COsmo's COrner: Household Hints, from soup to nuts
My name is Rosemarie. I come from a long line of wonderful Italian cooks and chefs. However, it seems I am missing the cuisnart gene. But I'm a fighter and not about to give up. You see, I'm about to be married to a fellow countryman. Well, I say that in a most loose sense, as we are 3rd generation Italian-Americans. Okay, I digress.
You know how my people are infamous eating machines. And we breed more eating machines. My reason to life is to make my Antony happy and so proud of me, his Rosemarie, when the whole fam damily, his and mine, when they come over on Sundays for a little antepasto, and some vino and some pasta, and the main course. Followed up by the sfingi, some espresso. Of course, la mia mama, she makes it all and everyone groans with delight as they roll away from the table after the antepasto and the vino and . . .
I seen my Mama and her sisters make all these wonderful dishes all my life and my Antony he just assumes I can do it. I can not. My best for the man I worship would be burnt offerings. So what must I do? I get take out from Luigi's Trattoria Romana and lay it out so nice and beautiful on my best Alibaba and light us some candles. Well, that works, but when he come over for breakfast . . . How do you fry an egg?
Should I call off the wedding till I get it all together? A lie is a terrible thing to live.
This is most unusual. All Italians can cook! You must search your soul and determine if this is not perhaps all in your head. Have you told Mama what you've told me? I should think she would have noticed your major mishaps in la cucina by this late date.
Be that as it may -- or may not -- there are some lovely cooking courses offered in your local junior colleges. Don't be afraid. Give it a try! Italian friends and relatives are always supportive when it comes to something as important as food! We do not simply eat to live, NO! We live to eat! CHI MANGIA BENE VIVA BENE!
As to calling off the wedding, that would depend on one major consideration -- have the invitations already been posted?
Fry an egg? Hmmm . . . Let me get back to you on this one.
I just read Rosemarie's letter. Poor girl! I feel bad for her, but at least I know my way around the kitchen.
I'm in a muddle about one thing though. Two things, actually. On I Love Lucy Ricky and Fred were cooking dinner for Lucy and Ethel, a sort of surprise if I remember right. Anywho, they confer on how to wash the chicken and decide on cleanser. I didn't know if that was a hidden message to the audience that properly prepared poultry prevents psalmonella. Was that scene only meant to be comic or is there some truth that chlorinated fowl is safer to eat than one that is merely roasted?
Point two. My uncle asked his wife for chicken soup and she boiled the chicken and made soup from the broth. She presented my uncle with a bowl of soup and he asked where the meat was. She replied that she had thrown away the chicken. What I don't understand is why she divorced him.
My hat's off to you if you can figure this one out!
Anything learned on I LOVE LUCY cannot be questioned. Go with the wisdom of '50s sitcoms and your gut. Drink lots of water with your dinner.
As to the chicken toss and the divorce, I can only add that your uncle received the Pullet Surprise. In some cultures ruining -- the merest dissatisfaction -- a meal results in matters far worse than the dismissal of the malefactor.
Don't run afoul of the soup.
Don't let's go nutty over too many patterns in a confined area of your living quarters.
We're heading back to the dining room as our current example of being imaginative and colorful yet not endeavoring to outdo a mid-eastern bazaar for brazen color and loud displays of uncontrolled textile exuberance.
You have likely spent an earl's ransom on a colorful and vividly patterned oriental rug. This woven wonder, of its own accord, takes center stage in any room where it happens to be lying in glorious horizontal repose. If you have chosen to set upon it your dining arrangement of table and chairs and discover that -- due to ill-advised and/or ill-planned juxtaposing of various furnishings -- there is a blinding flash of visually chaotic color and pattern because of fabric found upon seat cushions, well, let's do something about it and not titter unduly!
It stands to reason that you're not about to toss the carpeting that cost you so dearly. Taking a color (I prefer the deeper tones, personally) from the rug, find a suitable (by suitable I mean both durable and color-correct) new fabric for your cushions that complements the floor covering but that does not compete visually with it.
You are seeking (it is sincerely hoped) an aesthetic harmony between chair cushions (that, I might add, if I have not already made my point sufficiently clear, are newly of a non-patterned fabric) and rug.
The resultant ambience will promote better digestion and family concord.
Fresh-cut flowers: an ephemeral but lovely addition to a room . . .
Bringing Spring's first blush of color inside your home is an immediate and simple means to liven up an otherwise static interior. Not to mention, a surefire means to deal with SAD.
While you may prefer the hued profusion and visual cacophony of a wildly mixed bouquet, Cosmo finds rest and repose in the simplicity of a volume of white blossoms -- paper whites -- set against their green foliage [stems showcased through a clear vase] as Nature's inimitable way of soothing the savage breast.
Need a bit of warmth, however, to perk up a room gloomy from Winter's overstayed welcome? Is this season ever happily anticipated? Well, then, choose a yellow floral arrangement. Jonquils -- particularly the old standby, King Alfred -- are ever in favor as elevators of heart, spirit, soul. They smell good, too!
You may be pleased to discover that your sticking to a single color of blossoms will serve as a glorious focal point as Nature's evolving decor takes you from bud to blossom to blast.
Love the flowers, CC. Always prefer them in those clear, glass, vases - so simple and beautiful.
The I Love Lucy show for homemaker/household knowledge -- that's hilarious! Lucy wasn't quite Martha Stewart but we variety is good! I could use a brush up on Italian cooking techniques myself --- best food in the world!
Always prefer them in those clear, glass, vases - so simple and beautiful. -- LV101
Yes, simple always works and makes the better statement. I was raised Italian and still must have pasta daily.
I never said I could sing................ -- punkofnice
I was trained in the classics, but your musical episode, strangely, resonates with me on a whole new level. Reminds me of the punk on the bus whose ghetto blaster was screaming out "I hate you!" The scene is from Star Trek: The Voyage Home.
I am stuck in a time warp of sorts, decor-wise.
My childhood home was very nice but dull and uninspired. Mother had good taste and Dad allowed her to buy any furniture she wanted. It all came from a rather tony establishment, H.H. Croft and Sons, as I recall. It wasn't that the furniture was unattractive. The problem was the artificial and impractical arrangement of the pieces in the living room and dining room, in particular.
While my husband and I haven't the means to go out and buy like my parents did (I do have some of my parent's upholstered furniture and occasional pieces), I find myself reverting to old patterns that are pleasant to look at but say, "You may look but do not touch!" We want to live in all our rooms and not be neurotic about a little clutter or an odd but novel approach to things.
Do you have any suggestions, just for starters?
Thank you for your time.
Our beloved Cosmo is on a buying junket in Istanbul but has, nevertheless, forwarded your inquiry.
Let us say that that decor, circa-1950 (an estimate of your parent's era), was an incalculable misdemeanor of faux pas dementia, and you are certainly justified in coming to your designing senses, no disrespect intended toward your poor misguided but, well . . . misguided parents! May they rest in peace. (They have passed on, I assume.)
We'll chat later about cozy, intimate areas for meaningful conversation amongst friends who pay you a visit; how to render more open and accessible your hurly burly traffic areas; how to emphasize minimally through understated elegance; and how to visualize and understand spatial concepts with regard to opening up a tiny room both metaphorically and literally (no need to go hammer-and-tongs with a sledge hammer).