Wednesday, October 28, 2009

8 Simple Rules for Helping Me With My Applications

8. Don't say that my writing sample is "too smart" and you "don't get it" to get out of talking about my writing sample because it's actually boring. I wasn't born yesterday! (Offender: Boyfriend. -5 points)

7. Don't ask why I'm applying to schools. I don't know anymore, and I have too many things due to have to explain it again, and yes I know that you can be a writer without this degree, but I'm into it deep. And I still want to be a better writer, hence I want the degree. So have a heart and shut it! (Offender: Old Boss. -10 points)

6. Do say I'll get through it...somehow. It's nice, it's not too aspirational, and it's just inevitable. (Angel: Best Friend. + 20 points)

5. Do offer to make a big cup of green tea when I'm surrounded by papers and broken ink cartridges at 11 at night on a Friday as I stay in to edit while you get to go out drinking. (Angel: Boyfriend. +10 points)

4. Don't remind me that I did this once and failed miserably, only getting into mediocre programs. (Offender: Self. -5 points)

3. Do be amazing and think every stupid idea I have is worthwhile, like this one. (Angels: Mom and Dad +100 points)

2. Don't interrupt me every five minutes with an email about a lost detergent cap in the laundry room. I'm trying to work here! (Offender: Landlord. -15 points)

1. Don't give up on me. (Angels: maybe you guys? +100 points)

Monday, October 26, 2009

Things I want to talk about now that I live alone

Well I live alone, without any girls now. It's great! I watch what I want to watch, have my slovenly boyfriend over all the time, cook whatever I like, clean obsessively but let books and papers pile up as I write and rewrite and plan other friends' baby showers...

But I never had sisters. And I was always jealous of those who had. And my best girlfriends now all live in other cities. And well, sometimes you just need another girl to bounce an idea off of, or else you're crazy.

Here's what I want to say to the girls, wherever they may be, on this blog, in my mind, wherever you are!

1. How often do I really have to have a pedicure in the wintertime? It's been over a month...and I feel like I can go longer. This feeling is unsubstantiated now that I am alone most of the time.

2. Is it OK for me to watch Jon and Kate plus 8? I am strangely drawn to it. Please help.

3. What can I make for dinner on Sunday nights instead of ordering? I love to cook, I just hate to shop for cooking. Buying a chicken breast and lemons and herbs and then salad greens? Ugh, all I want is Thai! Also do I have to eat organically? I like Gatorade.

4. What websites are good these days? Gawker is getting a little...and Jezebel is also kind know.

5. I'm kind of done with Oprah magazine. Used to love it, but now I don't. What can I read that is part trash, part stimulating?

6. Is it okay that I don't want to have a baby yet? Or even a pet? That I like to come home and have everything left just the way it was, even though I'm...gasp...twenty eight?

7. Is it okay to be twenty-eight and not even thinking seriously about getting married until I get my book published, which might be NEVER?

That's it! All I had to do was ask, and I feel better. Also, should I take back up knitting, where can I get the best sportsbra, I hate earrings again, I'm not interested in Halloween this year, I wear the same three dresses all weekend long and I don't want to change, and I'm applying to school and am scared I won't get in anywhere or worse, get in and not get funding.

That feels better, okay, back to work.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

You've got to be kidding

This is what it's come to. My brother leaves the nest for college and my parents go and buy the smallest dog they can find. Trading one animal for another! Hey, it's pretty cute.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Gourmet is Dead...and so I'm eating Ego Waffles.

Gourmet's been dead since Monday and the slew of internet opinions on the subject have been a lot of fun to read. Today my favorite is this one, and I encourage you to go read it while I try to write a personal statement*.

*How does anyone write these things without sounding like a total self-centered jerk? Anyway, I work for a food magazine (sometimes) and the Gourmet news is HUGE to us so that's all I can really think about, so let's see how this whole personal statement thing shakes out.

Here's my favorite comment from the reader section:

"I love Cook's Illustrated, and I have begrudging respect for Christopher Kimball (I always deduct points for bowties unless you're Chuck Bass). And while I agree that the Internet has created a whole new class of pseudo experts -- which kind of makes me wish I hadn't closed down my blog for fear that I was a fraud -- I think he's willfully ignoring the good things that have resulted from this tiny revolution.

The web, along with the countless home-cook shows that have sprung up on cable channels, has demystified and de-elited the world of cooking for many of us. A lot of people don't take risks and don't try to advance their skills in the kitchen because of low self-confidence and the fear that some obnoxious chef will swoop in and declare that they will never be chefs, only mere cooks. I won't bother defending Rachael Ray's personality or credentials, but Anthony Bourdain's dismissal of her left a sour taste in my mouth because it wasn't just a cruel thing to say, it was a dig at all of us who love food but for any number of reasons haven't received formal training. (Incidentally, it's why I adore Mark Bittman and Julia Child. No pretensions and no "beginners need not apply" declarations; only real love for food and cooking.)

I've learned how to truss a chicken, deglaze a pan, make flavorful sauces, roast a rib-eye to perfection and make compound butter because of no-name food bloggers. Those tasks are all actually quite easy, but what learning how to do them did for me was to give me the confidence to adjust recipes as I cooked, come up with my own ideas and serve my creations without the nervous disclaimers that usually accompanied even the most basic meals I used to make.

Gourmet was a beautiful magazine, one I read cover to cover for the past few years. But like Vogue, it was only a practical resource for the wealthy and cultured. For everyone else, it was pure fantasy: Isn't that beautiful? I want a farmhouse so I can serve a six-course meal to 10 people and we can all wear handknitted sweaters and drink brandy out of snifters while someone plays a mandolin. Maybe one day I'll be able to afford truffle oil and specialty herbs and those adorable organic baby vegetables and handcrafted cheese instead of whatever's on sale at the grocery store.

I'm not saying there isn't a place for that, or that people with the resources and time to craft such elegant meals don't deserve to have a publication that serves their needs. But if there were actually as many people like that as Conde Nast thought there were, Gourmet wouldn't have gone out of business."