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East Coast USA, United States
Lowcountry porch sitter. Appalachian Mountain lover. Finger Lakes dreamer.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

HodgePodge Vol. 79

1. What can the average citizen do to honor a military veteran and/or those currently serving?
Thank them in person or in some other fashion for defending a freedom you cherish. Hire them for employment. Offer support to their families while they are stationed outside the United States.

2.Besides a flag what is something you own that is red, white and blue?
A t-shirt, a decorative serving plate and a drink cooler.

3.Does love really conquer all?
Love is a many faceted emotion to say that it exists only in a certain fashion would diminish its actual ability to mirror many aspects of its true self.  And there within lies the key to its ability to conquer. One might love a pet, but have great distaste for its shedding.  One might love a wine, but know that too much of it is not a good thing.  One might love a person, yet never actually hold that person in their arms.

"Tenderness and kindness are not signs of weakness and despair but manifestations of strength and resolution." Kahlil Gibran

4. Strawberry shortcake or blueberry pie?
Strawberry anything.

5. Do you share personal stuff with your hairdresser?
Like great bartenders, hairdressers are that natural breed of people that take it all in and have the ability to divulge great wisdom in a single sentence or with the nod of head. Yet, I don't share with either.

6. Does money lead to selfishness?
Money can in times where it is not plentiful create selfish acts of preservation rather than generosity.

7. What piece of furniture in your house most needs replacing or refinishing?
That would be several pieces from the same 1920's era that have been reconfigured from a buffet service to a desk, a bureau and a night stand.

8. Flag Day many people associate it with Memorial Day or July 4th, but there is actually a day dedicated to the Flag Resolution ~ Truman in 1949 signed an Act of Congress declaring such (though had been practiced widely before that)

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

HodgePodge Vol. 78

1. What is something you miss about the 80's?
The eternal optimism that everyone seemed to carry around with them during that time frame.  People were light on their feet, carried very few burdens and literally everything was in constant motion.

2. Do you have a library card? If so, how often do you visit?
I own a library card, I use it about once a month to grab an afternoon of research.  It's amazing the capacity of libraries even in the face of reduced budgets.

3. What's the secret to success?
Confidence.  Watch how a successful person manages the less successful times in their life, their confidence never wains and serves as a motivator to keep them traveling the path~whatever that path may be.  

4. This is national backyard games week, what's your favorite backyard game?
All time favorite is bocce. Followed by badminton. In fact, it's time for a polish on the balls and a new set of birdies!

5. If I dropped by today, what would I find on your coffee table?
Actually a small service table serves as a coffee table and today you'd likely find one of the cats lounging on it.

6. Do you own a bicycle? When was the last time you rode a bicycle? Is that something you enjoy?
Bicycles are the best beach utility vehicle. Nothing fancy, simply a cruiser. Never tire of a tootle around the neighborhood.

7. What's your favorite cheese?
Easy, any Italian hard cheese, but would narrow that down to Fulvi Pecorino Romano

8. (Random thought for the week) Sending your ashes to space, that simply appeals to the sense of adventure in me, even in after life existence! Beam me up Scotty!

Monday, May 14, 2012

To Compose or Arrange

Every now and then the terms compose and arrange are used interchangeably in the culinary world.  But they clearly represent two separate terms of engagement in the art of cooking. Using music as the dictionary to define the difference...when composing music one brings multiple rhythms together to create a musical piece. When arranging music one is preparing and adapting an existing composition for presentation in other than its original form. Therefore, we home cooks expect the world's best chefs, proficient bloggers and celebrities to present us with a dish, a recipe, or a course of food that we may adapt to fit our pantries, our personal taste, our dietary restrictions or perhaps even to challenge our own creativity.  I for one arrange a good portion of my time in the kitchen.   The Christmas-Hanukkah holiday time frame has traditionally served as my ultimate "arranging" extravaganza of the year~where I pick two entree courses unfamiliar to me and render them much to the delight of friends and family.  I'm tempted to recreate the same magic for the 4th of July this year. (Stay tuned for news in that regard to post later this summer).  Last month a title in our weekly Lowcountry Life: Food & Friends section of the local paper caught my attention and the concept of adapting a traditional favorite to incorporate craft beer just clearly, in my book, represents the artful nature of arranging for this post. Thank you Chef David Burke for an excellent rendition of the Berliner donut as the Samuel Adams Belgian Session Cream Donut! A scrumptious arrangement indeed!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

HodgePodge Wednesday

1. What is a pet peeve you have when vacationing?
No planning ahead other than research, no reservations except for lodging, no timetables, alarm clocks or scheduling unless for a baby or dog sitter.

2. Would you describe yourself as a light packer or do you need everything in your closet plus the kitchen sink?
Definitely fall in the light compact mode. Mix and match is a high priority within a three outfit capacity for weekend stays.  Jewelry limited to a single set that wears well with all and always travel size toiletries.

3. What is the best lesson a child ever taught you?
Never doubt that the time and attention you give a child either in learning or play is meaningful to that child.  I tutored a young lady over a thirteen week period and on the last day of tutoring she cried rather than reflect on her genuine success in learning.  When I asked her if her crying was actually joy, she said it was the absence of our time together that saddened her.

4. Share one piece of advice you'd give to a recent graduate as they attempt to enter the job market.
Start small, build around that experience with service and community work so that when a greater opportunity arrives your well-rounded approach does not go unnoticed.

5. What is your favorite lemon something?
I love candied lemon peels for snacking, lemon pie for dessert, and lemonade all summer long.

6. Flat sandal, wedge, heel....what's your favorite footwear?
I'll opt for the flip flop in my casual life, wedge in my professional life and heel when extending the leg required.

7. What do you like best about a beach holiday?
Fresh seafood every day, several times a day.

8. (Random thought for the week) Evolving a typically genuine good trait one possesses over a lifetime.  In a political arena not so much.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Choosing Between Two Rubies Or Not

One of life's most difficult moments comes in choosing between two very attractive options.  And in some cases, a multitude of selections which I seem to encounter every time a menu is placed in front of me at a restaurant.  I am "one of those people" that likes to hear the specials recited by the staff so that I can imagine the dish as described in real time or in some cases if I know the chef and the chef knows me to ask the chef to make a selection on my behalf.  (Needless to say some astute staff know how to make such an opportunity worth their effort, while others, usually the greener of waits simply panic and fall into a great pit of sweat). By narrowing the field I avoid the problematic nature of analyzing the choices in front of me and allow my senses or someone else's to guide me. I can say the most generous of gestures ever made from my frame of reference is someone offering to order for me when dining out (requiring the host to know me rather well or extremely willing to take a risk~both gestures equally impressive).  But as we all know, what is true in real life is also true in the culinary arena.  We make choices.  In prior year blog posts I've boasted the attributes of a local "U pick Strawberry" option in my backyard ~Dempsey Farms~which is my "go to" place for the ruby jewels, but I recently had the opportunity to taste off some rather scrumptious berries from another locale, Scott Strawberry and Tomato Farms in Unicoi, Tennessee. And for my Lowcountry brothers and sisters seething at the thought of selecting anything over a South Carolina product, the choice at the time was a direct result of having been in contact with Fred Sauceman.  Though I imagine he'd acknowledge that we worked together or around each other at East Tennessee State University in the 1980's he's less likely to acknowledge I have any authority in the food world.  But his opinion weighs heavy for me in what is to be considered "good food" so I follow his posts on Facebook to gander at his food photos and read about his latest culinary endeavors. While he's the full time East Tennessean and I'm the full time South Carolinian this whole business of tasting off strawberries started when he posted a photo and commented on some Upstate SC strawberries he had acquired. So naturally I felt compelled to try the same in reverse on my recent visit to East Tennessee.  All I can say is the berries from Scott's were super sweet and though I tagged Mr. Sauceman on my FaceBook photo glowing about the attributes of the berries in his back yard he overlooked the gesture and remained quite mute on the point. But then I'm not one to crave acknowledgement and the whole point of the exercise was to try them not to throw them up in the face of a published Southern Food writer. Bottom line, I love the berries in my backyard in South Carolina and when my backyard is East Tennessee I continue to adore the berries in my backyard.  Therefore, I'm not making a choice between two rich jewels at all, am I!? Nor should you.
Life Enrichment is like a travel and learn program...offering infusions that make every day life thereafter far more interesting! ~ Ann-Marie Adams, Reflections on a Meaningful Life