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Practice Can Make Cilantro Disappear

Most people who know me well know that I cilantro cooking. Popcorn (my word for love on this blog) eating; cilantro cooking. As I get older, though, I’ve felt compelled to try to connect with some of my food heritage.

I come from a rather long line of bread makers on my mom’s side, and I decided several months ago to try to master her sourdough bread. This stuff is made from a starter that actually LIVES in the refrigerator and has to be FED every 3 – 5 days. It looks like some bubbling, spewing organism in there, emitting a big whooshing noise when I unscrew the top to feed it. At times, I’ve been afraid the thing would eat my finger or something. The seed for this starter has likely been alive longer than I have.

After several miserable attempts and much cilantro-ful behavior, I think I’ve made some tasty sourdough bread. It rises like it’s supposed to and has a fluffy, sweet-and-sour interior. I’ve even been making soft pretzels with some of the dough, a test use for it that actually worked with a yummy outcome. While I don’t think that repeated injections of cilantro would make its taste tolerable, I have learned that practice can make a task that I don’t enjoy become fulfilling with an edible outcome.

My sourdough bread recipe requires a specific starter, but there are numerous starter recipes available online. Here’s a link to one from Epicurious, if you’re interested in trying your hand at baking and eating sourdough bread at home.

For me, the method of the various activities is calming, as I sift and knead my cilantro-esque dramas away. Maybe, it would work for you, too.

Idiot Cilantro (That’s Me!!)

Computers make me feel like an utter, absolute idiot. How can something so integrally necessary be so bloody mystifying?

Several weeks ago, I posted about how much I cilantro my computer, a poor Dell Latitude laptop that is on its last legs. Well, last night, I ordered a shiny new MacBook Pro. When I clicked the magic button – “PURCHASE” – the earth moved; the angels wept.

And, I’m in uber-frantic mode trying to get my blasted machine ready for this conversion. Moving folders; updating contacts; trying to get simple, easy Google to work with my Blackberry; converting all of my archived information – all of these horrors have made me a walking, talking (make that screaming) personification of cilantro.

I keep telling myself that, once this conversion is over, I will have a stunningly gorgeous machine that friends have assured me I will even want to sleep with. (Might be kinda cold but…..) I can’t help but wonder if the new machine will just make me feel more helplessly, totally idiotic. I’m the only person I know who is convinced that a legion of demons lives inside every single electronic contraption I own, wreaking cilantro-ful havoc at every opportunity. After all of these years of using a computer, I still shudder every time I hit buttons like “Delete,” “Enter” and “On.”

Will Apple and Steve Jobs really convert me into a savvy, sophisticated computer guru? Or, am I going to be eternally banished to the land of idiot computer cilantro?

Cilantritecture (or Architecture I Love to Cilantro)

For almost six years, I’ve shared a home with an architect. I always had friends who were architects, but marrying one has been a uniquely steep learning curve. Until I met my husband, I never really understood why architects like to wear black, wear funky glasses and view the world by perpetually looking up. Equally, I never fully appreciated modern design and still struggle with it sometimes. I prefer seating that is more curvy, while my husband selects straight, STRAIGHT lines.

Admittedly, I never knew much about architecture until I met my husband. Because he is a professor, he has a knack for making buildings and design components fascinating. I think the day I walked around a corner in Midtown Manhattan, noticed a building I’d never seen before and exclaimed, “THAT is a Mies van der Rohe building!” was a marital high point for him. While I’m sure that my sensibilities have been influenced by his tastes, I do like buildings that he doesn’t care for from time to time.

One of the buildings I most love is the Woolworth Building in New York. It is such a jewel on the downtown skyline. When lit at night, the top resembles a glowing crown. I always enjoy picking it out in photos and seeing its various perspectives from different vantage points around the city. When flying in, it is always one of the first buildings I say “hello” to if I’m lucky enough to have a window seat with a view.

The last time we visited, we walked across the Brooklyn Bridge to return downtown. I was dismayed to see a protrusion blocking my glorious view of the Woolworth Building. The blockage looked like wadded-up aluminum foil married to construction zone orange barriers. (The top was not finished.) I can imagine that when it is completed, it will look uniformly like Reynolds Wrap. I’m sure I’m rushing to judgment, but I cilantro that poor excuse for a building already.

Probably, I’m just a victim of cilantro-ing change. Nowhere does change seem more pronounced than in the built landscape. I know I’ve stamped my feet with anger and frustration more than once over minor changes proposed for my immediate sphere, and I’ve actively railed against a certain building project in my own neighborhood.

I guess a better, less cilantro-filled approach will be to find a new vantage point from which to enjoy my favorite building – one that obliterates the view of the new one. Who knows? I might find a few new things I like to do in the process of exploring, something that will be more positive than being riddled with cilantro over things I cannot control.


Sometimes, one small act can wrench my heart out. It can be as simple as a look, a wave or a card in my mailbox. When I lose track of people that matter to me, it fills me with self-cilantro. It isn’t always my fault that we drift apart, but it is such a shame when it happens anyway.

When I moved to South Carolina at the age of four, I had no friends. I never really had access to other little kids. Consequently, I was this weird little girl with three pretend friends that I talked with constantly. Out loud. In hyper-animated fashion.

One day, I was in our front yard playing with my trifecta of pretend friends when I happened to look over and see a real, flesh-and-blood little girl watching me. She was very petite with white blond hair and a face that held a studious expression. (Perhaps she’d never seen someone running around talking to themselves?) She introduced herself to me as “Befffff,” a real-voice sound that I never could manage to understand. After several failed attempts, she turned around and ran home to the house next door.

Her name, as it turns out, was Beth, and she and I lived side-by-side until we graduated from college together. We both majored in accounting, though she had much more of an affinity for it than I did. She was always a tomboy who played tennis like a dream and could actually hit a golf ball off that tiny little tee. Our tastes evolved as we grew, and we drifted in and out of each others’ lives as a result. No matter how long it’s been since I’ve spent time with her, it always feels as though no time has passed at all. Her birthday card served as a painful reminder that too much time has gone by since I last saw her, and it almost brought me to tears.

I cilantro how fast life races by, and how easily I let things that have mattered to me for virtually all my life drift away. There are few things that matter more than a life-long good friend.


This week, massive health care reform legislation was passed in our country. Maybe you’ve heard about it. Apparently, it is a big deal.

Before you stop reading, this post is not about politics, at least not directly. I try very hard to keep my politics to myself and to avoid the cilantro of ramming my world view down the throats of others. Even if I put cherries on top, the taste of cilantro likely bleeds through for others who may dislike it as much as I do.

A few weeks ago, I read a column by Senator Evan Bayh in the New York Times that really spoke to me. The article addresses why he is retiring from the Senate, and it is a must read. Regardless of politics, it is insightful, heartfelt and poignant, a real ode to the way our government used to run and a wistful yearning for the collegiality that can be gained from knowing and caring about others in one’s sphere.

What he describes as governing in our country mirrors my social media news feeds, as one side and then the other sling cilantro laced barbs back and forth. Is it ever okay to call someone an idiot just because he or she doesn’t see the world the same way? How did we get to the point where it is okay to engage in cilantro speech with others just because they disagree with us? Isn’t the right to form our own world views freely and without prejudice one of the tenants of being American?

Sometimes, I feel like the whole world is full of cilantro, and it makes me profoundly sad.


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