Thursday, October 31, 2013

Halloween Meatloaf

I don't know why but I suddenly whipped up a meatloaf. Pain de viande. It goes well with the local applesauce. Although it is Halloween, I can't stay up. I have been vertical all day. I am exhausted. Good night

Ducking Grief by K.A. Leddy

Article: Ducking Grief

Tentatively, I learned to duck and to weave my way through life. If I was in the grocery store and saw a neighbor or someone from my children’s school in the cereal aisle, I would rush down another aisle. Then, if I saw the person again two aisles over, I would head for the deli section. If I was clearly cornered, with no possible retreat, I would bend and pick up whatever item was close at hand, perhaps a can of green beans, and appear to be engrossed in its label. I did my best to make myself unapproachable. If that didn’t work I sometimes abandoned my cart mid-aisle and darted for my car. My husband would have to do the food shopping that week.

Simple Joy

Simmering apples that I harvested from the neighborhood apple tree.

Fernando Botero

I have been obsessed with Botero since I was a child. I used to play with the distorted reflections of the gigantic electric coffee percolator that was beside me at the breakfast table. My step-father showed me the artwork of one of the illustrators he represented: Roy Carruthers. From there I discovered and followed the artwork of Fernando Botero.
Fernando Botero was born the second of three sons to David Botero (1895-1936) and Flora Angulo (1898-1972). David Botero, a salesman who traveled by horseback, died of a heart attack when Fernando was four. His mother worked as a seamstress. An uncle took a major role in his life. Although isolated from art as presented in museums and other cultural institutes, Botero was influenced by the Baroque style of the colonial churches and the city life of Medellín while growing up.

He received his primary education in Antioquia Ateneo and, thanks to a scholarship, he continued his secondary education at the Jesuit College of Bolívar. In 1944, Botero's uncle sent him to a school for matadors for two years. In 1948, Botero at age 16 had his first illustrations published in the Sunday supplement of the El Colombiano, one of the most important newspapers in Medellín. He used the money he was paid to attend high school at the Liceo de Marinilla de Antioquia.

Botero is an abstract artist in the most fundamental sense, choosing colors, shapes, and proportions based on intuitive aesthetic thinking. Though he spends only one month a year in Colombia, he considers himself the "most Colombian artist living" due to his insulation from the international trends of the art world.

In 2004 Botero exhibited a series of 27 drawings and 23 paintings dealing with the violence in Colombia from the drug cartels. He donated the works to the National Museum of Colombia, where they were first exhibited.

In 2005 Botero gained considerable attention for his Abu Ghraib series, which was exhibited first in Europe. He based the works on reports of United States forces' abuses of prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison during the Iraq War. Beginning with an idea he had on a plane journey, Botero produced more than 85 paintings and 100 drawings in exploring this concept[14] and "painting out the poison". The series was exhibited at two United States locations in 2007, including Washington, DC. Botero said he would not sell any of the works, but would donate them to museums.

In 2006, after having focused exclusively on the Abu Ghraib series for over 14 months, Botero returned to the themes of his early life such as the family and maternity. In his Une Famille Botero represented the Colombian family, a subject often painted in the seventies and eighties. In his Maternity, Botero repeated a composition he already painted in 2003, being able to evoke a sensuous velvety texture that lends it a special appeal and testifies for a personal involvement of the artist. The child in the 2006 drawing has a wound in his right chest as if the Author wanted to identify him with Jesus Christ, thus giving it a religious meaning that was absent in the 2003 artwork.

In 2008 he exhibited the works of his The Circus collection, featuring 20 works in oil and watercolor. In a 2010 interview, Botero said that he was ready for other subjects: "After all this, I always return to the simplest things: still lifes."


Happy Halloween, Yay Red Sox

Yesterday I wore red tights in honor of the Red Sox. I bought Halloween candy at the Bellingham Plaza CVS. Lily waited quietly sitting, outside in view, tied to a tree. I ran in and bought my four favorite candies on sale: Kit Kat, candy corn, Whopper's, Reese's peanut butter cups. On the way home I found some candy in Precious Blood Cemetery in a tiny plastic bag: Gobstoppers, and Taffy, and Twizzlers.

Venus was in the night sky during dinner. We ate jook and coleslaw by candlelight, and had candy corn for dessert.

This morning the crescent moon is beautiful. Breakfast was black coffee and a Reese's peanut butter cup!

Hurray for the Red Sox, especially Ortiz.

We missed the game (I am too emotional to watch anyway) but we're glad to hear they won.

I want to read Lovecraft today.

Brave Combo Dream

We got to sleep at 8PM. Bill's alarm went off at 4AM. I rolled over and had this dream:

I dreamed my favorite band BRAVE COMBO had a gigantic fish on stage, and touring with them. The fish was alive and three inches thick four feet tall on the short side and five to six feet long. They lowered him out the window to breathe fresh air on the forest floor with the leaves but brought him back on stage. We were in the audience swinging on trapeze-like seats and I was afraid my flip flops would fall off.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

how well you've failed

if you fail,
think of how well you've failed

and how all you really need is a good
view of the sky

-Joyce Sutphen

Adopting a Cow

We are happy that you have decided to adopt a Cow. Cow adoption is a wonderful way to provide a Cow a second chance and caring environment. Most pets arrive at shelters because the owner had to move, could no longer afford the pet, had a death in the family, or simply gave up the responsibly of being a care taker for a Cow. Before bringing home a Cow, make sure you have considered the full impact of your decision. Below is a brief overview of the type of needs a Cow might require and what you will need to consider for the life time care of a Cow. First most, understand that no matter what, even if you buy a Cow for sale, or adopt, as a new pet owner it is your responsibility to care for the Cow it’s entire lifespan. Part of that responsibility is taking time to understand the basic needs of a Cow. At the top of that list should be getting know the diet of a Cow. Find out how often and what a Cow needs to eat. Next, what shelter do you need to provide? Get to know what habitat a Cow is accustom to, what temperature will the Cow need to maintain, and what range of temperatures are acceptable for a Cow to survive. It’s usually a good idea to get to know a little more about Cow habits, temperament and relationship with humans before adopting a Cow. For example, can you handle a Cow. What is an indicator if a Cow is being aggressive and senses fear? Some pets will maintain much more happiness as long as they live socially, does a Cow need a companion pet in order to live happily? What exercise does a Cow need regularly? Cow adoption can be an enriching experience, and is a big decision. Whatever pet you adopt will demand certain lifestyle changes, and a financial commitment. Estimating the monthly costs of owning a pet is just as important as making sure you have the time and motivation to feed the Cow when necessary, and provide a safe environment to live.

Farm Run Smile


Don't Audition life!

A woman I ran into on my walk said You're always smiling! No, I'm not, I actually have plenty of anger and foul moods, just ask my husband, but walking usually makes me smile. I think it's the endorphins. It helps in winter to walk towards the sun for warmth and vitamin D.
Yesterday I saw her and she said I tried the walk and I didn't smile.
I wondered what to say.

Don't audition life! Get in there and make your life happen.

Just Listen


Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Boiler Day

Today was boiler day. I moved the car sized brush pile blocking the gate so the oil man could deliver some oil, then the boiler checkup had surprises, first flames shot out of one thing, the sweet boiler man said "Wow there's a first for everything." Then he discovered the fire box of bricks inside the boiler was caved in. I saw it too, a heap of collapsed broken bricks. So we are on stand by. Luckily it is not zero degrees out and we are alive and kicking. I say that because I have been hearing about too many deaths this week, and it's only Tuesday. Lily has been so patient. I skimmed the schmaltz off the half gallon of chicken stock I made yesterday and added leftover brown rice and I chopped some carrots, onion, garlic, Glenda's cute little peppers, and a wedge of cabbage to make it into chicken soup with rice, the cure all. I ate fist fulls of my molasses granola with black coffee, I'm off to walk, and ready for bed.

Monday, October 28, 2013


We harvested a whole bunch of apples tonight just before sunset with my friend Glenda and her dad and her daughter. We used a rake and we held out a tarp for catching them. We laughed a lot while we filled up our cardboard boxes. John came out too, he had a pole for shaking the tree. Too much fun.

Yellow Delicious!

There were six police cars and detective vehicles next to the All Saints Church parking lot, at Dean Street. They were all walking around the apartments. The COX cable guy working on the sidewalk said hi to Lily. Wow that's quite a lot of cops I said. Attempted domestic assault he said. I hope nobody got hurt, I said. No, but there was a guy with a knife. The woman called 911. They're fast around here. The Woonsocket cops are really good, they always get their man, I said. I know. They are on every corner. I want to join the force but my knees are bad, he said. You can get new knees now, and be my age. Yeah, it's true, he smiled. One of the apples dropped and Lily ate it. I had to bend a lot of branches to reach them. I had filled my basket and my shoulder bag. When I got home I filled the sink with cold water placing the apples in there to float. I cut up the largest one. A yellow delicious!

Pancake Animals

I think I have fallen in love again, with making multi-grain sourdough applesauce buttermilk pancakes. Maybe because my house is cold and pancake-making is a job that keeps me warm standing between the 1960's Westinghouse electric griddle and the built in 1960's Thermador oven. The pancakes are portable too, so I sent my husband off with a stack of them.
Pancakes remind me of my happiest childhood moments when my step father would get up early on a Saturday morning and mix up the batter and pour it into animal shapes. They were hilarious batter-renderings of an elephant, horse, rhino, giraffe, brontosaurus, turtle, snake, pig, dog, wolf, cat, sketches that we could eat. My sister and brother and I were thrilled to share a rare and precious moment with him and to be having fun. It doesn't get any better than this. Sadly my mother felt upstaged, and put a stop to it all.

At the Table all Day

My house still smells like 550 degree roast chicken and the windows have been open for two days. I made chicken salad for Mary Mom Calhoun and she loved it. I left a bunch for her. She loves my use of onion. She too loves raw onion, hot sauce and sucking on lemons.

What would Chinese medicine acupuncturists say about sweet people liking fermented and sour things. It makes sense.

John's Rathbun street apples were fantabulous. He said "help yourself" He knows the pear tree guy too. He said he works for public works running the street cleaners. I want to run a street cleaner and drive a Zamboni too.

Hail to our marvelous town!

I might go back with a ladder and my wooden red wagon--I need an apple picking stick or a chistera like jai alai or whatever that game is. John said otherwise they'll all go into the dumpster.

I can't climb ladders, I get dizzy.

I am addicted to the local throw away harvest.

I hear there's such thing as a sauerkraut pierogi--sold at the Polish deli around the corner. Wow, it takes a local to tell me what is right under my nose. I am always a tourist in my town. I must try this and learn to make them. I love sauerkraut.

Yesterday we drove with Lily and our picnic baskets, to see Mary Mom Calhoun. We made her brunch: bacon and eggs my applesauce buttermilk sourdough pancakes, John's golden delicious apples, my home made molasses granola, and my home made chicken salad. A feast. She is 81 and so sweet and glad for the company. We stayed at the table all day, just like my childhood Sundays. Bring back the feasting storytelling Sundays. I was sound asleep at 7PM.

Home Made Fruit Picker


Paradise is Under our Noses

Yesterday I was eying the apple tree at the corner and my friend John came out and said "Help yourself, they'll just go into the dumpster!" I tied up Lily and reached for the gigantic golden apples and filled my basket. John stood on his green wooden front steps and pulled at the apple tree branches so I could reach. The apples were so heavy, I had to cut the walk short! I am going back today with my red wagon.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Back Then

I am the last remaining Jew in my crazy NY family. This is my joke but everyone else in my lineage has denied their heritage, assimilated and changed their name. Luckily nobody got nose jobs, just botox! I seem to get more Jewish every day even though I am quite ignorant. I don't read Hebrew I never learned the Torah. I have been inside a temple less than five times in my life. My tongue is Jewish. I crave cabbage, borscht, potato knishes, kasha, onions, yogurt, tsimmes; brisket roasted with prunes and carrots, roast chicken, honey cake and seltzer; the Jewish champagne. My ears are Jewish. I love klezmer music! My toes are Jewish, I wear sensible shoes. My grandparents would be laughing now. Don't forget the books grandpa would add if he were listening. A full belly and a good book is all I need he'd say. He read National Geographic, the dictionary, Isaac Asimov and Gray's Anatomy when he wasn't sunbathing indoors in a rectangle of sun, or playing miniature golf on the green carpet, or looking at the bathing beauties on Brighton Beach through binoculars. Yes, it's true! He had a perfect view from the top floor of his apartment building. I even have vintage Kodachrome slides of grandpa posing with topless women on the beach. I guess that was a thing back then.

Brighton Beach Knishes

Grandma Sophie shopped at Mrs Stahl's.
Read this article. The comments are equally good.

Sleeping inside a Gigantic Chicken

It was a colorful windy walk. The cute house on Edgewater drive in view of the water is for sale so I told a friend who is looking. The kids were all out and it was a treat to see them in their colorful outfits. We talked about other people's dogs scaring our dogs and odd neighbor problems and our favorite candies for Halloween. I was in a great mood.

We like to race over to Jamie's on a Saturday because he is closed Sunday and Monday. We bought the chicken quarters on sale for 69 cents and I roasted them at 550 degrees on a trivet inside my dutch oven! The smoke alarms were sounding. I love chicken crispy chicken skin I love it more than potato chips but I have to be careful because it doesn't like me. I told Bill this was his birthday cake and we laughed. We lit candles and enjoyed the crispy-skinned chicken with brown rice and greens.

When it was time to go to sleep the roast chicken scent had traveled and stuck inside the bedroom. I felt like I was camping inside of a gigantic chicken. I woke up dreaming of making chicken salad with the leftovers.

My friends asked me to harvest their tomatoes so they don't go to waste and I might do that too. The neighborhood pear tree is bursting with out-of-reach pears. If I see the owners I might ask them about this. I have already left them a letter in their mailbox.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Knish, Knish

My favorite childhood food was potato knish from Brighton Beach where Grandma + Grandpa lived. Grandma bought them for me when we were out on the beach, from the knish man. He walked up and down the beach with a metal box with a strap, worn over his shoulder and he shouted Hot knishes here! Get your hot knishes here! They cost a dollar and were flat, stuffed in his box like a file folder between pieces of wax paper.

Out on the avenue there was Mrs. Stahl's knish store.

If you are in NYC go to Yonah Schimmel's knishery.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A classic potato knish
Alternative name(s) Knysh
Type Snack, Side Dish
Main ingredient(s) Mashed potatoes, ground meat, sauerkraut, onions, kasha or cheese
A knish /ˈknɪʃ/ or knysh is an Eastern European, and Jewish snack food made popular in North America by Eastern European immigrants, eaten widely by both Jewish and non-Jewish people.

Eastern European immigrants who arrived sometime around 1900 brought knishes to North America. Knish (קניש) is a Yiddish word that was derived from the Ukrainian or Russian "knysh" (Книш), meaning dumpling or cake. The first knish bakery in America was founded in New York in 1910." Generally recognized as a food made popular in New York by immigrants in the early 1900s, the United States underwent a knish renaissance in the 2000s driven by knish specialty establishments such as the Knish Shop in Baltimore, Maryland, Buffalo and Bergen in Washington, DC, or My Mother's Knish,in Westlake Village, California.

A knish consists of a filling covered with dough that is either baked, grilled, or deep fried. Knishes can be purchased from street vendors in urban areas with a large Jewish population, sometimes at a hot dog stand or from a butcher shop.

In the most East European traditional versions, the filling is made entirely of mashed potato, ground meat, sauerkraut, onions, kasha (buckwheat groats), or cheese. Other varieties of fillings include sweet potatoes, black beans, fruit, broccoli, tofu, or spinach.

Many cultures have variations of baked, grilled, or fried dough-covered snacks to which epicurean family the knish belongs including the Cornish pasty, the Scottish Bridie, the Jamaican patty, the Spanish and Latin American empanada, the Middle Eastern fatayer, the Portuguese rissol (rissole), the Italian calzone, the Indian samosa, the Polish pierogi, the Russian Pirozhki, and the Ukrainian Pyrizhky.

Knishes may be round, rectangular, or square. They may be entirely covered in dough or some of the filling may peek out of the top. Sizes range from those that can be eaten in a single bite hors d'oeuvre to sandwich-sized.

Marta Majewska's Photography + Pierogis

Food-folio here:

Whole-Wheat Pierogi (Polish dumplings) with Sweet Potato Filling here.

Perfect Pancakes

I just dusted off the 1950's waffle iron and made a batch of batter using my sourdough starter whole wheat flour, buttermilk and my homemade applesauce. The waffle iron broke mid bake, but we can fix it later. So I got the 1960's Westinghouse electric frying pan out and made pancakes while wrapped in blankets, standing at the quartz heater in my hat and three layers of fleece sweatshirts. I ought to put a flag out to get more eaters. Nobody would come to my cold-as-a-morgue ice house. Oh well, it's perfect for Halloween.

2 1/2 c whole wheat flour or I use my liquid sourdough starter w/ extra flour added
1/4 c brown sugar or I use white sugar and dark molasses combined
1 teaspoon baking soda
1-2 teaspoons kosher salt (to your taste)
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon (you can add ground ginger and ground cloves too)
1 teaspoon real vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups buttermilk or yogurt (we get it at price rite)
1 cup home made applesauce or pumpkin puree, or banana puree
4 eggs beaten

Thin or thicken as needed. We are very relaxed and improvisational around here.

Add granola, raisins, seeds or nuts, or anything you wish! Have fun. Send me your inventions!!

These are the best pancakes in the world because they bubble up and are naturally light.

We might have to throw a 4AM pancake party!!!

Bake Myself Warm

The house is fifty degrees. I am going to bake myself warm.


When I discovered I could make my own Wheatena cereal I was ecstatic. The results were a million times tastier than the store bought cereal. It's so simple. Place a thin layer of wheat berries on a baking pan. Put them in a 350 degree oven. As they bake take a spatula and redistribute the berries so they get toasted evenly and they don't burn at the edges of the pan. Stick around, they toast fast and they can burn easily. When the wheat berries darken a bit they are toasted. Let them cool off and then grind them coarsely in a hand cranked grain mill. I don't know myself but it might be possible to grind them in a coffee grinder or a food processor. Boil the cereal in water and salt. Enjoy! You can use the toasted wheat berries in bread and soup too. You can cook up the cereal and serve with vegetables as a supper dish or make a Middle Eastern tabouleh!

I love Web MD

My mother in law is a nurse and she turned me onto this web site. It is excellent reliable information for the curious hypochondriac and the worry wort within.Read

Denise Levertov

The lonely white
rabbit on the roof is a star
twitching its ears at the rain.

-Denise Levertov


I love broccoli more than life itself.

Friday, October 25, 2013

A week with two Fridays

It felt like a Friday on Tuesday. Even my husband's students said so. Were's finally here and freezing our butts off.

As a child I always felt that Manhattan was a beast, a vampire that devoured my parents. They were too exhausted at the end of the day, to deal with talking to us. They didn't have to worry though, someone else had the job of feeding us.

NEW YORK — At 4:32 p.m. Tuesday, every single resident of New York City decided to evacuate the famed metropolis, having realized it was nothing more than a massive, trash-ridden hellhole that slowly sucks the life out of every one of its inhabitants.
-The Onion

Sam Sifton


“We must have a pie,” David Mamet wrote in “Boston Marriage,” his 1999 play about Victorian women struggling not to talk like Mamet characters. “Stress cannot exist in the presence of a pie.”

It may well be true. For much of the nation, this is the season of deep winter blues, lake-effect depression, the sad pull of midwinter dismay. There is either too much snow or not nearly enough. The furnace clicks on regardless. Night comes fast.

Introduce an apple pie into the equation, though, and watch what happens — as a result not just of the pie itself, but also of the process of making it. Apple pie is a weekend project to slow the baker’s heart rate and restore belief in happiness. The scent of fruit softening, kissed by cinnamon, of buttery crust, of sugar caramelizing — these can combine into a fragrance of redemption for the cook and everyone else. The taste delivers bliss.

Of all the great pie bakers in New York City, the current champion is probably a young woman named Kierin Baldwin, who runs the pastry department at the Dutch, an American restaurant in SoHo. Baldwin serves properly fancy-dan desserts on her menu — a winter sundae with cranberry-pomegranate sorbet, cinnamon ice cream, maple caramel and brioche currently leads that list. These desserts are quite good.

But for the cognoscenti who think of themselves as Dutchmen and try to eat in the restaurant monthly at least, Baldwin’s chief business is pie. Her crusts neither shatter nor wilt but taste of flake and butter and salt; they encase fillings that are thick without being starchy and intense without being gooey. These are pies to offer the comfort of a family-movie third act. They are intensely delicious.

And for a home cook hoping to step up the pie game, Baldwin is a godsend. “I can get pretty geeky about baking pie,” she said in an interview. “But it’s a mind-set. It’s not difficult.”

Advice from a master, then: Start with a dough made from flour, cold butter and shortening, and scramble an egg yolk into the ice water that will bring it all together. Most pastry recipes advise strongly against “overworking” the dough, lest the crust turn tough. Baldwin tacks left. “You need to work the dough a little so that it will hold its shape,” she said. “You don’t want it so delicate that it won’t hold up to the filling.” The yolk helps a great deal in this regard, even in its tiny measure. So does a good, strong measure of fat.

Baldwin blind-bakes her bottom crusts before she fills the pies, cooking them beneath parchment paper and a layer of Goya beans she bought at the supermarket to use as pie weights. She doesn’t like the texture that otherwise forms below the fruit, she says.

You may well agree. But my experiments suggest a more-than-credible result without the blind baking — and in less time. For the weekend baker struggling only to amaze friends and family, time spent cooking is a crucial distinction. It’s not a kayak we’re building here. It’s pie for dinner. Tonight.

Nevertheless, all should heed Baldwin’s exhortation to precook the apples for the filling. It concentrates their flavor. “Apple pies that have crunchy, raw apples in them are a pet peeve of mine,” she said. Peel and core the fruit, cut it into slices, then macerate them in a plume of sugar. Cook these soft with a splash of acid (like lemon juice or cider vinegar) and a hint of cinnamon and allspice, then add some starch to thicken the whole. Allow the mixture to cool completely before using it in the pie.

(More advice, on apple varieties: “My preference is for straight honeycrisp, or pink ladies,” Baldwin said. “They have nice natural acidity and they don’t break down.” True statement!)

Now assemble the confection: crust below, cool filling above, more crust laid on top of this, the package crimped together artfully with the tines of a fork. Paint the top with an egg wash, cut steam vents and dust with sugar. Slide the result into a hot oven, on top of a hot baking sheet. This can catch any overflow of fruit and sugar, should the seal burst when the fruit gets to bubbling and the crust goes gold in the heat.

Which is when it’s done. Let cool for a couple of hours, ideally somewhere you can smell it. Serves eight, though you can cut it in four, as Yogi Berra famously required. “I don’t think I can eat eight,” he said.

All I need is Heat

It's 50 degrees in my kitchen I'm wrapped in blanket wearing my fleece hoodie, standing with Lily next to portable 1970's vintage quartz heater. She is cold too.

I chopped a whole bulb, about 12 cloves of garlic and added it to Price Rite generic (Hellman's) mayonnaise, and ate it on my whole grain sourdough toast.

An open face, in your face, sandwich! Yum! For a solitary worker only.

I had a few of these while my huge mug of hot kale sweet potato pork chop soup was warming up.

My heart is beating faster. I just read this article about the benefits of raw garlic.

They forgot to mention it keeps the vampires away.

Woonsocket's Moonlight in the Lime-Light

How many restaurants have their own marching band? Woonsocket's Moonlight House of Wieners does! And they took to the neighborhood stage parading smartly in their red aprons, black pants, white dress shirts, red baseball caps, and crisp bow ties. Local kids danced, waved and paraded dressed as wieners. Mom carried the banner. We're already planning for next year! This favorite restaurant in the heart of downtown, on Rathbun and Elbow Streets, not far from Bouley Field and Bocce Courts, says childhood joy all over it attracting both first timers and old timers, it's an all ages destination. Go in and say hi to Nagla. She is the star in the house of Moonlight. We love you Woonsocket! It doesn't get any better than this.

from a Yelper:

Being Halloween and all, the wife and I always journey out to a cemetery with a ghost story attached; this year it was Mercy Brown down in Exeter, RI. Since we're traveling down from Somerville, MA we'll need to eat and while checking out graveyard info on my wife finds ALL these funky places to eat. Talk about yer Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives it seems like the smallest state has the biggest food selection and specialties like Stuffies, Cabinets, Dynamites and Wieners pop out like fireworks on the 4th of July. Of all the places, Moonlight looks the best so we venture down on a Sunday afternoon hopping on 495 off the pike...

Entering Woonsocket & RI is strange since the border of the states seems to be someones backyard as we cross out of Bellingham (I think) and start looking for Rathbun Street on our right. The town has a fantastic vibe of good food and good times (perhaps too many "good times") on, shall we say, a low budget? We only notice the 2nd half of Moonlight, the "Pool Hall and Spirits" side and discover the tiny door leading into the diner on the left.

We step inside and I KNOW it was worth the drive; carrot orange wieners line the grill on the left and we jump all over the 3 wieners/fries/drink for $6.95 special and get a small Dynamite as well. The lady is SUPER nice and tells me to sit and relax while I wait. The dining area looks more like a Keno hall but it IS clean (as was the restroom) and I laugh to myself at a bickering couple with their wise-ass kid to the table next to me.

The atmosphere is the real-deal and I was reminded of Lawton's in Lawrence and KNEW I had a find. The food came and we parked around the corner to sit and chow. How was it? AMAZING! The wieners were a perfect balance of dog, toppings and bun. The Dynamite was saucy, messy and fresh-tasting as ALL hell. I forgot to get a coffee milk but, heh, gives me an excuse to return!

What is Aspergillus?


Making a New Language

I am energized, and renewed by going out walking each day with Lily. I am reminded of the big sad beautiful, interesting ever-changing world. A car is an exhausting energy-dissipating costly polluting machine where we travel in our own bubble. The only good part about driving is playing the radio: music and lyrics in motion. I get car-sick on the bus and home-sick for my dog whenever I must leave without her. Today I am wearing my 27 year old amber sunglasses. They make me feel beautiful. They are the right shape for my gigantic featured round face. I remember the day I got them. It was the 80's and I was at the mall. Today I have a migraine. This is mold season. I took the headache and allergy medicine. I am hoping it will work. I've dimmed the lights and pulled the curtains. I hung my laundry in the sun. Behold the clothesline and the clothespin. My two favorite inventions. I should do a clotheslines and signs photo-documentary. EA Marcoux has a great harvest-gold sign baked in the sun over the decades, the brown letters are peeling off in curls, making a new language.

Robyn Sarah

much softer
than my deserving.

- from Nursery, 11:00 p.m. by Robyn Sarah, from Questions About the Stars.

Radio Fado

Last night, while driving home in the dark, I caught a Portuguese radio station. They were playing Fado! It was very cold when I arrived back home even though I had closed all of the windows. The orange sodium-vapor lamp shone brighter than usual through our newly-bare trees. The lit window looked like a stage-set simulating night. I hung our dark blue fleece fabric over the curtain rod making the bedroom a true bat cave. I had the best sleep I've had in weeks!
Light Pollution's effects on animal and human health and psychology:

Medical research on the effects of excessive light on the human body suggests that a variety of adverse health effects may be caused by light pollution or excessive light exposure, and some lighting design textbooks use human health as an explicit criterion for proper interior lighting. Health effects of over-illumination or improper spectral composition of light may include: increased headache incidence, worker fatigue, medically defined stress, decrease in sexual function and increase in anxiety. Likewise, animal models have been studied demonstrating unavoidable light to produce adverse effect on mood and anxiety. For those who need to be awake at night, light at night also has an acute effect on alertness and mood.

In 2007, "shift work that involves circadian disruption" was listed as a probable carcinogen by the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer. (IARC Press release No. 180). Multiple studies have documented a correlation between night shift work and the increased incidence of breast and prostate cancer.

A more recent discussion (2009), written by Professor Steven Lockley, Harvard Medical School, can be found in the CfDS handbook "Blinded by the Light?". Chapter 4, "Human health implications of light pollution" states that "... light intrusion, even if dim, is likely to have measurable effects on sleep disruption and melatonin suppression. Even if these effects are relatively small from night to night, continuous chronic circadian, sleep and hormonal disruption may have longer-term health risks". The New York Academy of Sciences hosted a meeting in 2009 on Circadian Disruption and Cancer. Forty Danish female shift workers in 2009 were awarded compensation for breast cancer "caused" by shift work made possible by light at night – the most common cause of light pollution. Red light suppresses melatonin the least.

In June 2009, the American Medical Association developed a policy in support of control of light pollution. News about the decision emphasized glare as a public health hazard leading to unsafe driving conditions. Especially in the elderly, glare produces loss of contrast, obscuring night vision.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Important to Discuss


Segmented Sleep

Lately it's been more common for me to have segmented sleep. Between hot flashes and asthma, allergies and a love of quiet, I am happy get up at one two or three AM. I turn on Radio Classique, make coffee and read and write, standing at my desk. Sammy cat and Lily dog happy to have an early breakfast. My husband has to get up at four! Breakfast was at 4 AM today.

Luckily I can take a nap, and have two mornings a day! I return to my bat-cave with Lily at my side and catch up on the remaining hours.

Car Talk

Best Ways to Keep Your Car Running
By Tom and Ray Magliozzi, Click and Clack the Tappet Brothers

Bromberg + Josephson

Loved this article


Ms. Josephson, who was born in New York City, added, "Who knew lemons really grew on trees?

In Chicago, snow globes will freeze, so I put vodka in there, thank you very much.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

First Oatmeal

This morning my 40 degree kitchen inspired my first bowl of hot porridge. I boiled the raisins before adding the salt and oats. Then I turned it off and it sat while I ran upstairs and forgot about it. I love oatmeal. Even when cold and gelatinous it is delicious eaten as a snack, cut into a square, like a gloopy brownie!

Multicultural Kale Soup

I showed up to register Bill's new used 1995 Honda sedan at the DMV and there was a line outside even before they were open! But it was sunny and beautiful out. Nice and crisp. When we were let in by an armed officer, the sun was streaming in on the old long birch benches. I sat and enjoyed people watching. Two young Indian men were speaking. I loved their accent. This registry could be a super location for a coffee bar with their huge plate glass windows and the view up Pond Street of the old brick mill and the octagonal brick gasometer building. The actual car registration was easy. They gave me RI plates!

I walked over to Jamie's and bought the gorgeous center cut pork chops on sale for 1.99. When I got home I added them to the two bunches of kale that I had chopped and steamed in my biggest pot, earlier this morning. I added the pork chops and freshly chopped onions, chopped sweet potatoes with the skin, smashed salted and chopped garlic, celery tops. Then I added rooster sauce, sesame oil, soy sauce, red chilies, and a dash of hot schmaltz, that I've been saving in the back of the fridge for such an occasion then I added bloops of olive oil. The soup is fabulous. This kale soup is inspired by Portuguese, African, Jewish, Italian and Chinese cultures.

When I make soup things are not chopped to be uniform. Ladling my soups are more like fishing things out of the washing machine while it is still running. Bones and fat kept whole seem like shirts and sneakers. You have to keep your wits when you dine at my table. Just ask my husband, I've been known to throw whole cabbage leaves and un-pitted olives into a soup.

While I was out registering the car Sammy knocked the cutting board off the bowl of rising bread dough. I hope he didn't eat any, it would be bad for him. Eating fermenting sourdough is bad for cats and dogs it makes them sick. Years ago our dog Honey ate two small blobs of raw sourdough, and she was sick, staggering and drunk when we got home. It doesn't look like Sammy-the cat got any. I am hoping the noise of the cutting board hitting the floor scared him away. Sammy is more like a raccoon than a cat: Note to self hide rising dough in Bill's workroom.

I Love Cheese!

Years ago as part of research for the story of milk, I got to visit an Italian cheese plant in Providence. The owner greeted me with a hair net and mask. I had a blast looking around and tasting. I gave him a big brown paper bag full of my warm sourdough loaves. Who knew aged cheeses were being made in Providence factory using Munroe Dairy's finest milk.

Cheese can still play an important role in your diet. New research finds that most people who are lactose intolerant can digest some milk sugar, and thus enjoy some dairy foods daily, especially hard cheeses.

Most of the lactose found in cheese is removed with the whey during the manufacturing process. Most ripened cheeses, such as Cheddar and Swiss, contain about 95% less lactose than whole milk. Aged cheeses contain almost no lactose - only 0.4-1 gram of lactose per ounce. Processed cheeses contain about 0.5-4 grams per ounce.

Raw Tofu

We used to get tofu in huge buckets at the mail order food coop on Smith Hill in the 80's. I love tofu and when you have it fresh and on hand you find many uses for it. I made salad dressing with it and fried it and marinated and baked it. I love and crave all beans! Our friend Rodney Maxwell, master gardener, singer songwriter, used to grow soybeans and roast them. They were amazing. Endame?
I wish I did more gardening but I can't be in the summer sun. Maybe predawn gardening, by flashlight? Now there's an idea.
The Asian Supermarket FRIENDLY MARKET on Arnold Street has bulk tofu!! The Diamond Hill JobLot has rooster sauce!!
415 Arnold St.
Woonsocket, RI 02895
phone:(401) 597-0400

Yelp Review by Marlena V.

The name totally says it all.

Still on the prowl for a proper Asian market in the Woonie Bin, I stumbled upon a positive review for "Asian Fresh Produce Market." We took a quickie spin down the bizarre-looking Cato side street & winded up with convenient parking & an extremely spacious and well stocked 'lil market.

I -LOVE- their product section. So many inexpensive, fresh choices. Bok choy for $1.49? Mint, cilantro and basil for .99 cents? Seriously?! ....I winded up getting nothing I originally went in for after checking out their tea/beverage section. DIY boba-tea was calling my name. I also found my absolutely favourite pear/apple Korean BBQ sauce that even Asiana doesn't appear to carry anymore. Super psyched.

Toward the front there was also an extremely gracious array of prepared, tasty looking treats.

It is worth noting that they primarily carry southeast Asian grub so if you're looking to fix up a plate of Som Tam or Pad Thai you're in the right place. Oden or (Japanese) ramen? Not so much.

The owners are extremely friendly (the name, people, the name!) and since the last review in 2011, I do believe they accept credit now. (I spied a card processor on the counter but paid in cash.)

SO going back.

Orion in the 3AM Sky

I have not heard from the pear people who I wrote a letter to asking if I can harvest the abandoned pears. I might have to knock on the door or ring their bell, or skip it! The pears are amazing huge and delicious. They are wild and tastier than the ones groomed for sale at the supermarket. They are falling and rotting in their driveway.

The big yellow maple tree leaves are falling!

We made a lazy supper last night: my bread toasted with my best home made tomato sauce on top with Pecorino Romano cheese sprinkled on top. It was fast and good!

One more friend has decided to tell me that wheat is the reason for her life of misery. As a bread baker I am saddened. Bread is my medium for love, gratitude and friendship. I bake wholegrain sourdough loaves every week. I give bread as gifts for happy sad and unexplained occasions of bliss. I believe in the power of bread! Now I sound like Dr. Bronner's soap label.

My Providence friends, the Vennerbeck's believe in the power of pie to restore friendships, community disputes, and dissipate friction.
"You can't sustain a conflict when gathered at the table eating pie!" They said.

I believe if we shared home cooked food and hand made music with our local and global neighbors we wouldn't have war.

My San Francisco sourdough starter has been kept alive in my fridge for 13 years. I am curious, are middle aged women in Southeast Asia deciding rice is the reason for their misery? My friend rides her horse through an apple orchard but won't reach up to grab an apple because of the orchard uses spray pesticides. One friend has become vegan, one more friend vegetarian.

I love to make yogurt from local milk, and shop at my butcher shop. I can't help but wonder, are people, especially women, looking for a reason to be deprived? Do we have too many choices, as my Iranian college room mate used to say. Why not give up your car and take up the bicycle and eat freely and with abandon!

Where is Carolyn Knapp to write so eloquently on these things?

Musical Ecstacy


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Jupiter + Sirius in Predawn Sky


and read


I feel that I am entitled to my share of lightheartedness and there is nothing wrong with enjoying one's self simply, like a boy.
-Leo Tolstoy, In response to criticism for learning to ride a bicycle at age 67.

The bicycle is a curious vehicle. Its passenger is its engine.
-John Howard

When I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not despair for the future of the human race.
-H.G. Wells

Albert Einstein bicycle quote. Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving.
-Albert Einstein, letter to his son Eduard, 1930

I thought of that while riding my bicycle.
-Einstein, in reference to the Theory of Relativity

Bicycling is a big part of the future. It has to be. There's something wrong with a society that drives a car to workout in a gym.
-Bill Nye the Science Guy

Toleration is the greatest gift of the mind; it requires the same effort of the brain that it takes to balance oneself on a bicycle.
-Helen Keller, 1880–1968

Next to a leisurely walk I enjoy a spin on my tandem bicycle. It is splendid to feel the wind blowing in my face and the springy motion of my iron steed. The rapid rush through the air gives me a delicious sense of strength and buoyancy, and the exercise makes my pulse dance and my heart sing.
-Helen Keller

Let me tell you what I think of bicycling. I think it has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world. It gives women a feeling of freedom and self-reliance. I stand and rejoice every time I see a woman ride by on a wheel...the picture of free, untrammeled womanhood.
-Susan B. Anthony 1896

The bicycle has done more for the emancipation of women than anything else in the world.
-Susan B. Anthony 1896

The bicycle will accomplish more for women's sensible dress than all the reform movements that have ever been waged.
-Author unknown, from Demerarest’s Family Magazine. 1895

I began to feel that myself plus the bicycle equaled myself plus the world, upon whose spinning wheel we must all learn to ride, or fall into the sluice-ways of oblivion and despair. That which made me succeed with the bicycle was precisely what had gained me a measure of success in life -- it was the hardihood of spirit that led me to begin, the persistence of will that held me to my task, and the patience that was willing to begin again when the last stroke had failed. And so I found high moral uses in the bicycle and can commend it as a teacher without pulpit or creed. She who succeeds in gaining the mastery of the bicycle will gain the mastery of life.
-Frances E. Willard, How I Learned To Ride The Bicycle. 1895

I finally concluded that all failure was from a wobbling will rather than a wobbling wheel.
-Frances E. Willard

The bicycle is just as good company as most husbands and, when it gets old and shabby, a woman can dispose of it and get a new one without shocking the entire community.
-Ann Strong, Minneapolis Tribune, 1895.

To bicycle, or not to bicycle: that is not a question.
-Author unknown

Bicycles are a girl's best friend.
-Author unknown

You should ride a bicycle for twenty minutes every day, unless you're too busy; then you should ride for an hour.
-Author unknown

Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him a bicycle.
-Author unknown

The bicycle is a curious vehicle. Its passenger is its engine.
-John Howard

If constellations had been named in the 20th century, I suppose we would see bicycles.
-Carl Sagan

Newspapers are unable, seemingly to discriminate between a bicycle accident and the collapse of civilization.
-George Bernard Shaw

Life is like a ten speed bicycle. Most of us have gears we never use.
-Charles M. Schulz

It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.
-Ernest Hemingway

The journey of life is like a man riding a bicycle. We know he got on the bicycle and started to move. We know that at some point he will stop and get off. We know that if he stops moving and does not get off he will fall off.
-William G. Golding, Nobel Laureate, author of "The lord of the flies."

Cycle tracks will abound in Utopia.
-H.G. Wells

After your first day of cycling, one dream is inevitable. A memory of motion lingers in the muscles of your legs, and round and round they seem to go. You ride through Dreamland on wonderful dream bicycles that change and grow.
-H.G. Wells, The Wheels of Chance

Bicycles are almost as good as guitars for meeting girls.
-Bob Weir, Grateful Dead

As a kid I had a dream - I wanted to own my own bicycle. When I got the bike I must have been the happiest boy in Liverpool, maybe the world. I lived for that bike. Most kids left their bike in the backyard at night. Not me. I insisted on taking mine indoors and the first night I even kept it in my bed.
-John Lennon

When the spirits are low, when the day appears dark, when work becomes monotonous, when hope hardly seems worth having, just mount a bicycle and go out for a spin down the road, without thought on anything but the ride you are taking.
-Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Let a man find himself, in distinction from others, on top of two wheels with a chain -- at least in a poor country like Russia -- and his vanity begins to swell out like his tires.
-Leon Trotsky

When man invented the bicycle he reached the peak of his attainments. Here was a machine of precision and balance for the convenience of man. And (unlike subsequent inventions for man's convenience) the more he used it, the fitter his body became. Here, for once, was a product of man's brain that was entirely beneficial to those who used it, and of no harm or irritation to others. Progress should have stopped when man invented the bicycle.
-Elizabeth West


World Sleep Survey


Laundry in the Dark

I hung my wet clothes on the clothesline at six AM. Why do I love to hang my white T-shirts, Bill's button up school shirts and my colorful blouses, and dresses in the dark? Perhaps I am comforted knowing they are already out there as the sun is coming up. They are colorful flags telling a story about our life.

Jury Duty or The Woman who Fell to Earth

I got up at 2:30 AM, so I had time to read and write, then I packed my black book bag, lunch pail, and small Thermos-mug of coffee. I threw on a dress and headed out at 6:30 to catch the 7:05 AM bus. My shower and Lily walk would have to wait. I was running late! Just as I was a block from home, I remembered that I had forgotten my blue paper: the jury summons. I ran back breathless and slightly panicked, I will go to jail for being late! Luckily I found it in my dog-walking bag. The local bus will make me late! so I ran and ran, down the streets I usually walk with Lily, past the Woonsocket Harris Public Library, police station and YMCA. I made it to the bus stop and nobody was there. The streets were dark and empty and I am not used to being without Lily. Two big scary guys stared walking right towards me when a bus pulled in and parked. The red digital sign at the head of the bus read not in service. I felt better knowing someone else was here. Then the 54 Providence bus arrived, the bus driver looked familiar. Have I met her on my Lily walks? Probably! She told me the express bus was only 2 dollars with special RIPTA deal - a free return trip. I told her I had jury duty. She told me she has had it twice! One of the elderly passengers sitting up front took me under his wing and told me about his history of being a juror. I was glad to listen. Then he got off. The bus had automatic digital red repeating readouts of today's date and there were robotic announcements at every stop. I tried not to look at the LED lights, to avoid a headache. Lots of people, all with amazing faces got on and most of them were gazing at hand held devices as I gazed at them. Ladies had manicured fingernails and perfume. I had to look away to ward off the nausea of the computer screen scrolling motion. I had to take my emergency inhaler to breathe. I looked out the window feeling like I was traveling inside an elephant. The sun rose with my spirits. We arrived in Providence. The air was damp and the shadows were long. The sun was lighting up the river. I climbed the Providence Superior Courthouse steps and went inside. The entry way had a huge shiny marble-floor. The guard loved my vintage black lunchbox, and fed it through the scanner along with my heavy black book bag. Then I walked through and the bleeper went off. Is it my teeth? I asked? Your shoes! He said laughing. There was beautiful gold painted metalwork at the vintage elevators. They were exposed like the old Bloomingdale's elevators in NYC department store. The staircases had brass banisters. I went up in the elevator, past the frosted glass and wooden gold-leaf hallway doors. I was one of the first few to arrive. I was juror 14. The jury waiting room was stuffy with a drop ceiling. There were two booming televisions one in each room along with drugstore paperbacks. There was a a lunch room that had a soda machine, stacks of ladies magazines and a puzzle of the grand canyon. The overhead florescent lights were oppressive as a box store. I spotted an unplugged industrial fan. One man was at a lunchroom table reading the Providence Journal. I asked him if he minded if I turned off the TV volume and turned on the fan. No problem, he said. I wished I could dim the lights. Then the two room filled up with almost 200 people and we all had to file up the narrow marble stair case. I was last person to enter the huge courtroom. It had filled up. I was told by the jolly Irishman to sit in the front row. The room was nice and cool. I turned around and looked at all of the faces. The building was the same vintage and architect as the college building next door at RISD. A sheriff in black police uniform said Hear ye, hear ye and made a few announcements. He was not very theatrical. Does he have to say that every day? Where's his powdered wig? Then we heard the judge speak. She was very casual with frizzy brownish blond hair. She wore a black robe. Was she younger than me, or just wiser? There was a court stenographer with no chin, taking notes on a stenotype machine. We had to watch a RI made movie about jury duty on a huge old TV narrated by a local news anchor whose voice is extremely grating. The TV was very loud but it seemed to be a pep talk that answered all of our questions. I looked up at the ceiling to admire the beautiful woodwork. I could see my old RISD studio window from the court room window. On the way out I ran into a fellow artist from the Foundry Studio days and we chatted up a storm and ended up having lunch together at the restaurant next door at the break. Then they asked jurors who are being compensated by their employers to please volunteer to come back tomorrow and sent the rest of us home at 3:45. Once outside I heard a very tall black man in the courtyard saying to a woman with dark hair, They kept me for 60 hours with no heat in a little room.
I was eager to get home to Lily. I was exhausted. The bus home stopped at every office park and shopping mall. The Providence and Lincoln trees were much more muted yellows and browns than in Woonsocket. As we neared Providence Street I was ready to get out and walk home but I waited until we got to the beginning spot which was now the end spot, under the two billboards, next to the railroad bridge behind Chan's. I walked past the library, happy to be back in the neighborhood. I felt freed and relieved after a day in captivity especially knowing I didn't have to go back. Lily had missed me as much as I had missed her and I missed my life!

Ducking Grief

Amazing article.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Raspberries, Pears, Apples

We had street picked raspberries dessert with the local pears from Robin's neighbors. Last night I wrote a note with my name and email and phone number and address asking the owners about harvesting the pears of the gigantic pear tree in the yard behind Robin's house. They are overflowing falling rotting in the driveway. I took a few anyway and chopped the rot, and steamed them. They were great!

Saturday I went outside and the whole neighborhood smelled so good, like Italian food! Who was cooking tomato sauce? I went inside and immediately started to make tomato sauce as if I was answering the call, taking a solo. This is why advertisers are rich--the power of suggestion. Imagine a smell-evision! How awful that would be.

Poor Bill--I have the fan in the window blowing 40 degree air at us and he is under four quilts! I still throw off the covers!

The leaf colors are holding but they aren't as bright near Harris Pond. Maybe the pond is keeping things warm. The trees are muted beautiful but muddier colors. Our street has shocking highway department orangey-yellow trees!!

This morning we are each taking the Colbrook New Hampshire 'Two Sparrows' orchard red-skinned apples to school, and to the court house.

I have my bus schedule, my Paul Theroux book and my eye glasses and allergy medicine water, granola, yogurt applesauce. All I have to do now is shower, walk Lily and get dressed. I can catch the early express for only two dollars from behind Chan's restaurant to Downtown Providence before daybreak. The courthouse is about 5 blocks away and right next to my old college painting studio - the superior court house is building across from the Providence Athenaeum. Have you ever been to the Providence Athenaeum? You would love it. It was around when Edgar Allen Poe roamed the streets of Providence. It is an old library.

Sweet dreams of day and night.

My friend's husband had to fly to China for work. I would be a wreck if Bill couldn't come home for supper. We are lucky that Taunton is a nearby planet.
He says "But you go to Saturn every day!"

I hope I'll be back soon from Planet Court House. They said it will be 2 days and maybe 2 weeks unless it is a big trial. I don't trust my surreal mind to make these decisions. I always fall asleep during the last ten minutes of Perry Mason.

If I think of it as theater of the bus, theater of the courthouse, I will be fine in the theater of life!

Cheers to Monday!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Roosevelt + Holmes

It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause, who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.

-Teddy Roosevelt

Many people die with their music still inside them.

-Oliver Wendell Holmes

Breathing is our Birthright

In high school when I complained that I couldn't breathe, I was told by the family doctor to take Valium, that I was anxious, and it was all in my mind. Instead, I ran away from home. I feel things deeply before they are severe. I run towards health.

Autumn is an intense asthma season. There is nothing more frightening to me than the suffocation I feel from not being able to breathe deeply. It is like having quicksand filling up in my lungs, threatening to drown me. I carry my emergency inhaler in my bra. When I first open it I write the date on it with a Sharpie permanent marker. I try not to be shy about using it, and to remind myself that doing so is not a sign of weakness.

Breathing is our birthright! I swim, dance, walk, play horn, to keep my lungs strong. I open the window and turn on the fan when doing the wash or the dishes to vent the detergent fumes.

From the American Lung Association:

Walk, bike or carpool. Combine trips. Use buses, subways, light rail systems, commuter trains or other alternatives to driving your car.

Fill up your gas tank after dark. Gasoline emissions evaporate as you fill up your gas tank. These emissions contribute to the formation of ozone, a component of smog.

Fill up after dark to keep the sun from turning those gases into air pollution.

Don't burn wood or trash. Burning firewood and trash are among the major sources of particle pollution (soot) in many parts of the country.

If you must use a fireplace or stove for heat, convert wood-stoves to natural gas, which produces far fewer emissions.

Use hand-powered or electric lawn care equipment rather than gasoline-powered.

Two-stroke engines like lawnmowers and leaf or snow blowers often have no pollution control devices. They can pollute the air even more than cars.

Flashy Clothing

I don't think I will ever wear pants again! I am having hot flashes day and night, year three. Perhaps I will start making hot flash dresses and skirts that can fly up and open at a moment's notice with built in fans in the brassieres.

Tomorrow I have jury duty Superior court Providence I have to be there at 8:15 AM, without Lily!! My new old car is not ready yet. I will be taking the bus at 6AM. Which is fine except if I try to read on the bus I will vomit. I am looking forward to going but also hoping they don't need me for more than a day. I need to be home with Lily and my orange-leafed maple tree harvesting pears and making applesauce and yogurt, washing clothes, baking bread, making soup, writing, walking, painting, reading, sweeping the stairs, cleaning the cat box, playing my saxophone, sewing hot flash dresses.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Mary Hunter's Marinade Stick

Mary Hunter has always been happy to cook for her congregation at the Yes Lord Church in Gary, Ind. Her recipes, she told me, come directly from God. “I don’t have a cookbook,” she said. “God gives me my own.” Prayer is “where I get 99 percent of my recipes.”

Mrs. Hunter, who is 73, likes to cook big roasts for her church, “and if I had a difficult piece of meat I might marinate it in some beer and celery” with a blend of her secret seasonings. When she learned that she had diabetes and high blood pressure, though, she had to cut out her salty marinades and cook the meat more blandly.

I was writing down some recipes and God said to me that I should take that ink pen and stick holes all though it and put a clip on one side so that you can open it” — lengthwise — “and then put your onions and your garlic and your aromatics down the middle and put it inside your meat — then, you won’t have to eat bland foods."


Mining our Dreams

From the American Indian ritual of the vision quest to the Muslim prayer and dream-incubation practice of istikhara, there have been cultural traditions of enhancing people’s awareness of their dreams and deriving insights from them. Modern researchers can learn from such practices and combine them with today’s technologies, using new tools to fulfill an ancient pursuit.

-Kelly Bulkeley, former president of the International Association for the Study of Dreams, is the author of “Dreaming in the World’s Religions: A Comparative History.”



Lately the best reward is writing at three AM when my psyche has a sky light in it.

Permission to Change + Live

I found a few great articles in Scientific American today:


I think that life is just too sweet to be bitter. Once I was able to change my focus, desperation led to inspiration. I made so many changes, and I thought: This is an awesome life. I mean, honestly, I don’t think anyone has a better life than me. How can you live with the knowledge of cancer? I might not ever be able to get rid of it, but I can’t let that ruin my life.... I think: Just go for it. Life is a terminal condition. We’re all going to die. Cancer patients just have more information, but we all, in some ways, wait for permission to live.
-Kris Carr

Kris Carr

On the hidden usefulness of fear.

Shabbat by Tracey R Rich

At about 2PM or 3PM on Friday afternoon, observant Jews leave the office to begin Shabbat preparations. The mood is much like preparing for the arrival of a special, beloved guest: the house is cleaned, the family bathes and dresses up, the best dishes and tableware are set, a festive meal is prepared.

-Tracey R Rich


Recipe for Cholent

Cholent is a traditional Shabbat dish, because it is designed to be cooked very slowly. It can be started before Shabbat and is ready to eat for lunch the next day. The name "cholent" supposedly comes from the French words "chaud lent" meaning "hot slow." If French seems like a strange source for the name of a traditional Jewish dish, keep in mind that many of the ancestors of Ashkenazic Jews traveled from Israel to Germany and Russia by way of France.

2 pounds fatty meat (I use stewing beef, but brisket is more common)
2 cups dry beans (navy beans, great northern beans, pintos, limas are typical choices).
1 cup barley
6 medium potatoes
2 medium onions
2 tablespoons flour
3 tablespoons oil
garlic, pepper and paprika to taste
water to cover

Soak the beans and barley until they are thoroughly softened. Sprinkle the flour and spices on the meat and brown it lightly in the oil. Cut up the potatoes into large chunks. Slice the onions. Put everything into a Dutch oven and cover with water. Bring to a boil on the stove top, then put in the oven at 250 degrees before Shabbat begins. Check it in the morning, to make sure there is enough water to keep it from burning but not enough to make it soggy. Other than that, leave it alone. By lunch time Shabbat afternoon, it is ready to eat.

This also works very well in a crock pot on the low setting, but be careful not to put in too much water!

Chain of Fools

While we were at the table and ate soup,
Sammy surreptitiously ate my bread in the pantry
sick the next day, he secretly pooped on box of cd's
Lily suddenly knocked over Bill's keyboard stand
which in turn knocked over my saxophone
she tried to get at this detectable delectable morsel
to eat it.
Luckily, no harm done!

Fruit for Nuts

Last night we picked raspberries and fallen pears from the neighborhood. When we got home I steamed up the sliced pears and we ate them with raspberries and home-sauteed salted plantains.

Baker's Hours

I wake naturally at 3AM. My gypsy Jewish baker genes are ready to throw the raw dough into the hearth.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Dental Dream

I dreamed a woman said to me It's okay if I brush my teeth one a week, right? When she smiled, I saw she had beautifully shaped teeth but they were in bad shape near the gums. I thought She's afraid of the dentist! I can introduce her to my dentist, Dr. Carl.

Harvest Moon and Penumbra Eclipse

Tonight: Harvest Moon and Penumbra Eclipse. What are your plans?

Yin and Yang Foods

I am fascinated by this and this.

Beach Music

Grandma Sophie adjusted the volume with her big arched thumb, tuning the small black transistor radio to the elevator music station placing it next to her ear as she leaned back on her pink and yellow vinyl beach chair. She had juicy earlobes that drooped from years of wearing heavy earrings. She was oiled-up head-to-toe with Johnson's baby oil, mahogany and freckled in the sun. Her skin was smooth and she was soothing. She wore a white one-piece bathing suit with a little skirt flap. She had great shapely muscular legs. Her feet had bunions. We were on Brighton Beach opposite her apartment. I listened to ocean waves, voices, seagulls, Grandma's radio and the knish man shouting HOT POTATO KNISHES HERE. You want one bubbeleh, she asked. I loved potato knishes. Yes, thank you grandma! She took out a dollar bill and I jumped up to buy a huge hot flat potato knish. The ultimate beach food.

Poetry Harvest

We need more music, food, and poetry gatherings. The October harvest parties of my childhood are what brought me back to New England as an adult. The only hitch is my house is 45 degrees in winter. Perhaps we can put in a woodstove someday and in my spare time I can do log splitting!

Applesauce City

Yesterday I ended up making five buckets of applesauce from this second bunch of apples. These apples have a red skin and sweeter taste. There will be an applesauce party at my house during the first blizzard. I wish.

We had a fun parade Monday and the five dancing wiener kids and two banner carriers for our Moonlight House of Wiener Band had a lot of fun. The dancers had a great experience of performance energy from an appreciative Woonsocket audience. Three miles of dancing and greeting the cheering crowds! They immediately spoke of wanting to do it again next year. Today the Valley Breeze featured a photo of us.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Chopsticks and Challah


Social Jet Lag

Loved this article.Read

Simmering Apples and Cinnamon

At the rate we are enjoying the applesauce I ought to be simmering more apples. The aroma is fabulous creeping up the stairs to my office. I don't know why but I love eating out of an over-sized mug rather than a bowl. It's the culinary equivalent of wearing jeans or lounge pants. There is a dampness and slight chill today but it is still warm for October. But then again we usually get about half a dozen Indian Summers.

My tree is highway department orange!

Loving Tofu

I love marinated raw tofu, of course I do. I just ate a pound of it cubed and marinated in soy sauce, toasted sesame oil, vinegar with three large garlic cloves, chopped and cored! Raw garlic! Good thing I work alone. I got up at 4AM, it's now 10AM so maybe this was lunch.

What Are Gardens For?

But useless is not the same as meaningless. Mr. Golden was puttering around the mahogany-paneled parlor, looking for one of his favorite books, by the designer Rory Stuart, titled “What Are Gardens For?” Though the garden, called Federal Twist, is at the center of Mr. Golden’s life, he admits that he has trouble formulating an answer.

“I would say the main purpose of this garden is aesthetic, ornamental, even emotional,” he said. “And I don’t think most Americans think of gardens in those terms at all.”

A garden, Mr. Golden said, should be a place “to sit in, think about, look at the sky in, live in. In my case, it’s sort of a psychological exploration of the hidden, the part of myself that never got expressed because I was such a timid, shy little boy. I learned to adapt over the years to living in the world. On sunny days, when the garden is in full growth, it’s quite exuberant and in-your-face. It’s pretty much the opposite of my personality.”


Apple Dreams

Last night when we went to return Francine and Jeff's boxes they gave us more apples from the Colebrook New Hampshire orchard. What an amazing harvest it has been. I immediately shined up and tasted an apple and it was so good as is, I might refrigerate them an wait before making more applesauce. I love the applesauce granola yogurt combo for breakfast or as a dessert. A month ago we made nine gallons of applesauce thinking they would last a year, but we have eaten four of them already.

Autumnfest was a success again now in its 35th year. The Carnival amusement rides have folded up and nearly all of them have rumbled down the street like a herd of elepants as they head back home to Ipswich New Hampshire. Now the city is cleaning up the park and the streets and putting away the picnic tables for next year but the trees are are still glorious red and yellow and orange.

Autumnfest takes place annually at the WII Park on my street. This park has been abandoned for years due to lack of funding. If I played the lottery and won I would restore this park. We need a good place for Woonsocket kids to learn to swim and have fun. This is our Central Park, our Turbesi Park! We could have ice skating, swimming, skateboarding, basketball, picnics, and concerts. We could have ever changing annually painted murals made by local kids, and maybe a few apple trees for pie making.

Arthur Miller

For a salesman, there is no rock bottom to the life. He don't put a bolt to a nut, he don't tell you the law or give you medicine. He's a man way out there in the blue, riding on a smile and a shoeshine.

- Arthur Miller

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Top-Heavy Days

Make Your Time Top-Heavy

If all the tips for getting things done needed to be summarized in three words, they would be, “Do it Now.” Today is a more valuable time to start than tomorrow. Working on the project in the next hour is better than putting it off until later in the day. Changing a habit this month is better than putting it off until next January.

Another way to summarize this lesson in productivity would be: make your time top-heavy. People who get stuff done have top-heavy schedules. Chronic lateness and procrastination are the result of bottom-heavy schedules.

What is a Top-Heavy Schedule?

Being top-heavy means the bulk of the work is at the start. A top-heavy joke has a long build up for a short punch line. A top-heavy schedule emphasizes the start, leaving more space at the end. When it comes to productivity, there are a few things you can make more top-heavy:

1. Volume of Work. Put most of your work earlier in your schedule. This could mean working all morning while having little to do in the evenings.
2. Importance of Work. Put your most important tasks first. Do the tasks that have a long-term impact before taking on the minor problems.
3. Difficulty of Work. Put the hardest tasks first, when you have the most energy. I love writing articles, but it takes a great deal of energy and thought before writing each post. Putting my writing work earlier lets me write when I’m the most energetic.

A bottom-heavy schedule would be the opposite. It would place the most work, the most important work and the most difficult work at the end of your schedule. This is a recipe for procrastination as you burn yourself out on the tasks that don’t matter.

How to be Top-Heavy

There are three different scales you should keep in mind when asking how top-heavy your schedule is. These are on a:

1. Daily Basis. Is your work shifted earlier into the morning or late into the night?
2. Weekly Basis. Are your Monday’s and Tuesday’s busiest, or are you finishing up everything Sunday night?
3. Long-Term Basis. Are you doing the bulk of work on your goals now, or planning to work harder in the future? If I have a project I expect to take 4 months, I make sure the first two contain the most work.

Being top-heavy at all of these levels accomplishes two things. First, it ensures that you actually get work accomplished. Bottom-heavy schedules make it easy to waste time and miss deadlines. Second, a top-heavy life is more relaxing. By finishing your work early, you can have guilt-free relaxation time nearer to the end of your schedule. Waking up early and finishing by 2:00 or 3:00 with several hours to relax is better than getting a lazy start to your day and cramming work in by midnight.

Here are a few ways you can tip the balance in your schedule:

1. Start a Morning Ritual. Wake up earlier and plan out a routine for your first hour. This will make sure you can start working right away, instead of fighting off sleepiness for the first few hours.
2. Set Daily and Weekly Goals. I maintain a weekly and daily to-do list. Both of these lists help me chunk down the infinite number of tasks I have into something more manageable.
3. Preserve Your Rest Time. I make a commitment to take at least one day off completely each week. Having a guaranteed rest day makes it easier to work hard now.
4. Find Your Procrastination Items. Pick those things on your to-do list that you are most likely to procrastinate on. Then make sure to get those done first. Finishing the difficult work early on makes life less stressful.
5. Expect Interruptions. Schedule your week as if you expect unforseen work to be added. This way, if no extra work comes by, you have more time to relax later in the week. If new work does come, you’re prepared.
6. Set Your Own Hours. You can create more productive days by defining between what hours you will work. If you don’t allow work to expand into your personal time, it becomes easier to work top-heavy days.
7. Make Realistic To-Do Lists. Whenever I set my daily and weekly goals, I’m careful to only add on an amount I think I can handle. If you don’t believe you can everything done today, you won’t work as hard. Setting a slightly shorter list and finishing early is best.

Run Dance Swim

I am convinced that my body speaks to me especially when I run, dance, swim, walk, and play my big saxophone. When it speaks it tells me what it craves in the form of food. There isn't a vegetable I don't like and I crave grains all the time. I love fruits too!

Festive Eating: an Apple Pie Sundae

Our band had a two-parade weekend with perfect weather and great audiences. We even had a band-mate sleeping over in the guest room. Sunday night there were fireworks in view out of the living room window.

I baked sourdough breads made molasses vanilla granola, hummus, brown rice, and lentils to go with all of the fresh tomatoes. Post parade we ate slices of Robin's home grown pears. Her neighbor's tree is overflowing with heavy delicious pears and they fall into her yard. She gives them to Lily and I when we walk by.

Last night I made a huge pot of soup using leftover homemade chicken stock, cabbage, garbanzo beans, onions celery, and carrots. It was as if all of the ingredients were waiting for me to realize that they had to become a soup.

My refrigerator's contents talks to me and I usually listen. This morning I made more granola and I am currently baking six sourdough multi-grain loaves. The aromas in my house are to die for.

My favorite snack of late is a big bowl of homemade applesauce with homemade granola and homemade yogurt on top. It is like an apple pie sundae.

Saturday, October 12, 2013


We love to grill beets with soy sauce and olive oil brushed on top. My parents had a stodgy and finicky rare book dealer friend who would not eat beets because of the color. He was a true red-head and I figured it was that the color clashed with his hair.


You'll be loosening your borscht belt!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Take Stock

I just decided to bake a pot of brown rice and a pot of lentils and when I opened the fridge I discovered the two jars of congealed chicken stock leftover from my spicy chicken legs. I added a bunch of this rich gelatin to the water and a little of the hot schmaltz and salt to season the rice and the lentils. Then I went back to work and my nose reminded me I was cooking. Luckily I have a good nose, since both dishes needed more water. I chopped up a bunch of fresh tomatoes and this made a perfect meal.

Breathing is Fundamental

I had to wait until I couldn't breathe and for my husband to notice and say "Why not open your new inhaler." Why am I such a Yankee? Is my breath not worth having. I opened the new box took two puffs of my puffer and could breathe deeply for the first time in weeks, and I slept soundly.

Secret Cupboard

When we first moved into our house the previous owners had forgotten to empty one cupboard in the kitchen. It was a great surprise when we discovered a treasure trove full of glass baking dishes. There were stacked glass loaf pans, custard cups, and casserole dishes with matching lids. Thank you Dora! We say each time we take one out.

This NYT story made me think of it.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

On the Fly Inventions

I like to do things quick and lazy but healthy. When I am in a froth of hunger I sometimes invent things on the fly that I decide I will repeat on purpose next time. Last night I took Pecorino Romano cheese we get cheaply in big bags from Price Rite and I mixed some with my homemade buttermilk and added freshly ground black pepper and poured it over whole wheat squiggle-shaped pasta and ate it with black oil-cured olives and Francine and Jeff's freshly sliced tomatoes, and raw onions, of course.

Granola Kitchen

I am baking more granola. We get oats in a 100 pound bag that we store in our chest freezer and we fly through them. I like my granola formula because it's not too sweet. The unmeasured recipe is corn oil, JAR Baker's Supply brand dark molasses, Kosher salt, Job Lot real vanilla, a sprinkle of sugar, all combined and warmed until melted. Then add to rolled oats stir and taste. If the mixture is right, scoop into shallow pans in a 300 degree oven. Check every 10 minutes and stir. You'll know when it is done. The smell will tell you and the oats will be toasted. When the granola has cooled off store in a big air tight container or glass jar on your kitchen counter. Carry granola for quick snacks. It is great with dried fruit + also you can add your favorite nuts + seeds. I love it in homemade applesauce and yogurt. It is easy cheap and fun to be healthy.

Lately I bake mine at 250 because half the time I am in my office upstairs and can't always stop-- so I need to bake the oats SLOWER and LOWER so they don't burn!

Got Culture?

Yesterday my yogurt came out so perfectly I decided to try making buttermilk with the last 1/2 cup of cultured buttermilk in my fridge. It was so easy it was the same as making yogurt without the heating and cooling of the milk. I will do it today as I am hooked on cultivating culture. I should learn more about microbiology like the cheese nun. I have never liked butter but today there is an article in the NYT about cultured butter. Here.

Last night I noticed all of Pepe's peaches had fallen in the wind and rain. I grabbed a few for my Little Red Riding Hood basket, picked out the bruised spots and ate them on my way home. They were juicy and sweet. Lily ate a pit!

I woke up with this thought: If I am so psychic why can't I find the mop? Woke at 4 but got out of bed at 5 made coffee, started the laundry and hung the sheets and clothes in the dark. Just me and the squeaky pulley, lit up by the house lights. Why do I love these things?

The New Dominican American corner market at East School Street and Rathbun Street has a bright blue ATM sign, a spotlight all night and a multiphase OPEN sign. Digital neon! I love it. Maybe we can parade for them next year. They are a terrific store with 4 plantains for a dollar.

If I had this level of energy all the time I would be an actress in the theater. Yet I am an actress, in the theater of life. Theater, poetry, music, painting, dance are the magnifying glasses that teach us art is everywhere.

I was thinking what would I miss about my city. All of the characters!
Mothers wearing pajama pants taking their kids to the bus stop. Apartment windows covered with bed sheets and blankets pinched into the storm windows. The teen boys with jeans deliberately hanging low, waddling, swaddled in coolness. The house painter and carpenter vans, ladders strapped to the roof, tooting for their worker buddies at 4 AM. The post office parking lot full of workers at 3:30 AM. Diners open at 4AM. French Canadian old ladies commenting in dialect to each other. The public works guys waving and asking about Lily. Jackson the scrap metal guy asking for my sourdough bread. The friendly homeless guys who stay at the shelter and live at the benches, or under the trees at the library one has his gray-haired green eyed cat on a leash.

Yesterday I found a bunch of 100 dollar over sized play money bills on my granite stairs. The gods are trying to tell me something.

Hey, the radio just told me it's my hero actor Tony Shaloub's birthday today! Happy Birthday Tony, we adore you.
You never know what you'll want to write until it starts writing itself in your head. -Jill Ker Conway

There's a whole language out there, and one's role as a writer is to stumble around in it. -Ciaran Carson

I like good company, but I like hard work still better. -Camille Saint-Saens

I long, long, long ago thought the finest thing to be is an entertainer, with tons of funny things to say. If people find lots more in my work, that's great, but if they just read and have a good laugh, that's fine for me. -James Howe McClure

Number 20
by Lawrence Ferlinghetti

The pennycandystore beyond the El
is where I first
fell in love
with unreality
Jellybeans glowed in the semi-gloom
of that september afternoon
A cat upon the counter moved among
the licorice sticks
and tootsie rolls
and Oh Boy Gum

Outside the leaves were falling as they died

A wind had blown away the sun

A girl ran in
Her hair was rainy
Her breasts were breathless in the little room

Outside the leaves were falling
and they cried
Too soon! too soon!

Lawrence Ferlinghetti, from A Coney Island of the Mind. © New Directions,1968.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Martin Lersch

A pinch of salt for your coffee, Sir? source
by Martin Lersch

A small sprinkle of salt will suppress bitterness – and in some cases it can benefit the overall coffee flavor. I’ve tried it with an espresso and somehow it works, but it’s difficult to describe the flavor.

I prefer my coffee black, and politely decline when offered milk and sugar. However, if offered salt I would probably smile and say “Yes, please!” Salt???! It turns out that adding salt to coffee is not as weird as it may sound at first. There is a tradition for adding a pinch of salt to coffee in Northern Scandinavia, Sibir, Turkey and Hungary. And when available, such as in coastal areas where fresh water from rivers mixes with the salt sea, one would simply use brackish water when preparing coffee. This water typically has a salt content of 0.5-3%, which is lower than the average 3.5% in seawater. This results in a more intense taste and more foaming. And if living far from the sea, the Swedish food blogger Lisa Förare Winbladh let me know that in Northern Sweden one would deliberately add salt if using melt water from glaciers for making coffee. But tradition aside, is there a scientific explanation of this widespread tradition of preparing coffee with addition of salt?

The first thing that comes to mind is that salt reduces bitterness. And to be more precise it is the sodium ion (Na+) that interferes with the transduction mechanism of bitter taste. But interestingly the mechanism behind this is not fully understood! One of my very first blog posts was about tonic water and how one by adding salt can suppress the bitter taste and make tonic water more or less sweet. It’s a fascinating experiment that you should try at home. Expect to use about 1,5-2 g salt for a glass with roughly 1,5 dL (150 g) of tonic water. It’s a good idea to start with a little salt and taste it as you go.

Try adding a little salt to tonic water – the effect is quite surprising: The characteristic bitterness from the added quinine disappears!

Bitterness is an important flavor in coffee, but under less-than-optimal extraction conditions it can be too dominant. Generally bitter tasting compounds are less water soluble than other coffee flavors, hence the bitter compounds are extracted towards the end of the brewing. High temperatures (close to boiling) and long extraction times also favor bitterness. In that respect the coffee percolator is known to produce rather bitter, over-extracted coffee due to near boiling temperatures, and such coffee would most likely benefit from a little salt! And before the percolator came the ground coffee was just put into the boiling water and then left to settle. I can really imagine how brackish water could actually benefit

But the salt need not be reserved for over-extracted coffee. I’ve tried using salt both in a drip coffee maker and in the filter basked when pulling an espresso. The tests were very un-scientific, but the tiny amount of salt does dampen bitterness and change the coffee taste (but the coffee does not have a salty taste). Since I lack cupping experience, I certainly lack the language to describe how salt influences the taste, so I leave it up to you to try it out! And maybe some baristas with cupping experience can fill me out on this and do some tests?

In stead of just using plain salt with coffee, cured ham would signal rafinesse if served in central Europe, whereas in Northern Sweden there is a tradition for serving dried meat with coffee. The Swedish author Mikael Niemi describes this in his novel Popular music from Vittula:

“… and then the pièce de résistance among all the sweetmeats: a hard, brown lump of dried reindeer meat. Salty slices were cut and placed in the coffee, chunks of coffee-cheese stirred in, and white sugar lumps were held between the lips. And then, fingers trembling, we all poured the coffee mixture into our saucers, and slurped our way to heaven.”

With cured ham, apart from the salt-coffee interaction, one also has the combination of meat and coffee. From previous flavor pairing rounds TGRWT #1 and #5 (chocolate/coffee and coffee/meat respectively) we have seen that coffee and meat in some ways approach each other and are actually a good combination. A secret tip BTW is to add a little coffee to your beef stocks for extra depth and richness – this works because coffee shares many impact flavors with browned meats due to the Maillard reaction.

Now I’m curious – are you aware of coffee-salt combinations in your own country? Please tell me about it! And if you try a pinch of salt in your coffee – how did it taste?

Update: Read about my tests of coffee with salt at Tim Wendelboe’s coffe shop

Some articles that discuss the role of sodium ions (Na+) in suppression of bitter receptors:

Breslin, P. A. S; Beauchamp, G.K. “Suppression of Bitterness by Sodium: Variation Among Bitter Taste Stimuli” Chemical Senses 1995, 20, 609-623.

Breslin, P. A. S; Beauchamp, G.K. “Salt enhances flavour by suppressing bitterness” Nature 1997 (387), 563.

Bresling, P. A. S “Interactions among salty, sour and bitter compounds” Trends in Food Science & Technology 1996 (7), 390. (free download)

Keast, R. S. J.; Breslin, P. A. S. “An overview of binary taste–taste interactions” Food Quality and Preference 2003, 14(2), 111.

In addition to suppression of bitterness, salt can enhance sweetness at low concentrations and umami flavors at higher concentrations (more about this in part 5 of “Practical tips for molecular gastronomy”).

Waking Up

Waking up to smoke a cigarette is as bad as waking up to climb into a car, the prosthesis of the masses, destroying our communities.

Ray Bradbury

It had started with the arguments, and then the flesh, and then the pictures. They had fought deep into the summer nights, she like a brass trumpet forever blaring at him. And he had gone out to eat five thousand steaming hot dogs, ten million hamburgers, and a forest of green onions, and to drink vast red seas of orange juice. Peppermint candy formed his brontosaur bones, the hamburgers shaped his balloon flesh, and strawberry pop pumped in and out of his heart valves sickeningly, until he weighed three hundred pounds.
-Ray Bradbury, The Illustrated Man

Monday, October 7, 2013

Map of France

Why is pie crust when rolled out, always a map of France?

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Yogurt as Mayo

My favorite sandwich is my multi-grain sourdough bread spread with mayo, yogurt cheese, raw onion fresh tomato, kosher salt and freshly ground pepper.

I usually try things in the kitchen and then google to see if anyone else has done the same thing. It's a fun game.

I also like to incubate my own yogurt from local 2% milk, from Wrights Dairy Farm in North Smithfield, RI.

Here's an article full of tips:

Yogurt can replace mayo, sour cream, but use with care

By Sharon Maasdam, Seattle Times January 15th, 2003

Newhouse News Service

Yogurt out of the carton is a favorite for breakfast, lunch or a snack, but there are many uses for both plain and flavored yogurt.

Nonfat or low-fat plain yogurt can be substituted for buttermilk, sour cream or mayonnaise to lower fat content in recipes.

(Low-fat yogurt has 9 calories a tablespoon, versus 99 for regular mayonnaise and 30 for sour cream.)

However, yogurt does have some limitations, especially when cooking with it.

Cooking and baking

Yogurt is sensitive to heat, so use low temperatures. High heat may cause separation and evaporation of liquid, resulting in a curdled appearance. The flavor, however, will not be affected. If yogurt is mixed with other ingredients, such as in a casserole or stew, use a lower heat to cook, or bake at 325 degrees.

Yogurt can be substituted for sour cream in sauces and dishes such as stroganoff, Swedish meatballs or cream soups. Have the yogurt at room temperature before adding. To help keep the mixture thick, stir 2 tablespoons flour or 1 tablespoon cornstarch into each cup of yogurt before adding to sauces. Stir a small amount of the hot mixture into the yogurt first, then combine with the remaining hot mixture. To avoid curdling, add yogurt at the last minute, heat slowly and do not let it come to a full boil.

When substituting yogurt for sour cream, some combinations work while others may not be satisfactory. You may need to experiment to find the right combination.

Yogurt can be successfully substituted for buttermilk or sour cream in baked products such as cakes and quick breads (corn bread, muffins, etc.).

Storage and handling

Yogurt should be stored in the refrigerator at 40 degrees or lower to maintain peak flavor. It will remain fresh for at least 10 days after the sell date. Let taste and smell guide you. Plain yogurt keeps longer than fruit-flavored yogurt. Yogurt can be frozen, but it will form ice crystals. Eat it frozen or thaw in the refrigerator.

Gently mix in any liquid that may have collected on the surface of the yogurt; this is the milk whey, which contains valuable nutrients. However, since stirring will thin yogurt, do not stir it if you're going to use it as a garnish. Instead, gently spoon dollops of it from the container.


Flavor plain yogurt with sugar or artificial sweetener, jam or preserves, or fresh fruit. Add a dash of vanilla.

A cup of plain yogurt with a teaspoon of mustard and salt and pepper to taste makes an acceptable alternative to mayonnaise, with fewer calories and less fat.

In coleslaw and tuna and chicken salads, try yogurt in place of mayonnaise, or use half mayonnaise and half yogurt.

Use yogurt as a dressing for vegetable or fruit salads (vanilla or lemon-flavored goes nicely with fruit). If plain yogurt is used, blend it with salad dressing or mayonnaise to cut the tartness.

Plain yogurt can be substituted for at least half the sour cream in many recipes without sacrificing taste or texture. Use yogurt instead of sour cream on Mexican or Indian food. Because of the strong, spicy tastes of these foods, yogurt complements them well — and you won't miss the creamy flavor of the sour cream.

To make a base for dips, blend a mixture of half yogurt and half low-fat ricotta cheese or cottage cheese in a food processor. Season to taste with herbs and spices. Or use 1 cup yogurt and 2 tablespoons salsa for a piquant dip for raw vegetables.

To make a dip for fresh fruit, mix 2 cups yogurt with 1/2 cup chutney.

Yogurt cheese

The creamy cheese that forms when the liquid whey drains from yogurt is called yogurt cheese. Yogurt cheese is all-natural, rich in calcium and low in sodium and lactose. Nonfat yogurt cheese has no fat and only 17 calories; low-fat yogurt cheese has 0.6 gram of fat and 30 calories per tablespoon.

Yogurt cheese has a rich taste and can be used in many ways. Use it instead of cream cheese on bagels; try mixing in a teaspoon of jam or spreadable fruit.

Split an English muffin in half, toast it, and spread with sweetened yogurt cheese. Sprinkle with cinnamon and heat under the broiler until bubbly.

If you mix 1 or 2 tablespoons yogurt cheese with 1 tablespoon mayonnaise, the yogurt cheese takes on a mayonnaise flavor. For a baked-potato topping, add chives or an herb mixture.

To make yogurt cheese, put plain yogurt (read the list of ingredients to make sure it has no added gelatin) in a strainer over a bowl. Or use a coffee filter, a piece of muslin or cheesecloth, or a paper towel in a small sieve over a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let it drain in the refrigerator for 12 hours or overnight. After 12 hours, it becomes quite firm and the small lumps disappear, which makes it ideal for use in sauces.

The liquid whey drains into the bowl, leaving thick, creamy yogurt cheese. Add salt and pepper, if desired.