Saturday, April 30, 2011

Clinton Kelly On Womens' Clothes

"Oh No - She Didn't" by Clinton Kelly Gallery Books 201 pages $25.99

Kelly is a cohost on TLC's "What Not to Wear," a spokesperson for Macy's and a former editor at Marie Claire and Mademoiselle.

He is also acerbically funny and covers such as Muffin Tops: "Let's forgo the euphemisms and call it what it really is: a roll of fat hanging over the top of your pants." He recommends buying the next bigger-sized pants and taking them to the tailor.

In fact, as I read through this book I began to wonder if he's also a spokesperson for the Tailor's Union (if one exists) because he recommends using one about every other gasp of indignation.

This was an unexpected tidbit - speaking of muffin tops -- all men have a slight (or major) fat pocket right above and behind the hip bones. Ladies, if you casually touch him on it he will have one of two reactions: If there's no reaction at all, he's straight. If he flinches, winces or jumps like he just got poked by a cattle prod, he's gay.

Some couples like to wear matching shirts or theme sweaters (reindeer comes to mind) but Kelly says that any heterosexual American man willing to wear identical clothing is probably a serial killer. Your Christmas photo (see reindeer sweaters above) may go on many blogs with the caption "When cousins marry."

Basically, Kelly is for a tailored, understated classic look. Which rules out low-riding pants that show your tramp stamp or thong when you bend over or too much cleavage/too short a skirt in a business office unless your place of business is a street corner in a distressed neighborhood.

Some random chapter subjects... Sweatshirts and their evil cousins, hoodies. Tiny logo bags say that this is the best you can do (smallest-sized purse in a majorlyly expensive line) so don't buy one. Spend that same amount and get a non-label bag that looks good. Platform flip-flops -- he may rip them off of you and make you go barefoot. Misguided belts - Michelle Obama is a prime bad example. If it gets a stain that won't come out? Adios, toss it. Black pants and white shirts scream "Waitress, I'd like a glass of Pinot Grigio with my entree."

If you're feeling bitchy and have no one to take it out on, check out this book. Your good humor will bubble up like, well, like a muffin top!

Friday, April 29, 2011

The Tin Trumpet and the Tone-Deaf Playuh

Once upon a time, in a land named "The United Silliness of America the Absurd" there lived a beefy braggart self-named "The Prince of New York." He built many, many shiny condomiums and apartment buildings at a time when no reputable construction firm would work in Manhattan because of the Dread, Stinging Mafia.

And at this same time in history, The United Silliness of America had a president who had begun campaigning two years before we could even vote and has been in office for a year and change. All during this period of time, many people whispered that he wasn't a citizen; he was born in Kenya, not Hawaii. And the president said nothing.

And the people got angrier. "There is something wrong with a man who won't show us his birth certificate," they said. They formed groups and called themselves "Birthers." And the president still said nothing.

The Prince of New York heard the people muttering, measured their rage and thought, "There must be a way for me to profit from this situation ... if they knew about me, maybe these 'Birthers' might buy an apartment or take a vacation in Atlantic City."

So he thought and thought. "I will challenge him!" said The Prince, never loathe to appear in the media. So he did, loud and clear. He shouted it from the rooftops, he yelled about it in the subways. In fact, his presence was so loud that the president suddenly acquiesced.

To the amazement of everyone involved, his White House handed out copies of his birth certificate. The Prince of New York was so pleased with himself that he nearly broke his elbow patting himself on the back.

The president made a statement that it was high time for all of us concentrate on the important things and not the silliness of a buffoon like The Prince of New York. He said, "You have better things to do; I have better things to do." And with that he was helicoptered to Andrews AFB and his waiting 747 for the ride to Chicago and an appearance on "The Oprah Winfrey Show."

There he laughed and joked about the situation with a woman many US citizens consider, if not God, then one of His very close relatives. Beaming warmly, he then flew on to Manhattan to make three separate campaign appearances, timing his landing for evening rush hour for maximum impact.

And in New York, the Prince washed his meaty fists together in glee. Now he could challenge him about his grades from kindergarten through college on his very own turf! "Yessss," he breathed, slightly dislodging his careful comb-over, "You can be fired!"

Thursday, April 28, 2011

More Words

Yesterday's mail brought a free copy of "Cuisine At Home" which promises "absolutely no ads! 100% cooking!" Bemused, I sat down and read through it and was pleasantly surprised at the number of practical uses I found in it. There are lots of "how to" do things (crisp coat chicken, flatten a pork loin chunk.) too.

To cut corn off of a cob, stick one end of the shucked corn in the tube section of a Bundt pan, steady it with one hand and use your free hand to slice the kernels off. The Bundt pan is big enough to hold quite a few kernels.

Here's an odd, but easy recipe for Baked Sweet Potatoes
Bake four sweet potatoes and serve with this:

1/2 cup sour cream or plain yogurt
1 T maple syrup
2 teas. minced jalapeno
1 teas. fresh lime juice
Tabasco to taste
Optional - bacon bits and scallions
Mix and serve.

I had to look this up to find out that "gremolata" is a sauce composed of garlic, lemon zest and fresh parsley. Cuisine At Home recommends this one to go with shrimp risotto.
Chive Gremolata
3 strips thick sliced bacon diced (or diced pancetta)
2 T minced fresh chives
2 T minced fresh parsley
1 T minced lemon zest
1/2 teas. minced garlic.

Cook bacon, drain and crisp on a paper towel. Mix everything together in a bowl and serve with the shrimp.

The magazine comes already punched for a three-ring notebook. Something new in the foodie magazines field.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


"American Freak Show, the Completely Fabricated Stories of Our New National Treasures" by Willie Geist. Hyperion 214 pages $23.99

Geist is the host of MSNBC's "Way Too Early," the co-host of "Morning Joe" and hosts the web show "Zeitgeist" on

Brought up by parents who appreciate the social freaks among us, Geist continues their tradition with such as: Sara Palin's Inauguration Address from the Ice Palace arena in Tampa during a live episode of World Wrestling Entertainment's show "Monday Night Raw."

We now know that "W" Bush's presidential museum will have go-karts and water slides. Greist included an interview from Parenting magazine with Kate Gosselin. "They Think He's Jesus" Hillary's private campaign e-mails to Bill. He covered the Neverland Ranch Yard Sale as well as "The People of Heaven vs. John Edwards."

Interspersed throughout these made-up tales are real life acts of idiocy such as the stoner who called 911 to report his weed had been stolen, a drunk man who shotgun blasted his lawnmower at 9:30 a.m. "My lawnmower, my yard," he said, "I can shoot it if I want to."

This is a great bathroom book -- short chapters, most of which are really funny.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

No Bull

Alert Readers would have noticed that yesterday was my birthday. Richie asked me where I would like to go for a celebratory dinner? I didn't hesitate. "Union Cattle Company" I replied confidently. (Previously reviewed;

He may have thought that I was thinking of their excellent beef. I wasn't. I wanted to have my picture taken astride the mechanical bull in the middle of the bar/dining room. I thought that would be a fitting souvenir of my 71st birthday.

When I told our friend Tony what I intended to do, he wanted in. The possibilities for side-splitting laughter (at my expense, of course) were rife with potential -- in mounting, I might overshoot the distance and go splat! on the other side of the bull; some merry prankster might come along and actually plug it into the wall -- and I'd find myself hanging onto the ceiling fan blades...

Richie charged his camera battery, Tony checked his cell phone battery and we were off!

At 6 p.m. there weren't a helluva lot of people around and that suited me just fine. I followed the woman seating us, eyes straining ahead to see the bull first.

No bull. His area had been filled in with seating for more customers.

Alarmed and beginning to be bitterly disappointed, I asked her, "Where's the bull?" She smiled serenly and said, "Oh, we moved it to another place for awhile." Translation: business is slow and liability insurance is costly.

But all was not lost! Monday nights are half-price drinks and appetizers (5 to 7 p.m.) We went to town! I remember onion rings, New Orleans bbq shrimp, Cajun-dusted shrimp, a chicken quesadilla and a Caesar salad big enough for all three of us to have a generous portion. Who needed a stupid old mechanical bull?

Monday, April 25, 2011

April 25th, 2011

Ella Fitzgerald
born April 25th, 1918, died 1996

born April 25th, 1840, died 1893

Edward R. Murrow
born April 25th, 1908, died 1965

born April 25th, 1874, died 1937

Elvis Presley's Mamma
born April 25th, 1912, died 1958

Oliver Cromwell
born April 25th, 1599, died 1658

Jack Ruby
born April 25th, 1911, died 1967

Al Pacino and Nina Murphy
born April 25th, 1940 -- and we're still goin' strong!
Visit to find other famous people who share your birthday.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Inevitable Egg

USA Weekend, covering all bets, ran an article on salads that can be made from leftover Easter eggs. Each recipe starts with "6 large, hardboiled eggs, peeled and chopped" and -- taaaake it away!

1/4 cup minced red onion
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup Kalamata olives, chopped
1 T lemon juice
2 teas. minced, fresh oregano
Pepper to taste
Mix in a bowl and serve

1/4 cup minced Vidalia onion
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup salsa (from a jar)
1 T chopped cilantro
2 teas. lime juice
1 teas. ground cumin
Minced jalapeno - optional
Mix in a bowl and serve

1/4 cup minced Vidalia onion
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup diced celery
1 T chopped cilantro
2 teas. rice vinegar
1 teas. curry powder
Pepper to taste
Mix in a bowl and serve

Saturday, April 23, 2011

We Saw A Pair of Whales Today! (Saturday)

It was a beautiful day and a lot of people were taking advantage of it at the Redondo Beach Pier and beach. Bicyclists stood by their bikes, scuba divers paused as they removed their tanks and little kids ran in and out of the water, shrieking with delight. Nearly every parking space along the "view walk" had a car in it.

Looking out to the sea, we saw at least five sailboats and then ... some activity in the water ... Look! Just over there! It was a pair of whales spouting! They never breeched but the plumes of water were heading north toward the El Segundo refinery at a pretty good pace. How lucky we are to live here. It was already a lovely day but the whale sightings -- this late in the migrating season -- were a wonderful extra treat.

Richie's Very Good Soup

It's a hearty soup (read: thick!) and would be a great wintertime dinner. I didn't think I'd like it, to be truthful, because I'm not all that crazy about rosemary or basil, but he got it right and it was seasoned Just Enough.

2 16-oz. cans cannelloni beans, drained
2 cups low-salt chicken broth
1 cup marinara sauce (he had some leftover from dinner the other night)
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup packed fresh basil or 1 teas. dried
1 teas. minced fresh rosemary or 1/2 teas. dried
pinch of red chili flakes

Puree all of the ingredients and simmer. If you don't have a Cuisinart, use a potato masher or an electric mixer when the soup is hot. All you really have to break down is the beans anyhow.

2 teas. olive oil
pinch of garlic powder
1 cup of 1/2 in. cubed bread.

Toss the bread in a bowl with the olive oil and garlic and sautee.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Real Italian Style

Bon Appetit dubs this a "minimalist" pasta sauce -- butter, black pepper and two cheeses, but praises the finished product's creamy sophistication. Uptown macaroni and cheese, if you will. The secret is to use some of the pasta water in the sauce because the butter and water will bind to one another to make a creamy sauce, rather than an oily one.

6 oz. pasta
3 T sweet butter, divided into pats
1 teas. freshly-cracked black pepper
3/4 cup finely-grated Parmesan
1/3 cup grated Pecorino cheese

Cook the pasta until two minutes before it's done. Save 3/4 of a cup of the water and drain the rest off.

Melt 2 T butter in a frying pan, add the pepper and cook for 1 minute until the pepper is toasted. Add the leftover pasta water and simmer the butter and pepper. Add the drained pasta and the last bit of butter and shake the Parmesan over it all. Stir your skillet over low heat until the cheese melts, then take the pan off of the stove and add the Pecorina, stirring well to mix everything.

I'm going to try this with olive oil, chopped garlic and a teas. of red chili flakes.

Who knew? Restaurants usually add Parmesan cheese to a sauce in the kitchen plus a little olive oil or butter before bringing it out to the diner. Then your server asks if you want Parmesan.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

A New Exhibit at Flight Path

This DC3 aircraft has flown under a couple of national names (Western,) was retired to become the corporate plane for Union 76 and has already lived on display at the old Hawthorne airport.

The Flight Path Learning Center and Museum is located at the south side of LAX. The street address is 6661 W. Imperial Highway, Los Angeles 90045 424-646-7284 Admission is free and it's open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

A Working Dog

"Scent of the Missing; Love & Partnership with a Search-and-Rescue Dog" by Susannah Charleson Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 285 pages $26

Charleson and her Golden Lab partner, Puzzle, are volunteers in the Metro Area Rescue K9 unit in Dallas. The book recounts their partnership which began when Charleson got her as a puppy, her training and their particpation in the February 1, 2003, recovery of space shuttle Columbine remains.

Search-and-Rescue (SAR) dogs begin training right after their initial shots. A starting exercise is "find the treat." The handler puts a treat in one hand, holds both hands behind her back and passes the treat from hand to hand. Then both hands are extended to the pup and the dog bumps the hand with the treat. Purpose: to teach the dog the difference between a faint scent -- was there -- and a stronger scent -- is there now. And the dog gets the treat - affirmation of good behavior.

Not for the faint of heart, volunteers spend from three to seven hours a week training, no matter the weather. Additionally, they do 10 to 15 hours in wilderness training along with classes in scent theory, report writing after site clearance, dog care in the field and agility tests.

Amazingly, dogs can get a scent from a drowned victim, still in the water. The scent pools in the water and then breaks free of the surface and the dog, in a boat or on shore, will smell it and signal to the handler.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Do-It-Yourself on a Whole 'Nother Level

Bon Appetit (May, 2011) went into a diatribe about Bad, Nasty Sodas! No! No! Put down that 64 oz. soft drink and make your own! To which many in the audience might respond, "As if!"

Using "simple syrup" (1 cup sugar to 1 cup water, boiled until syrupy) and steeping various herbs, spices and fruits in it and adding club soda to the finished product, you will: save money and save sugar calories.

In theory this is dandy. Here's the reality for Spicy Ginger:

1 cup sugar
2 cups water
4 teas. crushed chili flakes
1/4 tsp. kosher salt - Salt in a drink? Damn! I thought that was a gargle!
2 three-in. pieces of fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped. (This is no day at the beach to do ...)
12 lime wedges

Combine the sugar, water, chili flakes, salt and ginger in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Let simmer for 15 minutes. Take the pan off of the heat, let it cool and strain the syrup into a jar and refrigerate.

To serve, fill highball glasses with ice cubes, add 2 T syrup and top off with club soda. Makes 12 servings with 74 calories and 17 grams of sugar each.

This sounds a lot more enticing: put 2 teas. of your favorite hot sauce in a saucer, stir in 2 teas. fresh lime juice. Take an ice-cold mug, dip it in the hot sauce, then into a saucer of coarse sea salt and fill to the top with a Pacifico or Tecate -- hell, a Miller Genuine Draft even! Drink with gusto and sneer quietly at the sugar water afficionados. They call it a Micheladas, but it's a Poor Man's Bloody Mary to me. Let's have another!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Best Thing There...

I mentioned the unsettling experience at Il Fornaio yesterday. The federal agent, blase as you please, daintily cutting his salad, gun on full display? That one? Incidentally, someone commented (unfavorably) on my use of "fibbie" in the singular. Since it stands for Federal Bureau of Investigation and a bureau is definitely made up of many, I stand on my use of it.

Happily, the Il Fornaio at 1800 Rosecrans Avenue, Manhattan Beach, offers an experience so sublime, so perfect that I nearly drool thinking about it and that is their olive rolls. These fat spheres glisten in their basket, peeking seductively out from a crisp, white napkin. They are wonderfully chewy -- a little nip through the crust and into the green olive-studded flesh. Texture? Superrrrb.

Il Fornaio, which seems to pride itself on being more Italian than you could ever hope to imagine, doesn't serve butter with them or their sesame-crusted twins, but offers the classic olive oil and balsamic vinegar dipping sauce.

I kept telling Richie, "Now don't fill up on the bread! You've got a meal coming!" while I did exactly that. Happily, there are Il Fornaios dotting the landscape and each of them has a bakery attached. for a location near you. Leave me a couple of the olive rolls, would you?

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Fibby in Il Fornaio

The other day, we made a spur-of-the-moment decision to have lunch at an Italian restaurant, Il Fornaio, in Manhattan Beach. We were seated in a little booth for two, the menus had come, we'd ordered and our svelte server had pedaled off to the kitchens.

As one waiting will do, I gazed around the restaurant. Customers were scattered in various groupings all down the long, long room. They looked to be business types, not surprising as there are a number of office buildings in the area. Idly, my eyes passed over a table, but one, to my left. I blinked. Was I actually seeing what I thought I was seeing? I slipped on my dark glasses and discreetly looked again.

Yes! The man in the crisp white shirt and dark suit had slipped his jacket off to reveal ... a shoulder holster with a gun in it! The man, blithe as could be, was talking to his table companions, two women and another man. But my eyes, behind dark glasses, were bugged out on stalks! An armed man in an Italian restaurant? This might not have a happy ending...but then again, it was Manhattan Beach, not Little Italy.

There is a federal building not far away on Aviation with a car-proof fence and a grass moat around it. We used to renew our passports there. Clearly this was an FBI agent (aka "Fibby".)

Federal Bureau of Investigation agents are certainly entitled to nice lunches. But ... if they're going to wear a gun, wouldn't they prefer a sandwich at their desks? Even if they are the good guys?

Friday, April 15, 2011

What on Earth?

Their newest catalog came yesterday and while I'm too old to wear words on a t-shirt, you may not be.

For brew fans -

I'm not aging
I'm fermenting!

I'm a free-range KEGatarian

For landscapers

I came
I mowed
I kicked grass

For many of us

I don't tweet
I don't even know 140 characters

For pessimists

If today is the present
I hope someone kept
the receipt

For those who are "a little different"

Buckle Up!
It makes it harder
for the aliens to
snatch you from your car

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Pampered Prisoners

Great and fiery debate going on in Southern California. State prisoners are not allowed to have cell phones. More than half of them do -- they're smuggled in by family and friends, traded aong prisoners and quite possible they're being sold by some of the guards.

It was proposed that all prisons install cell phone blocking devices (which will cost money and the State is broke.)

A guy wrote to the LA Times that accepting collect calls can add up to 20% more to your phone bill. (The horror.)

I have a novel idea -- how about they write letters! It's not like they don't have the time...

Monday, April 11, 2011

At the Jazz Club

The prizes (five chances for a dollar) are always on a long table at the back of the room, near the entrance doors. I was checking them out -- pair of CDs, bottle of wine, a presentation box of two huge, round soaps -- when all of a sudden there was a sizeable woman, right in my face.

"What happened to Andy Rooney?" she bellowed, practically up my nose.

I'm sure that my eyes widened and that I took a step back. "Er, Andy Rooney's in his '90s.."

"So'm I!" she snarled.

"and, er, maybe he decided to retire?" (feebly)

"No one ever tells me about Andy Rooney," she muttered and turned away from me.

I could hardly wait to get back to the table and tell Bob (Brodsky, a great American and a great author) and Richie (none of the preceding except American.) Naturally, they wanted to see her so my eyes searched the big room. And there she wasn't.

I decided that she was probably in the bar, throwing back shots of Jack Daniel's and asking about Andy Rooney because she never did reappear. (And you may be sure I was on red alert.) She could also have just wandered in from the street, looking for Andy Rooney.

The feature band was The President's Jazz Band, led by Paul Goldman, the drummer. The band's name is kind of an inside joke. The jazz club president is Paul Goldman. He's wonderfully inventive. He walked up to the empty stage, looked around and said, "The band is here somewhere ... I guess I'll have to start alone and hope they'll show up..." and went to his drums. He sat down and --

From the back of the room, Barry Anthony, trumpet, appeared and began playing "When the Saints Go Marching In" as he walked toward the stage with the other six band members following him, whaling away! It was totally cool and no other band has thought to do it.

They played "The Sheik of Araby" and we in the audience figure that it was a salute to current gas prices.

The tuba player starts the band for this number and I heard him say, "How fast do you want it?" (tempo) and the band looked at him like, "Bring it on!" and off they went, at breakneck speed. It must have been triple time! It reminded me of "The Minute Waltz" for it's speedy pace and brevity. Andy Rooney would have loved it.

Sunday, April 10, 2011


The Thinker
Sheila (friends for 46 years) sent two things of note from her home in Israel. The first is a quip by a man billed as "Scotland's Greatest Thinker." His mother calls him Billy Connolly and this is what he said: If women are so good at multi-tasking, why can't they have a headache and sex at the same time? (drumroll)

The Gardner
Her other message concerned cucumbers. Snails and slugs be gone! Take an aluminum pie pan, cut up some cucumbers, smoothe cucumbers over the pan and pit it out in your garden. The pests will vanish because the cucumber meat reacts with the aluminum and emits a reek that the bugs can't stand. So they leave to escape it. Happily, we can't smell it.

The Cobbler
I was delighted when my new pair of Sperry Topsiders arrived yesterday. But I put them on this morning and discovered the same problem that I had with the second pair. The stitching near the big toe cuts into a bony part of my foot. So I did the same thing as with the second pair. Take a Band-Aid, put the pad over the offending stitches and stick it down. Happily the leather is deerskin which I know to be pliable and soft. It's all gonna be better tomorrow.

The Researcher
I feel sorry for Zsa Zsa Gabor. Poor old bitch is 93 (or 97 depending on whom you believe), has lost both legs, has been pretty much insensate since the early 2000s and is married to a publicity whore (male variety.) So every day I go check on her via Google. Somebody still cares, Zsa Zsa. As of today, she's still on this side of the grass.

The Questioner
Yesterday, I was in a site that had a connection to another that looked interesting and before I knew it, I was 'way off the beaten path. I'm sure this has happened to you as well. It was politics and I was genuinely surprised to see how many people seem to positively despise Michelle Obama. Nasty comments about style (none; '50s housewife,) diet controls on children and grown-ups(how much does she weigh?) But the best was from a correspondent that wanted to know if she thinks she's the cat's meour in the looks department, how come no old boyfriends have surfaced to dish her? How come there's no nude photo of her like the one of Jackie Onassis on her private island beach? How can you despise someone and still want to see them stark naked?

Saturday, April 9, 2011


The government budget has passed, due largely to the efforts of someone who is not even an elected official. Michelle Obama really must have wanted this weekend's trip to Colonial Williamsburg. "White House Dossier" reported that she has her eye on a clothing shop there.

And who says women are the weaker sex?

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Chewy Ice Cream

Heresy to many of you, I don't doubt, but ice cream? Take it (or more likely) leave it.

But Richie had a coupon, and he was all eager-looking and we'd had a light lunch so I gave in and off we went to 31Flavors. I do like to see/taste new flavors and today I decided on this: vanilla ice cream with (breathlessly) REAL APPLE SLICES and crunchy pie crust bits and caramel-cinnamon syrup running through it.

You know what? It wasn't bad! Now I'm gearing up for Denny's Bacon Sundae. I'll give you a full report. Purportedly it is some kind of ice cream with maple syrup and a slice of crisp bacon. Speaking scientifically, how could you put more bad things for your body together? Cream, sugar and bacon! I'll only eat half of it.

Monday, April 4, 2011

The 40 lb. Cook Book

"One Big Table, A Portrait of American Cooking" by Molly O'Neill Simon & Schuster 864 (864) pages $50

Gentle Reader, I implore you not to think, "I'll just read a couple of recipes before I go to sleep" and take this book to bed with you. It measures 8.5 in. x 9.5 in. and is 2 1/4 inches thick. Our scales are gone so I can't give you the exact weight. Just think, "heavier than Grandma's Christmas fruitcake." Because if you doze off and the book falls forward, your breasts will reside in your armpits for several days.

O'Neill hunted down 600 recipes from all over the country and the format is: each contributor gets a page (often with a photo) to tell their background and give their recipe. The vast number of ethnicities was stunning -- Russian, Iranian, Asian, American Indian -- and clearly all of them eat!

Some of the recipes jumped out at me -- BBQ Matzoh Balls! Roll 'em, split 'em and barbecue 'em split side down on the grill. West Indian Pumpkin Soup's list of ingredients begins with "1/2 lb. pig tails" Kachumbari, billed as "Kenyan Coleslaw" is a dish you're met often even if you've never been to Africa -- we call it "pico de gallo."

"Nothing beats Coke for balancing the acidity of tomatoes," said Hal White of Jackson Miss., who routinely adds it to his spaghetti sauces.

There are sections with the histories of various products or food items. Campbell's Tomato Soup was first produced in 1897 -- made with "English thoroughness and French art." A trivia fan would get lots and lots of oddities out of this book.

All in all, given the size, heft and amount of information, it's a big job just to give you an idea of what's in the 40 lb. cook book. And I'm only as far as page 186 in the salads department!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

At The Clam Chowder Cook-off

It's being held at the Redondo Beach International Boardwalk and will end at 4 p.m. Richie couldn't wait to get there, but I don't like clams (despite having a brother-in-law who has supported a wife and three children quite comfortably for years as a bayman.)

So I did the stroll down the boardwalk looking for something for me to eat. I ventured into Keg's and subsequently enjoyed the juiciest hamburger I've had in years. Clearly the cook knows what he's doing-- don't press on the patties in the skillet! Came on a potato bread bun with mustard and mayonnaise plus lettuce, tomato and onion. $6.75

I finally went to "Help" and someone suggested typing the blog up in Html and the paragraphs are back!


"The Card Turner" by Louis Sachar Delacorte Press 336 pages $17.99 It's an unusual plot line. A teen-aged boy has an uncle who is blind from diabetes, very wealthy and an ardent bridge player. When the kid is hired for the summer to go with his uncle to the bridge club, look at his hand and then, away from the table, repeat the cards to his uncle (who has a prodigious memory) the kid's mother is overjoyed! She wants to be sure they are included in the Will. Written through the kid's eyes, the book has humor. As the kid is leaving for his first day of work with the uncle, his mother fixes him with a stern look and says, "Don't screw this up.' "Making Rounds With Oscar" by David Dosa, MD Hyperion 225 pages $23.99 Oscar is a cat who lives in a hospice specifically for Alzheimer's patients. When a patient is near death, Oscar senses it. He comes into the room, jumps up on the bed and stays with that patient until the undertaker comes. It's a very strange story ... Dosa is a doubter and talks to former patient's families, studies Oscar and finally accepts the fact that Oscar Knows. If I am ever (God forbid) in a hospital and a cat comes in and jumps up beside me, I am going to have the quickest recovery time in all of medical history.

Friday, April 1, 2011

The French River Barge Cruise Is SO On!

When we were dating, I didn't know about it. When we were married and both of us were working I didn't know about it. But: when Richie retired and we began spending most of our time together... I found out about it. Gentle Reader, now go to French Trip 2; trying to beat the de-paragrapher gremlin.

French Trip 2

Richie has been buying lotto tickets all that time -- 28 years, altogether. I think his biggest win was $50. Mostly it's "play again for free" tickets. And then ... he won.

French Trip 3

On my instructions, he signed off on the ticket as "Murphy Family Trust" to avoid all the hassle of charities trying to get some of his winnings. (Insert a big, fat HAH! here) When all the taxes are paid (50%) we will put 90% of our winnings into financial thingies and the remaining 10% is for fun!

French Trip 4

And that fun is something we've been planning for years -- a French river barge cruise for the people we love. Many is the hour we've spent making lists on bar napkins, deciding who will go on which boat. Wonderful entertainment!

French Trip 5

So, you know who you are -- expect a first class round trip from your home (Dallas, Chicago, NY, LA) to Paris where a stretch limo will pick you up from Charles De Gaulle for the ride into Paris and your suite at the Ritz. Next day, a party bus - "Champagne?" - will take us to the barges and we'll be off! I think $100 per day per person is reasonable for souvenir buying, etc.

French Trip 6

It would be advisable to be nice to me even though Richie didn't win the lottery at all! April Fool! Who knows what the future holds, eh?