Posts Tagged With: New York

Shrimp Gravy

American Entree



1 green bell pepper
1 celery stalk
1 medium onion
1½ pounds shrimp, peeled and deveined (41-50 count)
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
6 bacon slices
2 tablespoons butter
¼ cup flour
1½ cups beef stock

Serves 6 Takes 35 minutes.


Seed and dice bell pepper. Dice celery and onion. Add shrimp, garlic powder, and seasoned salt to mixing bowl. Stir with fork or hands until shrimp are completely coated.

Add bacon to pan. Cook at medium-high heat until crisp. Remove bacon with slotted spoon and place on paper towels. Crumble bacon. Keep bacon grease in pan. Add bell pepper, celery, and onion. Sauté for 4 minutes or until onion softens. Stir frequently. Add butter and flour to pan. Reduce heat to medium. Cook for 5 minutes or until flour turns copper brown. Stir constantly. Reduce heat if necessary, to prevent burning.

Add beef stock and coated shrimp to pan. Reduce heat to low-medium and simmer for 4 minutes or until shrimp turns pink or orange. Stir frequently. Add crumbled bacon. Mix with fork until well blended. Goes well over freshly cooked rice or grits.


1) When I was a kid, I took speech therapy classes. One of the phrases I had to master was “Butter makes the bitter batter better.” I enrolled in one acting class. I had to say easily, “You need New York, unique New York. You know you need unique New York.”

3) I played Snoopy in my grammar school’s version of You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown. I even danced and sang. I built upon this success to play Wildcat Willie in my middle school’s production of Wildcat Willie Carves the Turkey.

4)Strange to say, I landed no more roles after that. I do however, have the occasional dream where I’m on stage and I don’t know the name of the play or my lines. Sigh.


Paul De Lancey, The Comic Chef, Ph.D.

My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World, with its 180 wonderful recipes, my newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, and all my other books, are available on

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Fun Festivals – The International Witches Fair


Such fun

Is Halloween your favorite holiday of the year? Did you or your mom spend days making a truly scary costume? Do you want another such day? Each and every year?

Then go to the Witchcraft and the Trasmoz’s Curse Fair. Other towns have their own witch fairs. But do not go to them! Do not accept substitutes. The first and still the best such fair is the one in Trasmoz, Spain. This fair is the one that truly deserves to be called, The International Witches Fair.

This fair takes places every first weekend in July and is just the thing for people who prefer to watch movies about witch burning over roasting marshmallow over an open fire.

This fair is such fun. Watch reenactors capture witches and heretics. Watch the lost souls get tried. Be enthralled by their torture. Be entranced by lovingly recreated witches’s covens. Honestly, is anything near your home that can rival this? I think not.

But wait! There’s more. Listen to the excommunication of the entire town. Puts your “Damn you, (your enemy)” to shame doesn’t it?

Watch as Pope Julius II curses the entire village.

But you can’t see the reenactment of the lifting of the excommunication and cursing. They never happened. The town is still excommunicated and cursed. Can New York City, London, Paris, Rio de Janeiro, Tokyo, or Bora Bora can say that? No they can’t, only Trasmoz, Spain.

Wait! There’s more.

The festival sports an authentic medieval market place and medieval camp. There are parades, magic shows, musical shows, and medieval combat. You’ll want to go year after year just to see everything.

But wait! There’s more.

Learn about medieval plants. Perhaps you’ll want to learn how to poison someone. It’s okay, it’s okay, all medieval poisons were organic. Or maybe you’ll want to heal people with medieval medicinal plants. To each his own.

But wait! There’s still more. Absorb the town’s rather exciting history as you wander around.

The history

During the 1100s, the town of Trasmoz  clashed with the nearby Veruela Monastery over firewood and pastures. Such disputes were normally decided by lawsuits or mediation by a higher lord or church official. Such a process proved unsatisfactory to the Monastery’s abbot. He excommunicated the entire town saying that witches and covens were running amok. Excommunication was an unambiguously horrible thing to happen to you in the Middle Ages. However, while bad for the town, excommunication is now an annual economic boon for Trasmoz, a town vying with other village for the tourist Euro.

In 1511, the lord of the town and Abbot Pedro Ximénez de Urrea quarreled. Perhaps the lord would point at the abbot and say, “Look, there goes urea breath.” Who can say? But we do know that the abbott complained to the higher ups. Eventually Pope Julius II cursed the entire town.

Some think the curse came about due to counterfeiting. Local counterfeiters didn’t want visitors poking their noses into this illegal activity. So the law breakers told the abbot stories of wickedness and the rest is history.

The excommunication and curse have never been lifted. Only the pope can do that. It’s something to think about should you ever ponder settling in Trasmoz.

So enjoy the history, the torture, and the food. Go to the International Witches Fair. Make your bookings now. It’s fun for the entire family.


– Paul De Lancey, The Comic Chef, Ph.D.

My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World, with its 180 wonderful recipes, my newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, and all my other books, are available on

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Why Go to Manhattan . . .


Yep, flying to New York City is costly. Staying in a hotel in downtown Manhattan remains prohibitively expensive. You’ll need to take out a second mortgage just to scrape up the funds. And Manhattan hotels don’t let its guests park their cars for free. No, no, no. Your nest egg just got a wee bit smaller.

Try Poway, California!

It’s right here. I mean it’s just outside my window. Rooms here are reasonable. You can park everywhere for free. Woo hoo!


You get the same backed-up traffic as Manhattan.

You might be asking how does Poway, a town 1/200th the size of New York, manage to get the Big Apple’s traffic. Simple.

1)  Have really long red lights. Quite a lot of cars can accumulate during red lights that last four minutes.

2) Make people wait even longer than that for left turns.

3) Favor cars going a certain direction. In Poway the favored motorists are the ones going east-west. These directions have most of the businesses.

4) This means, of course, cars traveling north-south have significantly longer red lights. Quite a few cars going north-south accumulate at the intersection at this time. A favorite sports of these dammed-up drivers is counting the number of times they could have easily crossed during gaps occurring in east-west traffic. Yep, it’s fun letting a car that’s a half-mile away cross the intersection before you.

5) Try to turn left when you’re headed north-south. This will take you longer than the straight north-south crossing.

6) Try to turn left at an intersection that skips your left-turn signal repeatedly. Skips it seven or more times. These left-turn lanes would be a safe place to play table tennis. Get your exercise.

7) As an extra bonus. When a green light finally occurs, a tsunami of cars floods down the street, making it nearly impossible for the cars on cross streets to get through, particularly when all they have is a stop sign.

8) And any description of Powegian traffic would be woefully incomplete without mentioning the annual tearing up of its main arteries for repair or expansion of its underground pipes for new businesses. Why they don’t make an annual festival of their street tear ups is beyond me.

Poway, of course, has magnificent qualities, such as a low-crime rate, a first-class public schools, and many useful businesses. Just remember, you’ll have to drive your car to get to them.


Paul De Lancey, concerned citizen and Comic Chef, Ph.D.

My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World, with its 180 wonderful recipes, my newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, and all my other books, are available on

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Posole Rojo

Mexican Soup



3 pounds pork shoulder or leg
60 ounces canned-garbanzo beans (aka chickpeas)
2 bay leaves
7 garlic cloves (4 more later)
3 quarts water


6 guajillo chiles or ancho chiles
3 ancho chiles or guajillo chiles
3 cups water
½ small onion (½ more later)
4 garlic cloves
1 tablespoon Mexican oregano or marjoram or oregano
½ teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon salt


2 avocados
¼ head cabbage
4 red radishes
½ small onion
1 cup tortilla chips


electric blender

Serves 16. Takes 2 hours 30 minutes.


Cut pork into 1″ cubes. Drain garbanzo beans. Cut 7 garlic cloves in half. Add pork, garbanzo beans, bay leaves, 7 garlic cloves, and 3 quarts water to 1st, large pot. Bring to boil using high heat. Stir occasionally. Reduce heat to low. Simmer for 1 hour or until pork cubes can be pulled apart easily with a fork. Skim off foam with spoon. Stir enough to prevent burning. Remove and discard bay leaves. Remove pork and garlic. Keep water in pot. Shred pork completely using 2 forks. Smash garlic bits with fork. Return pork and garlic to pot.


While pork simmers, add 3 cups water to 2nd pot. Bring to boil. Seed guajillo and ancho chiles to pan. Roast at medium heat for 8 minutes until they start to soften. Stir occasionally . Add chiles to 2nd pot. Cover and remove from heat. Let chiles sit in water for 15 minutes or until they have completely softened. Cut ½ small onion into 4 pieces. Add guajillo chiles, ancho chiles, 4 garlic cloves, 4 onion pieces, and water from 2nd pot to blender. Set blender to puree and blend until pureed. This is the red sauce. Add red sauce, Mexican oregano, pepper, and salt to the pot containing pork and garbanzo beans. Simmer on low heat for 10 minutes. Stir occasionally.


Add red sauce/pork/garbanzo beans to bowls. Cut avocados into 16 pieces each. Shred cabbage. Mince ½ small onion. Slice radishes as thinly as possible. Spread avocado, cabbage, onion, radish, and tortilla chips evenly over bowls of red sauce/pork/garbanzo beans.


1) The Italian peninsula in 1848. Peasants rioted against the nobles. The nobles suppressed the peasant uprising. Italians took up arms against their foreign masters. The foreign masters fought back. Bullets were positively whizzing everywhere.

2) Then the Second War for Italian Independence began in 1859. Armies marched all over the place. Bullets and cannonballs streaked against the sky. It was all too much for the simple chef, Fabio Marinara who determined to leave for America. His customers pleaded for him to stay. “No,” said Fabio at length.

3) So, the plucky Italian sold all his possessions and bought a ticket to New York on the SS Seaweed.

4) But he boarded instead the SS Flan to Veracruz, Mexico. But that was okay, for Mexican food was love at first sight for Fabio. “Tacos, where have you been all my life?” thought Chef Mariana.

5) Well, across the Atlantic Ocean. But anyway, Chef Fabio opened up a restaurant on the Gulf of Mexico. Within weeks, he perfected this soup, the posole rojo.

6) People loved his soup. They’d burst out singing, “Posole Rojo” everytime this food of the gods went by their tables.

7) A Italian lyricist, Giovanni Capurro heard these outbursts of ecstasy. He thought they were referring to Veracruz’s magnificent red sunsets. He interpreted them to say, “O sole rojo” or “O my red sun.”

8) But Capurro found that the song burgeoning within his heart flowed much easier when he tweaked the words to “O solo mio” or “O my sun.”

9) He took his song back to Naples. Capurro’s song has been an enduring global hit ever since. “O Sole Mio” has even been sung twice on Sesame Street. Now you know.

– Paul De Lancey, The Comic Chef

My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World, with its 180 wonderful recipes, my newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, and all my other books, are available on

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Cuban Moros y Cristianos

Cuban Entree

(beans and rice)


12 ounces dry black beans
2½ cups long white rice
5 cups chicken stock
1 green bell pepper
3 garlic cloves
1 medium onion
2½ tablespoons olive oil
1 bay leaf
½ teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon oregano
¼ teaspoon pepper
¾ teaspoon salt
1½ tablespoon white vinegar
1 tablespoon tomato paste


Dutch oven

Makes 6 bowls. Takes 2½ hours.


Add beans to pot. Add enough water to cover beans with 1″ of water. Bring to boil using high heat. Let boil for 20 minutes. Stir occasionally. Remove, cover, and let stand for 1 hour. Drain and rinse beans. Again add water until beans are covered by 1″ of water. Bring to boil using high heat. Stir occasionally. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 1 hour or until beans are tender. Drain.

While beans simmer, add rice and chicken stock to pot or rice cooker. Cook rice according to instructions on package.

While beans still soak and rice cooks, seed bell pepper. Dice bell pepper, garlic cloves, and onion. Add bell pepper, garlic, onion, and olive oil to Dutch oven. Sauté on medium-high heat for 5 minutes or until onion softens. Stir frequently. Add black beans from pot, bay leaf, cumin, oregano, pepper, salt, vinegar, and tomato paste. Cook on medium heat for 5 minutes. Stir occasionally. Add rice with chicken stock to Dutch oven. Stir and serve with sofrito.


1) The Declaration of Independence of 1776 voiced America’s most cherished ideals in such a forceful and plain manner as to compel the assent of the world’s powers to America’s right to nationhood.

2) It was also a practical document listing all the things King George III of Britain did to annoy, vex, and hamper the commerce of The Thirteen Colonies.

3) One action that stands in my mind is how George and his ministers hampered the New England fishing fleets. The seamen clamored for the removal of these restrictions. It didn’t happen.

4) It became clearer and clearer that the only way for the fishermen to get a sympathetic National Fisheries Department was to create a new nation.

5) In 1773, the British sent regiment after regiment of infantry to Boston to suppress Boston’s surly and increasingly unruly fishermen. The redcoats stormed one bay-side warehouse after another carrying off cannon, muskets, and weapon-grade fish hooks. Surely, Boston was ripe for revolution.

6) But nothing happened. Boston baked beans had made the culinary scene. All the inns and taverns from New Hampshire to New Jersey served this new entree. It was so good. It is still so good. Diners became contented, contented enough to put revolutions and reality shows on hold.

7) In 1775, however, King George and his council made a truly egregious blunder. They omitted all types of carrots from the list of foodstuffs that could be grown in the colonies. From that moment on, carrots could only be imported from England on English ships.

8) These “carroty omissions,” an anagram for “Moros y Cristianos,” devastated the carrot farmers of New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia, and Georgia. Passions ran high. Royal carrot enforcers were hung in effigy; their homes stormed and ransacked.

9) New England’s merchant fleet stayed in port. With no carrots to ship from the south to ship to carrot-starved Boston, there was no reason for them to venture out. Unemployment soared in all Thirteen Colonies.

10) Unemployed people tend to do two things, congregate at skateboard parks and foment revolution against the mother country. There were no skateboard parks in 1775. Revolution loomed.

11) On February 7, 1775, Samuel Magpie got up before the Pennsylvanian legislature to thunder, “Give me carrot cake or I’ll hold my breath until I turn blue.” Only a few people noticed. However, Patrick Henry was one of them.

12) Patrick Henry was an omnivore, a person or animal eating both fish and carrots. He knew the spark needed to inflame people’s hearts needed to be broader.

13) So on March 23, 1775 he addressed the Virginia Convention, “Give me liberty of give me death.” This was sheer brilliance. He had stood up for the rights of farmers to grow carrots and fishers to fish, while simultaneously creating a metaphor for ending political oppression. The fired-up conventioneers voted for a national convention. The Declaration of Independence would be signed a scant year later. Seven years more, America would become a new nation.

14) The great world powers took this lesson to heart.. Ever since then, no nation has dared to enact anti-carrot legislation. Carrot salad, anyone?

– Paul De Lancey, The Comic Chef

My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World, with its 180 wonderful recipes, my newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, and all my other books, are available on

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Not to Do List – Today’s the End of the World


My quite helpful not-to-do lists are generally meant to describe normal days, like when the Earth be around. But dedicated people keep telling us that our World is going to end and they can’t always be wrong. In fact, a large number of folks, over six, aver that our planet will be annihilated this very day. This kind of news gives what were not going to do a new urgency. In honor of the last day of our life, here are things I really, really, really won’t be doing today:

1) I will not clean the hardened egg off the frying pan. This really is a tough job. I normally put it off for hours. But now, I can avoid forever. Woo hoo!

2) I will not change my clothes. It’s the apocalypse and I’m greeting it in my comfy jammies.

3) I will not worry about all those End-of-the Earth scenarios. They’ve been narrowed down to one, thank goodness.

4) I will not clean out the garage. This alone makes our mass destruction worthwhile.

5) I will not worry where all those orphan socks from the clothes dryer went to. They’ve gone to a better place.

6) I will not spend another day in a world with Windows 8.

7) I will not remove that big weed that’s miraculously–my gosh, I spell that word correctly on the first try–growing in a crack in the sidewalk in front of my house. We will spend our last day in a spirit of live and let live.

8) I will not eat lutefisk, not even if doing so would prevent that giant Cocoa Pebble from smashing into the Earth. Don’t judge me.  Not unless you’ve already eaten lutefisk.

9) I will not hold to my diet today. I’m having a 3 by 3 three-animal style burger, French fries-animal style, and a chocolate milkshake at In-n-Out today.

10) I will not read any software terms-of-agreement.

11) I will not go to Schnecteday, New York.

12) I will not look up the correct spelling of Schnecteday.

13) I will not move the laundry along.

14) I will not change out of my comfortable jammies.

Write and let me know what you didn’t do today.

– Paul R. De Lancey, mystic seer

My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World, with its 180 wonderful recipes, my newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, and all my other books, are available on


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Spotlight on Heidi Clements, author of “Welcome to Heidi”

Chapter One

Happy Birthday to MeanHeidiCover


“Let’s face it. You’re on the downside of life now,” a friend said to me on my 50th birthday. “You’re basically just careening to the end.”  I stabbed him with a fork. Then I went out and bought some new shoes.

If you’re one of those women prancing around shouting that 50 is the new 30, then you need to cut back on the scotch. The only thing 50 is – is 50. If you’re lucky, you’re halfway through your life. If you’re not – well, you may keel over halfway through this book.

There is a kind of wisdom you get when you hit 40 – this amazing and enlightening invisible book you’re handed that has all the answers to the questions you’ve been pondering for four decades. You find yourself walking around talking to yourself going, “Ohhhhhhhh, now I get it. Gosh, if only I’d known that when I was 20.” Blah. Blah. Whatever. That’s the genius of youth – even if you have any kind of knowledge, you don’t want to use it. It’s annoying.  Logic is kryptonite to young people. They back away from it like the liquor-free punch bowl at a frat party. No one wants it. They can be smart later in life. Who needs brains when there is a bong and you have an Instagram account to document your stupidity?

Forty can be troubling, but I highly recommend marking the occasion. Just don’t quit drinking four months before your 40th, then throw a party and invite all your boozy friends whom you secretly curse, and call “liquor pigs,” and hate because they’re drunk on your birthday, and everything they say is stupid, and you’re not drunk because you’re a loser who couldn’t handle your alcohol.  Also, try not to take a baseball bat to a piñata that the neighbors you don’t even know (and occasionally make fun of because they’re weird) got you for your birthday, and eat a ton of sheet cake before crying alone in your bedroom at 2 am, and then eat the rest of the cake out of the garbage with a fork. It could happen.

But 40 is deal-able. The only thing I got when I turned 50 was meaner – and I was pretty cranky to begin with. I immediately started to think about death all the time. I found myself talking to God, asking to be spared as if there was a plague on the way sweeping up all the 50-year-olds.  Somehow I became Cloris Leachman overnight. My boobs moved to their final resting place – which, sadly, was my waist.

Being able to tuck your breasts into your pants is not something to celebrate. It is also, not sexy. Suddenly everything I did hurt, and by everything I mean bending over to tie my shoe. Is this how it happens? You turn 50 and the people upstairs go, “Oh, there she is – zap her. Turn her life upside down.  Make her old.” I mean, I know age is just a number, but suddenly my number was really old. Will I be getting that weird back hump soon? Do I have to start eating dinner at 5:30 now? Will I be allowed a later reservation?  When do I start saying, “This music’s too loud”? Wait – I say that now.  

I was never a huge fan of people, but now I hated everyone who didn’t think exactly like me, and I was driven into a homicidal-type rage by even the simplest of things. Why is everyone so stupid?  I’d sit in my car and curse at people at traffic lights who paused for a split second when it went from red to green. “What are you waiting for?”I’d scream like a mental patient. The bigger question was – What am I in such a rush to get to? The supermarket, where there were more stupid people waiting to piss me off?  I am constantly standing behind the person who says, “Oh, I forgot something. I’ll be right back.” Great. I’ll just wait here for you to run through the entire store like it’s the game show “Supermarket Sweep” and see if you can find the can of lima beans you can’t live without but couldn’t remember to pick up while you were shoving the Double Stuff Oreos and other carcinogenic crap into your cart, you giant Nut Bag. And by the way you’re too fat to eat those cookies. Breathe, Heidi. Just breathe.

The second I hit 50, all of the ads on television were about me and the terrible, horrible, disturbing things that were going to happen to my body. Did you know that your pelvic floor is going to drop, and you’ll need to exercise it?  Did you know your pelvis had a floor?  I didn’t.  (I hope mine’s a dance floor.)  My mom called and told me she had to have an operation on her lady parts and their surroundings because– quote – everything dropped.  Perfect. That sounds fun. I guess your insides don’t want to feel left out that your outsides need to be lifted, so the whole system just crashes to the ground.

And she wasn’t the only mother with bad news.  My friend Becky’s mom, Leslie, sent me a catalog called “As We Change.” She thought I would find it funny.  I was rocked into a depression that sent me directly to sugar-filled items. I found out I’m going to need things that I was not expecting to need – like a pillow to shove down my bra while I sleep to keep me from getting creases in my chest.  (P.S. This one’s too late.) There are at least three pairs of gloves I’m going to have to buy for various stages of achiness in my wrists, fingers, and palms. I will need to restore my hair to its youthful fullness, and if I can’t, there’s a spray that I can use to paint my head. There are creams for my soon-to-be-blotchy skin, tapes to remove my brow wrinkles, and balms to smooth out the lines around my lips. There are pills to stop my nails from breaking, bleaches to stop my face from darkening, and oils to re-lube what’s un-lubeable.  Fuck. I’m going to be a hot mess.

I think the most disturbing items in the catalog were the clothing, shoes, and handbags – which were really brightly colored and covered in things like butterflies and waves. I have never owned one thing with a butterfly on it, and if you see me in something that does, please call someone and report it immediately. Then have me killed. I don’t know who you call for stuff like this, but if you love me – you’ll research that and get it done. When does this overwhelming need to wear hideous clothing begin? Does it suddenly become acceptable to carry a quilted bag?  When do I start wearing Mom Jeans? Do they just come in the mail, or do I have to order them?  When do I cut off all of my hair and layer on the chunky jewelry?

There were some strappy sandals in the catalog that I wouldn’t be caught dead in – even if I were dead. There was something called a “Boob Tube” to wear under lower-cut dresses and tops, because apparently no one wants to see old woman cleavage.  (I know I don’t.) There were comfy straps to put under my bra straps to cut down on “unsightly dents” – which is another way of saying your giant Old Woman Boobs are dropping at such a rapid rate, the stress on your shoulders is leaving a mark in your skin that is not sexy. Color me terrific. There were foam nipple covers (no idea why), instant buttons to expand your pants (could be using those right now), and shoe stretchers to help shove your swollen lumps into your Christian Louboutins.  (Shit, when do I have to give my high heels back because I can’t walk in them anymore? Add that to the list of things that suck it when you get old.) There was even a special necklace you can slip your no-longer-fits-your-fat- fingers wedding band onto.  (Well, there’s one thing I don’t need. Thank goodness I didn’t get married. Am I right or am I right?)

There were heel-huggers, and toe-compressors, and bunion-smoothers, and 66 pages of magical Old People Shit, and I haven’t even read the section on bathing suits because I’m quite certain I could buy every single one of them right now. When it comes with a slimming panel, a high neck, silicone shapers, a skirt, a built-in diaper, and a matching sarong, I say, “Why wait? Let’s get this party started.”

I wonder if there’s one of these catalogs for men. It’s probably the exact same catalog, but it’s called “As She Changes,” and it’s just there to inform men of all the things they shouldn’t bring up so they don’t send us into an endless hormonal crying jag. Men don’t need a catalog of all the stuff that’s going to fall apart on them, because they don’t care.  As long as the penis stays attached – they’re good to go.  I, on the other hand, just ordered a bra wash bag and some Goodnighties Recovery Sleepwear infused with negative ions to help me sleep. Hey, if it’s good enough for astronauts – it’s good enough for this old broad.

I used to think the biggest concern for me was the rapid rate at which my hair was graying.  I now need to have my naturally red hair dyed every three weeks, and by natural, I mean I pay for it, so shut the fuck up. But just yesterday while I was at the salon, I noticed an elderly woman having her gray hair dyed to an incredibly unbelievable shade of some sort of brown that was not on any Pantene dye wheel I’ve ever seen.  She looked like a doll – a really old doll.  I wanted to tell her that it was time to just say “yes” to the gray and “no” to the helmet of henna tint she was sporting, but I was too overwhelmed by another part of her anatomy – her ear lobes. They were huge and swingy and clearly not the lobes she came into this life with. In fact, just one quick glimpse of these fleshy flops and I knew – they had grown, and someday, so would mine.  I immediately Googled, “Do ear lobes grow as we get older?” and bam – yes, they do.  Great.  Something else to look forward to. My ear lobes will drop down to where my boobs, ass, and knees are all gathering. Eventually, won’t I just be a head with pudding skin all piled around down by my ankles? There isn’t enough industrial-strength tape to pull it all back up.

I’m already obsessed with grabbing the skin on the back of my neck and then crying when I release it.  I worked with Jane Seymour once, and she used Scotch tape on the back of hers. I watched her do it. It was remarkable. The company should totally add this to their advertising campaign.  That shit is strong. Why do my ear lobes have to grow? Who do I call to skip this part? Is there some sort of list I can check where I get to pick just three of the gazillion hideous things that are happening to my body? Something like:


1. Boob hair – No, thank you.

2. Nose hair – Not really interested.

3. Ear hair – Shut the fuck up.

4. Saggy boobs – Fine, if I have to.

5. Cellulite – Okay, I can undress alone.

6. Leaky vagina – Don’t really want to smell like pee yet.

7. Wrinkles – Whatever.

8. Menopause – Can’t wait.

9. Crepe-y Skin – Fine.

10. Grey Hair – Sure.


I could go on, but I just depressed myself. It’s already crystal-clear that I’m becoming completely invisible to the opposite sex. Just yesterday, I lost the “final frontier” of feeling pretty – the inside of my car. Until recently, when I got dolled up and drove somewhere, I could get at least get one look from a man in a passing car. You can’t tell what I look like from the neck down, and my hair can block a whole lot of issues. But yesterday, on my way to a party, I got nothing.  Zero. Zip. Loser. Old Lady. Set yourself on fire, and maybe someone will turn their head in your direction. It’s over, people. Now I’m just waiting for my lobes to grow so I have somewhere to hang the “out of business” sign.

Everything seems to be going at once.  My eyesight is a shit storm. I cursed out my optometrist because I couldn’t read anything with my new contact lenses in. He then informed me that I needed reading glasses. I already have terrible distance vision.  Basically, I’m like – blind. I can’t get out of bed without putting glasses on, because I will surely fall down.   Sometimes, I wake up in the middle of the night with an idea, and I email it to myself so I don’t forget it by morning.  This is what I emailed myself last night: “My do tlip nods khedive needs breTh rifhbr strips.”  If anyone knows what that means, please call me. People tell me to get that Lasik eye surgery all the time, but I’m not having my corneas slashed to ribbons with a laser beam by a guy who advertises during “Bad Girls” on Oxygen. What if we find out that 20 years after you have Lasik surgery, your entire head falls off? Who cares how clear your vision is then?

I hate having to wear reading glasses. It immediately makes you feel 100 years old. I have a friend who’s so freaked out about having to wear reading glasses that she goes to what I would call extremes to avoid revealing her blurry little secret – and you have to go pretty far for me to call it extreme. If she has a date, she has her assistant call the restaurant so they can fax the menu to her home. Then – like a high school girl cramming for a calculus test – she memorizes it. Do the math. This is nuts. She also calls the restaurant on her way there to make sure they haven’t added anything to the menu at the last minute – like fried boar. Because in her mind, it would be a clear sign something was amiss if she didn’t say, “How unusual that they serve fried boar here, no?” Trust me: If a woman wears reading glasses on a date, no man will care. As long as her vagina can see his penis, he’ll be good to go.

Turning 50 is both a gift and a curse. You really do become a completely filter-free version of yourself, and you finally understand that you have to be asked for advice and not just throw your opinion at people. I think the,“I know what I’m talking about, you moron” speech comes at about 60, and I’m not gonna lie, I look forward to that. I can feel it gently tickling the back of my neck. The hardest part of turning 50 is understanding that sexually, it’s over. And I know what all you sexually active women are saying right now: “That’s not me. I’m banging around like a kid.” Well, good for you. I’ll call the Old People Porn Channel and tell them you’re making a hot new video.  But I am fairly convinced that no guy wakes up in the morning and says, “I need to find a hot 50-year-old broad to punch in the pants today.”  If he does, please give him my address, phone number, and email.

There are also great things about turning the Big Five-O. You really know who you are, and if you’re lucky, you’re happy with that person.  You stop wasting time with toxic people, and you don’t let yourself get undermined by the insanity of others. You’re fine if you don’t get invited to every party, and staying home on the couch at night in your underpants with an array of snack items that could kill you is better than an invitation to the Oscars. Those beautiful people don’t talk to we great unwashed anyway.

I think the one thing I finally realized when I turned 50 was who the great love of my life is – me.  I have learned to love myself, and when necessary, laugh at myself.  I have also learned that your life is like a movie, and if you don’t like the way it’s playing – rewrite it and recast it. I did. I quit my six-figure job and took a long hard look at my life. Then I threw up. Then I got some new shoes.  Happy birthday to me.


Heidi Clements Bioheidiclements6


I was born in Staten Island New York, which I used to think was totally uncool and so I tell people I was born in Paris France. I figure – you can see the Statue of Liberty from Staten Island and that’s from France so we’re kind of the Ile de la Cite of New York… if you squint… hard.I started out wanting to write when I was a very little girl. I wrote poems and prose, basically anything and everything. Then I had a teacher tell me that my poetry was crap. He was right. But he was also an asshole because it stopped me from writing for years. The thing is – nothing can stop a writer from writing and so I finally just decided – hey – I’m gonna be a writer no matter what.My first writing job was for A&E. I used to write promos and wraparounds for the shows – for people like Peter Graves and Michael Palin. I never considered it real writing though. My work on the show “Baby Daddy” is really my first writing job because it’s scripted – and that’s what I waited 50 years to do. But I have been writing things for other people to say on television for decades – including the lovely Mary Hart – host of Entertainment Tonight.

I have a blog called “Welcome to Heidi” – which is basically like having cancer.
There’s no cure and people make that sad face when you tell them.

In the future, my plan is to rule the world. I want to have my own show – which I’ve already written. I think older women are the most undervalued overlooked group in the world and I believe we have a lot to say to a younger generation of women. Something other than what the show “Girls” is telling them. 


Welcome to Heidi is available on

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Book Review of Reina Menasche’s Silent Bird

Wonderful Novel

Pillar Russell leaves New York to flee disturbing childhood memories and relationships. Afraid of commitments, she settles in southern France to start over in a place where no one SilentBird-knows her, where she doesn’t even know the language.

Pillar’s plan for anonymity gets tested when she takes to her beguiling Gallic village and most importantly when she meets the earnest and sensitive Jeannot. These two friends and lovers are good for each other, so good marriage seems inevitable. But, the memories in Pillar’s life and disturbing xenophobia of the town and Jeannot’s family threaten their relationship.

The author’s style is sensitive and compelling. She skillfully balances disturbing thoughts with uplifting enthusiasm and heart-wrenching sadness with deft touches of humor. Reina Lisa Menasche is a darn good writer. I heartily recommend Silent Bird to everyone.

– Paul R De Lancey

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Bruna Boner (Swedish beans)

Swedish Entree

(Swedish beans)


1 pound bag pink beans
6 cups water
4 teaspoons, or half-stick, butter
8 ounces brown sugar
1/4 cup white vinegar
2 tablespoons corn starch


Put beans in large pot. Add enough water to cover beans with a few inches to spare. Let soak overnight or at least 10 hours. The beans will be crunchy if not sufficiently soaked. (You do not want to wake up, twenty years later, in the middle of the night screaming, “Why? Why did I not soak the beans long enough?”)

Drain the water. (This gets rid of any dirt on the beans.) Add 6 cups water. Cook on medium heat for 40 minutes. Stir every few minutes. Add more water if the water no longer covers the beans. Covering the pot with a lid also keeps water from evaporating.

Add butter. Cook on low-to-medium heat for 40 minutes. Stir every few minutes to avoid burning. Add more water if the water no longer covers the beans.

Add sugar. (If the brown sugar comes out of the box as a brick, saw it in half.) Cook on low-to-medium heat for 40 minutes. Stir every few minutes to avoid burning. Add more water if the water no longer covers the beans. (Engrave this advice in your memory.)

Add 1/4 to 1/2 cup vinegar, teaspoon by teaspoon, according to taste. If needed, thicken beans by adding cornstarch.


1) This recipe comes from my grandmother Anna Erickson who was born in Murrum, Sweden, in 1889. I miss her.

2) Her family came to America through Boston, having heard of the hardships of Ellis Island in New York.

3) She grew up in Shickley, Nebraska. She later went back with my mother to visit. The whole town went to an outdoor movie, but was distracted by a rather lengthy meteor shower.

4) I grew up with this sort of Swedish food. Where the weird, modern Swedish pizzas came from I don’t know. It’s also strange that Bruna Bonër, or Brown Beans, uses pink beans. Wacky Swedes.

– Paul De Lancey, The Comic Chef

My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World, with its 180 wonderful recipes, my newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, and all my other books, are available on

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Great Rogue-Dictatorship Eats – Pyongyang, North Korea

Pyongyang boasts a vibrant dining scene according to five people who managed to get diplomatic clearance to visit. The New Diplo restaurant-sexy, sexy name-garnered two positive reviews from pyongyangTripadvisors. This powerful affirmation vaulted it above the four contending restaurants obtaining only one review.  The New Diplo proudly serves Korean cuisine to diplomats. Arrive early to hear homesick diplomats perform amazing feats of karaoke.

Mixed reviews abound for the Turtle restaurant with the owners unabashedly proclaiming healthy food, while a hardy reviewer telling us to, “Skip it.” Unfortunately, we have no reviews for the other ten eateries.  Perhaps their cuisines are too exotic. The name of one restaurant, Kumcup, suggests a menu for those possessing an acquired taste.

Unfortunately Pyongyang doesn’t possess rib restaurants to rival Memphis, Austin, and Kansas City or even the pizza parlors of Chicago and New York.

Here is the link theTripadvisors’ link to the Pyongyang dining scene:

Try to get to Pyongang when its fearless leader is not threatening nuclear war. Nothing puts a damper on a meal like obliteration.

– Paul De Lancey, The Comic Chef

My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World, with its 180 wonderful recipes, my newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, and all my other books, are available on

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