Way back when

In my childhood, the epitome of fine dining for my parents was a place called Bratten’s Seafood Grotto.  Salt Lake being landlocked and overnight delivery an expensive luxury before FedEx, seafood in a nice restaurant was something in which we rarely indulged.  The restaurant was far enough from our home to add a layer of distance related mystique to the experience.  Cloth tablecloths and napkins, the need to dress in our Sunday best, and the admonition that we behave appropriately all meant that a dinner at Brattens was the pinnacle of our dining experience.

fried shrimpI can’t speak for my sisters, but I hated seafood.  It tasted like salt water and had unpleasant squooshy textures.  The result was when my parents took us there, I always ordered batter fried shrimp because the coating obliterated the texture, and drowned in tartar sauce, I wouldn’t have to actually taste it.  Nothing my parents could say would dissuade me from my standard menu request.

Continue reading “Way back when”


Paint it Black

Seattle rain - KOMO newsToday is a no watering day.  After several weeks of lovely summer weather, Seattle’s upper atmosphere scrubber has arrived to bestow droplets of water with dust and pollution clinging to them, onto our grateful lawns and gardens.  Tomorrow, the bluest skies you’ve ever seen are in Seattle will become a reality once more.  I know, with a title of Paint it Black, you were expecting the Rolling Stones.  Maybe next time. 

The rain woke me up.  Apparently the cries of the parched ground urged the incoming weather system to speed its advance and ferocity.  And the cats are not happy about it.  Finicky creatures, they prefer being dry, so will eschew the great out of doors, with the myriad of trees on which to sharpen their claws, choosing instead to make toothpicks out of our door frames. Continue reading “Paint it Black”

family · Meats · Pickles · Solutions

Taking out frustrations

Cheese mutilationMy mother bought me a book when I was a teenager.  It was her way of talking to me directly about an uncomfortable subject.  She had taught me that in polite conversation, you don’t talk about politics, religion or sex.

The book was not about religion or politics. Continue reading “Taking out frustrations”

Meats · positive directions

The cruel side of organic

cowI went to Costco (motto: When 2 gallons isn’t enough) the other day. I hadn’t been in a while so the experience was sort of like watching broadcast television after eschewing it for a decade. I suppose it’s also like seeing a growing child occasionally, rather than constantly, “When did my nephew get so tall?”

But back to Costco. Apparently bowing to the whims of the day, yellow markers pointed out what was ORGANIC, in case shoppers couldn’t read the regular cards without highlighting. Everywhere I went, yellow highlighting to help you select the best possible ORGANIC choices. It made me laugh to think that shoppers needed that much help being totally politically and theoretically nutritionally correct. Continue reading “The cruel side of organic”

Meats · Soups

Finding yourself in hot water

Bob Ross Winter sceneLast weekend I was the only one up, so being gracious, I eschewed vacuuming in my loved ones’ dreams. Instead I turned on the TV in the family room quietly and was drawn in [pun intended] by a familiar yet departed face. Bob Ross was painting some happy little trees, and he managed to keep me enthralled with the magic with emanated from his brushes and knives. How *did* he do that? RIP Bob. You are a wonderful memory to a lot of people!

Another lovely, but too soon departed soul is Jeff Smith, known on television an in his books as the Frugal Gourmet.  A local with a knowledge of all things food, he inspired a generation of cooks to not only cook well, but cook with intelligence and thrift. Continue reading “Finding yourself in hot water”


Deviating from mint

To leap playfully
To leap playfully

I used to have a book about funny words, which my mother had given to me to read to the children.  I don’t remember most of it, but one picture sticks in my mind — several lambs around a table with cards, poker chips and other accoutrements of betting.  The sentence was, “Lambs gamboling on the lawn.”

Gambol means to frolic, in case that doesn’t immediately strike you as funny. Continue reading “Deviating from mint”


Chuck Roast

I don’t watch TV, at least not much.  There was a period of about a decade when we had no broadcast TV at all in our home.  I can say with great pride I have never watched an entire episode of Friends, don’t know what the Housewives are desperate about and think all the medi-crime dramas look like MTV without the music.

What I do watch are a few programs which we TiVo, and movies.  I love Netflix.  They send the movies to my door, don’t care how long I keep them and they suggest movies to me which I wouldn’t normally have thought of viewing. 

I will put the disk in as I’m going to bed.  Sometimes it will take me a week to watch an entire movie as I will doze partway through.  The next night I fast forward until I don’t recognize the action, take it up there and watch till I fall asleep.

This changed with Chuck; I got hooked.  Now I have the opposite problem.  I watch an entire episode and find myself unable to sleep afterwards.  Now my only hope is to watch everything currently available on DVD and check it off in the “done” column.  Continue reading “Chuck Roast”