On our way back from patent office, boss treated us to lunch (north end).
[AFAICT, that was the sole compensation we received for signing over our
patent rights! :< ] He was Irish, my two colleagues Hungarian and "oriental"
(I came from a largely Italian upbringing).
One glance at the menu and my eyes lit up. Waiter came for our order:
"I'd like a bowl of pastina, drained with 1/4lb of butter on the side".
None of them had ever, apparently seen it. And, all were a bit envious
at the gusto with which I *attacked* it!
[OTOH, best Italian restaurant I've visited was in Liverpool. Though
a few in NYC were very good!]
One thing the east coast has going for it is true ethnic neighborhoods!
Nothing really like that in the midwest or southwest (barring hispanic).
Though Chicago has the largest Lithuanian population outside of
Born and raised in Philadelphia, I could guess your nationality with
amazing accuracy if I knew your address, not your name. On Allegheny
Ave there are three RC churches in three blocks. I was probably a
teenager before I found out they had names other than the Polish, the
Irish, and the German church.
It was also easy to find great ethnic foods in the various neighborhoods
too. When we go back, we still shop for some of our favorites that we
can't find here in the CT, MA, RI area that I live in.
We had the French church too. I'm drawing a blank but there was a day
around Easter when all the churches decorated. We'd visit around to see
who had the best flowers. I think it was some sort of city ordnance that
there couldn't be a church and a barroom in the same block, so they
alternated. The bars were the same as the churches. Unless you were
looking for a fight it never came to that but if you walked into the
wrong ethnic crowd there wasn't any red carpet rolled out.
Yup. I used to bring things like fresh kielbasa back from Chicago;
a particular type of Italian grated cheese from CT (I've not found it
sold anywhere else -- demand?) along with MacCoun apples (and Capital
Lunch hot dogs!) One of my favorite meals is "Baked Stuffed Shrimp
(stuffed with crab meat)" -- which I've rarely seen on any restaurant
menu (let alone expecting them to use Super Colossal shrimp to
Bakeries are the toughest to compensate -- along with certain ingredients.
Fisichelli's (Lawrence, MA) makes a delightful type of biscotti
that I've only found in one other place (interestingly, *here*!).
Way too expensive to have shipped cross country in the quantities
that I'd want (tens of pounds). The "local source" makes them
"wrong" -- wrong size *and* wrong flavor. This winter I will
set out to "deduce" an appropriate recipe to make them the way *I*
like (cuz the local ma & pa bakery that makes them wrong won't
share their Rx as a basis for me to *fix* -- and, don't like
my "suggestions" for what they are doing "wrong")
I also have to reconstruct another cookie recipe from "taste memory"
(a delicate cookie made *from* finely ground almonds). It would be
nice to be able to go buy some of each of these things to have a
"reference" on hand when I make these attempts!
I *think* they're amaretti. But, I will have to make a batch to
see if the taste agrees with the "taste memory".
We had lots of cookies and other baked goods that were well known
in our communities but never encountered in cookbooks, etc. So,
I am not sure how much of it may have been "family recipes" or
things brought over from The Olde Country (grandparents were
E.g., I can recall looking for caciocavallo (cheese) and getting crazy
looks (from *italians* in the North End, no less!) like I was talking
nonsense. Or, being redirected to Provolone, instead (close, but no cigar).
There are two types of cookies that I make (in big quantities) over
the holidays that are invariably met with something approaching
*disgust*, when first encountered. But, within minutes, the disgust
is replaced with ADDICTION. One would assume that if folks had
encountered them previously, they would remember (the disgust *or*
That's no lie. Montana dining has become a little more eclectic but it's
still mostly people trying their best to cook ethnic foods from a recipe.
The one I find most amusing is an extended Hmong family that has various
food enterprises. They ran a Thai restaurant for a while and then
started a mobile operation for fairs, concerts, and so forth. Teriyaki
got added to the Thai selections but when they started with the Dutch
Funnel Cakes I thought it was getting out of hand.
Nothing new there. I like Greek cuisine but when I lived in NH most of
the Greeks were doing Italian. It's what sold.
There's a difference when you "cook for yourself" vs. trying to "cook for
someone else". For yourself, you cook what you know and have eaten
over the years. My "spaghetti sauce" surprises people -- who are used
to store-bought (crap!). Yet, there's nothing particularly "interesting"
that goes in the pot! I bake biscotti every 2-3 weeks -- usually to
replenish SWMBO's "supply" for morning coffee but, also, for friends
and neighbors: "Wow! These are the *best* biscotti I've ever had"
(sure, all you've ever had was store-bought designed to last on
a shelf for 30 days or more!) Yet, the Rx is incredibly trivial;
just a fair bit of time and elbow grease...
And there's the rub! If you don't have a large XXX community to frequent
your XXX restaurant/bakery, then you won't *have* an XXX restaurant/bakery!
You *need* the communities to create the markets into which those can
I used to worship the resurrected risen crocuses as they pushed through
the snow. Heil Ostara.
It's useful to note which languages use a variation of Ostara like Oster
or Easter, and which use something derived from Passover (Pesakh) like
She was a passenger. And the car wasn't moving when she spilled it.
*Nobody* is prepared to drop 190-degree coffee in his/her lap, at any time. And *nobody*
should, or even can, drink anything that hot. Have you ever measured the temperature of
the coffee coming out of your automatic-drip coffee maker at home, Mark? I have: 161
degrees. And *that's* too hot to drink, before adding cream or milk. This stuff was 30
degrees hotter than that.
Yes, it is too hot to drink, but not to brew. I bought my wife a
Technivorm Moccamaster coffee maker for just that reason. It meets SCAA
The right temperature:
As I stated before, the SCAA recommends that a home coffeemaker's
brewing water reach the ideal temperature to properly whip up a tasty
cup. Specifically the association says a machine's brew temp should hit
197.6 degrees Fahrenheit within the first minute brewing and not exceed
204.8 degrees. Also crucial is for a coffeemaker to expose its grounds
to water between 4 and 8 minutes.
Have you NEVER used a screwdriver as a chisel? (who could be that
STUPID? A screwdriver isn't designed for that sort of use!)
Ever used a nice, knife-sharp wood chisel to cut metal/aluminum?
(who could be that STUPID? What if a shard of metal flew off
*or* the brittle chisel tip shattered and a shard flew into your eye?)
Ever watch someone cut *towards* themselves? Or, hold something in one
hand while "digging into it" with a tool held in the other hand
(which you *know* will probably SLIP and end up in the other PALM)
Leave a loaded weapon around the house where a kid might get it?
Forget to leave the safety *on*?
What about folks that pack firearms in their airplane luggage?
Who could be *that* stupid?
[I was sitting at a gate many years ago waiting for a flight. The
gate was the first on the concourse and close to the magnetometer
that (at the time) was used to screen passengers (long before
the bomb sniffers, shoe smellers, etc.).
I watched a guy walk up with a "pirate pistol" proudly tucked into
his belt (as if he'd a parrot perched on his shoulder). The two
state troopers who were stationed at the "checkpoint" quickly
lifted him off his feet and *poof* he was gone!
Did he REALLY think folks were going to say, "Wow! What a cool
firearm! Sure glad you brought it here for us to see!!"]
People "working" with tools also tend to get distracted, tired
and over-focused on the task at hand. At these times, safety
precautions and common sense subtly disappear.
I felled a large tree in the front yard. A sizable branch ("bough"?)
came down and leaned against the house. No way to move this due
to its size. So, ad to cut it in place and hope to pull it off in
I'd been at this for the better part of an hour in our 100F temperatures.
Of course, never remembering to drink as much as one *should* in those
conditions. And, getting tired and eager to be "done".
At one point, I looked up and saw my left hand above my head steadying
the bough while my right hand -- also above my head -- was holding
the chainsaw and trying to cut the bough at that point.
- bough is GOING to move when its been weakened by the saw
- bough runs downward to the left (high spot off to right)
- chainsaw is too heavy to be using single-handed
- my left arm, head and neck are likely places for the saw
to "wander into" WHEN it decides it doesn't want to stay where
I've positioned it.
Turn off saw and go inside. If you let yourself get into a
situation that potentially dangerous, you are over-tired and
WILL hurt yourself.
Not exactly, but last summer I was camping and some guy had a whole
chicken on his campfire. While the chicken was cooking, he was drinking
large amounts of beer and hard liquor. Eventually he staggered over to
the fire, grabbed the chicken, placed it on a picnic table, and grabbed
a huge knife which was about 20 inches long, with a blade around 2
inches wide. He began to hack at the chicken, when he dropped the knife.
It fell point down, and went right thru one of his bare feet.
He screamed and put his foot on the table. Blood was spurting
everywhere, and covered the table as well as the chicken. His buddy
grabbed a towel and wrapped the foot, but blood kept pouring out. The
buddy said he needs to go to the hospital, but the drunk took another
swig of liquor and said he refused to go to the hospital. Someone came
over and duct taped the foot, but blood still poured out and by this
time the whole ground was covered with blood, and the guy fell to the
Fortunately, his wife got there just about that time, and she took one
look at his foot, and called 911. He was rushed to the hospital. The
doctor said that he cut a major blood vessel and had lost half his
blood. Another 10 minutes he would have bled out and died.
Lots of stitches and some surgery, he did survive. The chicken was
tossed in the trash, he was taken home and his buddies had to pack up
his camping gear. His wife took that knife and said he will never see it
Something over 50 years ago, a guy that lived in our house was from
Texas.... and he carried this loaded Colt 1911 with him 24-7.... kept it
under his pillow or something at nite.
We asked him "Dallas, how did you get that thing over here ?"..
His reply "Ahhhh...I just tucked into my boot....".
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