Monday, June 30, 2008

Tastes of Summer

If anyone wants any plums...I have got tons!! I have quite a few apricots as well. Come and get em.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Making pasta....again.:)

So, I am at it again. I just love my new pasta making attachments! Today, I mixed semolina flour (the best) with all-purpose flour (50/50), and added some flax seed meal for the extra omega-3 goodness...and some fresh thyme. I made some large flat pasta and then pressed a fork through each hold the sauce don'tcha know. The spaghetti attachment made fairly thin spaghetti..but it was fun watching it come out! I'll save that for later.
The sauce was healthy. Onions, celery, carrots, asparagus, garlic..sauteed, then a can of Muir Glen whole tomatoes (squished up) and a can of drained garbanzo beans..for the protein. Fresh oregano and thyme..salt and pepper. Delicious. When it is too smokey to go outside, making pasta is a very good thing. Today was lots less smokey than yesterday though. Let's hope no more fires in Northern California!!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Hearing Breathing Into My Phone!

Grandmothers are the people who take delight in hearing babies breathing into their telephone. I love it when they put the phone up to Ethan so I can talk to him..and he giggles, or just breathes! It was the same with Elaina. Now she is a big girl!

I also got one of the great thrills of my life when I called my kids in Portland one day and my granddaughter answered the phone, "Hi Grandma!" I melted...I got tears in my eyes.

"Grandmothers and grandchildren have a lot in common. They are inclined to straggle behind on walks, they like fancy cakes, they are fond of cats and know how to talk to them, they are given to falling over, and they get the giggles". by Pam Brown.

I am not into the falling over stage yet...but I hope to be one day!

Another quote from Pam Brown:

"A grandmother is a luxury most of us can afford when we were very young.... they say they are our mother's or father's mother..but we only half believe them..for they belong to us.

Their whole existence is dictated by our own. They do have houses and cups and saucers..and gardens and cats. But it is as if all they possess is on standby, waiting for us to visit.

They are there to tell us stories, sing us songs, talk about 'the long ago', give us surprizzles, keep our secrets, show us how to do things, tie up shoelaces...a bit of pulling, and trail behind us when our parents are shopping. They are there to be hugged and snuggled, made cups of invisible tea, sung to and wrapped up in blankets. They are there to love us..and to be loved back."

That is the truth.

"Grandma always made me feel she had been waiting to see just me all day long..and now her day was complete." anonymous quote.

"All grandmothers like letters, even if they just consist of a squiggle and a dirty finger mark"..Pam Brown.

Here is the best one:

"Our grandchildren accept us for ourselves, without rebuke or effort to change us, as no one in our entire lieves has ever done..not our parents, siblings, spouses, friends..and hardly ever our own grown children". Ruth Goode.

Having grandkids has made me so aware of my own mortality. I lay in bed sometimes and think..let me live long enough to see them graduate from high school, or let me live long enough to go to their sporting events, or best yet..let me live long enough to be able to sit at my kitchen table while they tell me stories, eat my food, and enjoy each others company.

Monday, June 23, 2008

George Carlin's Rules for Living (RIP)

Life is not as difficult as people think; all one needs is a good set of rules. Since it is probably too late for you, here are some guidelines to pass along to your children.

1. Relax and take it easy. Don't get caught up in hollow conceits such as "doing something with your life." Such twaddle is outmoded and a sure formula for disappointment.

2. Whatever it is you pursue, try to do it just well enough to remain in the middle third of the field. Keep your thoughts and ideas to yourself and don't ask questions. Remember, the squeaky wheel is the first one to be replaced.

3. Size people up quickly, and develop rigid attitudes based on your first impression. If you try to delve deeper and get to "know" people, you're asking for trouble.

4. Don't fall for that superstitious nonsense about treating people the way you would like to be treated. It is a transparently narcissistic approach, and may be the sign of a weak mind.

5. Spend as much time as you can pleading and impressing others, even if it makes you unhappy. Pay special attention to shallow manipulators who can do you the most harm. Remember, in the overall scheme, you count for very little.

6. Surround yourself with inferiors and losers. Not only will you look good by comparison, but they will look up to you, and that will make you feel better.

7. Don't buy into the sentimental notion that everyone has shortcomings; it's the surest way of undermining yourself. Remember, the really best people have no defects. If you're not perfect, something is wrong.

8. If by some off chance you do detect a few faults, first, accept the fact that you are probably deeply flawed. Then make a list of your faults and dwell on them. Carry the list around and try to think of things to add. Blame yourself for everything.

9. Beware of intuition and gut instincts, they are completely unreliable. Instead, develop preconceived notions and don't waver unless someone tells you to. Then change your mind and adopt their point of view. But only if they seem to know what they're talking about.

10. Never give up on an idea simply because it is bad and doesn't work. Cling to it even when it is hopeless. Anyone can cut and run, but it takes a very special person to stay with something that is stupid and harmful.

11. Always remember, today doesn't count. Trying to make something out of today only robs you of precious time that could be spent daydreaming or resting up.

12. Try to dwell on the past. Think of all the mistakes you've made, and how much better it would be if you hadn't made them. Think of what you should have done, and blame yourself for not doing so. And don't go easy. Be really hard on yourself.

13. If by chance you make a fresh mistake, especially a costly one, try to repeat it a few times so you become familiar with it and can do it easily in the future. Write it down. Put it with your list of faults.

14. Beware also of the dangerous trap of looking ahead; it will only get you in trouble. Instead, try to drift along from day to day in a meandering fashion. Don't get sidetracked with some foolish "plan."

15. Finally, enjoy yourself all the time, and do whatever you want. Don't be seduced by that mindless chatter going around about "responsibility." That's exactly the sort of thing that can ruin your life.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Gay Pride 2008

Dave and I support Gay and Lesbian rights...and we love our gay and lesbian friends. We enjoyed being a part of the gay pride supporters today. Our friends, Lori and Doreen had the very most creative float in the parade! A Hitachi Magic Wand that they made, on top of D's car. It was perfect, as the theme was, "Do you believe in magic?"

The thing that bugged us, and horrified us, were the so-called Christians with their signs and microphones to protest "all things gay". We were a part of the contingent walking from our parade spot, with our gay friends, to South Side Park. The "Christians" taunted all people entering the park..saying things over a loud speaker like, "you walk like a girl...yet you are a should be ashamed, you are going to hell". He was ignored. Then they yelled to anyone with kids or teens, "your children are going to hell because you are from the devil...children, forsake your evil parents!" We stood there with Em, Lori's darling daughter. It was sickening. The gay contingent just blessed them as they passed...and many Sac churches stood there silently, across from them, with their "Tolerance", "God Loves ALL People", signs.

These are the same shameful people who show up with signs about abortion....judging those who pass by them. They are MEAN and HATEFUL. I don't think Jesus would approve. I know the Bible, and it is clear that anyone can interpret verses to fit their position. I just know that Jesus would not be hateful and mean-spirited....according to the Bible. That being said...I am not a Christian any longer. I used to go "door to door" trying to recruit people...back in 1977. I was in a cult, for sure. I am ashamed of that time in my life. All I know now is, those so-called Christians holding up hateful signs, are not children of god/goddess. They are simply miserable, hateful people with nothing better to do on a Saturday morning.

It was one HOT day. Dave and I enjoyed the parade, went into the park. We were stupid..didn't have much cash for the food or beverages. The line for the ONE ATM was a block long. We left, got in our car, turned on the air full blast, and enjoyed a cold beer and breakfast at Cafe Bernardo on Capitol. Shannon was there with her cute girlfriend, who was in the parade. We felt cooled off and filled up. We headed to Elk Grove to pick up Dave's truck, paid 1100.00 bucks to fix the catalytic converter and all the parts that had been cut last week, and came home. We stripped down, turned the air up, and enjoyed a movie.

Someone called us, "Queer Lovers", as I still had my rainbow sticker on my shirt. My response? We just love really good people...our queer friends are very good people.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Making Home!

So, when I was at East Bay Restaurant Supply last Saturday, I bought these pasta making attachments for my old KitchenAid Mixer! Dave and I had a blast making the dough (from Biba's book) and then putting it through the machine! It is so much fun. I added some fresh ground pepper, parsley and thyme to the eggs before I added the flour.

I don't have a pasta drying rack, but I got creative and all was well. It was so easy, I don't think I'll ever buy pasta again. (well, that's not true) The sauce for the pasta was a kind of beef stroganoff sauce...I know, not very summer-like, but delicious! A Greek salad on the side!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

It's a Rainbow Trout..reel it in slowly

I have shared that I grew up in Montana and then Wyoming...several stops in-between. My brother and I were born in Canada. My dad had a "high powered job" with an oil drilling company...his title was "Toolpusher". ..or Boss. He made lots of money back in the 50's and early 60's.

My dad loved to camp and did my mom. We camped and fished lots...I have great memories about camping in Glacier Nat'l Park and Yellowstone. We had the best equipment, a huge and wonderful canvas tent, and parents we trusted.

The first time I went fishing was at about 5:00 a.m. with my dad in Yellowstone Nat'l Park. It was 1959 and I was about 5 years old. I got a fish on my line...I was excited and began to scream. My dad put his hands over my mouth and whispered, "you have a rainbow trout...reel it in slowly". I did, with his help. I clearly recall wanting to prove to my dad that I was not the wimpy girl he thought I was. We got the beautiful rainbow trout in..about 3 - 4 lbs worth, and he says "here is the knife..cut the head off and then clean it..I'll show you how". I rarely had time like this with my was a chilly and perfect morning...he had the fire going and had placed a grate over the coals....and he had coffee brewing when I woke up. I cut the trouts head off...sliced it down the belly, and cleaned out the "innards". I felt proud. My dad threw a big slab of butter into the cast iron skillet...we both put salt and pepper on the trout....and then placed it into the pan. It sizzled!

My father had sliced up some onions and potatoes earlier..and threw those into a separate hot skillet with some lard and butter. Ahhhh..sitting there with my dad that morning, drinking some diluted coffee in a tin mug..watching the sun come up was just great. I remember hoping nobody would wake up and spoil it all. Dad made me a plate of trout and was delicious. Eating Rainbow Trout straight out of an ice-cold lake is the very best! To this day, I have a hard time enjoying farm-raised trout of any kind.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Has Anyone Seen My Husband's CC??

My husband wakes me at 4:00 a.m. "honey, I need to take your car today, someone took my catalytic converter". Sure enough. There's platinum in the things..which helps decrease pollution. Platinum is going for $2075. an ounce right now..and there are about 7 ounces in one converter. I guess they can be sold for about 150 bucks each. They are probably buying gasoline with the $.

Who Knew?

What does a truck sound like when you start it..and it does not have a CC? VERY LOUD. The thieves did leave behind a gasket and what looks to be about 5 bolts. Below is an article I found while searching. Apparently, Toyota trucks and SUV's are targets of these assholes. It will cost $1100.00 to fix it...we have insurance but ....

Catalytic converter theft
Tuesday January 15, 2008
I am now officially a victim, and I'm writing to warn you -- watch out for catalytic converter thieves. They just might be roaming your neighborhood tonight.
I've written a lot about Moose, my 1994 Toyota 4Runner. Well, today I hopped in the driver's seat ready for a trip to the dog park, and when I turned the ignition I immediately knew that something was wrong. Moose's normally placid exhaust note was replaced by a blat that sounded like an unmufflered motorcycle. I turned off the key, and went to investigate. Sure enough, I found four bolts and an exhaust hanger on the ground under my SUV. Someone had crawled underneath, unbolted my catalytic converter and absconded.
I had to laugh at the irony of the situation. Just this weekend, I had mentioned this article from the Los Angeles Times to Aaron Gold,'s Guide to Cars, while we were doing a little bit of work on his car. Apparently, catalytic converter theft is an epidemic across the country because the price of platinum, one of the metals in the converter, has skyrocketed. Thieves can get $40 to $50 for a converter from an unscrupulous scrap metal dealer. Toyota 4Runners are particular targets -- not only do their catalytic converters contain plenty of platinum, their high ground clearance makes them particularly easy targets. A thief with a socket wrench can remove a 4Runner's converter in minutes.
When I called the police to report the crime, Officer Padilla told me that I was the second victim in the area this week. My insurance agent told me that his girlfriend's 4Runner was stripped in a department store parking lot; the service manager at the Toyota dealership called it "an epidemic."
The bad news is that it's going to cost over $1100 to affect the repair and replacement. The worse news is that there's not much I can do to protect against another theft. I'm having the dealership weld the bolts on, so that the converter won't be so easy to remove. But a thief with a reciprocating saw can still swipe a cat in no time flat.
I guess Moose has finally earned that spot in the garage that he's been coveting for so long. At least until I can install an alarm on his catalytic converter.
A word to the wise -- keep an eye on your 4Runner. Park in your garage at home, park in conspicuous spots at malls and department stores. Keep an ear out for your alarm, and check your insurance coverage to make sure that you don't get burned. Let's hope that the police can put some pressure on scrap metal dealers to kill the market for these parts before catalytic converter theft spins completely out of control.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Shut up! I am teaching a class!

Well, I spent 4 hours plus at East Bay Culinary Center and Restaurant Supply Sacramento. It is a great store for shopping for that special kitchen gadget you must have!

I paid $95 bucks to experience a demonstration cooking class by Diana Kennedy...who is very famous for her cookbooks about authentic Mexican Cooking. google her name if you want more info.

Diana is 84 years old...and is not one bit concerned about offending anyone..including the sous chefs who were there today, nor the people who paid to see her. I know, Peg Tomlinson kept apologizing for her..."hey, she is 84 years old"...and I kept wanting to consider her abrasive tone "endearing"..but I was quite happy when her 2 1/2 hour class ended. Her food was fabulous, I did learn some great stuff, but I couldn't get past her abrasive attitude. Sorry. It was offensive, especially when she did the following:

At one point, she admonished her sous chefs (very great cooks/catering folks from here in Sac and even from Chez Panize) for not plating her food correctly. It was uncomfortable hearing her tell them how they weren't doing things right saying, "someone needs to take over here, this is ridiculous" ..her mike was still the audience began to talk to one another. She suddenly began to "teach" again, and told everyone to "shut up" and listen. Apparently, this was supposed to be charming..but I didn't feel that way.

She was serious about her cooking and what went out to the the crowd, she had tons of energy, she has cooked for very famous people, and she lives in Mexico (has for 50 years)...and had lots of great advice. She is eco-serious. (I am sure she can be quite charming). The lady who sat next to me kept saying, "oh my lord, it's like watching my abusive grandmother all over again".

East Bay has these tv monitors that are supposed to capture what the instructor is doing...but they seemed more like security cameras..where everything is grey and could not really monitor what the instructor was doing..nor was the food "in color".

I bought her latest cookbook, as soon as I arrived. She came out to sign them for everyone.."The Art of Mexican Cooking". She asked me what my interest in cooking was. I told her a few things but what she zeroed in on was that I had a food which point she said, "do not take my picture and do not explain my class on your blog. There is too much of that going on. I don't like it. You may talk about your experience of my class, but that is it." I kinda said, "well, okay"..and backed off slowly.

I never intended to do would be very tacky. But I felt she was tacky...and I don't care who she is.

Did I learn anything? Yes. Did I totally enjoy my experience? No. I even found myself laughing at times...I think because I was uncomfortable.

I guess if you are famous enough, old enough, and have written enough can be as rude as you want to. I wanted to talk to a couple of other cookbook authors I saw there today.... I didn't though. I left the class and bought a great father's day gift for Dave!! It wasn't a total loss. I will read her cookbook..and I am sure I will love making her recipes....or not.

Friday, June 13, 2008

I've Been Screwed by Nanny Goats in Panties

Okay..tagged is probably the word I should use. I've been tagged. I was to pick up the book nearest to me, turn to page 123, read the first 5 sentences and then post the next three. I would have to have an author who loves to write extremely long sentences.

"The fishing fleets, of course, need oil to run their engines to gather the fish to feed the salmon. One irony of this method of raising fish is that, as William Rees of the University of British Columbia has pointed out, "the salmon farming industry expends large quantities of costly and increasingly scarce fossil fuel to do the several jobs that wild salmon do for free, particularly foraging at sea to catch their food." Peter Tyedmers of Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia has calculated that for every kilogram of Canadian farmed salmon produced, 2.5 to 5 liters of diesel fuel or its equivalent is consumed.

The Way We Eat, Why Our Food Choices Matter by Peter Singer and Jim Mason.

Now I tag five more people to do the same. I wouldn't do it, but Nanny Goats is standing here with an AK-47 pointed right at me. I am typing as fast as I can!

Mikes Mixed Memories at

Just the Two of Us at

Check out the goats blog. It rocks.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Things That Make Ya Go Blah....and Ahhh.

Okay..certain shit just pisses me off. Here are the top 5 things:

Strangers leaving "spam" at my doorstep. Landscapers, pizza places, tree trimmers. They actually rubber band this crap to my doorknob...or they leave it laying on the welcome mat. I don't read it..I take it to the recycle bin and toss it. I need to ditch that mat!

Tree-trimmers, landscapers, or roofers knocking on my door to see if I need their services. I never answer the door..ever. I talk thru the door and say.."do you know what the home invasion rate is in this neighborhood? One of the damned news reporters on Channel 3 was tied up one day and robbed in this area. I'll call you..don't come by. I had one guy reply, "fuck you bitch". Nice. I also had a couple show up to sell us security alarms..even though we already have Brinks. The guy looked like a Mormon missionary...and the girl was a buxom light-skinned black chick..very pretty. He goes into this crap about how they just want us to put their sign in our yard...blah, blah, blah. Then he gives me this crime map of the neighborhood.

I notice that the word "Christian" is on his shirt. I keep looking at it. I finally ask, are you Jehovah's Witnesses? He looks shocked, "no, why?" I reply, " Well, it is Sat. morning and they usually come around at this time. I thought maybe you were changing the strategy. No more Sunday best clothes with favor of polo shirts with clipboards? You do have Christian on your polo shirt." He says, "that is my name!" I suggest, in our neighborhood, he change his shirt. "We have lots of Satan lovers and agnostics here. That is not a good look for this area." He says, "you are kidding, right?" Nope. They leave. I see them walking around the neighborhood an hour later..and he has changed his shirt! Ha!

I hate it when I am in a parking lot and some "homeless person" comes up to me asking for bucks for their kids surgery. I always tell them to contact their local mental health center where they will be directed to funds for that kind of thing...and I give them the address. I know these things.

{the one time I did give money was when a woman and her daughter asked me for money for breakfast. I asked her if she knew where they serve breakfast in Sac for the homeless moms..and she knew. I also asked her if she knew where a single mom could get shelter. She knew..and she was on the waiting list. She just said it was a long bus ride from Elk Grove and it was a scary place for her very darling 3 go to Loaves and Fishes. I had to I worked with homeless folks for years. I gave her 20 bucks..and then I sat in my car and watched her take that child into Mimi's for food. The look in that child's eyes about killed me}.

I hate when that asshole Dan Lungren leaves automatic messages on my phone. I'd never vote for him and how did he get my phone number?!

My dear husband, and he is, is a registered republican. Poor thing. He is also in favor of gay rights. I am working on him...he is a good man. I hate when we get fricken mail from right-wing assholes telling us how gays will destroy this country. Geez.

Okay..I had one fabulous lunch at Plan B at the corner of Greenhaven and neighborhood. I've been meaning to go there for months. I finally made it. Let me just say that it was "Waterboy" kind of food. Two old ladies came in after me. One ordered the Caesar Salad..which I had ordered also. I got wonderful anchovies from France on my salad...delicious croutons made from Acme bread. Fab. I hear one old lady say, "what is this thing on my salad?" The owners wife comes over and explains that they are whole anchovies. The ignorant woman says, "Ick, I don't want that on my Ceasar, and please leave off the Parm cheese as well" Hello?? That pisses me off..when someone does not appreciate a great Ceasar salad!

I also ordered the most wondorous Nantaise Mussels..with butter, shallots, and cream fresh..Yes, cream fresh (English). Oh Lordie! Oh Crapola! Tender, luscious, perfect. Lucas, from France, said he'd been making that dish since he was 10. The Chef there is a graduate of the CIA in New York. Their pommes allumettes with herb de provence was delightful...french fries with herbs. As good as Bouchan in Yountville and Las Vegas! I also had a bowl of their Fennel and Potato soup...perfect. The old woman across from me asks, "where are the potatoes?" Hey granny, can you say "puree".

I suggested to the owner, his wife, and the chef that the move to a location filled with patrons who would appreciate their offerings. Apparently, they are doing just that..and fairly soon.

Go to Plan B, before June 29th. Next time we are going for dinner..and ordering the Rack of Lamb..which I hear is too good to be true. I am sorry they are leaving my neighborhood..but I get it. This place made me go, "Ahhhh". Maybe we will go for bruch on Father's Day..the 15th.

What makes you go "blah?"

James Beard Winners 2008--The Oscars for All Things Food

Best Chef, Best Restaurant, Best Wine Guy/Gal, Best Cookbooks, etc. Do they have a Best Food Blog yet? Click on link to find out!

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Hey ...Sweet Cheeks!

Not the greatest shot...but these are halibut cheeks. In the background you can see the copper river salmon I just got..when I bought the cheeks. Taylor's Market...again.

So, halibut cheeks are not cheap. They look sort of like scallops eh? I wrapped them nicely and was forced to freeze them. I hated to do they were FRESH. I want to cook them for people who will appreciate them. Let me know if you want to come and have some sweet cheeks. If you have ever had them (I have not), let me know how they were cooked. I could whip up some Copper River Salmon too!

Friday, June 06, 2008

Shirley Temple Blues

Okay. So today I was out shopping and just "looking around the neighborhood". I went to Taylor's Market and then stopped at Dish..a vintage store that has so many wonderful dishes, toasters, waffle makers, toasters, china, fiesta ware..and my favorite stuff...VINTAGE LINENS. I had a blast there. Well, I went into one little room that had a sign.."feel free to look in the cupboards"..which I happily did. There, I saw it. I nearly cried. It was like there was an aura around it! The absolute perfect all-time gift for my mother-in-law, who is 78 years young... an original Shirley Temple Mug. Here is the story she told me once, maybe twice:
Everyone got a Shirley Temple Mug but her. By the time she was old enough, her mother tried to pass off an old Tom and Jerry cup with her name on it. She knew it was not the Shirley Temple mug that she coveted. She felt very left out and unworthy. She actually got tears in her eyes when she told me this story.
So, did I buy that $50.00 mug fabulous original Shirley Temple Mug..about 4 inches tall in perfect condition? Yes, yes I did. I could hardly wait to give it to her. I was so excited.
I took it over to her..wrapped. I explained to her that I had just found the perfect gift and was so happy to give it to her. She opened and looked at it and said, "I'll be damned! {she seemed pleased} but, I have one". I am shocked, dismayed and I say, "where is it?" She says, "it's in the Friskies cat food bag..we use it to scoop out cat food for Prissy". I say, "but I thought you didn't get one?" She says, "well, I did after my mom died".
I almost broke three of her fingers when I tried to pull it away, saying I'd take it back. She didn't seem to have a clue how I felt...nor did anyone else, including my husband who showed up when I gave it to her..or my FIL, who said he wouldn't use their cup for cat food anymore. Dave was just happy they weren't using their mug to scoop out the litter box.
They all laughed. How would you have felt?
Be sure to stop by Dish a great store!
I keep hitting hard returns so that I have paragraphs...but nothing is happening. Damn!

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

From the Archives-Another Chapter in Dee's Life

originally posted, Monday, September 17, 2007

Dee stood sideways, her bat held higher than most, and she glared at the pitcher. She loved the way she felt while playing baseball and she especially liked hearing "here comes slugger Tolliver." She was the only girl who'd play with the boys...sometimes they'd hit her with the ball on purpose, but she didn't care. She could play as well as any of em and loved watching them squirm when it was her turn to hit. She played center field cause she ran like the wind and could catch just about any hit.On the second pitch, she eyed the ball and then "CRACK" was flying and she was running like hell. It wasn't unusual for her to get a couple of home runs in before she had to head home.

It was Wednesday, and Reverend Fitch would always bring some soup and bread by before heading to church. Her mom also rented the house from the Fitches and would often do chores for them if the rent couldn't be paid in full each week.Feeling elated, Dee ran the mile home and quickly straightened up the tiny living quarters. She made Lydia's bed, and folded up the bedrolls for her brother and sister. Her mom had been able to return to work the week had been a long winter.

"Hello DeLores, are you here all alone?" Startled, Dee looked up to see the preacher standing in the house..."yes, but my brother and sister will be along shortly." He walked slowly over to the kitchen counter to place the soup and bread down. Giraffe...that's what he looks like, Dee thought to herself. He sat down on one of two chairs in the sparsley furnished house and asked if she would join him in prayer...he grabbed her arm and pulled her next to him. She closed her eyes, hoping this would be one of those quick talks to God. She felt his cold, clammy hand slide up under the back of her shirt and before she could move he had pulled her down in front of him. She knelt in horror as he began to unbotton his pants...she struggled to get up but he kept his left hand firmly on her shoulder...pushing her tight to the floor. "You know DeLores, your mamma needs this house, and this food. I am important to her..and to you kids". Dee began to shake...fear gripped her entire body."Deeee Deeee", she heard her brother Glen yelling as he piled through the front door. Reverend Fitch knocked her over as he scrambled to his feet. Her little brother bounced through the room, his big brown eyes all sparkly and such. "Did you fall down? You hurt Dee Dee?" He then looked up at the preacher, and then back at his sister.

Dee pulled herself up and assured Glen that she was okay. Fitch mumbled something about getting to the church and was out the door.Lydia got home from work about was dark. The one bulb hanging above the sink was the only light for two rooms. She put the pot of soup on the heater and began to pull the bread apart. Dee walked into the small kitchen to help her mother.

"Were you here when the preacher stopped by?" Dee shook her head yes. "Well, thank the good Lord for those Fitches. I don't know what we'd do without their help. I get down on my knees every night and give thanks". Dee just nodded in agreement and ladeled the soup into 4 tin cups. She thought to herself, I am gonna have to learn to make soup

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Jennyo and Phil at The French Laundry

Posted - 06/04/2007 : 12:13:56 at . I am shutting the forums down, for good, so went thru and saved my favorite posts. Jenny always took the time to come home from her travels and post about her gastronomic adventures. Thanks Jenny! Read on for her fabulous review of one of the top restaurants in the world..and it's in Northern California! For more on The French Laundry, visit I hear they have approached her about a tv show. Make sure you check out her May 27th post...the pigs head!

The French Laundry by Jennyo

I have had trouble deciding how to begin this post. In general, the entire experience was so over-the-top that it is difficult to describe without sounding silly.

Anyway, the French Laundry lives up to the hype. It may not live up to the hype for people that have spent a lot of time in Paris, or who eat at FL several times a year and can afford to nitpick, but anyone who has never been to the FL before will not be disappointed.

There are just two menus, the chef's tasting menu and the tasting of seasonal vegetables. The base price is $240 per person and includes soft drinks, water and coffee, and gratuity. There are some additional options within the menu for various courses, some of which have a supplemental charge. Wine is marked up heavily, but their wine list is very good and some of the wines are made specifically for the French Laundry. We got there about 5 minutes early and were seated promptly. We spoke with the waiter about our choices, and then the food and wine started coming.

First came two Gruyere Gougeres, small marble-sized puff pastries baked with Gruyere. Then came Cornets (looked like little mini-ice-cream cones) filled with Salmon Tartare and Red Onion Creme Fraiche. Both of these items were not on the menu. The real "first course" arrived next, which I understand to be a standard, "Oysters and Pearls." This dish was amazing. It was a warm, savory tapioca with two small oysters and sevruga caviar.After this course, we received rolls with two kinds of butter, a sea-salted butter and an unsalted one made by a lady in Vermont. With these items came three small dishes of salt, including grey salt, a super-white Japanese salt, and my favorite based on the name alone--Jurassic Salt!

For the next course there were two choices, I had the Salad of Hawaiian Hearts of Peach Palm, French Laundry Garden Radish and Young Ginger Gastrique, and Phil had the Foie Gras Torchon with warm brioche ($30 supplement). My salad was nice, but Phil got the better end of the deal.

The next course was also two choices, I got the Sauteed Fillet of Pacific Kahala and Phil got the Escargot with a Pork Belly Ravioli. My fish was excellent, very moist but with a thin crunchy outside. Pork Belly Ravioli was to die for, but the Ravioli was just a Pork Belly delivery system. After this course, we were offered more bread, there were four choices and we still had the yummy butter from the earlier bread offering.After that came the lobster tail (which seems to be another standard). The lobster was very good and there was a sauce of green onion emulsion and tomato compote. After that came the Jambonette of Devil’s Gulch Ranch Rabbit, which was a cute little ball of deep-fried rabbit meat. Again, the sauce that came with this was amazing, it was like a carmelized onion mayonnaise or something.(OK, we are stuffed at this point)

The next course had two choices, Phil got the lamb and I got the Japanese Wagyu Beef ($100 supplement). I have no idea how Phil's lamb was cooked or even how it tasted because my beef was so insanely good I couldn't think straight. It was the consistency of bacon fat, and tasted like someone had taken a prime rib, put it in a blender to mix the fatty parts in with the meat, and then made a steak of it. Apparently this stuff sells for $20 an ounce in Tokyo. I have no idea what the items were that came with the beef. All I can remember is the beef. By this point I was in a food coma because the beef was so good, but there was so much food, that I had to eat it.

So, now we move to sorbet, which was pineapple or mango-ish--it was OK but there was an unappetizing dishwasher smell on my plate. Next came the cheese course, it was a soft cheese made of cow, sheep, and goats milk with slices of poached pear. The cheese was amazing.Then the dessert, Phil had some sort of chocolate mishmash of treats and I had fruit compote with verbena sorbet. Mine was good but I was dying at this point. Phil did not like the chocolate stuff, I think it may not have been sickeningly sweet enough. His chocolate tastes are lowbrow, think Rocky Mountain Fudge Cake at Black Angus.Then!! More desserts, mignardise which are cute little desserty things like crème brulee, trifle, those thin rolled cookie things, and chocolate covered macadamia nuts. Then!! More desserts on the way! We had to stop at this point, it was ridiculous. The people at the table next to us had gotten their stuff boxed up in a cute French Laundry shopping bag, so I asked to do the same. He boxed up the macadamia nuts, some chocolates, and shortbread made by an English guy in the kitchen who uses his mother's recipe.We paid the bill, which cost enough to feed the residents of a third world country for a year, and rolled out the door. It took me a couple of days to process the experience mentally, because it was overwhelming. What continues to amaze me was the quality of the service from start to finish. The food was excellent--I expected it to be. But the service was magical, the waiters telepathic. From the moment we arrived, we were treated amazingly well. I was concerned that there might be a snoot factor but there was none at all.

Reservations are difficult, the prices are exorbitant, but I would go again in a heartbeat.