Tag Archives: food

A House at 50

“Listen,” I said to my father, “you hear that?”

He didn’t know what I meant.

“Nothing.”

It was December 1972, and my 9-year-old self had never heard such quiet in a neighborhood.  This week marks 50 years since my parents and I moved into this home in suburban Dallas.  The area was newly-developed; former farm and ranch territory that comprised the hinterlands of a growing metropolis.  Family and friends wondered how my parents had managed to find the place.

We had been living in a two-bedroom apartment above a garage in the back of a house owned by my father’s oldest sister and her husband.  Located just north of downtown Dallas, it sat very near Harry Hines Boulevard – a lengthy industrial stretch of road that would later become more infamous as a haven for prostitutes and adult book stores.

My mother was in that apartment with a 17-day-old me on November 22, 1963, when she heard a cacophony of sirens and rushed to a window.  She saw the tail of President Kennedy’s motorcade rushing down Harry Hines, unaware of what had just happened moments earlier.

On the day we began moving into our new home, my aunt made herself scarce.  She had grown so accustomed to having us there that she couldn’t bear the sight of us packing up to leave.

It’s hard to imagine now, but not until we moved here did we get our first color television set.  A month later we finally got our phone.  I still have that number connected.  In 1972, Richard Nixon won a second term in the White House; Watergate reared its contemptuous head; violence marred the Summer Olympics in Munich; HBO launched; Polaroid introduced the SX-70 one-step instant camera; and three of my favorite films – “Cabaret”, “The Godfather”, and “The Poseidon Adventure” – came out.

My parents were excited because they were now living the American dream of home ownership.  My father was particularly enthusiastic to follow his mother’s tradition of gardening and quickly found paradise in the front and back yards.  I was thrilled with the prospect of getting a dog.  It was a promise my parents had made to me upon moving into the house.  They fulfilled it the following summer when they bought a German shepherd puppy I named Josh.  My mother had to swallow her phobia of large canines; having witnessed a man ravaged by a Doberman in the late 1930s.

My parents made friends with many of the neighbors, and I maintain a few of those friendships today.  They each had that type of personality, especially my father – they seemed to make friends with most anyone.  I, on the other hand, seemed naturally reticent to meet new people.  Regardless, our home became a refuge for most everyone we knew.  We often held parties and other gatherings; if for no other reason except to have a party or a gathering.  Family, friends and neighbors relished visiting.  This was a place where all good souls were welcome; where people could feel happy and safe.  We had food (real food – not just chips and dips!), music, beverages, laughter and plenty of love.  No one left here sad or dejected.  Drunk and tired, maybe – but never glum.

When my father lay in a hospital bed in May of 2016, he reiterated that he wanted to die here – in this house.  It was a wish I was able to grant him.  My mother also passed away here in 2020.

A few years ago I told an old friend, Paul, that I suspected I will die here, too, albeit alone.

“What’s wrong with that?” he asked.

“Nothing!” I replied.  It was more a statement than an omen.

So I’m alone now.  This house is quiet.  At a half century it’s showing its age.  But it’s mine; it’s where I grew up and where my parents drew their last breath.  It’s where so many people came to enjoy life.

It’s a house at 50, but it’s always been a home.

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Happy Thanksgiving 2022!

“Gratitude can transform common days into Thanksgiving, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.”

William Arthur Ward

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Best Quotes of the Week – May 21, 2022

People gather outside a grocery store in Buffalo, NY where an 18-year-old gunman shot and killed 10 people on May 14, 2022.

“I would like to see sensible gun control.  I would like to see ending hate speech on the internet, on social media.  It is not free speech. It is not the American way.”

Byron Brown, Mayor of Buffalo, New York, after a mass shooting at a local grocery store on May 14

Brown also declared, “We are not a nation of haters. We are not a nation of hate. We need to send the message that there is no place on the internet for hate speech, for hate indoctrination, for spreading hate manifestos.  I will be a stronger voice for that.  I believe that what happened in Buffalo, New York, yesterday is going to be a turning point.  I think it’s going to be different after this, in terms of the energy and the activity that we see.”

“Parents and caretakers across the country cannot wait.  They need our support now.  This bill takes important steps to restore supply in a safe and secure manner. Additionally, with these funds, FDA will be able to help prevent this issue from occurring again.”

Rep. Rosa DeLauro, after passage of a bill in the U.S. Congress that would help to alleviate the current baby formula crisis

One of the bills provides $28 million in emergency funding to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to address the shortage. The money would also be used to increase staff at the FDA, such as inspectors who could help the agency accelerate the approval process for formula manufacturers.

It has to be noted that an overwhelming majority of House Republicans voted against the bill, even though a majority have been complaining about the ongoing baby formula shortage.

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Taco Analyst

Here’s a job for which I feel I’m overqualified.  Favor Delivery, a Texas-based food delivery service, has a new position: “Chief Taco Officer”.  Job duties are simple – travel across the Lone Star State to taste and review select tacos.  Favor will pay the chosen individual $10,000 for the duration of the contract (June and July) and provide free accommodations, transportation and free Favor delivery for a year.

Prospective employees must be Texas residents at least 21 years of age with a public profile.  Using this application site, they need to create a short video (one minute or less) explaining why they should be the CTO and why they’re excited about the opportunity, then post the video to TikTok or Instagram Reels, tag @favor and use #FavorDreamJob.

I’d love to see this posted on Indeed, Linked In or Monster.  Their web sites might crash.

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Video of the Week – November 28, 2020

There’s something about the dignity and formality of elected officials disintegrating when tensions explode into chaos and madness.  Such was the scene on Friday, November 27, when lawmakers in Taiwan got into fist fights and threw pig entrails at each other over a soon-to-be enacted policy that would allow imports of U.S. pork and beef.  Premier Su Tseng-Chang was due to give a regularly scheduled policy report to lawmakers on Friday morning about the pork policy when opposition party lawmakers from the Nationalist party, also known as the KMT, blocked his attempt to speak by dumping bags of pig organs.  Legislators from the ruling Democratic Progressive Party attempted to stop them, resulting in the brawl.

This may be a Y chromosome thing, Dear Readers, but I’d almost like to see something similar in either chamber of the U.S. Congress.  Minus the pig parts, of course.  I mean, what a waste!

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Thanksgiving 2020

Before eating, always take time to thank the food.

Arapaho Proverb

I don’t know if this can possibly be a happy Thanksgiving for anyone in the United States right now – what with all of the chaos that has made this year a time most of us want to forget.  For me and millions of others across this nation, not much good has come of it.  If anything, though, Thanksgiving holiday moves us closer to the end of the year and further into the future.  As much as religious and social conservatives despise it, time does move forward.

I’m primarily thankful I’ve reached this point without losing my mind.  I had some moments a few months ago when I didn’t know if I’d live to see the dawn.  Depression and anxiety have always been two of greatest nemeses.

But here I am.  I’m still thankful I have the same small cadre of friends I’ve had for years.  And I’m thankful I have a home and have had enough financial resources lately to get through this – the worst period of my life to date.  Too many people have neither.

While I’m glad I have some semblance of hope, I know there are so many people struggling more than me.  As this holiday known for family gatherings and an abundance of food hobbles along through a global pandemic, I can only cringe at the large numbers of my fellow Americans dealing with so-called food insecurity – a polite term for hunger.

There have been an untold number of food drives the past few weeks across the country; where charity outfits have been distributing free food to people.  People who are unemployed or underemployed and on the cusp of homelessness.  While the elite continue to waddle in their gluttony and an incompetent Congress dismisses the suffering the way a serial killer tosses their victims, literally millions of Americans are wondering how they’re going to survive.  This – in the wealthiest and most powerful goddamn country on Earth.

I can beseech those people to understand there IS a tomorrow.  The sun WILL rise.  And, as tough and grueling as it is, they can’t give up on themselves.

Image: Banahas, prickly pear paddles, dandelion salad and white tail deer. Photo by Caleb Condit & Rebecca Norden

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Spread This!

Be careful what you say.  And write.  And post in an advertisement.  In trying to keep Americans’ spirits energized for the upcoming holidays, the Giant Foods grocery chain created this jewel for its food platter offerings – without fact-checking the verbiage.  In the midst of a lethal pandemic the last thing anyone desires is a “super-spreader” event.  I mean, we already have one in the White House.

Giant Foods apologized for the ad and promptly pulled it.  I have to admit all that cheese, shrimp and wine looks delectable!  Just don’t breathe on it!

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Beyond Something

Um…I’ll pass on this…delicacy.

Beyond Meat

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Photo of the Week – August 22, 2020

During a virtual roll-call at the Democratic National Convention on Tuesday, the 18th, the Rhode Island delegation was represented by John Bordieri, the executive chef at Iggy’s Boardwalk, a seafood restaurant on Narragansett Bay.  Bordieri initially bemoaned how badly both the seafood and restaurant industries have been hit by the current COVID-19 pandemic – while a masked man stood next to him holding a plate of fried calamari.

As many discussed the beautiful beachfront setting and / or the idea of dining on fried calamari, many wondered who the beefy man perched beside Bordieri is – and if he does private parties!  I don’t know what calamari or beachfronts have to do with politics, but this setup added a colorful diversion to an otherwise lackluster convention.

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Paw-licious!

A close friend of mine recently noticed this in the meat section (where else?) of a Dallas grocery store.  I know what you people are thinking.  And I’m as shocked as you are.  Isn’t USD 3.88 a bit pricy for any fowl food?

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