Stories

Consider the Bee

Print Email
by Ann Nichols

beeflowerThere is much in this world that leads us to believe that as humans, we are superior to other life forms. We have opposable thumbs, and the kind of intellect and consciousness that allow us to build more than a hive or a dam and shape our future with intellect rather than instinct. We have religions that teach us that we are “stewards” of the earth, as if we had somehow been handed a title by an unseen force who we may actually have invented.

We do not, often, look at ants as they carry a fallen comrade across our bathroom floor and consider whether we would do the same. We worry about how they got into our house, and how best to kill them. No one is going to be bothered to carry every ant, spider and fly outside – they are, after all, encroaching in our homes with their dirty little feet. We particularly hate stinging creatures like bees, hornets, and wasps. We say things like “I see a purpose for bees, at least honey bees, but the other ones don’t do anything useful.”

Speaking of Summer...Donna Summer

Print Email
by Carole Bartholomeaux

donnasummfeatDonna Summer emerged in 1975 and dance music has never been the same! Summer co-wrote and recorded a demo version of "Love to Love You Baby." Producers liked Summer's demo so much that they released an unprecedented 17 minute long version. The song featured Summer's tantalizingly soft vocals and sensual sound so suggestive that many radio stations initially refused to play the song. The path-breaking disco track became an overnight sensation, skyrocketing to No. 2 on the U.S. singles chart.  

I was shocked to hear May 17th that Donna Summer had passed away. Donna Summer was just 63 and still breaking records for her phenomenal singing as well as her art work. She blamed her lung cancer on the pollution in New York City following 9/11. Her music brought so much joy to me and others of my generation.

Like many great Black singers, Summer began singing in Church at the age of ten. To everyone's surprise, the voice that bellowed out of Donna's tiny body that Sunday morning was overwhelmingly powerful and beautiful.

In 1967, Summer auditioned for and was cast in a production of Hair scheduled to run in Munich. Summer learned to speak fluent German within a few months, and remained in Munich, marrying German singer Helmuth Sommer in 1974 and giving birth to the first of her three daughters.

"Love To Love You Baby" paved the way for such international hits as "MacArthur Park," "Bad Girls," "Hot Stuff," "Dim All The Lights," "On The Radio," and "Enough Is Enough," as well as the Grammy and Academy award winning theme song "Last Dance," from the film "Thank God It's Friday," which remains a milestone in Donna's career.

Pork Tenderloin with Blueberry-Bacon Barbecue Sauce

Print Email
by Cathy Pollak

blueberriesBlueberries really are the #1 Super Food. Let's face it, naturally blue food is quite scarce on this planet and is one of the reasons blueberries are so unique. It has been found that blueberries contain one of the highest levels of antioxidant activity in comparison to all other fruits and vegetables. It's truly a food we should eat more often.

Blueberries dark, blue color comes from a pigment called anthocyanin, which are full of polyphenols. The darker blue color means the polyphenol count is higher, making the antioxidant more powerful. Blueberries have been found to slow aging, fight disease, protect against bladder infections, have anti-inflammatory effects in regards to heart disease and cancer and can help improve brain-function. Do you really need anymore convincing?

I am so lucky to live here in the Willamette Valley of Oregon, where the cool climate allows these berries to grow so beautifully and prolifically.  We love going to the u-pick farms and spending the morning picking the plump little guys off the bushes.  They are nothing like what you find in the stores, these berries are humongous! And we love them.  Love them!!

One for the Table Looks Back at Our Mothers

Print Email
by The Editors

When TV Snacks Had Style by Amy Ephron

ImageBack in the days when evening television was interactive family entertainment, when Ed Sullivan and "College Bowl" were on, my family used to gather in the TV room. In our house, that was the bar. It had a Fleetwood television built into the wall, with the controls built in next to the silk-covered sofa on which my mother would always lie, on her back, her head propped up by four pillows.

Next to her, on the coffee table, was a Dewars-and-soda on ice and a pack of Kent filters. My sisters and I would lie on the floor, my father would sit in his teak rocking chair, and we would watch television and eat TV snacks—clam dip baked on toasted Pepperidge Farm white bread; Beluga caviar, whenever anyone sent it over; a really disgusting (but great) dip made out of cottage cheese, mayonnaise, chives, and Worcestershire sauce, with ruffled potato chips; and Mommy's favorite, blanched and toasted almonds.

Read more...

Turtle Pancakes by Laraine Newman

larainemom.jpg My relationship with my mother was, um, complicated.  She was a kid herself in many ways, having been neglected by her own beautiful but narcissistic mother. She pretty much raised herself and from my jaundiced teenage perspective, my mother was a disgrace. She wanted romance and adventure and was frustrated by the mundane tomb of her obligations. Never mind the fact that she’d been a parent since the age of 19 with 4 kids.

But nothing makes you appreciate your mother more than psychedelics.  When I was 15, my best friend and I decided to try Mescaline and drive up to her grandfather’s house in Trancas.  Right on the beach, we thought this would be a glorious place to trip.

Read more...

Leading Lady by Robert Keats

gigi2.jpgMy mother’s name is Gladys, and the name just doesn’t fit her.

She’s felt that way all her life. So, years ago, she started coming up with new names and identities, as her inner spirit looked to break free from her outer Gladys.

The first time Gladys became someone else was at the start of her freshman year at the University of Illinois. She was among the ninety percent of the girls at school who were from Chicago, and Gladys wanted to establish herself as different and exotic. So she made up a story that her father worked for the diplomatic corps in India.

The response was phenomenal.

After passing herself off as an American living in Bombay, her phone was ringing off the hook. All the guys wanted to go out with her. Everyone wanted to get to know the girl from Bombay.

Read more...

Maybe It's In the DNA by Emily Fox

iced-tea-ii-posters.jpg My late grandmother, may she rest in peace, was very, very good at the things she was good at, and spectacularly bad at the thing she was bad at, which was cooking.

She could sew and knit and organize into oblivion, and she could draw and paint, and she had beautiful penmanship and made her bed so neatly and perfectly that you could bounce quarters off the surface. Every photograph she ever put into an album (chronologically, always, all of them) was labeled and dated, and she balanced her checkbook to the penny. She could crochet. Her collection of antique hatpin holders – she had hundreds of them – was kept spotless. She saved every dollar she ever had and could account for every dime she ever spent. She had the most beautiful long nails that she kept impeccably manicured in pearly bubblegum pink. But cook? My Bubby could ruin a bowl of cereal.

The three things you could always find in her refrigerator were artificially sweetened iced tea, powdered milk, and margarine. So you can imagine the shivers of unhappy anticipation that went through our bodies when Bubby invited us over for a meal.

Read more...

My Own Betty Crocker by Seale Ballenger

bettycrocker.jpg As Mother's Day quickly approaches, I am reminded of the many reasons I love my mother.  She is smart, kind, funny and she makes one hell of a good Hershey Bar Cake - you see, I grew up with Betty Crocker.
 
While Wikipedia defines Betty Crocker as "an invented persona and mascot, a brand name and trademark of American food company General Mills," my own personal Betty Crocker is a flesh and blood person who happens to be related to me and goes by the name of Jodie.
 
While I was growing up the fictitious Betty Crocker was famous for such delicacies as "dunkaroos" (snacks containing frosting and cookies) and "mystery fruit cake;" but my own in-home version could whip up just about anything to rival her. 

Read more...

We Always Have Paris by Brenda Athanus

brendaage6.jpg Like a mother hen sweetly teaching their young how to find the water and food bowl is the way our Mother taught us how to appreciate the world of wonderful food that awaited us at a very young age. We were on our first trip to Europe, I was 6 and my sister was 11 when my mother became very ill in Paris. We were staying in the 5th Arrondissement at the Lutetia Hotel and as my mother faded in and out of consciousness she was worried that we needed to eat. She gave us money and told us that we weren’t allowed to – #1 not cross any streets and #2 we had to hold each other’s hands. We could eat what ever we wanted and we were armed with plenty of francs.

On our first sojourn, we happily discovered a precious little Bistro with a delightful French female owner that surely must have wondered what the story was with the two small hungry American children popping into her restaurant hand in hand. But all curiousness aside, her mission was to feed us and introduce us to French food and maybe our story would unfold.

Read more...

Mom's Favorite Banana Cake by David Latt

motherlatt My mother happily referred to herself as a “good eater.” Although she was very petite, she could out-eat even our teenaged sons. Every year for Mother’s Day the Southern California branch of the family would drive to Little Saigon in Westminster and eat at Dong Khanh, where my mom ordered her favorites: lemon grass chicken, lobster in black pepper sauce, chow mein noodles with squid, vermicelli with bbq pork, spring rolls and a large bowl of pho ga — chicken vermicelli soup.

As much as she loved Dong Khanh’s food, though, she insisted that the dessert be homemade. Since I was the cook in the family, I happily took on the assignment, and the waiters at Dong Kahn had long ago accepted our ritual so they were always ready with a stack of small plates and forks.

Read more...

Gooseberry Pie by Doug Cox

gooseberrypie.jpg Gooseberries have nothing to do with geese. The berries are bigger than a pea, smaller than a marble and are pale green or ruby red, depending on the variety. Wear gloves when you pick them. The bushes are covered with thorns. I dare you to eat one raw without making a face. They are beyond tart.

Gooseberry pie is an acquired taste. The only places I know to get it are Du-par’s Restaurant (L.A.’s Farmers’ Market, Studio City and Thousand Oaks) and my mom’s kitchen in Edwardsville, Illinois. Call me be biased, but I like Mom’s better. She has made it just for me for at least 35 years. And yet, I’m not a bit spoiled.

Read more...

Bertha Haffner-Ginger, Godmother of the Mexican Food Craze

Print Email
by Gustavo Arellano

From the LA Times

berthaLong before Rick Bayless, the Too Hot Tamales and even Diana Kennedy, there was another teacher and cookbook writer who introduced authentic Mexican food to a wider American audience. Though she is all but unknown today, at the turn of the 20th century a remarkable woman named Bertha Haffner-Ginger not only learned how to cook Mexican favorites but also packed lecture halls nationwide and published a cookbook sharing her knowledge, whetting the country's appetite for a cuisine that wouldn't travel outside of the borderlands in earnest until the 1950s.

And she got her start at the Los Angeles Times.

Haffner-Ginger was hired by the newspaper in 1912 to head the inaugural Times School of Domestic Science, an institute the paper devoted to the art of teaching the region how to cook via test kitchens, classrooms and hands-on training. She lectured weekly on subjects ranging from French techniques to baking, dairy to poultry, in an auditorium in the Times' then-new office building. From there, she took her show on the road, touring the country teaching.

Among her most popular topics: Mexican cooking. "An announcement that my lesson for the day would be Spanish dishes invariably brought record-breaking crowds in any city in the United States," she claimed in the introduction to her "California Mexican-Spanish Cook Book," published in 1914.

Read more...

 

restaurant news

Shake Shack
New York
by Anna Harari

shakeshack_lg.jpgI didn’t miss him all winter.  Everytime I spoke to our mutual friends, who I guess he got custody over as I was limited to phone time with them, they would tell me he was being cold, sort of...

Read more...
Beehive Restaurant
Texas
by David Latt

beehive1.jpgIf you're in Texas, you'll be tossing your fears about high cholesterol levels out the car window. This is cattle country, after all, and nothing is as good as a steak cooked on a hot-as-hell...

Read more...
Balthazar
New York
by Joseph Erdos

balthazar1v.jpgI have always wanted to eat at Balthazar. After many years of fruitlessly trying to go to Balthazar, I finally succeeded. Maybe it was the way the restaurant teased me over these past few years...

Read more...
Kajitsu
New York
by Michael Tucker

kajitsu-300x200To celebrate my vegan’s birthday, I called Kajitsu on 9th street in the East Village and made reservations. Actually, I had serious reservations. Kajitsu is Shojin cuisine, which means we’d be...

Read more...