Saturday, January 28, 2012

COMFORT FOOD... Gooey Buns from SacTown

The other day, my friend Diane Norton was talking about comfort food. She was looking to make 'Veal Goulash with Sauerkraut'. The recipe was in an old book called 'Luchow's German Cookbook'. My friends in New York City might remember a restaurant near Union Square in Manhattan… It had been there for 102 years, and dished-up German-Austrian food. The elegant restaurant had served as a hangout for a lot of New York's finest, even naming rooms after their favorites like Diamond Jim Brady and the actress Lillian Russell. Finally closing the door in 1984, Luchow's left behind a rich history… and a cookbook.

 I have fond memories of Knackwurst and Red Cabbage from Sam's Hof Brau... 17th & J in Sacramento. In the old days... when there was a crock of horseradish and three types of mustard on every table, oh, and the barrel of free pickles to die for. Your beer came in a frosted stein, and if you wanted a larger one, it came in a goblet shaped affair that was hard to lift, even when empty. I loved that old place, and I would have loved Luchow's too.

Diane's comfort food du jour is a veal stew served over sauerkraut. The modern recipe, taken from that old cookbook, recommended 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 any more, 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!

Sunday, January 22, 2012


Doctor Seuss would have liked Roche Harbor Road.
Anyone living on San Juan Island knows what I mean. RHR is home to some strange sights. Probably the most famous, and the only one alive, is Mona the Camel… just past San Juan Vinyards on the way out of town. Or maybe ‘Mona the Mooch’… she does like a treat, but don’t tease her. I don’t know how long Mona has been standing sentry on RHR, looking for a handout or maybe just some company. If you pull off the road and go over to the fence, Mona will come over to say hello… if she’s feeling like it. She usually is. She has to be more photographed than the Lighthouse at Lime Kiln State Park. My friend Catherine of Sacramento visited, and of course I gave them the Grand Tour. Her husband Anthony is an artist and is photographing Mona… he has just given her some grass, and she is posing. We had just been to the Lighthouse… instead of taking a pic, he painted a watercolor.mona and anthony.jpgMona and Anthony

Roche Harbor Road runs from Friday Harbor to Roche Harbor, after 10 miles it ends up at the Resort, once the home to Roche Harbor Lime and Cement Company… the largest lime works west of the Mississippi… a major force on the island, a century ago.
In Second Place, has to be The Cow & The Pig. The Cow & The Pig celebrate all major holidays and have been known to make political and social comments, as Laurie sees fit to let them. I have taken a lot of photos of The Cow & The Pig.
cow:pig fall.jpgcow:pig halloween.jpgcow:pig xmas.jpg
The Cow & Pig in Autumn…  The Cow & Pig at Halloween…  The Cow & Pig at Christmas
RHR starts at the High School, and barely 100 feet along RHR, a guy had parked his riding lawn mower collection on his lawn for awhile… alas, I missed that photo op, I think there were six of them. I wish he would do it again sometime… there’s only one there now.
A little past The Cow & The Pig is an interesting garden, and in good weather a mannequin stands watch. She would have her outfit changed every other day or so, but I don’t think they did that as much last year. Maybe this year. I’ve taken a few pics of her.
                                                 Gardens, waiting for Spring
At about the 9 mile mark, a local artist has started to mount his sculptures, a display of his talents… kind of a visual business card.  
Nicholson Studio   

Just before Roche Harbor Resort is the Sculpture park, but that’s a whole different story. It’s much more mainstream… and this isn’t about mainstream.

So, I guess what started this, was while driving back to town yesterday, I spotted a new display along the side of the road. As I zipped past (45mph of course), I was struck with how amazing the minds of our RHR islanders are. I had to wait a bit for a drive to turn around in to go back to see what kind of statement was being made there. Maybe none, at least I can’t think of one, but fun to see, and quite colorful to say the least. My friend Ken Serratt warned me to "beware a gang of three year olds”.

You might enjoy this...

Saw this bumper sticker today... thought I'd add it to the story...  

Thursday, January 19, 2012

WRITING IN 2012...

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.  ~  TedIn 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.

 A number of factors contributed to my lack of writing.  Some beyond my control, and some completely within my power... of those, two stand out; facebook satisfied a lot of my creative urge, posting photos and writing little things, and the other was some kind of writer's block... and it wasn't the kind where you can't think of anything to write about.  I had been wanting to do it for so long, and not doing it.  I had friends writing blogs... and the only writing I was doing, was on their blogs... in the comment box.

 So, on New Year's Eve I got a prompt, not from Plinky, but from Amy Winehouse.  

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 Blogspot and will post on both.  Here's the one that brought me back...

   Check Plinky out...

My Favorite Summer Memory

When I was 15 my father thought it would be a great idea if I worked on a cattle ranch hauling hay… to teach me the lesson of why I should go to college. Well, I did go to college but not because hauling hay was hard work. (which it was) So, in 1958 I spent 4 glorious weeks on a cattle ranch in Modoc County near the town of Adin. Our family spent a few weeks each summer at our friends ranch… and I got an extended stay. The rancher’s wife took me to town in Alturas, and I got fitted with boots, jeans and a cowboy hat! It was Farmer’s Boot Camp for sure… they treated me as an adult and expected me to work. I learned how to do, and did, everything re: haying. I straightened and raked furrows, repaired broken bales, moved bales into rows, rode on the baler and helped fix it (seemed to break down a lot to me), worked the loader, drove a tractor and ‘bucked bales’ to load the barn.
Well, the ‘city boy’ was pretty pathetic at ‘bucking bales’ because they are damn heavy! I was the source for much amusement for the crew that summer. But, they were good guys and helped me out. I could move 1 bale while they were moving 5. I also got to feed the chickens and the pigs. I thought it was great fun and they all loved getting out of the chores.
We started at 6 a.m. and had dinner (lunch to me) at noon for 1hour. What really cracked me up was that the rancher and all the farm hands watched soap operas while we ate lunch. All these big tough guys watching ‘All My Children’ was pretty funny. Back to work till about 7 when we had supper. Everything you ever heard about farm meals is true… lots of good home cooking.
In addition to work, of course there was play. And like most 15 year olds I was pretty much of a goof-off when I could get away with it. The rancher had a 16 year old son who was a pal and a wild one. We hunted rabbits at night sitting on the hood of a Mercury with shotguns going through the fields to catch them in the headlights. Chased girls with snakes… never could figure out how that would get you laid (as if I would have known what to do then anyway). Rode a horse driving cattle about 3 miles to a new field and got to help with branding calfs… then tried to ride them. Got to milk cows too.
My lasting remembrance of that summer came when I chipped my front tooth on a beer bottle. Of course I said it was a Coke bottle to my folks. I had a patch on my tooth for 25 years before getting a new tooth. I think the thing about that summer that really made it special was that for the first time in my life I was on my own and for 1 month I was kind of an adult.

I wrote this June 28, 2010... it was my first story.  I had thought of writing for a long time.  One day I saw a site called Plinky.  They gave a new suggestion a day to help bloggers overcome writer's block... in my case... it was Writer's Start.

DESSERT DISASTER: The Dangers of the Internet!

Having been been away from home for some time, I was looking forward to a trip to the grocery store, or market as some would say, to stock up on goodies.  Of course DESSERT is a must, and I had to get my favorite… Marionberry Cobbler from the Willamette Valley.  And, that leads to Hand Churned French Vanilla Ice Cream to top it off!   After a trip to the Frozen Food Aisle I made my way through check out and headed for home.
Leaving my grocery bag (the reusable kind of course) on the backseat, I took some artwork I am preparing for the County Fair inside the house and decided to check my e-mail… two hours later I remembered the food.
Well, I took my time putting everything away ( being involved with facebook by now), having forgot there were frozen goodies involved.  By the time I dug out the cobbler and ice cream they were thoroughly melted.  And, to make matters worse, the cobbler was on end… meaning it had all slid together at one end of the container.  Well, in the fridge the ice cream went and I mixed the cobbler together and put it in the oven, figuring I would not cook it as long since it was no longer frozen… Hey Great!… more time to check out something on the computer.  Well, I cooked it about 1/2 hr. too long and it was an interesting brown colored crust.  The good thing was that the ice cream solidified enough to spoon out somewhat whole.
Tasted semi-okay and better than nothing I guess… Another example of the Dangers of the Internet!

I wrote this June 30, 2010... 

THE KINGDOME…What landmark did you find disappointing when you saw it in person?

Born and raised in Sacramento, I guess the first Landmark I saw was The Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. A trip to ‘The City’, which we rubes in Sacto. called SF way back when, was pretty exciting for a kid, and crossing the GGB today still produces a feeling of exhilaration! I guess my next Landmark would have been The Space Needle when I visited the Worlds Fair in Seattle in 1962. My friend Rick Winn and I hopped the fence and snuck in before the fair opened, so we would not have to wait in line to go to the top. Lady Liberty standing in the harbor did not disappoint when I visited NYC and I worked in the Shadow of the Sears Tower when I lived in Chicago. Leaving my beloved Windy City to return to the West Coast I stopped to see Mount Rushmore and left in awe.
In 1995 I was living in Portland with my daughter and her family. Ashley, Declan and kids went to Ireland for Christmas to visit family, leaving me to fend for myself. I decided to take Amtrak to Seattle to see my Oakland Raiders play the Seahawks in The Kingdome. I had seen many Raiders games at the Colosseum in Oakland and the 49′ers at Candlestick, so I was looking forward to seeing my first ‘indoor’ game. The train ride was scenic and The Kingdome impressive.  Pretty cool… until the game… What’s going on here??? The players look like high school kids. The field’s too close and What’s with the Rug???  The game experience was a complete disappointment. Was not football for me! Of course it didn’t help that I was surrounded by a bunch of idiots rooting for The Seahawks!  The beer didn’t even taste good!  I could not imagine watching the Seattle Mariners play baseball in there! I left in the third quarter and went to a bar across the street and enjoyed the rest of the game on TV… boy, did it ever look a lot better and the beer was good!
So, it wasn’t so much the Landmark that was a disappointment, but the experience associated with it. Mercifully, that Landmark ended in 2006… Seattle is better off with The Space Needle!

I wrote this on June 29, 2010


You know how sometimes you see something so unusual you just don’t know what to say?
Yesterday, I stopped by my granddaughter’s to meet her new puppy Yoshi.  She had just arrived from Oregon, and is the cutest little white ball of wooly fur… she should be following Mary to school.   I thought she might have some Panda in her too, but Isabel assured me she was a dog of the Akita/Huskie variety.
While I was getting to know Yoshi I noticed a bag of water hanging over the doorway into the house… “What the Hell is that!” Ashley was quick to explain that it was a Fly Chaser… the latest scientific innovation to a fly less house.  (A side note here:  Ashley hates flies more than most… especially the ones that keep circling around and are impossible to kill.  I can remember replacing a few window panes due to over-zealous fly killing)  It seems she had seen this technique employed with much success in a dive bar in Snohomish.  You know, the kind that always has flies circling around inside, but had forgotten about it… until the trip to retrieve Isabel’s new BFF.  Laurie, her best friend in Portland, had a Fly Chaser over her front door, with no flies inside.
Here’s how it works:
1 ~ Zip Loc Baggie
2 ~ Some Water
3 ~ One Penny
4 ~ Some Push Pins
Instructions: Partially fill baggie with water… insert penny… tack over outside doorway

So, I would say, a very successful road trip to The Beaver State for all… Isabel gets her puppy, and Ashley’s nemesis may have met it’s match.   But sometimes you just have to shake your head and say, “What the Hell…???”

My sister Marja in Sacramento says "What The Hell... hope it works!"
My sister Mariya in Friday Harbor tried it and says "No flies in my house!".
Krista... "ta da..."