The Ballad of Santa Porkchop

Santa Porkchop


My weekend was hopping,
As I went out shopping,
In Target
As I often do.

When from afar I spied,
And then closely eyed,
The pig to which I fast flew.

Adorned with a cap,
And Four’s scarf
This cute chap
Stole my heart right away.

To the register I fled,
With my pig, ready to pay.

On our lawn he’s been placed,
And the lights are all spaced,
He adorns the lawn quite nicely.

I shared the photo online
Of this dear sweet pig of mine,
Then heard strange comments precisely.

“A religious statement?” They said.
And I just shook my head.
He’s a pig. A cute pig. Nothing more.

In a town of orthodoxy,
I guess it’s some moxie,
To not have my house look a bore.

You see, my kids they get both:
Christmas, Hanukkah
And I’m loath
To box us in with religion.

He’s a pig! A cute pig!
And I don’t give a fig…
It’s decoration, not nuclear fission.

So I hope people see
The pig’s just cute to me,
And I love him so immensely.

And before you suspect
Your religion I’ve wrecked,
Just consider he’s CUTE. INTENSELY.

Black Friday BLACKOUT

Normally, I try not to go out too much on Black Friday – I realize that we’re encouraged to start our holiday season shopping as early as possible, so retailers can drain what’s remaining of our disposable income – but I often end up hitting a sale or two. I’m NOT the one who goes out for the sales that require standing in line at 4am or queuing up endlessly in a sea of hundreds, hoping to shove through the scrum to get to the two laptops that are actually at the price advertised in the sale flyer. Still, I haven’t ever really sworn off Black Friday: until now.

Enter Target – a store where I shop early and often. While I was shocked to see a gigantic sign on the side of a Kohl’s that advertised the store opening at 1am (really people? 1 AM?!), I was horrified to hear that Target was opening at 12:01am. Even worse, other stores are opening even earlier – backing Black Friday up into Thanksgiving day.

It was at this point that I just snapped. I won’t boycott Target; I’d much rather boycott the entire day. Here, you have merchants in an arms race to see who can open earlier and earlier until the Thanksgiving holiday turns into a quick turkey sandwich at 2am before you have to rush out to meet the shoppers who want to get the deals before they watch the Cowboys beat the snot out of some poor, unsuspecting team.

So, I decided to make my own Black Friday special: the Black Friday BLACKOUT.

I want to encourage everyone to skip the stores. Skip the sales. Show merchants that you want them to return to some semblance of sanity and treat their employees like REAL PEOPLE DESERVING OF A HOLIDAY by not shopping. Then, instead of heading to the mall, either pop open your laptop or head to the grocery store. Donate at least $10 to your local food pantry. Why? Well, any time of year is a good time to donate to a food pantry, but winter is a particularly hard time for a lot of families to cope, especially when it’s a choice between food or presents. I don’t know whether I’ll have time to leave the house on Friday, since I’m deliberately skipping the sales and choosing to bake and hang out with the family. If I make it out, I’m only going to the grocery store to get canned and boxed goods to donate. Otherwise, I’ll just donate online. I’m a particular fan of the Greater Boston Food Bank.

Want to join me? It’s easy.

Here’s what you do:

1. Agree not to take part in Black Friday madness – vote with your feet!

2. Promise to donate either food or $$ (min. $10, if you can manage it) to your local food pantry. Note that many houses of worship also run food pantries, and they can direct you to others as well. Otherwise, just hit up Google Maps and search on “food pantry near” your town.

I’m not saying don’t shop for holiday gifts. I’m not saying that you should snub local merchants, either. My point is that these retailers are freaking out and forcing people to work insane hours in the service of greed, not the “holiday season”. If enough of us choose NOT to participate in Black Friday madness, maybe they’ll change their minds. I’ve worked plenty of retail in my day, and the thought of having to skip Thanksgiving with my family because it’s either that or lose my job…well, that’s just crap, and I refuse to support anyone doing that to their employees.

Who’s with me?

Kredit Krunch Bark

OK, so admittedly, this is not one of my healthier recipes. BUT, it is yummy. And it can disappear quickly if not watched with a camera and security guard. AND it’s highly customizable (if you don’t like dark chocolate, consider mixing it up with some milk chocolate). The impetus for this was the “credit crunch” that hit a few years back. Trying to come up with an inexpensive way to have holiday presents for the teachers at day care, we bought some tins from our local craft store and filled them with waxed paper and this bark. My apologies for the lack of picture; as soon as I make a batch this fall, I’ll load up one. For now, just imagine…yum. It’ll come to you.


24.5oz Lindt 70% dark chocolate (seven 3.5 oz bars)

10.5oz Lindt 85% dark chocolate (three 3.5 oz bars)

2 cups Rice Krispies cereal

3 cups Rice Chex cereal

Make it Happen:

1. Put the Rice Chex into a ziploc bag and roll a rolling pin over it to crush it. Set aside.

2. Get a cookie sheet that has sides; line it with wax paper.

2. Chop the chocolate finely and place it into a bowl.

3. In a double-boiler set on a low temp (and with a small amount of water in the bottom of the double boiler), add a tablespoon of the chocolate to make sure the pan is hot enough for melting the chocolate. Once that’s assured, add a cup or so of the chocolate at a time, mixing it in thoroughly to coat it with the melted chocolate. Stir continuously with a spatula.

4. Once all of the chocolate has been melted, pour half of it into the cookie sheet. Use a spatula to distribute it around the sheet evenly.

5. Sprinkle the “krunch” mix over the chocolate until it’s fairly evenly coating the chocolate.

6. Pour the remainder of the chocolate onto the sheet, pouring it to distribute it as evenly as possible.

7. Place the cookie sheet into the fridge and let it cool/set for 3-4 hours, until it’s no longer liquid.

8. Overturn the bark onto a cutting board (or just pick it up by the wax paper and move it to a cutting board). Roughly break it up using a heavy knife, like a butcher knife.

9. Store in a wax paper-lined container, like a cookie tin. Store in the fridge when not going OMNOMNOM.

Note: if you are the type of person who wants to mix up your chocolates – milk and dark, white and milk, white & dark, etc. – go for it. Make sure you melt them separately and clean the top of the double boiler in between meltings. The big concern here is that if you don’t remove every speck of moisture from that top pot before putting in the chocolate, your chocolatey goodness will seize. Seizing is bad and to be avoided at all costs. Alternately, you can melt one chocolate on the stove and another in the microwave – just watch BOTH carefully. And remember that white chocolate is mostly cocoa butter and won’t melt the same way as other chocolates but WILL seize with impunity at the drop of a hat.