Happy Dump

June 30th, 2019 § 0 comments § permalink

No, HG is not referring to a fine bowel movement. HG is speaking of a waste disposal facility known in the vernacular as “the dump”. They are usually grim and foreboding places. And, smelly. When in New Mexico, HG delivers the month’s household garbage to “the dump” in the Jacona neighborhood on route 502. It is the one place in The Land of Enchantment where HG is not greeted with smiles and friendly courtesy. Contrast this with the waste disposal facility (HG feels it would denigrate it by calling it “the dump”) in Dingwell Mills, Prince Edward Island. The manager/cashier is an attractive, smiling, curly headed woman. She warmly welcomes HG/BSK and Toby, The Wonder Dog. The principal attendant is another friendly greeter (and helps unload HG/BSK car if it’s very full ). Toby loves to
come here. That’s because the intelligent dog knows that before leaving the manager will present him with an excellent dog treat. Typical PEI. Typical Canada. HG/BSK and Toby will join in Canada Day, July 1. Glad to be in the northern democracy, home of the NBA champs.


June 29th, 2019 § 0 comments § permalink

Excellent fruit. For some obscure reason, HG has been neglecting bananas for some years. Now, they are an integral part of HG’s breakfast. HG tops fruit yogurt with thin banana slices and adds a dash of Canadian maple syrup. Delicious, healthy, and filling. These slices are nice over a bran cereal or muesli (the maple syrup is obligatory). Growing up, HG’s Mom often served Little HG with a bowl of sliced bananas and sour cream. As a special treat, HG had the bananas with sweet cream and chopped walnuts. Sauteed, brown sugared bananas were a wondrous side dish at Forno’s, the long closed, delightful Spanish restaurant on Manhattan’s midtown west side. In yesteryear Bronx, ice cream parlors like Addy Vallins and Krum’s, served banana splits. Bananas were sliced vertically and toped with three scoops of ice cream. Whipped cream, chocolate syrup (or hot fudge or butterscotch), chopped nuts and a Maraschino cherry topped it. (Do banana splits still exist?). Best banana dish was Bananas Foster served at Brennan’s in New Orleans. Bananas were sauteed in butter and sugar. Topped with ice cream and flamed with brandy. Easy to make at home. (NY Times has a good recipe). Give it a try and have some N’awlins delight.

Digby Bay Scallops

June 27th, 2019 § 0 comments § permalink

Mike’s Queen Street Meat and Seafood Market (located on University Boulevard in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, though it was probably first located on Queen Street) is one of the city’s oldest businesses. HG had never shopped there but in the absence of By the Bay Fish Mart in St. Peters (alas, closed), HG stopped by and bought a pound of Digby Bay scallops. HG had some concerns about the product since the interior of Mike’s Market is quite bleak and dim. No need to worry. These scallops, cooked with care by BSK, turned out to be among the best scallops HG/BSK ever tasted. (and they are half the price of the scallops HG buys at Whole Foods in Santa Fe). So, tonight’s meal was linguine with scallops. It was superb. This is how BSK did it. First, BSK made a sofrito of olive oil, garlic, cherry tomatoes, chopped onions, chopped fennel, and anchovies. Herbs were thyme, parsley, and fennel fronds. Lovely balance with no element taking precedence. BSK, with surgical precision, sauteed the scallops until lightly browned and cooked linguine to the ideal state of tenderness. Mixed the pasta with the sofrito. Topped it with the scallops and some of the reserved herb mixture. Savory and sumptuous. Mike’s is now HG’s source for scallops. (this may change since HG just learned that another fish store is taking over the By the Bay Fish Mart space. Supposed to open in early July. Hooray!!)


June 26th, 2019 § 0 comments § permalink

Followers of HungryGerald.com have learned that BSK is an excellent, inventive cook. BSK’s dinners, breakfast omelets and casseroles, provide daily delight for discerning HG. Fortunately, HG/BSK’s children, Lesley R. and SJ, have both learned kitchen skills from BSK and are splendid home cooks appreciated by their families. (SJ’s wife, Exquisite Maiko, is a professional chef and the favorite of the entire clan including HG’s daughter, Victoria, the noted New York restaurateur. But, Maiko is glad to turn pasta and barbecue over to SJ so she can get a rest from culinary work). HG may have erred in emphasizing BSK’s cooking. This is just one of BSK’s mundane talents which include gardening, home repairs and interior design. Plus, well paid professional ventures as a political and economic development strategist, public relations counselor and publicist. An avocation is ecological activism. Primarily, BSK is an artist. Permit HG to fill in some biographical details. BSK’s first interest in the arts was theatrical. BSK studied theater at Ohio State University, performed on stage in student productions, was on local television, did improvisations at Columbus coffee houses. Later, BSK did summer stock in Hyde Park, N.Y., and repertory in the Ford Foundation-sponsored Fred Miller Theater in Milwaukee. BSK came to New York to study with Lloyd Richards and Lee Strassberg. Had to make money to support herself while making the casting rounds. Became an office temp. Worked at HG’s office (among other things, BSK was a skilled and accurate typist and efficient in office administration.) That’s how HG/BSK met. The rest is 56 years of loving history. In the early years of marriage to HG, BSK was occupied with raising children but found time (with a partner) to design pillows (sold at the Henri Bendel, W.J. Sloane and Lord & Taylor in New York). Sloane featured the pillows in the store’s Fifth Avenue showcase window. The partners also invented and manufactured a tote called the “Billybag”. And, in spare moments, BSK painted. At first, BSK’s art was representational, many painting inspired by old photos. (A BSK Fire Island-inspired landscape hung for many years over the bar at Bradley’s, the jazz club and restaurant on University Place in Greenwich Village. Bradley’s closed a few years after the owner, Bradley Cunningham, died in 1988). As years went by, BSK did color field work, abstractions, landscapes inspired by Milton Avery and paintings more expressionist than naturalist. For decades, BSK was the photographer and art director for HG/BSK’s growing and successful public relations firm. (BSK photos appeared in newspapers and magazines throughout the country including Time Magazine, Metropolitan Home and The New York Times). BSK was a skilled photo printer utilizing a basement darkroom in HG/BSK’s Montclair, N.J. home. Beyond commercial work, BSK also did fine art photography often incorporating hand-painting. Since moving to New Mexico, BSK has become a wonderful potter. BSK’s large studio building has a kiln and BSK has been hand forming and glazing an astonishing array of pots, sculptures, bowls, trays, etc. BSK’s pottery is included in collections from California to New York. HG/BSK’s children (and grandchildren) love BSK’s art and their homes are decorated with an array of her works. HG/BSK homes in New Mexico and Prince Edward Island are suffused with BSK art. On PEI, there’s a long foyer wall lined with various PEI seascapes. The master bedroom’s walls feature brilliant blue, white and green abstractions of PEI. In New Mexico, there are many pots on the living room mantelpiece, the coffee table, and an antique linen table. There are paintings in the bedrooms and HG’s office plus photos of Florence, Venice, Bologna, Nantucket, Coney Island, etc. BSK’s work enhances HG’s life and every day HG is stimulated by another aspect of BSK’s artwork. Best of all, are HG’s long afternoon swims in HG/BSK’s New Mexico pool house As HG paddles in the pool, HG gazes at three oversized canvases of nudes, a landscape, two collages and two abstractions. Also Montclair swimming pool photos of HG and Fire Island snapshots. Thanks to BSK, HG is plunged into visual and physical pleasure. Ah, BSK, you are a treasure.

Peanut Butter

June 25th, 2019 § 0 comments § permalink

HG does not recall eating peanut butter in HG’s youthful days in The Bronx with his late mother and father. Peanut butter was unknown in Mom’s “shtetl”, Plestyanitz, Belarus; the same goes for Pop’s “shtetl” in Smulovitch, Belarus. In The Bronx, Mom’s cooking was Eastern European Jewish with an emphasis on chicken fat. Her borscht, brisket, stuffed cabbage, blintzes, potato latkes, noodle kugel, chopped liver, cold sorrel soup (“schav”)and rugelach, provide HG with happy memories. There were no peanut butter encounters until HG married BSK, the Canadian love of HG’s life. HG’s first taste of a slice of Zito’s bread (long closed Greenwich Village bakery) spread with peanut butter and topped with strawberry jam, was a revelation. These days HG/BSK use peanut butter in a variety of ways. It’s the main ingredient for a fiery version of dan dan noodles. HG uses it in a Thai dipping sauce for grilled chicken or pork. When in a hurry, BSK lunches on slices of apple spread with peanut butter. BSK touts the sandwich of BSK’s youth: Peanut butter, lettuce, and mayonnaise. HG sneers at this concoction. The greedy fellow likes to finish a meal with glasses of red wine and Keebler’s Club crackers spread with chunky peanut butter and Prince Edward Island strawberry/rhubarb jam. The French would be shocked.

Depression Days

June 24th, 2019 § 2 comments § permalink

HG grew up during the bleak days of The Great Depression. America was a very anti-Jewish place. Father Coughlin, “The Radio Priest”, spewed hatred on the airwaves to a large audience and his newspaper, “Social Justice”, was sold in front of Catholic churches and major thoroughfares in The Bronx. Banks and other financial institutions (as well as most corporate giants) did not hire Jews. Elite colleges and all USA medical schools had strict quotas regulating the admission of Jews. Most suburbs had restrictive covenants and many hotels, country clubs and resorts advertised “Restricted Clientele.” The Nazi German-American Bund was active in New York and New Jersey and filled Madison Square Garden for its swastika bedecked rallies. Labeled “Christ killer,’ young HG survived many violent encounters. (HG recalls Lenny Bruce’s 1950’s comment about the Christ killing charge: “No, it wasn’t me, It was my cousin, Milton.”). However, there were some bright icons in those days. FDR, of course. New York Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia (“The Little Flower”); Shirley Temple, the child star worshiped by HG (HG still has the blue pitcher sporting Shirley’s face that was HG’s hot cocoa glass. HG believed that little Lesley, HG/BSK’s daughter, was the reincarnation of the curly-topped Shirley); Canada’s Dionne Quintuplets (Louise Penny, the Canadian mystery writer, uses a fictionalized version of the Quints in her novel, “How The Light Gets In”). The brave Americans of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade who fought Franco’s Fascists in the Spanish Civil War. (Many years later, Sam W., a veteran of the Brigade, was a journalist colleague of HG’s. Sam had remained an ardent and outspoken Leftist, a dangerous position in those days dominated by Senator Joe McCarthy); Joe Louis, the great heavyweight boxing champion (and later a client of publicist HG). This post is being written on June 22, 2019, the 81st anniversary of Joe’s first-round kayo of Max Schmeling, a German, a Nazi and a favorite of Adolf Hitler. The fight at a filled Yankee Stadium lasted 134 seconds of the first round. If not stopped, Joe might have killed him. It was that brutal. Like all of New York, nine-year-old HG listened on the radio. It was more than a fight. It was Democracy vs. Nazism. A Black Champion vs. Racism. Celebrations were madly joyous, especially in Harlem. The fight also ended the Depression as American industry began gearing up for World War Two. That war changed many things. But, racism and anti-semitism still thrive.

Let It Rain

June 22nd, 2019 § 0 comments § permalink

Stormy night in Prince Edward Island. Torrents of rain splashing against the windows of HG/BSK’s oceanfront home. Toby, The Wonder Dog, doesn’t appreciate rain, snow or gusty winds. Like HG, Toby is a civilized fellow who enjoys a warm wood stove and a sofa lounge. However, nature does call. BSK picked up the little fellow and deposited him outdoors for a few minutes. Appropriate. Dinner guest was Leslie F., the beautiful, talented neighbor. BSK rose to the occasion. The trio dined on Shakshouka. This is a middle eastern dish that is an Israeli favorite. It is a stew of red peppers, onions, garlic(much), olive oil, tomato puree. Flavored with coriander, cumin, paprika, lemon (or lime) zest, salt, pepper and a bit of sugar. When the stew has achieved the right lush texture, eggs are cracked into it. Heat is lowered and the eggs are cooked until the whites are cooked but the yolks are still runny. The side dish is an HG specialty. Greek yogurt and sour cream are mixed with cumin, Spanish Pimenton, zaatar, sumac, olive oil, a generous amount of smashed garlic and the juice of one large lemon, Harissa is on the table to give the Shakshouka some heat and warmed pita is there for the dipping. Fresh chopped cilantro tops the Shakshouka. Some Israelis like to add feta cheese and strips of serrano peppers. HG/BSK and Leslie devoured the dish. BSK got applause. Dessert was homey tapioca pudding (HG added vanilla ice cream). Rain outside. Golden sunshine at BSK’s dinner table.

Chops and Sweets

June 21st, 2019 § 0 comments § permalink

Rains gathering in the Prince Edward Island skies. Time for a hearty dinner. Lamb chops from Ocean Mist Farm. Roast tomatoes. Sweet potatoes. HG brined the chops. Long procedure. Boiled the brine. Brought it to room temperature. Added the chops. Refrigerated for 90 minutes. Removed from fridge. Once more brought chops to room temperature. Washed off the brine. Dried with paper towels. Pan broiled. The result: Juicy, succulent lamb chops. Some of the best ever. Sweet potatoes got two treatments. For BSK: Peeled and cut into rectangles. Olive oil. Garlic. Pimenton (hot Spanish paprika). Salt. Pepper. Baked into spicy goodness. For HG: The classic Bronx street treatment. Scrubbed potato. Into a 425 degree oven for 45 minutes. Potato was cut open. Lots of butter, salt and pepper. Heaven. Tomatoes got the BSK treatment of coring and garnishing with olive oil, garlic and basil. A tomato homage. Drank pinot noir. Let it rain or shine. If BSK is mine, every day is a holiday and every meal is a feast. Lucky HG.

Blame It On Professor Massimo

June 20th, 2019 § 0 comments § permalink

Blame it on Massimo R., HG/BSK’s talented, tactful, amiable, athletic son-in-law (married to HG/BSK’s gifted daughter, Lesley). Massimo is a Professor and head of Italian studies at Brown University. He is the author of a number of books and an authority on Italian culture, specifically the school of”melancholy” in art and literature; Italian cinema (heads film festivals at Brown) the career of Garibaldi; modern Italian literature. He has been honored by the Italian government with the “Ufficiale” title and is a leader in the digital humanities. He is also a loving and devoted husband and father. Plus, still a skilled and competitive tennis player (a room in the parental home in the Veneto region was filled with his tennis trophies). Quite a guy. However. Massimo is the cause of a marital conflict: HG vs. BSK. The subject is the texture of pasta. HG likes it medium soft (“Mushy,” says BSK). BSK likes pasta super al dente (“Cardboard,” says HG). Massimo, like many Italians, is very knowledgeable about wine, cheese, bread and food. He likes pasta extremely al dente. BSK, to HG’s discontent, has followed the Professor’s lead. HG/BSK have found a way to compromise. Flat pasta: Linguine, spaghetti, tagliatelle, fettucine, pappardelle, etc. are removed from the pot for BSK when done to BSK’s liking. HG’s gets a minute or so more boiling. Both HG and BSK are satisfied. When it comes to shaped pasta like penne, rigatoni, farfalle. conchiglie, etc., they are cooked in separate pots and both eaters add the sauce (and some additional pasta water) when done to their taste. Peace reigns at the HG/BSK table.

Red’s Grill

June 20th, 2019 § 0 comments § permalink

The Prince Edward Island Town of Montague contains many pleasant surprises: A shop specializing in hot sauces. Pickups in a parking lot that (when in season) offer the best sweet corn ever. A waterfront dotted with extraordinary sculpture. A truck selling fresh fish. And, Red’s Grill (more about Red’s in a moment). HG/BSK were in Montague yesterday. Mundane errands. Fish guy was in business. Bought one pound of sparkling fresh haddock. Peckish HG/BSK lunched at Red’s, a food truck perched on the waterfront. Ordered fish tacos. Generous crisply fried haddock filets rested on soft tortillas containing an original slaw of red peppers, onions and lettuce. Pungent creamy dressing. Outstanding fish tacos. And, an eye-opening bargain. Two tacos to an order. About six dollars (US). And, the tacos were large. One order would have been sufficient for two hungry people. More fried haddock for dinner with asparagus and baby potatoes. Preceded by a dozen Malpeque oysters. Oh, well, muses HG. It’s a life. Somebody’s got to live it. Might as well be HG/BSK.

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