By Maria Lagalante Schulz
It’s February 5th, and guess what? I’m feeling completely uninspired when it comes to keeping those resolutions I wrote about. After almost an entire month of talk shows giving me “the best advice from the best life coaches around,” I feel the need to hook myself up to a heart monitor and see if I’ve died of boredom yet.
Just as an update, here’s the status of my resolutions:
1) I lost weight.
And now I told everyone about it. So I broke that resolution too.
2) I did not climb Mount Everest. Yet. But I have started climbing the stairs at work. So get back to me on this one later this year.
3) I am drinking less soda. This one is hard for me. I do sure like my Coca-cola.
4) I found a fitness program that I’m stuck with. It’s called shoveling. Apparently, I get to shovel 2 or 3 feet of snow every few days. It’s called the “God Is Angry with our Planet In General and Possibly Me in Particular” Exercise program. I should weigh about 90 pounds by March if this doesn’t stop.
How can you get past age 14 and not know how to make a hamburger or toss a salad? There should definitely be a law against allowing people out into the world with no cooking skills. I can understand the really young ones (say, teenagers) but anyone who is 61 and says “I’ve been married 27 years and haven’t made 27 meals for my family,” either lives at KFC or likes to eat cereal three times a day.
These worst cooks watch their teacher chefs explain how to make things like, oh, pudding, with eyes and mouths open wide. “First you take the milk,” the teacher says. Ten people start writing down, “first you take the milk.” Then you see interviews with some of them, and they say things like “I never realized there was milk in pudding!”
You have to laugh because once the teachers leave, they do things like, say, forget to use milk. Or they burn the milk (this usually follows several minutes of reminders from the teachers that you MUST NOT BURN YOUR MILK).
Of course, I realize that 30 minutes, or 60 minutes, or whatever time limit they have to cook their meal is often unrealistic. I have been cooking for years, but if you set a clock and said GO there is a real chance that I’d forget my milk or burn it too.
This show has inspired me to teach my daughters how to cook. We started with something that was pretty simple: spaghetti and meatballs. We made my sauce (called gravy by many of my paisans) and then rolled the meatballs and used fresh refrigerated pasta for the best results. Yum!
6) I am writing every day. Unfortunately, that’s only at work. Once I get home I’m exhausted. While I think about writing more, I do constructive things like sit on the couch in a stupor and think about how I should really blog more.
After working all day on February 2, I was having one of those “I wish it would stop snowing and I could write more” moments when a story came on about Groundhog Day. Yes, I must admit, I actually felt homicidal at the thought that that freakin’ groundhog might come out of his hole and SEE HIS SHADOW.
Thank goodness for that furry oversized rat that he didn’t. If I have to deal with 6 more weeks of winter, I might have to go all “small furry animal in the soup pot on the stove” like Glenn Close did in Fatal Attraction.
I’m letting his Staten Island cousin off the hook this year, though. He bit Mayor Bloomberg last year. You gotta love his moxie.
7) I will not start smoking. Ever. But I think it stinks that smokers are being banned on public streets. I don’t want Big Brother poking his nose into my every little move. Besides, how can I throw my guests out of my house if they’re not allowed to smoke out there?
8) I’m going to take that soup class in March. And I can’t wait. I have visions of ending up like most of those contestants on the Worst Cooks in America, especially if there’s a timer going. And no, groundhog will not be on the menu.
I’m a little nervous about this class, and one of the reasons is that I possess an almost magical power over teachers. Either they adore me and break out in smiles when they see me, or they hate me with every fiber of their being. As long as I don’t slice a finger off, faint, or burn the kitchen down, I’m hoping the teacher really, really likes me. (I realize I just sounded like Sally Field there).
9) I’m still not spending enough time with friends. Or riding my bike around town, but I blame that mostly on the snow. Maybe I’ll move someplace warm, like Alaska.
10) I still intend to write a blog post about my sister-in-law, Kathie, even though she let me off the hook and said I didn’t have to. And boy, is it going to be a doozy.
11) I did not bring a chimpanzee home and call it my son. This one was easy to keep. Where do you buy a chimpanzee anyway? If they don’t sell it at Target, I’m not getting it. Besides, like I’ve said before, I don’t understand people who are fixated with wild animals. But I am trying.
To better understand this population, I’ve been watching commercials for a TV show called “Fatal Attractions.” They fascinate me, because they always start off with stories that go something like this: “my pet tiger was always so affectionate, but then one day while we were playing tag, he caught me, threw me to the ground and tried to eat me. I never saw that one coming.”
The narrator usually looks like Dan Akroyd when he was in that Saturday Night Live sketch with Jane Curtain about the author who has been mauled by bears. He’s got skin hanging from his badly mauled face, and now he wants to teach others how NOT to be mauled by bears.
Jane Curtin: Well, I can see here, from the book jacket, that you put a lot of the blame on the National Park Service. You feel that they’re not doing all they can to prevent bear attacks?
Bob Crawford: That’s right, and I have some proposals. First of all, there should be signs posted prominently on all national park entrances, saying, “Do Not Ride the Bears”.
Secondly, park rangers should warn campers, if they find bear cubs, leave them alone. Don’t try to dress them up in children’s clothes or swimsuits, what have you. It makes a great picture, but you’re just playing with fire.
Third – and I want to emphasize – Never Feed a Marshmallow to a grizzly bear like this: [places a marshmallow in his mouth and poses alluringly ]
Now that’s advice I think we should all take.
12) I have been eating chocolate regularly. Did you know that when you’re feeling down and you’ve been shoveling too much, Twix bite sized bars have the magical power to make it all seem better? Me neither. But now that I do, I thought I’d share that with you.
To get ready for my March soup cooking class, I’ve been on a soup kick. Here’s a recipe for a Chicken and Dumpling soup that gets rave reviews.
Have you ever had homemade pasta? I have and it’s fantastic. If you’re feeling ambitious or you have time kill on another snow day, go to:
You’ll find step-by-step instructions and even a pasta-making tutorial. Try it, you’ll like it!
So, how’s your year going so far? Post your comments here and let the other hungry lifers know all about it.