Well, it’s about time. At last, it’s time for me to buy new running shoes. I’ve been wanting new running shoes since the old shoes I’m retiring were, in fact, new. According to the sinewy salesmen at The Super Runner’s Shop, you are supposed to replace your shoes every 350-500 miles. I’ve always thought that was a way to get you to buy new ones more often but I fully embraced the rule this year and started my countdown after the first run—I couldn’t wait to get rid of what was a big mistake. What happened was two pairs ago I went to the store when my knees started feeling achy, pretty sure it was time to send my sneakers onto their next life as shoes for the shoeless. (Really, they do that at the store and you should always donate your old sneaks to them). Then the Asics model I usually get was sold out in my size. “Oh, you should upgrade anyway,” Mr. Super Runner said as he convinced me to spend 50% more than I usually spend. I didn’t think twice because, unlike the bright blue of my old pair, these were pink and red, my two favorite colors. Much prettier!
It wasn’t until I was taking them off after their virgin run that I noticed something seemed off. First, I realized there was writing on the shoelaces. “What was that?” I squinted. Printed on the laces were the words “2008 ING Marathon.”
But that wasn’t all. The pretty design under the swoosh on the side wasn’t just a pretty design but rather an embossed photo of all the runners crossing the Verrazano Narrows Bridge!
Not even the inside was spared—the green insole bore a cheerful map of the marathon’s course. How had I missed the fact that I just bought the Marathon Edition of a running shoe for a marathon I had never (and would never) run? Let's blame my botched LASIK.
You see, I really hate it when people take credit for things they haven’t done. What if people thought I was trying to pass myself off as a devoted, serious runner when half the time I cheat, blow off the treadmill, and use the elliptical machine instead?
My reaction to the shoes brought back so many memories of when, in a life long, long ago I was a talent agent. As far as I was concerned it was my job to represent the actors—it was about them, not me. However, I worked with so many people who seemed not to understand that concept. According to one of my colleagues he had discovered every person the agency represented—I’m sure he would have found a way to claim Marilyn Monroe as a client had she not OD’d before he was born. His not so private chuckles about time spent with a Jon Stewart or a Calista Flockhart (circa Ally McBeal), when all of us knew his role in their careers was peripheral, were infuriating. Every sentence began with “I” and every story ended with “and thank God I was there.” It was beyond annoying but you know what? He was totally rewarded for it and his “look at me” attitude, whether deserved or not, sent him on an upward trajectory that shows no signs of stopping. Not a surprise to anyone who watches Entourage.
But there was one woman I had the good fortune of working with who, like me, always said “we,” “us” and never claimed credit for anything that wasn’t duly hers to claim. Also not a surprise she was not rewarded for that behavior. I haven’t spoken to her in many years but her warmth and honesty brought a humanity to a profession where it is sorely lacking. I still remember a dinner at her house in Westchester that made Carmela Soprano’s Sunday supper look like a snack: platters upon platters of antipasti, sausage and peppers, lasagna, breads, salads and bottles and bottles of wine.
I didn’t eat a thing the next day because, naturally, I had to see every course to the end and would never have passed on dessert. There was ricotta cheesecake and cannoli but it was her lemon squares that I never forgot. Recently I found a 15 year old photocopy of the recipe she gave me, after much pleading, and I finally made them. These are buttery, sweet, sour, crumbly and chewy. And all of the credit goes to Carol. She deserves it.
The Credit Is Carol's Lemon Squares
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2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 sticks butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup plus 2 teaspoon powdered sugar
4 large eggs
2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from 2 lemons)
Grated zest of 2 lemons
Extra powdered sugar for finishing
Cream together butter, 1/2 cup powdered sugar and flour until fluffy and well combined.
Press into 9x13 baking pan and bake 15 minutes until pale gold at edges.
In a large bowl lightly whisk together eggs, granulated sugar and salt until combined.
Stir in lemon juice and zest until well combined.
Sift 1/4 cup flour and 2 teaspoons powdered sugar onto egg mixture and fold in to combine.
Pour egg mixture over crust and bake for 30 minutes.
Sift extra powdered sugar over top and loosen edges with spatula or knife.
Cool completely and cut into 48 1 1/2 inch squares. (Or don't do what Carol did and cut into any size you like).