Social Media: Twitter Is A Hungry Bird

I got turned down for a job for not having enough Twitter followers.

When did invisible social media become the indivisible job deciderer? I thought a resume, experience and references made me an attractive candidate. I had no idea that my popularity in the ethosphere impacted how well I might perform for an employer in the real world.

Hospitable Egg-ucation: Obesity in America

I had an eye-opening experience in New York City at the Hilton Hotel in Chelsea last week.

No, housekeeping didn't walk in on me naked. But -- their restaurant's traditional American breakfast consists of 3 eggs. Three?! That's one too many. Unless the Hilton's hosting farmers heading out to plow Central Park, no one needs a breakfast that large.

I baffled the waitress by asking her to bring me only two eggs. (In hindsight I should have taken the third egg to-go and offered it to a homeless person.) When my plate arrived, I was glad to see that there were only two eggs. My happiness turned to horror when another, separate but equally unhealthy plate, groaning under the weight of 6 slices of bacon -- was laid to rest next to the main plate. My mind flashed to my funeral. A gospel choir sang me off to my final destination while I just lay there quietly in my coffin wearing Gaga's meat dress.

At my age, I shouldn't be eating bacon; however, bacon is so delicious it's hard to resist. I struggled, used discipline, and ate only two slices. I worried about the two I ate, the four I left behind, and the six that were offered in the first place.

According to the Journal of American Medicine, and what I saw later on the streets of NYC, 35% of Americans are obese. Let's break that 6-bacon and 3-egg tradition immediately.

I have a choice in the food I order. Restaurants have free will. They also have a terrific opportunity to use their influence. New York City hosts millions of international visitors. Let's present a healthier image of our county and offer less.

Less can be a whole lot more.

Happy Birthday: Everyone Old is New Again

It's my birthday.

How old am I? Well....my great-grandmother won her husband in a jumping contest. It was about 1870, she was 15, maybe not ready to wed; but the civil war had wiped out most of the eligible men in her Missouri town. So competition was stiff. She however, had to be flexible and literally rise to the occasion. And rise above every other hopeful.

I’m lucky that I knew her; but she didn't talk much. She was exhausted. I mean, come on — she won her husband in a jumping contest.

Cooking With Kids: Pass Recipes Down

I don't have any children; but I borrow friend's kids. I take them out for fun adventures, treat them to sugary snacks, get 'em all hopped up and sticky -- then hand them back to their parents. And I love spending time with them in the kitchen cooking.

Cook with kids. Pass your recipes to the next generation and get free kitchen labor.

My 7-year old niece, Addison, makes my life delicious and is the best sous chef.

Westmount, Montreal: My Neighborly Canadian Neighborhood

I spend part of my life in Montreal. Thankfully, we live in Westmount, an English-speaking neighborhood. My French is terrible. Perhaps because my high school French teacher was Madame Sanchez.

French is the current official language in Montreal. If a sign is written in English, the French word has to appear first, and larger. Shopkeepers don't have to speak English -- and they sometimes can't. In any event, I want to at least understand French. I'd like to look like a native rather than a Texas rube that just tumbled off the turnip truck.

Speaking of produce, I love to shop for food when traveling. It's fun to see all of the stuffs we don't have in America, either because it's illegal or indigenous.

I can't drive in Canada, which is fine -- the shoppes I need line one street, which is a charming 3 block walk from our apartment. I call it E-street. There's a boucherie, a boulangerie, a charcuterie, a fromagerie, a patisserie and a poisonnerie. To warm cold feet, there's an Uggerie.

I devour the exotic foods as well as savor the flavor of the shopkeepers. Tony the butcher's lamb chops come with a side of eye-roll from his wife at his curmudgeoniness. The sweet baker at Le Fournil had me at hamantaschen. Shop hopping to several stores to gather interesting, fresh, local ingredients is right up my alley. It takes a village to build a dinner; Westmount is that village.

One day, I sauntered into the fancy patisserie, Gascogne. I don't know anyone that works there; but as I inhaled, I smelled friends of mine -- gateway drugs -- bread baking and chocolate melting.

When you enter most shops in Montreal, if they don't know you, you're greeted with an English/French mashup, Bonjour/Hi. In the language you respond, they respond.

A bearded baker with his head down and focused, rumbled, Bonjour.

I was only there to ogle the goodies, and perhaps pick up one tiny, individual pie. A treat to pop in my mouth as street-walking sustenance.

Bonjour, I replied, hoping that my Lubbock accent was suppressed enough for me to pass as a Montrealer.

J'jehsi kn;irjjbjkb dlj*&Y(*&T s.,mndfrrrjheieiueb !! lksc;lsiru , HYFE dsv;lrsdn;gih ?, he asked.

I froze up. I figured he was asking me if I needed help. I could do this simple transaction alone.

Non, merci, I managed. I grabbed a metal shopping basket and swung it, hoping to cause a glint that distracted him away from my lack of comprehension.

I bent over the refrigerated case, admiring the elaborate creations and thinking they'd save money on utilities by keeping these items ootside, where the temperature is usually well below freezing. I chose an eclair. L'eclairs coco citron -- a brightly decadent lemon, chocolate, creme-filled delight. These horizontal doughnuts are one of my favorite grab-and-go pastries. I walk down the street and ram them in my mouth like a warrior busting through a thick wall.

The price was clearly displayed, 3.75$. I placed my selection in my basket and proceeded to the cashier. I greeted the young staffer with only a smile. To nip any possible communication in the bud, I handed her a pretty, 5$ Canadian bill.

Guei'r'lckndr;lkn!P*U(*&  ;JN:JKHIU f'kdvlkdnf;lk we;oih ? she asked.

Using my inside voice I yelled, Good lord, I mean, mon diex, what the hell can she want?! I gave her plenty of money. It's too late to oot myself as a tourist. I was doing great!

I replied by handing her another 5$ bill. Throwing money at a problem often works.

Jeu'vrns;lrkj! Ixdv/msdreijn" )(*&)&^%cdrejfberrgreie;io. She clearly wanted something.

I narrowed my eyes, grunting to myself in an attempt to comprehend and keep my cover. In Madame Sanchez' French class, I'd squint and stare at her, focusing on the line where her forehand ended and her bouffant hairstyle started. It was easy to imagine her bald. That fantasy kept me from getting bored as she droned on and on in French. It also kept me from learning French.

Back in the patisserie, I shoved a 10$ bill towards the cashier's mouth, as if I were extinguishing her firestorm of language.

I asked if you wanted a bag, she said in perfect, non-accented English.

I took my lumps and eclair and left.

There's a bright side to every tragedy.  Et voila, behold les shoppes:

Fried Chicken Recipe: Momma Wanted to Throw Us From The Train

I feel fortunate that I still have my hair. And that I got to spend time with my great-grandmother until I was in my twenties, and my grandmother until I was thirty-something.

Maybe my mother, grandmother and great-grandmother (pictured left) are why I have my hair. They're for sure why I can cook.

I held onto their apron strings, eventually tying the apron around my own waist. Even though they're not with me technically, I tell their stories and cook their food. They're always with me.