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That's it, cancel the Real Simple photoshoot at my place.
Mimi Smartypants, my favorite blogger I've never met, has something in her latest entry about Real Simple magazine and how there are no children in its pages or text:
Real Simple... is essentially an aspirational-fantasy magazine about stuff that you could put in your house to make it cleaner, fresher, and more organized. And children are not very clean or fresh or organized. When you are reading a magazine and fantasizing that you are the sort of person who can shabbily-chic-ly put a bunch of daisies in an old Mason jar and stick it on top of a two-thousand-dollar side table, you do not want to be reminded that in your actual home the side table would have crayon marks on the legs and a heap of Spider-Man Legos underneath.

You might get a clue about the implied children of Real Simple readers when you get to the back of the book, where the ads are for minivans and juice instead of for cosmetics and where the recipes are often shockingly lowbrow. I find the contrast between the food and décor layouts jarring---one minute we are looking at a charmingly appointed living room, a place for everything and everything in its place, and the next minute we are being instructed to add some bagged shredded cheese to some frozen precooked chicken pieces, and things like that have just got to be an editor's idea of "kid-friendly cooking for busy moms" or some such shit. Because hell to the yuck, people with two-thousand-dollar side tables don't eat like that. I hope.
And I have to say, wow, the Real Simple home is about the diametric opposite of mine: meals chez moi are more like, I'm sitting on the mismatched chairs I inherited from various roommates, looking at the heaps of magazines and knitting on my thrift-shop coffeetable, eating my homemade sweet-potato ravioli and profiteroles. And to be honest, maybe that's why my house will never look like a spread from Real Simple, because I care more about food than about decorating or organizing. In my experience, housekeepers are either cleaners or cooks, but not both. The people I know who have pristine, beautifully appointed houses are also the ones who tend to live on frozen veggie burgers and prebagged salad, because who wants to stink up the kitchen and mess up her hair slaving over a hot stove? I'm not hating, just saying everybody's different. And my apartment isn't totally hopeless either: I do have some nice art on the walls and the floor.

And then, for anyone who wants to die of Teh Cute, Mimi offers this, about her daughter Nora, who is maybe 4 or 5 now:

Nora [at bedtime]: Can you sing that reaper song?
Me: What?
Nora: You know, [singing] don't fear the reaper...
Me: Where did you hear that?
Nora: In the radio.
Me: Well, that's pretty much all I know, that "don't fear the reaper" part...I guess I could look up the words if you want.
Nora: What's a reaper?
Me: Uh, it reaps. Crops. Like a tractor.
Nora: Don't be afraid of a tractor. But maybe yes. Because it could run over you and you could die.
Me: Right.
Nora: It's a farm song! [giggles]
Me: ...Sure.
Nora: Old MacDonald had a reaper!
TGIF, all!

Current Mood: contemplative bemused
Current Music: Brian Eno & David Bowie, My Life in the Bush of Ghosts

13 comments or Leave a comment
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florafloraflora From: florafloraflora Date: August 17th, 2007 04:36 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hey, you're a knitter, and a homeschooler. And don't forget your role as reader. That's more than enough to occupy anybody's time.
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florafloraflora From: florafloraflora Date: August 17th, 2007 08:20 pm (UTC) (Link)
I love me a good excuse.
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florafloraflora From: florafloraflora Date: August 17th, 2007 05:57 pm (UTC) (Link)
Sounds like a dinner party to me! I'll bring the champagne if you'll provide the oysters.
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antof9 From: antof9 Date: August 17th, 2007 09:12 pm (UTC) (Link)
I've never thought pre-shred was lowbrow. Just kind of icky and expensive.

You know why I don't use pre-shredded cheese (besides the fact that it doesn't always melt)? How do you think they keep each "shred" separated? Sawdust. I kid you not. I prefer to get my roughage elsewhere, thanks! Shred your own blocks. It's cheaper, plus if you store the unused portion (that you didn't shred) in "block" form rather than shredded, it doesn't mold as quickly. AND if it does get moldy, we all know we can just cut out the moldy parts. The parts of the cheese exposed to the air (all parts in pre-shreds) will mold more quickly, and obviously, you can't pick moldy pieces out of a bag of pre-shred :)

That's my $.02
(Deleted comment)
antof9 From: antof9 Date: August 17th, 2007 09:36 pm (UTC) (Link)
ok, Bat, I'm making a really funny/quizzical face at the 'puter right now :)

WTF is preseasoned, preshredded cheese?!!!! Please tell me what seasonings you're using and I will get fresh spices for you this weekend at the Savory Spice Shop (one of my favorite stores on the planet) and send them to you. I can't bear to think that you're eating preseasoned, preshredded cheese (what the hell IS that?!).

I mean it. I send spices to my sis and SIL all the time!
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antof9 From: antof9 Date: August 17th, 2007 09:36 pm (UTC) (Link)
martip From: martip Date: November 2nd, 2007 09:10 pm (UTC) (Link)
Me either! Because they can be handy, especially like the "four cheese mixes" and stuff.

I'm all for being healthy and natural and local and green and all that. But I HATE HATE HATE how doing those things have become just another status symbol and basis for judging others. When I run into that more-wholesome-than-thou attitude, I want to get in their face and say:

"I love processed meat, I drink nothing but tap water, and I'm not recycling SHIT, so kiss my lowbrow ass!" None of that is quite true - but I feel the urge to say it.
antof9 From: antof9 Date: August 17th, 2007 09:08 pm (UTC) (Link)
I heart you, Mimi and Nora. I've also signed up for Mimi's updates.

I'll take a foodie any day of the week. And I'm especially pleased with the distinction of cooks vs. cleaners. I've never heard it before, but it makes perfect sense to me when I think about how hard it is to keep my house clean, and how thankful I am that Unk does most of that kind of work!
florafloraflora From: florafloraflora Date: August 17th, 2007 09:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
I don't think Mimi's updates work anymore, but you can read her latest right here on LJ, by going to this page and clicking the "add" link.

When I saw a photo of Unk I agreed with all the ladies of LJ and BC that you are a lucky, lucky girl, and now that you say he cleans, I KNOW you're a lucky girl. I think my problem is, I'm a foodie married to a foodie. A very nice, smart, foodie, but still.
antof9 From: antof9 Date: August 17th, 2007 11:06 pm (UTC) (Link)
oh good -- I love RSS feeds of other blog sites! Thanks :)

re: Unk. Yeah, he's totally awesome. I always said I have the perfect husband 'cause he cleans the bathrooms, but the fact is that now he does the majority of the housework and frankly, I feel like a kept woman. (which I recommend to anyone)

Being a foodie married to a foodie isn't a bad deal either -- specially a very nice, smart one ... which I would have expected of you anyway :) So your house is a little messier. That just makes your guests feel more at home!
fsr44 From: fsr44 Date: August 17th, 2007 09:47 pm (UTC) (Link)
My niece recycles her Real Simples by letting me read them. This is so dead-on, I've got to send it to her. And especially the bit about how SHOCKINGLY low-brow the recipes are!
florafloraflora From: florafloraflora Date: August 20th, 2007 05:26 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hee. I'm always been sort of fascinated when I see Real Simple in the checkout line. It always looks really tempting, but the mindfuck of a magazine full of advertising telling you how to Keep It Simple is too much for me. Now I know that RS is Not Meant For My Kind.

And yeah, those recipes are just SHOCKING!!!!!!!!!
daidy From: daidy Date: August 17th, 2007 10:17 pm (UTC) (Link)
Wooohooo! That's my new excuse for why my house is so messy, because I much prefer cooking to cleaning.
13 comments or Leave a comment