Popover fail

I’m reluctant to report on this since, well, I love it that my brother-in-law, Peter, makes these and I don’t want to make light (or fun of) his largesse. But he seems to be having some difficulties with with his popovers not popping over. 

As I understand it there is some competition with his sister as to whom makes the better ones. I’ve not had hers but Peter better get his popover action in the game or Nancy might have real cause to claim the title.

90, 32, 18

The annual tradition in Manhattan Beach, CA, a blind wine tasting upon arrival began with brown paper wrapped bottles. We had no idea what was what. The three we tasted, to me anyway, weren’t sufficiently different to warrant the huge price difference, $18 to $90. I’d have been very happy with the $18 bottle which is actually $5 more than I generally like to pay for wine.

The larger issue here is that more expensive wines make me want more expensive wine. It’s a dangerous game to play.

Like a dog in an apartment, I used to be just perfectly happy with $10 Sterling Cabernet until one day my brother-in-law Peter (the Madison Peter) showed up with a $15 bottle of Rodney Strong and then that was that. Now, the California Peter brother-in-law, is trying to bankrupt me.

Andronicus $32

Coup de Foudre $90 (Love at First Sight, I happen to know [the tooth sucking sound])

Rodney Strong $18 (but not my usual Rodney Strong)

So skiing,

My brother-in-law Peter, my LA brother-in-law, invited me to join him skiing in Colorado with Jay, one of my Wisconsin brothers-in-law (the third one was lolling around somewhere in Costa Rica), and I jumped on it. I love skiing, the bros-in-law are fun, sorta. And the lodging was free (Peter’s brother’s vacation home—amazing). So, sign me up. We’d just had a week of super-sub-zero weather so I thought, hey, this’ll be like a trip to, well, Costa Rica. It was not. 

Snowmass, CO. . . I believe it was -1 when we arrived to the ski hill the first morning. So, no, the banana trees were not in bloom. What I had failed to grasp was that not only were they younger than I, they were waaaay better skiers than I am. Think walruses skiing with gazelles. 

We made a couple of preliminary trips down one or two of the hills (They, streaking like greased lightening; me, windmilling my way down, whooping and shrieking like Goofy) and then, on the recommendation of some lunatic riding with us on the lift, took a freaking interminable hike up another hill, in ski boots, carrying our skis to some goddam place called “Long Shot.” I recall my alarm level rising dramatically as what was supposed to be a “quick 100 yards” mushroomed into a full on quarter mile trek—UPHILL AND IN SKI BOOTS—at the very least. 

Eventually, and not without a great deal of effort, panting and anxiety, I reached them waiting impatiently for me at the summit. I did not, as I wanted to, lie sobbing in the snow and beg to be shot. Instead I gamely plunged down the slope with them into what I was pretty sure would be my final act of insanity, er, bravery. This run was 5 full miles of panic, punctuated with occasional hysterical whimpering, hyperventilating and some extremely heartfelt prayer, ok, bargaining with God. They went ahead without me at my insistence. It was a win for all of us. They got a great run in and I made it down alive. 

I may have had icicles of tears frozen to my face but I did not fall once. 

 Me, in my foolish innocence imagining I could ski about to embark on my first run.

The demon hill. Hundred yards my goddam ass. That’s the path to the top on the left. 

And my brothers-in-law waiting for me.

Despite the fatigue, the terror, and cold, I somehow stopped to take pictures.

The sign says “You are 3/4 way down.” I was like ARE YOU GODDAM SHITTING ME??!!!

Me with Frick and Frack

The perfect Colorado breakfast

I’ve been in Colorado skiing with my brothers-in-law (some of them, and, of which more later), but my LA brother-in-law likes big breakfasts and while normally I have a banana or a half cup of cottage cheese, I love the opportunity to overdo it, especially when I know I’m going to go out and work it all off before noon. Bacon and eggs and an english muffin. My god.

My brother-in-law isn’t a cook

But, damn, he sure can make pop-overs. I have never watched him do it since they are always made when I arrive upstairs to the kitchen for coffee in the morning. There cannot be anything tricky about the recipe, he wouldn’t be making them if that were the case. I don’t know why I find the idea of making these so daunting. I mean, if he can make them, I am sure I can too. Imma figure it out and then I’m going to add them to my repertoire one of these days. 

Like I need another fattening food item. 


It was my nephew Peter’s birthday and my mom’s last day in Milwaukee before her month in California. We (not all of us, but some of us, there’s only so much family action one can deal with during the holidays) went out to Divino (formerly Palermo Villa), one of my favorite old fashioned Italian restaurants in Milwaukee. We had old fashioned Italian food and when it came time for his “birthday treat” (we asked for something special ahead of time but didn’t know what it would be) out came zeppole, little Italian donuts with candle and chocolate dipping sauce. It was perfect.

Just a few days before I had heard his mother say, “Peter is more of a donut person than a cake person.”

Pizza in California

My sister, her husband, my two nephews and I went out for pizza (Pizza Antica in a giant mall somewhere very Californi-ish) since I was not eating enough as it was. We started with appetizers of meatballs, arancini, some pot of melted cheese with toasts, bread and then 3 pizzas.

I don’t know how they all stay so thin. Well, I do actually, Peter the father didn’t eat any pizza since he was full from the half of a meatball he ate, Peter the son ate but did not take home leftovers, Peggy eats like a bird anyway and Evan, well, I’m not sure about Evan. He ate and he took home the leftovers. Me, I’ll eat anything no matter how much, if it’s there. I’m like a dog, unaware that it is not hungry.

 I am wearing my fat pants today and planning for my January-month-of-pain so my clothes fit comfortably again.

I can’t wait to get into my elastic waist lounge pants tonight.

Zarletti, one thumb down

My brother-in-law brought my mother back from California last week and we all went out to dinner at Zarletti, my go to restaurant when I can’t think of anything else. The food is generally good enough.

I had the ravioli special and it was really good. Peter had the veal scaloppini. It was not. The scaloppini were more like steaks than thin slices.

I felt bad because Peter is discerning and this was just not that good. He did eat it all though, I noticed.