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for April 28, 2004

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Am I Blue
by Your Diva, Robin Pastorio-Newman

Your Darling, Your Diva, Your One True Love feels a little…blue. Perhaps it's the spring rain every morning, perhaps it's our dear Paulie Gonzalez's unpredictable and exhausting travel schedule, perhaps it's the delayed arrival of a new Sleater-Kinney CD; whatever the cause, Your Delight feels a bit punk, and not the fun kind. What's a dreamgal to do? Play with phyllo dough and solve a few problems, one might suppose.
Phyllo or fillo or filo - depending upon one's cookbook or ethnic background - is a paper-thin sheet of dough. You grease a surface like a baking pan and lay down a sheet of phyllo. Then you moisten the dough by brushing on melted butter or olive oil. Your Beloved is short on patience and long on results, so she chose the lowest calorie form of moisture in the pantry: Butter Flavor PAM. While using PAM on phyllo is genuine culinary sacrilege, it is important to remember that layering and moistening must be done at an athletic pace or the dough sticks to itself or breaks, and then no one gets dessert.
As towering a hoot as breaking hard and fast rules may be, it's nothing compared to getting what you want, the way you want it, on your timetable. A few years ago, Your Sweetness discovered the Treasury offered a fantastically convenient service, which came up in an Altrok column. The divine service - a consumer's ability to purchase savings bonds online - offered a doting auntie the opportunity to skip the bank lines and confusing paper forms and still give nieces, nephews and underage siblings a chunk of change for inevitable secondary education expenses. Well, as of December 31, 2003, the Treasury discontinued selling savings bonds online. Your Chou Chou lodged a complaint, but the agency in question wrote return emails in an effort to convince Your Parfait she didn't want what she wanted. One wonders if the Treasury's customer service personnel were specially trained to treat citizens like children or if that were a condition of employment.
Disappointing too is the Food Network's pompous changeling child Iron Chef America: Battle of the Masters. The new series began with last weekend's four battles between the American Iron Chefs and Japan's Masaharu Morimoto and Hiroyuki Sakai. Any Iron Chef fan will tell you Sakai should have been the last chef standing, and when he wasn't, the whole series looked rigged. Despite the presence of the very amusing Alton Brown, the American version lacks the camp and charisma of the original. Also missing: the name of the new Chairman. He is never identified, though he recounts a long story about how Chairman Takeshi Kaga is his uncle and passes the torch to our young host. It should be hilarious but somehow it's just ... dumb.
In the face of these setbacks, what does one do? One sucks it up, marches to the bank on a rainy day, stands in line and buys the savings bonds. One feels better already, yes? And that phyllo dough can be dinner as well as dessert. Paulie made a tangy spanakopita and Your Dearest rolled spinach, grilled chicken and roasted peppers into a savory sculpture. The baking's a breeze and pesto sauce is the best balm for the blues. Now, if only the weather cleared and our Chairman sprouted a name, spring might feel springy-er.

©2004 Robin Pastorio-Newman

All material ©2001-2014 Sean Carolan, except as noted.


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