Monday, May 19, 2014

How The Poodle Skirt And The Bolognese Tried To Do Me In

Ah, the poodle skirt. Bastion of the 50s and 60s. Every girl had one, well every girl but me. I wanted a plaid poodle skirt with a black Scotty dog and a chain leash when I was six or seven. It was in the J.C. Penney's or the Sears' catalog - I can't really remember which - but I wanted one so badly. Alas, no poodle skirt for me but I still love plaid and black Scotty dogs. And this is a really long post today, so you are forewarned.

Ariel's last choir concert ever (she could not fit choir into her schedule next year) has a theme, a 60s theme. In fact, they are singing Johnny Angel, one of my favorite oldies. Anyway, the girls are wearing poodle skirts and pony tails. Yes, poodle skirts. In case you are not aware, buying a poodle skirt is pretty much impossible in May. If the concert had been in September or October, no problem - Halloween costumes abound. And, given the fact that my child is vertically challenged at 4'11" finding one the correct length would be, well, impossible. So off the fabric store we went. 

She wanted black felt – in May. I had to search all over the store before I found it. Okay, black felt – lots of black felt to make a swingy skirt, by the way. Then we found a poodle applique that said “iron on adhesive”. Okay, that makes it easy. Then we pick out some trim for the leash, the zipper, black thread and interfacing.

Ariel and I spent all day Saturday pinning and cutting. That meant down on the floor, stand up and stretch, repeat for six hours. Bend, stretch, repeat for six hours. I’m not too old for this shit but evidently my knees and hips are. Oh my stars! I was so very stiff by bed time! Let’s just say sleep was impossible – I think I got three hours in spurts. Anyway, we laid it out, pinned it, and cut it. Then I sewed it – simple, right?

I put the skirt on her to pin the waist band in place and the waist band does not go around her even though we had measured and cut the appropriate size. As Ariel told it to T-man “mom spent half an hour just whispering the ‘F’ word over and over”. Yeah, pretty much. Fortunately there was a ton of fabric AND interfacing left over (thank you so much, Simplicity, for making me spend more money than I needed to). I laid out the waist band pattern again and just lengthened it – ruler and Sharpie to the rescue. Sew it, put it on her, pin it. It fits, glory halleluiah.

Now for the poodle. Iron on? You didn’t really think so, did you? One strip of double-sided tape in the center. That’s it. Soooo, text the husband who is working for a friend in the middle of nowhere with barely any reception to pick up some type of fabric adhesive (there were four texts from me with different types, yeah, there were). I love that man – he brought me an adhesive kit.

The Bolognese? It is going to be amazing. It damn well better be.

I got up at 8:30 just to cook this thing. I was actually supposed to get up at 7:00 but keep in mind how very strenuous the cutting, pinning and sewing were. Everything for this sauce must be precooked (that has taken two hours). Then it is supposed to go into the slow cooker for 12 to 15 hours. My plan was to let it cook overnight. Weeellll, I started chopping (food processor – my hero). Then I cook my “holy trinity” (carrots, onion and celery). Then add the three pounds of meat and sausage, then a few other things.

Now comes the liquid – three cups of milk. Okay. My pot is getting really full and I am looking at my little old crock pot thinking “this is not going to work”. But I am still following the recipe. Time to add the two big (BIG) cans of tomatoes and now my pot is full to the brim and I still need to add the three cups of wine before I put it in the crock pot (it is NOT a slow cooker, it is an actual crock pot from the 70s). Okay, I can do this. I start ladling into the crock and the crock is half full but the pot on the stove is still quite full.


Basically, as part of the recipe, you let the milk cook off living the milk fat. I know, it sounds yucky but this Bolognese is going to be really good and it’s only been cooking for an hour. But I digress. The milk cooks off, but I have no room for the wine. So I have to slowly add the wine, like every twenty minutes, after some of the liquid from the milk and the tomatoes slowly cooks off. I finally get the three cups of wine which, by the way, is a full bottle, into the pot and now I’m cooking it down, stirring it every 20 minutes and the house smells amazing and every time I taste the spoon it gets better and better. But I have been standing and stirring while . . . .

I glue and pin the non-adhesive iron-on adhesive poodle to the skirt. Glue a section of leash, pin it down (lots of curves), go stir the pot, repeat for two hours. And in the middle of this venture, I spill a box of pins. Did you know sewing pins are no longer magnetic? That’s right, kids! But it is now glued in place. A book is holding the cute poodle down while a hundred or so pins hold the curves. I’ll post photos later in the week.

Oops, need to go stir! But I have the rest of the day to sit and only stand once in a while. I think I will sit on the deck and work on a short story for a contest, make some novel edits, and listen to the birds. Later someone can serve me the amazing Bolognese. Let me know if you want the recipe – just make sure you have a huge slow cooker and lots of time. It will be worth it, just like making a poodle skirt for your daughter.


Shai Williams said...

Wow! Sounds like you have had a rather busy past couple days. Your Bolognese sounds amazing.

Bead-Mused said...

It has been busy, but this sauce tastes better every time I stir it. I've told the hubby not to expect it very often - it's like Italian Thanksgiving dinner.


Bead-Mused said...

It has been busy, but this sauce tastes better every time I stir it. I've told the hubby not to expect it very often - it's like Italian Thanksgiving dinner.