Tag Archives: Cinnamon


On “Inside the Actors’ Studio”–one of my not-so-guilty TV pleasures–James Lipton always starts his famous questionnaire with, “What is your favorite word?”  Were I to suddenly, magically, improbably become a movie star, and get invited onto the show for a profound exploration of my life and craft, I’m not sure I could whittle down my list to just one word.  Not even for the great, scrumtrulescent James Lipton himself.

I’m a fickle creature.  Right now, on this day, in this room, my top five are:

Gandy-dancer, n: an old slang term for a railroad maintenance worker

Soporific, adj: causing sleep

Yurt, n: a tentlike dwelling

Chortle, v: to chuckle gleefully

Snickerdoodle, n: a type of sugar cookie made with cream of tartar and rolled in cinnamon sugar

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Chili transgressions

So let’s get this out of the way, right here, right now. This is a post about chili. But not the old-school kind of chili. Not the kind of chili you put on a chili dog. Not the kind of chili that, when I was in college, I used to slop over fries and drench with nacho sauce and call it dinner. (I am shamed.) Oh, no, this is not your generic tomato-red, capsaicin-swimming, orange-grease-slicked Amurrican chili. If I ever enter this chili in a cookoff, they’ll almost certainly ride me out of town on a rail.

There are about a million and one traditional chili recipes out there in the ether, all more or less the same. What I’m after is none of them. I want chili that demands nothing but a bowl and a spoon and a sprinkle of cheese, that fills to the ribs without coalescing into a belly-brick. I want incongruous meats and funky textures, toothsome chunks of vegetation, beans of all different sizes. And I want something so far beyond the pale that it hardly qualifies as chili at all. My signature chili is absolutely killer, but it’s also miles away from tradition. It’s almost–dare I say it–un-American.

So here’s the proof. I’m done. Haul me away and lock me up. I surrender.

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Breakfast of champions

I’m dying to tell you all about what I made last night. DYING. But I can’t.

I know, what a way to start, right? But I just can’t tell you yet. You see, I have to wait two whole weeks before it’ll be ready. And if I have to wait for two weeks, you have to wait for two weeks. I’m sorry. Them’s the breaks.

Instead, I’m going to talk about oatmeal. (Wait, where are you going?)

Specifically, the politics of oatmeal. (No, come back!)

Bear with me, because I’m about to make a statement that just might be downright un-American: oatmeal doesn’t have to be sweet.

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