Wendy’s Word

Not your mama’s blog….

Exciting Day in Wendyland February 25, 2010

Filed under: Adventures in Wendyland — wendy @ 4:19 pm

Wendy, of Wendy’s Word fame, shook Bill Clinton’s hand yesterday.  Yes, that’s the excitement of the day, that I shook hands with former president Bill Clinton.

The Governor held an obesity summit at The California Endowment, which featured Bill Clinton as a speaker.  Despite my numerous blog entries on food, he neglected to invite me.  But as luck would have it, I was scheduled to speak to a group of nurses the same morning, also at The California Endowment, and my conference room overlooked the courtyard that Clinton had to walk through to get to his meeting.

There was considerable excitement about this potential star sighting.  And it was all for Bill Clinton.  The governor was there too, but no one really cared about him.  And our governor is only ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER, major superstar.  He only got passing interest, as in, “oh yeah, and did you see Arnold walk in?”

This was not a group of lefty politicos I was with.  This was a diverse group of nurses, from varying ethnic backgrounds.  But they all had Bill-mania.  I don’t think it was just because he’s famous because as I said, they weren’t interested in Schwarzenegger or Maria Shriver.  I can’t imagine that they were all committed Democrats either.  I think it’s because Bill Clinton projects an empathy that people can relate to.  Either that, or they thought he was hot.  (yes, I did overhear that.)

When Clinton crossed that courtyard to get to his meeting, everyone in my meeting rushed to the window and waved.  Clinton waved back!  Yes, this man is a master politician, but boy, he’s good.  It was hard to get my audience back after that but I managed to get through the rest of the presentation. 

Clinton’s meeting ended when my meeting was on lunch break and as soon as we saw the first people filtering out of that meeting, we went outside to get a good look.  We waited and waited, the Secret Service scanning us the whole time.  Finally, the man came out.  My group of nurses started yelling and waving, and Clinton started walking straight toward us. 

Now let me pause and say that I am well aware that working the rope line is a basic element of politics and it doesn’t mean Clinton actually cares about us if he walks over to shake our hands.  But it was exciting nonetheless.  He worked the line, and several of the nurses gave him a hug instead of a handshake, which he readily accepted.  I didn’t want to seem like a sycophant, but hey, how many opportunities will I have to shake hands with a president?  So I stuck my hand out and was a recipient of the hand over hand work-the-rope-line handshake.  And guess what?  Knowing that it’s standard politics doesn’t make it any less thrilling. 

Clinton left, I went back to my business.  I shook hands with a president!

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99 Ranch Market February 21, 2010

Filed under: Food — wendy @ 7:08 pm

One thing I love about LA is the preponderance of ethnic markets.  I used to love a market called Ron’s which my relatives referred to as the Hungarian market.  When I mentioned it to the woman who runs the snack shop in my office building, she called it the Lebonese market.  When I finally checked Ron’s out, I was delighted by the deli counter, which featured more kinds of olives and feta cheeses than I knew existed.  Then there was the syrup that we would mix with seltzer when I was a kid — called “italian soda” by fancy bars, but was a regular inexpensive drink in our home (and at Ron’s).  The funniest part was the “international aisle” given that the whole store was international.  Unfortunately, Ron’s has closed, but there are plenty of other ethnic markets to take its place.

Today, my daughters and I went to 99 Ranch Market, and Asian chain supermarket, for the first time.  I thought it would be intimidating, but it was fun.  Both of my daughters go to school with many Asians and Asian wanna-be’s, so they pointed out to me the items that the kids have in their lunches.  I bought different kinds of cookies and lunchbox treats for which I’m sure I don’t want to read the ingredient list, produce and herbs that were less expensive than the supermarket, and the main reason for our venture, ingredients for vegetarian sushi which my daughter is currently  making as I write this.  I was pleasantly surprised by the reasonable prices for what looks to me like exotic food.

Somehow I also ended up buying a rice cooker.  It’s a no frills, $25 rice cooker, but the rice came out pretty good.  My daughter saw an Asian buying it, so figured it must be the real deal.  I was reluctant to commit to an appliance that takes up so much counter space and only does one thing, and heaven forbid my buying an appliance without checking Consumer Reports or Cooks’ Illustrated first!  But I succumbed to the pressure.  Hopefully it cooks brown rice as well as white.

Our lunches for the week are going to be so Asian.  Now all we need are the bento boxes.

 

Bread February 1, 2010

Filed under: Food — wendy @ 6:12 pm

Lately I’ve been on a bread baking kick.  My first attempt was a dismal failure, but I’ve now had two successes, which I must show off in this blog entry.

My first attempt was a recipe from the Orangette blog, but not to blame the recipe — I think my yeast was old, and I hand kneaded so added way too much flour.  Or the recipe could have been bad (sure, why not blame the recipe?).  Or all of the above.  The next two times I used recipes from my beloved Cheese Board Collective cookbook.   The first was a whole wheat cornmeal bread, and the second was a curry onion cheese bread which is one of our favorites whenever we visit the Cheese Board in Berkeley.  I did the mixing and kneading in my KitchenAid mixer, so was not tempted to add too much flour.  Both breads came out great, but my family’s favorite was the curry cheese bread.  It’s spicy and sweet and cheesy, and toasts wonderfully.  Because of the strong flavor, you don’t need to put anything on it.  I plan to go through all the cheese bread recipes in the book.  It’s the next best thing to a trip to Berkeley.  Ok, a distant second, but still, yum.