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When Jill and I were kids, Jill was funny. Really funny. She made everyone laugh, wherever we went, all the time. She had that je n’ais se quoi- only the silly, ridiculously fun version. Looking back I realize that my family didn’t really have much of a sense of humor and that she was still able to make them crack up. Which is pretty impressive (you’d think so too if you knew our Dad). Our parents used to call her “Our Own Phyllis Diller”. If you aren’t familiar with Ms. Diller, she was a comedian who had her heyday in the 1960’s and 70’s. I heard this phrase so often that I felt genuine sadness when she died in 2012, almost like she was a part of our family. And really, in a way, she was. And once again, decades later, I’ve fallen victim to my sister Jill’s super funny alter ego, Phyllis. Which leads me to my defense…
If you haven’t read the article about Jill’s wreath (see picture above) and me bagging on wreaths in general (not that I was really), here is Jill’s blog in full glory. In my defense, I love wreaths. I think they are great, super pretty and festive. That said, I don’t own one. At least, I don’t currently own one. I used to and it was a Christmas wreath (not a bridal shower wreath or a fourth of July wreath for the sake of full disclosure). It fell and glitter flew everywhere making a colossal mess and dinging the wreath. I hate dings, so off to Goodwill, where I’m sure it found a new home and family that will love it.
So, every year for the holidays I buy a fresh new one made from evergreens and I add big red velvet bow. No storage. Then I add a few trinkets to it depending on what colors I’m going with that year. Voila! I live in Southern California where storage is prime real estate. Besides, I prefer the live (or dead depending on your perspective) one.
Midwest vs. West Coast?
Speaking of, I don’t see many wreaths in Orange County. Occasionally one with seashells and succulents or perhaps a Halloween one in October, but usually they are reserved for the holidays. I’m not sure if that is a Midwest vs. West Coast thing. Which leads me to the comment about Jill’s Origami Bird Wreath (which for the record was a fabulous wreath). I simply found it, well, curious in my head. Odd perhaps? I don’t see fowl wreaths very often. It made me wonder, hmm.. what occasion is a folded paper bird? Is that good luck? It’s awfully cute, but what does it mean? Is it a Midwest thing? An Oklahoma thing? I really have no idea. Sometimes I can’t turn my analytical brain off.
The truth is I love the Midwest. Some of my favorite people in the whole world are from that neck of the woods. I love the work ethic. Love the food. Love the people. Often I miss it, especially when one of my friends wants to go for a hike and grab a salad (no dressing, just chicken, veggies and a water). AND then I talk to my sister and she’s on her way to a Pinterest party. A what, you say? Yes, a Pinterest Party!
So What Is A Pinterest Party?
Her friends get together and each brings a craft and a dessert. THEY ALL BRING A DIFFERENT DESSERT! Seriously. That doesn’t happen much here. I’m lucky if there’s a bloody fruit salad. Not a Midwest fruit salad. Those delightfully wonderful indulgences with cool whip, jello and fruit cocktails. My people, you know what I’m talking about. Nope, not here in Cali. I’ve been on the West Coast for over twenty years and never seen one. Not once! The last time I saw one was in a church reception circa 1995 in South Dakota. In Cali, we get the low glycemic blueberry and strawberry fruit salad. I keep thinking I’ll get used to it and lose some weight…
Is It A Midwest Thing?
On the other hand I recently had a dear high school friend from good ol’ South Dakota (Go Eagles!) and his family meet me at the beach for dinner. As usual, there was too much food. I over did it. Again. My friends often call this “Blancoing it”. This basically means that we brought food for an army when there are four of us coming to dinner. I’ve always thought of my over-fooding as a remnant of a different life, when I had three teenage athletes in the house. My friend pointed out that it is a Midwest thing. Uhm…excuse me? He basically said that any good host where we are from would never, ever run out of food. Right? I guess in my head it’s being a good host in general, not an indicator of the the state I’m from.
His wife mentioned that at her mother’s (who never has extra food at dinner) everyone has their portion and that’s that. Her family is from Arizona and I found it interesting, but a bit shocking. Did I mention that she is super thin? Not to sound like a fatty, but what if they want seconds, or dare I say thirds? I’ve never really considered myself Midwestern at heart, but when it comes to food, perhaps I am.
Well Stocked Pantry’s
I don’t have much of a defense to Jill’s, A Well Stocked Pantry blog (if you haven’t read it, check out the link otherwise you’ll really have no idea what I’m talking about), but here goes. There are several reasons I don’t have many of these items in my pantry.
First off, I don’t cook much. I married a man who went to culinary school (yay me!). He loves to cook and says that it relaxes him after work. He actually enjoys cooking! And really, who am I to interrupt that? He’s into fresh vegetables and rarely keeps anything in the pantry (his spice drawers are insane, though).
When I do cook, it’s usually Green Chef. We get the Paleo version. It ships just what we need, so nothing extra for the pantry. We also enjoy eating out far more than we probably should.
More excuses, but I’m going with it!
There is also the fact that I have a lovely little auto immune disease and I’m not really supposed to be eating soy, gluten or dairy. As you can imagine this puts a huge damper on most baking. I find that it’s just easier and less enticing if I don’t have any of it here. Since all of my kids are out of the house I don’t have to keep that stuff around.
I just came up with a great idea! I’m going to do my own Proper Pantry blog. What I buy and like to keep in stock! You’ll love it, the dichotomy between Jill’s and mine will be great!
Friends, it’s true I was surprised by our official Facebook investigation that most people we know do have eggs, sugar, butter and flour on hand (again, see Martha’s (I mean Jill’s) A Well Stocked Pantry blog). I rarely (if ever…maybe around the holidays or when my nieces and nephews are coming) have any of those items. I was genuinely surprised that most people do have them in their kitchen! Who knew? I suppose that pantry contents such as these and wreaths for that matter, really are Midwest things! Analytically speaking though, I’m convinced that the only reason the results were so one sided is because most of our friends are from the Midwest! I’m just sayin’. – Laura