It’s so freaking cold out, with a sub-zero windchill, that the kids have had indoor recess for the past two days and are acting exactly how you would expect them to act. Even the dog has cabin fever, because although he loves the cold and the snow, it hurts my face too badly to stay outside with him for long; he is reduced to chasing the kids around the house and stealing everyone’s shoes for exercise.
After I sentenced one child to build a fort with another as punishment for pushing her, I knew we needed to get out. I was making cauliflower vegan cream pasta for dinner- it sounds both delicious and disgusting, doesn’t it? The recipe called for miso paste, which I didn’t have. I didn’t want to go out into the freezing cold but I didn’t want to stay home and force my fighting children to build forts with one another, either.
My need for miso paste won out.
I hardly ever go to the Jewel because it’s big, noisy, too-brightly lit, a little dirty around the edges and it induces my latent ADD, causing me to wander around the aisles forgetting why I came in the first place. So I avoid it like the plague, unless I need something random that Trader Joe’s doesn’t have, like miso paste.
Turns out, they didn’t have miso paste at the Jewel, either. So I did what any one of you would do after being cooped up with children and a hyper dog in sub-zero weather for two days: I bought a bottle of red wine. As we checked out, I remember what else the Jewel has that Trader Joe’s doesn’t: lottery tickets!
And the Powerball is over a billion dollars!
I asked to buy lottery tickets and the woman directed me to a machine at the front of the store. I took the bottle of wine I had just paid for and put it in my big purse. Then I took my children and walked over to the lottery ticket machine. Are you following me? I had a bottle of wine sticking out of my purse, while instructing my young children to help Mommy pick out a Power Ball ticket. Probably not my best parenting moment.
I understand that the odds of winning this billion dollar Power Ball are basically nill. But what if we did win? It would be the greatest story ever. I could just see us, being interviewed by Oprah, her asking us how we came to buy the ticket.
“Well,” I’d say. “I was going to make this amazing vegan recipe– Oprah, seriously, do you have the Thug Kitchen cookbook? Because you need it— I’ll have my chef get your chef a copy. It’s filled with awesome vegan recipes, plus, they swear all the BLEEPING time, so it’s hilarious reading a recipe that calls for one BLEEPING tablespoon of miso BLEEPING paste, you know what I mean?”
Oprah holds her belly, she’s laughing so hard with me.
“Anyway, so we were out of miso paste and it was freezing and I didn’t want to go out to the store, but my kids were driving me bonkers fighting with each other, and I was sentencing them to really weird things like, ‘You go build a fort with her RIGHT NOW!’ and ‘You pick up every single shoe that’s lying around the house, and I mean EVERY SHOE, before this dog hides them all!’ and I kind of just needed to get out of the house, so off to the Dirty Jewel we went. But here’s the thing, Oprah…”
And this is where I get all quiet, bite my lip and pet my bald, diamond-encrusted-collar-wearing Himalayan cat named Pastey, while trying to hold back tears. Then Oprah reaches out and holds my one hand that’s not petting Pastey the cat and her BFF Gayle, who is on the other side of me, brushes the hair out of my eyes and tucks a strand of it behind my ears, lovingly and soothingly.
“…it was fate. It was fate disguised as Miso Paste that made me walk into the Dirty Jewel and buy a lottery ticket. If it wasn’t for the kind of gross cauliflower pasta recipe missing that one ingredient, I would’ve never stepped foot out of my house on that freezing cold night. But I did, and we bought the ticket and….and here we are,” I say, sweeping my hand around my majestic estate where Oprah and Gayle have been spending the weekend with us.
Me winning the lottery will be the greatest American story ever told. Poor Mark Twain will be spinning in his grave, wishing he had spun a yarn as compelling as my Miso Paste Powerball Tale.
But keep spinning, Mark, because it only gets better.
From now on, instead of wishing someone “good luck!” everyone the world over will say, “Miso Paste!”
I will lead very exclusive seminars, teaching others how to channel their “Inner Miso Paste.” They will sell out and have waiting lists years long. Sometimes, I will lead these seminars on small cruise ships, as we sail around the globe.
We will donate money to our alma maters and they will rename all their sports stadiums and we will have private boxes where we watch the Fighting Irish at Miso Paste Stadium.
We will have compounds, family estates, and we will call them all Miso Paste, with slight variations depending on region. For example:
“Please, you must stay with us when you ski Aspen. Chalet Miso Paste is just diVINE!”
“The white sandy beaches are so restful, the water is warm–swing by and take a dip! Miso Paste de la Mer is calling your name!”
“Oh, that George Clooney is such a prankster. My nerves are frayed from summering beside him at Paste di Miso di Lago.”
Our miso paste experience will enter the vernacular and be used colloquially, like, “But what if he’s your Miso Paste? You should go out on a date with him because maybe it’s his friend you’re supposed to meet! He’s just the reason that gets you there in the first place! Your true love will already be at the party!”
Since I didn’t have all the ingredients for cauliflower cream pasta, I gave up and we had an Upside Down Dinner instead: pancakes, hash browns and scrambled eggs. My kids thought it was the greatest meal ever. And if I do say so, it paired quite nicely with the Dirty Jewel’s red wine. Miso Paste, everyone!