Buddhist Monks of Prince Edward Island

August 9th, 2018 § 0 comments § permalink

Yesterday, there was an open house at the Buddhist monastery in the Prince Edward Island town of Heatherdale and HG/BSK were among the scores of visitors. Part of the Great Enlightenment Buddhist Institute Society, the monastery was founded ten years ago and now houses some 200 monks (there’s another monastery in Little Sands). There are expansion plans at Heatherdale, plus an ambitious project for another monastery in Brudenell on land recently purchased by the Society (eventually the site will house as many as 1,400 Buddhist nuns and will contain walking and tourism facilities open to the public). When HG/BSK arrived at the Heatherdale monastery, HG/BSK were handed a form on which to write a wish plus a stick of incense. A monk lit the incense as a method of helping the wish come true. HG/BSK toured the grounds (beautifully tended vegetable gardens), the temple and study hall. Simple, austere, deeply satisfying architecture. Clean lines. Minimal decoration. Mies van der Rohe’s dictum of “less is more” is observed. A Buddhist spokesperson (the Buddhist religion was founded more than 2,500 years ago) told HG/BSK (and other visitors) about the daily routine of the monks which includes work, prayer, study and meditation. The aim, he said, was not only to achieve happiness for oneself but bring happiness to all “sentient” (capable of feeling) life. Prince Edward Island was chosen by GEBIS because of its “calm and serenity.” PEI, which values diversity, has welcomed the monks (who have shaven heads and wear distinctive light brown robes). And the monks have reciprocated this welcome by aiding persons in need; supplying hospitals, schools and food banks with the excellent bread they bake and lending a hand at community projects. The monks project quiet joy and HG/BSK treasured their company during the visit (as well as the fine cookies and iced tea that were part of their hospitality).

More Reunion

August 7th, 2018 § 0 comments § permalink

The family is together. Daughter Lesley R. and husband Massimo have arrived with their beautiful and brilliant daughters, Arianna and Sofia. Plus their enchanting dog, Pip (Toby, The Wonder Dog’s special friend). They joined with HG/BSK, SJ, Exquisite Maiko, Handsome Haru and Adorable Teru in fun, sun, swimming and feasting. Weather is hot and sunny. The ocean water is warm. Long swims for everyone. The R. family brought an abundance of Italian treats. HG is crazed with culinary anticipation. In a world where families have a tendency to disintegrate or harbor various angers, HG/BSK are very lucky. Yes, love reigns but there’s much lighthearted activity. Massive amounts of laughter. And, the pleasures of the table are not neglected. BSK made a robust seafood stew (mussels, clams, cod, bacon, potatoes, clam broth, onions, garlic and lots of herbs) last night. SJ created a special rouille: Roasted yellow pepper, garlic, mayonnaise, lemon juice and some stale bread was whirled in the blender. Flavored with white pepper, paprika and Aleppo pepper. Outstanding. HG’s daughter, Victoria, and husband, Marc Meyer, will arrive in a few days. Vicki and chef Marc own and run four splendid New York restaurants (Cookshop, Vic’s, Rosie’s, Shuka) so the cuisine will get a professional lift. One year, Marc made the ultimate brandade. Let’s face it, when the HG/BSK clan is together, Prince Edward Island becomes the world’s culinary capital.

Pizza Cravings

August 6th, 2018 § 0 comments § permalink

An eminent broadcasting executive, married to a world famous, beautiful and elegant fashion icon, was queried by a friend as to why he was unfaithful to her with very ordinary, mundane women. The sexist guy replied: “Well, I love caviar but sometimes I have a hankering for a slice of pizza”. No risque metaphor here. In a very literal sense, old HG would like some good pizza. Unavailable in New Mexico and have yet to try Piatto Pizzeria in Prince Edward Island (have heard good things). SJ will soon be on PEI with family. Hopefully, SJ will grill some of SJ’s pizza covered with thinly sliced PEI potatoes, garlic, herbs and fruity olive oil. Excellent. Al Forno in Providence is famous for its grilled pizza (some good grilled pizza is available at a little eatery on Providence’s Federal Hill.) Pizzas are versatile. HG liked the thin crusted pizzas served at the 240 Union restaurant in Lakewood, CO.,when the talented Matthew Franklin was chef. Before moving to HG/BSK’s horse ranch in Colorado’s Rocky Mountain foothills, HG/BSK spent more than a year on Sheridan Square in New York’s Greenwich Village. HG/BSK supped often at a nearby architecturally distinctive, stylish restaurant. The female chef made a variety of fine thin crust pizzas. Alas, the restaurant closed. A bit too stylish for the AIDS-wracked Village of that time (mid-80’s). The ultimate thin crust pizza was the product of a Roman hole-in-the-wall near The Spanish Steps. This was a pizza topped with thin slices of zucchini. No cheese. No tomatoes. It resembled a French apple tart. HG’s guilty pleasure was a thick crusted slice of pizza sold at pizzerias throughout northern New Jersey and The Bronx; also at the “original” Original Ray’s in Manhattan. Greasy. Juicy. Cheesy. Irresistible. Sprinkled with red pepper flakes, garlic powder and dry oregano, this was a treat that united the proletariat with artists, intellectuals, businesspersons and politicians. The great leveler.

Joyous Reunion With Tokyo Guys

August 5th, 2018 § 0 comments § permalink

Happiness!!! SJ, Exquisite Maiko, Handsome Haru and Adorable Teru have arrived from steamy Tokyo (and an equally hot seven hour layover in Hong Kong; not to mention a steamy 14-hour-drive from Boston). Before getting many hugs and kisses from welcoming HG/BSK, the group took many breaths of the salty, breezy Prince Edward Island air. Toby, The Wonder Dog, was ecstatic. A multitude of hugs and tummy rubs. Then off to the beach for long, refreshing swims in the pleasantly warm water in the ocean fronting the HG/BSK home. Despite jet lag, SJ and EM look fit and relaxed. Haru has grown into a tall young man. Teru is as cute as ever though a number of inches taller. The group brought many gifts. Big bottle of superior sake. Aprons. Tea towels. HG’s favorite cookies. Plus a decorative ball and charming drawings from Teru. Since EM is an outstanding oyster shucker and chef, The group took advantage of EM at supper time (on PEI, “dinner” is lunch and “supper is dinner). EM was awakened from jet lag slumber. Shucked two dozen Malpeque oysters. Perfection. Not a speck of shell marred the lush bivalves. EM then fried two pounds of fresh haddock. Greaseless. Light. Crisp. BSK cooked some local yellow beans with poblano peppers from BSK’s vegetable garden. SJ smashed some local potatoes. Ice cream for dessert. Early to bed. Joyous, tasty reunion after long absence.

Great Steamed Clams

August 4th, 2018 § 0 comments § permalink

For some obscure reason, up until this point, By the Bay Fish Mart in St. Peters has not (to HG’s dismay) been selling soft shell clams. Steamed soft shells, rinsed in clam broth and dipped in butter, is a favorite HG dish. So, HG was overjoyed yesterday to find the clams finally available at the Fish Mart. Many, many rinses in cold water to get rid of sand. BSK steamed them to perfection and they were among the best steamers HG ever tasted. Big and lush. HG’s favorite soft shell clam dish was served at the downtown Brooklyn landmark, Gage & Tollner’s. Clam bellys sauteed in butter. Recently learned that some young restaurateurs are busy fund raising to restore and reopen the restaurant. Thankfully, the antique interior has remained. HG/BSK ate many pounds of steamers during their summers in Fire Island and Nantucket. (The Nantucket fish store, where HG was addressed as “Captain”, also sold superb bay scallops and swordfish.) BSK has an unhappy steamer memory of a trip through Maine years ago with Montclair, N.J. friends, Rita and Jack N. (HG and pals were visiting children Jeremy and Evan at an athletic camp). While BSK’s husband and friends ate, with gusto, great steamed lobster and lobster rolls (never better than on the Maine seashore), BSK (allergic to crustaceans) had to dine on small, insipid steamers. Excellent blueberry pie was not adequate compensation.

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