Posted tagged ‘Cheese’

“Cherish every moment with those you love at every stage of your journey.”

July 17, 2017

I turned off the air conditioner just to refresh the house, but that’s not going to happen. The air is thick with humidity, and there is no breeze to stir it. There are clouds where there is supposed to be sun. It will be 77˚ at the highest and in the mid-60’s tonight.

Movie night was fun, and the appetizers were delicious. We noshed on a feta dip with pita chips, cold cuts in baguettes, delicious cheeses and honeyed figs. Gunga Din was as wonderful an old movie as I remembered. It was one of those movies with a cast of thousands. The night was humid and hot but cooled down as we watched. I have neighbors on one side and renters on the other. I always wonder if they’re a bit jealous of us watching movies outside in the summer, such a wonderful way to spend a warm evening.

Summer had its own set of rules when I was a kid. The street lights no longer controlled our play time. We stayed out after dark. Bedtime was when we went to bed. Meals were usually catch as catch can except for supper which my mother cooked for all of us.  Mostly it was cereal for breakfast and sandwiches for lunch. We’d make our own. Bologna with hot peppers was my favorite sandwich. The peppers were round so I had to cut them, but they were still thick. The bologna came in a roll so I had to cut slices which were never even; they were thin on one side and thick on the other. My sandwiches were messy. White bread was just too soft and easily prone to holes. For dessert we’d grab Oreos, but they quick to disappear. The week days were ours to do as we wanted. My mother would ask where we were going, but most times we didn’t know. Riding our bikes or going to the playground were our usual answers. At least one weekend day was family day when we were stuck together in the hot car going to the beach on Sunday or to a drive-in movie theater Saturday night.

As we got older, we spent less and less time with the family and more time with our friends. I had drill two nights a week and competitions on the weekends. I slept late every day. My bicycle stayed in the cellar. My friends picked me up with their cars. Sometimes we did nothing but ride around. Other times we hung at one house or another just talking and laughing. That was pretty much the end of family time, but it reappeared when I was older, living away and teaching. I’d spend a weekend at my parents’ house. I even remember the three of us going to a drive-in together. The movie was A New Leaf with Walter Matthau and Elaine May. We laughed a lot. I had a wonderful evening with my parents.

“Last, but not least, avoid cliches like the plague.”

May 5, 2017

The morning sky is dark and the air is chilly. Rain’s coming, heavy rain. It should be here by early afternoon. I have to go out, but I hope to get home before the rain starts. Given the ominous sky, I’m not optimistic.

I’m watching The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms. The beast is a prehistoric creature awakened by an atomic blast at the North Pole. The film was made in 1953. One line made me chuckle. The radio news reported about a ship sunk by what one survivor described as a giant monster. The radio announcer wanted to know what the guy had been smoking. I’d like to know what the token female scientist was smoking when she went clothes shopping. Her wardrobe is ugly from the hat down. In one scene, people start running. A couple of guys by the river had seen the monster, and they were the first runners. Most of the people running have no idea why. They even knock a blind guy down. A policeman foolishly tried to shoot down the creature with his handgun. He got eaten for his efforts. A woman screamed.

Of late, my world has been small. I’ve mostly stayed home with Gracie. I don’t mind. The house is cozy and warm. I have movies to watch, books to read and plenty of crackers and cheese. The only chore left is that blasted laundry.

I have a pair of black and white saddle shoes. I bought them to go with a 50’s costume which included a poodle skirt. When I was in high school, I wore saddle shoes, lots of us did. Now I’m thinking maybe I ought to wear them again. Maybe I’ll be a trend setter. Now that is funny.

I was always a horrible bowler. Here we play candlepin with the small bowling balls, three to a frame. My mother belonged to a bowling league. The alley where she played is now a shoe store. Every Saturday she and my dad watched Bowling for Dollars. I would have needed to be tied and gagged before I’d watch bowling on TV or anywhere for that matter.

I’m not sure which plague it is, but I am in the midst of one. Moths are all over the house.  I kill them on walls and catch them with my hand. Maddie does her bit but they are quicker than she. The last few cold nights have helped as the moths are logy and easy to grab even in the air. There seem to be fewer. It may be the end.

“Sometimes me think, ‘What is Friend?’ Then me say, ‘Friend is someone to share the last cookie with.'”

December 4, 2016

Huzzah! Huzzah! My laundry is clean. The hall is empty of filled laundry bags. It was my only accomplishment of the day, but I consider it a huge one. I did binge watch a Netflix series called Between. I reasoned that sitting with pillows behind my back was a necessity as my back was aching from the trips up and down the stairs. In between changing loads from the washer to the dryer I brought up exactly two Christmas decorations. If anyone asks, I can truthfully say I have started decorating.

My heat is cranking. It is cold, down to the 30’s. It is also a gray day. The bare branches have an eerie look against the sky, sort of a Halloween vibe. There isn’t even a breeze. I have to go out later but I’m not looking forward to it. The warm, cozy house is just so inviting.

Gracie has been in and out all morning. She is restless, and I have no idea why. She does like the cold weather so maybe that’s a reason. She does bark, but when I check, I don’t see anyone or anything. Maybe her barking is what keeps the critters at bay.

My sister and I had our usual Sunday conversation. Today we talked food as both of us were watching the food channel with its Christmas programs. Moe is deciding what she’ll make for Christmas Eve when the whole family comes. Fondue is already on her list. She’ll have two fondue pots, one with oil for meat and one with cheese for breads and vegetables. Onion dip, of course, is a must. My mother always had it so the tradition continues. Moe usually has something Mexican like chili verde or corn tortillas. My brother-in-law usually smokes a roast and some chicken. The roast gets cut into bites and is served with a sauce. I’d want a horseradish sauce. Moe is trying to decide which sweets. Whoopie pies and sugar cookies are a must. She’s thinking maybe peanut butter cookies with a kiss in the middle but that’s as far as she’s gotten.

Part of the fun of Christmas is the cooking and baking. The house usually smells great and I swear everything is delicious.

” First we eat then we do everything else.”

August 13, 2016

This morning I felt like a mole stepping into the sunshine after living underground for too long. I shielded my eyes on my way to the driveway to get the papers. I was blasted even in that short while by the heat and humidity. After getting the papers, I ran back into the house, into the cool darkness.

Last night I had to go to Stop and Shop to pick up a few things Peapod couldn’t deliver as the warehouse didn’t have them. It was close to eleven o’clock. I walked inside and had to look around as the store had changed considerably. I went from aisle to aisle reading the signs until I finally found what I wanted. That one short shopping trip reminded me why I use Peapod.

I love cheese, all sorts except blue cheese and gorgonzola. When I was a kid, my mother always bought Velveeta. It made the best grilled cheese sandwiches. I still buy it to make a quick dip with salsa, jalapeños and sometimes crumbled hamburger. I haven’t a favorite cheese so I usually buy a variety of cheeses. We have a new store which carries Italian cheeses many of which are unfamiliar so I usually need a taste before I buy. Any sandwich I make aways has a cheese of some sort. I even spread Brie. Crackers and cheese are a favorite snack of mine so I always have crackers in the cabinet. When I was in Ghana, there was no cheese. Even now it is scarce and expensive. Obruni stores, as in white man stores, do carry it, and you can find it in Accra. Ghanaians don’t eat cheese. Now I wonder why my mother never sent me Velveeta. It doesn’t need to be refrigerated, being processed cheese.

With my trip to Ghana getting closer, I’m thinking of all the Ghanaian food I’ll have, all my favorites. I’m also thinking about the Middle East restaurants which used to be all over Accra but are now difficult to find. Luckily, down the street from my Accra hotel, is a Middle Eastern restaurant where I had dinner the last time I stayed and hope to visit again. The safari lodge where we’re staying has a combination of European food and Ghanaian. In Ghana I am a European which just means white to Ghanaians. All this talk of Ghanaian food has my mouth is salivating for kelewele, Guinea fowl and, yup, even fufu.

“A cheese may disappoint. It may be dull, it may be naive, it may be oversophisticated. Yet it remains cheese, milk’s leap toward immortality.”

September 21, 2015

Last night was cold, not chilly but downright cold. This week will be cool every day and cold at night, hints of the season to come. My windows were all shut last night, and I was warm and cozy huddled under the blankets. Today I’m wearing a long sleeve shirt. I can’t remember the last time I wore one.

My lawn is cluttered with fallen leaves and bunches of pine needles. The flowers are just about gone, their colors fading away. I always miss color the most when winter comes. It is a drab season. Christmas is winter’s only salvation. It brings light and color back but only for a short while, never long enough. Last year the thought of winter’s darkness returning was too much so I decided to keep color alive. I left two strands of colored lights wrapped around the deck rail. They have been lit every night since Christmas, and every night I marvel at the colors and how brightly they shine. It is the one spot winter doesn’t dim.

I’m getting the urge to bake, something I haven’t done in a while. I snip recipes and save them in a bulging folder. The recipes are in no order so I go through them one at a time looking for the perfect recipe for my mood or for the occasion. My friend is coming over tomorrow afternoon for a few drinks and I’ll make a couple of appetizers. I have been through the file and have three possibilities. I’m leaning towards roasted figs and prosciutto as one of them then maybe a charcuterie as the second. I bought a honeycomb a bit back and I think it would be perfect with the meat and the cheese. I guess I’ve made my choices. Next I’ll make my list.

I enjoy making dishes I’ve never made before. I’ve been lucky: nobody has ever spit any out or been rushed to the hospital. Most times the food disappears, and many times I get asked for the recipes. I always give them. I consider that the highest of compliments.

“No man is sane who does not know how to be insane on the proper occasions.”

March 1, 2015

Yesterday was the longest day. I left home at 8:50 and arrived back at 4:30. I more than doubled the week’s mileage on my car. The festival was fun and time passed quickly. The day started with a parade of flags marching in a line from one building to another. Our destination was the stage where we took turns at the microphone introducing our countries. The best part of the parade was the dragon the Chinese dancers carried. After the introductions, we marched back to the main hall to man our tables. Lots of people stopped at the Peace Corps table, some with questions and others to get a sticker in their passports. Every little kid, and a few adults, carried a passport, and every table provided a sticker for the passport and wrote the name of the table below it, think of it as a visa, and there were prizes at the end of the event for the most stickers. It is a neat idea, the passports, as kids get to visit the different countries’ exhibits and the tables get traffic. My favorite was the Chinese stamp as the table’s name was written in characters. Germany had its own sticker in gold. My favorite table was from India. It had a great elephant lamp with the most colorful shade shaped like an umbrella. The men at the table wore Indian clothes, and I loved the colors. Upstairs was the bazaar, and I bought a few things including cardamom bread from the Finnish table, cheese from Italy and a couple pf stocking stuffers from China. It was, all in all, a good day.

Last night at 9:50 the electricity died. First thing I did was look out the window, and it was the whole neighborhood. Luckily my lantern was right beside the couch. It has been that sort of a winter when keeping a lantern close is a good idea. I turned off the lights, and we all went upstairs to stay warm under the comforters. I had my Smithsonian and my iPad so I was content. I turned on the light above me so I’d be awakened when the electricity came back and then I got cozy and fell asleep. Around 12:30 the light woke me up. Normalcy had been restored so I went back to sleep. This morning I found the TV on as I had forgotten all about it. My phone was blinking because there was a message from the electric company saying it was faulty equipment as if that explained anything.

On the front page of the Globe are two pictures side by side. One is of an Anchorage street with no snow at all and the other is of a street in Boston with mounds of snow along its sides measured in feet and so much snow on the street you’d have to guess what it is. If I could write a sigh you could hear, I would, but I can’t so just imagine a long and loud sigh as you read the next line: snow is coming starting this evening. The prediction is 3-6 inches, a small snow storm as snow storms go, but none of us can’t think of it that way. It is the proverbial last straw. It is the last drop. I’m going to scream, a horrible scream, a frightening scream as if my sanity has left me.

“I made a sandwich out of things. I’m an American. We can eat anything as long as it’s between two pieces of bread.”

January 24, 2015

The road was covered in slush when I went to get the paper. I left deep footprints and could see the track of the car which had been driven down the street some time this morning. Gracie was hesitant to go down the back steps. They were covered in slush like the road. It was raining, but there had been a sprinkling of snow first. After Gracie came in, I threw de-icer on the steps. I don’t want the steps freezing. Off-Cape is getting the snow.

Today lends itself to laziness. It is an I won’t get dressed day or do any chores day. I will most decidedly take a nap later. That is not in question. I may have a pizza delivered. I don’t know. That sounds too much like a plan, and today is not a day to plan. It is a whatever happens day. Fern and Gracie are asleep on the couch beside me. They are my role models.

I cut out recipes and have a gigantic folder filled with them. Periodically I go through the gigantic folder and put the recipes I’d most like to make in a smaller folder. I have yet to make any. Most times I fall back on the familiar: my curry recipe, my brother-in-law’s chili and my uncle’s sausage cacciatore. This week I am going to make Peg’s corn chowder. She brought it down when she and Bill last visited, and I loved it. It is a perfect winter recipe, one to warm the innards.

When I was young, my mother sometimes gave us Campbell’s tomato soup and her grilled cheese sandwiches especially on cold days. I still love grilled cheese sandwiches, especially gooey ones, but mine have become a bit more sophisticated than using yellow cheese unwrapped on Wonder bread. My aunt was the first to give me one with tomato, and I still like tomato as a basic addition to the sandwich. I also like bacon, jalapeño or avocado with pepper jack. I think grilled cheese is the best sandwich to personalize. A BLT is just that. Bologna is about as unsophisticated as a cold cut can get.

A couple of Christmases ago I got a panini maker from my sister. It elevates sandwiches from a simple lunch to something far greater, far tastier. Avocado is the best addition of late to grilled cheeses and regular sandwiches. I now have an addiction to them. When I was a kid, I would have thought avocados too squishy and far too green. The rule of thumb back then was to avoid anything green. The only exceptions were green beans and unripe bananas as they had a yellow future.