Why Having a Dog is Like Having a Perpetual 2 Year Old

My kids are 12 and 16. Old enough to sleep through the night on their own, too young to be out driving around all night. They don’t wet the bed and they rarely have nightmares. On the weekends, I’m the one waking them up, not the other way around. Still, I only get about 5 or 6 hours of sleep every night and that’s not even in a row. I’ve got that dull headache in the back of my brain most days—I’m walking around in a new mommy stupor half the time and I’m not even a new mommy.

Why in heaven’s name am I not getting at least 8 hours of pure and blissful sleep, you wonder? It’s because I have a 2 year old…well, sort of.

The problem has four legs and barks. And barks. And barks. Right in my damn face. Every. Single. Night. It’s like having a two year old. And I can’t even close the door and pray he stays in his crib like I would if he was an actual two year old. Nope. He’ll just bark. And amazingly, no one else will ever hear him. 

He wakes me up with such thought and consideration for everyone else in the house—it’s as if he doesn’t want to bother them. In fact, he doesn’t want to bother them EVEN IF THEY’RE STILL AWAKE! He will actually trot past my husband to come wake me up out of a sound sleep. He creeps to my bedside, puts his cold snout next to my ear and lets out the most muffled little woof you could ever imagine. It’d actually be kind of cute if I didn’t want to duct tape his jaw shut or if he was barking to wake up someone else. He knows mommy is the sucker who’s gonna always get up for him. I mean, the kids have been known to actually ignore the poor guy in the middle of the day when he’s standing by the door barking. I guess I would go for the sure thing, too.

He also has an incredible knack of waking me up at the absolute worst moment, too. Like a half an hour before my alarm goes off, so that even when I get back to bed, I can’t really get any more sleep, can I? Why can’t he wait a half hour to smell where the cat next door peed on the bushes? I’m always hissing at him to hurry up and come back inside, but His Highness cannot be rushed. Yelling at him just makes him prance around more. He knows I’m not coming outside in my pajamas and slippers. And what if he gets skunked in the night? Ugh! I’ll never get back to sleep then—bring on the tomato juice and nose plugs.

Anyhoo, even when he’s not waking me up to go potty in the middle of the night, he’s like a toddler (he’s 7 by the way). He plays with his food for hours before he eats it. He has no concept of personal space or boundaries—he’ll crawl into my lap when I’m trying to read (he’s 100 pounds) and forget it if you happen to have a skirt on (I hope you like a wet nose on your underwear).  Clean laundry doesn’t stay that way for long—he just scatters that around the house. Safety shmafety. He has no concept of danger—if we’re going in the car, he gets so excited that he nearly breaks a hip flying down the staircase. And never mind putting a leash on him—I have nightmarish flashbacks of trying to shove my son in his car seat while he kicked me in the boobs. We still have to barricade rooms in the house because the dog will wander in there and pee if he’s mad at us. I have to leave Paw Patrol on for him to watch when he’s alone. Anything that falls on the floor, he thinks is food (even dish detergent pods for the dishwasher). I can’t leave gum in our jackets or my purse because he will chew a hole in the pocket to get to the gum. We have child proof locks on the garbage and the cabinets…for the dog. If he could take his clothes off and run around naked like most two year olds I know, he’d probably do that too.

And these clowns I live with keep pressuring me to get a puppy. A puppy! Asif. I haven’t lost my mind yet! Of course they want a puppy. They’re not the ones who have to clean up the entire roll of paper towels that he’s shredded or pick up all the coffee grounds he dumped out of the garbage. They’re not the ones getting up in the middle of the night to let him out or the ones who have to buy new bookbags after the dog chews a hole in theirs (trying to get any food they my have in it).  They’re not the ones cleaning up the puddles he’s created from splashing in his water bowl. They’re not the ones chasing him around the table, trying to get my shoe out of his mouth. A puppy! What comedians! At this point in time they’re better off asking me for a new baby. At least they grow out of the terrible twos.


The Bad Mommy Cooks—South Carolina

An amazing thing happened when we made the South Carolina meal. Are you ready for this??? Hubby…made a cooking mistake! Yes! It’s true! He is mortal! More on that in a minute.

First off, we had a hard time picking what to make for this state because everything we came across on Pinterest looked so damn delish. South Carolina is one of those states that really knows what they’re doing with food—which is the main reason I have been dreaming about living there for decades. Pimento cheese, a seafood boil, and BBQ were high on our list, but eventually, the most iconic of South Carolina foods prevailed—Shrimp and grits.

I’ve had shrimp and grits a few times in restaurants and it is DEEEEE-LICIOUS. Hubby and the fam have not had it, so it took a little convincing, but ultimately, it was a great choice. The recipe and prep were SO easy and the meal was SO tasty. Well, the recipe WAS easy, but hubby still flubbed it…a little.

So he was very excited to get to use his cast iron skillet that he recently bought, so while I brought the chicken stock for the grits to a boil, he used the skillet to cook the bacon:


I added the grits to the boiling chicken stock and I found that the recipe I was using was quite vague about what to do next. The instructions on the box (Quaker grits) were much more helpful. You basically need to stir the grits for 20 minutes or so at a simmer. I wished it was quicker, but the whole process reminded me of that scene from “My Cousin Vinny” where Joe Pesci is berating the witness when he tells him his grits took 5 minutes to make…

“Are we to believe that boiling water soaks into a grit faster in your kitchen than on any place on the face of the earth? Do the laws of physics cease to exist on YOUR stove? Were these magic grits?” 😂😂😂Love that movie.



I was also in charge of “shrimp prep” which is basically the dirty work of removing the tail and shell. Hubby got to saute them when the bacon was done:


I was still stirring my grits. 🙄

Then hubby added the chopped green onion and parsley and lemon juice. I make him chop because he’s much better at it than I am:


I was still stirring grits when he added everything to the skillet. And THIS is where he screwed up. Instead of adding 2 TEASPOONS of Worcestershire Sauce, he added 2 TABLESPOONS.


Okay…maybe it’s not as bad as when I melted the bottom of the crock pot to the stove, but still…he’s not invincible in the kitchen. And what’s more, he kind of panicked (which was so cute) and tried to figure out what he could do to counteract the extra Worcestershire sauce. His solution was to add extra butter. Because the grits with butter and cheese and the bacon weren’t enough sludge for our veins. 🤨

But anyway, despite the minor mistake, the meal was pretty straightforward and easy to prepare and cook…about 25 minutes (most of that was stirring the grits).


It was really tasty, too and we all agreed that we’d make it again very soon. It’s definitely worth it if you’d like to try it yourself:

1 cup of grits

3 cups of chicken stock

2 pounds of shrimp

6 pieces of bacon

8 ounces of shredded cheese (we used cheddar)

1/2 tsp of salt

1/2 tsp pepper

1 TBSP of lemon juice

2 TBSP of butter

1 TBSP of parsley

2 tsp of Worcestershire sauce (TEASPOONS!!!!)

6 green onions, chopped (this is a RIDICULOUS amount of this horrible vegetable—we only used half that)

2 garlic cloves, minced (if you want more flavor, add more garlic, not those yucky green onions)


Boil chicken stock and add grits. Cook per directions on box of grits.

Cook bacon in skillet and remove, leaving the grease behind. Chop bacon and put aside. Saute shrimp in the same skillet. Add green onions, garlic, parsley, lemon juice and Worcestershire sauce. Add bacon back in the skillet.

When the grits are cooked, add salt, pepper and butter. When butter melts, add cheese. Spoon the grits into a bowl and top with shrimp. Voila! A simple and quick Southern meal!

The Bad Mommy Bakes—Pi Day

Let me preface this by saying I’m not a math nerd by any stretch of the imagination. Math actually gives me hives. Even just figuring out the tip in a restaurant causes me to break out into cold sweats. So I would not even know what Pi day was unless I was surrounded by a bunch of math nerds on a daily basis. Which I am. The math teachers I work with take Pi day very seriously with endless paper chains in the hallways and lots of pie. The mere mention of all the pie that is to be consumed today made me realize—I’ve never even made a pie before.

I know you’re thinking that’s not too unusual given my cooking track record, but believe it or not, I used to be a decent baker. Cookies, cupcakes, cakes—I baked it all. That is until Sally the evil oven began its steadfast determination to ruin pretty much anything I cooked or baked.

But no matter—I now had the fabulous Air fryer/toaster/ convection oven combo from Cuisinart. I cannot say enough about this miracle piece of machine wizardry. Even hubby has been singing its praises near and far. It’s truly one of the best purchases we’ve ever made. You seriously should go out and get one, and Cuisinart should cut me a check for hawking their product.

When I came up with the idea to bake a pie for Pi Day, hubby made a variety of suggestions (like key lime), none of which needed to be baked. He was missing the point. I wanted to bake a damn pie! Baking a pie would be the ultimate test of the Cuisinart. I countered his suggestions with apple pie, cherry pie, pumpkin pie—these were all shot down with a fake gag from him. Heaven forbid we make it a little healthy with fruit. (Okay, I know fruit doesn’t make pie healthy, but let me live in my dream land, okay?) We finally settled on a chocolate chip cookie pie.

Now I know most of you tune in to my cooking adventures to laugh at how inept I am at cooking. You want to see how I’ll mess up boiling water for God’s sake. Well, I have some very sad news for you tonight. This pie was so simple that I didn’t mess up a darn thing. First off, it doesn’t involve very many ingredients:


An unbaked pie crust, 1/2 cup of brown sugar, 1/2 cup of granulated sugar, 1/2 cup of flour, 3/4 cup of salted butter, 2 eggs, 1 cup of chocolate chips, and 1 cup of chopped walnuts. (I even remembered to take the butter out way beforehand so that it would be room temperature.)

I broke out my Kitchen-Aid for this project.


My pretty red Kitchen-aid doesn’t get enough love, due to the craptastic oven, but now with the Cuisinart, I have a feeling we may be seeing more of her. (Yes, my Kitchen-aid is a her. Her name is Stella.)

The eggs get beaten until they are foamy, and then you add the flour and the sugars and combine. Then the butter. After that, add the chocolate chips. (I knew I would meet resistance if I included the nuts, so I left them out. If you use them, just add them along with the chocolate chips.) Spoon it all into the pie crust:

And bake for about 50 minutes on 350. Seriously, it’s that easy.


One of the most exciting things about the new toy is the fact that the light works and I can watch my food cook. The light went out in Sally the oven about 10 years ago—right around the time of her downward spiral…coincidence, I think not. It’s a good thing I was able to see the pie bake because it began to brown a little faster than I expected and I had to cover it with foil. In the oven, this would have been a giant fail, but not this time. This time, Me + Cuisinart Air Fryer=a perfect pie for Pi Day. Now that’s the kind of math I can do.




The Bad Mommy Cooks—Maine

This next state was among the top 5 states that we were looking forward to. A cheer rose through the house when we pulled Maine. We licked our chops when we pulled Maine. Friends were jealous that we pulled Maine. Seriously, we have a friend who is in love with Maine and everything that has to do with Maine—-including the food. Which is, of course, LOBSTER. We visited Maine a few years ago and had some of the best food there…especially the lobster.

This was one state food dinner that no one wanted to miss, so it took us a few weeks to arrange it. We debated about how to get the lobsters. Do we take an hour ride and go to the fishery? No, we didn’t have time for that. Do we buy them frozen? Hubby pooh-pooed that idea, heaven forbid he eat previously frozen seafood—he’s such a diva. We decided to get them from our local supermarket, steamed on the day that we chose for our Maine dinner. Unfortunately, the day we decided on was the day before the most recent Nor’ester hit us. Which meant…the grocery store was Armageddon.

I debated putting this dinner off for another few days rather than face the grocery store, but we needed to eat dinner anyway and who knows when all four of us would be available for dinner at a reasonable hour again. Since I was going anyway I made a list of other staples I would need to survive the storm…just like all the other bread and milkers. Hey, don’t judge—based on the snowfall predictions by the talented and inaccurate weather service, I was potentially going to be stuck in the house anywhere from an hour to fifty-two days with a teenager who needs a feed bag strapped to his face.

I braced myself for the onslaught of other desperate shoppers and boy, I was not disappointed. I had to park a half mile away and hike to the store. Shoppers were savagely ransacking the bread shelves and loading their carts with enough bottled water to fill a swimming pool. Women were pulling each other’s hair out for the last gallon of milk. Men were stabbing each other for frozen pizza. It was pandemonium.

Fortunately, there was no one on line at the seafood department. I was about to ask the woman behind the counter for four lobsters, but then my son texted me to tell me that his girlfriend was coming over for dinner. I asked him to be certain that she ate lobster because while I didn’t mind getting an extra one, I didn’t want to waste it. He assured me that she did indeed like lobster. Fine. The more the merrier. I asked the woman behind the counter for five lobsters, steamed. She looked at me like I had said lobsters crawling out of my ears.

“You having a party or something?” she asked.

“Nope. Just dinner.” I realize now that sounds a little stuck-up-ish. After all, most people in the store were stocking up on canned goods and other non-perishables for their dinner and here I was getting lobster. But I really didn’t have time to explain the whole concept of The Bad Mommy Cooks Around the USA to this lady. I had to get on line with the hundreds of other cattle.

When I say the lines stretched down the aisles, I’m not exaggerating at all. I literally was standing in the cereal aisle as I waited for the line to move. (I also picked up a couple boxes of cereal while waiting—why not?) The line moved forward painfully slow. I was also lucky enough to have a little old man in front of me. He not only flirted with me for twenty minutes, he thought he was a stand-up comedian as well. I considered jumping lines after awhile, but I knew I’d regret it—I’m notorious for doing that and the original line moves ten times faster than the new one. I finally got to the front and was out of the store after an hour. Yeah, I should have just taken the ride to the fish market. I would have taken just as long.

After that long in the store, you would think I had everything I needed for dinner, right? You’d be wrong. This is me we’re talking about. I planned to make a mushroom butternut squash risotto with the lobster—yes, I know what you’re thinking, you’re gonna make risotto??? Isn’t that too fancy for you? I assure you that this recipe is super easy and actually one of the few things I cook well. Unfortunately, the butternut squash that I bought on Sunday (I got it cut up because it’s time consuming to cut) was rancid already. I opened the lid to the container and it smelled like it was pickled. I was extra annoyed about this because I just bought it and I was just in the store.

Nevertheless, I made the risotto, sans butternut squash. There was nothing I had to do with the lobsters since I had them steamed at the store. All we needed was some drawn butter and we could get cracking. I opened up the bag of lobsters and discovered they had not given me five lobsters like I asked for, they gave me sixAnd yes, they charged me for all six.


We did not need six lobsters since I wasn’t even sure if the original five were going to get eaten—oh yeah, we discovered that my son’s girlfriend does NOT like lobster. My son is a moron, ladies and gentlemen.

Anyhoo, I put the lobsters down in front of the kids:


…and they gasped in shock. “I prefer the way restaurants serve it,” my son said. “I don’t know what to do with all this shell.”


We had to walk the kids through the process of eating lobster, only to discover that the store had not steamed them thoroughly. Sections were rubbery and under-cooked. We had to pop pieces of lobster in the microwave just to eat it. I was very disappointed and the kids gave up on eating the lobster very quickly. Even when I had nothing to do with cooking the meal, I somehow screwed it up.

Normally, I would have marched the under-cooked lobsters back to the store, but remember all the people that were there earlier? It wasn’t worth it. Instead, we picked the lobsters apart and froze the remainder of the meat. Such a disappointment. Maybe we have to go to Maine for a proper “Maine” meal next time.


Snow Day From Hell

Before any of you complain about your snow day, I’d like to share MY snow day with you. Today my husband had to work, but he asked me to go online and order him tickets for a concert he wants to go to in the summer. This proved to be a comedy of errors that I can only laugh about now. There were quite a lot of tears shed and serious threats to “No Alcohol” March. I got NOTHING done at all today and I don’t just mean I lounged around and was lazy. I mean, I was so distracted by acquiring these concert tickets that I couldn’t function.

How is that possible, you ask? You just click and order, really not that hard, right? Let’s look at this in real time, shall we?

10:27 am: I realize I forgot about the concert tickets hubby wanted me to order him. I text him for the link.

10:32 am: Hubby sends link and “fan club” info (what a dork).

10:35 am: For some reason, my computer is having trouble loading, so I try the Chromebook. I am able to pull up several tickets, but they only give me 1 minute and 15 seconds to claim them. By the time I am able to contact hubby via text to check if the tickets were what he wanted, the tickets are gone. I try again and different tickets pop up, but they’re not too far from the original ones. I click “place order”. After putting info in, the Chromebook starts giving me error messages and I can not complete the purchase.

10:51 am: I pull out my phone and while squinting at the tiny screen (and trembling because a countdown clock has that effect on me) I am able to get tickets and click fast enough, but then it only gives me a few minutes to fill in my account info. Now I have an account but apparently the password I THOUGHT it was…was not. (This is also a SUPER annoying drawback of technology—a bazillion account numbers that all have to have different requirements…who can remember them all????) At this point, I know if I request to reset the password, I will lose the tickets AGAIN and have to start all over. So I decided to create a new account with my secondary email. I quickly change the email information and voila! I have a new account. I am able to order the tickets literally five seconds before time runs out.

Go me. I got hubby the tickets he had wanted and a VIP package to boot. Happy birthday, Happy Anniversary, and Happy Father’s Day!

11:00 am: I am so pleased with myself until I read over the receipt. I nearly drop my tiny phone in the toilet. In the process of changing the email address, I only changed the first part, not the part after the @. Which wouldn’t be a problem except one email address is @msn.com and the other is @outlook.com. Now my etickets are floating in cyberspace, quite possibly landing in the inbox of a person with a similar email address.

11:02 am: Panicked, I pull up the account (with the wrong email) and I am able to see the tickets. Relieved, I print them out, but then I realize that the etickets were still getting emailed to the wrong address. Now, I doubt HIGHLY that the person with that wrong email address would also print out the tickets and try to use them, resulting in chaos on the day of the concert, but having insane anxiety and OCD like I do, I know I will not rest until I am sure the situation is completely resolved.

11:09 am: I call the 800 number at the bottom of the concert website and am put on hold for over ten minutes. A perky girl on the other end of the line answers and sympathizes with my plight, but explains that she can’t do anything about my problem and I will have to call Ticketmaster directly. She gives me the number and bids me good day.

11:21 am: I try the number about seventy-six times and get a busy signal (more dumb-asses that undoubtedly put the wrong email address in). On the seventy-seventh try, the phone rings. The automated voice on the other end assures me that chances are, my problem can be solved by checking out Ticketmaster.com (they can not be). The annoying voice further assures me that if I say my order number, I will be transferred to an agent who can assist me. As I speak the number, my stupid call waiting beeps and the number is cut off (it was a telemarketer nonetheless). This causes the automated voice to have spasms and put me on hold until the next available representative can help me. It explains there is a high volume of callers and the wait time may be more than ten minutes.

11:56 am: TWENTY-SIX minutes later (I feel like Phoebe Buffay waiting on the phone in “The One With the Screamer”) another perky voice answers my call (what do they put in these peoples’ coffee???). She says her name is “Kelly” and asks how can she help me. I explain the whole situation, trying not to cry—I am nearly hysterical at this point in time, imagining that my credit card info is being sent to this random email address and someone is stealing my identity as the moments tick away.

11:59 am: “Kelly” puts me on hold AGAIN, but then quickly comes back on to assure me that the problem is resolved. She says the order is cancelled and the old tickets will be null and void and new tickets and a new order number will be sent in the next 10-15 minutes to the CORRECT email address. She assures me that no credit card info has been sent in any email. She asks if there is anything else she can do for me today. I say no, I thank her profusely, and hang up the phone.

It’d be great if my saga ended there. But it doesn’t.

12:15 pm: I still haven’t received the email. I make a sandwich to distract myself.

12:30 pm: I still haven’t received the email. I take a shower to distract myself.

12:52 pm: Still haven’t received the email. I watch a show and put my phone in the other room so I don’t obsessively check it.

1:07 pm: I log onto the site with the “wrong email” account and see that the tickets are still on there. Fuming, I click the CHAT button in the lower right hand corner. I am number 33 in the queue.

1:19 pm: A chat bubble pops up—“Martin” would like to help me. I explain the situation. “Martin” then tells me that he cannot help me and that I need to call the 800 number I called before. He asks if there is anything else he can do to assist me today. I angrily close the dialogue box.

1:24 pm: I call the 800 number AGAIN. I am assured that my call is important, but there is a high volume of callers. I am not shocked. I twiddle my fingers.

1:49 pm: My call is answered by “Andy” whose native language is clearly not English. His heavy accent on my hard-of-hearing, nearly-nervous breakdown ears makes me want to cry. I explain the situation and give him my order number. He then tells me that my order number does not exist. I think I am hearing things. I explain the situation again, realizing that “Kelly” had deleted the order and created a new one. “Andy” tells the tearful me that he can’t help me and I have to call another 800 number. He asks if there is anything else he can do for me today. I hang up on him.

2:00 pm: After a brief session of kicking the ever loving crap out of my punching bag, I dial the other 800 number. I am put on hold due to…you guessed it…the high volume of callers.

2:20 pm: I switch ears since the left one has gone numb.

2:22 pm: I switch back to the left ear because the right ear feels too weird.

2:31 pm: Someone named “Andrew” picks up. For a second I think it’s “Andy” screwing with me, but then I realize his English is perfect. I explain the situation. He chuckles and says “Wow, that’s quite a pickle”. I resist the urge to snap at him. It’s not his fault…yet. He checks the order number and assures me that the order IS still there (WTF “Andy”???) and the ticket order was never deleted. He says that the account was changed from the incorrect email to the correct email (password and everything changed…how weird is that?) and that the tickets are in there. He says the original tickets are still valid and the order was never voided and whoever I talked to did it completely wrong. (WTF “Kelly”???).

2:34 pm: I don’t trust him. I log into the account and see he’s not messing with me. I tell him that I still want the original tickets voided and new tickets sent. I will not feel comfortable until I get new tickets in a confirmation email. “Andrew” says he understands and puts me on hold again.

2:45 pm: “Andrew” says he has sent the new tickets via the correct email address. I make him stay on the line while I check. “Andrew” starts drinking something through a straw. The email is not in my inbox. It is not in my junk mail. I want to cry. I am ashamed to say that I tell “Andrew” this.

2:47 pm: “Andrew” send emails again. I can hear him chewing a sandwich. He tells me there is a “Queue” for the emails to go out and I have to be patient.

2:51 pm: I receive email confirmation AND tickets. I cheer. “Andrew” swallows whatever he’s eating and asks if he can help me with anything else today. I thank him profusely and ask him if he can open up a bottle of wine for me. “Andrew” clears his throat and disconnects the call on his own.



The Bad Mommy Cooks—New Jersey

Next up, my home state. Sometimes it’s rough living in Jersey. People who don’t live here or haven’t spent much time here, have many misconceptions about New Jersey. They think that New Jersey is a New York ripoff, the armpit of the Tri-State area. They think we’re uncultured. They think that the state is dirty. They think the people are rude and that we all talk like we’re on The Sopranos. They resent us because we don’t pump our own gas.

None of that is true (other than the gas part). Okay, maybe us natives can seem a little hostile at times, but that’s only because the 95% of the rest of the country is so darn, freaking polite. Seriously people, sometimes you need to flip the bird at the little old lady driving 10 miles an hour in front of you on the Parkway. What people don’t understand about Jersey is that it’s far from uncultured—it’s actually an incredibly diverse state, and not just in its makeup of citizens. You can get any kind of authentic cuisine you want, Tex-Mex, Chinese, Japanese, Indian, Ethiopian, Italian, you name it. Bagels? Lenders has nothing on our bagels. There aren’t too many places that you can get kick-ass pizza from the corner pizzeria for dinner, with a side of salad veggies from your own backyard garden (seriously, other than NYC, no one else does pizza right. I feel very sorry for the rest of the country).

Some of us live in busy cities and some of us live on farmland. You can catch a train into the city for a play and take the same train down the shore for some rays. (Like seriously, the same train goes from one end to the other.) The Jets and Giants actually reside in New Jersey, despite their titles, believe it or not. We got some awesome views, too. Want pancakes at 1 am? We’ve got 24 hour diners. We’ve got a lot of things going for us, including one of our most iconic dishes.

I’m almost embarrassed to admit that I’m from New Jersey and that I have never indulged in one of New Jersey’s classic foods. It’s the one food that no one in New Jersey can agree on its proper name—there have actually been maps drawn up to define the dividing line between those who call it pork roll and those who call it Taylor Ham.

Yup, you read that correct. Born and bred in the Garden State and I’ve never had pork roll. It is pork roll for all you Taylor Ham enthusiasts—I worked at Hole in the Wall Bagels for a few years and Taylor Ham, egg, and cheese doesn’t roll off the tongue like pork roll, egg, and cheese does. And despite working in a deli that served up breakfast sandwiches to hungover college students, I had never actually tasted the pork roll. I’m all for egg sandwiches, but ughhhh, pork roll? How about sausage? Or even bacon?

Maybe it’s because pork roll looks gross, kind of like bologna. For those of you who have never seen pork roll, this is what it looks like:


Really not too appetizing, right? Can you really blame me for not trying this sooner?

But the hubby and kids love this stuff, so I figured I would buy the ingredients to make them pork roll, egg, and cheese at home. And maybe, just maybe, I would try it.

I woke up at the butt crack of dawn on a school day to make them this breakfast (I’m not sure what was wrong with me). My son has been refusing to eat breakfast before school for years now, and then when he comes home, he eats as if he has been stranded in the desert for a month. Force feeding him breakfast was going to be a challenge, but I had a feeling he wouldn’t be as hungry all day long if he ate. My daughter usually doesn’t eat breakfast either, but it’s only because getting her out of bed is the challenge. (We have to leave for school at 7:50 and some days she’s just getting up at 7:45…I am not kidding or exaggerating at all.) She’s tired and mopey and listless all morning—I was thinking that not eating could have a lot to do with it, thus my decision to try making breakfast for them.

So I get up bright and early to be a good mother for once and make the kids breakfast. I’ve made eggs and bacon and waffles all the time, but I had to google how to make pork roll. I’m not kidding.

What am I supposed to do with this? Eat it raw? Microwave it? This package was useless! Plus it stated that the pork roll was thin sliced—I beg to differ:


If that looks thin to you we can’t be friends. I like my meat paper thin. I flip out at the deli counter if I can’t see through my cold cuts. THIS was not my definition of thin.

With a little googling, I found an article and a You Tube video on cooking pork roll. The article said to score it on the sides to prevent it from curling up. I had to look up what that meant. Yes, I did, for all you cooks out there rolling your eyes. I am not a cook. I don’t understand basic terminology. Google laughed at me this particular morning and sent me on a wild goose chase for the answer. “Scores” of articles on the Taylor Ham vs. Pork Roll debate popped up. Seriously, people? This is what I have to scroll through when I’m in a meat crisis at 6:45 in the morning? The clock is ticking!


I probably didn’t score it enough because the sides did curl up. And one side burnt. I had to try to scrape the burnt part off and hide it from the kids. They hate anything that is “crispy”. *Sigh*

The eggs didn’t cooperate either. I used my Pampered Chef egg maker microwave thingie, like I do every morning, but instead of sunny side up eggs, I tried to scramble them since the kids don’t like runny eggs (they seem like picky little bastards, don’t they?).


The result was not fluffy scrambled eggs like I anticipated—they were liquid-y on the top and I had to drain them. This became way too complicated for an “pre-coffee” activity. I guess I should be thankful that I didn’t cut myself with the bread knife or burn myself on the toaster oven.

Despite the mishaps, I think the PECs came out pretty good. That’s Pork Roll, Egg and Cheese for you non-deli speak people—some places it’s TEC…Taylor ham, egg and cheese. *Sigh*


My daughter gobbled the whole thing without a word. The boy poked at his sandwich, complaining about everything under the sun, including the fact that the sun wasn’t actually up yet and it was too early (despite the fact that I literally woke him up 4 minutes earlier than I normally do). The pork roll was too crispy, the bagel was too hard, the eggs were too wet, whatever that means. He left most of his sandwich looking like it had been the subject of Gordon Ramsey scrutiny.

I didn’t have time to make myself a whole sandwich before I had to go to work, so I just ate a random piece of pork roll that my bratty child had discarded. It wasn’t as crispy as I expected (unlike the kids, I like crispy) and it was a little chewy. A cross between bacon and ham, which makes sense, I guess. Anyway, maybe next time, I’ll get up early enough to make myself a sandwich. In the mean time, you can decide for yourself whether it’s pork roll or Taylor Ham.

Dear Oven Manufacturer

Dear LG, Whirlpool, GE, Samsung, Frigidaire, and anyone else who makes quality ovens and might listen to me;

I’m a lousy cook. At least, that’s what my family tells me. I’m pretty sure they’re not too far off base on this one because I have burnt numerous dinners (I’ve even set oven mitts on fire) and under cooked many more. I burn rice every single time I make it. I can take the simplest meal, like meatloaf, and completely ruin it. I once caused a baked potato to explode. I blame my oven…mostly. Some days it’s 50 degrees hotter than it’s supposed to be and other days it’s 100 degrees cooler than it should be. It seems to have two settings—nuke and chill. It makes an already struggling chef like myself crazy.

I used to be a decent baker, but now my 15 year old oven has become so unreliable even my once world renowned cupcakes fall flat. (Okay, maybe they’re not world renowned, but they were always something of a hit when I would make them for my husband and his co-workers.) It’s become a running joke with my family and friends—how will Heather screw up dinner tonight? Because despite my failings, I keep trying. And trying. And trying some more. I’ve tried and failed so much that I’ve started a blog about my cooking mishaps (and occasional triumphs) called The Bad Mommy Cooks. Currently, I get over 1000 views a month—people curious to see if I will fail and how comedic it will be. I’m sure they enjoy the witty banter between me and the family, but I think that lately, they’re laughing at me, not with me.

Well, I’m not sure I want to be the butt of the joke anymore. I want to succeed! I want to cook dinners that will have my family begging for seconds (rather than secretly feeding the dog under the table). The easiest way to do that would be to get a new oven, right? WRONG! You see, I haven’t shared one important detail with you, dear oven manufacturer. My husband cooks, too. And he does it well. However, 99.9% of his recipes seem to circumvent use of the oven. He grills and uses the cook top and somehow manages miraculous meals. He does not agree that we need a new oven. I’m suspicious of his motives. Is he just a cheapskate, or is he afraid I will overtake him as the family’s best cook if we get a new oven? Is he trembling in his boots that it will be revealed that I am not the failure, my oven is?

Since he holds those purse strings tight (Do you know of Dickens’ Scrooge? My hubby makes him look like a philanthropist), my only hope is you, dear oven manufacturer. I need YOU to make my oven dreams come true and help me prove to my blog followers that I CAN COOK! It’s not skills I lack..it’s simply the right tools! If I can make a decent dinner with YOUR oven, ANYONE can! Publicity for you, a chance at redemption for me—a WIN WIN situation for us both. So what do you say, dear oven manufacturer? Can you throw a girl a lifeline and send me a brand new oven to blog about? A story of triumph, overcoming the odds stacked against me—and I’ll owe it all to you, dear oven manufacturer. I’ll make you prouder than the mom of the class valedictorian, I promise.