Since then all we want to eat is Cracker Barrel hashbrown casserole. Perhaps that is the business model: leave something out, play hard-to-get. Our desire overrode our liberal hatred of Cracker Barrel. It even overrode Gary's past Cracker Barrel experience. "At least they aren't sex traffickers," we rationalized. So we submitted a very hashbrown-centric order, and they did not forget the hashbrowns, therefore I give you:
*First, the term 'hashbrown' here means shredded hashbrowns, not some ersatz fried potato cubes.
Second, evidently this restaurant chain did not use the Typepad editor to make their menu. Typepad's spell-check keeps insisting Hashbrown is two words. I know, you are amused I pretend to care about spell-checks or proofreading. I will balance the scales by calling this restaurant "Crackerbarrel."
Clockwise from top right:
Regular Hashbrown Casserole
Loaded Hashbrown Casserole Tots
Loaded Regular Hashbrown Casserole
Regular Hashbrown Casserole - Hashbrowns in which Crackerbarrel trades the crispy potato bits for some extra creamy white sauce. This is a devil's bargain. More on this later.
Loaded Hashbrown Casserole Tots - Crackerbarrel describes this as "Our Hashbrown Casserole fried into crispy bite-sized tater tots" and I call bullshit. You can see for yourself, they began life as tater tots, they taste nothing like the hashbrown casserole: the potato taste is entirely different.
Loaded Regular Hashbrown Casserole - Here they take the creamy casserole and add the crispy bits back in the form of deep-fried shoestring onions, the only possible upgrade from the crispy edges of hashbrowns. They also added cheese and bacon, and while green onions were also promised I could not see them. (I did not ask for a refund.)
Clearly, the final incarnation, the Loaded Regular Hashbrown casserole, won the throwdown hands down.
I particularly like this one by Vladimir Nabokov: "I have rewritten -- often several times -- every word I have ever published. My pencils outlast their erasers."
I'm not even to the point of re-writing words, I'm re-doing the outline itself, because the rising action rose and fell and rose and fell and ... you get it. There was a conflict, and while it was realistic, it didn't build steadily. When I finish revising a section of the outline I rewrite those chapters.
I bet this is the place when people give up. I am not giving up.
There was a brief time a few years back when Gary was in charge of the food. He took over the kitchen, added an entirely superfluous knife block, bought a "palette" of all the spices, reorganized the drawers and banished my cunning shiny tools to the back of a drawer, then put our ugliest spatulas and big spoons out in the counter in a controversial Spinny Thing.
He hasn't touched any of those tools and spices for a year. I bided my time, and advised him that I would be reclaiming my kitchen. (I did look for a tea towel that said ELLEN'S KITCHEN in big block letters, but I backed off. Too pointed.)
Last weekend, the big basket of herbs were sorted and consolidated, and the ones I use moved out of the basket and organized in the pantry. Knife block was demoted to basement, as were the bulky baskets and milk frother and especially the Spinny Thing.
The contents of the Spinny Thing were prioritized and the useful ones are on the outside of the fridge, instead of tangled in the farthest corner of the Spinny Thing.
This sparks joy.
Gary was gracious enough to say it looks like a good system.
A new email has arrived and, big news, there's a Mr. Nurse Blake, and he has Covid. There's a link in the email teasing the story, then you take a link from that second page to the details. I think this is all a ploy to see the depth of our relationships to Nurse Blake.
Upon reading the article I realized Nurse Blake might benefit from my neighbor's experience: her husband and child got the Omicron while being fully vaccinated and boosted and masked. Luckily, with the Omicron we decided to stop being in the same room, we now holler from one back door to another.
(And yet, amid all this caution, the Supreme Court has decided that no one is their brother's keeper, and we shall have no mask or vaccine mandates.)
Interesting to me that my new bestie Blake would be out there sharing her experience, and that it would not be followed by a disclaimer like "the opinions of Nurse Blake are her own and are not shared by the management."
Well, that's an exaggeration. But yes, I did another even more objective analysis of the first draft and thought many thoughts. There was a lot of "What the hell was I thinking?" and even more "This all has to be gutted and done over," but still a fair amount of "I can keep this if I whittle it down to a paragraph."
Strangely, parts that I thought were bizarre (winging tortillas off the church roof) fit in perfectly now that I can stand back and look at the themes that emerged. In fact, the tortillas show up at the very end, that's how important they are.
I am willing to bet I rewrite the whole thing. That's what I'm doing now with the first chapter.
Gary's been complaining that the road to the SuperBowl has been chaotic this year because of Covid. A team headed to the SuperBowl will find half the team is out with Covid. Chaos ensues and no doubt digs in to the pockets of the NFL, the players, the gamblers, et al.
If I were an NFL coach, I would find a way to pump Covid air into the locker room of the opposing team, or infect the waiters at the team hotel. Or give the player's relative's Covid so they're distracted, like the case of the Texas Cheerleader's mom.
With the money at stake I really suspect that's happening.
I hate that feeling of mindless eating, when you consume food and don't enjoy it. I was dismayed that I two days ago I evidently ate half a slice of American cheese and did not remember it. At all. Then I found it sitting on the earbud box. I'm telling myself the colors matched, only they did not.