The other day, my friend Diane Norton was talking about comfort food. She was looking to make ‘Veal Goulash with Sauerkraut’.
Diane’s comfort food du jour is a veal stew served over sauerkraut. The modern recipe, taken from that old cookbook, recommends using Bubbie’s Sauerkraut… Bubbie’s is good, but I can go one better, as my sister Mariya makes delicious sauerkraut (organic, etc of course), and a new batch is fermenting as we speak. As soon as it’s ready, I’m making ‘Veal Goulash with Sauerkraut’. And, Toni Franklin gave me some wonderful Smoked Paprika that will go toward making an authentic goulash.
So, I got to thinking… what is my Numero Uno comfort food? Like everyone else, I have my favorites, and who hasn’t written the menu of their last meal… Mine is Garlic Sausages with Ranch Beans and Asparagus. When I was around six, my parents forced my sister and me to take swimming lessons. I didn’t want to do it… I don’t remember her reaction, but she was a goody~two~shoes type so probably pretended to like them. So, for what seemed like endless Saturday mornings, at 10a.m. sharp… they would try to drown me. Afterwards, my Mom would take us over to my Grandmother’s house for lunch. In an effort to get back in my good graces, they would always serve my favorite… Tomato soup with cut up hot dogs. I still like that, but instead of Campbell’s Tomato, it’s Wolfgang Puck’s Tomato Basil, with a Louisiana Hot Link… I’ve become such a gourmet. But still not my all time favorite. That one, I’ve not had in a long time. It’s called a Gooey Bun. I don’t know where they came from, or why they are called that. I wish now, I had thought to ask my Mother the provenance.
GOOEY BUNS!!! A morsel of heavenly delight. Again, from my Grandmother Gay. I never did see her eat one though. She was funny that way. Every Thanksgiving, Gay would cook the turkey for our dinner, but she always had a slice of ham for herself… she hated turkey. Her meals were always made with a lot of love. My sisters will remember Gooey Buns, and my daughters too. I loved them! I have made them twice in my life that I can remember. Once in Sacramento when Gay had retired from Gooey Bun making, and once in Chicago.
However, I did assist in the making of Gooey Buns many times, when I was little. Gay would let me turn the crank on the meat grinder, as she fed in the Bologna Sausage. I was not allowed to do both. After the Gooey was made, the mixture was stuffed into hot dog buns, they were wrapped in tinfoil and popped into the oven. It seemed to take forever for them to cook. With the advent of the Microwave, that angst was solved.
It was almost a holiday, at least for me, when Gooey Buns would arrive at our house. We always had them at the jewelry store during the Christmas season, we worked so hard and had to grab food on the run. She made them for many years, but only occasionally … that way they were always special when I got them.
So, that is my Comfort Food… Gooey Buns! I am going to make them again. I still have that old meat grinder, although the crank has gone missing over the years so I may have to use a food processor… it has to be chopped up just right. I don’t know if you can even buy bologna sausage anymore, I have some investigating to do. I may have to use sliced balogny (as my grandmother would say)… perish the thought.
But I do have that recipe card… my Comfort Food Legacy. From Gay with Love!
Update: I found the crank and made Gooey Buns in 2017 in Friday Harbor, Washington.
Gardens, waiting for Spring
This is a piece I wrote on Blogger to introduce my writing… and explain the sudden surge of blogs suddenly appearing. I will continue to write on both. Stay posted and please subscribe to receive fresh pressings in an inbox near you…
I THOUGHT THIS WAS AN INTERESTING SUMMARY TO RECEIVE, AS I NEVER KNEW IF ANYONE EVER REALLY SAW MY EFFORTS… other than my family and friends I coerced into viewing. My New Years Resolution is to make the time to do this more often. For those of you who do read TedBook.. Thank You. Thanks to WordPress for a great blogging experience. ~ Ted
On January 2, 2012, one year to the day, I published my next blog. I’ve published 3, not counting this one, so far this year. I have now moved over all my old blogs from WordPress to Blogger and will post on both. Here’s the one that brought me back… http://tedinfridayharbor.blogspot.com/2012/01/how-amy-winehouse-saved-tedbook.html?spref=bl
I have been writing a blog on WordPress called TedBook. I shamelessly ripped off Mark Z. and hope they don’t find out, because they will probably sue my ass. Actually, he probably wouldn’t care, but you know how those corporate things go… if it was Nike they sure would! There is a dive bar in my town called Herb’s Tavern… they’ve been there for decades, and make t-shirts to sell to the tourists. One year they made a tee with the words “Just Drink It”… Nike sued them to ‘cease & desist’… they had made the mistake of putting a kind of ‘swoosh’ under the words. They ceased & desisted. Really… a small tavern in a little town? But, that’s the way it goes I guess… you can’t make exceptions. I logged a lot of hours on Herb’s stools back in the day. I never met Herb and don’t know if there ever was one… there must have been, but that old bar’s had a lot of owners over the years. I was told the name would change, but would always go back to Herb’s Tavern.
But, that’s not what I was going to write about… how did I get on Herb’s? Oh yes, TedBook. Like everyone else, I have a list of things I would like to try. Who hasn’t thought of writing a book or creating a great work of art? Or maybe climbing Everest or going deep sea fishing. Or maybe being a great cook or trying out in a play. Those are all things someone can do if they try… maybe not reach the top or be great, but at least have the experience of doing. That is so easy to say… says the master of procrastination. But, I have a little more time on my hands these days, and finally got tired of thinking about trying to write something. I started to check into people’s blogs I would see. I was getting ready. Somewhere I saw a site called Plinky, they do an ‘idea a day’ to get bloggers motivated … that got me going on my first piece… My Favorite Summer Memory. That was June 28, 2010… at 10:22a.m. I was a Published Author. I thought that was pretty cool.. my name in print… the name of my blog in print… my thoughts in print! Well, I don’t want to get to full here, but I was pretty proud of myself. Especially when the 2 or 3 people who read it thought it was great. Okay, they were my daughters! But, I think I am getting better… at any rate, it is fun and very satisfying. A few days later, I went out to a farm and took photos of bales of hay and a guy on a tractor, and added graphics to my blog. Now I was Big Time.
I wrote 8 Blogs in 6 months in 2010… in 2011 I wrote 1 Blog. This is it…
I THOUGHT THIS WAS AN INTERESTING SUMMARY TO RECEIVE, AS I NEVER KNEW IF ANYONE EVER REALLY SAW MY EFFORTS… other than my family and friends I coerce into viewing. My New Years Resolution is to make the time to do this more often. For those of you who do read TedBook.. Thank You. Thanks to WordPress for a great blogging experience. ~ In Uncategorized on January 2, 2011 at 7:54 am
WordPress had sent a review of my blogging experience, and that was my lead in at the top. I was full of hope for 2011. They didn’t send me a review for 2011.
So, on New Year’s Eve I got a prompt, not from Plinky, but from Amy Winehouse.
I made some toast today, and immediately thought of my mother, Edna. I love Orange Marmalade. I put it in a lot of things, and when I put it on my toast, I use a spreader I got from my mother. It was a spreader I grew up with. In fact it is older than I, as my mom got it from her mother. When I say I got it from my mother, that’s not exactly true. My mom died almost two years ago, and anyone that knew her knows she was very well-organized. (In fact, she would put J. Edgar to shame… there were files on everyone… from me all the way down to Ula) She had made arrangements to have everything of any value, monetarily or sentimentally parceled out to her family. My sister Marja helped her organize at the end and I know my mom was very grateful for the help and maybe more importantly the company, as my Father had monopolized everyone’s time and energy, and my Mother got the short end of the stick so to speak. I will be forever grateful to Marja for that.
So, everything was pretty much decided about ‘what went where’.
As I was helping my sister’s dispose of things… giving things to our Mom’s helpers and friends and us taking some things… “Hey, I need a storage container that size!” (anyone knowing our Mom knows about storage containers!)… I came across this spreader in a drawer with about 5 other spreaders… God forbid we would run out of spreaders. My Mom had a lot of duplicates… I guess that’s what happens in 90 years of life. The cabinets were almost sagging off the walls with the weight of all the dish sets.
But, back to the Spreader… This one spreader, was one I used when I was a child and had advanced to making my own toast and sandwiches. I used it every time I went to Sacramento to visit. So, I pocketed it that day. Every time I make toast or a sandwich I think of my Mom.
Tonight, I’m going to The Palace Theater to see The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo… I will think of my Mom, as she loved to go to the movies more than anything else. I saw more movies with my mother than anyone else in my life. She would go to see anything with me. She said she wanted to see ‘Sin City’ (my daughters were aghast when they found out I had taken her to see ‘Sin City’, I said “Hey she really wanted to see it!”) so we went. But, I was the one who really wanted to see it, found out later she really didn’t like it and was just looking out for her son (I know that feeling myself), and I loved her for that… she was my Champion in life.
The perfect day for my Mom, was to go to Arden Fair Mall. Have lunch at the California Pizza Kitchen or the Cheesecake Factory… actually her favorite was to get a Polish Dog in the Food Court… then we would browse Barnes and Nobel looking at books, maybe buying a few… well always buying a few… then on to the show in the Mall or nearby Century 21. That was our day… and in the old days when she was in good health we would sometimes go to 2 shows. So I saw a lot of movies with my Mom.
Of the all things of value she wanted me to have, it is the little things that spark memories… those are the most important. Because it’s the memories that are most valuable in our lives.
I used to hear people say “I miss and think of my mother every day”… I now know what they mean. Although I may not think of her every day, there are so many little reminders, it’s hard not to.
Photos are great reminders… I have a lot of my Mom… here’s one of my favorites.
I just started reading ‘The Victorian Chaise-Longue’ by Marghanita Laski… it has been a long time coming.
I first encountered this little book, when the title caught my eye, while looking through a Persephone Books catalog about three years ago. I had seen ‘Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day’ at the Palace Theater, which I absolutely loved… such a delightful story and with Frances McDormand and Amy Adams, what’s not to love. I liked it so much, I went back the next night, and while walking to my car, I saw the book in the window of Griffin Bay Books. When I went back to buy the next day, it had been sold… apparently someone else liked the movie as much as I. GBB ordered the book and I was soon enjoying Winifred Watson’s delightful story.
Persephone Books of London, reprints neglected classics by 20th century (mostly women) writers, like Watson’s 1930 story. I ordered their catalog and that’s where I saw ‘The Victorian Chaise-Longue’. They currently have 95 books listed, and they are beautifully made. The end papers feature a fabric print from the period the story takes place (‘the shiny cream curtains printed with huge pink roses’ p. 3). And a bookmark germane to the story (‘berlin-wool cross-stitch embroidery that sprawled in bright gigantic roses over the shabby felt’ p.13). Book #6 is described as a very scary story. It looked interesting. I tried the library… I tried the Inter-Library-Loan… I tried Amazon.com. Nowhere could I obtain the book. It was not available. So, over the last few years, when I would go to Amazon it would pop up sometimes (but never in stock… oh, there were some used copies somewhere for 35 or 40 bucks), as something I was interested in, you know, those helpful reminders. I get a new Persephone catalog twice a year, and this time I couldn’t take it any more and ordered it… it was only ₤12 plus 6 shipping, for a total of ₤18... I had no clue what that would be in $, but didn’t care and hit PayPal… it was $27.00.
‘The Victorian Chaise-Longue’, starts in 1953, and is the story of a young woman of means, who is suffering from tuberculosis and confined to bed. She is finally well enough to be allowed to move into the parlor and lay upon a chaise-longue she had purchased in an antique store right before she became stricken. She falls asleep, and when she awakes, she finds herself in a dingy gas-lit room in 1864, on the same chaise-longue… although newer looking… being cared for by a brusque sister she does not know. She thinks herself in a dream and keeps trying to wake up. When she finally realizes she is awake, the terror sets in. I’m now on page 50 of 99… my head is drooping, I’m tired, time for bed.
Now, I’m in a dream. I have never had one like this… not my usual ‘Waiter’s Dream’ where I keep forgetting to wait on my tables, and then can’t find them… or the ‘Actor’s Dream’ where I forget to go onstage. No, this one is too real. It is hard to keep going and I force myself to wake up. I realized, that near the end of the dream I had started to analyze it as if writing a blog. Great, now I’m writing in my sleep… even organizing photos.
This dream starts out as a secret report on an Eastern European war-torn country, there is a triangular flag on the cover, I think red, green and yellow. Soon it shifts to Africa… the unnamed country ends in ‘ia’… and I am thinking Ethiopia. There is a rebel encampment, and in this dream a group of aid workers are lined up before the leaders. I am not there, but looking at this through newspaper or magazine photos. One photo shows them sitting in a row and the next is the same photo, but now they have a dot on their foreheads. They have been shot, and I am wondering if they will fall backward or forwards. What will the next photo be. It was terrifying. I wake up. It was 2:30 a.m., and it took a long time to go back to sleep. As I lay there thinking about this strange dream, I realized it had happened to my family. My daughter’s husband’s sister was killed in Somalia, when a bullet struck her as she was riding in a convoy to deliver aid to a remote village. Valerie was a 23-year-old nurse, from Dublin, working for an Irish aid agency called Concern. A photo of her laughing, surrounded by Somali women and children hangs in Ashley and Declan’s front room. Her senseless death in 1993 was of major importance to Ireland, with the President attending her funeral. It had put a face to the tragedy of what was occurring in Somalia.
I always wonder what influences dreams. Sometimes it is obvious. I don’t really have nightmares… more annoyances really, like the waiter’s dream, although those can be a bitch. Did the story taking place on the chaise-longue start this terrifying dream? I don’t know. I had not thought of Valerie in a long time, although I know Declan does. And I’m sure she was terribly missed at the Christmas Table when they were in Dublin this year.
So, I’ll finish the story of the young woman on the Chaise-Longue today, only 49 pages to go and hope I am dream free tonight.
Here is where you can find a wonderful catalog… PERSEPHONE BOOKS
The photographs of Valerie were taken by John Trotter, a writer for the Sacramento Bee, while on his second trip to Africa in 1992. They were taken in Mogadishu during the first food distribution. This was important, because the people were now able to prepare their own food, and not have to rely on feeding centers to cook it for them. Valerie was in charge of the operation. There were thousands of people there for food that day. The photo with the boy, he liked, because her love showed thru her hands, and that had meaning. The children at the center said those hands came from Ireland to help them, and they loved her and trusted her. She was killed the following year on the way to help people.
Dec. 27, 2013
I always liked this post and thought I would share it with MOONSHINE at yeah write weekly writing… I wrote this almost two years ago. Persephone Books now lists 104 titles in their catalog. I finished the story. It was heart-wrenching, terrifying and very disturbing. I was not disappointed I had finally read it.
I never make New Years Resolutions. 1 ~ Because if you want to do something… do it. I think resolutions are a crutch to procrastinate and make yourself feel better… and you will never keep them. 2 ~ Because I never kept them. So this year, my New Year’s Resolution is to reopen TedBook and write something in it. I feel better already.
My friend Margie told me, “only 8% were ever kept”. I read that if you put it in writing, it may actually have a chance of happening. Okay, it’s in writing now… it’s all up to me… I want to be in that 8%! Yesterday I looked to see when the last entry in TedBook occurred… yikes! January 2, 2011… one whole year of silence! Another friend, Keri, reminded me of that this morning, after I mentioned I might start blogging again.
Why the silence? No one particular reason really… I think mostly procrastination. It’s not like I didn’t have any ideas… I had many, and wrote a lot of blogs in my mind, complete with photos. But, I never got to the point of transferring them into my computer. A lot of my friends asked me where TedBook was, and why they were not seeing new blogs. I would hear… “where’s your blog”, “what happened to TedBook”, “weren’t you writing a blog”… after a while it was down to two. O’B would bug me about it when we saw each other. Louisa would mention it… in November, I got a note from her… “Why aren’t you writing?” I could tell she was disappointed in me. I thought… “I’m disappointed in me too”. I have friends with blogs… Jane in L.A., a champion fighting Autism … Aggie in Chicago who posts a quiz everyday, except Saturday when she’s shacked up with her boyfriend.
The straw that broke the camel’s back, so to speak, was when O’B started a blog! She had moved back to Sacramento, after an absence of some 30 years, and she and Anthony had bought a house in Southside Park. Southside is a downtrodden mostly Latino neighborhood, that I have a feeling is becoming Yuppified (not naming any names here). Catherine is a curious and outgoing woman, who has undertaken the chronicling of Southside. Hence her blog
Southside Park: Forty-Six City Blocks of Surprise
Join me as I explore urban living in Sacramento’s Smallest Neighborhood.
Lord knows I waste enough time on facebook and playing Words with Friends (Alec Baldwin has yet to challenge me), so I really have the time… I just have to do it. I was jealous with every new post O’B made… and she is prolific. So, that’s what had been in the back of my mind, and I don’t mind admitting I was feeling guilty. My own daughter, Ashley, was now more of a writer than me. She had taken a creative writing class, and had written some impressive pieces. I had encouraged her to start a blog… and I can’t even do my own… at least she has two teenagers to blame, or maybe just the college classes she is doing. Sure better reasons than my slacking. So, this was where I was at on New Year’s Eve.
I don’t drink Champagne or go to New Year’s Eve parties anymore. The last one I went to, about 10 years ago, my date and I snuck out early and welcomed in the New Year in private… my best New Years Party ever. This year I watched a movie, and was saying Happy New Year to my facebook friends when I saw this post.
I had been meaning to check out Amy’s latest album, ‘Lioness: Hidden Treasures’, and was glad for the reminder. I’ve always liked Amy and was saddened by her death and the loss of such a talent. After listening to “Our Day Will Come” and “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow”, I was near tears. Her day will never come, and there is no Tomorrow for Amy Winehouse. It gave me pause to think… I was lucky, I had survived my drug of choice, which like her’s, was alcohol. It’s destructive force had ruined relationships and created havoc in my life, but my biggest regret, is that I could have been and should have been a better father. Unlike Amy, I was able to change my life for the better. But, Amy made me face myself and make some choices that night. One of those is to resume my blog.
Of course I bought the album and I reopened TedBook.
This was an important post for me… another step in a bloggers life. I thought I would share it with my friends at Yeah Write.