Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!

As you read this, Bruce and I are on our pilgrimage south.  We are spending New Year's Eve with our good friends Carol and Phil, whom we met up with this fall in Williamsburg.  Back when they lived up north, we spent many a New Year's Eve together.  It's been a long time and we are looking forward to an evening of laughter and card playing!

I wish you a very, very Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

"Everybody ought to have a lower East Side in their life." ~ Irving Berlin

I hope that all of you had a wonderful holiday.  Mine was just great, with family, good food and lots of laughter - it doesn't get much better than that.

As promised, I am bringing you a few more shots of our recent trip to New York City.  I know this place isn't for everyone, but I love to go there when I can.  It is a  large slice of humanity and it's never boring!  Enjoy the photos and make sure you go to the very end!

Construction of the new Tower One of the World Trade Center

A food truck for grilled cheese - yes!

Southport Piers

Brooklyn Bridge

The three story high ferris wheel inside Toys R Us in Times Square.
The Naked Cowboy!

Catch the look on the girl's face!

The End!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

~On This Holy Night ~

From my home to yours, I share this song, sung by the student of my decades-ago roommate at Eastern Michigan University - thank you Diane for sharing this - I can can think of no better way to say Merry Christmas.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

"Beware the hobby that eats." ~ Benjamin Franklin

But what a wonderful hobby it is!!  BITE (But Is This Edible?), gathered together the other evening for our "Colonial Christmas   Dinner" at Ellen's home.  Her house was decked out in its holiday finest and as an old farmhouse, was the perfect setting for a dinner set in the past.  Once again, we divvied up the dinner responsibilities.  Ellen, as host, provided the entree and beverage.  Tierney had the side-dish. Chris - the dessert, and I was responsible for  the appetizer - only to discover that the colonists didn't really "do" appetizers - so I improvised a bit.

At our last gathering, our conversation at one point turned to paper-dolls, and our memories as girls growing up and playing with them.  In honor of those memories, and in keeping with our theme, Tierney presented Ellen with a set of colonial paper-dolls that she had found on-line and printed out for her.  They were a perfect addition to our festivities!


I failed to get an actual shot of the biscuits and ham that I made, so this image will have to suffice.  Mine were smaller - more bite-sized.
~ The table adorned with glittering ornaments ~
Potato Stew - creamy and delicious
Grape Sauce
The Chicken Breasts

    King's Arms Tavern Boneless Breast of Chicken and Virginia Ham 

Who would have ever thought that grapes on chicken could be so delicious?
Panetone Bread Pudding with Cinnamon Syrup ~ rich and luscious!
 ~Very, very sweet ~
Once again, we managed to pull together a menu that was delightful on every level - to say nothing of the company!  We talked and laughed well into the night.  You may have noticed as you scrolled through the photos, that there was not a vegetable to be seen.  I think that we will try to take that into account for our future gatherings.  Speaking of the future, a few of us will be heading to warmer climes shortly, so BITE will be on a brief hiatus.  I hope to experience new fresh seafood recipes during this time, and will happily share them along the way!

All recipes can to accessed on the BITE page of my blog located in the right-hand column.  

Saturday, December 17, 2011

"You are royalty to me." ~ Ellis

Today my Grandma Lunkin would have been 109 years old.  She has been gone for many years now, but she lives on in the hearts and memories of my mother, my father, my sisters and me.  Grandma's actual name was Adelma Anderson Young.  She was born in Norway, and emigrated to this country as a young child.  She and her parents settled in Hamilton, NY, where she lived the remainder of her life.  Grandma got the name Grandma Lunkin from the Norwegian song that she sang as she danced with us around the kitchen - the refrain was "Kunkin, lunkin, lunkin, la!" I don't know that we ever knew what that meant - but it was festive and happy - and that pretty much describes my grandma. 

My Grandmother, Adelma Anderson Young, with my mother on her lap.
Back in August of 2009, at the height of the "Julie and Julia" movie, the Syracuse Post Standard asked readers to submit their "Recipes for Disaster", or cooking escapades gone wrong.  They published, along with others, the following tale that I shared about cooking with my grandma.

Published: Tuesday, August 04, 2009
At least their breath was minty fresh

My grandmother, Adelma Anderson Young, was originally from Norway, but came to Hamilton as a small child. Grandma, known to my sisters and me as "Grandma Lunkin," after a Norwegian song that she'd sing as she danced around the kitchen with us, was a bit of a madcap. As a young adult, I went to Hamilton one day early to give Grandma a hand preparing Thanksgiving dinner. Grandma decided to try a cucumber and yogurt salad. The recipe called for a "splash" of vinegar. She added a "splash," but then added a few more for good measure. After placing the bottle on the table, I happened to look at the label, which read "Kills millions of germs on contact." Upon closer inspection, I realized that Grandma had added several "splashes" of Listerine! When I pointed this out to her, the thing that concerned her most was that I promise to not tell my grandfather - he already thought she was nuts! I urged Grandma to leave the salad exactly as it was and see if anyone could tell what the secret ingredient was. She wouldn't, and made it all again, using vinegar this time.

Tracy Altieri

I must say that this was true Grandma.  It was not unlike her to show up with two different earrings on, having tried a different one on each ear to see which she liked best, and then forgotten to change the other one.  One day a few years back, I showed up at school with two completely different shoes on. I don't mean one blue and one black - I mean completely different.  After my initial shock I laughed till I cried and said that I was turning into my grandmother - I can think of nothing better.

Our grandmother's love was total and unconditional - I can still see her blowing kisses to us from her front porch as we pulled away.  I am who I am because I was loved by a queen.

The video below contains a song written and sung by Ellis.  I saw her perform this past June at the Old Songs Festival, held yearly in Altamont, N.Y.  She is a joyous performer - that's the best way for me to describe her. Anyhow - the song, "You are Royalty to Me", was written for her grandmother, and the video contains photos of loving grandmothers and their grandchildren.  I guarantee that it will bring a smile to your face and  lump to your throat.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

"City sidewalks, busy sidewalks dressed in holiday style. In the air there's a feeling of Christmas."

Yes, we visited NYC this past weekend, decked in all of its holiday finest!  It was a terrific trip, with the exception of a couple of map-reading mishaps. To quote a passing British visitor - "You know, no place can get you into the Christmas spirit like New York City."  Now, I recognize that walking with hundreds of thousands of people ~ from every corner of the world ~ swarming the sidewalks at the same time ~ jostling for position at traffic lights ~ pointing~laughing~shouting - asking for directions (think - "us") ~ you get the picture - I know that's not for everyone.  But for a few hectic days - I love it!!!

Last year at about this time, I told Bruce that once I was retired, I really (really) wanted to go to NYC to see the live recording of A Prairie Home Companion, which takes place each Saturday from the one right after Thanksgiving right up the one before Christmas Eve.  The show is always at The Town Hall on West 43rd Street, right in the heart of the theater district. Since I am retired, and since Bruce is a sweetheart about wanting me to be able to do the things that I really (really) want to do - we went.  

It was everything that I hoped it would be - from the full-theater singing of "O Holy Night", to Guy Noir - Private Detective, to the News from Lake Woebegone.  The guests  on the show ranged from an incredible trio The DiGiallonardo Sisters (just heavenly voices and harmony), to poet George Bilgere (whose poetry my non-poetic husband admitted was really good), to Kristen Chenoweth (whose appearance made it all worth the price of admission for the man holding my hand).  And of course - there was Garrison Keillor in his trademark red tennis shoes!
On my other side, I had the pleasure of sitting next to an older gentleman who has been to at least 15 of the last 20 or so NYC  holiday productions of A Prairie Home Companion.  You know that someone is really enjoying themselves when they want to be sure that you are also enjoying yourself - he leaned over several times throughout the show and whispered things like "Don't you just love it?", "Aren't you having a great time?", "Just watch - I love it when they do this part of the show."  He was a delight to have as an elbow neighbor and I told him that perhaps I would see him again at next year's show!

I took lots and lots of pictures and had to really work at narrowing them down.  Take the time to click onto You Tube below so that you can enjoy the pictures while listening to a holiday favorite!

The Shops at Bryant Park
The bald man under "Chocolate by the Bald Man" is MY bald man!
Dancing and singing bell ringers!

Some of those city sidewalks dressed in holiday style!  

Rockefeller Center! 

~ Window dressings ~
~ Chestnuts ~

And lastly - the famous Macy's windows! 

In a later post I will bring you some other, non-holiday specific city shots.  Hope that your holiday season is going as well as mine!