New Mexico Spirits

January 11th, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

Watched Clemson roll back The Tide in one of the most exciting (and satisfying) football games ever watched. Neighbor/pal David F. watched the game with HG/BSK. David insisted that HG stick to Vodka Viracocha throughout the game. David vouched for the potency and purity of the spirit. No hangover, he vowed. He was right. HG slept like a babe and awakened with a clear head. No need for menudo (the tripe stew that is the traditional New Mexico cure for morning after distress). Yes, New Mexico is famous for Hatch chiles and green chile stew. But, in addition to Viracocha (distilled in Alcalde, NM.) some very good rye and bourbon whiskeys are crafted in the state as well as small batch beers and ales. Gruet produces wonderful sparkling wines. Sacrilege: HG prefers Gruet over most champagnes. Don’t know much about New Mexico still wines. Tasted one. Insipid.


Orange and Blue

February 16th, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink

Super Bowl day. HG was clad (courtesy of Uniqlo) in Bronco colors–a lounge outfit consisting of an orange shirt and blue pants. Warm and comfy fleece. HG was prepared for a Panthers win. The Broncos defense had stifled two of the best quarterbacks in the NFL–Tom Brady of the Patriots and Ben Roethlisberger of the Steelers. These are relatively immobile QB’s–classic “pocket” passers. HG thought Cam Newton, a swift and powerful runner as well as an accurate passer, would be too much for Denver’s stout defense. HG was wrong. HG had underestimated the speed and power of the Denver defenders (as well as the intricate plan devised by Wade Philips, Denver’s defensive coordinator). A tough day for Cam Newton but a happy day for HG/BSK and their many Colorado pals (HGBSK lived on a Denver foothills horse ranch and in a Denver apartment for more than 20 years). HG had intended to dine on roast beef-onion-duck fat sandwiches during the game. Cold weather indicated a switch in culinary plans. BSK made a big pot of fiery chili. Chopped onions. Grated Mexican cheese mix.Three types of salsa. Sour cream. Sliced avocado. Ample tequila and Santa Fe Brewing Company Black IPA Ale. Genuine western treats. A comment about the televised extravaganza. The crowd booed Tom Brady (who, as usual, looked movie star handsome and GQ stylish) when he made an appearance as one of the MVP’s of past Super Bowls. Why? Must be jealousy. He has been named MVP of three Super Bowls and is married to the beautiful Gisele Bundschen. The lady also is an astute businesswoman who earns millions every year. Plus, Brady is always gracious in victory and defeat. Unlike Newton, who acted like a sulky 13-year-old in his post game interview.


Super Bowl 50

February 1st, 2016 § 3 comments § permalink

Yes, HG will be watching the 50th Super Bowl on Sunday, February 7. Yes, HG will feel twinges of guilt. The contest will take place in the wake of the recent death of former Giant player Tyler Lash, age 27. His autopsy revealed severe brain damage–C.F.E.–the result of the numerous concussions and brain collisions he suffered during a football career that began when he was very young. The deadly statistics concerning football’s destructiveness are mounting. Yet, the NFL and the major college conferences are doing little to protect players. The NFL is a multi,multi billion dollar business which provides the billionaire owners a useful tax shelter plus an ego boost. The big time college football factories pay their coaches millions and the players (mostly African-American) often end their college days with debilitating injuries. Just one more thing that’s wrong in an America which takes a TV buffoon like Donald Trump seriously as the leader of the world. Nevertheless. Nevertheless. HG will watch the Denver Broncos do battle with the Charlotte Panthers. HG/BSK lived in the greater Denver area for some 25 years before moving to New Mexico. It is very hard to be cured of Bronco fever. Unfortunately, HG believes Cam Newton and his Panther comrades will demolish the Broncs. Newton is the most extraordinary quarterback HG has ever seen. He is bigger and faster than most famed running backs. He is an accurate passer, comfortable throwing short or long. White football fans (enchanted by splendid white quarterbacks like Manning, Brady, Montana and Starr) have been reluctant in acknowledging Newton’s greatness.(Newton’s celebratory dances annoy them). Sorry, white folks. Newton is symbolic of a new generation that will change football forever (unless the game is banned as being more dangerous and inhumane than bullfighting). HG has watched every Super Bowl, beginning with the first. Vince Lombardi coached the winning Green Bay Packers. Now a sanctified figure with numerous schools, playing fields, streets, etc. named after him. A number of statues and plaques on public buildings. He was a brutal exponent of winning (“Winning is everything.”) and delighted in bone crushing “nutcracker” drills during his team’s practice sessions. “Football isn’t a contact sport. It’s a collision sport.”, he said. Of course,it is all of those collisions that lead to early Alzheimer’s and C.F.E. Lombardi lauded bravery and toughness but managed to avoid serving in World War Two through numerous deferments. In 1967, Lombardi complained of digestive pain but refused his doctor’s suggestion of a proctoscopic examination. He died three years later of colon and rectal cancer. Age 57. Hey, amateur Freudian analysts, theorize about all of these anomalies in Lombardi’s life. A culinary note. HG will soften Super Bowl guilt by consuming a half-time meal not endorsed by the health police. Rare roast beef on rye or pumpernickel bread liberally covered with a layer of duck fat. Topped with sliced sweet onion, Malden Sea Salt Flakes and smoked black pepper. Accompaniments: Sour dill pickles. Cole slaw. Potato salad. Anchor Steam India Pale Ale. Guinness Stout. Go Broncos!!!

Pro Football

January 12th, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink

HG has been a fan of professional football for many, many decades. As a youngster, HG would be glued to the radio listening to the play-by-play feats of New York GiantsTuffy Leemans, Ward Cuff, Mel Hein, Al Blozis, Hank Soar and other heroes. When HG was a journalist in the 50’s, HG often attended Giants games and wrote “color” reports about them for Hearst Pre Date Services, a Hearst syndicate utilized by weekly newspapers. Best football players HG ever saw: Running backs Jim Brown and Marion Motley of the Cleveland Browns; Defensive back and punt returner Emlen Tunnell; and Arnie Weinmeister, defensive tackle,both of the New York Giants.. HG may be accused of old fogeyism, but HG preferred the old style pro football. Yes, today’s players are bigger, faster, more skilled. But, the level of violence is unacceptable. And, many players face Early Alzheirmer’s and other ailments after retirement. HG thought about this while watching a vicious, disgraceful game: the wild card playoff between the Steelers and Bengals. Helmet-to-helmet spearing. Punching. Cheap shots. The NFL has to review this and make appropriate reforms. There was one, happy memorable moment–the extraordinary, acrobatic touchdown catch by Pittsburgh’s Martevis Bryant. That’s one of the reasons to watch pro football–not to get a vicarious thrill out of brutality.


Guiltless Fun

January 6th, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink

New Year’s Day is the best day for hours of guilt-free, wintry enjoyment. HG is very fond of politically incorrect cheerleaders; huge bands going through their dopey maneuvers; thousands of passionate fans. It is acknowledged and forgiven by BSK that on New Year’s Day, HG joins millions of red blooded American he guys getting prone and watching hours of bowl games. HG missed two games–Tennessee vs. Northwestern and Michigan vs. Florida. However, HG was gratified by the results. The Vols and Big Blue romped. Then, on to the day’s grid feature–Ohio State vs. Notre Dame. HG loves Ohio State for these reasons: HG’s late cousin Morris, a flight instructor with the World War Two RCAF, died when a student panicked, seized the controls, crashed) was the manager of the OSU football team. BSK went to high school in Galion, Ohio (dated a high school football All-American) and attended OSU before graduating summa cum laude from Hunter College in New York. BSK, strangely, is not interested in OSU’s athletic fortunes. HG is passionate about the Buckeyes because they made money for him when money was needed desperately. HG’s partner had embezzled substantial money and disappeared. The IRS was after HG. The Mafia was after HG (the partner was a degenerate gambler, owed lots of dough to mob bookies, and that’s what led to the flight.) The bad boy partner hadn’t paid the suppliers to HG’s public relations firm and had flim-flammed many of the firm’s clients. HG was desperate. His solution was to scrape together a lot of money and place a very big bet on Ohio State in the 1968 Rose Bowl. (HG, in the sixth year of his marriage to BSK never told BSK the amount o the bet–$10,000–since some of the money came from a mob “Shy”). Despite O.J. Simpson’s heroics (an 83-yard run) in the first half, OSU won handily. O.J. had HG’s curse upon him. Fumbled three times and all were recovered by OSU. Also threw an interception. HG/BSK were on the road to solvency and within two years bought their first Montclair, NJ, home and had the IRS lien lifted from their joyous Fire Island home.And, that was the end of money worries. Thank you Jack Tatum and other OSU heroes. Farewell, memory lane and back to 1/1/2016. HG thought it unjust that OSU wasn’t among the Final Four. Powerful defense. Creative offense (nothing like this old Woody Hayes teams). As HG anticipated, OSU overwhelmed a very gallant Notre Dame team. Then watched Stanford’s Christian McCafferty put on a spectacular show against Iowa. This back is the real deal. Loved to watch his father, Ed, play as a Denver Bronco. The kid surpasses his dad. Deserved the Heisman. Finished football day. Oklahoma State vs Ole Miss. Mississippi is a powerful SEC team. Too tough for the Cowboys.


Bad. Good. Best.

December 22nd, 2015 § 2 comments § permalink

Back in Rhode Island. Had to cancel planned visit to Arthur Avenue, the great Italian food destination in the Belmont neighborhood of The Bronx. HG’s sleep depriving cough necessitated a trip to the urgent care facility in Barrington. Bad news. HG’s pneumonia has recurred. Initial anti-biotic program didn’t work. New regimen promises a swift end to the pneumonia. However, more bad news. No alcohol for HG. A teetotal Christmas, alas. Good news. Beautiful granddaughter Sofia R. arrived home safely from France. The event put Pip, the excellent Family R. dog, into a state of ecstasy. The humans shared in the delight. The best news: Home cooking by HG/BSK daughter Lesley R.. Polenta with shrimp (clams for crustacean allergic BSK), chorizo, onions, tomatoes. Pure comfort. Some excellent cheese and grapes. HG finished with Pandoro (a yeasty Italian cake like Panettone but without the candied fruit). Herb tea. An HG evening without vodka, wine and grappa. Did HG miss these devil’s brews? A bit. But, water accompanied by happy family faces made the evening a joy.

The next day, Sunday, HG was feeling good after a night of sleep undisturbed by coughing. HG breakfasted on Pandoro (golden bread) and cups of cafe latte. Professore Massimo R., authority on every aspect of Italian culture, explained that the word “Panettone” stems from the Italian “Tony’s bread.” It seems Tony, a Milanese baker, had to prepare a sweetish bread for some distinguished personages. Little time. Culinary emergency. Tony mixed some candied fruit in the bread. Legendary Panettone was born. Massimo commented on the glut of feel good Christmas TV shows and movies. The Professore said these are called “Cinepanettone”, kitsch you watch while eating Panettone. Professore Massimo’s friend and colleague, the distinguished University of Bologna academic, Giacomo Manzoli, has written a book on the subject appropriately titled “Cinepanettone”. HG continued to munch on Pandoro and tea as HG indulged in the guilty pleasure of watching pro football on TV. As a Rhode Island visitor, HG had to watch the Patriots cruise. HG gave up on HG’s boyhood favorite, the Giants, when they fell behind the Panthers and Cam Newton by a 35-7 score. Astonishingly, Manning, Beckham and the Giants made a gallant, exciting comeback before losing in the final minute. Much fun. HG will now watch the Denver-Pittsburgh game in order to hone dinner appetite. Refrigerator contains chilled nonalcoholic beer (oy vey!!) so the teetotaler will not be thirsty.


New Yorkers (Part Two: Allie Sherman)

January 15th, 2015 § 0 comments § permalink

In 1947, HG was an ineffective halfback on the City College of New York football team (by no means a gridiron powerhouse). One of HG’s heroes was the then quarterback of the Philadelphia Eagles, Allie Sherman. At the time, HG was five foot nine and weighed 165 pounds (Since then, HG has shrunk two inches in height and dramatically expanded around the middle). Sherman was five feet ten and weighed 168 pounds. So, in 1947, HG and Sherman were both about the same size. Both were Jewish, born of Russian immigrants. Sherman had played college football at Brooklyn College (also not a powerhouse but better than CCNY). That’s where all the comparisons ended. Sherman was a very effective short passer (couldn’t throw the long ball) and a superior strategist. He went on to become the coach of the New York Giants and lead them to three NFL titles. He hired Em Tunnell and Rosey Brown as assistant coaches—the first African-American coaches in the NFL. Sherman had a sophisticated understanding of professional sports and was prescient about the importance of television and the value of pay-per-view events. After coaching, he had a successful career in sports administration (marketing and overseeing the New York Cosmos Soccer team) and television. Later, he totally revamped New York’s OTB–Off Track Betting, and made it a financial success. Sherman died last week, age 91. The tradition of five foot ten inch Jewish pro football players continues with Julian Edelman of the New England Patriots. Edelman, a very muscular 200 pounds, is the son of a Jewish father and a non-Jewish mother. He was raised as a Christian but recently told the NFL Network TV Show that he considers himself Jewish. His Jewishness may be ambiguous but not his ability (unlike Sherman’s) to throw a long pass. He proved that with a long touchdown throw in the playoff game against the Baltimore Ravens. Mazel Tov (good luck) against the Colts, Julian.

Y.A. Tittle, Allie Sherman

Into The Dustbin, Losers!

February 4th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

Leon Trotsky, the fiery Russian revolutionary (murdered with an ice pick by Stalin’s henchman), said about his defeated political opponents: “Go where you belong from now on: into the dustbin of history.” Americans are equally unforgiving about losers. Witness that very silly, super hyped, mega commercialized, goofy event known as the Super Bowl. Peyton Manning was idolized as the ultimate quarterback, deserving of monuments and immortality, following his surgical dissection of the New England Patriots. Today, after being overwhelmed by the Seattle Seahawks, Peyton and the other Denver Broncos, are losers, locked in “the dustbin of history.” Yes, America treats losers badly. Statesmen once touted as the hope of the nation, become pathetic losers after being defeated in a presidential election. Aged HG, armed with the wisdom of advanced years, is dispassionate. HG knows nobody wins all the time and losing is just another aspect of life, a wondrous thing from which no one emerges alive.


Superbowl Menu

February 1st, 2014 § 2 comments § permalink

HG will watch the Super Bowl with discerning BSK. The lady knows football having grown up in Ohio where football is a religion. BSK’s first boyfriend (HG is still jealous) was a high school All-American. Given that Super Bowl Sunday is (next to Thanksgiving) the biggest food consumption day in the United States, HG has given the day’s menu some thought. HG’s guide is SJ. Yes, when it comes to barbecue, pork roasts, gumbo and many other hearty culinary items, SJ is the ultimate authority, proof of Brooklyn’s leadership in robust dining. So, following SJ’s lead, HG will be off to the Pojoaque Super Market for a pork butt rimmed with a goodly amount of fat (the fat will baste the roast as it cooks). With a sharp knife, HG will make many small incisions in the butt and fill them with slivers of garlic. Then a rubdown with chile powder, adobo, cumin, smoked paprika, salt, pepper. (HG will add his own touch–a bit of soy sauce mixed with brown sugar). Let that sit in the fridge for the night wrapped in plastic. Then, come Sunday, HG will take the pork butt out, place in a cassarole dish, cover with tin foil and pop it into a 300 degree oven for a bit over four hours (which will hopefully conclude with the end of the game) Sounds good, right? Accompanying the roast will be warm tortillas, canellini beans, chopped raw onions, avocado slices, pico de gallo and an array of salsas (hot and sweet). Giving the meal a gala touch will be BSK’s green chile sauce (thoughtfully preserved in the freezer) plus BSK’s version of Calabacitas (a melange of fried zucchini, peppers, onions and corn). Dessert: Salted Caramel Gelato. During the three hour (or more) game, commercials, half-time extravaganza, learned analysis, HG will be sustained with a bowl of red chile menudo from El Parasol in Pojoaque. Menudo (for the uninitiated) is Mexican tripe stew. The way it is prepared at Jose and Alicia Atencio’s delightful, casual restaurant, it tops tripes a la mode de Caen or any other French or Italian tripe stew. While watching the TV, HG will drink (a modest amount) of tequila with Samuel Adams Ale chasers. BSK will nibble olives, Marcona almonds and Manchego cheese with her white wine. And, who will we root for?. The Broncos. But, because of HG/BSK’s love of the Pacific Northwest, there will be no mourning if Seattle wins. The overall winner, of course, will be HG and BSK’s happy, Southwestern-fed bellies.


Happy Sunday

January 28th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

The other Sunday, HG prepared for pro football AFC and NFC playoffs by making HG’s version of steak tartare. Using a big, sharp chef’s knife and HG’s trusty Chinese cleaver, a half pound of totally lean beef tenderloin was chopped—not too coarsely, not too fine. This was mixed with plenty of minced sweet onion, anchovies, capers, Worcestershire sauce, Dijon mustard, Keen’s English Mustard, dash of ketchup, dash of tabasco. Topped with a raw egg yolk for a final mixing. HG Steak Tartare might not be approved by the steak tartare classicists in such Paris eateries as Le Stella, La Rotonde and Severo, but its robust, spicy flavor enlivens HG’s palate. Thusly, HG settled down before the TV with the meat treat, sliced ciabatta and a cold Sam Adams Ale. HG’s two favorite teams are the Denver Broncos (HG/BSK lived in Denver and environs for 26 years) and Seattle Seahawks (HG/BSK had homes in Vancouver, B.C., for more than ten years and consider Seattle Vancouver’s sister city). Broncos and Seahawks won. HG’s spirits (and stomach) were happy. Now, what should HG eat for the Super Bowl?


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