Category: Family N Friends


While scrolling through my twitter feed I came across the following tweet.

Even though I grew up in the South I have been living in New York for almost all of my adult life, I was sure I would be familiar with most of these foods. As this list demonstrates New York and New England have some major differences at least food wise. A few of these I have eaten, some I have known of for years, some friends have talked about but most had me scratching my head and saying: “What the ….”

The link in the tweet takes you an article with only 9 of them, the following link is for the original article with all 22 items.

22 Things You’ve Definitely Eaten If You Grew Up In New England

After saying “What I missed not growing up in New England!” @eladyland said, Florida probably has a list too; hmmm no, not really. After giving it serious consideration, I could only come up with two, and one of those is southern not Florida specific. Biscuits and gravy, and strawberry shortcake.

The strawberry shortcake I am talking about it the kind you get at the Strawberry festival in Plant City. Where you get a plate with a biscuit on it, a huge biscuit, split in half, then you walk along a table with a bowl of strawberries and a bowl of whipped cream and pile them on.

Biscuits and gravy is not a Florida food. I don’t even know if you can get it there. The gravy is sausage gravy, basically a white sauce with sausage in it. The sausage is cooked before adding to the gravy so its not real greasy, but you can still feel it sticking to your arteries when you eat it. The biscuits are huge, as big as my brother’s hand. You can’t get it here in NYC, it used to be available at Denny’s or Perkins but no more. Even when they had it the biscuits were small.

Whenever I go visit my parents I make them take me to every restaurant in driving distance that serves biscuits and gravy. I just love it.

Those are the foods I remember from my childhood. Everything else, is pretty much what everybody had as a child.

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Running for charity.

This was last year. I signed up to do this again, I raised more money but took longer to finish the run. I am kind of disappointed in that, but I still finished. 2014 my time was 52 minutes 12 seconds.

Perfection

Is not attainable in its true sense. But what about relative perfection? Sunday I had to go to Brooklyn, after telling myself over and over again that I needed to leave earlier than I left Saturday, I ended up leaving later. Then when I got to Lexington and 59th I waited for the Q train, and waited and waited. I saw a girl going to the same event I was going to and we started talking about “No Q train” trying to figure out another way to get there and she said, “It always happens on the day you need everything to be perfect.” Perfect for us at that moment was making all our train connections smoothly, at the proper station and without waiting. We made it to Brooklyn, but we were late.

Today was another special event I planned to go to. For this event I didn’t have to go to Brooklyn, but I had to dress up pretty, do my hair and makeup and hopefully not be sick feeling. I woke up with cramps I thought they were stomach cramps from my soup the night before and thought maybe I was developing an allergy to black beans. One of my great-nieces is allergic to black beans. As I was getting ready for work I realized they weren’t stomach cramps and I wasn’t going to be feeling well for the special event in the evening. Then when I came home from work early so I could ready, I was going to iron my dress and make dinner, instead I sat down on the couch and fell asleep. I barely had time to take a bath and get dressed. Fortunately my friends are not critical. But I was not happy.

Perfection, not attainable in any form.

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Last night I tried some expensive eye cream, the rash is spectacular isn’t it?

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Sunday is the only day cars can park in front of my building.

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This is the reigning queen. She gave me one chance to take her picture.

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Beer gets siphoned into this bucket, then it is put into the bottles.

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With a spigot, unfortunately this one was leaking, I think a part was missing? Not sure but we coped.

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This is the priming sugar mixture before boiling. After boiling it is put in the bucket before the beer is put in.

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Sanitizing bottles.

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And here they are, ready to be filled.

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This is a wort chiller. When we brewed we had to put the beer in an ice bath, now Rose uses this, which she says in super duper fantastic and so much easier.

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This is the carboy with the brown ale in it, originally “Caribou Slobber”, I dubbed it “Bronze Medal Brown Ale” 😉

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This is the siphon to transfer the beer to the bucket, there is tubing that is attached to this.

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If your tubing comes out of the bucket you end up standing in beer which leads to a condition known as ‘beer feet’. I wonder if this ever happened to Sam Adams.

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Bottles are filled,

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Caps are sanitized,

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And this nifty tool squeezes the caps onto the bottles.

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We have beer!

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I had to carry mine up these stairs

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And here they are, my sixteen bottles safe and sound. Ready for consumption in 2 weeks.

Brewing beer

As I stood there in the heart of the Electric Ladyland Brewery (aka R__’s kitchen) and watched the wort boil over I knew it was my fault. Wasn’t it my hand that dropped the hops into the pot just a few seconds before? I turned away and turned back to see all this liquid and stuff (you know the STUFF that is in wort) end up on the stove. I have this magical ability to ruin things that have to be made in a kitchen just by being in the kitchen, and in this case I actually took part in the brewing process. Double whammy. Of course the master brewer (aka R__) and her competent assistant (aka M__) said it was because the pot was too small, and the master brewer said she needed to update the equipment (buy a kettle from the brewing place, as you can see I am a very technical person). Still part of me still believes it was my malevolent-non-cooking aura that did it. Kitchens and me don’t get along. I should stick to making catnip socks for the in-house entertainment (resident furry citizen).
So how did I become part of this marvelous brewing crew at the excellent Electric Ladyland Brewery? The master brewer invited me to join the festivities and it was fun. After being a part of it I understand why brew brewing is best done with more than one person. And after all there were only two minor mishaps, one of which I captured on video, (the master brewer forbade from posting it, you can clearly hear on the video “THE HELL YOU ARE POSTING THIS ON YOU-TUBE”, though so it is not here). The other two videos I took of the brewing process are at the end of this post.

Besides being the competent assistant, and the only other person beside the Master Brewer with brewing experience, M__ was the assigned documenter of the day. Put in simple turns, she photographed the steps as we did them. I took a few, hopefully I will get the titles right, but here goes anyway.

I believe this is as R__ was pouring in the liquid malt, this is done when the water boils, it takes a while because it is very thick and so comes out of the bottle slowly. After this a powder is put in, I don’t remember what this powder is called, but its pictured in the second video. It all comes in a kit, everything is pre-measured and labeled, the only thing we had to measure was the water, and time the cooking process. One must also have the proper equipment, and one needs a kitchen. I don’t have a kitchen, I also don’t have the desire to brew beer. I had a lot of fun helping but it’s not something that I yearn to do.

Then after the hops are added and boiled for the correct time period, the whole pot was put in the sink with ice to cool it. When got to the correct temp it is then poured into a big jug, water is added and then the white stopper goes in and the big jug gets rocked around to aerate the liquid. Then the yeast is poured in. I’m told this is how it is supposed to look like. Then it sits, I don’t know if it is still called wort, but the yeast gets eaten up and the water bubbles in the clear thing above the stopper. R__ said she would video it, so it will almost be like I’m there.

It smelled though, I turned to R__ and started to say, “It smells …” and she replied “Yes doesn’t it smell good?” I didn’t agree so I just shut my mouth. After a while I either got used to it or it got less intense, but that is another reason I will probably not open a “Princessa Brewery” in the Upper East Side.

The brew was a brown Ale with the clever name: Caribou Slobber. And I know you all want to know, did I ruin the beer? R__ doesn’t think so, we will know in two weeks. In the meantime I have “Hemingway IPA” a black coffee IPA from Electric Ladyland brewery to try. Cheers.

When you’re making other plans is the saying. In my experience it would be ‘death is what happens’ which is a part of life as they say. Just when I decided that I would dig deep and buy an iPad I get a phone call. Now I have to save money for a plane ticket to the west coast. I have six months I was told.

One time I said I would only get on a plane if someone died. I’m making a slight adjustment, died or is dying. I would like to get out there before he dies.

Of course this means my heart is breaking into pieces inside me and the pain is more than I can bear, but I can’t think about that now, when life happens it still goes on.

Last Sunday was the 5th Annual Damon Runyon 5K at Yankee Stadium, a run/walk for cancer research. This is not the first 5K I have done for charity but this time I decided I would run. Mainly just for the personal satisfaction of running.

photo (3)I signed up in June and started training, that was probably a little short sighted of me since that gave me just 8 weeks to train. However I was convinced by the app I looked at that I could do it, I’m not going to say they lied, because I did have a few setbacks of my own, pain in my legs in the second week, unbearable heat for a week and I got sick. By the time the run came around I was at week six and the farthest I had run was 1.58 miles, a 5K is 3.1 miles. To say I was a little nervous when Sunday came around would be a bit of an understatement. Since I said I was going to run and had collected money to donate, I was determined to not quit. I picked up my race packet ahead of time and wrote the names of the people I was running for on the blue sign they provided for me in purple ink, then pinned it to my purple shirt, taking great care to make sure it was straight.

Standing in line waiting to go in I was rather preoccupied with thoughts that I would either trip, fall or die so I didn’t notice the people around me until a photographer said something to the woman behind me about being a Mets fan. She was wearing a Mets hat and Mets socks. She was also wearing a DR run shirt and had written all over it names, “In Honor” and “In Memory”, something I had planned on doing but never got around to. I also saw a boy in an Indians shirt and the lady behind me said she saw some in Red Sox shirts. Cancer’s not picky is what she said, I think.

20130821-130404.jpgAs I walked in I heard some people saying they were going to start off walking. That made me feel a little better, knowing that some others in the group were walking. As the race went on, most were running and walking, I felt like I fit right in. After the run was over I met up with the lady who had been behind me, who was actually a very nice Mets fan. That was when I found out I had actually done a smart thing signing up for the slowest group of runners, since that group is usually made up of slow runners and fast walkers. Score one for the rookie. The race course is inside Yankee Stadium, twice around the main level, then down to where Monument Park is, past the entrance to Mohegan Sun Sports bar around and out twice around the warning track. Runners are not allowed in the dugout, but no one stopped me from taking this picture, and see the front of the barricade there? I put my foot up there to retie my shoe. Then back inside and up the stairs to the 3rd level, down the ramp to the great hall, then to the right and back up the stair to the third level, 286 stair steps in total. Then back down to the finish line to pick up a bottle of water, a medal and a goodie bag.

After the run, when I was leaving the stadium, the woman who had been behind me asked me how I did. “I finished.” I said, she gave me a high five and we walked to the subway together. I got off at Columbus Circle and a couple carrying Damon Runyon goodie bags got off at the same time and exclaimed, “MORE STAIRS!”

There were photographers everywhere, now I have to decide which picture to buy, on the warning track? And if on the warning track, which picture on the warning track? The one of me running, sticking my tongue out at the photographer, or walking slowly looking at my phone? Maybe one of me inside on the stairs? Crossing the finish line or standing in the great hall with the Yankee logo behind my head? I might have to get all of them.

The ramen place wasn’t busy, so I plopped down and had some spicy ramen, my treat to myself for not giving up.

There were 2,559 participants, 1,321 were women, there were 79 women in my age group. Of the 2,559 I came in 1,975 and my time was 50:46. My next event? I’m thinking a 10K.

Riding the bus

Yesterday I rode the bus, it is an event that happens with sufficient infrequency to be noteworthy. It would never have happened if I knew how to cook sausage in a non-stick pan. I suppose I could blame that on my mother, since she had a cast-iron skillet and taught me how to cook sausage and eggs in that instead of a non-stick pan. Or maybe I could blame it on the fact that I now eat chicken or turkey sausage and there is not as much fat draining out into the pan. The fact remains that I ruined my pan cooking sausage in it and when I told Em I wanted to buy a cast-iron skillet she suggested going to Home Goods after the game yesterday.

20130816-023001.jpgWe took the B train from Yankee Stadium to 103rd, from there we walked to Home Goods, where I found a small cast-iron skillet, mission accomplished! I also saw these green Ramekins which I had to have. They are oven safe to 500°F (260°C) and also microwave, blowtorch and dishwasher safe, except I don’t have any of those. Really! I don’t have a blowtorch, never needed one. Em said they would not be a frivolous purchase because I would make baked eggs in them. I was thinking they would be good for single servings of baked Macaroni and cheese myself, or for heating up macaroni and cheese since I don’t have a microwave. Then we stopped at Model’s for socks, which they didn’t have. After that we went to eat Mexican food.

Em was ready to walk to Grand Central, I was ready to go home, but we were on the west side and I didn’t want to walk across the park since I always get lost walking across the park. Don’t ask and don’t judge. Also I was carrying this heavy cast-iron pan, 4 green Ramekins and 3 yellow bananas. And my knee hurt. That was when I got on the bus. If you’ve been reading this blog you may know that I hate the bus more than the train. Even when a friend tells me, “If you take the bus from church it will drop you right by your apartment.” I will still walk the two blocks to the Green Train and then walk the two blocks back to 2nd Ave. The Crosstown bus is not that bad. However once I got off the crosstown bus I walked up 2nd Avenue home. Which is how I ended up with a bottle of Aleve (that I needed) and a bottle of shampoo (that I didn’t really need but Ricky’s sucked me in).

While riding the bus I was struck by the thought that public transportation in NYC represents the diversity of the city. At one stop a man got on wearing a pale suit and straw Fedora (a different type of hat I would have said he was a southern gentleman), followed by a woman wearing a skirt and shirt (not quite pulled together businesswoman attire, looking pissed off, I wonder if the southern gentleman made a chauvinist comment to her), then a middle aged man wearing shorts and a Mets shirt (EWWW!), a teenage boy was next (he might have been with Mr. Met). There was also this ancient woman with hair down her back that looked like one big dreadlock (please don’t sit too close to me).

At least it was better than the subway ride to the stadium when I saw two women not wearing bras that should have been. One had on one of those strapless dresses that are cute if you’re not a DD cup, the other woman was wearing a white racerback tank top. My eyes, please my eyes hurt after that.

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Just a quick post to remember the day, it was sudden and I was here, he was there so I didn’t get to say good-bye, something that matters only to me.

Coney Island

Sarah started sending me texts, wait I need to backtrack, the last time Sarah came to visit she said she wanted to spend more time in the City, I guess this is her plan. So she starts sending me texts about a Groupon for Luna Park in Coney Island, a 4-hour wristband and ride on the Cyclone. So I said sure, not realizing she meant this weekend. All right then, so she comes down Saturday to spend the night and Sunday we get on the subway to go to Coney Island. The first thing we did was ride the Cyclone.

Sarah wanted to go on the water ride. I didn’t it was a cold day and I was freezing, not literally freezing you understand, but cold enough that I didn’t want to go on a water ride. She decided she didn’t need me to go with her. I took a video of her on the ride, well what was I supposed to do?

After going on a few, HIGH THRILL rides, Sarah decided she wanted to go on the Wonder Wheel when she saw the cars don’t just go around they move inside the wheel. So we went up, this next video was shot by me holding my phone up against the side of the car. It looks like the ground is moving but it is the car moving.

We had a great time, we took one break so I could have a beer and Sarah got a slice of pizza and some cotton candy. At the end of the day we went to Tom’s Diner. Nice place, I had the fattest BLT I have ever seen.