Because I really only have one outfit that’s funeral appropriate, and I don’t feel like getting it dry-cleaned over and over. Also, if all my friends jump off a bridge, that’s a hell of a sign that I am a poor judge of character.

(NB: I wrote this long-winded post, and when I went to read it over before hitting “publish,” couldn’t figure out why I had such a bee in my bonnet over a totally insignificant issue. Probably it’s a personal problem. I ignored it while I watched The Daily Show and now I’m too tired to write something entirely new, so I’m leaving it. You should feel free to ignore it. In the future, I will try and restrict craw-stickage to issues of substantial import.)


3/28/12 – ETA: I think I just figured out a much shorter way to get my point across!

Dear Gentle Readers,

You know, I don’t much care for the Pioneer Woman.


Seriously, who knew all my friends were lemmings? And why did it take until they literally engaged in lemming-like behavior for me to figure it out?* Jeez.

I guess that’s where the saying comes from: “Fool me once, shame on you. Jump off a bridge, who’s the asshole now?”

*Hands up if you remember the “Lemmings” video game. Hands up again if you are shocked by how long the Lemming video game article on Wikipedia is. Someone has a LOT of free time.


To be clear, I do not believe that, at this time, any of my friends are lemming-like. But it IS the case that there seems the be a pandemic of giveaways in the foodblogosphere all of a sudden. Like, of BIG things. KitchenAid stand mixers. iPads.* Digital cameras. I tend not to enter them because I already have a mixer and camera I like, I don’t want an iPad, and no one ever gives away things that would be truly useful to me, like a gross of Old Navy plus-size linen capri pants (they wear out fast, dontcha know) or a year’s worth of Paxil.

Giving out prescription medication to a randomly selected internet stranger probably isn’t legal in the United States – which is just one more reason bloggers should colonize the moon before Newt does – but you take my point.  People are giving away a lot of shit.

*I just had a ten-minute argument with myself about whether or not the “i” in “iPad” should be capitalized if the word comes at the beginning of a sentence. Two out of two members of the TNS household grudgingly agree that it should not. CONFOUND YOU, APPLE.


Now, it may well be the case that I am just a grumpus because I never win giveaways (in addition to all the non-blog related things that make me grumpy, which are legion). And goodness knows I’ve been known to give away a book or two as a thank you to my readers, usually on TNS’s anniversary.

But I can’t help but think that paying out of one’s own pocket* to throw handfuls of free iPads to a frenzied crowd is not entirely unlike Sara Rosen giving me all her Jem dolls in the fourth grade so I’d be friends with her; that is to say, genuine generosity with a deep undercurrent of palpable desperation.  Also, truly, truly, TRULY outrageous.

*Know that if some company wanted to use me as the conduit to provide you with fabulous prizes, I would totally do it. HINT HINT, any major global brands who may be reading.


I didn’t take the dolls and I was friends with Sara Rosen anyway, because we had fun playing together and even a nine-year-old knows there’s something fishy about having your love bought. Even a nine-year-old whose parents wouldn’t buy her Jem dolls of her own even though she wanted one REALLY REALLY badly.* That’s saying something.

So give away whatever you want. I’m not the boss of you. But know that people will like you anyway if you’re interesting and genuine.** If people don’t seem to like you, take a minute to consider whether any of the following apply:

  1. You are dull.
  2. You are an asshole.
  3. You don’t talk to other people, so why should they talk to you?
  4. Your site starts playing music when it loads and has a 10-minute Flash intro.
  5. You are seriously a giant asshole.

*Also, they bought me an off-brand Cabbage Patch Kid, but I eventually worked through that in therapy.

**Also, STOP OBSESSING OVER YOUR STATS, because we all know that’s the real reason.


You can have one of those characteristics, just not multiples; I’m kind of an asshole (to wit: this post, reprimanding other bloggers for doing something that’s not really that big a deal like somebody made me the Queen of Food Blogs, even though I do NOT want that responsibility). But I’m ONLY an asshole and am otherwise interesting, so people stick around. Granted, I’m not nearly as famous as I deserve to be, but I’m assuming it’s only a matter of time.

For example, between long-winded diatribes, I show you how to make things like this croissant breakfast strata with artichokes, bacon and asiago. It’s great for brunch, because you can assemble the night before and bake in the morning, but it’s also easy to throw together if you feel like breakfast for dinner. And if you don’t like artichokes, bacon or asiago, you can use the basic bread-and-custard recipe and add whatever extras you want. (Also, think about whether your dislike of bacon and cheese might not be another reason people don’t like you.)


All you need are six croissants (preferably day old), some whole milk, eggs, mustard, nutmeg, salt and pepper, plus whatever add-ins you want. You layer the whole thing kinda like a lasagna – halved croissants, bacon and artichoke, cheese, croissants, etcetera etcetera – then pour the simple custard over the whole thing and bake.

So fine, it’s really just like a breakfast bread pudding, but you don’t have to admit that when you serve it.


We gave the leftover strata to Brian’s parents. His dad brought some to work and gave it to colleagues, one of whom gave me the best compliment ever, saying it tasted just like her Italian’s grandmother’s. Winning!

Because really, how could this be bad? It’s custardy, buttery, gooey and satisfying, with pops of salty bacon and tangy artichoke to give it more life. Fantastico.

Okay, flame away and tell me what a jealous harpy I am.

Breakfast Strata with Artichoke, Bacon and Asiago
3 c. whole milk
8 large eggs, well beaten
1 tbsp. dijon mustard
1/2 tsp. white pepper (but don’t buy it just for this, use black if that’s what you have)
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
pinch of salt
6 day-old croissants, sliced in half
1/2 lb. good bacon, chopped, crisped and drained
1 10oz. jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained and roughly chopped
2 c. plus 1/4 c. grated asiago cheese (fontina would also be tasty)

Whisk together the milk, eggs, mustard, pepper, nutmeg and salt in a large bowl, preferably one with a pour spout.

In a 9 or 10-inch round casserole dish, start layering the other ingredients. Lay down four croissant halves to completely cover the bottom of the dish. Add a layer of bacon bits, a layer of artichoke and a layer of cheese. Continue until all the ingredients are used up; you’ll have three layers of each.

Slowly pour the custard over the croissants; you may want to do this in stages, giving it a few second to soak in before continuing to pour. Add custard until it comes to the rim of the casserole dish, you may have extra. Sprinkle the extra 1/4 of cheese on top.

Now you have a choice: you can stash in the fridge overnight, or let it sit for 30 minutes and then bake.

Whenever you’re ready, preheat the oven to 350. Bake the strata on the middle rake for 45-55 minutes, until it’s puffed and golden and set. Serve either hot or warm, but not cold – it gets all congeal-y.