These green beans are quick and delicious. You may think of green beans almondine, but this isn’t quite them. Way more garlic. They’re superb with fish and chicken, but personally, The Goddess could simply eat bowls and bowls of these, with nothing else. So good. Continue reading
Thanksgiving is a time to join hands around the table, share a meal offered with love and make memories for future generations. It is the quintessential holiday, for Thanksgiving knows no religion. Thanksgiving is love and sharing and eating! Thanksgiving is the least commercial holiday, apart from sales on turkeys and pumpkin pie. We are blessed to have always had good food, in abundance. Perhaps too much. But, it really isn’t the quantity of food that makes Thanksgiving so special, it is the quantity of love around your table. So, pass the potatoes and gravy, eat an extra piece of pie and reminisce, argue (good-naturedly, please), praise the cook/cooks, have a nap, and of course, football! Please just remember that these are the people who are special to you, that love you and care deeply about you…and that’s all you need. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!
This is a simple, full-flavored version of tomato soup. I’ve already posted Simply Tomato Soup (with Options) and this is more or less that. But, I’ve tweaked and changed a few things and frankly, simplified the recipe. This is in keeping with our recent discussions of “basic” soups. And really, who doesn’t like a good, simple tomato soup? Continue reading
I’m certain you’ve heard or read that Anthony Bourdain left this world before he should have. It was a shock, to say the very least. Now, I never met Anthony Bourdain in person. But, he had an unvarnished openness about him, that made him seem comfortable. It made him feel like a friend. You know, the type of friend you don’t see often, but when you do, you pick up where you last left off like it was yesterday. And it was always interesting. I don’t get whipped up over celebrity, but I must say, his death affected me much more than I could have imagined it would. Tony, I felt I knew you.
Before 2000, when Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly hit the book stores, I had heard a bit about him. He would show up in cooking magazines from time to time, but I didn’t pay too much attention. Then I read Kitchen Confidential. It was, to say the very least, a brutal peek into the world of fine dining. It was also a riveting story and I was hooked on Anthony Bourdain. The man could write. Through his writing, I found him to be self-possessed, foul-mouthed, a supreme smartass, honest, tough, kind, curious and damaged…my kind of person. And the man could tell a story.
Tony Bourdain was a raconteur and first-rate story-teller. On No Reservations and Parts Unknown, it’s pretty clear that it’s all about the story. Okay the food, too, but he seemed to realize they were dependent on each other. He was truly interested in the people he encountered. He wanted to hear and share their story. Because, every one of us has a story. And the people he seemed to find most interesting, were the “little” people…the every person, person. Those were the stories he wanted to hear. Those were the stories he gleefully shared with us. He was a listener and a good one, which is a gift unto itself. He took us to places far and wide, broadening our culinary horizons and bringing small, personal tidbits to us, offering us the stories of people we would normally never encounter. Offering us the world. The other. The unknown.
He was a Renaissance man. He was an author, both fiction and non-fiction, and he was also a voracious reader. His taste in books was wide-ranging. He told an interviewer his favorite book was True Grit…not the movie, though he apparently loved both cinema and music, but the book. He did jujitsu on a daily basis, which must have taken some significant discipline, given the grueling schedule he kept. I think I read that he painted, too. And of course, he cooked. He, by his own admission, was not a trend-setting chef…he was a skilled and very capable chef (his words, not mine). His true gift was his openness, his curiosity, his intensity and the story…always the story.
He wasn’t a fan of the “celebrity” chef. I think what annoyed him about the celebrity chef, was that the food became secondary to the personality. And he was all about the food and the culture that surrounds it. He never seemed to let his ego, and I suspect he had a pretty healthy ego, dictate how he viewed other chefs. When asked about what he thought of Julia Child, he said, “Julia Child was the single most important, influential and game-changing figure in the history of American gastronomy. Everything tracks back to her. And though uniquely situated to do so, she never endorsed a thing: not a pot, not a pan, not a chain of restaurants, not a spice blend, apron or boil-in-the-bag dinner. She will be remembered for what she did on this earth, which was to inspire millions to cook — and eat — better.” It is that last part “to cook and eat better” that could have been his mantra. Even when he was eating tripe!
One of my favorite episodes of Parts Unknown was his meal with President Obama. It was an interesting and telling snapshot of both of these men. It gave us a little peek into what both of them seemed to value, the pure enjoyment of sharing a simple bowl of noodles and a couple of beers with an interesting person; sharing a story.
He was honest about his demons, too. He spoke of his battle with addiction and his dismay at why women he worked with and knew, weren’t able to come to him and trust him with their story of sexual abuse. He sincerely wondered why they didn’t feel they could. He saw this as a personal failing and it bothered him. One doesn’t see this sort of self-reflection often. It’s unpleasant and we would just rather avoid it. He didn’t.
Sadly, he didn’t seem to discuss his apparent battle with depression or the darkness within him. I’d read snippets about it, but nothing to the extent of his addiction. But we, society, whatever you want to call it, aren’t comfortable with mental illness. It’s messy and we don’t understand it very well. As a society, as a people, we need to do so much better with this, to break the silence.
So though I never met the man, he allowed me to feel like we knew him. But, his story ended too abruptly and much, much too soon. The world is a less intersting place without you. I will miss you, Tony.
If you know someone who may be in danger of taking their own life, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, Call 1-800-273-8255 (Available 24 hours a day).
Happy Thanksgiving! Isn’t he just picture perfect? Here’s wishing you a picture-perfect Thanksgiving. Enjoy those around your table; they’re family. Make a memory, eat, converse, argue (keep your sense of humor, please), eat, praise, give praise and join hands to give thanks for all that’s good in your life…and eat!
Just to help you and yours enjoy this holiday, here are a few openers to ease the conversation, should you need to:
- What are your travel plans for the future?
- What’s on your bucket list for next year?
- What’s your favorite word?
- Have you discovered any new restaurants?
- What is your guilty pleasure?
- What read would you recommend?
And we really should mention the things that perhaps should just remain a fleeting thought in your head:
- What is this anyway?
- I didn’t know you could serve turkey medium rare.
- What do you think they’re serving with the Big Mac’s at Mar a Lago?
- I didn’t know that Brussels sprouts and liver were a thing!
- Wow…I didn’t realize that KKK pamphlets were considered literature.
- Didn’t I tell you last year that I don’t like turkey and stuffing?
On that note, that’s it for this year. Except to say, “Happy Thanksgiving” to One and All! Now, may I have another piece of pie, please…extra whipped cream, too?
Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. It’s for everyone, no matter who or what we worship, no matter where we come from or what language we speak around the table. Those that come to these shores, embrace this holiday. They make it their own, bring their traditional foods and customs with them. It’s what being an American is all about.
As we join with friends and family to celebrate, let’s remember to take some time to talk to each other. To listen to each other. It’s a gift to be a good listener and you learn so much. The Goddess is working on being a better listener. This has been such a divisive year, politically speaking, that friends and family have stopped talking to each other. We’ve stopped listening to each other. But, we all know we haven’t really…not really, stopped loving each other. So, as we break bread together today with friends and family, don’t be afraid to bring up these differences. Tell the person next to you or across the table from you, “I love and respect you”. I know that sounds sappy. Come on, you know it does, but everyone wants and needs to be loved. We have to start some place. And remembering why these people around our table are important to us, in the first place, isn’t a bad place to begin again.
Yes, there is a lot to be thankful for. There always is. Sometimes we have to search a bit, but we eventually find it. This year, The Goddess and The Spicy Honey are having their Thanksgiving in sunny South Florida. A “tropical” Thanksgiving always takes a bit of adjustment for The Goddess, but alas, it’s easier to adjust when we are together. We are better together. Most families are better together. The sharing of food and memories is restorative. It really is the major reason to celebrate. So eat, share, laugh and love and above all have a Happy Thanksgiving.
The Goddess thinks that periodically we should spend some time thinking about our lives. You know, counting our blessings and most of us have at least something to feel blessed about. She has The Latin Lover, The Three Beings, their wives and lovers and all of you who bear with her ramblings and read this blog every now and again. Continue reading
Did we have a screaming good time on New Year’s Eve? Did we ring in the new year with great food and drink? Good for you! Now, I want to take a moment of your time to thank each and every one of you who visit this blog. I know you can spend your all-too-precious time anywhere and I greatly appreciate that you spend some of it here. Therefore, please tell me what you want this blog to be for you; tell me what you would like to cook or talk about, what recipes you want more of, what works for you and what doesn’t, etc. This may be the shortest posting I’ll ever write, so revel in my brevity. The Goddess can go on a bit, can’t she?
Last but not least, in the upcoming year be good to yourselves, indulge yourselves now and then and don’t feel guilty about it; cook together and then dine together. When we share a meal with friends and family we enjoy, the food tastes better and the wine is smoother.
I wish you a joyous 2015, fill with…
Happy New Year!
I want to take a moment to wish you and yours a happy and blessed Thanksgiving. It is a special time of year filled with traditions and traditional flavors and customs. This time of year is always a good time to reflect on our blessings and be thankful for our health, because any day above ground is a decent day; to be thankful for our family, crazy as they may be; to be thankful for our friends, the close ones know who you are and I am grateful that you put up with my nonsense and overlook my shortcomings which are too many to count (I’m still a work in progress…without as much progress as I would like!). Continue reading