shrimpspaghetti.jpgA friend who is a good cook complains, "I'm too busy to cook. I get home from work and tell my family let's go out or order in."

Personally I feel the same way. I'm very happy when I open the refrigerator and see take out containers filled with Vietnamese lemon grass chicken, broken rice and bbq pork chops with pickled cabbage.

But sooner or later I hunger for a home cooked meal. I crave freshly prepared comfort food. Most of the time I don't want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen, so I want an easy to make meal. Salads are easy to make, but so are pastas.

At our farmers market, one of the vendors has a good supply of fish. Just recently he started carrying shelled, deveined shrimp, big fat ones. I bought a couple of pounds for an easy to make Sunday dinner. Sauteed and tossed with pasta, they are delicious.

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grilled_cheese_2.jpgI don't know if it’s the famous economy, or I'm just going through an I can't stand take-out anymore, but I've started to cook again. Not just grill a burger, which turns out pretty good when done on a stove top grill pan. I've actually been making vats of chile, or chicken and vegetables in marinara sauce, and freezing perfect portions in those great plastic containers everyone else in the world discovered before I did It's been a bone-chilling winter in New York this year, and coming home to something yummy that I can pop into the microwave, then actually eat straight from the container, has been life-changing. So that's what the room with all the white stuff that I used to go into all the time, is for.

I'm telling all of this to you for a reason. Sometimes, I want that comforting supper, and the freezer is bare. This requires imagination. And boy was I lucky last night. I had a sizeable hunk of Velveeta in the fridge. I had bread and butter. And I had fresh pineapple. Am I the last person on earth to discover how completely wonderful a grilled cheese sandwich, made with Velveeta, and slices of fresh pineapple, can be.

I'll probably try it with Kraft slices, or even some fancier cheese, but only when I'm out of Velveeta. You can be sure I'll always have the pineapple at hand.

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ImageCall it vanity, arrogance ...when I signed on as a stay a home dad I assumed there’d be mothers stepping over one another to help guide me through the trials and tribulations of my new job. I miscalculated. To the contrary, gaining admission into the sorority of stay at home mom’s has been impossible. I’ve tendered numerous applications on my sojourns into Mom Land and have been rebuffed at nearly every turn. Case in point. I was attempting to make a ratatouille awhile back and was shopping at Whole Foods for one of its ingredients – a Japanese eggplant. Shocked that Japan even had its own eggplant, I searched and searched, but the closest thing I could find was – are you ready for this – a Chinese eggplant; given their geographical proximity, it seemed logical to me that a Chinese eggplant was more like a Japanese eggplant than, say, an American eggplant. But was it suitable for my recipe?

For the answer to this, and perhaps more, I approached what looked to be a mom and politely asked if she’d be kind enough to explain to me, once and for all, the difference between a Japanese and Chinese eggplant. After looking me up and down, she snorted some sound of disapproval and walked away. Just like that. Why, the contemptuous look, I wondered?

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dead-horses-1Vintage tales of hardship and survival:
Grandad crushed when the tractor toppled
On Brier Hill. How Uncle John lost his arm
To the picker. Samuel smothered
In the silo, lungs full of harvest.

Thus reads a stanza of the poem Farming – One of the most dangerous occupations. It is representative of the twenty-six poems in Dead Horses, poems of struggle and suffering, loss and death. These are poems of memories, especially memories of horses:

Now that they are dead or gone, the dream
Is always of a field where horses
Flash past, hooves catching and echoing light,
The grass lush, milkweed or Queen Anne’s lace
Along the fencerows. Then suddenly it’s winter,
Snow is falling, shapes are haloed, the sky is bleak.

And another stanza, from the same poem:

…..You want them now, those horses
Crashing the earth with sound as if light
Had been surpassed by speed, as if the laces
That bind you to your bones gave way to winter’s

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