August 22nd, 2017 § 1 comment § permalink

A favorite weapon of garment center workers and hoodlum strikebreakers during the labor battles in New York (1915-20) was the “schlammer.” This was a metal pipe wrapped in newspaper (HG presumes the bloody newspaper was divested. No fingerprints). The men (and some women) using these weapons were known as “schlammers.” HG’s late lamented father, Hershel Zvi Freeman, was such an effective breaker of criminal heads that he (wife and infant son Bernard) had to leave New York in a horse and wagon. Long journey took them to the Ohio farm of Fanny Howitz, HG’s Mom’s sister. The three spent a happy time there (HG’s mother and father especially loved community square dancing) before returning to New York when they thought things were safe. HG’s father was in his 50’s when HG was born. A quiet and gentle man, he was plagued by various ailments until his death in the 1960’s. Never spoke about his violent days. However, when HG was 14, HG ran an arcade game in Rockaway for a couple of tough Jews.( “Five Balls. Five Roses. Roll ‘Em Easy. Roll ‘Em Slow. Every Game A Winner.” chanted young HG as he collected money and made change.) A grifter cheated HG out of ten dollars which was deducted from HG’s measly pay by HG’s nasty bosses. HG told his father. Father went down to the basement of the boarding house where HG’s family summered. Picked up a lead pipe. Wrapped it in newspaper. HG and father went to the arcade. “Schlammer” in hand, HG’s father, in a soft and courteous voice, said the deduction was unfair and asked for ten dollars owed his son. The tough guys looked at the “schlammer”. Silence. They forked over the ten bucks.

Historic Blindness

August 17th, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

Americans will not acknowledge their history. The United States is guilty of two great crimes against humanity: The virtual genocide of Native Americans. And the centuries of abominable chattel slavery. (On a much lesser scale are the destructive, useless Vietnam and Iraq wars). Thousands of Africans died battling slavers. More died as they were branded and kept in African captivity as they awaited “the middle journey.” Thousands more died as they were locked below decks in unspeakable conditions. And, then there was slavery. Lee and the other “heroes” of the Confederacy fought to preserve slavery. The confederate flag is as much a symbol of murderous inhumanity as the swastika. Any African-American seeing Confederate flags and Confederate statues would have the same feelings as a Jew gazing at a swastika or a Hitler statue. Yes, Germany is not perfect. But, it has acknowledged its modern history. Statues of Hitler cannot be found in that land. Back here, in the temporarily land of the brave and free, Der Trumperer is concerned that tearing down racist statues will mar the beauty of cities.

Alt Left?

August 16th, 2017 § 4 comments § permalink

So, the piece of garbage that calls itself POTUS believes that those who battle violent Nazis are members of the”alt left.” That means the millions of Americans who fought the Nazis, violently and to the death, during WWII were members of the “alt left.” As was the French resistance and all other resistance / partisan groups during World War Two. My late father-in-law, Roy Kent, an RCAF bomber pilot, who won the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) and many other decorations for his exploits against the Nazis, would be startled. When he arrived in Britain his aerial skills were recognized and it was suggested that he be a trainer. His reply: “I didn’t travel 4,000 miles to be a teacher. I came here to kill Nazis.” He demanded bomber raids he would pilot even though the base log book indicated that no bomber crew had ever survived their tour of duty. A true member of the “alt left. (He’s on the right in this wartime London photo. His younger brother, Eric, who spent seven years as an artilleryman, is on the left.).

Another Farewell Dinner

August 15th, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

Last week, HG’s daughter, Victoria, left Prince Edward Island for New York. But, before departure, there was a remarkable dinner featuring local foodstuffs (with exception of Geechie Boy grits). The festivity started with two dozen Coleville Bay oysters and one dozen Malpeques. Professor Massimo R. assisted HG with swift and adroit shucking. Lesley R. surprised with a lush dish of “polenta e schie”, A Venetian favorite. “Schie” are the tiny shrimp harvested in the Veneto lagoon. Lesley substituted tiny river shrimp from Newfoundland. Heated them with garlic, shallots, olive oil, butter, touch of white wine and a shower of chopped parsley. Served over creamy Geechie Boy grits. Splendid. This was followed by BSK’s seafood chowder of clams, mussels, cod, scallops and potatoes. Accompanied by John the Baker’s brown bread. Hearty goodness. Meal concluded with The Gouda Lady’s fenugreek gouda. Red wine. HG chose alcohol, the dazzling marc distilled by PEI’s Bagaco winery.

Photo Crdit: Vicki Freeman

Vile Trump

August 13th, 2017 § 1 comment § permalink

There is no limit to the sheer piggishness of Der Trumperer. The latest, of course, is his equating violent Nazi haters of African-Americans, Jews and immigrants with those who protest their actions. It’s like that old joke about equal coverage by TV news. First there is footage of hundreds of dead Jews who perished in the Auschwitz gas chambers. Then the newscaster says: “And now for the Nazi point of view..”

Noo Yawk In PEI

August 11th, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

With many hugs and kisses, the Freeman/Sakamoto clan (SJ, EM, Teru, Haru) left Prince Edward Island for Brooklyn with the final destination being Tokyo. Before setting off, there was a fabulous New York breakfast. Visiting HG daughter, Victoria, brought a smoked fish feast from New York’s venerable Russ & Daughters. Two types of smoked salmon. Sable. Red salmon caviar. BSK provided capers, lemons, bagels, brown bread, sour cream, cream cheese, sweet butter. Lesley R. made a big stack of crepes (she is world champ crepe master). Lots of coffee. Yes, it was the classic Sunday breakfast/brunch HG/BSK enjoyed during their years in New York. Russ & Daughters was the source during HG/BSK’s Greenwich Village year and Zabar’s was the source when HG/BSK lived on W. 67th and W.79th Streets. Rainy day so dinner was hearty. Lesley R. made a sumptuous stew of hake, tomatoes, garlic and herbs. Served it over Calamari pasta ( a large round shape that holds the sauce with tenacity). This was preceded by cold mussels in a mustard sauce and BSK’s sautéed fresh scallops over greens. The meal was enhanced by the presence of Massimo R. who arrived in time for dinner after a long, non-stop drive from Providence. Happily, the distinguished Professor managed to avoid any collisions with moose.

Maiko Epic

August 9th, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

Last night in Prince Edward Island for the Freeman/Sakamoto family so Exquisite Maiko created an epic Japanese dinner centered around her foraging efforts on the PEI shoreline. Grilled mackerel (form the fishing boats at Naufrage). Shime Saba: slices of raw mackerel preserved in vinegar. Okra and hijiki salad. Tomato, mushroom, avocado and sea asparagus (picked on the shoreline of HG’s home) salad. Marinated and fried eggplant. Pickled watercress (plucked at the base of a freshwater stream that empties into the ocean). HG’s restaurateur daughter, Victoria Freeman, arrived in time for the feast (after arduous air travel marked by cancelled flights and other annoyances). Maiko’s epic was preceded by oysters (shucked by HG) and shrimp salad (one of Lesley R.’s specialties). Vicki is a pescatorian (eats fish and shellfish but no meat). So, the meal worked for her and everyone else.

Maiko Extravaganza

August 5th, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

EM drove to the nearby fishing port town of Naufrage and picked up a dozen fresh mackerel right off the boat. No demand for these delicious fish on Prince Edward Island (locals think of them as cat food!) so the fishermen refused payment and gave them to EM gratis. And that’s where the Maiko magic began. EM gutted, cleaned and filleted the fish. Using the heads and other parts, she created a clear, subtle and intensely flavored fish and vegetable soup. And, that’s how dinner started. It was followed by a tataki of raw mackerel with ginger, scallions, soy sauce and nori. Then a dish of marinated mackerel with olive oil, balsamic vinegar and soy sauce. Both were fabulous. Topping off the delights was a platter of thinly sliced pork belly over cucumber slivers served with a garlic-soy sauce. A wow. Once more, EM proved to be the ultimate chef. All of this was followed by pounds of mussels meuniere prepared by BSK in BSK’s inimitable fashion. Wee, cute Teru, a big mussels fan, attacked bowls with enthusiasm. The night before, SJ prepared pork ribs and BSK and Lesley R, collaborated on potato salad and cole slaw. HG’s contribution? A big appetite and hearty expressions of approval.

Family Feasting

August 3rd, 2017 § 2 comments § permalink

Abundance of family with HG/BSK on Prince Edward Island. SJ, Exquisite Maiko, Adorable Teru, Handsome Haru. Gifted daughter Lesley R. is here and husband Massimo plus daughter Sofia arrive next week. HG”s daughter Victoria, the prominent New York restaurateur, arrives tomorrow. As expected, everyone is pitching in to create festive dinners. BSK made a spectacular platter of linguine with freshly picked garlic (pungent magnificence). Lesley R. took a culinary trip down memory lane and created a wonderful pot of a family favorite from their New Jersey days: Stretch’s Chicken savoy as served at the Belmont Tavern in Belleville. EM collaborated with HG shucking Malpeque oysters. (Like everything EM does in the kitchen, EM’s shucked oysters please the eye as well as the palate). EM and SJ collaborated on a fish fry of three pounds of hake. Wondrous. As HG writes, SJ is slow cooking racks of pork ribs (from a healthy pig raised on PEI by BSK’s sister, Noel, and husband Yossi). A few nights ago, Noel and Yossi served the HG/BSK family many slices of a savory barbecued pork roast (Once more, from a N. and Y. raised pig). Yossi assured HG that his pigs have a unique distinction: They are Kosher.

Fish Cakes and Pickles

August 2nd, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

Two trucks are parked on a lot in the town of Montague, PEI. One has a sign, “Blums”, and in season (can hardy wait) sells the world’s best sweet corn. Yes, buttered corn on the cob and lobster rolls. Summer lunch supreme. The other truck’s sign is “Fish.” And, that is what is sold. It is BSK’s source for outstanding local frozen fish cakes. BSK fried a bunch of the wonders last night and served them with tiny PEI potatoes (butter, sea salt, sour cream and zaatar). Big endive and butter lettuce salad with a pungent blue cheese dressing. What made the meal extra special were two varieties of pickles: Mustard pickles from a local woman and dill pickles made from scratch by BSK. Am very familiar with the ravishing mustard pickles (the condiment from heaven) but BSK’s pickles were surprising. As good (or better) than the hearty products turned out in The Bronx and Lower East Side of HG’s youth.