Scatter My Ashes Over Costco

Scatter My Ass Over Costco

I recently watched a documentary (what else do I have to do?) entitled Scatter My Ashes Over Bergdorf Goodman. It was late at night when I noticed it on Prime so at first I thought it read scatter my ass over Bergdorf Goodman, which really peaked my curiosity, but I digress.

The place has a fascinating history and supposedly a cartoonist from The New Yorker magazine had coined the phrase years ago.

I began to watch, and of course the store is amazing. Wall to wall materialism all wrapped up in the heady air of if-you-have-to-ask-the-price-you-shouldn’t-be-here.

Quality is king because apparently founder Herman Bergdorf was a tailor so he fixated on the workmanship of the garments allowed into the sacred halls of this palace of yummy, couture creations. The store sits atop the site of the Cornelius Vanderbilt II mansion on Fifth Avenue so perhaps wealth is already in the soil’s DNA.

BG buyers spoke of how they discovered and brought along designers until they were Bergdorf worthy and demanded exclusivity from those lucky enough to make the cut.

Personal shoppers spoke of anonymous clients too famous to mention, like we can’t guess, and of course since they work on commission it was revealed that someone working at Bergdorf could make as much as half a million dollars salary a year.

After seriously rethinking my career choices while inhaling two almond snickers bars, I continued my journey through this capital of couture. It wasn’t so much the fact the store was filled with beautiful and expensive merchandise; it was their method of display.

Even the windows had risen to an art form. I must admit I was more taken with many of the objects their artisans created for Bergdorf’s windows than the Marcel Duchamp’s Urinal Fountain sculpture, so there’s that.

Now begs the question, what qualifies something to be expensive? In real estate it’s of course location location location, but even that changes. Bet you could get a hellava deal right now on a New York condo.

Is it merely the way something is presented that catches the eye of the lover of all things expensive and exotic?

Does Bergdorf have the formula for success that proves entering a world so beautifully appointed it stands to reason everything within must be coveted and desired?

If that’s true we must closely examine Costco.

They as Bergdorf have created their own brand in Kirkland, and like BG have searched for only the best to bestow their own label upon and allow within their hallowed, concrete walls. However, if quality is also measured by design than Costco has quite a way to go.

The whole warehouse ambiance doesn’t quite do it for me. Although it does give one a feeling the bargains stretch on forever.

On the opposite side of the equation, walking into Bergdorf’s one is immediately taken by the rich woods, marble and glass surroundings providing a luxurious atmosphere of wealth and privilege. Although one might surmise this was designed to scare off those whom may recognize the aroma of luxury, but can certainly not afford such opulence, the desire to mingle with money is indeed seductive. It’s Newport on steroids and offers familiarity to coveted customers.

However one story amused me about Mr. Goodman told by his grandson.

It seems a bag lady walked into the fur department one day and admired a coat.

Of course Mr. Goodman was polite but evasive when asked the price, thinking she was unable to afford such luxury.

Now we all know the ending to this one, she reached into her paper bags paid cash and bought the coat, teaching him a valuable lesson about not judging a book by its cover.

I was surprised he had not learned this earlier in his life since I was well aware of its truth early on. My grandparents, who dressed like bag people, once drove from Detroit to Miami in their new Cadillac with 100,000 dollars in my grandmother’s pocketbook to buy an apartment building on the beach. They didn’t trust banks.

Could one have easily mistaken them for the janitor and housekeeper? Absolutely, so this lesson came to me young.

Mr. Goodman’s naïveté aside it’s the policy of BG to be polite to all who enter the perfectly appointed surroundings and even if you are there to simply drool over that six-thousand dollar Bottega Veneta handbag, courtesy will be extended.

This respect isn’t a bad thing; in fact it’s actually very good. Since I’ve noticed that of late many Neiman Marcus sales people treat even those who walk about the store sporting Gucci as though they were the dirt under their Louboutins. Not hard to figure out why the bottom line has reached rock bottom in that retail scenario.

So I must ask myself, is it in the fantasy that the reality of value exists? And do we all crave a small slice of that high-class challah?

BG can no longer demand exclusivity as in the past   when Halston was asked to leave when he aligned himself with, wait for it, J.C. Penney. Gasp and clutch the pearls.

If one claims to be the best, are they? Who should challenge a belief system backed up with such confidence? Not me I’ll tell you. Whatever gets you through the day, that’s my mantra.

Yes, if it’s true clothes make the man, it follows that ambiance makes the store.

When one declares, “Scatter my ashes over Bergdorf Goodman,” are they actually saying, “let me luxuriate forever in that air of refinement and sophistication?” I want to spend eternity with Fendi and Dior and can you throw a bit of Alexander McQueen and Prada into the mix? For many there is of course some stability and comfort in knowing that lavish world still exists.

Beats the hell out of a desire to spend one’s eternity fighting off the Christmas rush at Walmart.

Still, I’ve decided that if I’m going to be doing time in some sort of eternal afterlife Costco would be the best choice.

After all, they’ve achieved a great business model, despite their whole cheesy warehouse cache. But on the upside there’s a bakery with a damn good apple pie, samples to munch on while I laze about unnoticed watching those still breathing, and of course if needed they offer a wide variety of underwear, shoes and giant screen televisions from which to choose.

“Hey lady, where did you get those samples of chocolate popcorn?”

No matter where you opt to spend your next foray into some sort of existence one consideration remains apparent if not a bit ironic; your ashes will be swept up a lot faster at Bergdorf Goodman than at Costco where ashes would only enhance the ambiance. So be like Indiana Jones and choose carefully or your whole afterlife could be really, really short.

Gold Dust Cupcakes

1 box yellow cake mix

Water, vegetable oil and eggs called for on cake mix box

2 containers chocolate frosting

1 tablespoon of edible gold luster dust

Heat oven to 350° F (325° F for dark or nonstick pans). Line 24 regular-size muffin cups with gold metallic paper baking cups. Make and bake cupcakes as directed on box. Cool cupcakes completely before frosting.

Transfer frosting to large decorating bag fitted with a star tip. Pipe frosting onto cooled cupcakes. Let cupcakes stand uncovered until frosting is set, about 2 hours. Gently touch-test frosting with fingertip-the outside should be dry to the touch. If frosting is still wet and smears, allow additional drying time.

When frosting is set, load small soft-bristle dry artist’s brush with gold luster dust. Gently brush over frosting portion of a cupcake until a gold sheen is achieved. Repeat with remaining cupcakes. A second coat of luster dust can be applied for intensified golden color.

Store cupcakes loosely covered with plastic wrap or in air-tight plastic cupcake-keeper.

I’m Speechless So I Guess Hell Froze Over

spinahricottaballs

I’m Speechless So I Guess Hell Froze Over

For those who know me and would never have fathomed I’d ever run out of things to say, I must announce that the day is finally here. Hell froze over and I’m speechless, dumbfounded and can’t even think of anything to write about.

This of course is no surprise because in order to find new and interesting things to say you need to live your life out in the world. Since that is something I can’t do right now thanks to COVID, what is new and exciting to report?

The world is an interesting place when you’re in it, but since we’re forbidden from venturing forth into the outside climes, well I have to admit it’s a bit boring.

Sure I could watch television and moan about the people going out sans mask, partying and spreading the virus to innocent people. Freedom schmeedom, because we’re free can we explode a bomb in a crowded theater? I think not.

Or perhaps I could bitch about the fact that the geniuses that run the states and cities are letting criminals out of jail so they can go on killing, raping and committing crimes in a safer environment. Should I sleep better at night knowing that someone who raped ten women is not in danger of catching the virus?

Maybe we can talk about the fact my hair looks awful, my nails are non-existent and my roots are growing faster than a politician’s lies.

We could talk about these things I suppose, but why? Life is depressing enough right now.

I’m well aware sitting home, watching television and eating isn’t a hardship, although most men would be far happier if their television schedule included sports. Sorry about that, guys. There are worse things than staying at home, sitting on the patio reading a book, feeding the squirrels and zooming with your grandchildren all day.

Yet, I’m afraid these activities don’t really make for very interesting conversation.

How many times can you ask a friend, “So what did you eat for lunch?” I sound like my father who felt monitoring his children’s caloric intake was akin to brushing your teeth each day.

I imagine one could ask, “So what did you buy online today?” Yet truly having Amazon deliver a box of Softsoap isn’t the most sparkling topic.

Besides who needs to shop when were all in our pajamas and sweats?

Okay, so here’s the deal…I’m making up a pretend life. After all I’m a writer and should have a vivid imagination so now’s my time to prove it. I’m going to tell you about the week I wish I’d had, but couldn’t because I can’t leave the damn house!

So in my imagination I’m in Roma. Italy, not Ohio. I didn’t need a plane to fly there because I took a magic carpet that I borrowed from a friend down the street who just returned from her pretend trip to Istanbul. Maybe I’ll fly there next week, no masks and lots of empty seats beside me on the rug.

Anyway we’re back in Rome and I’m walking toward the Spanish Steps. Boy, those are high and my feet are already complaining. I decide to sit for a moment observing all the thousands of people walking about in the square hurrying toward their next destination or favorite outdoor café for the world’s most delicious pasta.

Ahead of me is the Via del Corso, the premiere shopping area in Rome and women rush about carrying bags labeled Fendi, Gucci and Dior as their heels clackity clack on the cobblestone streets.

In the distance are the hills of Rome; magical and legendary like a painting by an old master.

Two kids walk by eating cones with gelato dripping down the sides, their mother wiping their hands as they struggle to keep licking their precious treat.

Four young men are standing at the base of the steps speaking Italian, smoking, laughing and checking out women as they pass. Italian men, gotta love ‘em. Some women pretend not to notice, but smile as they walk past flattered to be noticed and admired. I think how nice it would be to be young again as I pull out my phone and check Vatican tour times.

I grab a cab and head to St. Peter’s Basilica to see the impressive statue of St. Peter, his feet shiny and worn from all the pilgrims who’ve rubbed them in a desperate attempt to garner his blessings and help.

I stare up at the magnificent dome created by Michelangelo and I’m stunned by the way it catches the light filling the space with color.

To my left is a small alter containing two confessionals of dark, ancient wood. As I get closer I notice the worn steps at their entrances where so many have entered to ask forgiveness and a blessing.

I’m in line to enter the Sistine Chapel and look around at the unbelievable splendor of St. Peter’s Square filled with tourists, priests, nuns and worshippers from all over the world.

Some obese guy I’m guessing from New Jersey by his accent, in Bermudas and Adidas bumps into me and almost pushes me over as a bird poops on my shoulder. Damn, I just had this pashmina cleaned and I search for a Kleenex in my purse.

Ecstasy returns in the chapel as I’m instantly stunned by the sheer magnificence of the space. My eyes hardly know where to focus first. I sit on a bench and look up confused about what side to stare at and my eyes become glued to Adam and God nearly touching. I sit transfixed until I hear a loud clap accompanied by a loud shush. I return to earth and notice the room is still and wonder what’s happening. I continue to stare and in another twenty minutes the clap and shush once again.

I inquire about this strange incident to a nearby observer and I’m told it’s the Sistine Chapel shusher who regularly claps and shushes to reduce the noise level. I decide to apply for that plum job as soon as I leave and remain staring upward until my aching neck insists it’s had enough of all this magnificence.

I head out to an inviting restaurant in Rome’s ancient, Jewish ghetto to experience another Roman culinary masterpiece. My fat self is praying they have good stuffed squash blossoms as taxis and people whiz by me on the busy streets, overflowing with bougainvillea and the sound of clinking glasses and murmurs of “chin chin.”

I’ve left Rome and now I’m back from my adventure sitting on my couch, typing in my jammies and wondering if there are any of those yummy zucchini chips left over.

I’m wishing to see Rome again someday when all this craziness is only a horrible memory and life returns to whatever it will be. As long as Rome is still there, I’m good.

Happy travels on your own magic carpet, everyone.

 

Spinach Ricotta Balls

 

1 package 32 ounces of ricotta cheese.

1 package of spinach fresh or 2 boxes of frozen (if frozen squeezed out well)

Salt

½ cup of Parmesan Reggiano

A pinch of nutmeg

2 eggs

1 tablespoon flour

Spaghetti sauce (optional)

 

Drain the ricotta cheese in cheesecloth over a bowl until dry

Pour the ricotta into a bowl and add spinach.

Mix two eggs in a separate bowl. Add salt and at this point you may add a dash of your favorite Italian seasoning like basil or oregano to the eggs. This is your choice.

Add eggs to the ricotta and spinach and mix then add flour and mix until just incorporated.

Form into balls

At this point you may do a few things as you choose.

First add the balls to boiling water and cook until done and floating. Then serve them with sauce of your choice. May be tomato or make a sauce of brown butter and sage by melting butter in a pan with fresh sage leaves until the butter turns a golden color and smells nutty.

Second you may cook the balls in tomato sauce in the oven sprinkled with cheese. Enjoy!