Thursday, December 30, 2010

If Laughter Is The Best Medicine, I Will Never Get Sick.

I love to laugh.

But you may have already guessed that.

Shove an old Woody Allen movie in the VCR, place a Tim Dorsey novel on my nightstand, let me watch an episode of 30 Rock, or put me around the bbq grill with the likes of Michael and Andy and you will know what I mean. I can feel the years melt away even as we speak. At this rate, I just might kick Methuselah's ass.

But it's just not the laughter that keeps me young.

No. It's waking up each morning to a family that is always rooting for me.

It's a wife that doesn't stand for any bullshit and the sexual intimacy borne on years of celebration and hardship.

It's the friendships that outlast the 3 scotches we all downed at Meehan's Pub.

It's the readers who's eyes follow each vowel and consonant that I joyfully place on the page of this blog.

It's the parties I attend where the guest of honor is someone who's name doesn't start with Warren.

And it's the food. Always the food.

I feel it every time I partake of a meal that someone has poured themselves into. It's what I want to offer every time I create a meal for others.

I live and exist because of what someone has taken the time to do for me. And I can only give thanks. Oh...And if you throw in a glass of wine or two, I'm sure we will laugh as well.

Food. Drink. Prepared for us by those that love us will nurture us. And I'm reminded of something said long ago: Take and eat. Drink. This is my body...

And although this thought is no laughing matter, I approach the cup and His smile...

Sunday, December 26, 2010

It's A Wonderful Life

Yep. Watched Jimmy Stewart, Donna Reed and friends once again. This time on DVD since we wore out the VCR tape. Sure, I know the critics hated it. But the film has outlasted the critics.

I enjoy "It's a Wonderful Life". Always have. It's not only thought-provoking, but it never fails to evoke memories of Christmas past. Fond memories.

I feel the same about Chock Full O' Nuts coffee. The fam finally relented and bought me two bags. They hate it. I love it.

Start up a potful and with one whiff I'm suddenly transported back to crowded nicotine-stained subways into the city, Macy's glorious Christmas store windows, hot dog carts spewing steam into the frozen air like slumbering volcanoes, bustling automats, traffic cops bundled up like Frosty the Snowman in the cartoon, Checker cab drivers who actually spoke English, brown-tinged snow piled high on the curbs and threatening to gobble up the parking meters, and a face so frozen it felt like it was going to crack and fall off. Sigh...those were the days.

Here's hoping your 12 days between Christmas and Theophany (Epiphany in the Western church) are filled with Joy and similar fond memories.

And to help those memories along, here's a great recipe for Mulled Wine. Thank you, Clarence. Hope you're enjoying those wings.


2 bottles (750 ml) red wine
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup brown sugar
4 sticks cinnamon (or 4 teaspoons ground)
5 whole cloves
2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
1 bay leaf
1 orange, zested and squeezed (reserve juice)

Bring the water to a boil in a dutch oven and add the sugar, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and bay leaf. Return to a slow boil and cook for 5 minutes, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Remove from heat and add the wine, orange juice, and orange zest. Warm over low heat (do not boil) for 30 minutes. Strain and serve.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

When a Breakthrough Becomes a Bust

The people have spoken. My attempt at posting pics on my blog was a complete bust.

I think NikkiD summed it up best when she wrote and said:

"Man, Caterson, your pics suck. Listen to me. I'm serious, they really suck. In fact, the last time I saw so much sucking was when I absentmindedly plugged my Hoover into the 220 outlet. Talk about sucking. I lost a throw rug, two remotes, and a ficus tree."

So now I'm back to simply writing prose in the hope that your vivid culinary imagination will fill in the blanks.

After all, it works in other areas. Leading experts in the science of human sexuality believe that it's not the genitals, but the mind that is the strongest sex organ. And if what I think about 98% of the time is any indication, I'd have to agree with the experts.

But back to food. I'm afraid I will have to leave the delectably delicious photos to those who already do it well.

For the rest of us? Please continue to read my blog with an open and creative mind. Let the pictures unfold in your imagination and then let them tickle your taste buds.

But if you do need something a little more visually concrete, you're always welcome to drop by the house for some real food. There's always something cooking. And there's always enough.

We'll save you a seat. Promise.


PS. Anyone need an iPad clone? I got one for sale. Cheap...

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A Technological Breakthrough

Several readers have expressed their disappointment over the fact that I don't have any mouthwatering food pictures on my blog. I know what they mean. Producing a food blog without pictures is like making a cake without icing, flour and eggs. In fact, one major online food blog community refused to consider me as a Featured Publisher because my blog was devoid of photos.

However, I have a good reason for not posting any pictures to go along with my prose. You see, up until now I couldn't afford the technology and equipment to do so. I was writing all of my blogs on a computer at the library. (That is, until I got kicked out - see my post here: Blogger ).

But all that has changed. I recently came into some extra cash (the Santa with the kettle in front of Walmart barely put up a fight) so I treated myself to an early Christmas present and purchased an iPad on e-Bay. Okay, it's not technically an iPad. The name at the top says Etchasketch. The unique name suggests that it is probably an Apple clone manufactured by a company somewhere in Eastern Europe. I'm thinking what used to be Yugoslavia.

The important thing is I finally upgraded my blogging gear for half the price of an iPad. I mean, why pay top dollar if you can get something close? Am I on this planet just so Steve Jobs can afford to buy another truckload of used-looking designer jeans and black turtlenecks? I think not.

Of course I'm well aware that my device may not have all of the features of a real iPad, but d'you know what's really cool? Whenever the screen freezes, all I have to do is turn it upside down and shake it to reboot. Let's see an iPad do that.

At any rate, I'm going to include pictures on my blog. Starting now. I think it will enhance your blog reading experience and it just may propel me to Featured Publisher on Foodbuzz. Here's a pic of the fried eggs I made this morning:

 Pretty cool, huh? Now this is me smiling after I ate the eggs:

I think I'm really getting the hang of this! (Did you notice how my eyes resemble the picture of the fried eggs? That type of continuity is known in the industry as 'branding'). Now, this next picture is..


The screen froze up again.

Gotta reboot....

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Ten More Holiday Kitchen Safety Tips

I received so many responses from my Ten Holiday Kitchen Safety Tips that I thought ten more would be apropos for the season. I was especially encouraged by bjorn99's suggestion that I take my Ten Holiday Kitchen Safety Tips and go jump in a lake (an obvious Norse holiday folk euphemism for Merry Christmas).

So in the spirit of the season, I offer ten more. (And may you, bjorn99, enjoy 'the lake' as well!).

1. Refrigerate all foods labeled “Keep Refrigerated.” I know this sounds like a no-brainer. But remember what happened when you ignored the label that said ”Warning: Keep Away from Open Flame.”? I bet the eyebrows you used to have remember.

2. There’s really no such thing as the “Three Second Rule”. If you drop something on the floor you need to wash and dry it thoroughly or just toss it. Even if no one saw you drop it (popularly known as the “Rule of Non-Observance”).

3. If you are making salad for a large holiday crowd, spinning a couple of heads of torn lettuce in your Maytag dryer is a better idea in concept than it is in real life.

4. Make it a habit to check for a hot stovetop before you touch it. If you have an electric range there should be an indicator light. If you have a gas range, a visible flame is a pretty good indicator.

5. Just because Giada De Laurentiis looks oh-so-hot in the kitchen with those form-fitting low-cut outfits doesn’t mean that you will, too. And yes, I’m talking to you Andy.

6. If you need to get something down from the top shelf, for goodness’ sake use a step stool. Shouting, “Hey, honey, come give me a boost” is not, and has never been, a good idea.

7. Water, grease, and scraps of food can make the floor slippery. If you spill something on the floor, clean it up immediately. I know, the dog will get to it. Or not.

8. Never leave the kitchen when you have something on the stove. Even if you are tempted to step out for a minute because Cousin Billy is in the backyard yelling, “Hey, everybody! Come watch this. I’ve never been able to do this sober before!”

9. If, while you are cooking, someone is constantly looking over your shoulder and saying, “That’s not the way great-grandma Jenkins used to do it” then you need to turn and say “If great-grandma Jenkins did it a better way, then why is she dead?”

10. And finally, use cooking tools, utensils, and gadgets for their intended purposes. Even if your neighbor brags about how he once opened a stubborn jar of mayonnaise with a hacksaw.