The Blame Game

Dear Andy,

You know how grateful I am for all you do for the family. How grateful I am for your mastery of the grill, for your patience and stamina at playtime (how did I miss both of those qualities on Parenting Skills Hand-out Day?), for your unfailingly impeccable musical taste. (I fully recognize that if it weren’t for you, our children would likely be on a steady listening diet of Billy Joel and Edie Brickell.) But. But. But. But. Would you please look in that recycling bin up there? That was last week’s tally of alcohol intake and though you know how much I believe in equality in this marriage, I feel it’s necessary to place the blame for my now non-negotiable 6:00 cocktail squarely on you and your long line of alcohol enthusiasts. As you know, I come from a long line of Westchester Jews, from a house where there was always an Entenmann’s cake in the snack drawer and a lone, unopened bottle of Creme de Menthe in the liquor cabinet. And yet, since we’ve had kids, since I’ve been working on various demanding jobs and assignments, I now find myself looking at the clock every two minutes from 5:30 leading up to 6:00, or, as your father would say, leading up to that blessed moment when “the sun goes over the yardarm.” I used to be such a nice Jewish girl and now I find myself keeping a mental tally of our wine supply as though it’s as basic a staple as milk or peanut butter. I find myself getting the Bombay Sapphire out at 5:56, the highball glass out at 5:57, the ice cubes stacked up at 5:58, the lime sliced at 5:59 and then waiting, waiting, waiting that interminable 60 seconds until I can mix in my fizzy tonic and start to sip. I find myself thinking things like I could never have another baby because it would mean giving up nine months of Yardarms. So anyway, thanks a lot. And thank your Syrah-drinking Mom, your vodka-tonic drinking Dad, and your Old Fashioned-drinking Grandma (may she rest in peace) for me, too.   Love, Jenny

Dear Jenny,

You’re scaring me. Looking at the clock every two minutes? Waiting, waiting, waiting? As basic as milk? You can blame me for leading you to water, but come on: you can’t blame me for your thirst. Anyway, thank you for the kind words on the parenting front, and while my mastery of the grill is highly debatable, I’ll return the compliments a million fold: were it not for you, I would, in addition to being a much less fulfilled and happy person, probably still be eating penne with Ragu Robusto every night in front of the Yankees game after the kids went to bed.

I would also probably not be addicted to dessert.

When I was growing up, the son of an Italian mom, dessert was something you had on special occasions. On somebody’s birthday, we’d have a Duncan Hines cake. In the summer, when the peaches were running wild, we’d have a cobbler on Saturday night. During the holidays, we’d make a huge batch of Christmas cookies, and we’d frost them as a family. But most nights, we’d have nothing. Or, at the most, some fruit. You know, like normal people. And then I met you. For you – and for the Rosenstrach clan at large, no offense beloved in-laws – dessert is just a given, a natural extension of dinner. And lunch. And snacks, too. You eat something non-sweet, you follow it with a dessert. I’m not talking here about an Oreo or two, or an occasional bowl of ice cream. I’m talking about the heavy artillery. Chocolate truffle cakes. Chocolate mousse cakes. Chocolate candy bars. Dove ice cream bars. Babka. Sticky buns. Chocolate croissants. Mallomars. Chocolate covered raisins…and peanuts…and almonds. The truly insidious thing about all this stuff, for a non-dessert guy like me, is that it tastes really really good. God, does it taste good. So, over the years, as you wore me down, I started to indulge a little, then a little more, and next thing I knew, I started needing – not craving; needing — a dessert after every meal. When I finish dinner these days, I head straight for the pantry (with the kids right behind me) for my fix, and do you realize what I see when I open it up? Seriously, have you looked lately? A bar of 72% dark chocolate. And a bar of Swiss milk chocolate, since Abby likes milk chocolate so much better. Oh, and a ONE POUND bar of dark chocolate with almonds from Trader Joe’s. And a box of chocolate mints. And some chewy oatmeal raisin cookies, Phoebe’s favorite. And do you know what the worst part is? I bought all of it! The only person I can blame is myself, which is always a terrible place to be.

Do you see what you’ve done to me?

Love, Andy

P.S. It’s not Crème de Menthe in your dad’s “liquor cabinet,” by the way. It’s Tia Maria, which tastes like coffee, and if you carbon-dated that bottle, I think you’d find it’s older than Mexico itself.

P.P.S. That recycling bin photo was doctored.

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I just found your blog from the Whole Living article and I’m loving it. Thanks for writing it. And last night we tried your Dark & Stormy “recipe” – thank you, it was delicious.


we suffer from a mashup of these afflictions: we cannot eat dessert (which has become a nightly event–more so than toothbrushing for one of us who shall remain unnamed) until 9 PM. So we start asking each other, “Is it nine o’clock yet?” (usually called out to each other across a few rooms, since God forbid we’d ever be watching the same television, or God forbiddier, the tv’s wouldn’t be on at all) at about 8:15.


laughing so hard at this! for fabulous is it that you actually have a tag called “drinking in front of kids” l.o.v.e it! and i’m right there with you on the drink – at least you wait until 6..i count down until 5. AND i don’t have anyone to blame because my husband isn’t home by then. thanks for the entertainment in your lovely posts and can’t wait to get my hands on that cookbook!


Love this! I count down to 5 also kristen, and now I know Im not alone. At 5 I walk over to the dockng station and turn on the ipod, at abut 5:01 I am pouring a class a vino. Take a few sips and started planning dinner. It keeps me sane.


Okay next cookbook needs to include cocktail pairings…Also, I thought my mom was the only person who ever drank old fashions..did Andy’s grandmother’s recipe include “bitters”…my sisters and I keep a bottle of bitters in all of our refrigerators for my mom at all times. After all we are Irish and cocktail hour is practically a sacrament!


This is so funny, I love it! My husband introduced me to coffee. Or rather, he re-introduced me to coffee because I had pretty much given it up. When we started dating the first gift he gave me was a coffee pot, because he had no patience for my French press. I heart that appliance, it makes the best cup of coffee.

I sadly introduced him to the guilty pleasures of fast food. I do love a quarter pounder with cheese now and then and he really hadn’t had that before. Coffee and fast food, mmmmhmmm.

Saw “Time for Dinner” highlighed in Everyday Food magazine! Congratulations!


This is hilarious! I love it! I too MUST have dessert. Lunch and dinner? And then comes dessert thankyouverymuch. I am jealous of your 6 p.m. cocktail. I wait until my tot goes to bed. Why didn’t I think of 6 p.m. That’s 2 whole hours I don’t need to wait! What a revelation. I am pouring my martini at 6 tonight. I bet bathtime will be a breeeeeeeze!


Funny, you had me at the recycling bin picture. Ours has been looking worse and worse. I turn up the volume of the t.v. or run to the bathroom when I hear the recycling truck comes so I can’t hear all the bottles. And I can even think about throwing the bottles in the garbage can! That would take my guilt to a whole other level! By the way, we only wait until 5Pm! Yikes!!!


Hilarious. So true. I brought heavy coffee drinking to my hubby (and this marriage) – he brought red meat back into my life…. and grilling ….. I never grilled. Cocktails? Ugh – summertime has my two youngests ALL messed up – and they are up past 10! Maybe when school starts……;-).


This post totally got me busted at work for straying from my tasks at hand. My intern caught me smiling far too much at my screen to be editing my program reports haha. Great stuff.


A few comments:
1. I have to admit that Andy’s depiction of the Rosenstrach dessert “problem” is, perhaps, the most accurate I’ve read to date.
2. Re: #1: my apologies to non-Rosenstrachs as we were, thankfully, born with a second stomach dedicated solely to the digestion of said desserts.
3. I’m feeling pretty grateful that I didn’t marry a guy with a tasty beverage “problem,” as my side of the Rosenstrach clan did NOT, decidedly, come with the metabolism to handle both of these evils! Lucky you, Jenny!


P.S. What’s wrong with a steady listening diet of Billy Joel?!


P.P.S. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go pick up my kids at camp with Nutter Butters and Oreos in hand!


big smile over here in WV! I just found your blog via “Whole Living” and am loving it all. This post especially. Enjoy all the good things in life & take care 🙂


Love this, except I am now simultaneously craving chocolate and a gin-and-tonic but it’s only 9:42 a.m.! Will tap my fingers until 5 p.m., then.


Love it! My mother was an old-fasioned drinker, and our liquor cabinet had boxes of Pink Lady and Grasshopper powdered mix. There was also a bottle of Cherry Herring that came out every holiday, which no one drank because they must have thought it fishy.


hysterical! two good things that go well together. maybe you two ought to write about a DALS dessert wine?