Love at 10: styptics and cheese straws

A month ago, Tom gave me a styptic pencil. He'd ordered it because my weird body had managed to grow a pyogenic granuloma (PG), aka a flesh-colored mole-type thing that spurts blood at random intervals like a pissy volcano. Long story short, it's annoying, unbecoming and gross, and never in my life have I ever actually appreciated the little round Band-aids that come in every assorted Band-aid box. Until the past two months. When I needed them. And now have used all I'd acquired in a decade. styptic pencil

Anyway, because my PG sucker would bleed with even a sideways glance, T bought me a styptic, and I have used and traveled with it since. The styptic is an antihemorrhagic compound shaped into a pen-like object, encased in a handy travel container, that heals injured blood vessels in their weeping tracks.

Finally, having waited for weeks to get in to my dermatologist, I today had my PG removed. Dr. said, "You sure do get the rarest and most random of ailments." Cue memory of rogue bone growing subdermally in my hairline. And random mole on bottom of foot that I discovered when toying with Tom's loupe (only my darling nerd husband owns a loupe for no good reason) and thought, "Hell, that is ugly!" And weird spot on lower back. And stupid lipoma in upper back. And so forth. And so today, my PG. Not to be confused with the other dermatological PG whose G refers to gangrenosis. THANK GOD because who wants anything that has "gangren" as a starter-word.

I packed my styptic away once home and then cast my eyes upon my newest gift: a Marcato Biscuits Machine.

Now why, pray tell, would hubs have gifted me with an Italian-made cookie press? Em-i-lis tends not to make or enjoy cookies, so why? Why? Why?

Well, for love. Because this girl -moi!- wants to make cheese straws a la Louisiana and that dough is hard as balls to press through anything.

Cheese straws simply must be pressed through a star-shaped plate. Otherwise they look like turds -not authentic- and don't crisp as nicely. In recent years, I've been using the truly vintage Mirro Cookey Press I inherited when Tom's paternal grandmother passed away. It is/was an aluminum crank press that lacked seriously in the leverage department but has many swell plates and is not plastic. Ah, the good old days. With much sweat, exertion and determination, I've used that press to grind out dozens of cheese straws.

an old Mirro cookey press

This year, it gave out. And I have been on a tear to replace it. This past Sunday, I forced T to Sur la Table to investigate the Kuhn Rikon press. It has a caulk-gun-like lever but is plastic, so I was skeptical. It did not work and was returned.

At that point, desperation took hold and I hand-rolled cheese straws. T concurred that they looked like turds and lacked appropriate crisp and sooner than I knew it, a metal Marcato press was at my doorstep.

It is smart-looking, yes? I let my dough come to room temp, loaded it in and started caulking my parchment-lined sheet. No dice, people. I think I was scared. This is such a press! Overkill, really. So I left everything at the ready for T who jumped in with abandon, and damn if all my star-shaped straws aren't cool and happy and made now.

We may not have many date nights anymore, and if we do, they tend to be of the on-the-couch-in-pjs variety, but in the past couple months, I've been given a styptic pencil and a cheese straw press in sweet attempts to better my life. And after 10+ years of marriage, and great kids who nonetheless exhaust us and pets who are spoiled animal-humans, I love my blood-stopper and my insanely well-engineered, riveted press.

And that's love I think.