Sunday, November 30, 2008


It seems crazy that Thanksgiving has come and gone already--I've been looking forward to the days off for weeks, forgetting that a lot of both days would end up wrapped up in driving to one place or another. We spent Thanksgiving itself at my aunt's house, reminding ourselves how my mom's family puts the fun in dysfunctional. We aren'te the football watching type, so we played Trivial Pursuit instead. To be frank, my mom and I wallupped my husband and uncle pretty thoroughly. They were ready to kill us, mostly because each and every question went something like this:

"This Stetson-clad actor appeard on a 1980 People magazine cover with the phrase 'Whodunnit?"
Mom: "I have no idea."

Me: "Stetson--so it's some kind of Western? Who are some Western actors?"
Mom: "Robert Redford or something...but it's a mystery, too, the Whodunnit thing?"

Me: Wait, wasn't that around the same time as that whole "Who shot JR thing"?
Mom: Right! Dallas!
Me: What was the actor's name?
Mom: Larry Hagman!
Uncle: <flips card> You have got to be kidding me.

And on Saturday I came, I saw, I sort of conquered cooking Thanksgiving dinner at Randy's mom's house. The only caveat? The twelve pound turkey was done in two and a half hours! It was supposed to take three and a half, and when I, out of curiosity, checked it early, it was kind of a surprise. At least I didn't leave it in until it turned into a styrofoam-dry inedible turkey-shaped blob.

Hope everyone's recovered from their food comas!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Lessons for cold-weather camping

We made our way to the eighteenth century and back again yesterday, for a one-day event outside Chicago. The rescheduled day-trip was a reminder of why our regular "season" stops in late October: Anything after that starts to get, simply put, miserable. But we had our little ways of coping and managed to survive and even enjoy ourselves. I learned two lessons worth passing on.

One: This may seem obvious, but fires can singe eyelashes.

Two: Even if you don't think that the shake-to-activate foot warmer packs aren't working, they are. To elaborate: My feet didn't feel warm all day. To the contrary, they were pretty stiff--but when I pulled the little packs out at the end of the day when I changed indoors, they were toasty. I'm now realizing that, without a little chemical help, I wouldn't have felt my feet at all. Yay for heat-producing, probably dangerous chemicals to put in close proximity to my body.

Often I think we chalk up our ancestor's ability to deal with this kind of weather and hardship to "being used to it" or "they were hardier than us." While I agree that our forebearers were certainly a less whiney lot, and had more experience having their faces scoured by biting ice pellets in a November wind, I don't think that they were immune. I think they cursed inwardly at the downpours and wished desperately for a warmer pair of socks in the snow--and that makes managing to withstand and prosper despite the downright nastiness much more impressive.

Regardless, I'll opt for winter camping with shake-to-activate foot warmer pack do-jobs rather than without.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


On what may have been the last decently warm day for a long while, we planted next year's garlic before mulching the garden. We've devoted a spacious chunk of ground to the pungent little cloves that, theoretically, should each be a full bulb by next summer. There are so many cloves embedded in the soil that the garden started to smell like garlic, like a promise of sautéed and roasted dinners still months away.

And now it's gotten cold--it seems like every year the end of fall rear-ends the beginning of winter at an upsetting speed that doesn't allow one to adjust at all. There's frost on the car in the morning now and the months-long battle with the thermostat will begin. I changed out the summer coverlet for the winter bedding this weekend, just in the nick of time. Now I'm digging into soup recipes and planning on minestrone made with the tomato juice I canned a few months ago.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Box o'

I never thought I would be one to extoll the virtues of the box of wine. It seems like a classless concept, suited only to twenty-somethings who start out attempting refinement by upgrading from Keystone and end up spraying each other with a nondescript blush.


There's a new breed of boxed wine out, sized for the fridge and flavored for the grown-up. It's nothing that's going to blow a sommelier's socks off, but it is tasty wine. I wouldn't bust it out for a dinner party or take a box to a friend's as a hostess gift (for some occasions, the bottle speaks a certain dialect that the box can't quite fathom), but for the day-to-day, cup of dry white for a recipe here, glass while watching Top Chef there, it has its advantages. For one, the price is much better than an equivalent bottle. The inexpensive packaging doesn't compromise the flavor, but the savings are passed on to the consumer. Also, the unique packaging, so well suited to the aforementioned spraying, also has a legitimate function: It keeps the wine fresh. As someone who generally doesn't go through a whole bottle of white before it starts to turn, this is a nice bonus. And, of course, the box fits nicely in the fridge for easy dispensing.

My current box is Target's Wine Cube, Pinot Grigio. Suggestions, anyone?

Monday, October 20, 2008

Linen Sheetrock

I am in the middle of sewing a new something, a wool jacket that I hope to have done by the reenactment--rather, Eighteenth Century Market Fair--I'm going to this weekend. I am even more fervent in this hope after reading the weather forecast. Yick--rain and cold. I would be cutting lining now, but I pre-shrunk the lining fabric last night, and draped it over doors to dry, and now the linen is not only not quite dry, but also stiff as a board. On the bright side of things, the jacket won't need boning.

On a whim, I perused some eighteenth-century clothing purveyors online, particularly ones that did custom-made gowns and the like. I was appalled--gowns that I make in a week they claimed took months, and were charging $1000 and up! Beyond that, the fabric wasn't even quite right. Makes me want to set up shop in webernetworld, but I think it comes down to really only enjoying making things for myself. I'm selfish that way--though I suppose a few hundred dollars a piece would change my tune. Heavens to betsy that's insane.

I think I'll take another look at the linen and get back to things.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Bloody Bagel

Today I became a statistic--I became the victim of the most common kitchen accident, cutting oneself while slicing a bagel. I previously thought that this was a pretty lame kitchen accident, and that mild scalds with teakettles, burning oneself on unattended ranges, or nicking tips of fingers with sharp santukos would be much easier to pull off, but I suprised myself. It was, in fact, quite simple to stab through my palm with a dull knife while separating bagel halves. Yes, to add insult to injury, I was not actually slicing the bage in half, but merely prying apart pre-cut halves. In my defense, the manufacturer's cut was poorly executed and did not effectively create two halves.
In the bagel's defense, I was the one shoving a butter knife through its mostly-frozen innards with a distinct lack of precision.
Also in today's news, discovered a new use for those cheap organza bags that wedding favors often come in by stuffing it with loose catnip and getting the cats thoroughly inebriated. In these times of troubled economics and eco-worry, what's better than cheap entertainment and reusing something at the same time? I can think of few things more amusing than watching cats cope with a loss of dignity. (Don't tell the eco-police, but the bag still ended up in the trash after it was thouroughly slobbered over.)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Complaints--nothing fresh tomato soup won't improve.

It's been awhile, and even so I should be a) drafting protocol for volunteer inspectors for the NWTA documentation-inspection brigade (not really called that, but ought to be); b) laying out the next issue of the NWTA publication I edit that should have gone out two weeks ago (but I'm always late and no one's counting...right?); or, c) any multitude of other projects, large (writing, volumes of writing) or small (cleaning kitchen). But honestly, sometimes the simple production of a little piece of written work can have much more weight of completion than finishing a task one is assigned to do.
In any case, it's been a pathetic sort of week--not enough to do at work to keep the real substance of challenge in the job, and too beautiful outside to ignore the fact that I'm stuck inside with too little to do. The great irony, of course, is that I have heaps of jobs to finish at home, but of course cannot do those at work. There's a quote my boss uses fairly often that describes the antithesis of my feelings of late: "I rise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and enjoy it. This makes it hard to plan my day." By contrast, I am stuck stewing over the fact that I can neither be productive nor simply enjoy. This, like the night, shall also pass.

Lest I sound too unproductive, I did make tomato sauce last night. Randy was out, so I put on my goofy little apron, turned up the Glenn Miller, had a Coke from a nostalgic little bottle, and boiled, chopped, and stewed tomatoes into sauce. It felt very 1940s Victory Garden. All that was missing were the Ball canning jars and the fear of botulism to truly complete the picture of "putting up my tomatoes." Roughly, the process:
1) Core tomatoes while you get a stockpot of water boiling. Have a bowl of ice water at the ready.
2) Place tomatoes in the boiling water for about a minue (until the skin splits or wrinkles). Remove (slotted spoon works nicely) and place in ice water for a minute or so. The skins will peel right off. Slice in half and squeeze out the seeds and juice.
3) Chop. It doesn't need to be pretty.
4) Since I wasn't canning, I just used ingredients that sounded tasty. (When canning, you have to be careful to keep the acidity at the right level, or the aforementioned botulism can develop.) I sauteed garlic (almost a whole head) in a few tablespoons of olive oil, then added about a cup of white wine and cooked most of it off. Then I threw in the tomatoes and some salt and pepper and cooked it down for about an hour. Spoon off extra juice to speed things up. Chopped a few leaves of basil and stir in at the end, but any herbs would do.
----Amazing discovery midway: I hate tomato soup. But as I spooned off some of the extra juices that were cooking out of the tomatoes, it smelled kinda good. So I tried it. Pretty darn good. Then I ate a bowl topped with garlic croutons and fresh-grated Parmesan cheese (two of the five things currently in my pathetic pantry). Flipping amazing. Never underestimate how much better real food can be than fake processed food.

Monday, August 18, 2008


I am clean. This doesn't seem like an eventful happening unless you've had the feeling in recent enough memory of being an utter mess. After a weekend of pouring my own sweat into my clothes and grinding dirt into my bare feet, I was quite thoroughly disgusted with myself. This takes doing.
This is the trouble with eighteenth century clothing and eighteenth century lifestyle. Stays (eighteenth century corsets) don't breathe, and you don't bathe often enough to wash what gathers under them off with any regularity. Add this to the layers of clothes despite heat and humidity and you get the distinct impression that people then must have had nearly dead olfactories or they would have been constantly offending one another.
At least it was cool at night, and well into the morning. I can think of nothing worse than waking up (on the ground no less) already sweating.
Vignette to describe mood of weekend:
A group of us are walking down the street, dressed in various stages of eighteenth century and modern clothing. Some are wearing long linen eighteenth century shirts with shorts, others have peeled off gowns and wear only stays and petticoats with flip flops and sunglasses, some are in full costume and others have changed over completely. A beaten-up car with a rather beaten down man driving it pulls over and the window rolls down. "Any of you know how to get to Wicker Park?" We give each other blank looks and shake our heads. "Sorry, man" "Don't know" and then one guy pipes up "We're not from around here." This may rank as one of the best understatements of the year.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Garden Commune

We branched out into a new venture at work today--the communal company garden. My boss plants a sizeable garden each year, to the point that I'm pretty sure she had the equivalent of a small farm's worth of tomatoes last year. She didn't cage them and it was like a tiny Heart of Darkness in the middle of the lawn. This year we've taken a more commonsense approach and decided that we'll each weed, harvest, or otherwise pitch in a few times a week for a fair share of the harvest.

Today we picked kale, chard, and green beans. We ate the kale, prepared like wilted spinach, with dinner tonight, along with fresh tomato salad. I've decided that feta is preferable to the traditional mozzerella in a summery tomato salad; I get a little bored with the dull palette of mozzerella. It seems like the ripe tomato, biting balsamic, and fragrant basil have little need for the blank sponge that is fresh mozzerella. But that's just my opinion; it's summer, so anything goes with produce.

I think this will be a nice change of pace. Sometime around 2, when I've already had lunch and 5 pm seems a long way off, I can escape a little while and weed a row or two. After all, how many offices let you spend time outdoors doing something literally productive? How many working a 9 to 5 job actually get to have a hand in what they eat for dinner? All I know is, I'm excited to try the chard tomorrow night.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Honey Mustard Chicken Wild Rice Salad

I bought a dress tonight. It was frivolous and femininely froth-headed to do so, but I'm allowed once in a while to be frivolous and feminine. The dress is emerald-green silk. I don't know where I'll wear it. There's perhaps nothing in the world so indulgent as a dress without an occasion. An occasion will come, a wedding or cocktail party, and then the dress will get worn and will loose some of its mystique. I will either become tired of it or it will tire of me. For now it's simply a beguiling, somwhat guilty, extravagance.

Tomorrow is monthly Wine Friday at work. I consider myself lucky to work somewhere that takes itself unseriously enough to mandate a monthly Wine Friday. Sometimes it's Margarita Monday, and, once, Tequila Tuesday. (Tequila Tuesday was an extreme situation and we were all under quite a bit of stress.) Generally, it's Wine Friday and is accompanied by a pitch-in lunch, for which I've made an encore presentation of Honey Mustard Chicken Wild Rice Salad. Honey Mustard Chicken Wild Rice Salad really needs a new name, because it's too much of a mouthful, but my co-worker's label of "That Chicken Stuff" doesn't suit it very well, either.
Honey Mustard Chicken Wild Rice Salad (until a better name comes along)
Cook one decent-sized chicken breast completely. I simmer it in a pan with sauteed garlic, chicken broth, and little orange juice. Shred {ie attack with two forks until in shreds). Prepare Long Grain and Wild Rice (I used Rice-a-Roni; the San Francisco Treat is pretty convenient). Mix rice and chicken, and add a can of mandarin oranges, half a red onion, chopped, and a handful of dried cranberries. Douse with honey mustard dressing (Marzetto's Honey Dijon is a nice one).

Monday, July 21, 2008


I vacuumed slightly less than a cubic foot of solid cat fur tonight. This goes to show two things. One, people with allergies should probably don a biohazard suit before coming within a ten-foot radius of my front door. Two, the first thing anyone should purchase oneself before "taking up housekeeping," as Louisa May Alcott would say, is a Dyson vacuum. Especially if pets are in the picture.

I love my cats, I really do. I love cats in general. I have to resist the temptation to foster every stray cat that comes to my door--and a good thing, too. I would have stolen two of my neighbors' cats by now. I fail at resisting the temptation to feed them, however, and so they keep coming around. But then again, I've always had cats around, so it's a homey, comfortable thing to have. My first word, apparently, was "kitty." This was probably rote memorization and repetition founded primarily on my mother's "No Kitty! Bad Kitty! Down Kitty! Bad Kitty!" rather than an instinctual lean towards felines, but I think it's significant nonetheless.

But despite the fact that they're pesky, shedding creatures with a tendency toward maiowing constantly while shunning your lap, I enjoy them. My husband's best friend's mother ascribes all sorts of human traits to cats, and though I think she goes a bit far (they have people names and people habits and look, to her, like certain people, hence how they come by their people names) they are uncannily knowing sometimes. They look at you, blandly, as though to say "Really, I thought you were above that. Back to washing my face, I suppose." If they made jokes, they would be dry. If they voiced opinions, they would be distant. The only thing keeping them from being too aloof is the fact that they shed embarrasing amounts of fur, and occasionally are moved to hurk something up on the carpet at inoportune moments.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Song in head, Beer in hand.

I get songs caught in my head very, very easily. Right now it's
I'll eat when I am hungry and I'll drink when I am dry,
Get drunk whenever I'm ready, get sober by and by,
And if this river don't drown me, it's down I'll mean to roam,
For I'm a river driver and I'm far away from home.
It could be partially that it's a lovely, cooling evening with textured clouds coloring the sky, and I'm drinking a cold beer and getting a little homesick for white canvas and low-lying embers in fire pits. I'm thinking about the quiet repose after a long day and a satisfying dinner, before the boisterous racket of nightime carousing begins. How the eighteenth-century shoes get changed for sandals, but the breeches and navy jackets stay on, and how the women take off their caps and shake out their hair. Guitar cases start emerging from tents littered with modern sleeping bags and Revolutionary War paraphenalia. Music begins, all else ceases. Two hundred years ago and last weekend rolled into an anachronistic memory shared by a select few living history nuts.
Here’s a health to the company and one to my lass
Let us drink and be merry all out of one glass
Let us drink and be merry all grief to refrain
For we may and might never all meet here again

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Toilet Brush

I just noticed drumming on the roof, a memo that the forecasted cold front has arrived at last and maybe it won't be so hot tomorrow. Today was like walking through soup. A broth-based soup, admittedly, but soup nonetheless. Maybe in August we'll get some real cream of chicken and hearty pea soup days, but this was bad enough. I'm suprised Midwesterners haven't started evolving gills by now--between the torrents of rain all spring and the 100% humidity, they might come in handy.

My husband's friend from Germany is dropping in tomorrow in the middle of his cross-country drive from New York to Colorado. I find it very amusing that our guest bedroom is also my study, and that all the bedding is left over from my single days. And it's very flowery. The comforter is rose-woven tapestry, there is a filmy sage curtain on the window, there are floral Redouté prints on the wall. The nightstand is stacked hatboxes. The best part? The only people who have stayed here are men. Ha. I should install a shadowbox filled with those creepy Precious Moments figurines to complete the ambience of haunted Great Aunt Hilda's room.

Anyway, I feel a little bad for Ralf driving through rain and staying in my emasculating guest room, but mostly I feel like I need to clean the toilet before he gets here. I have a weird obsession with never presenting a dirty toilet to guests. As though that would cause them to judge me and my housekeeping abilities and render an immoveable judgement of slovenly sow upon me. So I need to go weild a toilet brush now.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Like Bernice

We bought patio furniture (cheap, ugly, servicable stuff that works with our shoddy, rented patio) and I've been spending free moments reading (On Writing Well, and little case studies as advised by the Misters Strunk and White) and jotting things down out there instead of posting. I quite desperately want a laptop, and then I could access ye olde webernet from said shoddy patio, but as long as this old behemoth is kicking, the upgrade is a pipe dream. Especially when one considers the other replacements that are of mutual spousal interest, such as a television to replace the one currently on the fritz and saving for a car to replace the microvan. Someday I'll explain, in more detail, the microvan, but that's best left off for now.

In other news, Bernice bobbed her hair, the role of Bernice being played by myself and the role of the barber being played by a friend of a friend. The setting? Not the masculine barbershop, but a kitchen, and the price was a couple of hours of painting trim. We cut most of it off, but it's still long enough to pin up, with fetching bangs. Fetching, because the look is a sort of nouveau vintage, and fetching is a sort of vieux vintage word. It's not, like Bernice's, ugly as sin, at least in most people's opinion. I think my father wanted to cry when he saw it.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Color Play

The last time I wrote, my post got eaten, and I got miffed at the whole thing and refused to come back for a few days. I forgot my old method of copy-paste-post which ensures that, if the web does eat your words for you, they're backed up in a Word doc.

Strangely, my favorite part of today was sending samples. This usually gets tedious, as I've done it every day for the past year, and even more so recently as it seems that more and more customers have lost the faculty of providing their ZIP code, which gives me the opportunity to spend joyless hours hunting them on the USPS website. But today I had a minor variance in the sample request. "Send color combinations that you think would look good."

This doesn't sound exciting at all. It's not. But I had the most fun paper clipping swatches together for this woman. Smoky blue and mocha brown. Subdued bluegrass and snappy green tea. Warm terra cotta and rich burgundy. Color is fun. I started thinking about how I would translate those combinations into house decorating. I could replace white walls with toned-down grey-blue and use dark wood furniture. I could pair deep red walls with terra-cotta toned tile floors. I could do anything but hold on to white walls.

All I have now are white walls. It starts to drive you a little batty after a while. I look up and feel like I'm looking at a blizzard-themed Magic Eye poster, because I can't quite focus on that expanse of white. This is what happens when you live in a beige box-for-rent. I won't go into the lack of land and how that makes me twitch. Not today.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Red wine and Gouda

Again with the rain today. There were two waves of it, one thin strand that barely blotted out the sunlight this morning, and a wide swath that interupted the afternoon. Even though it feels like the wind might rip away the roof of the pole barn, I like how it beats the rain against the windows. It makes the place feel cozy. It also tries to take the power out. I should be more upset about this, because without power we can't function, but I look on it a little bit like a child anticipating a snow day. Yes, I'll have to make up the work later, but there is something deliciously thrilling about an unplanned reprieve.

Of course the power didn't go out, and I had to spend the afternoon wrestling with reconciling the bank accounts and juggling customers on the phone. It's after days like this that any creative impulse I may have had is completely silenced and I could stare at a blank page or a length of fabric and have no idea what to do with either. It's a red wine and smoked Gouda kind of evening. (This combination can be enhanced only by the addition of dark chocolate. I'm out right now. But when I buy more it's going to be Lake Champlain organic. I don't know why, but that stuff is like sex in chocolate form.) I think I'll get myself some Cab now.

Note: I couldn't shake the suspicion that it was a load of horse hockey, but those wineglass shapes really do matter. I've been drinking my reds out of a balloon glass lately and have really noticed a if you want to impress your dinner guests, pair the wine with dinner and then pair the glass to the wine. If you're into that kind of thing.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Road Hazards

I have to resist the impulse to pull over and move every box turtle I see in the middle of the road. Given that I work in a pole barn in the middle of nowhere, and take ten miles of winding country road to get to work every day, this has become a regular occurence. Box turtles move faster than some turtles; compared to a large snapping turtle in the road they can really book. But their average speed still tops out somewhere between slow and roadkilled. So I find myself wanting to rescue every one of them. The one we passed today was particularly difficult to ignore, as his little rubbery neck was stretched out as high as he could manage, and he was looking around intently as though he had missed something. He had. It was my coworker's blue Prius skipping by him.

Apparently, box turtle mating season begins in late spring. This fact explains the sudden exodus of the box turtle from the safety of underbrush to the danger of the highway. In researching box turtle mating habits (I was bored), I came across this quote: Box turtles are extremely long lived, slow to mature, and have relatively few offspring per year. These characteristics, along with a propensity to get hit by cars, make the box turtle a species particularly susceptible to human-induced problems.

And now I feel guilty for ignoring the plight of the box turtle. But not as guilty as the person who posted photos of her box turtles mating should feel. Even stupid reptiles deserve a few moments (and in the case of the box turtle, apparently several hours) of genuine privacy. Plus, how weird would it be to perch beside your box turtles' enclosure with a camera while the two of them went at it? Slowly?

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Ninety-Five and counting

It's hot. Spring is officially over in Bloomington, and summer has settled in. I think that Bloomington must be located in some bowl-shaped geographic oddity, which allows summer in but will not allow it to leave. In northern Indiana, where I grew up, storms brought a reprieve from the worst of summer heat and humidity. Not so in Bloomington. It storms and then immediately steam-cooks.

At least most of my plants have survived so far. They've made it a week. I consider this an accomplishment, especially as, with only a patio to grow my garden, I only have four terra cotta pots. I chose terra cotta because it is supposedly breathable like soil, and because I can't get over how tacky plastic planters look. You need about five gallons of soil to grow tomatoes, so I have one large pot for those, planted with a variety designed for potting gardens. Then I have a pot each of basil and rosemary. The basil is thriving, while the rosemary looks a little stunted. I attribute this to the fact that basil loves water, rosemary does not, and we've had nothing but storms for the past week. Storms followed, of course, by steam-baths.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Spinach Muse

In considering what to make for dinner, I found a bag of spinach. This is a regular occurence; I make spinach a lot.

*Sauté a couple cloves of minced garlic in olive oil
*Add white wine (I prefer a crisp Pinot Gris or Sauvignon Blanc) and reduce somewhat
*Dump in a few handfuls (hands full, it cooks down a lot) and stir until wilted (if you've never seen spinach wilt, it's a very distinct look. Hard to miss. Stop cooking once it's wilted, or it starts to attain that overdone, regurgitated mash taste).
*Season with salt and pepper
*Liberally sprinkle with (preferably good shaved) Parmesan (but cheapo generic works, too).

This time, I was reminded of finding another spinach in another fridge almost a year and half ago. My roommate at the time wanted to create a really stupendous birthday meal for one of our other roommates. She went for crepes filled with spinach and shrimp, which wasn't bad at the first go (though I hate crepes). But then it made its way into a Glad container. Worse, it went to the back of the fridge. The fourth roommate and I found it two weeks later. You could smell it across the house as we opened it and deposited it into the trash. The hideousness of that stench overpowered even my frugality, and the Glad container followed the mess into the bin.

This is why I don't really believe in the concept of leftovers. They're like physical good intentions. You put the leftover lasagna into a container planning to come back to it the next day. But the next day it hasn't been long enough since you had lasagna, and you choose to eat something new and not in the pasta family, and so you put it off another day, which is fine. Or would be, if you didn't forget about it. Which you do, until three weeks later when you find it molding in a now health-hazordous container. The road to hell is paved with leftovers.

I mentioned that I hate crepes. I do. It's not for lack of trying, and after taking eight years of French, I really would love to have a refined taste for a good crepe. The same roommate who made the spinach and shrimp crepes later tried to convince me to go to a local crepe restaurant with her, and I declined, saying I wasn't so fond of crepes (and, though I didn't tell her, it was still too close to the Glad container incident for crepes to sound remotely appealing). That I found them a spongy and listeless food. She assured me that if I had enough good crepes, like hers, I would like them. I didn't have the heart to tell her that her crepes were like a gastronomic thesis on why I don't like crepes. I've accepted that I am unrefined when it comes to crepes. There are worse places to lack refinement.