Thursday, July 19, 2007


What a week it's been. And it's only Thursday! If I was one of those superstitious types who believes that bad news comes in three's, I would definitely be arching an eyebrow right about now... maybe cancelling appointments, stocking provisions, battening down the hatches.

Yesterday--the day I had to head into the city for a long-awaited meeting with with my publisher to discuss a second book--Biblical proportions of rain fell, flooding roads and railways. The power went out in Chappaqua as I was getting dressed for my meeting, a tornado touched down in Long Island, draining all the water from a swimming pool, and making short work of trees and powerlines, and an underground steam pipe blew up near Grand Central Station, right around punch-out time, sending bricks, gravel and 9-11-esque plumes of smoke rocketing towards the heavens, tainting the air with asbestos-filled dust, injuring dozens of rush-hour commuters, and sadly, taking the life of a New Jersey woman.

Now I am rational enough to know that these disasters have nothing to do with me. Surely, there is no mystical force at play, warning me about writing a second book. The very idea is silly...ridiculous!!!

And yet...

Today I had an early TV appearance scheduled for the NBC 30 Morning Show in West Hartford, CT. My 4-minute spot was to highlight some of the easy appetizers from my book, Summer: A User's Guide. I decided to showcase only those recipes that required less than four ingredients to prepare and required minimal kitchen work (because let's face it, who wants to be bent over a stove when it's 90 degrees outside?)

Anyhoo...I whipped up the recipes last night, which included parmesan-cheddar breadsticks, Boursin-stuffed cherry tomatoes, bacon-wrapped dates, sausage balls, mango & goat cheese quesadillas, and sundried tomato spread on homemade pita crisps, then, at 7:40 this morning, I packed up the Jeep with all my goodies, tools and props, and hit the road. By--let's call it--7:47, I realized I was totally screwed. Well, that is, my front tire was totally screwed, as a three inch carpenters screw was embedded deep in the tread, resulting in the picture-perfect flat tire. A few phone calls later: one to my husband, one to the incredibly sympathetic producer at NBC (who was nice enough to reschedule me for next Friday, the 27th--don't forget to watch!), and finally to AAA (that's Triple A, not AA). Realizing there was nothing else left to do but wait for the nice man in the tow truck to arrive, I plopped myself by the side of the road, and dug into a delicious NBC 30 feast. It was there on that curb, somewhere around my third breadstick and sixth sausage ball, that two things struck me. First, that I was getting my new, white, Roberto Cavalli jeans dirty, and secondly--and more importantly--that I had somehow, in Magoo-like fashion, unintentionally averted what could have been two very, very bad situations. I crossed the road to Grand Central Station at 3pm, not 5pm, when the steam pipe blew. And my tire went flat as a pancake on idyllic Route 133, and not while I was sandwiched between two tractor trailers on I-684.

And so, barring a meteor hitting our house tomorrow, or a swarm of locusts filling the skies, I feel the Gods are telling me to take a leap of faith. To set out to conquer all obstacles. And--since the Gods are smarter than we often give them credit for--to add more cracked black pepper to my cheesy breadsticks moving forward.


Dip thin strips of refrigerated breadstick dough into a mixture of ¼ cup Parmesan cheese, 1/3 cup of either Gruyere or Cheddar cheese. If you'd like, sprinkle with some chopped fresh rosemary, or add a few twists from a pepper mill. Twists sticks, then place on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake in a 350-degree oven until golden-brown (approximately 10-15 minutes).

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