When I was small, number 4 of 5, my parents rarely took us out to eat. Can you imagine, 5 kids under 12 years old at a restaurant? But, my father knew that my mother needed a break so we packed up the car, drove 5 miles, two towns over, to dine at the Smorgasbord. The theme song to the Beverly Hillbillies is running through my head. “This here’s a story about a man Continue reading “SHOPPING CENTER SURPRISE”
When I was 18 years old I went to Phoenix Arizona to study auto repair at UTI. (No, it stands for Universal Technical Institute.) I could have gone to a local junior college but the fact that UTI was in another State made it more appealing. It was my first ever, all alone adventure. I remember I drove the long way to see a girl, Continue reading “PERMISSABLE”
From Miriam Webster:
‘Companion’ comes from ‘panis’, the Latin word for bread. Originally, the word was used to describe someone with whom you shared a meal.
The com- in companion means “with.” The second part comes from panis, the Latin word for bread or food.
I remember sitting in my bread making class at the California Culinary Academy and hearing this description. It was a seminal moment for me in my food career. As we all do, sharing a meal with someone, breaking bread Continue reading “OUR COMPANION”
I sincerely do not know what to do. You see, I have this problem which, in all honesty, has at least a dozen solutions that I can think of right off the top of my head. But today, for me, it seems to be going much deeper than that. Question: Have you ever had someone tell you, You need to get out of your head and back in to your body? Continue reading “CHILLY OR CHILI? BOTH ACTUALLY”
Lo and behold Valentine’s Day is upon us again. Growing up my mother would put a heart shaped box of chocolates on the dining room table for us to find when we awoke. When we got older we would make Valentine’s Day cards for that special person at school and then one for my mom and dad too. That was fun. I miss the simple part of that day where just reminding someone that you care for them was enough. The day can be fraught with peril for some where expectation can exceed reality. A good day for close kindness is wasted if the right restaurant is not picked, or flowers from the grocery store are purchased. The landmines can be anywhere and everywhere. While certainly not perfect, Continue reading “SWEETS FOR MY SWEET”
This is a re-post of a popular piece I wrote on October 18th, 2018.
I constantly need to remind myself that each of us has our own struggle and that I can no more tell a bird how to fly than tell a woman what it is like to give birth. To our city officials who seek to lecture instead of listen, I ask you kindly to consider my remarks below.
This next sentence may not be exactly true but here it is. I first remember hearing the song Soul Man while watching the movie The Blues Brothers. Like I said, that may not be exactly true because I knew the words and sang along with everyone else in the theater. Feeling uneasy about my memory, Continue reading “I AM A SOUL MAN”
Wow! What a week it has been. Do not get me wrong, I love the rain, so much so that I capture what I can to water my seedlings in the spring. For some reason I cannot get seeds to germinate with city water. I was assured by the Public Works Department that the city water here in Vallejo is of the best quality. To that end, I took a tour of our water treatment plant two summers ago and I will tell you that the water coming out of the tap up there is mighty tasty. Still, rainwater is a gardener’s best friend.
Recently, the paramour of a dear friend of mine had cataract surgery. Continue reading “I CAN SEE CLEARLY NOW”
I remember living with my father after my mother passed away. It was an interesting/tricky time for the both of us. Dad was still hurting from losing his best friend of 40 years and I was starting a new business catering on motion picture sets. Needless to say our schedules were out of sync. When I was working, I was away 14 hours a day. When I was off, well, I was there all the time. For my dad, even after a long vacation, he had not adjusted to being retired and so I became the target of more than a few needling comments. Now please do not get the wrong idea. We were not the Bickersons, not at all. This was the best time for me, getting to know my father. I hope that he would say the same thing about me. I think he would. Although . . . I am sure that I challenged his thinking on more than one occasion. One time I remember in particular. Continue reading “MY OH MY, MAYA THAI”
It was said that, during WWII, when presented with the idea of cutting funding for the Arts, Winston Churchill replied, “Then what are we fighting for?” SNOPES says, No he did not say it, but did attribute this quote to him from before the war.
“The arts are essential to any complete national life. The State owes it to itself to sustain and encourage them . . . Ill fares the race which fails to salute the arts with the reverence and delight which are their due.”
I might have mentioned before that in the kitchen I am mostly a technician. I know HOW to roast a chicken, HOW to make pie dough and HOW to make smooth, or lumpy, mashed potatoes without making them all gluey. Going to culinary school for me was like going to art school. To explain, my sense of the world is rooted in the laws of physics and can be best described by Newton’s Laws of Motion.
1st Law: An object at rest stays at rest, and a body in motion stays in motion, unless acted upon by an external force. You know, like when you hit the sofa after a long day then your partner “gently” encourages you to do the washing up. (External force applied here.)
2nd Law: F = ma or Force = mass x acceleration. This law can also be attributed to a group of people with a goals. Example: The Women’s March. There is tremendous Force in their argument as the great Mass of people walk (Accelerate) to make their beliefs known.
3rd Law: For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Like . . . Eating a donut that was the result of hard work and you smile.
But when surrounded by so many inspired individuals who looked at nature’s gift of food, not just as a conduit for flavor but as medium to enliven all of the senses, well, it was like I entered a different universe. “Who are these wonderful people and how do their minds think of such things?” A question I asked myself often. Technically I was more than proficient, but at anything other than a meat and 2 veg on a plate I was sorely lacking. My time spent with these amazing people, and I mean this quite literally, changed my world view. I began to see the aesthetic of things not just their functionality. (The immediate result was a more stylish wardrobe.) I have seen the Art of Food and can now never un-see it. Where before I would not bear to enter a museum, I now amble through, lost in time, counting brush strokes and measuring scale with my thumb, still ever rooted in the physical world.
Good News! I can now share this gift with you in a world of art that is so much larger than my kitchen. Vallejo, for many reasons monetary, has become a refuge, nay, a colony of multi-disciplinary artists. Food yes, but also music, and canvas, and sculpture, of laughter, and knowledge, and dance. All of these are available to all of us . . . for FREE! (mostly.) Tomorrow, this coming Friday, marks the 2nd Friday Art Walk in Downtown Vallejo. A self-motivated group of artists, working together under the name Vallejo Arts Alliance, have been organizing and producing this event for over 5 years. And it is wonderful.
Numerous businesses will be open, local artists will display their work, a group of curious minds will join a Salon and then a dance party will break out for everyone afterwards. Here is a list of some of the activities to be found:
PROVISIONS, 300 Virginia St, offering a special recipe of braised short ribs. Melt in your mouth kinda good. Open until roughly 8 p.m, so come get you some.
VALLEJO VINYL & PINBALL, 336 Georgia St, from 5 – 9, all you can play Pinball AND a Provision’s Fried Chicken or Vegan sandwich for only $25. Live music will play from 7 – 9. DANG! This is going to be fun.
STREET ARTISTS BREEZEWAY, 419 Georgia St, 5 – 9, Street artists will display their work in the shelter of the breezeway. Rain or Shine, Art prevails. Stop in an amble for a while.
BOUTIQUE CLASSIQUE, 1711 Sonoma Blvd, Featuring Live Window Models from 6pm-9pm
Be sure to come see their timeless clothing in action. Really, how often do you get invited to stare at beautiful women in a store window?
THE V-TOWN SOCIAL CLUB SALON & SPEAKER SERIES, 300 Virginia St, 6 – 7. The topic this month is Firestorm in Paradise, Does climate change necessitate rethinking our forest management practices? Brandon Collins, PhD, will be speaking and taking questions. Come early for no host wine and food.
So many other amazing places will be open and will eagerly welcome you into their warm & dry, shops and studios. We are so fortunate here in Vallejo, there is so much talent and diversity locked in this little up-bay town. So tomorrow employ the 1st Law – Stay in motion and come down to the Artwalk. Here is a link to the Interactive Map. 2nd Law – get your Mass Accelerating, via car or by foot, and give a show of Force to show these talented people that their energies and efforts are worthy of appreciation. 3rd Law – I promise you the labor of hard work will bring a smile to your face. Especially the Short Ribs!
Until next time,
Eat Well and Smile Often
Last November we stopped. Rome burned and Nero fiddled. The AQI (Air Quality Index) for many parts of the State of California were the worst ever recorded ranging from Dangerous, to Very Dangerous, to Hazardous. Shelter in place was the order for the week, plus, following the start of the fire that took Paradise from us. News outlets were reporting that the fire covered Continue reading “PARADISE LOST”