2013: Quinoa and Kale (Food Pop)

Quinoa

Quinoa (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

2013 The Year Of Quinoa and Kale

I know, I’m not in the majority, (I generally never am) but if I hear the words “quinoa” and “kale” way into 2014 I’m going to be sick. I heard way too much of it in 2013. Believe me, I’m not saying I ate a lot of it. I tried kale a few times and I dutifully ate it, albeit begrudgingly, but that was quite enough, thank you very much. Every person I know was talking about the different ways they used kale and the more they talked about it, the less interested I got. What was this, the flavor of the month club? Apparently.

Actually, if it had only lasted a month I would have been quite happy but the kale craze continued (sigh and it’s still going.)  Tied with Kale was Quinoa, something that took months for me to pronounce much less spell and eat. I made it once (it turned out like a cross between cement and glue) but bought it prepared other times. It’s a  grain, YAY. Since then I’ve heard quinoa salads with kale countless times. More than enough for me.

We eat fresh fruit and vegetables and red meat once in a while. Not often but sometimes we get a craving for a delicious juicy hamburger and instead of denying that hamburger we will go out and eat one. We will thoroughly enjoy it and some of those fries (extra crispy, please) and we will be completely satisfied and happy. We eat red meat about once a month or so, not usually more than that.

Now, coming from two different sets of European parents, (don’t ask) both my husband and I will not, cannot give up our sweet tooth (teeth?) I wouldn’t give up my sweet tooth voluntarily unless I had a severe case of Diabetes which I always pray I don’t get. With a Viennese father and a German mother (who has pre-Diabetes) I’m walking a very thin line. It’s worth it. The need for dessert is not just a desire, it is a full-fledged NECESSITY.

Why can’t 2014 be the year of the jelly doughnut?  I miss the good old days. How about a really delicious European pastry (such a lack of patisseries everywhere) just serving café and kuchen? (cake) in the afternoon like they do all over Europe. Maybe everyone is just too much in a rush here. My parents being European always had friends over for coffee and cake. Shouldn’t everyone? Can you honestly replace cake and coffee with a tall glass of green juice? I once added a shot of wheat grass to my apple-carrot juice and it took every ounce of self-control not to vomit all over Mrs. Greens. A true story.

The day is long, the nights are spent with family, a time to eat together and talk. What’s wrong with a warm baguette, some flavored olive oil, a block of cheese and some sweet purple grapes, my favorite dinner? Add a salad or some homemade vegetable soup, that’s plenty. But, please don’t add kale chips or quinoa that’s just so last year, at least for me.

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Outing Mary Poppins (POP COP)

The Sound of Music (film)

The Sound of Music (film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dear Ms Andrews,

I’ll be honest I can’t  forget that when I was little and bumped into you at FAO Schwartz and my father asked you for your autograph for little, shy, sweet me, you said “NO” coldly and harshly. I heard you. I remember thinking “how could she be so mean? ” Well you were, there were no other people around us but you simply and COLDLY said no, and walked away abruptly. Who would do that to a little girl? Mary Poppins would never do that. Apparently, you had no such problem. I  was devastated that you acted so coldly my dad was furious at my crestfallen face.

However, I still adored your movies: Mary Poppins and The Sound of Music. It is for this reason alone, my loyalty to you as a fan of your movies that I refused to watch Carrie Underwood in the live performance of “The Sound of Music” on television earlier this week.I have always been “brand loyal.” I know all about the Broadway play, my sister saw that but I was devoted to the movie version. I knew every word by heart, I sang every song proudly albeit not in tune.

I wanted to remember Julie Andrews the way she was in the movie I adored her characters and her singing voice and still watched her movies when I was feeling blue or nostalgic. I used to watch that movie many times with my dad and my mom. My mom she was from Germany and my dad from Austria.

I will stay loyal to your movies and to your songs, to the characters you played. They will live on in my mind and heart forever. Just do me a favor, think about how a cold, nasty “no” can stick in someone’s memory after so many years. Your resiliency as an actor speaks loudly of your talent but definitely not of your real character.

Plinky Prompt: Traveling

The final TWA logo

The final TWA logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

  • Tell us about the farthest you’ve ever traveled from home. Down Under.
    • Up, Up And Away….
    • Being the daughter of an airline employee we flew often and for free. We were young and of course, we didn’t appreciate flying to other countries. We went to see Oma and Opa in Vienna, Austria or our (wicked) step-grandmother in Israel. Didn’t everybody visit their grandparents during Spring break?
      Airline employees lived a different life, we flew stand-by, so we never knew if we would get on a flight until the very last moment. My father would cross his arms into a triangle and we knew that was the meaning for “a cliff hanger” or a very close call, a “a very flight.” We had been thrown off planes or “bumped” before.
      My father worked for TWA and his best friend for Pan Am, and the rivalry was fun and real. We flew to France, Israel, the former Yugoslavia, Switzerland, Germany, Rome, Italy, an island off of Greece, a fishing village in Portugal.
      Years later, when I met my husband, we traveled too, some on frequent flyer miles to Hawaii and to Australia, and later on to France for our miserable, cold and rainy honeymoon.
      We were so lucky, as children, to have had those experiences in the days when flying was actually fun.
      Now, flying is a brutal experience, if we have to fly, we go. But, it is not like the old days where you would get excited to fly and look forward to the trip. In the old days, my sister and I HAD to wear matching sweater and skirt sets. I remember the buttons on them were like ceramic balls. The suits were identical, except for the color. We were NEVER allowed to wear anything less fancy, it just wasn’t done. Back then, you also got dressed up to go to the theater.
      We appreciated the traveling we did back when we were children and teenagers, because once we were 21 and the free tickets abruptly stopped, we missed them even more.

    11fp - Trans World Airlines Boeing 727-231; N8...

    11fp – Trans World Airlines Boeing 727-231; N84357@FLL;30.01.1998 (Photo credit: Aero Icarus)

     

Plinky Prompt: Which food transports you to childhood?

Heinz ketchup - 57 varieties

Heinz ketchup – 57 varieties (Photo credit: Leonid Mamchenkov)

  • Which food, when you eat it, instantly transports you to childhood? See all answers
  • Childhood food
  • My friend, Maureen, is just going to LOVE this one. I will preface my answer by saying that my mother is of German/French descent and my father was from Vienna, Austria. So, the playing field here is really not equal. We were brought up with some unconventional (to American standards) ways.  The answer is rice with ketchup.( it could ONLY be Heinz) I don’t have it very often but once in a while I do have a craving for the good old days.  Yes, I did pass that particular culinary pleasure on to my son who still eats rice that way. In fact, our son used to eat ketchup on everything including the ketchup (nothing else) sandwich days. Our daughter just ate her rice with butter. After that it would be noodles with ketchup (we didn’t know the word pasta.) It was only in college that I learned about tomato sauce, it was never in our house, ever. Our family was invited to a friend’s house one night and they served lasagna, it looked good to me but my father? Oh my, he hated it and complained about it for days. It was just too complicated and foreign to him. I learned about all these “exotic foods” when I went to college. Tomato sauce not ketchup? Honestly, I could still go either way. Butter, however, was the great equalizer. Substitute butter (or add to ketchup) for a tasty treat. I don’t think it works with marinara sauce at least I’ve never tried it, but, if you think about it, why not? How could butter be bad on ANYTHING?
    p.s.Hey Mo, I bet you thought I was going to bring up pizza and grape jelly but I couldn’t; that started in college. Silly.

My Favorite Old Movie

“The Hills Are Alive..”

The Sound of Music is my favorite old movie, I think it came out in the early sixties. Though I have to admit I feel terribly old to think that this would be considered an “oldie but goodie.” Wasn’t it just yesterday that I watched this in the movie theater with my dad holding my hand and handing me buttery popcorn?

The Sound of Music to me is a feel-good movie. There are elements of love, friendship, betrayal, romance, war and fighting for the right to be free. When I feel down I watch this movie and I have to admit, it makes me feel better. I  know every word verbatim. As for the songs? I could give a concert! My dream? To go to a Sing-Along-Sound-of-Music showing; I would be so happy just to be able to sing every song out loud.

The Sound of Music

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Paging “Mr. L” (Repost with Addendum)

kew gardens queens

Image by silatix via Flickr

I had a friend on my blog who once lived in the same town that I grew up in at different times. We both lived in Kew Gardens, Queens.  He would read my blog fairly consistently and would always comment with his classic signature “Mr. L.” even though I knew his first name was Abe. When I wrote about our old neighborhood, he loved it. I wrote a few posts on the now dissolved oldkewgardens.com about what it was like growing up in that sweet town and that is where we first met. He contacted me after that and we stayed in touch.

He hasn’t been on in a long time and I’m beginning to get worried about him. He was last living in California, I believe, and was contemplating whether he wanted to continue living there or not. Mr. L. to me, was like my substitute dad or uncle, since my dad passed away ten years ago. We used to kid around a lot and talk about our favorite gourmet delicatessen, The Homestead. I still dream about their Polish rye bread, sour and chewy and their faux Sachertorte cake made with many layers of raspberry jam between layers of creamy, sweet, chocolate cake. When I lived at home, every birthday cake was this particular cake inscribed with “Happy Birthday.” A real Sachertorte from Austria is drier and has layers of apricot jam but this was sweeter, this was MY cake.

When Mr. L talked about his deceased wife it was with such emotion, always, he still missed her so very much. From what he told me he absolutely adored her. In every “conversation” he would bring up his wife and talk a little about her; those little things that really make up a great marriage, sharing breakfast, the same bed, holding hands.

I know this blog post isn’t going to win any awards, nor will it attract a lot of people but that’s fine. I know Mr. L had adult children but I don’t remember where they live. So, if anyone knows him (and yes, I do know his full name) please let me know. I know I am overly emotional and sensitive, that’s a big part of who I am but I care about him and hope he is alright. I don’t want to lose Mr. L if I don’t have to. Mr. L. please come back and say hello.

ADDENDUM 10/19 2011. I HEARD FROM MR. L TODAY!!!!!!!!!!

Happy Birthday Daddy

Wiener Schnitzel

Image via Wikipedia

November 13th is my dad’s birthday, he would have been 88. He passed away almost 9 years ago but the pain on holidays, birthdays, Father’s Day, is the same raw pain as the day he died.  It’s a pain that is hard to describe for people who have never lost a parent. Believe me, I know.

Instead of wallowing in depression this year I am going to try to remember and honor the man I loved so dearly. His blue-gray eyes, child-like qualities, generosity, pep-talks and his warmth. I miss the soft yet sturdy hugs as if a limb of my own had been amputated. I miss the familiar smell of his after-shave cologne that he sprayed with enthusiasm. My dad and I were very similar; he and I had an amazing connection and a strong emotional bond. We thought alike and we completely understood each other. The day he died, my heart was gauged with intense pain, my heart missing an essential beat.

My dad and I had so much fun together when I was younger. We traveled to  Vienna, Austria, where my grandparents lived. We ate sugary-sweet meringues that were shaped like delicate white swans and sipped hot chocolate with “schlag”  (whipped cream). We ate exploding red-berry sweet and sour tarts in Viennese cafes. My grandmother would fry up her famous wiener schnitzel,  served with plump lemon wedges every single night.

I was in first grade when my mom couldn’t come to open school day but my dad came. I think he was the only father in the class and I was so proud, so happy that he was there. I remember sharing my milk and cookies with him and I felt so important. At a shared birthday party with a friend he surprised me by coming home from work early, sneaking into the party like a secret surprise. It was a joy so innocent and so intense that I remember the feeling to this day. I was shocked and delighted as I wrapped my arms around his tall legs like a clinging, furry animal. Back then dads’ weren’t as involved in their children’s’ lives as they are today but he always had time for me; his little one, his mouse, his baby.

We had adventures, the two of us. My mother worked a great deal, she traveled the world being a tour director and translator. One night my father and I went out to a Spanish restaurant and sipped sangria, with glistening, beaming chunks of bright oranges and green apples bobbing in the rich, red wine. We toasted people we knew with every sip we took. The more we sipped the stranger the toasts were. I remember we toasted a wall -paper hanger guy that never showed up to our house, people we barely knew and random people from the past.

We went to the bagel store together, early on a Sunday morning and the store was closed. However, the fresh, warm, doughy bagels had already been delivered to the store in huge paper sacks. My dad happily took some and we left, an experience a teenager doesn’t forget! We would go grocery shopping at a huge Pathmark store with my mom and he and I would find the biggest size jars of silly things: three-pound troughs of peanut butter and dill pickles, tubs of mandarin oranges and hide them in the cart as a joke. My mother would roll her eyes and shake her head, clearly not amused, but my dad and I would laugh hysterically. Often, there would be open boxes of cookies or candy and we would help ourselves to free samples. Back then, we weren’t worried about poison or germs or anthrax.

My father spent his entire life working for TWA,  getting free airline tickets for our family.  My father, mother, older sister and I flew to: France, Greece, Portugal, Israel, Switzerland and Germany. First class seats were a mere eight dollars extra but that was a lot of money years ago and a very special treat.

This Saturday on my dad’s birthday my husband and I are going to visit my mom and take her out for lunch, we don’t want her to be alone. I know that spending the day with my mom would make my dad very happy.  He loved my mom more than anyone else in the world. Later, that night, my kids and I will remember him with his own, signature and messy concoction, “Papa’s game”: a “mixture” containing  little bits of everything that is leftover on our plates and in our glasses, swirled together with a spoon and a smile. This year, I will toast to his memory.