Jewish World Review Oct. 7, 2002 / 1 Mar-Cheshvan, 5763

Greg Crosby

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Not my column | Dear readers,

For this week's column I'd like to try something totally different and unexpected. No, I'm not going to say something nice about liberals. I'm going to let my wife write my column for me this week.

She's always wanted to try her hand at writing a column and to see her name in print on a by-line. Actually I made that up. To my knowledge, she has NEVER wanted to write a column and see her name in print on a by-line. But she does loves horning in on everything I do. So this week I'm letting her horn to her heart's content. I'll be back next week -- whether you like it or not. So here she is! Enjoy. Oh, just one other thing, please be gentle with her...this is her very first time.

An Affair With Food
by Jane Crosby

I enjoy food. Making it, eating it, shopping for it, reading about it, talking about it, hearing other people talk about it, thinking about it, and even dreaming about it sometimes. I know this admission is not politically correct in our diet obsessed society, but that's just too bad. For me, it's one of the great pleasures of life and I'm not ashamed to say so.

Ironically, as a baby, my mother was concerned about me not eating enough. When she asked the doctor what she should do to get me to eat more, he told her, "She'll eat when she's ready. Look at those chubby little legs! What are you worried about?" The doctor was right. When I was ready, I ate. And I haven't stopped yet.

As much as I enjoy eating, I'm not a between meal junk food nosher. I'm not a big cake or sweets eater, either. Give me a plate of linguine anytime over a piece of pie. You can have the birthday cake, I'll sit down with the plate of cold chicken (although I do admit to having a weakness for chewy, fudge brownies when I'm in the mood). If I had to choose, I would say breakfast is probably my favorite meal. Omelets, if they are prepared correctly--light and fluffy but not wet--are wonderful. And how can you beat Eggs Benedict when you really want to treat yourself to something special?

I love cooking for friends and family almost anytime at all, whether it's a holiday meal, or just Friday night chicken with wine sauce. I grew up having chicken every Friday night and I continue that tradition in my home. Lately, I've roasted duck, which has become a new favorite with my husband.

It's fun experimenting with new recipes and I have a lot to choose from since I am a collector of cookbooks, both old and new. For me, my books are not just instructional manuals for food preparation, they're fun reading. I could spend hours sitting and looking through my cookbooks. If you are not into it yourself, you have no idea how varied and entertaining these books can be, not to mention historical. There are books from the early part of the century which not only supplied recipes to the new bride, but taught her proper dinner party etiquette, good manners and offered complete menus. Books from every region of our country at every time period in history. Cookbooks on every country in the world, and every culture. Next time you're in a bookstore, take a browse through the cookbook section--I think you'll be surprised.

Just because I like to cook, don't think for a minute that I don't love eating out. What's better than getting all dressed up for an evening at a romantic restaurant? Beautiful ambiance, ice-cold martinis, wonderful food and service -- in short, being spoiled rotten for a night. If you don't feel like dressing, sometimes nothing hits the spot like a good chili dog, or a pastrami dip or a good old fashioned hamburger. When we're in Manhattan, it's mandatory to stop at a neighborhood luncheonette for a good old fashioned egg salad or tuna fish sandwich on rye. And there's nothing like the famous Nathan's hot dog at Coney Island.

I could go on and on but I think my time at the computer keyboard is just about up.

Besides, I getting really hungry.

Did I mention that I enjoy food?

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JWR contributor Greg Crosby, former creative head for Walt Disney publications, has written thousands of comics, hundreds of children's books, dozens of essays, and a letter to his congressman. A freelance writer in Southern California, you may contact him by clicking here.

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© 2001 Greg Crosby