Small Plates

Every couple of days, I like to call my grandparents and tell them how my week is going along with any interesting things that I have done. My Noni doesn’t really get out of Fairmont … ever … and I’m not even quite sure that she understands what I do for a living, so each conversation is both exhausting and hilarious due to the many questions and misunderstanding.

I called my Noni today to tell her all of my adventures of the week (and there have been quite a few), specifically a Japanese tapas-style restaurant that I went to on Thursday. When it comes to food, she wants to know every single detail – what I ate, how they cooked it (like I am supposed to know), how much garlic they used, how expensive it was, etc. I began explaining my experience at the Japanese restaurant and it just BLEW her mind.

Noni: What you mean tapas?

Me: They are small plates… You order a lot of them that way you can try multiple things.

Noni: Oh I see. Wha’d you eat?

Me: I had a lot of things – fried garlic, grilled avocado, octopus.

Noni: You have spaghet (read: spaghetti)?

Me: No, Non, it’s Japanese. Have you ever heard of a Japanese restaurant serving Italian food?

Noni: Wha’d you have for your entrée?

Me: There is no main dish – it’s tapas style.

Noni: Wha’d you mean you don’ have no entrée?

Me: Small plates. You can have a little bit of everything.


Me: No.

Noni: I don’ understand you city people. You spen’ so much money eatin’ here, eatin’ there, tryin’ to be seen, and you don’ even eat a real meal. My mother’d be so ashamed of me if I did that. No wonder you poor. Don’ ask me for no money because I don’ give it to you. Stunad.

And then she hung up on me. Perhaps this week when I am in town we can visit the local Hibatchi Steakhouse.

A Christmas Miracle

I know that a majority of my posts have something to do with food. What can I say? This gal loves to eat. So, until I find a new hobby or completely perfect my cooking skills, y’all are just going to have to deal with these stories.

With that being said, I kind of just set up this post to be about failure, didn’t I? Sorry if I have misled you, but I have some wonderful news, people. I hope you are sitting down.

I just made the best Christmas cookies, ever. I did not mess this up. And honestly, I don’t even know if they’re technically considered Christmas cookies, but tis the season.

Now, I’m going to share this recipe with you under one condition: this is only to be used in emergencies – say you have completely fudged up a recipe and need to redeem yourself or perhaps you don’t know what to get your boss for Christmas.

Note: Everyone loves cookies (especially bosses), and if they say otherwise, run far away.



1 ¾ cups of flour

¼ teaspoon of salt

¾ cups of softened butter

½ cup of sugar

½ teaspoon of vanilla extract

Enough raspberry jam to fill the center of each cookie *I use the kind of jam that has seeds in it simply because it’s awesome.


  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line your cookie sheets with parchment paper, or lightly spread butter on them if you don’t own lining (like me).
  • Add the flour and salt in a bowl and whisk together.
  • Add the butter and sugar into another bowl and cream together until it becomes a fluffy mixture. Also add the vanilla extract and mix all three ingredients.
  • Gradually add the flour mixture with a spoon. This will obviously harden the butter/sugar mixture, and it may seem crumbly, but no worries!
  • Pinch off approximately 1 tablespoon of the dough and roll into a ball. Once you have placed them on the baking sheet, use your thumb to create a well in the center and fill each cookie with jam.
  • Bake for 10-12 minutes. *I actually baked mine for about 12-14 minutes, so keep an eye on how done you want the cookies to be.
  • Resist eating the whole batch of cookies. I may or may not have failed at this step.
The finished product.
The finished product.

Up On The Rooftop . . .

I promised you that I would report back on Thanksgiving, learning how to cook (which was non-existent, by the way) and the weeklong adventure of being back in Fairmont. After a week of being with my family, it took me a little longer than anticipated to turn this jumble into coherent sentences, mostly because every conversation was in a mix of English-Italian and gibberish.

Now, I could write a book on my Thanksgiving break. I could tell you about how I sat in traffic for EIGHT HOURS from D.C. to W.V., how I laughed until I cried with my best friend (who was a little drugged due to tearing her Achilles tendon – casual), or how my family had a four hour passive-aggressive conversation over who in the Senate was Irish-Catholic, BUT I will choose to tell you one little story that explains my family and our holiday gatherings in a nut shell.

Let me paint the scene.

It was a cold, snowy afternoon – the type of cold afternoons that actually make Ugg boots an acceptable fashion choice. After mustering enough energy, I skedaddled over to my Noni’s to help her polish silverware, set the table, and taste-test the three different types of sweet potatoes that were to be served at Thanksgiving the next day.

My Aunt soon joined us, and then my Dad walked in shortly after. We were having a dandy time UNTIL my Aunt asked one simple question: “Where is Rosie the cat?”

**There is one small detail I must tell you before I finish this story: my Noni calls anyone and everything that has caused her grief a “sonabitch” (Translation: son of a bitch). I have heard everyone from myself to potatoes that didn’t quite mash well to the President classified as this prestigious term.

“Oh, we lost the sonabitch,” my Noni replied. “I told that cat, ‘Rosie, no one but me liked you, so it’s time for you to go die.’ And that’s what she did. The sonabitch died in my bedroom. And I swear she’s hauntin’ this place. I hear her ALL THE TIME.”

Precisely at that moment, we hear a voice from the chimney saying, “Helllooooooo! Can anyone hear meeeeee?”

“Oh ma GOD!” my Noni screamed. “It’s ROSIE!”

Knowing that this could not be the dead cat (because cats do not speak English), my Dad went outside to see what in the heck was going on. He walked to the back of the house and found my grandpa STANDING ON THE ROOF.

After much interrogation, we learned that Stanley was on the roof to repair the shingles and a big gust of wind knocked over his ladder. People, he was stuck on the roof during a snowstorm for hours.

When he came back to the house covered in tar, my Noni looked at him and said, “You ruined your sonabitchin’ pair of jeans, you sonabitch!”