You know who my favorite author is, right?
And how much I like to stalker stan the cheese outta her, right?
LOL. I am not THAT bad. I am getting better.
I am not all that shellshocked when I see her these days. No wide-eyed starstruck ratcheness. None of that can't-barely-talk foolishness.
None of that.
I consider us friends. So I can talk to her any ol' kind of way, lol. And she is much accustomed to my laid back, ebonically inclined self. I'm not much of a phone person, but she is one of the few people I will call out of the blue. (As a matter of fact, I have a really good food-for-thought post coming up that came from one of our phone convos.)
I knew she was in town for Christmas, and she always plans her days. I needed a 15 minute spot on the list. I haven't seen her since May, and that was at a book signing, so I wanted to see her.
I know she likes oatmeal chocolate chip pecan cookies, so I give her a batch when she is in town.
So I told her if I didn't get a chance to see her, I would drop them off at her mama and nem house over in SWATS. They live only 10 minutes away from me.
So here's her batch of cookies.
After MUCH arguing, I also made some oatmeal raisin walnut cookies too. The argument was over what to make for her mother. Tayari kept whining "Me and Daddy like the oatmeal chocolate chip!"
"Me and Daddy blah blah blah..."
I got lost going over to her house, and when I got there, I almost didn't recognize her. She didn't have her usual twisted hairdo.
She had what she called her "Dianhn Carroll holiday hair". And she kept shaking her head, and flipping her hair with her hand.
This is what Dianhn Carroll holiday hair looks like.
I like it! And it had a bit of color to it! It reminds me of Dianhn Carroll during her Dynasty days!
She was at the door hollering "Nettie! Me and you will never part" and doing that patty cake thing.
I let my car window down and hollered "Look at that hair!! Hair, gal! You got big hair!!"
It was a press and curl. I fluffed it with my fingers... to make sure it wasn't a lace-front wig, you see.
No it was not. She had indeed pressed and curled her natural hair as she does from time to time.
She even had a specially made Christmas Eve dress.
Let it be known that she would NOT allow me to take pictures until she had on her full makeup and holiday gear. I was just stopping through to say hello and drop off cookies. This should not have taken but 15 minutes. But she made me wait a full 2 hours before she went upstairs and changed.
"Why are you holding me hostage, man!?" I hollered a couple of times.
In the meantime, she was prepping macaroni and cheese for Christmas day dinner.
And she was doing it with much "Dianhn Carroll Dynasty" attitude. This confused me something awful.
It didn't help that I kept asking "You need some help over there, Celie? Because you look like you having a hard time over there. Boiling macaroni ain't that hard!"
Then I would laugh. And she would give me the evil eye.
She finally got the macaroni situated. It looked a little pale to me, though. She doesn't put the cheese on top until the Christmas, and she finishes baking it then. That makes sense. Otherwise, no one wants pale macaroni and cheese!
I told Tayari, I don't wanna hang out with her anymore! I want to hang out with her Mama and Daddy! Mama and Papa Jones are pure entertainment!
You see... Mama Jones taught me the trick of putting whole vanilla beans in cheap whiskey to give it some flavor.
"Open it up and smell it," Mama Jones said.
*lee taking too hard of a sniff of the whiskey... and nearly passing out*
Yeah, that's a good trick. I don't drink whiskey, but I sure will rememeber it. That's a good trick! Maybe I can do that with some lemonade.
Mama Jones sho nuff was in the kitchen cooking hard.
She was making a pot of collard greens with ham hocks... It's rare to see people make greens with pork these days. Everyone uses smoked turkey. We had a whole convo about the search for ham hocks. It is tough to find bootleg pork these days, unless you go to some corner store that sells that type of stuff.
She also made a pan of cornbread.
That is PERFECT cornbread. I wanted a slice, because it looked good. But I didn't ask. She was going to use that for her cornbread dressing. And if someone snatched a slice when no one was looking, she would've known it was me. Hmm. Not a good look.
I could hear them talking about me. "Tayari, don't invite that girl over here. Ever again."
Anyway, the convo went back to adult beverages.
Mama Jones wanted to make Pomegrante martinis, but had never made them. (This caused Tayari and Auntie Jones to grown in unison. Papa Jones didn't seem to mind much, as he was drinking mimosas).
I, however, used my smart phone to find several recipes. We agreed upon one.
There was MUCH coaxing going on to get me to have a martini. My answer was always "No ma'am. I don't hold my liquor good. And I gotta drive home. And it's not a good look for me to passed out on ya'll's floor or sofa."
(There was NO way that I was going to sit up there and drank in front of Mama and Papa Jones. Not in front of high level academic folks and folks who were active in the civil rights movement. NO WAY, man.)
And I didn't want Tayari to have to hear "Don't invite that girl over here ever again".
I know we must've spent an hour discussing the martini concoction. I'd never had one, but the internet is always a trusty source.
Mama Jones even zested an orange.
You know me. You know what I do for a living. I wanted to ask "Is that orange a certified organic orange? And if it ain't, do you know it has thiabendazole, imazalil, and other fungicides sprayed on it?"
LOL. Now you know I didn't ask her that. I took my Dr. LadyLee hat off. I just stood there in the kitchen and watched Mama Jones zest her orange with much glee.
We had a LONG discussion on converting ounces to tablespoons. I told Mama Jones that I only work with milliliters and grams. I don't know nothing about ounces. But she figured it out.
The recipe we agreed on called for much more liquor than pomegrante and lemon juice. This concerned Mama Jones a bit. I told her I suppose you are just trying to flavor and color up your liquor. The point is the liquor!
And she made a fine martini.
Thank goodness it only contained an ounce of martini. We'll call it a mini-martini.
It was GOOD!
"Mama Jones," I said. "You did a fine job. I taste hints of lemon and pomegrante. That orange zest was a good idea. And I can feel the liquor burning in my chest."
Yes, it was good. And burned my chest.
"You want some more?" she asked.
*ladylee shaking head vigorously*
It was near time for me to get on home. But not before getting a picture of the Christmas tree!
Oh yeah... the BEST part of my visit? What I forgot to mention.
Tayari let me read excerpts of her next book.
Now, I'd gotten into whine and stalker mode. "Chick, look here," I said. "It's like this: I ain't trying to do all this pleading and begging, because we're homegirls now, SWATS rolling, and that ain't necessary. But you know you need to go head on and let me read what you've written. You need to give it up."
She said no. I continued to talk trash... and beg.
And plead. And beg some more.
She let me read a couple of paragraphs on her I-phone. She told me to give the phone back. I almost got the notion to run out the house with her phone. But I decided against that. We SWATS chicks. In other words, it was not a good idea to be seen fighting in the front yard.
Good stuff, Tayari! Put me down for the next reading and review crew like you did with the last book! Really though!
In the meantime, send me whatever you are writing. (Yeah, that's not going to happen).
I had a good time with her and her fam. Like I said, Mama Jones, Papa Jones, and Auntie Jones were tons of fun. Hours of entertainment!
I'll holler at you next time when you're in town, T! I surely will!