Saturday, July 26, 2008

This Deserves A Great Title, But I Can't Think Of One

Today, we have a new entry in our series (well, maybe the first entry, actually) called, "How Superficial Can People Get?" Just check out this article in the NY Times from Thursday. It details the lengths brides-to-be will go to in order to ensure their weddings are picture-perfect. Gone is the tradition of making sure that all the bridesmaids are ugly so that they don't outshine the bride. Today's bride requires a set of bridesmaids that, if not exactly matching, at least looks uniformly young and fetching. To be a member of the wedding party these days, one may be required to undergo all sorts of expensive cosmetic treatments including, in some cases, plastic surgery. The blushing bride may even, in the interest of sowing permanent family disharmony, suggest to her mother-in-law that Botox might be a good idea before the big day. (Hey, Jenn, that makes you look pretty good as a daughter-in-law, now doesn't it?)

And in case you are thinking that this is merely a Manhattan sort of thing, think again. Dental enhancers, cosmetic surgeons, and their ilk participate in bridal expos all over the country, urging wedding shoppers to plan well ahead in order to schedule multiple Botox treatments or (get this) breast enhancements for their wedding party (hey! 4 for the price of 2 - group rate!)

You know, you just can't make this stuff up.

So, let's see, who is more superficial? Would it be the woman narcissistic enough to demand that people undergo these procedures for the privilege of being in her wedding? Or might it be the friends who allow themselves to be talked into it (and, sometimes, into paying for it)? I mean, only a person with some pretty serious self-esteem issues would tolerate hearing, "I want you to be in my wedding, but you don't look good enough yet. Here's some things we need to fix." Hoo, boy, with friends like that...

All of which further convinces me that my plan to encourage my children to elope is a wise one.


We bought half a bushel of peaches, half a bushel of nectarines and half a bushel of tomatoes today because I have big plans, folks, big plans. Even as I type, there is a peach cobbler in the oven. Tomorrow, peach preserves! Also, homemade tomato sauce and homemade salsa (I don't want to hear it) - I love summer produce!

Oh, and hey - any of you food-preserving mavens out there know how to keep all the pieces of fruit from floating to the top of a jar of preserves? I know there must be some sort of trick to achieving even fruit distribution while canning. I would Google it, but then I land on all sorts of sites warning me about the horrible things that will happen to my loved ones if they eat improperly preserved produce. I don't want to go there.

Reminder: leave a comment on Monday's post by this evening to be included in this week's Bloggy Book Club Giveaway. The winner will be announced on Sunday. The winner may even receive his/her prize if they get me their mailing address before 6PM Sunday (that's when my mail courier leaves the state to mail the package from an undisclosed location). Staying incognito is not simple, I tell you. There should be some sort of Blogger Protection Program.


  1. Well, now I'm really feeling pretty bad about making my bridal party get nose jobs.

  2. AnonymousJuly 27, 2008

    Sounds like you have a lot going on...I know nothing about preserves so can't help you there.

    As for the bridal stuff...I had a friend who booted me out of her wedding and said it was because I wasn't around enough to help with the plans (hello, whose wedding was this?) but I think it was because I was short...hmmmm

  3. It's hard to even comment on all that wedding prep craziness. Unfortunately, I know you are not making it up. I could rant, but I won't. But, my stomach aches from all of that insanity taking place as if it is NORMAL?

    Can I come eat at your house? Peaches...MMMM...

  4. AnonymousJuly 27, 2008

    Oh. My. Word. I'm sorry, but I would feel rather offended if my "friend" asked me to spend thousands making myself more beautiful. Unbelievable!

  5. Here's a title suggestion for you: "Nip, Tuck, Catch the Bouquet."

  6. You should see the horrified expression on my decidedly non-botoxed face as I read this. Surely the end is nigh.

  7. Turn the jars of preserves upside down as they are cooling. The loose bits will float to the top, and when they set, they will be on the bottom.

    Or you could do what Mom came up with for canning peaches: scald and peel them and cut them in half. Layer them in the bottle, cut side down and pour a cup of sugar on top of them before putting on the lids. Process as usual. No more hot, messy syrup all over your kitchen. They taste just as good as the old way, with less fuss and bother, and they keep just as well.

    I don't know if that would work for anything besides peaches. Berries are notorious for floating to what they perceive as the top. I just blitz mine in a blender, chunk in the pectin and sugar, and cook it up. Not as pretty as whole-berry jams and preserves, but easier to spread because the consistency is, well, consistent.

  8. We practically eloped. We let a few people come with us, and I still kind of wish we hadn't. My only request of the very few people in attendance was that I be the only one in white. Do you think I got that small wish? No, no I did not. I'll give you one guess whose dress matched mine perfectly.

    I seem to remember my cousin telling her sister she couldn't be maid of honor if she was pregnant. I was only about 12 at the time, though, so maybe I'm not remembering correctly. Because really, does that REALLY matter? Aren't you still married at the end of the day?

  9. My mother encouraged all of her 5 daughters to elope... I'm so glad I listened.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog!!

  10. AnonymousJuly 27, 2008

    So, was this a "requirement" or a "gift"?

    Because if one of my friends offered to pay for my boob job as an "attendant gift" - I'm thinking I would accept.

    Just sayin'..... 37 years does somethin' to a girl.

  11. I have nothing to say about the wedding stuff. I will just sadly shake my head...
    Turn the jars upside down.

  12. My fruit always floated to the top when I canned peaches. Is it not supposed to? You could wait until they are cool and have sealed properly, then turn them upside down.

    Back when I used to can-4 children ago, I was lazy and just threw a 1/4 cup of sugar in the bottom of the jar, threw in the sliced peaches, then hot water to fill them up to the top and sealed them. The syrup formed when they were processing. I buy the 6 10 cans of peaches at costco now. They are around $4 and my kids can finish one in a day. :)

  13. And I was angry when my friend Sherry made me pay for my bridesmaid dress.

  14. That's crazy, I am glad we eloped!

  15. WOW! If someone told me that I had to have a cosmetic procedure to be in their wedding, I think I would decline. That is CRAZY!! Who does that?

    I wish I could help you with the peaches, but I only do jam and pickles. I, too, have read to many things about poisoning my family with my attempt at canning things.

  16. Well I guess my days of being a bridesmaid are officially over-I have serious crow's feet and I sort of love them.

  17. Wow. You know, if people would put as much planning and effort into the actual marriage as they do for the wedding day, we might have a lower divorce rate in this country.

    If you pack the fruit in tight (slices pack tighter than halves) there will be less room for the peaches to float. But they always float to the top of the jar after processing. Is that a problem?

  18. I think if someone asked me to have a cosmetic procedure so I could be in their wedding party I'd politely decline (maybe not so politely) to be their attendant.

    I can't believe people can be that shallow. Don't mind the fact that millions of children are starving around the world, it's so much more important to make sure your best friend and your mother-in-law aren't sporting wrinkles in your wedding photos. What a joke.

  19. AnonymousJuly 27, 2008

    I thought I smelled a bridesmaid post coming on . . . .

  20. Just for you, I looked up the floating peach problem. The Ball Canning site won't offend your delicate constitution -- I promise!

    About half-way down the page, they say, "Canned fruits oftentimes will float if the sugar syrup is too heavy, if jars are packed too loosely or if air remains in the tissues of the fruit after processing. To avoid this use a light or medium sugar syrup, make sure fruit is firm and ripe and pack fruit tightly in jars without crushing."

    If that doesn't work, don't look at me... ;)

    I wonder how many of those bridezillas with their 9 slaves of honor are divorced in a year... I had two girls with me, and we made it 17 years so far.

  21. I LOVE peaches, nectarines and tomatoes. So much. Congrats on accomplishing so much with the fruit!

  22. i've read that you should partially cook the preserves and then let it sit overnight before proceeding with canning. that way the fruit can "soak up" the sugar and equalize the weight of the fruit with the syrup...

  23. You always find the greatest stuff! This is unbelievable.