My boss from hell was a lumbering oaf who called women “foxes” and told us every time he had to “go to the head.” An ultra-conservative, he stomped around the office, haranguing anyone who didn’t share his political beliefs.

When I applied for a promotion, he told me I’d never get the job.

“I need someone to discuss politics with,” he said. “Besides, I don’t like your boyfriend.”

When I started to protest, he shook his finger in my face and said, “Don’t get uppity with me!”

This was around the time of the Anita Hill/Clarence Thomas brouhaha. So I left work and went to the neighborhood book shop, where I bought a bumper sticker that I plastered on my office wall.

Its message?

“Uppity Women Unite!”

“Uppity.” Webster’s defines it as “acting as if you are more important than you really are, do not have to do what you are told to do, etc.”

I disagree. I think “uppity” is misconstrued. “Uppity” is assertive. Confident. Unafraid to bust through the status quo. It’s something I aspire to, thank you very much, Mr. Former Boss (whose name I won’t reveal, only to say it rhymed with “Meadow”).

I made this appetizer for a party last night. It was uppity in the best of ways: Spicy; tangy; completely original.

Perfect for uppity women everywhere.

Bloody Mary Shrimp Shots

shrimp apps2

I’ve played with this appetizer for many years. It’s based on an ancient shrimp cocktail recipe from Bon Appetit magazine. I tossed the thick, ketchup-based sauce originally called for in favor of a zingy take on Bloody Marys. Garnish these however you desire; I like a thin piece of celery, but you could use green and yellow pepper strips, cherry tomatoes or slices of fennel. Just be sure to use the freshest, best quality shrimp you can find.

  • 1 cup tomato juice
  • 1/2 cup vodka
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons prepared horseradish
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 pound cooked, peeled shrimp, tails left on
  • 2 stalks celery, thinly sliced

Combine the tomato juice, vodka, lemon juice, horseradish and Worcestershire sauce. Season with salt and pepper, then refrigerate until very cold.

Place 1 shrimp and 1 celery stalk in a 2-ounce shot glass. Fill with tomato juice mixture, and toast each other’s uppity-ness.

(This makes about 20 appetizers.)