real thing

coke taste test.JPG
blind tasting: HFCS Coca-Cola and kosher-for-Passover Coca-Cola

During Passover, many markets stock a quantity of Coca-Cola suitable for Passover consumption. This means no corn, which means no HFCS; this batch of Coke is made with sugar! Sugar sugar sugar!

The Fella crooked an eyebrow at my excitement as I extolled the virtues of sugar sugar sugar cola. After some prompting, he admitted his skepticism that I could discern any difference, so I proposed a taste test.

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summer wine

First things first: I’m not a connoisseur. I’m not much of an oenophile. Most of the things I am are much easier to spell.

But I’ve been getting interested in wine, in my small way. I do like to have a pleasant glass with dinner. Two or three glasses, and I start to giggle. Four, and I start to show my tattoos. And I don’t have any tattoos, so you can see that four is over my limit. A scant two is more likely, and not always two days in a row.

Since I’m the only wine-drinker in the house, I hate to open a good bottle and have it sit on the shelf, squinting sourly at me for the rest of the week, so I’m looking at some alternatives.
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Several of my friends undertake penitent post-holiday resolutions (jog every morning! fit into my high school jeans! abstain from all liquor! elimate all unnecessary spending immediately!) for the New Year. And for some of them, this draconian approach proves fruitful.

Others become so disheartened by their failure to adhere to the near-impossible constraints they’ve established that they give up entirely, dive headlong into a vat of premium ice cream and bitter invective (ew — invective is sticky!), and wallow there until March.

I fall in the second camp. Accordingly, when I plan to better myself or my life, I establish goals more gradually and incorporate them into my life, and when I remember to make New Year’s resolutions, I make certain that I can achieve them. This year’s resolutions:

– find more occasions to drink champagne.*
– sing more. (Sorry, everyone.)
– eat more eclairs.

*I’ve already fulfilled the first; we attended a marvelous New Year’s brunch where the hosts urged mimosas on us again and again. I accommodated their demands to drink. I am nothing if not gracious in these matters.

update, for those who yearn to know: The Fella and I spent New Year’s Eve nursing our colds by lounging sedately in bed, him at the head reading and me flopped toward the foot watching season 1, disc 1, of House, M.D.. Then he clambered over to kiss me in the middle of an episode. Only after my gratifying response of “huh?” did I glance at the clock: exactly midnight.
He’s the romantic in this home. I’m just the beneficiary of it.


displayOn my sister gaoo’s recommendation, The Fella picked up a big bottle of J.K. Scrumpy hard cider for me to sample. I’m a well-known lightweight, given to wide-eyed staring and whispered pronouncements of “I’m a teeny bit drunk!” after a drink or two, so I tried to persuade him to split the big bottle with me, but no go. I think it’s just possible he likes to get me sauced.

Bravely soldiering on, I guzzled the whole lot down on my own, smacking my lips the whole time. Nuanced online reviews of peppery backnotes and smooth finish notwithstanding, I have this to say about Scrumpy: it tastes like non-alcoholic sparkling cider, but, uh, not non-alcoholic. It’s crisp but quite sweet with a boozy little kick, and ridiculously drinkable.

I drank it with a supper of rumbledethumps* with spicy salsa, and it suited that humble dish down to the ground, complementing the earthy flavors while its round, fruity smack balanced the sting of the chiles. I think it might go even better with something slightly sweet and fatty, like a squash pizza. On this first tasting, I found it uncomplicated, but be assured that I’ll endure many, many future tastings to be sure.

Incidentally, to scrump = to steal apples.

Also, “scrumpy” is a perfect word to giggle over when you’re lolling about on the sofa after two drinks.

*Around here, that’s potatoes, cheese, and broccoli, not cabbage.
I am participating in NaBloPoMo. Still!


Enjoying my first egg nog of the season spurred me to remember one more quirk: I find it hard not to swig the whole glass at once. Something about the taste and texture of egg nog — and of no other drink — urges me to fill my entire mouth with the stuff, like a tiny baby who packs his face with mashed beets to sate the taste buds located on the sides and roof of the mouth.

Occasionally, I allow myself to do the same with M&Ms. If you’ve never filled your mouth with M&Ms and felt the cool shiny sugar shell click against your molars, you’re missing out.

Oh, shut up.

Obviously, I am participating in NaBloPoMo.

update: Sweet honeyed Lucifer, it runs in the family.


In a recent Ask Metafilter question about undrinkably bitter lemonade, I gave a few quick tips on keeping the tart, zingy flavor from the lemon zest without extracting the pith’s bitterness, and some quick instruction on making infused simple syrup.

To my surprise, my off-the-cuff comment was added to the sidebar on the main page of MeFi.

Wow. People like lemonade.

The admins labeled my comment as “perfect lemonade recipe,” but it’s not a proper recipe with measurements and proportions, just a few hints for tarting up your favorite lemonade. Here’s the proper recipe, along with a recipe for ginger iced tea, and a few hints for cooling summer drinks:

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