So I sort of have this milkshake thing.

Like all my food and drink obsessions, I’m never quite sure where they begin. I try something, perhaps for the first time — a Peep; a pumpkin spice latte. These magic concoctions work their way into my diet. I take a sip, a bite or a nibble and, you know, fall desperately in love.

And then? Then it’s game on.

I don’t do things halfway. And right now, I’m all about the creamy concoctions sold in diners, ice cream parlors and Chick-fil-A restaurants nationwide: milkshakes.

Strawberry. Chocolate. Cookies and cream. Peanut butter. Whatever, wherever — if it’s a milkshake topped with whipped cream, I’m there. And, if you’re at the Nautilus Diner in Crofton, Md.? Well, they put sprinkles on theirs.

Jealous, right?

I know that, as far as drink obsessions go, this isn’t exactly a healthy one. I’m still trying to get to the gym on an, um, semi-regular basis. But there’s something about the allure of an ice-cold milkshake that keeps drawing me in, and I’m powerless to stop it.

Spencer and I were at a Hamboree near Baltimore over the weekend — “ham” as in ham radios, which basically translated to me walking around the Maryland State Fairgrounds with absolutely no idea what I was seeing. Vendors offered dismantled computers, radio parts and old tubes, lined up on the endless tables. Spencer was in his element . . . building, thinking, scheming.

He’s a physicist. And I’m a book nerd. I can barely pronounce “physicist.” (You know — opposites attract.)

So the Hamboree is in full swing and we’re talking around for hours in the chilly Cow Palace (just . . . yep), and I’m easily the youngest woman there. In fact, let’s be frank: I’m one of only a few women in the entire building. Never in my life have I been somewhere and seen a line for the men’s room and not the ladies’. (Finally — vengeance!)

It was fun, but you know what really kept me walking and spurred me on? The promise of a milkshake at Nautlius. I swear that when our server set it down on the table, I felt like shouting and rubbing my hands together like a maniac.

Instead, I managed to snap that photo before totally losing my mind.

That was gone in about .2378 seconds. I think I produced a hurricane-force wind with my spoon shoveling.

Sprinkle Photography Addicts — not so anonymous

sprinkle_cupcakeSo I fake like my sister Katie is the one who absolutely loves sprinkles — obsesses over them, pours them on everything, can’t get enough of them — but I’m beginning to think it’s really me who shares such a serious, rampant sprinkle obsession! I don’t like to eat them, mind you — ick, just give me plain vanilla ice cream, please! — but to photograph them? I’m all over it!

My macro photographer’s eye immediately goes to the colorful candy that basically begs to be captured — and I spend a ridiculous amount of time photographing Katie’s desserts before she can actually eat them. Last night was no exception. My grandparents called me in the afternoon to tell me that Rita’s, a local ice cream shop, now has pumpkin pie Italian ice. Oh yes, I know — good God, I’m talking about pumpkin again! But I promise, that’s just a sidenote to the actual story . . . which is the sprinkles. Again. Katie had them layered over her custard and, before she could really take a bite, I pulled the dessert out of the poor kid’s hand and immediately dug around for my little Canon. And, you know, shot about twenty photos. Outside. In a October cold breeze. While it drizzled and people stared at me.

Hey, no one said sprinkle photography was easy.

Need a visual aid? Behold some recent sprinkle photos I’ve taken. And I’d like to publicly call Jill out for encouraging both Katie and me in our sprinkle-related exploits! The links she sends both delight and frighten me. It’s a sprinkly world out there!

And just a gentle warning? If you happen to be spending (wonderful) time with me any time soon, make sure you don’t order anything with colorful candy on top. Or just, you know, hide my camera or something. Otherwise? You’re my next sprinkle victim.




Sprinklegate ’08 — or, Meg sells out her sister

Everyone has their vices — those things they just can’t help themselves from doing or loving, whether or not they’re too embarrassed to admit it. Some are a little more destructive than others, of course. Mine? Chai tea lattes, staying up way too late at night, taking macro photos before I eat anything awesome-looking, e-mailing ex-boyfriends when I’m feeling sappy, and obsessively watching ‘The Tudors’… even though Dad and I are now relegated to watching pirated episodes on his laptop (can I even admit that? Am I going to jail?).

Don’t worry — I won’t ask you to cop to yours (unless you want to… might make you feel better!). But I’m totally okay with putting my sister’s on display! Oh, you know — she’s been dealing with my antics since I first held her as a baby, my 3-year-old self proclaming, “SHE’S WIGGLY!”

Yeah, Kate humors me. So what’s my sister’s vice?

Sprinkles. And not just any sprinkles, folks… ohhh, no. Rainbow sprinkles.

It’s like a moth to a flame, I tell you… and I certainly don’t help the situation as I stand in the ice-cream shop, tugging at her elbow and constantly pointing to all rainbow sprinkles and coercing her into getting them scattered all over whatever flavor she’s going to get. I just know how much she likes them! I’m just trying to help!

And all of my “helping” brought us to this moment last summer in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware:

Exhibit A

Exhibit A

The greatest rainbow sprinkled cone in the history of mankind.

And about .25867 seconds after this photo was taken, the epic and awesome rainbow cone basically collapsed in on itself and dissolved into a really gooey, horrifying and utterly colorful mess. Kate was a trooper — she tried to keep that thing from melting all over her hands, arms and shirt. But she failed. And though I’m her big sister, love her dearly and would do anything for her, I was powerless to stop it. In the immortal words of The Fray, “I don’t know how to get you out of this one.”

But at least I got that photo.

Oh, my family has about a million great food stories… in fact, many of my great memories revolve around food! Some will live on only in family lore, undocumented, but Sprinklegate ’08 is one of my favorites — and I have to share the love.

Of course, I love the simple “everyday” sprinkle stories a lot, too. Like this moment from Saturday:


Exhibit B

Same great sister, different dessert… still covered in rainbow sprinkles. And I love that her shirt has rainbow stuff on it, too. We’re just a colorful duo! To Kate, no dessert is complete without a dash of the bright, crunchy stuff. True to my aforementioned vice of constantly snapping macro photos of food, I captured Kate’s latest rainbow treat. She ate all of it. And then we both walked two miles with Leslie Sansone.


Exhibit C

And because I won’t completely sell her out and make it look like she’s the one indulging, please let me assure you — I have absolutely more than my fair share of dessert most of the time! And Kate was so good all through Lent, completely giving up sweets. I’ve since gone on a “path to health” (more to come on that one!) and am trying to get in shape. My plan was to take off the pounds before my trip but, since that’s in three weeks, I’m going to rearrange my goals and just say that I would like to be trimmer at some point very soon. In time to go to the beach in June. Or something. I know moments like this aren’t helping… but ice cream = sheer joy!

Exhibit D... but I prefer the plain variety

Exhibit D... but I prefer the plain variety

I’m all about the rainbow sprinkles

This was ingenious — and perfect for a 12-year-old (or a 23-year-old, but who’s asking). I couldn’t resist the rainbow sprinkles, though I really just like to look at them. It’s “make your own cookie,” a little dessert experience at Boston’s. We didn’t really make it so much as decorate it, but still pretty fun. And Ciara actually ate her confection; I’m impressed.





Latest baking victory: Holiday cupcakes

Our office holiday party was Friday! And I actually made something other than brownies and pasta salad. To be honest, I was planning on making brownies — until I discovered we didn’t have any of the ingredients at home. At nine at night. The evening before the party.

So, in working with what was available, I found a white cake mix in the pantry. After Mom walked me through properly blending some of the ingredients together, I quickly had a batch of goo to pop in the oven. Twenty minutes later, my goo had magically become fluffy yellow cupcakes — and I had the perfect holiday frosting to make them look festive! I had to “borrow” the green frosting and sprinkles from Mom, who was planning on using them herself for the holiday party, but everything turned out all right.





With the finished product!

With the finished product!

And here were my creations at the dessert table: