Manolo for the Big Girl Fashion, Lifestyle, and Humor for the Plus Sized Woman.

April 7, 2012

The Big Question: What’s Your Favorite Seasonal Treat?

Filed under: The Big Question — Twistie @ 1:43 pm

(Illustration via where you can find instructions for making them, if you are so inclined)

Yesterday my inimitable colleague Miss Plumcake told us of her great fondness for black jelly beans, and wished us all the delights of the season. Right back at you, Plummy.

But that got me thinking about the seasonal treats for this time of year, both commercial and more homespun, that mean so much to many of us. And that made me curious: what’s the culinary treat you look forward to at this time of year?

Is it decorated hard boiled eggs? Challah? Cadbury Caramel Eggs? Leg of lamb? Something only your family created?

For me it’s buns. Specifically, it’s dove and rabbit-shaped buns my mother used to make every year for Easter. They were tasty, yeasty buns with raisin eyes and shiny crusts that melted in my mouth, and we got them just one morning of the entire year.

I miss those buns.

I also went through a period of several years in which I was something of an Easter egg queen. Each year I would get together with a good friend and we would create glorious egg art using dyes, crayons (it’s basically a form of wax-resist dyeing; you use your crayons on the egg shells, and the bits you leave alone get the color while the areas you crayoned are the color of whatever crayon you used), stickers, and assorted tools of the trade.

The problem was, nobody wanted to crack those puppies open and eat the eggs once we’d made them so pretty, but boiled eggs only last so long if nobody eats them. And as much as I enjoy a good hard boiled egg once in a while… there are only so many I can consume before I become bilious and don’t want to see another egg for months. Still, every couple years or so, I’ll get myself a half dozen eggs and do something to pretty them up after I boil them.

So tell me about your favorite taste treat from the holidays at this time of year! I can’t wait to read all about them.

March 19, 2012

The Big Question: Rainy Days and Mondays Edition

Filed under: The Big Question — Miss Plumcake @ 3:01 pm

Happy Monday my precious after-dinner mints, how’s every little thing?

Me, I’m fab. Well okay, not fab per se, but it’s raining outside and while most other suckers are getting their socks wet, I’m here bundled up with my heating pad (central heat has not yet been invented here) tea, blankets and fluffy striped socks that came into my possession in some unknown way and which make me look like my medical profile should feature the words “brain trauma: severe” somewhere therein.

Saturday, Hot Latin Boy and I roadtripped it down south to go to the olive festival and check the potential next Villa Plumcake.

This would’ve been fun except it was not merely raining, it was –in the parlance of my deeply missed Texas– a real frog strangler.

Sadly, none of the houses are destined to be the next Villa Plumcake.

I did find one I positively adored –a fantastic mashup of a lighthouse and a ziggurat perched atop a cliff with 270 degree views of the ocean– but it’s 90 minutes to a store that might actually sell meaningful toilet paper, and so I had to let her go.

The olive festival was cancelled, but HLB insisted on taking me deep into the (surprisingly very good) wine country to visit a Russian museum and restaurant he’d ventured on before.

The Russian museum and restaurant only had three problems: it wasn’t Russian, a museum or a restaurant.

Aside from the name on the wall and a solitary gourd painted to look –if you squinted– like a vaguely Eastern European doll, this place wouldn’t have recognized Russia if Catherine the Great’s pony fell on it.

Being both starved for sustenance and adventure, HLB and I agreed to eat in the *pointed dry cough* restaurant, which was a shack of bare corrugated tin that mostly overlapped, except in places where it didn’t, like, oh I don’t know, the walls and roof.

The floor was, of course, dirt and aside from one rusty Pixar-style desk lamp on the opposite side of the room, benefited from no electricity. We huddled freezing around the cast iron stove –the only heat source– avoiding drips and ate our grim meal (the traditional Muscovite dish of corn smut empanadas) with dampened cheer.

Wow, on second thought, maybe it was more Russian than I originally thought.

(I assure you, it is delicious)

Plus the fat girl at the counter was mean.

I know it’s probably ridiculous, but I expect a degree of solidarity from my corpulent cohort. Sort of the way military veterans treat each other: We were there, man; except there is here. Sister was not having it though. Whatever.

With that adventure in mind, and the scent of almost ready rosemary shortbread making advances on my nostrils, I thought I’d open it up to a Big Question.

Today Miss Plumcake wants to know:

What is your preferred rainy day schedule? Do you enjoy the cats and dogs or, like your pal Plummy, do rainy days and Mondays always bring you down?

I have two versions. When solo, nothing makes me happier than to nestle on the couch with plenty of rich Welsh tea (milk and just the teensiest grain or two of sugar) Bach’s works for organ and an improving book, which I’ll read about two pages of before falling asleep. If I’m feeling ambitious I might make scones or shortbread.

With the fella, the black tea turns to lemongrass with ginger and the Bach stays on the shelf in exchange for film noir, ideally of the Sam Spade oeuvre. Then one of us (hint: not me. Ever.) will brave the rain to get takeout. Snuggling, more tea, more Bogie…romantic, no?

March 2, 2012

Big Question: Food of our Fathers/Happy Texas Independence Day edition

Filed under: Food,The Big Question — Miss Plumcake @ 4:30 pm

When I lived in Texas, I almost never ate traditional Texan food. Now that I’m in Mexico where I have lengthy and ultimately fruitless (see what I did there) discussions on what is and is not a green tomato –No, that’s a tomatillo. Okay, see what you just handed me? That is ALSO a tomatillo– I find myself cooking soul food and Texas cuisine on a regular, bordering obsessive, basis.

Part of it is the joy of introducing people to your favorite foods. Hot Latin Boy has recently fallen for shrimp and grits, biscuits and gravy and gin and tonics, all in a big way and I couldn’t be more proud.

The other part is the comfort of the familiar.

Living in Texas I would never bother to make my own barbecue unless I wanted some Tennessee-style pulled pork because there’s no point in smoking your own brisket when half of God’s Own BBQ Joints are within a 40 minute drive.

(These are the four most famous pit stops in Lockhart, Texas; ground zero for great Texas bbq. I am and always shall be a Smitty’s girl)

In the spirit of friendship and smoked meat, I am throwing a Texas Independence Day party for a dozen or so of my Mexican friends on Saturday and the menu will feature a proper Texas brisket smoked for 12 hours, potato salad, cowboy beans, deviled eggs, homemade smushy white bread, pickled onions and, incongruously, Bananas Foster.

Bananas Foster? Isn’t that a New Orleans thing?

Yes. Yes it is.

Originally it was going to be the much more traditional banana puddings, complete with low rent Nilla wafers and luscious pillows of boozy whipped cream (ideally it would be my blue ribbon-winning brownie pecan pie, but I can’t find pecans here for love nor money), but I made the mistake of introducing the locals to the flambeed delight earlier this week. The response was so orgiastically enthusiastic, I worried for the sanctity of my tablecloth. Now I’m pretty sure if I ended the party Foster-less I’d quickly find myself in a new, short-lived career as a great white canape for great white sharks.

So what about you? If you were in a foreign land and asked to serve the food of your people, what would your menu be?

















December 5, 2011

The Big Question: Sophie’s Choice Edition

Filed under: cocktails,The Big Question — Miss Plumcake @ 3:44 pm

Why, dear children, is this day different from all other days?

Because 78 glorious years ago today, the great and good people of this great nation ratified the lovely, lovely 21st Amendment which repealed the terrible, awful, no-good, very bad 18th Amendment, thus putting an end to Prohibition.

There’s a funny familial story about Prohibition that’s been floating around the Plumcake Family Mythology for nearly 80 years.

Once upon a time, in the faraway land of Yonkers, New York a young Salvation Army officer by the name of Miss Plumcake’s Nana discovered her fun-loving and all-around less stick-in-the-mud younger sister had snuck off to some speakeasy in the city and was dancing the night away. My Nana, who could out-damp even the soggiest of bed coverings, was outraged and her anger was not lessened when she discovered her one good dress –her Confirmation gown– was missing.

Grim but not stupid, Nana did the math, deduced her wicked sister and her heavenly dress were sharing the same airspace.

Nana marched right down to the speakeasy and proceeded to RIP the dress right off of her shameless sister, thus fulfilling her lifelong legacy of ruining everyone’s good time –well, except for the men at the speakeasy I suppose– and adding another chapter to the legend of Miss Plumcake’s family.

The moral of the story is this: Don’t anger a Plumcake woman. Also, if the last words you say to your devoted teenage great-granddaughter are “Have you always been that fat?”, you thereby give up your rights NOT to be talked about publicly and at great length.

Remember, an elephant never forgets.

In honor of the end of Prohibition, and the fact I’m going to have to whittle down my Scotch collection to 3 liters so I can take it across the Mexican border, I thought I’d ask a little booze-themed Big Question.

Today Miss Plumcake wants to know:

What one alcoholic beverage would you be unwilling to go the rest of your life without?

After much thoughtful deliberation, I’ve decided upon the humble yet sublime Talisker 18 year-old single malt Scotch. Talisker is the only Scotch made on the Isle of Skye and has in its golden soul the best of both the smokey peat of the Islay malts and the honeyed heather of a Speyside.

It’s not the most expensive or rarest Scotch I own, a bottle of Talisker 18 will set you back less than a hundred dollars, and there are other Scotches I prefer as specimens of one breed or another, but for pure overarching perfection, the Talisker is hard to beat, and, incidentally, is ridiculous (in the good way) on a hot buttered waffle.

October 16, 2011

The Big Question: What Would You Do?

Filed under: The Big Question — Twistie @ 11:55 am

Mr. Twistie and I do enjoy daydreaming. Just yesterday we were on the road on a mission that isn’t particularly important to explain and he asked me a question: if we suddenly had stupid amounts of money so that we would never have to worry about bills again… what is the first thing I would get for me?

We always assume that the absolute first thing we would do after paying off all our debts is get everyone we love paid off, too. No more mortgages, no more car or student loans, no more overdue medical bills, stuff like that. But this time he asked what I would do first for me once all that is taken care of and we still have more money that we can possibly spend in several lifetimes.

I even surprised myself with my answer: I said I would find and hire a fantastic cobbler to make me a real wardrobe of great shoes.

I’m sure Mr. Twistie thought I was going to say I wanted one of every Le Creuset pot and pan ever made… and I assured him that was on my castle in the air list. Just I want some really fabulous shoes that correctly fit my wide, high-arched, buniony little paws and my extremely… unique personal style first. And I want them without having to engage in fifteen rounds of mail order and returns.

All my life, footwear has been a much bigger battle than it ought. Now, with fewer and fewer retailers carrying even a single, ugly pair of wide width shoes in the store, it’s become absolute torture. At this point, a cobbler is pretty much the only way out I see and I want one. So there!

How about you? If you suddenly lucked into Trumpesque wads of cash and have taken care of all the necessities (paying off debts, taking care of medical issues, setting up a college fund for the kids, etc.), what would be the first just for fun thing you do for yourself?

Oh, Mr. Twistie’s answer? Head straight for Saville Row and have a Beatles suit custom made for him.

All I can say to that is yeah, yeah, yeah!

October 7, 2011

The Big Question: Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner edition

Filed under: The Big Question — Miss Plumcake @ 1:57 pm

Happy Friday my little whomp biscuits, how’s every little thing?

Me? I’m peachy except it JUST occurred to me that I have to drive across the country on Sunday and I don’t have a thing to wear to a place where it isn’t six thousand degrees outside with the notable exception of a lynx, a blonde mink and a pair of jeans. I’ve also got to magically conjure up an outfit for today that will take me from the wake of a really kick ass priest, to the Wales vs Ireland Rugby quarter finals at the expat bar, to a scorching midnight rock show at a place called Skinny’s Ballroom which I suspect is not technically a ballroom.

P to the S how much do I love that the Welsh sing “Bread of Heaven” at the rugby? Nothing quite like an 18th century Methodist hymn to get the fans all riled up. Truly, these are my people.

I’m also in the nerve-wracking position of picking out an outfit for when I finally meet Hot Latin Boy’s mother and man, that is one increasingly adhesive wicket. The last time I had to prepare to meet someone’s mother was in 2008 when Andre wanted to drag me to gay Paree to meet his terrifyingly chic and none-too-pleased maman, which –fun fact– is what made me crop my hair. It was bad enough I was American (vulgar) and Fat (triple vulgar), I couldn’t just go traipsing around the streets of La Rive Droite with hair that was anything less than painfully bon chic bon genre.

Now I need to come up with something that says “Please don’t hate the fat white girl who is corrupting you son, the treasure of your old age, with her iPhone and her sunscreen and her capitalist pigdog ways.”

I think it might require a petticoat.

Anyhoodle, for the weekend I’d like to know all about the toughest outfit you’ve had to select. No fair saying your wedding gown, but if it’s true it’s true. Put it in the comments and tell me how it went!

September 12, 2011

What’s On Your Mind?

Filed under: The Big Question — Miss Plumcake @ 11:29 am

Good morning lovers, how’s every little thing?

I’m peachy as per usual but I cannot shake the feeling that today is Sunday and my entire schedule should involve nothing more strenuous than deciding which Scotch I should pour over my waffles (no really, it’s delicious. Butter, a teensy bit of pure maple syrup, Scotch and a few flakes of salt to bring out the complexity. It’ll rock your world.) so I thought instead of waxing stentorian about one thing or another, I’d open up the comments today as a sort of open forum exchange.

If you’ve got questions for me, I’ll answer them.

If there’s something on your mind that’s either rubbing you the wrong way (or the right way for that matter, but you know your pal Plummy is squicked out by overly-graphic sex talk, so maybe use some moderation with that) put it in the comments.

Heck, just check in and introduce yourself if you’re new or maybe not a regular commenter, I really do like getting to know the gang. Oh, and don’t worry if you’re not a big girl or even a girl. You’d be surprised by how many guys and straight-sized gals click here on a daily basis.

So, in the immortal words of Marvin Gaye…what’s goin’ on?

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