Thursday, April 19, 2007

crunch crunch

[i've been putting this post together for about a week now, and just realized that sunday is earth day.... i really wasn't trying to be so cheesily timely. oh well. read on!]

so in the midst of all of my other life-adjusting activities, i've also been making adjustments that will (hopefully) have consequences for the world beyond me and the people in my line of fire: i'm becoming more...what's that trendy word?....oh, right, "green".

it's been a long and troubled road for me and the green thing. i tried to join the environmental club in college, but it didn't take. it seemed to me that to really belong with the other members i should like things like camping and hiking and mountain biking, which, no. not going to happen. also, everybody was getting all psyched about discovering seitan and tofu and whole wheat pasta and i was like, dude, whatever, the moosewood cookbook was my stepmom's bible. i took organic puffed-rice-and-rice-syrup "krispies" in my lunch in 7th grade. sorry, but i can't share in your wide-eyed tempeh evangelism. plus, the enviro-kids were just so....earnest. i was much more into cynical and ironic.

also, in my youth (or childhood) i was much more prone, as most teenagers and college-age-type people can be, to absolutism. black and white. right and wrong. more specifically, i'm right, and if you don't agree with me, you're wrong. and it just pissed me off so much that so many people could be so wrong!! i mean, what's the point of doing anything to help the environment if so many other (stupid fucking) people weren't going to do anything! it's all hopeless. screw it. pass the bong. and i also applied this to myself, as in: why bother being a vegetarian if i'm not going to go whole hog and be vegan and stop wearing leather? wouldn't that just be hypocritical? and why bother making an effort to conserve energy and shit if i don't want to go live totally off the grid with, like, some goats?

so that whole attitude eventually (mostly) wore off somewhere in my mid-twenties, but i still didn't jump into any big eco-activity. i don't know why. i mean, i am certainly on the hippie end of the spectrum, with my cloth diapers and herbal remedies and so on. but as far as doing more, i think mainly i didn't know where to start—and i still, subconsciously, felt like making a difference meant doing something on a grand scale, or doing things like going to rallies and marches and such, which didn't really appeal. but in the past couple of years—and more so even in the past few months—i've found ways to connect to the whole green thing on a personal, small scale that really make sense to me, and that reinforce ideas i've already had. and since i've started making these changes, i can honestly say, with no snark or sarcasm, that i feel more peaceful. and that's not a natural state for me. so i thought, at the risk of sounding preachy, that i'd write about what i've been doing. if this isn't your thing, you can just stop reading now. you know, if you hate the earth and don't care about our children!! ahem. sorry. the old absolutist rage bubbles up now and again. on with the show!

in general terms, i've been trying to be much more conscious of: how much stuff we put in the garbage, how much energy we use, and what we're putting down the drains and therefore back into the dirt and water.

more specifically, that breaks down like this:

cleaning (the house): when wile started crawling around and touching everything and then shoving his hands in his (and my) mouth, i started thinking about all of the nasty cleaning products we use and how i really didn't want them in my mouth, thanks. so i threw out our fantastic and bleach and scrubbing bubbles and replacing them with stuff that doesn't come with a poison control number on the side of the bottle. partially this has meant switching to method products, which are totally non-toxic and smell lovely. but as i'm diving deeper into this green thing, i'm moving away from even that into using things that are even less toxic and have less packaging. like baking soda. now i use it as a gentle abrasive, for scrubbing the stovetop, the pots, the tub, the shower, the countertops if they need it. and i'm going to replace my grapefruit all-pupose cleaner with a reusable spray bottle filled with diluted(1 teaspoon : 3/4 cup water) dr.bronner's , which comes in nice big recycleable gallon jugs and is super non-toxic, organic, fair-trade, and comes in a just-as-good-as-grapefruit lavendar scent. for the floors, i'll continue to use apple cider vinegar, which also comes in nice big recycleable jugs. vinegar actually has tons of uses, which i'm going to start to try out. i also just ordered some laundry detergent from charlie's soap, which is all eco-excellent and recommended for wile's diapers and a small company. supposedly you can use it in the dishwasher too. we shall see.... and i'm amassing a collection of cloth rags (from old clothes, towels, etc) in a quest to never use another paper towel.

cleaning (me): again, i came to the realization that i didn't want to put anything on my body that i wouldn't put in my mouth.... plus, my history with beauty products is an unhappy one.

i've fought a long with shampoo/conditioner. the day i washed my hair, no matter how well i conditioned, my hair looked and felt like crap. it would be okay the next day, good the next, perfect the next, then all of the sudden super greasy and gross the next, and i'd start the dance all over again. so i figured i had nothing to lose by trying this natural method i read about: you wash/massage your scalp with a baking soda paste, and then rinse with diluted apple cider vinegar. yes, i'm cleaning my hair with the same stuff i use to clean my stove and my floor. not kidding. and i l-o-v-e the end result. this is a good description of the whole process. it did take a little perserverence, i'm not going to lie—everything i read about it warned that you'd have "yucky" hair for a couple of weeks as you weaned your hair off shampoo, because your scalp would continue to overproduce oil, as it had been doing to compensate for all the oils that the shampoo stripped away. i could never get a more precise description than "yucky", but now that i've lived through it i can give you one: my hair felt like it was coated in a mixture of wax and motor oil. by day 13, i was getting a little cranky, and tired of bandanas. but then like magic, on day 14, after i did my new "wash" again, my hair was perfect and soft and glossy. no joke. i'm still getting my proportions down—like, today i used too much baking soda and my hair's a little dry. but i just threw a yodi tiny bit of rosemary oil on it and it's fine. and no, i don't smell like a big pickle.

my (combination) skin has always been tempermental and blotchy and responded exactly the same whether i used some shmancy wash from keihl's, or some organic wash from weleda, or cetaphil from the drugstore, or just water. so for a long time i went with just water, especially after i read some article about milla jovovitch (katinka!) that talked about how she only used warm water to wash her face because that's what her skin/beauty guru person told her. sold! but as i'm getting on in years and seeing more wrinkles, and since my beloved city doesn't have the most pristine air quality, and since i don't like the idea of the sunscreen that i use on my face in the summer hanging around on my skin any longer than it has to, i figured it was time i found a wash/moisturizer that i liked and that was chemical-free. so i did: olive oil. again, not kidding. i'm not going to type out the whole process, as it has already been done so well here. and here. my skin looks good and feels awesome. i still get zits every now and then, but that's hormonal. but the flaky dryness with the oily spots next to the red blotches? gone. amazing. i've also been using the almighty baking soda to exfoliate—make a very watery paste of it in your hand and then use it like you'd use any scrub.

recycling my own clothes: a couple months back i was reading casey's blog and discovered wardrobe refashion. yes!! ecology via clothing! now that truly, like nothing else, spoke to me. i've always preferred vintage/thrifted clothes. and i've always hated getting rid of clothes. so i'm signing on for the next round, and i'm psyched. i've got big plans for my favorite shirt from 5th grade. and i've jumped the gun and already done one project, which you can see in the pic of wile chowing on the hot dog up there. the mets shirt he has on? i cut the mets symbol out of a mets shirt that i got at shea on some promotional date that i was never going to wear because it was a size xxxxxxxxxl, but i hadn't gotten rid of because it had a mets symbol on it. so i chopped it up, donated the copius scraps to the aforementioned rag pile, and sewed the symbol on to an old stained t-shirt of wile's. i even managed to use the zig-zag stitch on my new sewing machine and only mess up in a couple of places! not bad for a first effort, yeah? oh and i crocheted a hat that i thought was for me but ended up being for wile. you'll see all of this and more once i take my refashioning pledge....

screwing con-ed: most simply, doing what my parents told me to do a million times and turning off the lights as i leave a room.... but also trying not to turn on the lights at all during the day, and just opening the window shades when it's dim, which is double-good because it saves energy plus natural light is good for your mental health. next, i'm going to replace all of our lightbulbs with flourescents. no, our home will not be all yellow-blinky-buzzy-light-y. they make good flourescents now.

and i'm trying to ignore the fact that we have a dryer. we put up a clothesline in the backyard when wile was born to hang his diapers on, since they last longer that way, and the sunlight bleaches out the poop stains. and at the end of last summer, i found myself hanging more and more non-diaper items on the line. so even though it's been too cold for the line, i've been trying to hang more things to dry on my indoor racks. and now that spring (knock on wood) seems to be here, finally, and the line can go back into use, i'm going to hang everything. no dryer. and i'm going to buy some more racks and keep it up even when it gets cold again.

and speaking of coned, they now allow you to get your power from a windmills and stuff. i'm looking into it....

eating: as i've documented here, i'm in love with our farmer's market. and at this point, i'd say we do about 80% of our food shopping there. cheese, butter, milk, fish, vegetables, honey, poultry, beef, pork, smoked trout, jam, eggs, bread, turkey sausage, pickles—really, there's not much more we need. and i like eating only what's there—i like waiting till the peaches are in season to have a peach. and i'm even liking finding creative things to do with the slim pickings of the winter. most out-of-season fruit tastes like it's been shipped from halfway across the planet. of course, there are some fruits i won't give up, even though they're never going to grow on a farm within driving distance of my farmer's market in any season: lemons, limes, grapefruit, pomegranates. and some things—oils, vinegars, beans, rice, pasta—that they just don't sell there. so for those things that i do go to the store for, i've been buying organic, and shopping at the little health food store, when i can.

also: i'm not a vegetarian, nor am i going to be. obviously. i asked for beef-cheek ravioli for my birthday. and stephen is planning a pig roast in our backyard for sometime this summer. but there's no need to eat as much meat as we had been. i know it would be better to not eat meat at all; we've all heard about how land being used for animals to graze could be about 20x more productive if it were used for growing soybeans or grains, and how the waste from factory farms is polluting everything, and about the scary hormones they're giving the animals, etc. but i'm not ready to completely step away from the meats. so, as i said, we're buying all our meat from the farmer's market, from a small organic family farm. and i'm trying to make a few non-meat meals every week, which, as i mentioned, i have a lot of experience with....

trash: another cool thing about our farmer's market is that they have compost bins at the entrance. i would always watch people dumping their compostable trash into the bins and think "wow, that's great that people do that." it only took, oh, i don't know, about a year for that thought to progress to "wow, it would be great if i did that." i'm a little slow. but finally i took the plunge. we put all of our food scraps into a variety of old chinese delivery tupperware and haul them off to the market every saturday. and if we need to do a mid-week dump, there's a compst heap....right in the back of the playground i take wile to. so convenient. it took a little getting used to at home, but now i don't even think about it.

i'm also trying to exorcise plastic bags. they're inevitable sometimes—and useful to have around for things like toting home wile's dirty diapers from a day out of the house—but they're like gremlins, they just seem to multiply, and all of the sudden there's 50 of them under the sink. so i'm trying trying trying to remember to bring a tote bag with me whenever i go shopping for anything. and to ignore the looks of amusement/confusion/annoyance from some of the baggers at our local supermarkets.

so, that's my story. it's not perfect; i could definitely do more, and maybe next year i will. hey, i haven't even seen an inconvenient truth yet! who knows what i'll do then!

some other good links, if you're so inclined:
no-impact man

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

the stars looked aligned, dammit

the rangers swept.

sanjaya was voted off.

i really, honestly thought it could be finally, finally be our night.

*sigh*. 7171 games and counting.....

p.s. screw you, mark beuhrle

Tuesday, April 17, 2007


as you already know if you live on the east coast, it rained on sunday. no, i'm sorry, that's wrong—it motherfucking rained on sunday. as stephen said, "i've seen it rain harder, and i've seen it rain longer, but i've never seen it rain this hard for this long." pouring, pounding rain for at least 12 hours straight. so i decided that it was the perfect day to cook up the short ribs that i bought at the farmer's market a couple of weeks ago and that had been lingering in the freezer ever since.

i'd never cooked short ribs before, but i was prety sure i should just braise them. i looked on the interweb, and got confirmation of my hunch, plus some hot tips. so here's what i did:

1) browned the ribs. which is absolutely necessary when braising any kind of meat, but a pain in the ass, what with the spattering oil and the entire house ending up smelling like fried. but i found a new method, from james beard, via jeremiah tower, by way of regina shrambling. throw them in the broiler! so much freakin easier! just brush or spray the meat with some olive oil, salt + pepper it, put it in the broiler, and turn it turn it turn it so that each side gets some flame. granted, i had to clean the greasy broiler pan, but i think if i had used heavy duty foil i wouldn't have even had to do that. so. much. better.

2) put them in a deep ovenproof pot/pan/dutch oven along with a quart or so of beef stock (enough to cover them almost entirely), a sliced-up onion, some fresh herbs (thyme, sage, rosemary), and a couple of splashes of sherry vinegar. then i stuck it in a 300˚ oven for about 3 hours.

3) made a sauce. i took the meat and bones (which the meat had fallen off, yum) out of the pot and set them aside. then i de-greased the stock, which could have been a much easier process if we owned a dang baster and i could have just sucked the layer of grease off the top. as it was, i had to pour the stock through a strainer (to weed out the onions and branches of herbs) into a gravy separator, then pour it back out into a different pot (because i had to do it in batches, since there was about 4 cups of stock and the gravy separator holds about a cup and a half). which was a whole lot of effort, and a whole lot of implements that needed to be washed. don't let this happen to you! go forth, procure a baster! also, tie up your herbs with twine or wrap them in cheesecloth so that you can just pluck them out in one fell swoop.

anyway, once it was all de-greased, i threw it back in the original pot, threw the bones back in, and put it on the stove on high heat to reduce. i also splashed in a litle more sherry vinegar, like the internet had told me to do. which, when i tasted the sauce a little later, i thought was a big mistake; it was really vinegary. but once it went on the meat, it was perfect. the meat is so rich, it really needs a sauce with bite to balance it out. then i made a quick faux-roux, by melting a couple of tablespoons of butter in the microwave and whisking in a couple of tablespoons of flour, which i whisked in to the stock when it was just about reduced as far as i wanted it. it's right when it will coat a spoon like cough medicine. then i took out the bones, turned off the heat, and put the meat back in for a couple of minutes to warm back up.

all done! it was warm and delicious and just the right thing for a rainy, gross day.

oh, and i made some swiss chard to go with it, which was delicious. i used to go through a totally annoying blanch-then-saute song and dance with greens like swiss card and spinach, becuase somewhere along the way some cookbook or food show or something told me that you couldn't just saute the greens without blanching them first or they would get too oily by the time they were done. or too soggy. or something. i don't even remember anymore. i just did it, like looking in the bathroom mirror while i brush my teeth, another unnecessary habit of mine that i have absolutely no good reason or justification for. anyway, when i was down in sunny port st. lucie, my mom just threw her spinach in the pan with a little olive oil, sauteed it for a couple of minutes, and it was perfect. huh. so i did that with the chard, sprinkling in a little water and salt too, and it was the best chard i've ever cooked or eaten.

Friday, April 13, 2007

thanks, but no thanks. but, thanks!

so when i laid out the life-changing aspects of my time in florida, i didn't tell you the whole truth. i know! the deception has been eating at me inside since i posted it! but it's a longer story than i felt like telling at the time, and i just wanted to get those digging pictures up. the world could not wait for those digging pictures.

i'm starting this post on tuesday, but it could be days before you see it. cause like i said, it's a long story. and i'm still processing it as i'm writing it, so i'll probably rewrite it at least five times. and naptime, she only lasts so long, and i can't be on the "puter" when wile's awake anymore, because then he wants to "type emu", and you'd get a post that would look like this:


crane car sarah GWEN 0

weilh5 j







anyway: it all began well before we even got on the plane. somewhere around the middle of february, to be vaguely precise, i realized that i was not, as they say, in a good place. that the past couple of months had been a kind of a low point in my mothering career and career as a person.

i felt like my brain was turning to mush, and i was really just bored with....everything. i had all these things i should be doing, some fun (learning to use my new sewing machines, plotting out my world domination, posting on this here and that there blog), some not so fun, but necessary (cleaning out the front room downstairs, hanging up pictures in wile's room, weeding out the toys that wile hadn't glanced at in months), but i couldn't pull myself out of my torpor to do them. i was down in the doldrums with milo, and i didn't have tock to pull me out. combine that with some rough weeks here and there, in which i had some horrifyingly yell-y, guilt-inducing incidents with my poor defenseless young man, and i was left just plain unhappy.

thankfully i wasn't so far gone that i couldn't recognize it, and start to think about how to pull myself out of it. and i decided that i what i needed to do was start doing some work outside the house again. not full time or anything wacky like that, but some freelance editing, like i used to do. before calling my former place of employ (who i have freelanced for in the past), i jumped on mediabistro to see if they had any interesting freelance ads up. and what i found was an ad for a part-time job.

it was at a small company, very similar to the first place i worked at in publishing and loved, before it was acquired by a larger company and i ended up sitting in a cubicle and ran screaming for the exit. i was intrigued. i knew i could do this job, and do it really well. and it seemed like this was the solution to my problems, staring up at me from my computer screen. yes! i would completely overhaul my life! make a dramatic gesture! if freelance work would be good for me, a part-time job would be great! it would wake me up, give me purpose, balance my life! w! o! r! k! wooooo!

so i emailed in my resume. about a week and a half later, i got a call. i went in for an interview the day before i left for florida. i thought it went well, but really i had no f-ing idea. i've never done an interview before. for serious. well, i guess i technically had an interview with the crazy italian chef/owner at the italian restaurant where i apprentice-chef-ed, but all i can remember from that is following him around the restaurant saying "uh-huh" while he talked a mile a minute, and then he made me put a bunch of corks in a saute pan and flip them, and i thought i did a crappy job because i only got 5 out of 9 to say in the pan, but later found out that the reason he hired me was because of the cork-flipping, since he thought that he wouldn't have been able to do as well. so, but, anyway, i'd never had an interview before that required actual speaking.

but apparently i did just fine, because i got a call when i was at my mom's house asking me to do a second interview over the phone, and a couple days after that, a call offering me the job.

and pretty much just like that, i didn't want it.

there were a few technical factors—the hours were really much closer to full time than part time, and the money would never be more than just okay—but mostly, it came down to this:

> there might be hours, days, even weeks when i wish someone besides me was dealing with the whining, the arguments over wanting to wear shirts that are currently in the washing machine and how even asking really nice won't make them dry, the constant asking of "why?", the endless games of backhoe and catch, the total immersion and suppression of self that is being home with a baby or toddler. but when it came down to it, when i was faced with the real choice of making a few calls and putting wile in someone else's care for a few days a week, i didn't want to do it. and that made me realize that:

> i have a job. i'm bringing up my baby boy. but my current gig, the mom gig, had become both stale and more challenging (hello, twos!) , and in applying for this other job i was essentially trying to switch careers. and this was the wrong solution. i didn't need to change jobs, i needed to change my relationship to the job that i have.

and.....i'm actually following through on it! i did some self-diagnosis, and am working on my shit.

so what did i figure out? that i'm a prime example of what newton was talking about. when i slip in to a pattern of being lazy, i tend to stay there. so here i am, home with the kid, no real obligations, no one telling me what to do, no one watching.....and i slipped. i mean, wile and i certainly didn't lie around the house in our pajamas all day watching lifetime movies and eating bon bons. we went to playgroup, playdates, the park, music class, waldorf school, etc etc. but when he napped? i was much more likely to watch something on the dvr than read one of the issues of the new yorker glaring at me from the endtable or anything else constructive. once he went to bed? back on the couch. eating too many crappy snacks.

also, i had decided, sometime around the holidays, that i should just let go of the need to have the dishes done i went to bed, and wile's toys cleaned up, and the clutter in neat piles. that if i just chilled out about the (not so awful, really) messiness, it would decrease my stress. this was an epically bad idea. piles of undone dishes stress me out. i should not deny this. i have to embrace it. plus, once i told myself that it was okay not to do the dishes after dinner, it became a million times harder to force myslef to do them anytime. so it only fed in to my general state of inertia.

but of course the second half of newton's law is that if you start moving, you keep moving. and the whole job search/interview process/offer/refusal got me moving. and i've kept moving. trying to be a lot more conscious of myself. to force myself to go down and put the laundry in the dryer before i go to bed instead of telling myself that i can do it in the morning. to not look at the stack of unread books on my bedside table and say "jesus, i'll never catch up", but to just pick one up and start reading it. to create projects for myself, and actually do them. to be ambitious but not unrealistic in thinking about what i want to get done in a day/week/month. to turn off the tv. to eat better. to exercise. and to ask stephen for help when i need it. and to not kick myself in the ass if i do backslide for a day or two. to grow the hell up.

it's not easy, yo. i've never had to be my own boss before. and that's what being a stay-at-home mom, essentially, is. so i'm trying to be a better, more motivational boss, and i'm doing alright so far—even without the kitten poster. and it's made me a better mama: if i'm happy, i'm much more patient with wile, much less likely to be beaten down by the horrors of the twos.

but none of this is going to make any kind of difference in the long run, none of this is going to stick, unless i deal with my other issue. and i want and need it to stick. so i'm dealing with it, finally.

the issue is this: i've always had bad pms, or whatever you want to call it. "bad" doesn't even express how bad. crying fits, intense mood swings, total lack of rationality, hair-trigger temper (the temper is always bad, but when i'm hormonal it's off the charts).... all of which is toxic enough. but couple it with intense depression, and it's just debilitating. so for most of my adult life, i've been way-less-than-functional a significant percentage of the time.

i don't exactly know why i've never addressed it before. probably mainly because i have trouble asking for help. plus, pms isn't a constant state of being, so when i would come back to normal i'd be so relieved to be out of the woods that i just didn't want to think about it anymore. but it's time. if next month's hormonal joyride free-falls me back into a black hole, i won't have a job or school—things that have pulled me out of my body-at-rest state in the past—to help me out. i'll still be my own boss. and even after wile moves on to the wonderful world of s-c-h-o-o-l, i'd like to continue being my own boss, by starting up my own business. but if i don't do something about the pms, it will never ever happen. because for 2/3 of the time it seems absolutely acheivable, exciting (if just a little bit terrifying). but the other 1/3 of the time, when everything seems hopeless and folding the laundry feels unattainable, creating and sustaining an enterprise seems monumentally, preposterously unattainable.

and also, and especially, i have to face it for wile. though i obviously don't feel good about it, i can handle snapping at/bitching at other people. but to have wile bear the brunt of my problem? unacceptable.

i've found an ob-gyn who specializes in pms disorders, and i'm keeping a log of my daily crazy levels so that when i see her in may, i can hopefully help her figure out what i need to do to not have this happen every month.

so, ironically, not taking the job did what i thought taking the job would do, way back 17 paragraphs ago.... actually, it did more.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

once more, and then i'll leave you alone. till fall.

okay, so as wile sleeps off his illin' on the couch, i've been getting in some time on the interweb, and i just watched a deleted scene from last week's episode of friday night lights and ended up bawling. this show, it just.....okay, every week i get so excited for the new episode, but then i tell myself to calm down a little, it can't be perfect and wonderful every week. but it is! every week, it totally knocks me on my ass.

and still, a second season is not entirely cemented.

so, i'm asking, one more time: check it out. you can watch all the episodes on or, if you don't feel like dealing with commercials, you can buy all the episodes on itunes. or you can wait till this summer when bravo will be airing at least one friday night lights marathon.

i'm doing this for your own good, i swear. watch. love. write to nbc and tell them not to cancel it.

return of the sick pic

"wile, why don't i move you to the couch?"


"alright. do you at least want a pillow for your head?"


this time, i think we can't blame the cheese. stephen's feeling icky too. trucky, lulu, and i are hanging tough.

for slightly more cheerful pictures, you could check out wile's website.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007


even before i got a jewish best friend and a jewish husband, i had been to my fair share of passover seders. when i was little, my stepmom's friend judy kesselman would throw these enormous seders every year and we'd go and eat all the good food and ignore all the god talk (not that there was much; these were, after all, my stepmom's hippie jewish friends). so since my youth, i've loved me a good seder. and the best part of seder is the charoset (alternately spelled haroset, charoses, charoseth, haroses, and probably a dozen other ways).

i love it so much that in the last few years i have volunteered to make it for our seders with stephen's family so that a) i can make extra to hoard all to myself, and b) i can guarantee that it's going to be good.

so what the hell is (c)haroset(h)(ses)? ritual-wise, it's supposed to represent the mortar that the enslaved jews used to make the bricks that they built the pyramids with back when they were enslaved by the pharoah in egypt, before moses came and did his thing with the plagues and the parting of the sea and all that jazz. culinary-wise, it's a pitch-perfect mixture of grated apples, nuts, honey, wine, lemon juice, and cinnamon.

you can tweak the proportions to your taste, but the formula i follow is: about 6 cups grated apples, 1-1/2 cups finely chopped nuts, 1/3 cup honey, 1/4 cup wine, juice of two lemons, 1/2 t cinnamon. i use granny smith apples or a mix of grannies and another tart red apple like a winesap. for the wine, you want a light red, a little spicy is nice. this year i used a tinto roble. for the love of all that is holy do not use manischewitz.

i used to grate the apples by hand, but went for the food processor this year because i was making a double batch, and....well, i prefer the texture that you get when it's grated by hand, but if you're making a lot—and are looking for a way to involve a 2-yr. old—the f.p. does just fine. and if you've already got the f.p. in use, you can chop the nuts in it. then just throw all the ingredients together, and mix it all up with your hands. microwave the honey for a minute on low before mixing it in, makes it easier to disperse. then throw it in the fridge and wait.... it's better the next day, and will keep for a good long time (2 weeks? who knows. it doesn't last long in my fridge).

i've already bought more apples to make another batch....

guess who's sick again?

is it the flu, or the after-effects of about 2 pounds of cheese and three bowls of matzoh ball soup? only time will tell.