Friday, November 28, 2014

More Dirt Pudding, Please

Monday, November 24, 2014
Was that Grandpa Alan nimbly playing Frisbee in the PS 199 playground yesterday with 6 3/4 year old Boaz?
A search of the New York Times online archives shows that foshizzle almost always appears in that newspaper in reporting conversation, including a famous commercial featuring Snoop Dogg, for Chrysler automobiles.
I made this inquiry because _ _ _ H (A or I) Z Z L E was the best that I could do on Saturday's crossword to answer 1 Across, “Dated agreement?”  Even consulting America’s Favorite Epidemiologist and Professor David, in residence for the weekend, did not help me.  According to, fo shizzle or fo’shizzle usually appears as fo’shizzle my nizzle, a phrase that, once translated, would not be allowed in the New York Times for any purpose.   

It seems that FOSHIZZLE was also 1 Across in a diagramless puzzle published by the Times on April 20 , 2014, a format that I skip.  It evoked some controversy, causing Will Shortz, the legendary crosswords editor to write, “It’s true that it’s dated language.  But then so are HEP, RAD, EGAD, and other old-fashioned terms, which appear in crosswords all the time.”  It’s not the supposed antiquity (allegedly harkening all the way back to the 90s) that bothers me, it’s the obscurity.  I am not now and have never been a member of an organization where fo’shizzle (with or without the nizzle) has ever been uttered or used in any fashion and I intend to keep it that way.  
Tuesday, November 25, 2014
The British government released a report today on the murder of a soldier in London by two domestic terrorists last year.  It pointed to a series of mistakes by its spy agencies in following up on the two men, who supposedly appeared in seven different clandestine investigations.  Also unsettling was the parliamentary committee’s criticism of an unnamed American technology company for failing to report online threats made by one of the men, threats that led the company to disable several of his accounts because of their contents.  The report said that “this company does not appear to regard itself as under any obligation to ensure that its systems identify such exchanges, or to take action or notify the authorities when its communications services appear to be used by terrorists.”  

It’s a delicate balance between protecting us from terrorist activity versus the shrinking of our freedom to be left alone.  While many of our citizens appear willing to allow the NSA access to our private communications, shall we privatize this intrusiveness as well, urging Google or Time Warner Cable or Facebook to stand guard over our prattling?  
Thursday, November 27, 2014
Happy Thanksgiving!  Obviously, I stayed far away from the courthouse and Chinatown today in order to celebrate the holiday with family and friends, and particularly to enjoy the culinary skills of America's Favorite Epidemiologist.  While waiting for the festivities to begin, I had time to catch up with yesterday's food section of the New York Times and found some wonderful reading.  First, there was a wise article about how to be a good guest for Thanksgiving, or other major meal-oriented occasion, with an eye upon being asked back in the future.  My favorite quote came from Professor Denis Gainty, of Georgia State University.  “It’s so important not to give any kind of advice on anything,  You need to be the cheerleader for the food that’s being produced by the host.  I have lots of opinions about brining, but I realize I need to steer the conversation to safer topics, like religion and homosexuality.” 

Appealing to my quantitative side was an analysis of popular Thanksgiving dishes.
Google analyzed web searches for recipes in the last decade during Thanksgiving week by state, excluding turkey itself.  Then, it reported those dishes in each state that produced more inquiries than their national average.  Specifically, New Yorkers asked about stuffed artichokes 5 times more than the country as a whole, the top item in New York.  Eye opening was the 189 times national average that North Dakotans sought a recipe for "cookie salad," or the 145 multiple in Hawaii for "pumpkin crunch."  

When I got bleary poring over the numbers, I was intrigued and happily puzzled by some of the dishes, with the Times listing the top 3 in each state.  I don't know how to explain Colorado's "frog eye salad" (also big in Idaho, Utah and Wyoming); Indiana's "dirt pudding" (in Ohio also, while West Virginia has "dirt cake"); Kentucky's "hot brown;" Louisiana's "ooey gooey bars;" Utah's "funeral potatoes;" and Hawaii's fascination with "jook."  

1 comment:

  1. I can make you a dirt pudding or cake, just different names for the same thing. It is a delicacy enjoyed by your god son and his peers at birthday parties in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Chocolate pudding (generally made from an instant mix) is combined with crushed Oreo cookies then spooned into a clean previously unused terracotta pot to resemble dirt. A flower to place in the dirt is fashioned from a stick of licorice as the stalk with petals and leaves cut from fruit leather or , for a less edible flower, a pipe cleaner and construction paper is used. Extra mommy points are earned if gummy worms are added to the dirt.