Category Archives: Editorial

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Thrills

There is nothing that makes my dog more happy than seeing the kids across the way. They visit town probably twice a year and she has known them for over five years.

When they were little they used to stand outside then whisper, louder, say and then shout her name until she ran to the front door. Grandma didn’t know. Now they’re older and playing all kinds of sports but older brother gave me a big hug yesterday and younger sister took her leash this morning, with Grandma’s OK, to walk around the block with Zoe and me.

I picked up the poop and sealed the bag. She then pointed out another set of poop from another dog and asked me to pick that up as well. We disposed of both appropriately. Good kids, who will be responsible dog owners when the time comes, partially due to time spent with our old dog Zoe. Cheers to responsible pet ownership! Dee

Theme vs. Similarity

My brother has me hooked on lectins, learning about them lately. We both have diseases that could have been caused by them. Pretty much every food is prohibited on a lectin-free diet. My downfall is nightshades. Aside from tobacco, which I do not use, what would I do without tomatoes, potatoes, corn and squash, eggplant, garlic, hot peppers and others? I’ve built my culinary life around these ingredients.

If you read a book about lectin they’ll tell you very few fruits and veg, no meat, fish and no dairy, no wheat, no legumes. Come on, what can we eat?

Very early this morning I watched a cooking show where the star showed a meal with freshly-picked zucchini blossoms with a ricotta filling, asparagus with a mousseline, salmon with another hollandaise-based sauce and berries with sabayon. Death by cream and eggs.

Years ago our family used to go abroad for holidays and we went to one restaurant that served the same thing every year. They were crowded and had to make a lot of things in advance but to get soup in a bread bowl (so they didn’t have to do dishes) plus every course overpowered by bread was a bit much.

One year we did our own thing. I remember a photo as pseudo-cuz and we presented home-made whole chickens and fixings to the crowd. Now I remember Mom saying that we don’t need to go out to dinner in the middle of no-where as I can cook better than any restaurant in town.

By that time, she could do so. I live in a city and have traveled the world and still cook better than any restaurant in the neighborhood. Yes! Sometimes we like different flavors so taste what we like and sometimes leave town for convenience or the need to try other foods. I have itineraries but my husband will not take me anywhere until I can walk a certain distance without arthritic pain. Europe is the initial goal.

I like varied menus. No way on Thanksgiving with 60 of my husband’s folks watching “The Game” am I going to control that menu, but I can do mine for family and friends. Bread and dairy are ways to control costs.  When I cook for a small group at home I do not have those restaurant constraints. I spend time creating a menu that is appropriate for the people we will entertain. As a mentor Julia Child would say Bon Appetit! Dee

ps We have fancy dinner service for 18 and a table for four. We have a folding table and linens for everything. That’s me.

 

 

Homage to Cary Grant

Do you remember the opening scene to “To Catch a Thief” when John Robie “The Cat” was on a boat with the soon-to be-caught “kitten” and he was wearing a blue and white-striped shirt?

I’ve a black and white one, tiny stripes and mock turtleneck, form-fitting. I’ll never be as good looking as he was.

My favorite line of the film was when Grace Kelly looked at his villa and said “Mother will love it here.” Priceless. Cheers from Dee

Hope and Despair

There is a fine line. I believe there is hope in my husband’s future as he is very bright and deserves it. He has written a book I’ve not read yet because I’m waiting until he asks me to do so.

As to despair I miss Dad calling me every weekend and saying Hi, Dee! I could tell how his health was by the sound of his voice or when he could not call. I keep up two flowers and greens on my desk every week with a florist card just saying “Miss you, Dad!”

Today they’re really interesting Mums, one white, one yellow. I’ve other flowers around for my small family so I do care for the living.

I must go. I would rather hope or joy but not despair may be in the making. Dee

Editing

“The Book” is being finished. It is a technical tome that I’ve not read. As a writer and editor I do not like to look at what my husband writes every day because I need a fresh eye to look at it and mark it up. Both of us are concerned not about content but readability and as he is physics/software engineer and I am a soc/psych I’ll be a test reader! Awaiting the day he’s ready.

I love having a blog because I write what I want to write. I do in 15 minutes what he does in five hours. He gave me this blog ten years ago to challenge me, and he did. I was a consultant before he married me and dragged me throughout the country and world so I retired.

At least I got a dog, who is now very old, kind and as my brother would say, “needy.” She’s a herder, what would one expect? Except she was even afraid of baby goats I named Rosa (Parks) and Eleanor (Roosevelt) for strength. Not here, at his parents’ farm where I learned how to feed baby calves. That’s another story.

There is something to be said about marrying someone who is brilliant. I’m smart and can keep up with him on many levels, not physics but in social interaction. I’ve a resume of my own that brought us together for 16 years, married near 15. I’d like to renew our vows near his family home because we eloped and his grandmother would want it. Shhh, don’t tell her! Cheers, Dee

 

Family Dinner

Tonight was an awful night. I lost my claddagh ring and feel naked without it. Love, friendship and loyalty. I’ll check my shirt and sweaters in sunlight because the crown nicks everything so it’ll probably be on the floor or carpet.

Years ago it was a rule, I was in college (on break) and my siblings were as young as seven, to have dinner together every night. I fear that families do not do that these days. It’s just my husband and me, and the dog, and my husband is usually on his cell phone or texting or on his laptop dealing with other people and not us. Even though he is here writing a book I see the old dog and now Snowflake Deux more than him.

In former years we had to do a “how was your day” routine. One day someone introduced “let’s rate Mom’s meals!” She was devastated. Dad hated her orange chicken and beef stew. They were not things he grew up with in a Teutonic household where he spoke German all his childhood and Grandma taught Mom how to cook. Then a certain someone got her a lifelong subscription to Gourmet magazine and she started making things called “health soup.” And a chicken salad with peaches that she served an honored man known for a geodesic dome for his 86th birthday and their 62nd wedding anniversary.

Dad said afterward that he didn’t like fruit with his meat. Whoops!

Mom’s gone nearly nine years and Dad died over the holiday season last year. I barely knew grandma except she used to sing me Bye, Bye, Blackbird as a lullaby before she passed when I was one year old. Dad was a musician and much more, I’ll have to teach myself that song . I just need the lyrics. Maybe not. I just learned it was a Nazi song.

Don’t worry, even though Mom’s mother died earlier than Dad’s and I do not remember her at all, I’ve another grandmother, my husband’s dear Nanny. Yes, she interviewed me before I married her eldest grandson and she made me an honorary “grand.” It is a pleasure to be the sixth and to watch her “great grands” grow up and marry.

We share food with about 60 people every Thanksgiving at Nanny’s and my m-i-l and everyone cooks and we have good and much food. And now the “greats” provide music as well from time to time, that is when football is not on the television.

I’ve made Orange Chicken twice in two weeks. My husband is a Texas beef and potato guy so it’s taken me years to get him to eat chicken. Mom used to use orange juice concentrate. Here’s my version.

Orange Chicken a Deux (for two)

Two chicken breast cutlets, pounded thin and seasoned

Flour, seasoned with salt and pepper, and zest of an orange from which you will use its’ juice for sauce

Olive oil to  sautee the chicken

When chicken is just cooked remove it to a plate. Add the juice of 1-3 seeded oranges to the pan and reduce. Add a pat of butter, taste for seasoning and place the chicken back in to warm.

I serve it over warm Israeli couscous cooked in chicken broth, and a veg. Last night he made a jicama salad with fresh orange juice and I ate a few heirloom cherry tomatoes. He’s brilliant but not that great in the kitchen in any manner, especially the knife department, I call it “log salad.”

That’s the way it goes in Dee-Land. Nearly 16 years and I got him to eat chicken, Israeli couscous, and jicama? He’s even a cheese snob now, asking whether for day-to-day use on a cracker or toast is three-year or five-year better? Once a year I go back to my childhood taste memories and buy individually wrapped American processed cheese slices. Mom would never allow us individually wrapped. I make grilled cheese on hearty whole wheat bread. I also have ginger ale on hand, for tummy issues and because it was the only soda we were allowed to have as kids.

Never, ever rate your parents’ meals. It is a recipe for disaster. To Orange Chicken and my beef stew (later). Bye, bye blackbird, Dee

 

 

Interior Design

I’m no expert, but I know what I like and have created a home base for us that includes muted furnishing tones, area rugs, and lots of vibrant art.

Our home has sconces in nearly every room. I cannot move them, my husband is very tall and they are below the top of his head. How do I design? I barricade mostly without a literal barricade (like the decorative shoe rack by the coat closet).  Figurative barricades. Thick frames around photos I took on a trip with his parents and chose to frame in the hallway to the master bedroom. I know my husband doesn’t want to destroy my art so will not crack his head open on sconces.

I love designing the framing of art and I’ve a wonderful partner in crime, K. She leads me in choices to make up my mind and I choose. One day she was off work and it was a very important sketch my father got me over 30 years ago, the week before he died last year. It was in a basic “uni-frame” but I had it done in wood, a dark red mat, a fillip to bring out the undulation of the dancers and a large frame that does the same.

Calling K the next day I wanted to ask her to look at it as the owner made me decide everything myself. K answered and I was expecting bad news about my decisions. She said, “what great choices! I look forward to working on this one!” She got it done in 1/3 the time. I love giving her challenges, like family collages she has to cut down and arrange per my specs. Let’s say if I wanted to do an “accent wall” to show Greece, Italy and my father and brother’s works in dance, I’d call her for color ideas and invite her for lunch and of course, pay her for her time.

The most important things are that my husband is not hitting his head on low-hanging sconces and we have nicely framed art on the walls.

Next up are his life and family collage, and an echo of the seasonal quilt created and sewed by his mother but not in bright colors, it is of Tuscany or perhaps Puglia and would be hung in another room as an homage to the dear quilt-maker. She has many ideas as to internal and external home design. I’ve learned so much from her over the years.

Her eldest son has some preferences, not many. He is usually away, working. I do what is appropriate at the time to keep the place up so we can spend weekends together with our dear old Zoe, the dog. He’s gotten used to living in hotels.

There are tons of books and papers. I think I need a better shredder. Not for the books as we’ve bookshelves and ones read (not technical in software or cooking) may be good for the box up the street which is for book trading for free. That’s what we did in Europe during backpack days, give a book and get a book. Cheers! Dee