The Name Game: “Nicknames stick to people, and the most ridiculous are the most adhesive.”

-Thomas C. Haliburton

Nicknames are funny things – sometimes they’re obvious abbreviations or less formal adaptations – like, say, Chuck for Charles, Sam for Samantha, Di for Diana. Frequently, they’re just terms of endearment – Babe, Sweetheart, Love. Many times, though, they are cutesy and sugared up ad nauseum: Honey Boo Boo (have you seen this show? Good God can someone please call Child Protective Services?), Chu-Chi Face, or some rhymey-schmimey number (Pookie Wookie comes to mind.)

Or, some that you have absolutely no idea how in the heck they came about but have serious sticking power. Like mine– I’m actually named after a certain furry woodland creature that shall remain nameless but it’s sweet and I love it and maybe one day I’ll share it with you (but if you ever visit us, you’d be able to figure out it out in a New York minute from the many, many, many clues inside and outside our home). The nickname I bestowed upon my husband seventeen years ago still makes me scratch my head about its provenance. But what I can tell you with absolute certainty is that you’ll never, ever find out what it is. Sorry.

And then sometimes, the juicy nicknames – well, they’re earned. Like our friend John’s. His nickname is Bob. Well, actually he has two nicknames, the other of which was brilliantly coined by my husband during one of those wild and crazy balmy nights a few summers back that involved two couples (ahem), copious amounts of wine, a 2 a.m. golf cart ride around the neighborhood and a very spontaneous after-hours “adult” swim at the club’s pool. But, I digress. Back to Bob. Unfortunately, this particular appellation wasn’t exactly born of great affection from his loving family who boldly, flagrantly tease his notorious behavior by wearing their “Got Bob?” t-shirts. Seriously. I’ve seen them. B.O.B is actually an acronym for a type of unflattering demeanor that occasionally possesses this typically laid-back man whose mantra could very well read, “It’s all good.”

But when our boy finds himself under severe duress, his alter-ego emerges from the hallow depths and B.O.B. shows up. I guess you could say it’s kind of like a conniption. Or throwing a hissy fit. Or, the brash proverbial “getting one’s knickers in a wad.” I am absolutely not judging here because, let’s face it, we’ve all exhibited some sort of B.O.B. moment one time or another (Adam calls me Goose or Squirrel when I’m acting particularly ridiculous, overly frightened for no good reason or paranoid). But can you guess what B.O.B. stands for? I’ll give you a little hint. The first word is the opposite of small. The second word is the opposite of young. And the third? Well, let’s just say it rhymes with witch. Are we all clear?

Adam and I have witnessed B.O.B.’s unveiling only a few times during our longstanding friendship and, for the most part, each incident was induced by one of his offspring’s undesirable teenage antics. But usually, The B.O.B. is short-lived and is generally quickly vanquished by an anger-quelling cocktail and everything is all good again.

But, speak about handling anger. I have to share this with you. I can’t even remember how Adam and I found out about this or who told us but, hand to God, it’s one of the funniest things I have ever heard in my life. And, it’s about my 84-year-old mother-in-law. She recently revealed to someone (?) that she secretly wants to be a superhero. But not just any superhero. And not to, say, bring justice into a corrupt world or to possess infrared vision or to be able to fly through the air with the greatest of ease. No. She wants to be the Hulk. You know, the Marvel comics genetics researcher, Bruce Banner, who, thanks to a gamma ray experiment that goes wrong, transforms into a raging green monster when he gets angry? Well, she said that she wishes she could be just like him so whenever someone made her furious (her hands pretending to shred her clothes and talking in an altered voice to mimic the Incredible One with bulging muscles), she could turn into the Hulk and beat them all up.

Oh, and by the way: Bob-alicious., if you’re reading this, you know how much we love ya! But this is a story/recipe for shish kabobs – hello! Kuh-BOBs, so you know I had to go there. Right? Right? This is for you, my friend.


Pookie Wookie Mookie.

Whether you prefer kebob, kebab or shish kebab, whatever you name these delightful marinated chunks of meat that have been kissed by a smoky grill, you’ll simply call them Fabulous. 

Beef Kabobs

Author: Cheryl Beverage Barnes
Recipe type: Entree
Serves: 4
Beef Kebobs
Beef Kebobs


  • 1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • ¾ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ¾ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • ⅓ cup red wine
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon Herbes de Provence
  • 1 teaspoon zahtar
  • 1-1/2 pounds boneless beef sirloin, cut into 1-1/2-inch cubes


  1. Place all marinade ingredients through zahtar in a large zip-top bag. Add the beef; seal and toss well to coat the beef. Refrigerate for several hours and up to one day in advance, turning the bag occasionally. Let the beef sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before grilling. Preheat the grill to medium-high. Thread the meat onto metal skewers. Place on the grill and cook 2 to 3 minutes per side; 8 to 12 minutes total (12 minutes for medium). Remove the skewers from the grill and wrap in aluminum foil. Let the meat rest for several minutes before serving.


…from the Picture-Perfect kitchen:

Planning: Serve the kebobs with grilled cherry tomatoes, quartered red onions and whole mushrooms. Thread the ingredients on skewers, drizzle some extra-virgin olive oil over each and season to taste with salt and pepper. Grill, turning occasionally, to cook all sides.

Product Purity: Zahtar is a lovely spice blend of thyme, sesame seed, sea salt and sumac that I purchased at Williams-Sonoma for around six bucks. Feel free to substitute an equal amount of dried thyme if you don’t have it. Additionally, the marinade works just as well with lamb.

Presentation: Create a little drama by serving the beef and vegetables on separate skewers. Couscous and pita bread are terrific partners for the kebobs.

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