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Gift-giving in my family has always been a strained topic.  (For proof, see here and here and here.)  My brother, with his December 25th birthday, always got shafted anyway for separate birthday/Hanukkah gifts.  He always wanted, yet rarely received, expensive electronica.  My father is impossible to shop for, and as a result, has more neckties and shirts that he can wear in a lifetime, and a stack of dry, “Daddy books” by his bedside, waiting to be read.  Mom, on the other hand, is very specific about what she wants, and does not hesitate to let us know, in writing, as an e-mail or card in the mail.  As she does this about a week before the event, we have to scramble to coordinate the shopping, shipping, and chipping in, lest she become very disappointed. 

Ah, yes, disappointed, that all-too-familiar feeling associated with Hanukkah.  Year after year, I’d make a wish-list, as we were encouraged to do, and time after time, the hopeful expectation has turned to doom and dread as I unwrap The Misunderstood (non) Turtleneck Sweater, The Wrong Birkenstocks, and The Hideous (non) Pea Coat That Looks Like a Men’s Blazer, and The Clothing That Would Not Fit.  And those are just the gifts I wanted.  I also end up with piles upon piles of crap I never wanted, little trinkets and tchotchkes that have always filled out the Hanukkah piles, as we opened one a night for 8 days: piles of socks, weird “gourmet” foods from TJ Maxx, stuffed animals (into my 20s), and clearance merchandise from Ocean State Job Lot with holes, stains, or “ready for crafting”.  My sister tries to keep these things at bay, fighting not to let them cross the threshold of her apartment, while I make trip after trip to Salvation Army, and jump at the chance to make a few choice contributions to other people’s yard sales. 

I’ve heard of large families who all pick names out of a hat and choose one person to shop for.  I’ve heard of the $20 limit.  I’ve heard of the themed gift giving extravaganza.  I’ve read Cathy and “AAaack!”ed my way through well intentioned agreements not to exchange gifts.  I’ve hemmed and hawed over who needs to be on my list.  Yesterday, a coworker revealed that her family actually does not exchange gifts.  As I strive each year to find homes for the piles of acceptable crap that enter my house after birthday and especially Hanukkah, I would genuinely welcome a truce on my family’s gift-giving quagmire.  Mr. Apron is stressing  because he has not started shopping yet for my Hanukkah gifts, and I’ve promised not to get him the full 8 this year.  For our anniversary in October, he was in the throes of play rehearsal, and I’d just emerged from a birthday, so we kept it delightfully low-key.  No fruit, or china, or appliances, or linen, or paper.  Just a bouquet from the florist who did our wedding flowers, a picnic at the township park where we were married, and dinner from Wegman’s.  I bought tickets to go see Peter and the Wolf at the symphony, and he scored seats at a live recording of NPR’s “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me”.  That was it.  As soon as we’d accepted our own failures to procure the “perfect gift” for each other, we relaxed and had a great anniversary.

After our wedding, I was so overwhelmed by the sheer amount of “stuff” from our registry, I swore off consumerism for a good, umm, season.  The “Holiday Shopping Season” gives me hives. The endless pop Christmas songs blasting through store speakers, the 80 degree stores that leave me stripping off winter layers from the 40 degree day outside, the snaking cash register lines, the commercials to buy, buy, buy, and the overflowing tables of Isotoner gloves, Dearfoams, plaid pajamas, cashmere sweaters, and keychain/flashlight/iPod speakers, set up by gender, age, and dollar amount so you can blindly pick out a “perfect gift.”  It’s all too much for me.  While I was on my double-boiler pursuit this weekend, I was greeted by packed parking lots, eager shoppers, and early sales.  I wanted to bolt, run home, bury my head under the covers, and stay that way until December 26th

It is so much harder to be a gracious recipient of a crap gift, than it is to give a gift you’ve put any thought into.  It’d be easier, period, if my family could accept that all us kids are “grown” and won’t be crest-fallen not to see the huge pile of gifts again.   Ever.  I think we’d actually be elated to be free of the guilt of fulfilling Mom’s wishes, finding something (anything) for Dad, and shopping merely out of obligation.  Though the Salvation Army might suffer for it.

Last weekend was my birthday.  Mr. Apron whisked me away to Lancaster County for a getaway.  He told me only (barely) what to pack, and I managed to weasel out of him the approximate distance we’d be traveling from home (between 1-3 hours).  This meant I was tromping through a pumpkin patch wearing designer jeans and ballet flats as my shoes took on more hay than a scarecrow at a gay pride event.  We were trapped on a hayride behind a tractor spewing diesel, nestled among Coach-bag-toting white trash parents and their eager children.  This meant we found ourselves side-stepping the smorgasbords with their promises of “authenticity” and “family friendly”ness among the vats of macaroni salad and bacon dressing.  This meant staying far from the “Amish experience” tourist traps and seeking out our own adventures. 

Some highlights:

  • Leaving the dogs behind, enjoying a night’s sleep without worrying about letting them out first thing in the morning, and not being able to get back to sleep.
  • Letting someone else cook for us, even if the breakfast “strata” of white bread, eggs, heavy cream, and American cheese, left something to be desired. 
  • Seeing kitty footprints all over our car in the morning, as the 15-odd barn cats had evidently used our car as a jungle gym during the night.
  • Watching preparations for a wedding to be held at the B&B on my birthday.
  • Playing Skip-Bo (the best card game) on the canopy bed in Violet’s room while munching on Chex Mix Muddy Buddies.
  • Spontaneously deciding to see the Lancaster Symphony as we sat in a café across the street sipping endless glasses of strawberry lemonade. 
  • Take naps in the middle of the day. 
  • Opening birthday presents from my best buddy and feeling like the world revolved around me. 
  • Laughing at the frog pajamas my aunt gave me, and plotting for their immediate donation to the aptly named “Donate Pile” at Mr. Apron’s place of employment.
  • Selecting apples from the orchard, shining them on our pant-legs, and eating them while sitting on the trunk of the car.
  • Bumping along on the hay-ride, staring out over the open fields and pretending no one else was near us. 
  • Being surrounded by antiques stores and old things. Trying on hats and playing with lead-laden children’s toys.  Hunting through old dress-patterns for a gem.  Discovering a brand-new old corduroy winter coat for $6.50 at the thrift store.
  • Getting birthday phone calls and text messages all day long on my birthday.
  • Leaving behind our e-mail, work, home, and life responsibilities for a weekend.

To enjoy your Lancaster County get-away, simply follow our rules for eating.  They pretty much apply to businesses to patronize as well.

  • Nothing with ‘N in the title: “Plain ‘N Fancy”, “Good ‘N Plenty”
  • Nothing called “Smorgasbord” or “buffet”
  • Avoid restaurants claiming to cater to families
  • Diners are okay, but steer clear of out-of-region specialties, such as seafood
  • “Ethnic” cuisine is a safe-bet, as long as there are people of that ethnicity eating and/or working in the restaurant.  Chinese restaurants serving chicken nuggets are a no-no. 
  • Cafes are generally a good idea, but watch for “pumpkin spice” coffee flavoring that is just non-dairy creamer mixed with nutmeg repackaged with the café’s label. 
  • When in doubt, indulge in cookies, cakes, pies, and fresh fruit.  After all, this is a vacation. 

I love when Mr. Apron takes me away on a surprise trip.  He took me to Hartford, CT, to propose to me back in 2005.  We ran away to Bucks County to revisit our mini-honeymoon last year.  He’s taken me on countless day trips for my birthday.  I’ve dragged him to a drive-in movie theatre, car shows, and a folk festival.  While there’s always the worry I won’t be properly attired, or I’ll forget some critical supply I didn’t know I’d need, there’s also a thrill, an excitement, in the plotting and scheming (for the planner), and in the element of surprise and the unexpected (for the recipient).  I hope he never stops trying to whisk me away, sweep me off my feet, and kidnap me to mystery destinations.

“When are you going to blog again?” asks the husband who helped me create my own blog after guest-blogging on his. 

“When my nails are shorter or we get the good keyboard hooked up,” I reply.  “I can’t even hit the “a” key without also striking the caps lock.” 

Or, today.  I have the day off.  Mr. Apron does not.  But instead of enjoying the sunshine, I’m sitting at home blogging because I have a load of laundry in the machine.  I’m planning on going out when I put the load in the dryer.  While I dread the moldy promise of a wet load left in the washing machine, I have no qualms about leaving a dry load to wrinkle in the dryer overnight, if need be.  Clean is clean. 

Mom’s birthday is today.  She called while I was in the shower to let me know she’d opened my gift to her, a purse with a handle made out of a plastic carrot.  The purse that was on page 68 of “Sewing Basket Fun,” a piss-poor excuse of a crafting/sewing book edited by Barbara Weiland.  Edited by?  I guess that means the lame-ass projects were only compiled by her, and I can’t even blame her for Lucy B. Gray’s “design” of the “Veggie Lover’s Handbag” which Mom marked with a Post-it note stating, “Hint –> for mommie’s birthday” when she presented the book to me for my birthday.  The book which sent me on a 6 month quest for a plastic carrot which wasn’t one of a set of six for $9.95 + shippinh, or part of a $19.95 play food basket.  Finally, as Easter merchandise started trickling into stores, I found a jumprope at the Dollar Tree with carrot handles.  For $1, I figured I’d be a sport.  I cut off the rope, and Mr. Apron drilled the holes.  I held the carrot and cringed as he aimed the drill bit at the carrot and drilled 2 perfect holes for the straps.  Then I had to thread fabric straps through the holes.  Using a skewer to jam them through didn’t work.  Neither did threading the fabric on a yarn needle and shoving that through the holes.  Finally, in my brilliance, I grabbed Elmer’s glue and shellacked the fabric strips, twisting them until they were somewhat pointed and narrower.  I pushed them through the holes and declared myself, in honor of Easter, the risen lord Carrotess.  Of course, when they dried, they became impossible to sew through, and I couldn’t find my thimble, nor could I convince Mr. Apron to destroy his fingers shoving a needle and thread through the hardened straps.  My trusty new sewing machine came to the rescue, sewing sturdy, if not aesthetically pleasing stitches into the strap handles.

I finally put the fool thing in the mail on Monday.  She received it on Wednesday, opened it today, and left me a voicemail saying she was carrying her brand-new carrot purse around with her today.  I wonder what her clients thought of it. 

Mom is an attorney.  She reperesents children through the state — kids whose parents can’t care for them, or shouldn’t.  She visits them in foster homes, state “homes”, and adoptive homes.  She brings them stuffed animals, takes them out for ice cream, and gathers back-to-school supplies to replace whatever was left behind in the last placement.  She makes sure they carry their worldly effects in more than a trashbag, enlisting me to sew large drawstring bags for this purpose.  And provided she doesn’t have to be in court that day, she’ll do all this wearing a solar system jumper, pink leggings, patent-leather mary janes, and, of course carrying a carrot-handled purse.

Happy Birthday Mom.

A friend of ours teaches 8th grade English and has professed to have a hard time defining “irony” for her class.  When she gave a definition, supported by strong (so she perceives) examples, they still failed to latch onto it.  So now, whenever I come across my own example, I think of facing her class and saying, “that  is irony”.  Hmpf.

As a result of birthday, Hanukkah and other “wisted” item debaucles, I have tried to be more specific in requesting gifts for occasions.  My mother usually asks if there’s something I have in mind, which is a great opportunity to ask for a GPS or a new set of mixing bowls.  It works best with things I don’t care so much about.  Or things I’d think they wouldn’t be able to fuck up.  When I have something exact in mind, I of course, try to describe it using key details, brand names, giving links to website when available.  That is how I ended up with Honda-brand floor mats designed and fit (ha ha) exactly to my car as a birthday gift.  My car, being “used” (for all of 4,000 miles) did not come with floor mats, and the dollar store variety left me with doubts about the relationship between a floor mat and my accelerator.  Seeing as how many thousands of Toyotas were just recalled with such an issue, I asked for, and received, the right floor mats.  Because my husband gets it and knows what I want.

He’s awesome, by the way.

Many Hanukkahs ago, before I knew the mantra of “If you want something done right, do it yourself” I let myself get very disappointed over a gifted sweater.  I had wanted very badly a turtleneck sweater, which was in fashion in 1999, I think.  I asked that it be cotton, and a turtleneck.  That is all.  I don’t even like turtlenecks, but all these sweaters were coming out in flattering shapes with ribbing and cables, so I asked for one, letting the color decision be totally irrelevant.  I knew they were in EVERY store that year.

I opened a Ralph Lauren Chaps (yes, men’s label) crew neck sweater.  Oh, but it was cotton.  She had listened to one aspect of my request.  How do you lie about liking that one in front of your mother?  “Thank you, but it’s men’s size Large and I will never wear it.  Oh, and it’s nothing like what I wanted.”

Another time, the same year (I struck out quite a bit before I wisened up), I asked for the proverbial, everyone-on-campus-had-it peacoat.  Color, again, was not important, but I wanted basic, boring, easy-to-find.  And was given what looked like a men’s brown tweed blazer, not even warm enough to serve as a winter coat. 

This year, my uncle (Mom’s brother) was pestering her to find out what I wanted for my birthday, so she decided to give him one of those specific, can’t-mess-it-up missions.  I had this summer, when Mom was at the outlets, asked if she could get me a new pair of 3-strap Birkenstocks, as my current pair are, in the usual fashion, wearing completely through the soles.  They were out, it being the end of the season, but she entrusted this mission to Uncle Leo.  3 strap Birkenstocks, color unimportant, price no object (since he lives for ebay and outlet shopping).  What do you think of when you hear “3-strap Birkenstock”?  As opposed to “2-strap Birkenstock”?  What would be so important about that third strap that I would specifically ask for it?  Wouldn’t you think it would serve some additional purpose other than the 2 straps already on it such that I would prefer it?   Here’s my schematic of the 3-strap Birkenstock; and here is my Uncle’s/mother’s schematic representation of a 3-strap Birkenstock.  So, as you can see, I received not one, but two pairs of the latter, in both brown leather, and black suede.  They may not stay on my feet, but they sure are pretty.

However, the story does not stop here, because we still haven’t gotten around to irony in birthday presents.  So far, we’ve only explored expected results given my blind foolishness and my family’s ill-fated, yet predictable, attempts to fulfill my wishlist.

Today I signed for another package from my uncle, a random box that arrived with little warning or purpose.  I opened it to reveal…

Wait.  I forgot to tell you what I told my mom I wanted for my birthday this year (aside from Birkenstocks).  I wanted a modern wearable-to-work rain coat.  My rain gear currently consists of a “rain cape” circa 1972, a surplus air force rain jacket, and a royal blue double-breasted raincoat with huge white buttons and lined with red fleece.  But nothing I can feel secure going out for a nice evening out, or to wear to work and be taken seriously.  Unless they took Zorro seriously when he swooped in for a business meeting in his cape.  I don’t have the matching mask, though.  So I asked for a trench coat, something which I think is an easy style to find in impermeable fashions these days.  Mom’s package hasn’t arrived yet with the rest of my birthday presents (only the aforementioned birthday suit came on time), but you’ll never guess what Uncle Leo’s box contained.

A gorgeous lambskin trenchcoat in ochre with an asymmetrical closure and stand-up collar.  Perhaps not a “raincoat” in strictest sense, but a beautiful garment.  How did he know?  I’m so glad I didn’t ask him for it, or I might have gotten this instead.

And that, my friends, is the definition of irony.

As soon as I unwrapped 2009’s birthday suit, I recalled the one from year’s past that was stumping me last week when I wrote the Birthday Suit post. 

I recalled it, because, as I opened this year’s, I had a flashback.  I had a flashback because it was made of the exact same fabric.  We’re not talking wool crepe, or red chenille, or even a similar plaid.  Exact same.  Teal print with chairs emblazoned on it.  Arm chairs and Eames chairs, chaises and footstools, high chairs and wing chairs.  And I don’t think she remembered the repeat.  She just thought it was so clever!


I’ll have to dig up a picture of this beauty.  It’s a dress — pattern is pretty nice, actually — with a notched neckline.  My ample bust just fits in the bodice, pushing the notched part out, so the corners turn down, exposing cleavage.  And there’s a jacket.  It’s bolero/cropped length, with puffed elbow sleeves pleated to a buttoned cuff.  The tailoring was very nice; Mom always tries harder for gifts.  She finished the inside seams and put in a zipper beautifully.  I told her as much; it was the only honest(ly nice) thing I could think to say as I picked up the phone to tell her I had opened it. 

Ironically, we were watching Project Runway during the opening of the birthday suit.  We waited till a commercial break, then tore into the gift and groaned.  Oh, the print.  It can’t be so bad.  And it wouldn’t be, except for the fact that the entire dress and jacket combo (a “suit,” mom calls it) was made out of this fabric.  I could tolerate the skirt being that fabric, or the jacket, or the bodice, or the totebag (yes, it came in a matching totebag), but not all of it.  It looks like a clown costume or pajamas.  As we dejectedly turned back to Project Runway, I thought of what Tim Gunn would say:

“Oh, I don’t know.  That fabric is coming on a bit strong.”

“Well, if you’re determined to use that print, make it work.”

“Hmm, you’ve got a long way to go if you want to make it to Bryant Park.  Work, work, work!”

And then there’s Heidi:

“In fashion one day you are in, and the next, you are out.  I don’ t think this was ever in.  You are out.”

Since it did fit, I threw a green sweater over the top, buttoned it all the way up so it only looked like a chair-print skirt, and wore it to work on Friday.  Because I am a good and dutiful daughter.  Because I am grateful and I am trying to see the potential in this outfit.  Because it is the right thing to do.

Now that I’m feeling better, I’m able to look forward to my birthday this week!  My birthday is October 9th.  Though it put me in the younger end of all my classes, I have always enjoyed most aspects of having an October birthday.  As I walked Finley today, we felt the warm sun counteracting the crispiness of the fall air.  We crunched through the first leaves to fall.  Mums and late roses are still in bloom, being gradually replaced by harvest-related items.  The supermarkets are full of root vegetables in those classic autumnal colors.  Pomegranates are in.  Clementines are coming.  And I can finally make pumpkin bread again without the strange looks that accompany the presentation of my favorite quick bread in March. 

It’s finally cool enough to snuggle under blankets at night, yet still warm enough not to need a jacket during the warm parts of the day.  Corduroy is coming, flannel is coming, wool is coming.  My jacket collection will soon be aired, and the novelty of coats means I’m not yet tired of bundling up.  I relish it after a hot summer of running between air-conditioned oases and suffering in endless heat all day long.  Fall is finally here.

Which always means my birthday, in this part of the world.  The only part about my birthday that’s not easy is that, moving around a lot when I was a child, I had never quite made new friends by that point in the school year, and my birthday celebrations were a little lackluster.  New schools and October birthdays were hard.  Ninth grade, freshman year of college, grad school even.  Now, thank goodness, Mr. Apron and I are free to enjoy our own celebration of my birthday.  If I’m lucky, my sister is able to join us, and my mother has come out in years past, too. 

This year, my sister has “fall break” (aka Columbus Day = 3-day weekend, if you can call that a “break”) to coincide with my birthday weekend, so she’ll be joining the festivities.  Mr. Apron has been making secret plans and sharing them with my sister over e-mail, buying secret gifts and squirreling them away, and generally being very sly.  I love it.  He does all the planning, and I just get excited.  One year, he whisked me off to Hartford, Connecticut and we got engaged on the porch of Mark Twain’s house.  Another year he bundled me off on an early morning hike.  Another time he kidnapped me to Brooklyn where we went to an indie flea market.  He knows what I like and takes great pleasure in carrying out these secret missions. 

Another tradition that goes with my birthday is the annual Birthday Suit.  Of course, my first birthday suit is the one I was born in, but each year my mother sews me a “public” birthday suit.  When I was younger, I took great delight in dressing up on the day of my birthday and wearing my new outfit  to school.  It helped carry that special birthday feeling all day long, through fractions and the scientific method and gym class.  Unfortunately, in recent years, the Birthday Suit has become less of a sure thing.  My mother has had 2 spectacular busts in recent years, and I try not to put too much stock in this year’s. 

Last year wasn’t so awful, truly, but it was quite a production.  Mom procured a refrigerator box, out of which she cut a life-size Me, and then dressed Me in my Birthday Suit.  I think there were pants that didn’t quite fit (always with receipts from TJ Maxx), but the top.  Oh, the top.  She thinks I’m still a size 4 with the same breasts I had in 9th grade.  This was a wrap-top in a yellow fabric replete with cars, palm trees, and general “surfer beach bum” theme.  Would I pick it out on my own?  Probably not.  But would I wear it in her presence to be polite?  If I could close it.  Wrap tops are tricky for us well-endowed ladies, due to excess cleavage.  This one didn’t even close around my buxomness.  Oh, I’ll alter it, I assured her as she beamed at the cleverness of the presentation.  It’s sitting in a box on the top shelf of my crafting area marked “UFOs”: UnFinished Objects, where it shall remain until the guilt mounts.  Or something.  That was 2008. 

In 2007, trying to stack the deck, I requested a specific pattern — a popular Asian-inspired style of dress — and she supplied the colorful rayon print.  That was a resounding success.  People ask me about it every time I wear it, and I wear it often.

The Birthday Suit of 2006 was a moderate success — a bias-cut skirt made of pink Cabbage Patch Kids fabric.  It’s very cute, even in a size 4, though the colors in the ‘Kids yarn hair have been a bit difficult to match to a top.  I have worn it several times. 

It was 2005’s Birthday Suit which I recoil in terror from.  This is the Birthday Suit I dread will come back to haunt me every year as I open the box.  I was a preschool assistant teacher from 2003 until 2006, when I went back to school to get my Master’s in Speech Pathology.  I think as long as people hear the word “teacher” they start thinking of tacky apple-themed gifts.  Whiel others had given me notecards, buttons, and desk accessories, I had thus far eschewed the ubiquitous tote bag, and I had hoped my mother was immune.  Alas; fall is also the time for apple-, school bus-, and chalkboard-theme fabrics.  I received overalls covered in those bastions of teacher themed objects: a white background with chalkboards, apples, ABCs, rulers, and school buses.  And if elasticized pants are a sin to wear in the under 65 crowd, then overalls with EZ-access zippers are, too.  I could not pretend to like those, or even to make plans for alteration into a toilet seat cover or drawer liners.  While I have held onto many items of clothing for sentimental reasons (including last year’s wrap-top, my winter coat from age 3, and the first pair of pants I ever modified into bell bottoms), I could not even pretend to attach anything but tackiness-induced trauma to those overalls. 

Maybe they’re in some Salvation Army store, being snapped up and appreciated by a teacher who likes that sort of thing.  I wish her all the best.

Mom has been excitedly talking on the phone with me the last week, teasing me with non-hints about this year’s Birthday Suit.  I can bet it’s going to be colorful.  All I know from her “hints” is that it has animals on it.  Now I’m dreading leopard and zebra prints or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  She mailed it today.  It will likely arrive Wednesday.  As a dutiful daughter, I will give myself some hope for a repeat of 2007’s dress, or the one from 2003, which if I remember correctly, was patchwork wrap pants.  Those I only had to hem myself. 

I love the tradition.  I love the fact that my mother has crafted a new outfit for me to feel special in each year since I was born, when she “crafted” me.  I love that she’s able to show her love that handmade way, instead of with a trip to the mall.  I enjoy and look forward to the tradition each year, even as I fear the product of her imagination.  Sometimes she knows me, she gets me, she nails the outfit.  Other times she’s so far off, it’s like the gifts of Barbie clothes my aunt used to send me for Hanukkah, to the house where no Barbie doll had ever lived. 

I guess it’s a metaphor for our relationship.  As I continue to grow up, she still knows the foundation of Me, the ideas I have and colors I like and values that I hold.  She may not have kept up with some of my interests and abilities, but at least she knows not to make me a Barbie jumper.  I hope.

I understand the principles of buying in bulk — pay a smaller per-unit price, spend the next six months plowing through chicken parts, or cottage cheese, or Frosted Flakes, trying to beat the expiration date.  And I’ll usually spring for the larger package if I can save money.  However, there are those recipes that call for things you never need again:  exotic spices you’re hesitant to omit, for fear the curry won’t taste right; bizarre condiments such as horseradish, that we only use around Passover anyway; and anchovy paste.  Nuff said. 

Today, I needed mayonnaise.  Now, being a Jewish household, we are startlingly devoid of such products as Wonderbread, Kraft singles, and mayonnaise.  I understand these three form the ideal trifecta of the cheese sandwich, or, rather, the processed cheese food product sandwich.  Because, really, who needs gelatin in their sliced “cheese”?  And does Wonderbread ever grow mold on it?  And mayonnaise I happen to find most vile.  Most vile indeed.  I’d much rather Mr. Apron load up his sandwiches with horseradish dijon mustard, or vidalia onion spread, or red pepper hummus.  That slimy white condiment has no right to smell “tangy”, except that it’s made with vinegar and eggs.  What?  How does that make for an opaque white sandwich spread?  See?  It’s highly suspect.  And highly repulsive.  Your opinion may differ, but it’s wrong.  As my preschoolers would said, “Dat’s nasty, teacher”.   Of course, they’d be talking about any number of things.  I’m talking about mayo.

But I needed mayo today.  Needed.  As in, the dish I am making for Mr. Apron’s birthday meal contains mayo.  And though I had joyously purged our fridge of our 90% full jar when we moved (does mayo expire?), I needed it now.   Today.   In the smallest possible portion so I don’t have to stare at its deviant whiteness for the next year and a half, or however long it takes Mr. Apron to take one for the team and use it on his sandwiches.  They make an 8oz jar of real mayo, for $2.35.  Or you can buy the largest vat with the easy access flip-top lid sold in the store for $2.50.  That’s a full 32 oz of mayo.  So you can get 4 times the spread for $.15 more.  The really strange thing was that prices seemed to drop as I scanned down the shelves towards the larger vats.  I don’t mean unit price — I mean retail price.  The 15oz jar was $3.35, which seemed absurd to me.  And then you can more double it to 32 oz for less money.  Yes, yes, it was on sale.  And I felt like a total douche for not getting the 32oz swimming pool.  How much did my recipe call for, do you suppose?  1/3 cup.  1/3 x 8oz, or approximately a little less than 3 oz. 

I think what I should start doing is ransacking the fast food restaurants for their comdiment packets.  Then I can have all the mustard, relish, mayo, horseradish sauce (Arby’s), hot sauce, mild sauce, medium sauce (Taco Bell), barbecue sauce I need without the annoying wasted food.  Of the above condiments, we stock only mustard in our fridge.  That, and Heinz ketchup, which happens to be stocked in a 32oz squeeze bottle.  All for me.  Mr. Apron doesn’t like ketchup.  So it’s all mine.  In 32 oz.  Cause it’s cheaper by the ounce, and I’ll use it anyway, somehow, before the expiration date.  Don’t judge me. 

At least it’s not “Miracle Whip”. or “Cool Whip”.  What are those anyway?

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July 2020