Blah Blah Blog by Jessica Harper by Jessica
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Archive for September, 2009

Killer Biscuits

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009

Once in a while, a research study comes along that you can really be grateful for, that has real relevance to your life. I was thrilled to read about such a study in the UK, called Biscuit Injury Threat Evaluation.

The study was initiated by the company that makes Rocky Chocolate Biscuits, a popular brand in the UK, when they became aware of the stunning number of biscuit-related injuries sustained by British citizens. But, as you well know, it ain’t just the Brits who’ve been wounded in cookie mishaps.

I mean, who hasn’t gotten poked in the eye by one, or scalded by dipping the thing in way-too-hot tea? These are the most commonly reported injuries, but I can also totally relate to the many victims who have fallen off their chairs while reaching for the little buggers. (In my case it was those damn Pepperidge Farm Bordeaux.)

People also report being wounded by flying biscuit fragments, cookie shrapnel if you will. I get that; I have used graham crackers in this manner as weapons against unruly siblings and have suffered abrasions when my brothers retaliated in kind.

There was even a report of a guy who got caught in wet cement after he stepped in it to retrieve a runaway cookie. I could see this happening to me, but it would have to be at least a Double Chocolate Milano. No way I’m ruining my Manolos for a Snackwell.

In the study, fifteen brands of cookie were examined to determine which was most lethal. Killer number one was the Custard Cream, followed closely by a Chocolate Biscuit Bar and the deceptively civilized sounding Rich Tea. Digestive and Oat biscuits ranked mid-range killer, while Nice Biscuits, of course, were deemed almost harmless.

It was quite selfless of the Rocky Company to conduct this study: they’re kindly giving the public a heads up about the hazards of cookie eating, even though they are in the business of selling #2 on the hit list. I, for one, am going to throw caution to the wind and purchase some of those scary Custard Creams, but not until I have 911 on my speed dial.

 

Safety Tips

Monday, September 14th, 2009

I find it creepy, that story in the news about the two girls (ages ten and twelve) who went wandering in the storm drains in some town in Australia and got lost. To me, Aussie storm drains seem like a must to avoid; I picture them sort of super-sized and full of, I don’t know, mutant sharks or something. (I know, I’ve seen too many horror movies.)

But the story gets more complex. The girls, who apparently had cell phones and adequate service, made a goofy choice. Instead of calling 000 (the local emergency number), they made Facebook status updates with news of their predicament. Sadly, their Facebook cry for help went unnoticed for several hours, until a friend finally caught it and called, uh, 000.

This is the kind of event that inspires criticism of the girls’ parents for coming up short on safety instruction. But I’m not in a position to blame them. I don’t think I ever said to the girls, “When lost in a storm drain, call 911 first, then update your Facebook status.” Now I’m wondering what other safety tips I forgot to tell my daughters.

Ah, well, they are off at college now and must fend for themselves. I might just text them a heads up about the storm drain/Facebook thing. (Better late than never.) I’d write them on Facebook, but they refuse to friend me.

 

I’m Ready

Wednesday, September 9th, 2009

My friend Dawn gave me a zucchini the size of a dachshund, which I love because it gives me an excuse to use my scale.

See, now that my second daughter has followed her sister to college on the east coast, the only female voice left in my house is that of my talking kitchen scale. I turn the thing on and a low-registered, warm voice says, “Hello,” which is rather pleasant in the profound silence of my recently emptied nest. Then she pauses for a second, presumably to make internal adjustments, and says, “I’m ready.”

This is an eerie echo of what Nora said last week, when she was itching to get to college.
Now she’s gone, we’re back from dropping her, and after all the packing, schlepping, shopping and shipping, her room looks and feels like Dorothy’s did, post-tornado: a mess, and dead still.

I hadn’t dared enter it for a couple of days; I knew it was an emotional minefield. Today, when I finally wandered in and picked my way through Nora’s detritus, I remained calm when handling her abandoned fairy wings. Nor was my composure rocked by the sight of the worn school books and the ancient teddy bear. It was the picture on the wall of young Nora, one that captures her spunky spirit–she’s leaping and laughing, just kind of glorious—that did me in.

After the weeping, I knew I needed task therapy. I thought I’d concoct a recipe for Dawn’s monster zucchini. I flipped the switch on the kitchen scale: “Hello.” Pause. “I’m ready.”

“Easy for you to say,” I said as I plunked the zucchini on the scale.

P.S. Dawn’s zucchini weighed in at 4 pounds, ten ounces.
P.S.S. If you would like to have a talking scale in your life, click here.
P.S.S If you want a recipe for ucchini chowder, click here.