Off the Back of a Box


A girl can't exercise these days without watching somebody sear a steak, bitch about our president or flip a house.
If I am not already hungry, crabby about my outdated kitchen and the state of our country before I spend a little time on some contraption that only works if I plant it in front of a TV, I am defeated when I am finished.
I suppose I could switch to a movie channel.
But that would put me at an hour and forty-five minutes over my once a week slot of time to get into shape.
And that fifteen minutes alone of twirling back and forth on a seat that swivels, staring at the TV and getting all buff at the same time, is more than enough time for this mind to get into trouble.
But you know what?
Finally, after sixty years of working out, no I am not buff, but I have had a eureka moment.
It came to me while I was pushing a couple of three pound bar bells over my head.
It was as clear as a foggy morning before that first sip of steaming black coffee.
"Join the crowd," I heard a whisper.

"Who said that?"
"Get on the wagon."
"What wagon?"
"You could do it."
"I could do what?"
"You could have your own cooking show."
And that is how, Off the Back of the Box, was born.
"What's that Louisa?"
My sister says I am not telling the truth.
She says it happened because of that email she sent to me that said, "Millie, what are you having for supper?"
And I wrote, "Spaghetti out of a jar. What are you having?"
And she says, "Tacos out of a box."
Okay. It's possible that that was the first seed.
But then I went and worked out and it started to grow.
"What's that Louisa?"
She said that I haven't worked out since last fall.
Maybe Louisa should mind her own business.
Because once I have an epiphany, I have an epiphany. And it doesn't matter where it comes from.
And ever since it came to me, I've been writing away.
Creating my show.
It's all ready. I just have to work out a few details.
To begin with, I will need an offer from a cable network.
So, if you have an uncle in the business, be sure to mention Millie Noe.
I am not worried. Not after I throw your uncle my first pitch.
My next step will be to persuade my mom into recording the show. She gets a little nervous about technology. But she really shouldn't. She just lacks confidence. It won't be hard for her because she's a natural with cameras. Especially if you don't care about heads. She's so good at shooting movies that she made several that she didn't even know about. I mean, who else spends five days in sunny, sunny, Mexico shooting five days' worth of footage inside a beach bag of multiple shades of blue stripes. It was brilliant. Brilliantly blue. Those movies of hers were real pretty. And combination of colors with the soundtrack of waves, "Hola Senoritas. Cervezas for you?" And my mom screaming, "Ten percent!
"How can my battery be down to ten percent?"

You've got some pretty good shit.
One Christmas Eve, my mother's cutting-edge films had us all in tears. And it was a holiday that needed some cheer.
And then lastly, there is Louisa.
I am going to have to convince her to be my co-star.
Louisa is camera shy and bullheaded.
She's a Taurus.
But if I fix her up a gin and tonic with a slice of lime and toss a couple compliments her way. You know.
"Louisa you should really be in movies. You are so gorgeous. Your beauty is going to waste. Oh, come on. P-a-l-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-z. Why not? Come on!"
I think she'll eventually give in.
She always does.
And Louisa will be perfect for her action-packed role.
You know how Clint Eastwood always played himself in those old westerns, riding horses and shooting up people?
Same thing.
Louisa can just put her glasses on and boss me around.
Like she always does.
On our first show we are going to make a pot of coffee.
I'm thinking eight cups.
But I am open for suggestions. If they want to go for six or ten, I can adjust my script.
On our second episode we are going to tackle a frozen pizza. And if we can get our cousin Joy to come down from Oshkosh to work my mom's timer for us, which I am sure she will do, because why wouldn't she? It might actually turn out.
And the third show?
It's going to be a good one.
"What's that Louisa?"
My sister doesn't like rice.
Who doesn't like rice?
It's rice.
"Fine. We'll do pasta."
It's apparent that this is going to be a bit of a balancing act. But that's how it always is behind the scenes. What you see on TV is not real life.
But that's fine.
I like a challenge.
And I really don't have to cross off that much of my writing.
All I wrote down so far was, Rice.
And we are going to have wine on our show.
Because cooking shows with wine are always successful.
Julia Childs.
The Galloping Gourmet.
And on every episode, as soon as Louisa tosses that box away, because you know she will, I am going to ask her a question.
"How long am I supposed to let this simmer?"
"Wait. What size pan did you say?"
And the killer.
"Hey. Was I supposed to preheat the oven?"
My mother, bless her heart, will be zooming in on Louisa's booty as Louisa digs for the directions out of the trash, because that is probably about where the camera will be aimed anyway.
"What's that Louisa?"
Uh. Oh.
My sister thinks I am talking about her.
"No. I didn't say anything about you."
She can be paranoid.
While I'm working out these last few bugs for, Off the Back of the Box, I am spending the rest of my time working on a cookbook.
Because in case you didn't know, it's all about saturating the market.
Getting in everybody's face.
Pissing on every blade of grass.
And unlike our Friday night bowling team, Time to Spare, I do not have the luxury.
Thankfully cookbook authors never cook. I really doubt if they have the time. I am sure that they just sit on their couch with a glass of wine in one hand and a pen in the other and make shit up.
And since I excel in sitting on the couch with a glass of wine in one hand, a pen in other and making shit up, it's a win, win.

Here is a sample recipe from the soon to be released, Virgin Recipes by Millie Noe.

A Diversified Chicken
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 lb package of asparagus spears
1 lb portabella mushrooms
6 cloves garlic - minced
1 red onion - sliced.
1/2 lemon (juice)
1/2 lime (juice)
1 package Zatarin's Red Beans and Rice
1 large glass Chardonnay
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 tbs olive oil
Sour cream

Sautee chicken breasts in olive oil, remove and place in 9 x 13 pan.
Sautee asparagus spears and mushrooms in olive oil and place over the chicken.
Add contents of red beans and rice, one cup water, one cup chicken broth and 6 cloves minced garlic.
Bake covered at 425 degrees for forty-five minutes.
During this time relax on your sofa and polish off what is left of your Chardonnay.
Remove and let stand for five minutes.
Garnish with sliced red onions and juice from 1/2 lemon and 1/2 lime.
Serve with a heaping spoonful of sour cream and salsa, if desired.

Once you add salsa and sour cream to any recipe, it's going to be good. So, I am going to go ahead give this one five stars.
If anybody actually makes this virgin recipe, let me know if it's any good.
Maybe you could snap a picture and send it to me.


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