Last Tuesday night I had the girls over for one of our TNDs. On the menu was London broil marinated in a goodly amount of lovely ingredients, orzo with feta and tomatoes, which is a perennial favorite, and roasted asparagus. Earlier in the day, I’d emailed the girls to let them know that I’d also be roasting some brussle sprouts, so if they’d ever had an inkling to try them, now would be the time, since they’d be in a safe environment.
PS – why such the hate against brussel sprouts? They’re so delish.
The email was for naught, however, as I threw the sprouts and the asparagus (on separate pans so as not to co-mingle flavors) in the oven, roasted them to perfection, then stupidly left them in the oven – turned off – while I put the meat under the broiler. It wasn’t until later that the little voice inside my head that usually keeps track of these things, but who clearly was in the living room enjoying wine with the girls instead, drunkenly slurred to me, “Hey! Genius! Guess what happens then? Even when the oven’s off but the broiler is on? The vegetable keep cooking. Moron.” And I was all, “Shit.” My brussel sprouts were blackened to a crisp. Surprisingly nobody but me seemed disappointed. Huh. The asparagus barely made it out alive, but there was nothing left by the end of the night, so I think it’s safe to say that even roasted to within an inch of its life my girls will still eat asparagus.
Either that or they were just being polite.
But then again, they’ve never been polite before, and I can’t imagine they’d start now*.
Later, as we rubbed our full bellies and moved things aside so we could fit in brownies and slurp more wine, the subject of Judy Blume came up.
“Poor Judy Blume,” I lamented. “That woman is on the banned book list, like, four different times, at least.”
And that was all it took. We each wistfully reminisced about reading Judy Blume books while growing up, discussing our favorites, which of our moms wouldn’t let us check out which of Judy’s books, and how, if it weren’t for Ms. Blume, we would never know about periods, wet dreams, or what exactly it means to have scoliosis. (Because did anybody’s parents ever have any of those talks with them? A straw poll around the dinner tabled revealed a very firm no. Though that may be entirely due to the fact that we are all Catholics? And everyone knows Catholics are totally repressed when it comes to back braces.)
Sidenote: My friend JMac gave me a copy of the classic Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret a couple years ago for Christmas, and I eagerly dove into it, having not read it in a couple decades. I probably read that book three or four times as a pre-teen (because I was an avid book re-reader back then) and knew it inside and out. So you can imagine my surprise and disappointment then, when I got to the part where Margaret and her little friend are in the drugstore and buying feminine products, and discussing what kind of ‘belt’ they are going to get, only to realize that section had been updated to fit the times.
First of all, WTF?! And secondly, WTF?!??!?
But it’s true! And it’s reiterated at the end of the book, when Margaret gets her period and her mom’s all, “Do you need help?” and Margaret’s all, “No, I know how to put the pad on my undercrackers.”
That’s totally not how it’s supposed to go. That’s not how little girls are supposed to learn how to use feminine products. They are supposed to read about Margaret’s adventures and be all, “What the fuck is a motherfucking BELT?”
Sorry. But to know Margaret is to totally understand the oddness and curiosity of what the shit a belt had to do with anything. And I feel very strongly about this. So strongly, in fact, that I called my sister Elizabeth immediately after reading the book in this new age, despite it being 11 o’clock at night, to shout about the injustice.
“They changed the ending!” I yelled down the line.
“The ending of what!” she yelled back.
And when I explained, we mourned together the loss of the belt.
Those were the days.
Not that either of us or any of our friends ever had to deal with a belt, but still.
And we loved Margaret
And her belt.
So last Tuesday there we all were, crowded around the coffee table discussing Judy Blume and her massive influence on our lives, when brilliance struck.
We would start a Tuesday Night Dinners Book Club. The first book for our new club was obvious.
It is classic Blume. It was essential reading when growing up. It brings back sweet, girlish memories for us all.
And it will not take more than 4 hours to read.
As it stands, our next Tuesday Night Dinner will be taking place on April 15 (tax day!), and not only will we be celebrating the other girls’ birthdays (they are all April babies) with each of their favorite foods (the menu so far includes pizza, roasted carrots, garlic and parmesean mashed potatoes), but we will also be discussing Forever.
If you’d care to read along with us, please do. I will take copious notes of our discussion and post them for you all to read, interpret, ponder, and comment on.
Because it’s Judy Blume.
Everyone has thoughts on Judy Blume.
God bless that woman.
Her and her banned books. Each and every one of them.
*Tuesday Night Dinners have many sayings that go along with it, many –isms that are understood, several rules that are adhered to without question. The top two are: A) Pajamas at the dinner table are encouraged and somewhat expected and 2) We are not here to judge anyone in the room. Anyone outside of the room, however, we judge freely and without cause.