Saturday, August 31, 2013


the tickets out of their summer-long storage, and set out with four friends and the Yard Man to see Peter and Paul (sadly, no Mary) in concert!  Let me tell you,  Reader Dear, in the musical interpretation of my life (plays only in my head, so don't bother straining to hear), this evening was a pleasant note up there somewhere well above Middle C! 

And the interesting thing about it, the actual music made by Peter and Paul last night was only a part of what made it special.  For one thing, these tickets were purchased back in March for a June concert! 

It was to be held outdoors at Longwood Gardens (Reader Dear, you already know my fondness for this place!),  Noel Peter Stookey and Paul Yarrow in Concert, rain or shine!
But of course it rained that day in June.
And I was on pins and needles.
Rain or Shine!  Hadn't that been the fair warning?!  Would we actually go and sit in the rain?!
Then the concert was cancelled.
And re-scheduled.
But, many of us would it suit to use the tickets in late August?!
What were the chances of rain, again...perhaps just the drippy kind where we really would have to huddle under ponchos?!

Argh!  I vowed to never plan this kind of group outing again!

Well, Reader Dear, I already told you there were six of us yesterday, happily traveling together through the golden late-afternoon, heading for Longwood Gardens to join the gray-haired masses of grown-old hippie-folk*, each and every one of whom were ninety-five-point-three percent likely to have owned a Peter, Paul and Mary record in their younger day.

And I've already told you the evening was enhanced by more than the music, as pleasing as that was!  There was the fantastic ceiling overhead (why, it rivaled the Sistine Chapel!) 

There was the fact that these fine musicians, who sang their protest songs fifty years ago at the March on Washington, were freshly come to sing for us last night from the fiftieth anniversary of that event, and they carried along that renewed spirit!

There was the perfect protesting improvisation!

And most of the songs were sing-along!
(Er...somewhat of a mixed blessing!)
And just like that, it's time for:  INTERMISSION

Thursday, August 29, 2013


Dear Reader, one comes upon some downright...well, I hesitate to name precisely what it is one comes upon; (however the words are so accurate and so descriptive)...and after a day like I had today (filled with frustration and folly)'s fun to call things as they are...(though that I'm about to say the words, I'm chewing on  my lip and gulping)....uh...uh...

[As I zipped by this scene today, I felt I could not let it go.  I turned the car around, put on my four-way blinkers, hopped from the car, putting life and limb in danger to record the view. All to express the following genuine wish for you, Dear Viewer Dear!]

...Sometimes in life one comes upon (oh, please please pardon me) real horses' asses!*  May your encounters with these difficult ones be few and far between!

*Should the need arise,
feel free to capitalize.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013


 at it again,  hobnobbing with chefs! So soon on the heels of hosting that fantastic bunch from around the world! Granted, the food preparers at today's cheese-sampling event were all local, they didn't get to have a meal, and there wasn't much hoopla around the occasion.  But there was food.  And it was served by Amish.  And hey, it was enough to get me dashing into the city this afternoon to check things out!

What's happened,Tim Carr, owner and chef of Carr's Restaurant (it's a very classy eating spot in the city, Reader Dear)  has gone head-over-heels for Oasis's dairy products!  He opened up his restaurant, invited other local chefs, and extolled the virtues of all that wonderful milk, butter, cheese, cream.

When I arrived at the restaurant, smack dab in the middle of the two-to-four time frame for this event, I was greeted by the Yard Man, who had turned himself into a chef.  Dear Reader, it was so simple.  He'd just slipped on that jacket that the international club of chefs had presented to him!  Oo-la-la, if clothes make the man, I'm in for a treat!  (Um, I asked him. What's for dinner tonight?!) 

Leroy was busy explaining the line of production--the horse-farmed land, the grass-fed cows, the lack of antibiotics and hormones.  Everything fresh!  Everything local!  Cream is good for you! Butter the best!  


There seemed to be an eager stir of interest among the chefs that were sampling, tasting the raw milk, the yogurt, and cheeses.   Anyone who cared to sample all ten of the cheeses and fill out a  questionnaire, commenting and rating each one, was treated to a half-pound of butter.  That butter box was rapidly emptying.

I was enjoying myself, watching the action, visiting.  Then the funny thing was, Reader Dear, after a while I realized that I was hobnobbing with chefs, too!

Maybe I turned into one.
I went home and put on an apron.
I made dinner.

Monday, August 26, 2013


the Yard Man's and my recent visit to see them, five days ago our Dark-haired Daughter and David came home from North Carolina for a visit.  As usual, we relished the concentrated time of togetherness.  As usual, we added the rest of the family, and food, and laughter, and a few snippy remarks, and mixed well.  Reader Dear, if you care to follow this recipe you may also add (should you be so fortunate as to have it on hand) some fabulous weather!  It facilitates eating outdoors.  Which in turn greatly facilitates clean-up! (Corn-cobs, you see, and other edible scraps,  can be tossed to a whole assortment of  animals trotting or strutting or galloping about the property [Though it's true that flare-ups can occur.  The dog went after the chicken for attempting to have herself a few measly kernels of corn. No doubt she was feeling a great sense of entitlement [I was indignant on her behalf, Reader Dear!] due to the breakfast fare I'd  been serving up daily to my DNA-carriers-et-al.])

Even lacking a single wing-flapping or four-legged creature in attendance, an outdoor (extended) family meal (where the invitation sent by a sister of the Yard Man pretty much said "Everybody come!  Bring some food!") was easier to tidy up for the fact of being served atop grass and under sky* (Though, er, it's true I didn't stick around to verify this fact, tsk, tsk.)


 Of course, for simply standing up and walking away from dirty dishes, food scraps and spills, crumbs on the floor and crumpled napkins, nothing beats walking into a pizza shop and arranging the family around a table with ten chairs, two booster seats and a high chair.
(It's pretty handy for getting a great meal on the table without much work, as well!)
(And that about cleans up this tale of clean-up)

Wednesday, August 21, 2013


and flush with radiance.  But it is blue.
And I think I know why.

Happily for me,
there's still lots of waxing going on!



Tuesday, August 20, 2013


I had to run over to the coolest small town in the whole nation to buy a birthday present for a sister of mine who is one of the two coolest sisters in the whole nation.   It was late in the afternoon, but I knew that in order to find the gift, package it*, and send it off in time for the USPS to drop it at her door without the use of that unpleasant word "belated"  I didn't have a minute to spare. 

It was five o'clock rush-hour when I got to Lititz, and traffic was excessively heavy and clotted (backed up at each light). Then I spotted signs and barricades just waiting to be moved into the street!  Very quickly something else dawned on me: There were an awful lot of vintage cars lined up in the parking lane. 

Jeepers!  I said to myself.  That's right, there's that car show this evening! But surely it wouldn't be starting any time soon.  Hmmm, though right away I imagined those folks on the sidewalk were kind of hanging around, biding their time.

Just as soon as I got to my destination (and it was no easy task to find a parking spot and cross the street) I asked the shop owner, "When does the car show begin?!"

Surprisingly, he didn't know, but we concurred that to rev up those engines right in the middle of rush hour would not be wise.  So just then his wife came into the store.
"What time does the car show start, do you know?" he asked her.

"Five-thirty," she responded.

Reader Dear.  My car may be over a decade old, but I wouldn't call it vintage.  There is nothing of particular interest about it at all.  Even the color is blah.  It's got a few minor dents and scratches, and it wasn't all that clean (though it wasn't outstandingly dirty, either [just so you know]).  What I mean to say is--no one would have thought it cool (in this cool little town) to see me sheepishly smiling and waving from a spot in that car parade!  

I'll tell you, it was nothing but amazing how fast I narrowed my options, purchased that gift, and hightailed it back to the car!  As I drove out of town, they were closing the road behind me!

And that, Reader Dear, is the unnecessarily wordy tale of  how my nondescript auto and I were NOT in the car parade!

*(It's all about timing, you know.  "The package
came right on my birthday!" my sis exclaimed.)


Monday, August 19, 2013


blog-worthy events that end up in a backlog and die.  But last night's concert at the park was so filled with energy and movement and sound and a zippity-do-dah-dab of Africa, that I would leap over tall buildings and climb mountains and delay supper a bit to prevent that from being the fate of these clips:

Because the Yard Man and I were sitting in an eight-lawn-chair-lineup of friends, there were many with whom to gab, and not much interest in trekking down to the stage.  At least not before darkness fell, and dancing to the beat could be done more or less covertly by those in the audience who were not one-hundred-percent comfortable making African dance moves (nor, for sure, one-hundred-percent capable of it!) but who could not stop the body from swaying and the arms from swinging.

Already, while approaching the close-up action, I couldn't hold the camera still!

Up close, I saw that two non-African kids from the audience had been invited to the stage. 

They looked to be quite comfortable (having fun!), as
well as ninety-nine percent capable!

I remember a time when Africa was known as the Dark Continent
due to its mysterious hinterlands.  Were I to give it a moniker
based on tonight's performance, it would undoubtedly be...

The Lively Continent!


I only sighed that my quasi-Tanzanian twin could not be here to hear!
But he, of course, is actually in the Lively Continent as I blog,
eating coconuts and possibly dancing to the beat!

Friday, August 16, 2013


Do you recognize, Viewer Dear, this white-haired man who got started in life alongside me?!
He came to visit me last weekend--when I was all crazy-blogging-chefs-non-stop.  We had such a nice weekend together, he and The Yard Man, and all my tiny actors!  

"Uncle Ken" is the new celebrity for this acting bunch!

In an unexpected blogging inspiration, Reader Dear, I'm giving you a cobbler recipe that elicited five-star sighs of appreciation when I served it to some of my dear friends last week.  If you've got fresh peaches and great big blackberry gems the likes of which one seldom sees, you're in luck!  

Q's White-Wine-Enhanced Fruit Cobbler

Set oven to 350*
Cream together:  1/4 Cup of butter (softened)
                            1/2 Cup sugar

Combine separately:  1 Cup flour
                          2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
                          1/4 Teaspoon Salt
Add dry ingrediants to creamed mixture alternately with
                          1/2 Cup almond milk  (the kind cows donate to the cause would also be acceptable)
Mix until smooth.  Pour batter into greased pan--something like 50 square inches.  (Because my high school Algebra teacher predicted that someday I would be a "great mathematician" and  (alas) this may not be the case for you*, Dear possibly-less-than-mathematically-inclined-Reader-Dear, I'll just let you in on a little secret--a 9X9 pan will do just fine.  Or a 10X5. [ Please do the best you can.   This cobbler will be worth it!]

Mix until smooth. Pour batter into pan.  Spoon over top:
                            2 Cups of fresh fruit (peaches, berries, cherries)
Sprinkle with:  2 Teaspoons of  Sugar

Pour over all:  1 Cup Organic White Wine
                        (Please be advised.  Recipe calls merely for "fruit juice".  While I have made this cobbler many times using merely "fruit juice," it did not send me into Peach-and-Blackberry-with-Substituted-White-Wine heaven the way this one did!)

Bake 45-50 minutes.  Serve with something sweet and cold and possibly whipped. 

*And (alas) is also not the case for me!


Latino Jazz...Sunday at the park
"Shooting stars," I had marked on my calendar (The Perseids).  "If there weren't such a massive cloud cover," I said to the Yard Man, "I'd want to spend the night right here at the park, looking up at the sky.  Maybe for once I'd get to see some of those meteors that every year I have the misguided notion I'm going to observe!"



Friday, August 9, 2013


to get these international chefs on the road!! 
The bus ride through the countryside on our way to Oasis was short and uneventful.  Leroy did a lot of talking. The Yard Man answered a few questions. 

When we got to Oasis, the honored guests filled up the small store, interestedly perusing the items on the shelves, and asking questions, going into the back of the shop to the milk-processing area where the fresh butter and yogurt products are made.  Of course, I was interestedly asking questions, as well--of the chefs themselves.  In my conversation with Cristeta Comerford, the White House executive chef, she told me that she served the Clintons in the White House.  And she's held her position ever since.  Reader Dear, I'm afraid my mouth fell open!
"So you served the Bush families, too?!"  I asked, incredulous.  
"Yes." She verified it.
"But...but..."  I fumbled around, figuring how to best ask the question reverberating in my head---WHAT?!  Are you some kind of PURPLE?! 
She read my mind.  "We are non-political," she stated simply.
Well, then, I had to mull over that fact. 
 I'm still mulling it over, if truth be told.  But, of course, red food and blue food are equally delicious, I'm telling myself.

However,  I mustn't dilly-dally!  These chefs need to get on their way to DC!  They gathered for a photograph under the Oasis sign.  Lots of cameras were snapping.

And then it was time to say Goodbye.  Or, uh...Au revoir!  Adios!  Auf Wiedershen!*

 * Reader Dear,  those are all the goodbyes I know.  For the rest of the chefs I had to make do with sign language.  I sure wished a wave of the hand could express this: It was so nice to meet you!  Please come again! 
[Oh, and...would each of you kindly pass along my greetings to those for whom you cook? You know...say "hi" to the Queen of England for me.  Maybe kiss baby George.  Give my regards to the President of India.  The Prince of Monaco.  Carry my best wishes to those folks in the Great Hall of the People.....]

Thursday, August 8, 2013


had been nibbled* and the peach pie and homemade ice cream had been consumed; after the lovely wife of the chef from Monaco had explained to Leroy exactly where Monaco is...

then it was time for the Amish hosts to hitch a horse to a wagon and give rides.  Because there were only two children accompanying the international guests (French children, bringing along their young Asian nanny), lots of Amish kiddies got to pile in the wagon.  I can only imagine, Reader Dear, this was more of a thrill for the guests taking photos than these children who ride behind trotting horses each day. 
Although, of course, considering the options...!
Here is chef Gregor Zimmerman**, posing with the horse. 

 All too soon the event was drawing to a close, the international guests were taking their final photographs, thanking their Amish hosts, and boarding the bus.   Next on their schedule was a visit to Oasis, the store and growers' cooperative from which most of the food for this meal was obtained.  Leroy would be accompanying them on the five-mile drive through the countryside***. 

*Soft chocolate double cookie with creamy filling, typically made by the Amish. 
**I promised I'd not let you guessing, Dear Reader.  He is Swiss! 
***Wouldn't you know, I wheedled a spot on the bus.  Which means there'll be one final course to this lengthy tale!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013


These international chefs at long last get to tell us their names!

If only the photographer had been a little more adept at scampering around with the camera, she wouldn't have to feel bad about missing a few of their introductions!  At any rate, Viewer Dear, soon they are passing those serving bowls and platters. 
And those Amish servers are not lolling!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013


to find a solution to my hair-pulling, tooth-grinding, ever-so-quietly-swearing, pots-and-pans-slamming frustration of  NO VIDEOS, I did what any sensible person would do. I closed the laptop, walked away, and pretended that the word "technology" had not as yet been coined (No need for it, of course, as persons are still walking around dressed in fig leaves and only the sun moving across the sky records the passage of time here where I am). 

Of course, as soon as the sun's movement convinced me that enough time had gone by, and the problem had not miraculously fixed itself, I decided I needed an Apple (store).  That's where I spent two hours today, Reader Dear.   I didn't encounter anyone uttering obscenities or slamming around cookware, but I did get some folks scratching their heads, biting their nails, running to talk to the store manager.
And here's the big question--have I gotten any satisfaction?  Do I get to take off these fig leaves and don some chemically-dyed, wrinkle-free, thoroughly modern clothing?!  Do I get to continue on with my story of the Amish hosts and the International Chefs...
Ah, ha, Viewer Dear! 
The chefs are rising to introduce themselves......
(I'm scrambling around readying the next course...back soon)

Monday, August 5, 2013


has been offered.  Now we'll continue with this meal, this meal served by a sub-culture of the USA and partaken of by those representing many differing cultures from around the world.  Food Diplomacy.  What do you think of it, Reader Dear?

All the chefs introduced themselves...  

...and that, Beloved Reader, is where I've been wishing to take you with my video clips.  To the introductions.

Alas.  Sigh.  Groan. "We are sorry, but there was an error while processing your video."

I am saying another silent prayer. And I am also saying a few words audibly.  They are barely audible, but spoken, nonetheless.  They don't belong in a prayer.


(Back from the future,
[it's time travel, my dear]
I can tell you, up ahead the video will play)
in a future post)

Sunday, August 4, 2013


waiting on the tale of the Club des Chefs des Chefs and the Amish food, but just look at this, Viewer Dear!  Perhaps I will be applying to join this exclusive club myself.  I noticed today that I've been serving up meals to monarchs!  ( least they are heirs to the throne, so to speak.  Monarchs-to-be!)

Sure hope I don't run out of delicacies to serve them before they have donned their crowns*!


*(aka their Monarch Butterfly wings)

Saturday, August 3, 2013


who had been preparing food inside the barn congregated at the windows to eagerly watch as those who also prepare food were exiting the bus.  Wow.  Look at that...they are wearing their chef jackets.  Each one is labeled with the chef's name and the flag of his country.

I had to run outside, of course, and meet a few!  You can imagine, Reader Dear, how I wished to have done a little pre-event studying of  national flags! (I had to ask too many chefs apologetically for their country of origin. [Lucky you, I'll just tell you who's who!])

Here is Magnua Rehback, he prepares food for the King of Sweden. I had a nice conversation with Magnua; he's so friendly and so fluent in English, I could barely detect an accent!

Immediately I had another regret:
I had nothing with which to take notes.  So I hope you can offer me sympathy for the fact, Dear Reader, that all those interesting tidbits I gleaned from the handful of chefs to whom I spoke are now a jumbled-up olio in my head. 

One chef told me that he cooks for a large and extended family.  Fourteen, I believe, is the number for whom he prepares meals.   It could have been Magnua.  Or, hmm.  Perhaps it was the chef to the King of Thailand, Norbert Kostner, who is actually Italian.  Maybe it was Charles Richardson, seated at the table with his wife.  "I am chef to the Gabonese president.  Gabon is the only African country represented here," he told me. "And I am not even African.  I'm Scottish!   (All this nation-swapping!  How am I to keep track?!)

But, back to the moment.
The chefs, many with wives accompanying, made their way into the barn and were seated on the Amish church benches. 

This took a fair amount of time. 
When most had already been seated, Leroy, the Amish host, was ushering an older chef into the barn. "Do you have a wife?"  Leroy asked, trying to determine if he needed a two-person spot at the tables. 

"No," the chef responded, "but I'm looking for one! Can you get me one?"
(Are you looking for a husband, Reader Dear?  A seasoned Italian chef with a sense of humor?)

When everyone was finally seated, Leroy removed his hat and explained there would be a silent blessing on the food prior to eating. 

And so all fell silent.  
Everyone paused.

Reader Dear, in the quietness of the moment
I am going to pause, too...

(I promise to serve you the rest of this
course real soon)



Friday, August 2, 2013


were expected to arrive around noon.  I got to the Amish barn around 10:00 a.m.  Everything appeared to be an inter-generational smoothly-run hive of activity.  It was a marvel to behold. 

These Amish women are adept at cooking for a crowd!

Two non-Amish women who work for Oasis were prepping the salads when I arrived, and they put me to work.  (I'll just tell you behind my hand, Reader Dear, the hard parts had already been done.  I tore up gorgeous fresh lettuce, already washed.  Scooped from bowls full of onions, cucumbers, tomatoes, and sweet peppers, all freshly sliced.  I had fun!) 

Sixty salad plates were prepared, covered with Saran wrap, and put in the cooler.  Then someone brought me a jar full of red beet eggs.  This is a genuine Amish food, Dear Reader--hard boiled eggs marinating amongst pickled beets.  "These should be sliced," I was told.  "We'll put them on the salads at the very last minute."  Those little eggs were such beauties!  But then, so were the Amish children!

 Meanwhile, out in the yard those Amish children were anticipating offering drinks to the chefs upon their arrival. "What would you like, Meadow Tea or Lemonade?"  And the Amish women were steadily and calmly moving about the stoves.  Preparing Roast Beef.  Chicken Croquettes.  Succotash. Mashed potatoes and Gravy. Green beans with bacon. Fresh Baked Rolls.  Homemade Ice Cream.  Peach Pie.  All that food, and they seemed unflappable!

But me, as the clock moved closer and closer to noon, 
I was pondering all the things that could go wrong.
Suppose I were to drop a whole tray of salads?
(We'd already come up a little short on lettuce, and the Amish woman who lived there had run to her garden and gathered more greens, washed them, and carried them to me.)  

Teen-age girls were readying the bread baskets, the butter plates and dishes of jelly.  Oasis folks were working on the cheese plates.
Now it was noon.  Expected Time of Arrival.
A reporter and cameraman from the local paper had shown up.
Leroy (co-manager of Oasis) was giving them a run-down of the menu, with lots of garnishes thrown in!  (Eat lard, all you women!  It prevents wrinkles!)

Young Amish women were mashing the potatoes with
an Amish mixer.

Amish  boys were filling the glasses with ice.

And Leroy's sister was frying the chicken croquettes!

"She makes the best chicken croquettes in the county!" declared Leroy.

Thus everything was at the ready when the bus full of chefs pulled in!


Disembarking were:
From AUSTRIA, Rupert Schnait, Chef in Charge of Official Receptions
         CANADA, Timothy Wasylko, Chef to the Prime Minister of Canada
         PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF CHINA, Men JianZhong and Liu Qiang, Chefs to the Great Hall of the People in Beijing
         DENMARK, Jesper Vollmer, Chef to Her Majesty Margrethe II, Queen of Denmark
         FINLAND, Isto Tahvanainen, Chef to the President of the Republic of Finland
         FRANCE, Bernard Vaussion, Chef to the President of the Republic of France
         GABON, Charles Ferrier Richardson, Chef to the President of the Gabonese Republic
         GERMANY, Ulrich Kerz, Chef to the Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany
         INDIA, Machindra Kasture, Chef to the President of the Republic of India
         ITALY, Pietro Catzola and Giovanni Santangelo, Chefs to the President of the Italian Republic
         ISRAEL, Shalom Kadosh, Chef in Charge of Official Receptions
        MONACO, Christian Garcia, Chef to His Serene Highness Albert II, Soverign Prince of Monaco
        POLAND, Grzegorz Rzeszotarski, Chef to the President of the Republic of Poland
        SWEDEN, Magnua Rehback, Chef to His Majesty Carl XVI Gustaf, King of Sweden
        SRI LANKA, Anton Brinsley Rohan Fernandopulle, Chef in Charge of Official Receptions
        SWITZERLAND, Gregor Zimmermann, Chef in Charge of Official Receptions
        THAILAND, Norbert Kostner, Grand Chamberlain for His Majesty Bhumibol Adulyadej, King of Thailand
        UNITED KINGDOM, Mark Flanagan, Chef to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II
        UNITED STATES, Cristeta Comerford, White House Executive Chef
        UNITED NATIONS, Dan Lopez, Executive Chef for the Delegates' Dining Room

                        Ah, Reader Dear...These folks were about to be served a meal in a barn!

(More to, you know,
  and otherwise)

Thursday, August 1, 2013


The story will have to come in courses, Reader Dear, just like the meal.  And this is the appetizer: this dinner was served in a barn!
Also helpful to know before the main course, it was an Amish group who prepared most of the meal. And of course there was my contribution!  (Though I suppose I will have to confess, I played a very small role).  I put together about a third of the salad plates.   It was also moi who suggested to The Yard Man that those adorable little green-fruited cantaloups he'd been bringing  home from the food cooperative of which he's a co-manager would be lovely to serve.

I said, "Why don't you fill them with berries and garnish with a sprig of mint.  Though not necessarily 'Amish' food, it would look fit for a king!"

And here's another tidbit: It was due to the fact that The Yard Man's co-op, Oasis, delivers food to the DC area, and a part-time pastry chef at the White House made connections,  this group of chefs ended up at this local barn for this meal.  It was planned by the managers of the co-op, who are mostly Amish (excepting The Yard Man).  This upcoming event caused much excitement.  Oasis managers had countless planning meetings.

One more thing: Club des Chefs des Chefs.  That's the official name of the distinguished bunch to be hosted.  To be in this club, one's career must be to prepare food for a head of state.  One must serve as chef to a king or queen, or the president of a country.  A prime minister.  A chancellor.  Surely  you get the idea, Reader Dear.  They are chief among chefs!
Coming up soon:  The main course.
(I hope you're still salivating, Reader Dear!)