation of my c section.  But, I wasn’t thinking about food.  I was nervous about the dreaded IV, but all my requests for “a good stick” bore fruit.  A nurse came and slipped it in me with no more pain than a blood test.  After that I relaxed.

I had the happiest delivery.  I did a video about it the next day (see brand new Rex here).  I am so glad I had my mom with me for the magic moment of the birth of my last baby and her last grandchild. The room had a lot of good female energy from the nurse, to the doctor as well.  The other doctor was my doctor’s father who also delivered Vivien and my niece.  Mark and I were so excited to meet our son.

I had never had a son before, Mark had, but I hadn’t.  What would that be like?

I made a point to ( well let’s say a protest) to the staff that I must hold Rex when he is born.  I felt robbed of this at Vivien’s birth.  My arms were strapped down in a crucifix style and I could kiss her check, but not hold her.  I really didn’t like that.  The surgical nurse said they feared a sudden movement on my part would throw my arms into “the field of surgery”.  When you are that numbed up you don’t always know what’s going on a few inches away.  I said, “strap me down all you want until he is cleaned and wrapped, then let me out so I can hold my boy.” Agreed.

He was crying as he came out.  He cried as they checked him.  He cried as Mark carried him to me.  But, when I took him into my arms and held him his crying stopped.  I breathed deeply. We could feel each other’s heartbeats again.  We were in concert. He was calm. He was healthy, a wonder.  He wasn’t Rex yet, he had no name.  He was my baby love. It was probably the best moment of my life.
3rd bday
3rd bday

We had been robbed of our savings, forced to sell our home in a total financial catastrophe, but none of that mattered when he was born.  It only highlighted the difference of what really endures.
3rd bday

my father with Rex

When he was a 7 weeks old Rex had a serious health scare.  They feared menningitis.  It was after midnight as I held Rex who had just been through hell as several nurses tried to get an IV in him.  No, good stick here. It took several tries.  I nursed him.   I had called my sister’s house.  My brother in law Kevin had answered with “what is the matter?”  Since I don’t usually call at midnight.

“Rex is sick” I started crying ” I need you guys to take care of Vivien”.  More tears.  He said they would. She was home with Oliver and a babysitter, but we didn’t know when we were coming home.

Mark’s eyes were damp and hollow as I said,”I would give every cent we lost and every cent we haven’t lost to make Rex ok.”
Mark nodded his head emphatically, but wearily, there was no question. We got lucky, we took our healthy baby home after a few days.

3rd bday

I really enjoy being Rex’s mom.  I was more prepared the second time around.  My dad use to say, “how you girls came out is who you were. Your personality did not change.” That first warm comforting embrace Rex and I had 3 years ago I had this morning.

3rd bday

Rex with his big brother

Almost every night Rex leaves his room and climbs into our bed and lays down between us.  When Vivien was little I was so by the book and would put her back in her bed.  But, partly I’m older and more tired and partyly because now I know how fleeting the years of cuddles are I let him stay.  I have a big bed.  Sometimes Mark complains, “Rex tried to push me out of bed last night.”
3rd bday

nursed till almost 2 and half.  Our last time

“Funny, he never does that to me.”  Sure, sometimes I get a foot in my face, but this morning about 5am Rex sleeply said to me in my half sleep state, “Momma, I love you so much and rolled into my arms.”
I took a deep breathe and felt his heart beat next to mine.  I smelled the top of his freshly washed hair.  I woke myself a little thinking of the morning he was born.  Then fell back to sleep for another hour.  When I woke up Rex was still in my arms.

I want him to stay there as long as he will.
3rd bday


Oscar nominee lunch

I could blog about money woes, some blogger job crap, a family member’s health issues, but why?  Let’s celebrate the good.  So, as I have mentioned my brother in law Kevin Tent is NOMINATED FOR AN ACADEMY AWARD.  I’ve hooked my sister up with hair and make up and we went to my designer friend Kevan Hall for her dress.  He has dressed Vanessa Williams among others and is a class act.
But, before the big NIGHT is a big day.  When all of the nominees go to lunch. I mean ALL of them.  George Clooney, Meryl Street, Brad Pitt, and my brother in law!  My sister got to go as well.
Here’s they are. I don’t know who she is wearing, but it’s spot on perfect for the event.

Fwd: Better one!
Here is Kevin with the head of the Academy on the red carpet.
a href=”http://www.fFwd: walking the nominee carpet w/ prez of Academy
Every year there is an iconic picture of all the nominees together. You scan the pictures looking for the famous among the behind the scenes folk.  Other years I would have thought, get rid of the nobodies, Where is Clooney!  But, this year it was surreal to see my kin folk with the Hollywood heavy hitters.  I know he isn’t a household face, but see if you can spot Kevin.


Clooney is a few rows beneath him in a grey sport coat with that “Artist” hunk next to him. Man, I’d like to the filling in that sandwich.

Recessionista: Leftovers


How to make that dollar stretch further in your kitchen?  Repurpose the leftovers.  Full disclosure: I have learned to make this dish much better since I shot it a few weeks ago.. and no it’s not a frittata, it’s a scramble. My brains were scrambled. I’m no Sandra Lee or Paula Dean ( thank god), but I do have a great apron.

I pride myself on giving recession tips that aren’t fully helpful, because I’m not fully competent.  For more dysfunctional tips see:


At least I have the two cutest sous chefs in town!