Things I cooked while dying

By Mir
December 17, 2007

Did I mention that I have a cold? Because I do. I think I’m dying. It is very sad.

I will miss me.

(Do you hear them? In the background? Those are teeny tiny violins, playing beautiful music in honor of my sore throat and reversion to 5-year-old maturity level when my nose is stuffy.)

Oh, FINE. I suppose I’m PROBABLY not actually dying. In fact, I’m that sort of really unsatisfying sick where you just feel crummy and gross, but deep in your mucous-covered heart you know that without a fever or whatever you really just have a cold and should suck it up.

Of course, I’m sick because I have a million things to do this week.

Anyway, I spent a large portion of Saturday sleeping, because that seemed like the thing to do. I had hoped that would cause me to wake up fresh as a daisy and completely over this crud on Sunday, but Sunday morning dawned and I still sounded like an 80-year-old 4-pack-a-day smoker.

Fortunately it’s one of those things where I always sound and feel like death warmed over in the morning, but after I move around a little and have a cup of tea and a few lines of cocaine, I feel much better. (Oh, I kid. Who can afford cocaine with two mortgages? I just snort a little Bon Ami—it’s earth friendly!—and call it good.) So all weekend Otto kept asking me if I wanted to cancel dinner for last night, and I kept assuring him I would be fine.

And I was. Mostly.

So we were having folks over to dinner, see, which meant that we needed to do some cooking. (I would like to assure everyone who ate at our house last night that I didn’t sneeze into any of the food, by the way.) And Otto offered to take care of everything, but I felt like I should contribute, you know, so I soldiered bravely onwards, never remarking more than a dozen times or so that I was working hard in spite of being so terribly ill.

First of all, I must tell you that this recipe rocks my socks off. Although I am now perfectly happy to make bread that actually requires kneading and rising time and all of that, it’s nice to have a recipe that makes something delicious and bready in such a short period of time. (Also? I made it as drop biscuits instead of as a loaf, and that worked fine, too.) I am convinced that most of the problems in the world can be solved with carbohydrates, and although my theory seems somewhat flawed when it comes to THIS PARTICULAR cold, I stand by my position.

Also, anything that makes the whole house smell like beer cannot be bad.

So anyway, I made that, actually doing a test batch on Saturday between naps, and then a “company” batch yesterday wherein I included some rosemary and some parmesan, and I was feeling pretty pleased with myself. The way that ancient man felt when he mastered fire is pretty much how I feel when I bake something edible. (BEHOLD! I HAVE CREATED… BREAD!)

We planned to make a couple of lasagnas, and Otto was perfectly willing to do it on his own and let me rest. But no, I had this notion of fairness and helpfulness or something, so I said “NO NO NO, you do one and I’ll do the other,” which seemed like a good idea, except that I forgot that I am a competitive bitch.

Otto set about making the spicy Italian sausage version while I worked on the spinach one.

I layered my lasagna with OCD precision, making everything just so and smoothing down the ingredients and such. Otto slopped ingredients into his pan and often tossed in extra noodles and let things overlap and REFUSED TO LET ME ADD AN EGG TO HIS RICOTTA. (You NEED that egg! For… smoothness! And… stuff!) He used FAT FREE mozzarella—which is against my religion, as cheese NEEDS FAT—and he sprinkled various spices on at odd intervals as whatever whim grabbed him. Otto used up all of his ingredients by topping the entire thing off with whatever was left, yielding a pan that weighed approximately twenty pounds with Mount Saint Lasagna arcing up from the center at a precarious slant.

My lasagna, when completed, looked as though it had been assembled by Martha Stewart and blessed by angels. It was perfect. And it used REAL CHEESE and was therefore superior in both looks and taste.

Except that his lasagna ended up tasting WAY better than mine, which is totally unfair, because did I mention? The cold? And the cheese? And the layers? And the NOT FAIR?

(As one guest pointed out, “Starting with sausage really gave him an unfair advantage,” which is true; but as long as I’m over here eating my crow I concede that that was not the whole story. My lasagna needed more sauce. Even if Otto did totally cheat by… being a cheaterpants.)

Fortunately, I’d whipped up a batch of Ben & Jerry’s raspberry sorbet for dessert, so I was able to save face a little, there*.

In conclusion, those people are lucky they got dinner at all. Or something.

Please pass the advil. And the sorbet.

*I then totally blew my cred by admitting that my FIRST batch of sorbet (strawberry), I grabbed my huge measuring cup and noted that I needed 2 cups of water, found the 2 on the cup, filled it up, dumped it in… and a minute later realized I’d just added two PINTS of water rather than two CUPS. Hey, at least I figured it out and threw it away.


  1. Megan

    You’re very funny when you’re dying. Please consider weekly visits to McDonalds so you can roll around in the infested play pit and sit at the snot-smeared tables.

  2. StephLove

    I hope you feel better soon and that O, C & M don’t catch it. We’ve all been (not) dying on and off (mostly on) since early October. Every now and then one of us will get well for a few days, only to be dragged back down into the pit by the other three. All I want for Christmas is an end to this!

  3. Flea

    Raspberrys and lemon are excellent for fighting colds. Eat lots and get better soon.

  4. BethR

    My 2.5-month-old baby has her first cold, and she is *so* pissed. She keeps making this (actually kind of cute) snorting noise with this aggravated expression on her face like, “Okay, what the hell is this? I’ve been breathing air for over two months and now you change the consistency of it on me? Can’t you people make up your minds?”

    She is coping, because what choice does she have? My five-year-old has the same cold and is coping aside from occasional complaints about his itchy nose. My husband, on the other hand, also has it and is clearly dying, which he expresses by giving me hourly bulletins on his condition and how dire it is. Which just goes to show that maturity is overrated.

  5. Flea


    I got bifocals this year. I’m nearsighted and have a wicked astigmatism. The eye doc (who is 40 and HANDSOME) didn’t use the word minify, but he wouldn’t commit to the lens magnifying either. I tried to pin him down on exactly what it would do, but I couldn’t understand his technical response. Minify actually makes more sense.

    It makes sense because when I wear mine, the reading section is just a much weaker version of the top, it seems, but words are larger. Don’t ditch your eye guy too soon. Wait and see if your new lenses work the way they’re supposed to.

  6. Katie

    Feel better soon!

    You should have added bacon salt to your lasagna, then you would have won!

  7. All Adither

    I’m sure yours was very scrumptious too. After all, you had the secret ingredient of phlegm.

  8. peanut

    Pretty, congested Mir,

    I recently remarked to my partner, “Hey, I never knew, but cooking is easy.” Turns out I was missing a key ingredient: interest!

  9. peanut

    Oh, and I hope you feel better soon :) Maybe this guarantees that you won’t be sick for the holidays? Maybe?

  10. Leandra

    I think I would have just re-panned a couple of Stouffer’s and called it a day!

    StephLove, your comment cracked me up. That is SO what is happening at our house these days!!

  11. The Mom Bomb

    Why is it we always get sick this time of year? Oh yeah: virus season + holiday stress. On the bright side, first thing in the morning, try singing “Coal Miner’s Daughter”. With your raspy cold throat, you’ll sound just like Loretta Lynn.

  12. Contrary

    “I’m sure yours was very scrumptious too. After all, you had the secret ingredient of phlegm.”

    I’m not usually a delicate flower, but that bit right there has put me off lasagna for a long time to come.

    Which is fine. Nobody needs all that carb-y goodness conveniently layered and sauced and ready to eat.


  13. Aimee

    *patpatpat* There, there. I’m sure your lasagna was LOVELY. Although…. Mmm, mmm, sausage!

    I hope you feel better soon. :)

  14. Brigitte

    Here, this recipe I pulled off the net the other day and tried will make you feel better . . . and it’s so rich you won’t have to eat again until your cold is gone:

    Raspberry Cream Cheese Coffeecake

    2 1/4 C. flour
    3/4 C. sugar
    3/4 C. butter
    1/2 t. baking powder
    1/2 t. baking soda
    1/4 t. salt
    3/4 C. sour cream
    1 t. almond extract
    1 egg
    8 oz. cream cheese softened
    1/4 C. sugar
    1 egg
    3/4 C. raspberry jam
    1/4 C. sliced almonds

    Heat oven to 350° F. Line the bottom of a 9 or 10 inch springform pan (it’ll cook fine in a square 8×8, it just looks prettier round). Grease and flour pan.
    In a large bowl, combine flour and 3/4 C. of sugar. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Set aside 1 C. of the crumbs.
    To the remaining crumb mixture, add baking powder, baking soda, salt, sour cream, almond extract and 1 egg. Blend well. Spread batter over bottom and 2 inches up side of pan.
    In a small bowl, combine cream cheese, 1/4 C. sugar and 1 egg. Blend well. Pour in batter lined pan. Spoon jam over cream cheese mixture. Combine the almonds with the reserved crumb mixture. Sprinkle over jam.
    Bake for 45 – 55 minutes or until cheese filling has set and crust is golden brown. Cool for 15 minutes. Remove sides from pan.

    Serve warm or cool – nom nom nom nom

  15. LuAnn

    I had a combined migraine and sinus headache early last week. I barely ate or drank for DAYS. I couldn’t have eaten sausage lasagne right off. And spinach rocks anyway! :)

  16. mammafor2

    hey, at you are not tending to the ill with the cold… i sure am. i really could use your energy and lasagna!

  17. Kristi

    You are so brave, Mir. I’ve been sick with the crud in my sinuses and my ears for more than a month (of which 2 courses of antibiotics have not cured). I’m thinking about canceling Christmas.

  18. Carolyn

    Oh who cares? You are SUCH a good writer and you crack me up every time. THAT’s what’s not fair. The least you could do is suck at making bread.:P

  19. Lou

    Mir … you made TWO vegan dishes. Weee! (And yes, ice cream is DEFINITELY a dish.)

  20. Burgh Baby's Mom

    Damn it, now I’m hungry for beer bread and lasagna. There is no way my lazy butt will actually allow me to make either from scratch, so now I’m going to have to scour planet Earth for takeout.

  21. Sophie

    I should not have read this post at lunch time, before I ate. I’m starving now!

    Well, it could be worse: you could have a cold under a couple of feet of New England snow. Or, you could be worrying about bad news from a cute radiologist (glad to hear all is well in that department). Yea, I know. That doesn’t help.

    I had a dinner party once when Pumpkin had a cold – one of those killer toddler colds. Guess what everyone went home with?

  22. Karen

    Mmmmm, thanks for the dinner suggestion. I’ve even got the cold going on, so I’m sure mine will turn out wonderfully. But I’ll try the sausage recipe.

  23. Lori

    While I did not have a cold this weekend (Glory be! the large ball of goo that had taken up residence behind my soft palate is gone!) I did cook up a storm. I figured there was a blizzard outside so I needed to stock up on carbs! Bread in the form of dinner rolls & cinnamon twists. Gingerbread. Meat sauce for lasagna – who’s kidding who? it’s so I have something to eat with the bread! I almost made your beer bread, but ran out of flour. But I got more this morning!!!!

    Get thee to bed & baby yourself. You’re sick woman! Take advantage of it!!! (And look up “man cold” on youtube – it’s hilarious!)

  24. Flea

    OMG!!! I just looked up Man Cold (thank you, Lori!) and it is the funniest thing ever!!! Mir, don’t watch it without a box of tissue to catch whatever comes flying out when you start to laugh.

  25. charlise

    OK – I too have the death cold. We will have to die together. I actually went to the doctor thinking I had strep or something worse, and she laughed and told me it is a cold. And I thought… DUDE – it has GOT to be more than a cold. I feel AWFUL. But alas, just a cold.

  26. Jennie

    You are so very, very, very pretty, and wonderful! Thank you for sharing those two recipes, because despite my being allergic to very nearly everything edible… i am actually able to eat both the sorbet and the bread. Incredible!!! :)

  27. Tootsie

    3/5 of us are dying in this house as well. I cannot get it to LEAVE! I’m about ready to have the whole thing tented and fumigated. With us in it. And I don’t care how great Otto’s tasted. You used real cheese. So you win!

    Get well soon!

  28. Ree

    Sausage. Totally unfair. And stuff. Plus, I think you probably sneezed in Otto’s version, so y’know, it had that special Mir touch.

  29. Amy

    I was once making raspberry sorbet in a frenzy of party cooking. After I had pureed and strained the berries, the other person in the kitchen accidentally washed the strainer they were in and all my beautiful raspberries went down the drain!

  30. Cele

    hmmm, I’m jealous, Ducky doesn’t cook. Hope you feel better soon. Especially by drive time.

  31. MaryP

    “Cheaterpants.” I started laughing there and haven’t stopped.

  32. blairzoo

    I finially figured out why your writing makes me laugh so hard….you write like a grown-up version of Junie B. Jones!!!! If you haven’t read those out loud to your kids, you simple must. We’re on round 3 I think of the whole series ’cause they are such a hoot. Hope you feel better soon. And if the carbs aren’t working as a cure, it means you need to eat MORE of them in a greater variety!

  33. Marissa

    Your husband can make a lasagna = go are a winner at the game of life!!

  34. saucygrrl

    Oh how funny… Sean and I just had a lasagna debacle and it sounds like it turned out a lot like Otto’s… although I have to ask why would he use fat free mozzarella when using sausage?

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