Sunday, December 09, 2007

A lesson in allergies, parties, Santa, and a dog's close call

I'm having a business lunch at my houses tomorrow--originally six people, but now only five can make it. I decided to do this at home instead of a restaurant for two reasons--I figure it's easier on the press budget, and we can talk more easily and not feel pressured to "turn the table" the minute we finished. I decided on a beef noodle casserole that my family has always loved--oops, Melinda, production manager, is coming, and she doesn't eat red meat. So chicken it would be--I found a recipe that I'd never tried but sounded good. The out-of-town important person visiting wrote that it was kind of me to offer to cook but I should know that he had a severe allergy to eggs, including mayonnaise. Oops again--the recipe had mayonnaise. So I found another recipe. I was telling Jordan last night she could expect leftovers and reciting the ingredients when I said noodles, and she said, 'You know I can't eat that on my diet," and I said, "Oops. They're egg noodles." So I went to the store this morning looking for whole wheat noodles. None. I read the label on garden twists--no eggs, but a little box that said "allergy information" and warned that this product contains wheat and was cooked in a facility that uses egg products. Shades of my mother, who used to grind her own hamburger, because she knew butchers used the same grinders on pork and beef. She liked her beef rare but not her pork. Egg residue, I figured, could linger in equipment and this sounds like a severe allergy--the kind that causes immediate anaphylactic shock or whatever. So I'm using rice in the casserole. At this point, I've got the rice and chopped broccoli in the casserole dish--and it's full! No room for the chicken and sauce. Once again, I have to rethink--but I'm taking time off from it.
Jamie and Mel's dessert party last night was lovely and creative--they had cards with recipes for various champagne drinks and all the makings lined up; one called for stout and champagne in equal parts, which sounded pretty wild to me. I stuck to chardonnay. For dessert, they had a decadent cake, a chocolate bundt cake, cream puffs, cheesecake squares--all delish, as Megan would say.
The Santa Claus trip wasn't quite so satisfactory. Jacob, like most babies his age, wanted nothing to do with that old man with the white beard, cried piteously and held out his arms to be rescued. A priceless picture resulted from his discomfort, poor darling. But we all enjoyed a huge breakfast, and he perked up enough to mug for the camera.
Before I got back to my chicken casserole, my neighbors were at the door. Truth be told, they woke me from a sound nap, so I was a little stunned by what they said. Yesterday they told me they'd had rats in the bird feeder and had put out poison. "Can Scooby get it?" I asked. "Aboslutely not," Jay said. Today they said they were fairly sure he'd gotten a small piece within the hour--they'd been watching--so they were taking him to the vet ER. I was so stunned I just watched them go. They called and reported, but Scooby didn' get home for about 4 hours--the vet made him vomit and sure enough, there was the rat poison. So they gave him vitamin K, and I have to give him a pill twice a day for two or three weeks. But he shows no ill effects and is going to be fine. Jay and Susan are much more upset than I am--because I was still sort of stunned by the whole thing.
Tonight my casserole is done, greens for a salad are washed, all is ready. And my dog is healthy and happy.

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