The Evil Little Theater Cup

This is the heart of Broadway and what it looks like outside a theater when a show finishes.  There are cars there to pick up the stars and fans lined up and down the sidewalk to get a look at or talk a little bit to the stars.  Hugh Jackman gets quite a crowd who wait for him each night.  He should–his show is great.  See the people who are waiting on the left?  Usually after a show lets out, my group always runs out of the theater and starts looking for a cab.  It’s hard to get a cab when everyone else who has been to a show is trying along with you.  We usually have dinner plans too so we need to get to the restaurant pronto.  It was different this night.  There was no need to rush.  Why rush?  This was different.  Why the change from hurried to mellow?  What had changed inside of me on this night of theater?

Blame it on the evil theater cup!

I saw my first show on Broadway in 1986.  It was “Song & Dance” with Bernadette Peters.  I have been going to see shows on Broadway ever since.  One thing in all these years has remained constant.  You are not allowed to bring any food or beverage to your seat.  That is the law of theater!  You can eat and drink before a show or at intermission, but do not bring it back to your seat.  If you even tried to break the rule, you would be hit with a flashlight beam and there would be an usher telling you to hand it over.  No eating!  No drinking!  These ushers would have the meanest face when you looked up at them from your seat with your bottle of water or your last Milk Dud in hand.  These ushers would make prison guards nervous.  Now all of this has changed.

It might have been sooner, but this year I’ve noticed a change.  You can take drinks to your seat in the shows I’ve gone to as long as the drink is in the evil little theater cup.  Think of this cup as a sippie cup for adults meaning that if you drop them, they don’t spill.  All that is on top of the cup’s lid is a little hole you open up and stick a straw through.  At the bar, the bartenders will fill you up with your beverage of choice.  Soda to the top of the rim.  For $11, you get a cup that is half full of wine.  For $21, you get your cup filled to the top with wine.  For me, nothing says “classy night out on Broadway” more than sitting back watching a show with a sippie cup filled to the top with Chardonnay.  If you time it right, you draw your last sip through your straw at the end of Act I.  Then you go back to the bar at intermission and get another cup full.  This time around it is $16 because you get a discount if you bring your cup back to be refilled.  Then right before the 11 o’clock number, you are sitting there in your seat with your empty cup in hand and you realize “I’m drunk”.  You then do things you have never done:

  • You have an ugly cry for all to see during the last song of the show.
  • You give a standing ovation to the star while all the while hooting and hollering and making a spectacle of yourself.
  • You stumble out of the theater telling people you don’t know that you just spent $37 on wine.
  • You proceed to tell your friends that next time you are going to save money and just buy a bottle of wine at the liquor store and have the bartender hold it for you because you can fill your own cup.
  • You don’t run like hell to catch a taxi.  The restaurant can wait!
  • You realize that the evil little theater cup is a blessing and a curse.

Now I know that the invention of the evil little theater cup was probably done to boost sales during the slump in the economy.  However, I think it is also a great idea to use for shows that are not very good.  If I could have had my two cups full of Chardonnay in years past, I might have stuck around for the end of “A Moon For The Misbegotten”.

I wouldn’t have fallen asleep during “Top Girls”.

Lastly…..yes, I’ll publicly admit this……I wouldn’t have wished I could get a musket and shoot all of those revolutionaries on stage in “Les Miserables” just to make it end.

So, I don’t like change very much, but I think that the evil little theater cup is a keeper.  It makes a great show even better and I hope to also use it someday to see if it can make a bad show at least a little more bearable.  Oh, as with everything, moderation is key when using the evil little theater cup.  Who am I kidding?  I would sit there and drink wine out of a bottle with a straw if they’d let me.  Enjoy your next show, with or without a little booze.  What do you think of being able to eat and drink at your seats?

Christmas Cookie #3 – Cookie Press Cookies (Depressed With My Press)

This cookie press recipe was a true test of my baking and decorating patience.  As most of you know, a cookie press is nothing more than a hollow tube fitted with a decorative nozzle at one end and a plunger at the other.  You insert your cookie dough into the hollow tube and then you press a trigger that makes the plunger press out the dough.  The dough is pressed out through the decorative nozzle and a pressed cookie is formed.  The nozzle holds discs that turn the dough into various shapes-hearts, wreaths, Christmas trees, flowers-the list is long and covers most of the major holidays.  Here is the cookie press I used at the start of my baking.  Little did I know that two more would follow.

I’ve discovered that my right arm has gotten incredibly strong.  That’s because my squeezing of the cookie press trigger achieved pressing out five dozen cookies, but, on the bad side, it broke three cookie presses.  Yes, three presses that broke-two triggers broke off and one shaft that holds the dough cracked into two pieces!  Is this bad luck or what?  I got my cookies done, but had to order a new press at the end as a result.  This time I paid a little bit more and got a “heavy-duty” press.  I’m hoping this solves the problem.

These cookies are very tasty, with a rich butter and vanilla taste.  The recipe calls for 1 tablespoon of vanilla, which seems like a lot, but really works well with the dough.  After the cookies had cooled, we decorated each one with a glaze made out of confectioner’s sugar and a variety of cookie decorating supplies-colored sanding sugars, melted chocolate, tinted glazes, chocolate sprinkles, etc.  Most of it was purchased at the supermarket so just have fun and get whatever supplies catch your eye.  With cookie decorating, there really is no bad way to do it.  Here’s the steps:

For the cookies:

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 3 3/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 6 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted, for decorating
  • Confectioners’ Sugar Glaze (see recipe below)
  • Food coloring, preferably gel-paste, for decorating
  • Sanding sugar, for decorating
  • Other favorite items, to use for decorating

Directions:

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat; set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

Add egg yolks, flour, salt, and vanilla.  Mix until well combined.

Fit cookie press with desired disk and fill with dough.  Press out shapes onto prepared baking sheets.  Transfer to refrigerator until chilled, about 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Bake until cookies are lightly browned, 7 to 10 minutes.  Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

To decorate, tint confectioners’ sugar glaze as desired (dividing it among a few bowls to make different colors, if desired). Dip cookies in glaze and decorate with sanding sugar, nonpareils, or dragees.  Let set until the glaze dries, at least 1 hour before serving or storing. Cookies can be stored, between layers of parchment, up to 1 week at room temperature in airtight containers.

For the glaze:

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 2 tablespoons water

Directions:

Mix confectioners’ sugar and the water to achieve an easy-to-pour consistency, adding more water as necessary. Use immediately.

These are a great cookie.  They taste great and look great.  Impress your family and friends with a cute little decorated cookie.  They will be impressed.  At our house right now, none of us want to eat my cookie press cookies.  Not because they don’t taste good, but because they are so pretty.  Knowing how we like to eat, this mood will change soon and we will devour them.  It’s the holidays right?  Overeating is expected!  Do you make any decorated cookies during the holidays?

Friday Dance Party – Getting Into The Spirit Of Christmas

This is another edition of Friday Dance Party on Acorns On Glen.  It’s the time where we give thanks for making it through another week and for being alive and present here on Earth.  How do we celebrate another week of living?  We dance.  So, are you alive this Friday?  Are you and your family safe and sound?  Take a few seconds now to be in the moment and realize what a great life you truly have.  Did you give thanks for that?

Good, now let’s dance.

It’s official…we are most definitely in the holiday season.  Besides coconut pyramids and cranberry-pistachio biscotti, Christmas carols are always needed to get me into peak Christmas spirit.  So given we are a little over a week away from Christmas, I thought it was only appropriate to pull out one of my favorites.  There is none better to me than Judy Garland singing “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” from the 1944 movie “Meet Me In St. Louis”.  I love this song on so many different levels.  First off, Judy Garland can sing this song with a voice so clear and sweet how can you help not loving it.  The way it was shot is also fantastic.  Every time I watch this clip, I feel like I am sitting there in that cold room with them looking out over the snow in the yard.  The lyrics about friends and family are great.  Isn’t that really what the holidays are all about?  I also love the back story on the movie.  Judy Garland was 21 when she was filming the movie and it was the movie that successfully transitioned her from child star to an adult superstar.  The movie was also directed by Vincente Minnelli, who fell in love with Judy Garland during the filming and eventually became her husband.  From there, I’m sure you all know that this union produced a daughter, Liza Minnelli.  Margaret O’Brien, who is the little girl in this clip, won an Oscar for her work in this great movie.  The song is also special to me even more than it has been in years past.  It’s because this year I won’t be with my parents and brother for Christmas day, so the lyrics really hit home because I think this is only the second time in my life I have not been with them.

Someday soon, we all will be together,

If the fates allow,

Until then, we’ll have to muddle through somehow,

So have yourself a merry little Christmas now

So join me in getting into the spirit of Christmas and listen to this little carol.  Turn your speakers up and I assure you that when the song is over you will be a little more in the mood for this holiday.  I hope you like it as much as I do.  What is your favorite Christmas carol of all time?