Archive for the Category »Food «
It was many years ago that me, Pamela and Sarah (3 years old?) went to my sister’s house for a Christmas Eve visit.
At that time, my sister and her husband lived 10 minutes away with my niece Caitlin, 2 months shy of her 3rd birthday.
Two 3 year olds on Christmas Eve, how great/exciting will that be?
From what I remember, it started off quite well; happiness, laughter, cocktails, Karen Carpenter singing ‘Merry Christmas, Darling’,
and a smorgasbord of waist thinning appetizers fit for a King.
Everything was going so well until Sarah found out that Santa (that sweet SOB) brought Cait an early present.
It was a Little Tikes Kitchen, fully equipped with plastic pots, pans, a stove top and the most evil addition of all, a fake telephone.
BTW- Little Tikes toys will be roaming the earth long after all of us are dead and gone.
Talk about indestructible.
Sarah and Caitlin began playing nicely until Sarah wanted to use the phone.
(Probably to call Santa and tell him to bring her a kitchen just like Cait’s)
Houston? We have a problem.
The phone was Caitlin’s.
And Santa (me) in all his infinite wisdom did not bring Sarah a plastic kitchen to leave under the tree.
Things spiraled down from there with pots and pans flying and two little girls crying, and me realizing I am so screwed.
I remember hating (not really) my sister that night knowing full well that I would have to search the ends
of the earth for a Little Tikes Kitchen in time for Sarah’s birthday (12/26).
I did find that kitchen on the day of her birthday.
It was delivered and all was well.
I don’t think she let Cait use the phone at her birthday party.
Santa has since recovered.
This past Tuesday, Sarah and Jonathan (the son I never had) closed on their first home.
I call it a home because that’s what they intend on making it.
It’s a beautiful place set high on a hill overlooking many surrounding towns.
The view from the upstairs windows are astounding.
I was there this morning shutting off the outside lights before walking through the house in silence.
In my mind I could see and hear all the wonderful things just waiting to happen.
I could smell bacon cooking in a kitchen that Sas and Cait will never fight about.
I could see a fire slowly burning and crackling in the fireplace in a living room worth living in.
I could even hear a piano that is not there yet, but will someday be because music somehow ‘completes’ a home.
I could feel the spirit of a long awaited Christmas that was waiting to happen, years in the making, just outside the windows.
I could feel love waiting in the wings.
A gentle hand from far and high above the clouds waved it to be.
I just know that.
I’m sold on this home that’s just dying to be filled with oh, so many wonderful things.
This will ultimately be a most amazing Christmas.
And my inner Grinch will take a much needed hiatus (as he should every year)
A new house, a newly married couple, a first Holiday meal, the beginning of a new family.
Santa will sleep well on Christmas Eve . . .
but only after he prepares his French Toast Casserole.
Much going on in my life right now.
Inlaws moved, an impending and amazing wedding to be, songs that need to be finished and loose ends that
desperately need to be tied.
i have my dark secrets.
Sleep is my only nightly savior.
Sweet dreams tonight?
tIME WILL tELL . . . TiME will Tell . . .
It is on this day that I think about my Mom and Dad.
Saint Patrick’s Day would find my mother in the kitchen cooking her corned beef and cabbage.
And God help you if you didn’t stop by for a plate and a pint.
I miss them both dearly on this day but know in my heart they are here with me as I serve my own
a dish they both dearly loved.
Danny Boy is for me Mum.
Miss you, Ginny.
Blessed be Ireland and all those from County Cork. [my roots]
Many people know the magical story of my winning of a beautiful CharBroil grill back in September of last year.
I never win anything but somehow I won this amazing grill.
This isn’t a story about the winning but one of the grill itself.
And yeah, it’s awesome.
I have named him ‘Ted‘.
This Tru-Infrared grill has changed my thoughts and feelings about gas grills in general.
It used to be that gas grills produced dry burgers and drier pieces of burnt chicken but that has all changed.
I remember ‘working the dancefloor’ with so many grills over the years because of hot and cold spots.
The ‘dance’ would add another 20 minutes to my cooking times because every single piece of chicken or beef cooked differently.
The grill I currently own called ‘Ted’ has changed my mind about gas grills.
I cook breakfast on the sideburner (not stinking the house up with bacon grease) and rotisserie pork shoulders for supper.
There’s no more ‘working the dancefloor’ with this grill.
All surfaces are equal.
Cooking times are less, burgers and chicken are always juicier with some serious char marks.
This grill gets quite hot, folks.
My oldest daughter, Sarah and future SIL, Jonathan, bought me a Charbroil rotisserie for Christmas.
I made a pork shoulder last week that was simply amazing.
It was like crunchy bacon on the outside, tender and moist on the inside.
The thing is, I did nothing.
I watched in amazement as this huge churning chunk of meat came to fruition.
Charbroil has changed the life of my family for the better.
When Dad is cooking something on the grill these days, it IS special.
My thanks go out to all the wonderful folks from Charbroil especially, Michael Williams of the Charbroil Social Media department.
Michael has been a wonderful representative of a company that I will forever endorse.
We have traded many emails [how many, Michael?] and I would feel comfortable having him to my house for a nice meal someday.
Think about it, MW.
For all your grilling needs?
Look no further than Charbroil . . . .
Awesome company, awesome products, the best in support.
End of story.
About a month or so ago Pamela decided that we needed to modify and improve our eating habits.
We shied away from calling this a diet and settled on what we consider to ultimately be a change
What we’re doing is in no way groundbreaking but it does make a lot of sense.
Based on your height and current weight you are allowed X number of calories a day.
Pamela said, “If you want to drink Guinness all day, you can. But when you’ve reached your calorie limit, you’re done.”
Obviously a diet consisting purely of Guinness draft would never work for me.
Just for shits and giggles I did figure out that I could have 12 glasses of the dark magic to equal my daily allotment.
My employer wouldn’t like it nor would my MD (who already put the kibosh on my past Guinness intake)
One or two beers a night doesn’t seem like much in the scheme of things but it does add up over time.
I’ve since limited myself to several on the weekend.
I am breaking my own rule tonight as I write this by having one but I have counted it and still have 600+ calories to consume before bedtime.
I have lost close to 14lbs since embarking on this diet change and I have noticed some changes in my body.
It’s easier bending over and the edges of my underwear don’t roll up anymore like a tightly made burrito from Taco Bell.
And I will need to look for some new khaki’s and pants soon because when I tighten my belt the trousers reek of hillbilly feng shui.
Maybe I just need a rope belt.
Walking is easier and sleeping is more sound these days so I’m thinking I’m on the right track.
But with everything good comes something not so good.
I am realizing that two visits to 5 Guys Burgers in one week is not a good thing.
Fried Clams are not my friends anymore (sadly) and Ben and Jerry’s should actually be illegal.
I think back through my eating history and just wonder, ‘what the hell?’
But fried clams are sooooo good.
As is Chunky Monkey ice cream.
But I also want to be around to see my grandkids, too.
You can’t have both.
Fried clams or grandkids?
How about fried grandkids with a side of Chunky Monkey?
I digress . . .
At 53 years old, I have seen the light.
It’s not pretty to look at but it has shown me that the food I was eating was killing me.
Sodium, saturated fats, sugars and little bastard carbs have been swirling around my body wreaking havoc on everything from my triglycerides to my cholesterol and more.
Now before you start thinking I’m going all health-nut on your ass, I’m not.
We all make choices everyday in terms of the food we eat.
I’m just thinking we could all do a bit better.
This little nugget came to me after a friend inhaled an entire plate of Dan Dan Noodles from P.F.Chang’s a week ago.
(I call the restaurant Poof Changs)
On a whim, I checked out the nutritional value online and was gobsmacked.
One order of Dan Dan’s supposedly serves three people, not one.
One serving contains 990 calories.
Sat Fat: 23gms
Sodium: (a drum roll, please) a whopping 6190mgs!
I do hope I was reading the chart wrong and maybe I was.
A dish with over 18,000mgs of sodium can’t be possible, could it?
Your heart would just stop, yes?
Either way at over 6K mgs of sodium, divided three ways you’re still talking close to one daily allotment of salt.
Smack my ass and call me Sally, that’s a shitload of salt.
All I’m saying here is you should weigh your options in terms of what you eat.
I will get off my dietary soapbox now and go back to wherever it is that I go when I’m not writing.
It’s a low-sodium place these days.
When our friends from Australia get here in October, Mark wants fried clams.
I’m hoping he’s up for splitting an order.
I want him around for a long, long time . . .
and you guys too.
A year ago about this time the talk around town (and Facebook) was all about Pamela and me going to Australia.
It seems like yesterday but it feels like years since we were talking about it.
That said, here I am still reminiscing about the 2 weeks in time that I will not soon forget.
I began writing about our journey a while back and stopped short for reasons that now elude me.
Let’s just say that life sometimes gets in the way.
Please forgive me.
My last post got us to Townsville in Queensland where Moe and Mark live.
I remember descending into the small airport and thinking, “So, this is where we Skype every weekend,” not knowing that there was much more than meets the eye behind this place called Townsville (aka, Paradise).
After taking a badly needed shower, Pamela and me proceeded to do what you do on holiday.
We sat our asses in the backyard and had a few drinks, a few cigars and talked about our flights over.
The QLD sun was hotter than I thought it would be and I found a slice of shade to sit in.
I kept mentally pinching myself as if to notify my tired brain that I was really sitting in Oz;
being that far away from home can disorient you into believing you’re not really there.
I got the piss taken out of me 244 times that afternoon. (yeah, I counted)
The plan for the day was to chill out for a bit and go to Mel and Steve’s
(Moe and Mark’s daughter and son-in-law) later that day for our first authentic Australian barbecue.
The details of our first afternoon are a bit foggy but I do remember shitting my pants on our drive over when Mark went into the first Aussie roundabout I had ever encountered.
I mentally made the sign of the Cross knowing I was about to die because he was going the opposite way that people in the States go.
After getting through the roundabout I once again made the sign of the Cross and began a deeper understanding of the phrase, ‘DownUnder’.
Please pass me the vegemite.
We arrived at Mel and Steve’s and got a tour of the place which was under some serious renovation.
With the help of Caleb and Lucas (M&S’s sons) we toured the house which was in a transition phase.
In about six months this place would be a palace.
I still badly want Mel’s kitchen which was any true chef’s dream.
Appetizers came out; Prawns (huge ass shrimp for you folks in the Northeast, but they’re sweeter than shrimp), Cabana and cheese (Cabana is like a really nice mild but spicy kielbasa), fruit, veggies and more than one could ever eat. [just you wait for my description of the amazing Brie in Victoria]
But Steve had a plan for me in terms of Australian beer.
XXXX Gold: (rat piss in a can, and Steve told me I could just toss it, which I did)
Toohey’s New: (not bad but reminded me of Sam Adam’s lager, which I hate. I drank it though)
VB Victoria Bitters; once again not bad but not much better than Toohey’s.
James Boag; a total winner for me, hands down. A great beer with flavor and strength to boot.
With multiple beers under my belt I watched in amazement as Steve grilled our food.
The smell coming off the grill should be made into a MAN cologne. [truth]
Snags, lamb chops, steak and grilled onions made my stomach yearn for some food.
Snags, btw, are beef sausages and not available in the US.
The aroma of grilled snags is simply wonderful.
Steve also made some snags w/ vegemite.
How do you spell AWESOME?
We sat and ate a BBQ that just blew my mind (and our caloric count for the day)(like I was counting, right?)
Life was very good that night at Mel and Steve’s.
To them we were in a sense strangers but they made us feel like family.
And maybe we were; I like to think that.
The blazing sun had set hours before we got done eating and it was time for yours truly to look at the Australian night sky.
Me, Mark, Steve, Caleb and Lucas went out into the front yard.
“There it is,” Mark said.
As he was pointing, I saw it.
I’ve loved stargazing for as long as I can remember but never have I wanted to see something as bad as this.
“The Southern Cross.”
I gazed at it, totally spellbound, tears forming in my eyes.
My first night in Oz was now complete.
That was until Mel brought out the Pavlova.
to be continued . . .
ps. Snags and eggs? I love you.
With hundreds of red-winged blackbirds falling dead out of the sky in Louisiana,
more tornadoes than the NOAA can count,
earthquakes the magnitudes of which the world has never seen,
tropical cyclones that can only be classified as deadly and a massive oil spill that was the worst
environmental disaster of all time, I thought it was high time for some good news.
Some funny news.
Maybe even some fake and made up news.
Anything but the bullshit the media gives us.
Just scanning the web I found a number of interesting stories.
Thank you Google.
Like THIS one.
Heartwarming and true.
Or THIS one.
Not so heartwarming but probably true.
Or THIS one.
Not heartwarming at all but damn funny in a very dark and Pan’s Labyrinth kind of way.
There, you feel better already, yes?
And no, I am not getting up at 3AM to watch the Royal Wedding.
I need my beauty sleep, for God’s sake . . .
During my lunch hour today I wanted to drop off a fountain pen for repair.
This meant a walk to Downtown Crossing in the shopping district,
an area swarming with people today due to the warm summer weather.
The Bromfield Pen Shop is a place I have dreams about with all their pens, cool ink and exotic paper.
It’s the only place in Boston to take a sick pen; the patient of the day: a Mont Blanc fountain pen.
As I walked down Washington Street, grilled sausages, onions and red and green peppers assaulted my olfactory senses.
I was hungry and had multiple thoughts of mustard.
Spicy, brown mustard.
I was limited on time so I dropped off the pen and didn’t chance a look at the new inks
that had undoubtedly come in.
I am a big-time sucker for creatively colored inks.
Thank my lucky stars I didn’t have the time to spend money I don’t have on inks I really don’t need.
And ink is sooooo cool.
You have no idea.
I left the pen shop and walked up Bromfield Street when I saw a sign for a tres cool sandwich shop.
I walked in and saw a line longer than the bank on payday.
I would settle for a grilled chicken sandwich from Burger King. (yummy, right?)
I sat down to eat and noticed an older black man panhandling right outside the front door.
This guy was a bit different though.
He wasn’t asking for money, though he did hold a large BK cup in his hand.
I watched through the glass as he mouthed ‘hello’ and ‘have a nice day, now’ to the many people walking by.
He was polite and generally unobtrusive for a needy guy.
And he was needy.
He stood about my height (5’8”) and had on ratty clothes, the overall effect topped off
with a weathered Boston Red Sox hat.
His toothless smile seemed almost innocuous. . . inviting.
You almost wanted to forgive him though he’d done no wrong, if that makes any sense.
As a rule, I don’t give money to street people.
I might offer a piece of fruit or a bottle of water if I have an extra.
I reached into my BK bag and took out an order of French Fries that I hadn’t ordered.
I brought them up to the register and told the woman that waited on me that I hadn’t ordered them. She waved her hand in a ‘no comprende’ way and said ‘keep them’.
I haven’t been eating fries lately and decided my windfall would be a snack for the man outside ‘working the street’.
I ate my lunch and continued to watch this man smile, say hello, give directions and take whatever this unblinking society would give him.
I finished my sandwich and grabbed the bag with the fries (still sufficiently hot) and left.
I walked up and handed him the bag and said, “Here, eat these. You do eat fries, don’t ya’?”
You would have thought I’d just given him a winning lottery ticket.
He smiled and said, “Bless you, my brother. Bless your heart.”
I walked across Tremont Street and through a warm, sunny Boston Common back to work,
oddly happy to have been sincerely blessed.
Some thoughts from many years ago (2006)
Seems like yesterday . . .
We had my father over for Easter dinner on Sunday.
My sister wanted to pick him up and bring him over; something I believe she had to do.
I think she fears there won’t be many more left to share.
Sadly, I would have to agree.
Actually, I would have agreed over a year ago.
I have to give her credit for going through the rigmarole of getting him ready,
seated safely in the car and bringing him over to our house.
I’ve been there, done that and bought the t-shirt.
My father has a difficult time walking these days reminding me more of Charlie Chaplin than the man I once called “Dad”.
It’s an unfortunate physical side effect of a brain at war with total neurological disintegration.
We eventually got him into my living room and plopped him down in my favorite chair:
one, because the chair is just so damn comfortable
and two, because when we finally let him go, it would be impossible for him to miss it.
We all sat down to eat and my sister and I filled his plate with ham,
green beans and Au gratin potatoes, all of which we cut up into pieces to make it easier for him to feed himself.
And feed himself he did.
He ate everything on the plate.
Either my cooking was really good that day or where he’s currently staying is really bad.
Whatever the case, it was wonderful to see him enjoy a meal.
He didn’t speak a word as he ate.
My wife caught him stabbing at an empty spot on his plate.
She gently rotated his plate to where the food was and he was none the wiser.
The rest of the afternoon went off without a hitch.
After eating, we ushered him back to my chair where he fell asleep; perhaps shuffling through his own little world of monochromatic movie screens and silent dreams . . . a sleeping Charlie Chaplin.
We woke him an hour or so later and got him back into the car.
As I fastened his seat belt, I looked at him as he peered over the rims of his glasses and I said,
“No Boston Marathon for you tomorrow, young man.”
I’m sure he didn’t understand a word I said but knew enough to do a little chuckle and mutter, “Yeah”.
He plays the game so well most days so why the hell can’t I?
For me, the Easter cupboard was somewhat threadbare in terms of holiday revelations
and personal epiphanies but I did get to marvel over the way my Dad still gets through his days.
In many ways, he’s graceful in a way I may never be.
As long as his surreal movie keeps playing,
I’ll continue to watch him as he shuffles through his seemingly silent and black and white world,
just like Chaplin.