• Category Archives Cooking
  • A day with texture

    Imbolc and the Cold Moon

    Shabbat gratefuls: New candle holders. Memorizing the prayer. Alan. Joe Mama’s. Rocket Bar. Wild Mountain Ranch. A dozen eggs and two beef tenderloins. New blinds. John Ellis. Evergreen Shutter and Blind. Shabbat. Parsha Yitro. Snow. Maybe in feet! Good sleeping. Israel. Hamas. U.S. Iran. Hezbollah. Saudi Arabia. Korea: South and North. Japan. Taiwan. Ukraine. Russia. U.S.A.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Wild Mountain Ranch, regenerative farming in Conifer

    One brief shining: Wouldn’t have found Joe Mama’s, again, if I hadn’t seen Alan sitting at a table near the window, and wouldn’t have thought it was a breakfast place anyhow since it had a pool table, not to mention the bar where three Wheatridge stalwarts sat each with a drink in front of them, one a yellow mug of beer, the others I couldn’t tell, at 9 am.


    Don’t usually go to bars. At all. Certainly not at 9 in the morning. But Joe Mama’s had moved from its ten foot wide spot on west Colfax to a new place in Wheatridge. Alan and I liked it, the food was good. We decided to try the new spot.

    They’ve become, I think, the kitchen staff for the Rocket Bar. A no frills spot which looks like the owner took over a small building that maybe housed a barbershop and a small bodega like grocery store. Four separate rooms. Pool table room. The room where Alan and I sat, larger and with tables, the bar room, a narrow area that might have been a wide hallway, and a fourth room with tables. The latter two rooms seemed to constitute the main working spaces for the Rocket Bar.

    Alan and I will not be going back. For one thing the politics of the place had a certain MAGA like feel. For another this alcoholic doesn’t like to eat breakfast while old guys belly up for their first shots of the day. Their choice, not disputing that. But my choice is not to be with them when they do that.

    Always good though to spend time with Alan. We discussed his and Cheri’s first in-home concert. Cheri floated after the morning. She loves music, loves playing, and arranging for others to hear music. And this time, at home. We also dissected the current state of Israel, Hamas, Gaza, the West Bank. Way complicated. But perhaps with a solid solution if Biden stays in office.


    Came home to be here when John Ellis, no apparent relation, came with my new blinds. They’re double honeycombed and have a slight green tint. The ones in my office will allow me to work in the morning without Great Sol in my face. The new blinds on the living room/kitchen floor improve on the faded ones that were there before. The blinds downstairs will reduce glare in the afternoons and early evening. It took John less than hour to install all of them. I paid him the balance due.


    After John finished, I hopped in Ruby to go find Wild Mountain Ranch, a local regenerative farm I discovered a week or so ago. Not an easy find. Had to turn left on a downhill slope of 285 onto a narrow dirt road. I needed to find Red Hawk Trail. Found it but it didn’t look like it went very far. Just behind Tucker’s horse training and riding facility. Drove past it, then noticed that it took a sharp right that I hadn’t seen. Turned around and went back. Down a steep slope on a muddy narrow road to the right hand turn.

    Drove a long ways on a one lane dirt road muddy from thawed Snow. All the while going up, a gentle rise. No signs for Wild Mountain Ranch. I had an address but I hadn’t paid attention since I imagined there would be a sign. The road ended in the driveway of the last house on Redhawk Trail. A man roughly my age came outside to see what I was up to. We chatted and he said,”Oh, yeah. You’re buying beef?” I nodded. “Turn around and go back down. It’s on the right and you’ll see some cattle, some big ones. A radical right hand turn.” Thanks, dude.

    Sure enough maybe a half mile further back from his small orange home I saw some Highland Cattle lounging in mud. I took a radical right turn, maybe 240 degrees, and found the parking lot. Rang the bell. Nothing happened. Rang it again. Still nothing. I went back to the car, found my phone and called. No answer. As I wondered what to do next, Brittany came out. “Have you been out here long?” No, not that long. She got my name went back in the house, got my dozen eggs and two tenderloins.

    Marketing and customer service are not Wild Mountain Ranch’s strong suit. At least not yet. I wanted to talk about their farm but Brittany seemed distracted. I’ll wait.

    Gonna go downstairs now and have a couple of their eggs before I workout.


  • Music to My Ears

    Winter and the Cold Moon

    Monday gratefuls: Names. Old names and new ones. Yisrael. Adonai. Names and concealment. Lobster pots. Humor. Hazel Miller. Her band. That parking ticket. Alan and Cheri. Their condo concerts. The 38th floor. Their balcony. Where are all the green roofs? The Front Range in the distance. Snow covered Blue Sky Mountain. The couple I met whose names I don’t recall. Surrender. Music.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Driving down the hill and back up again. With Joanne.

    One brief shining: Joanne gave me a precooked Rock Cornish Game Hen and revealed something that shook me; there are no such things as Rock Cornish Game Hens, instead we buy immature chickens of a cross between two breeds, the Cornish and the White Plymouth Rock, so you can think of them as the veal or the lamb of poultry.


    You probably knew that. I didn’t. Not sure why it shocked me but it did. In spite of an interesting day that news will stick me.


    Over to Joanne’s place and picked her up at 10 for a trip down the hill to Alan and Cheri’s condo smack in downtown Denver. Joanne’s driveway is well known at Congregation Beth Evergreen due to its one way, curvy final approach to her house. You drive up and back down a fair way to a turn around. Alan got hung up in the snow there three weeks ago and had to call a tow truck. Marilyn Saltzman has implored Joanne to make it a turn around. Joanne told me yesterday, “I’m going to fix this.” Many people will be happy, including, I imagine Joanne.

    We drove down I-70 and took 6th into the belly of the Denver urban jungle. Turned left on Santa Fe and drove through the arts district where I sometimes go on the first Friday of the month. Food trucks. All the galleries are open. Up to Speer Avenue, left toward the Convention center with its iconic blue Bear poised against it, then right on 14th to the Spire.

    Joanne is a delight to be with. So quick. And funny. We both laughed at the same time when, just as I finished grousing about I-25, my GPS said, “Take I-25 north on your right.” Her husband of many years, Allen, died a year and some months ago. May I reach 92 and be as with it as she is.

    The in-home concert, first in a monthly series, featured Hazel Miller. She’s in the Colorado Jazz Hall of Fame and a friend of Alan and Cheri’s. Cheri booked the Evergreen Jazz Festival for many years. Thirty people attended. Met some interesting folks.

    Back on Shadow Mountain after coffee at Joanne’s. Not till 2:30 pm. Out of the house at 9:15. One tired puppy when I got home. Also had my required maximum of human interaction for the week. But the week’s just gotten started.


    Ancient Brothers this morning. Workout. Acupuncture appointment this afternoon.

    When Kate and I went on cruises, my appreciation for the days at sea surprised me. Restful, focused on the Ocean. Realized this morning that I now have the same appreciation for days alone on my calendar. Restful, focused on being in the Mountains. Surrender.







  • Clever Business Model

    Winter and the Cold Moon with Snow

    Friday gratefuls: Marilyn and Irv. Irv’s resilience. Snow. Black Mountain gone. Alan. The jazz concert in his and Cheri’s condo on Sunday. Going with Joanne. Jazz. Mozart. That new CD player. Late night sessions with Coltrane and Miles Davis. (Late night for me, around 8 pm) Phone calls. Email. Text. A Snow day. A Fire later. While practicing my Hebrew. Tara. Rabbi Jamie. Janet. Anshel.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Irv

    One brief shining: Dr. Timothy O’Leary has tortoise shell glasses, a mask, and a kind heart as he takes his magnifying glass to this spot on my arm, then to another on my chest, oh this one we’ll freeze so it doesn’t become precancerous; taking the blue nitrogen pump off its spot on the table, he shields my eye, then sprays liquid nitrogen on my cheekbone which hurts a bit but not for long, that will scab over, otherwise everything looks good, make an appointment for a year from now, ah, I thought, an optimist.


    Annual skin checkup. Never a worshiper of Great Sol in the let this body bake on the beach as a tender sacrifice kind of guy I have less likelihood of skin cancer but you never know. Annual skin checks take about five minutes. And cost $10 with my current insurance. Cheap for the peace it gives.


    Went to Fountain Barbecue afterward. A new place located close to the medical building where I was already. An interesting setup. You come in and there are three computer screens. Like ordering from home online. You decide what you want, tap on it and add that item, 3 ribs for me. Then, mac and cheese. Oh, and Aunt Polly’s Pecan dessert. Swipe or insert your card on the right side of the screen.

    Part of the same business but up a couple of steps to the right as you come in is the Lazy Butcher. Not sure what the Lazy part means, but their cases are not pristine and carefully laid out. Maybe that’s it. Not dirty or haphazard just not that almost clinical look you find at the grocery store meat department. Didn’t look too closely but they have uncured bacon, perhaps I’ll get some later on for my next Hoppin’ John batch, steaks of various kinds. No fish. Just beef and pork. After I did a quick scan of the Lazy Butcher, I walked down the wheelchair ramp back to the barbecue.

    My name with #103 showed up on an l.e.d. screen under in process. Other names and numbers were in a column to the left.  Ready. A somewhat husky guy with a lazy or blind eye called out names. Charlie. When I got mine, it felt a little bit like encountering someone from the underworld offering you food.

    This is a clever setup. There was a hostess. The kitchen. And the guy handing out the food who probably works in the kitchen. No waitresses. The hostess cleaned tables and helped anyone who needed it with the computer ordering. About as low overhead as a restaurant can be. And, with the Lazy Butcher money can be made after processing the meat that comes in for the restaurant. One backroom feeding two businesses. Smart.


  • The American Day of Atonement

    Winter and the Cold Moon

    Thursday gratefuls: Marilyn and Irv. Rabbi Jamie and the American Day of Atonement. Black-eyed Peas. Hoppin’ John. A cold snap. The Winter Carnival. St. Paul. Irvine Park. The Aurora. Great Sol. Journeys around Great Sol. Birthdays. 77 for me next month. Minnesota. Up North. Lake Superior. Duluth. Ely. The Boundary Waters. Andover and its time in Kate and mine’s life. Kate, my sweet Kate.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Long journeys (77 x 584 million = 44 968 000 000 miles around the sun by age 77)

    One brief shining: About ten days late I have the ingredients for Hoppin’ John Black-Eyed Peas, Salt Pork, Hot Peppers, Garlic, Onion, Black Pepper, Chicken Stock, Ham, Kosher Salt and when I get back from seeing Irv I’m going to make it in the Dutch Oven now clean of hard Water scales and shiny like the day I bought it so Happy New Year!

    Looking forward to cooking up the Hoppin’ John. I also got Corn bread mix. Famous Dave’s. Gonna cook up some frozen Collard Greens, make Corn bread. Have myself a Southern Happy New Year’s meal tonight.


    Going over to see Irv in rehab. He’s been there since he left St. Joe’s after his surgery. An odd fact. His rehab place requires a left turn on Lone Tree’s Lincoln Avenue. When I went to have my prostate removed and for all my radiation sessions, I turned right on Lincoln. Old folks pathway I guess.


    Got my beard trimmed yesterday at Jackie’s. It never got bushy, just scraggly. Decided to give up on it. I think she was relieved.


    Attended by zoom the American Day of Atonement at CBE. Luke worked on it along with Rabbi Jamie. The concept comes from Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement. Doing it on the 10th of January puts it close to Martin Luther King Day while duplicating the ten days after the Jewish New Year of Rosh Hashanah. Wanted to be there in person but I find going out at night something I don’t want to do. Especially in Winter. I feel bad about not showing up yet I also honor my reluctance.

    So. Zoom. Which has its difficulties. Last night speakers who zoomed in were loud and clear. Bishop Robert Martin talked about working together to give each other the internal strength to face racism and anti-semitism. Rabbi Jamie invoked Abraham Lincoln. Attorney General Phil Weiser gave what I considered the best speech of the evening calling on us to embrace the American Dream of a diverse nation of citizens equal before the law. We can and we will, he said, overcome our divisions. May it happen soon.

    If the American Day of Atonement could catch on in other cities, focused on at least bringing together African-American and Jewish activists, it could have a major impact. This is the third one. The weather timing is against it. Not many folks showed up at CBE. Not sure how to overcome that. I appreciate all the energy Luke and Rabbi Jamie have put into it so far.



  • Coffee in my Vinegar

    Winter and the 1% crescent of the Winter Solstice Moon

    Wednesday gratefuls: Getting things done. Fixing (mostly) my casement window. Self-limiting talk. Great Sol. Black Mountain. Irv. Marilyn. Tara. Alan. Tom and his lev. The Zen calendar. Bill. Paul. Mark. Ruby. Kate on brightening up a room. Jon. His art. His quick mind. My son and Seoah and Murdoch. Shemot. Exodus. Ruth and Gabe and Mia. Domo on Sunday. Applewood Village. Friday.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Sardines

    One brief shining: The way it goes quiet then a rush with the American Day of Atonement tonight, Thursday a trip to Parker to see Irv, Friday Wheatridge for breakfast with Alan, Sunday Domo with Ruth, Gabe, and Mia in between sleeping and cooking and reading up on Jewish classical texts for my conversion session with Rabbi Jamie and learning my Bar Mitzvah Hebrew portion.


    Yeah life went from will I go upstairs or downstairs to I will go all over the place, down the hill and back up the hill. Nice to have variety. All of it good, rich, significant in my tiny universe. Life on the Mountain of Shadows.


    While much of the U.S. encounters wild and dangerous weather, those of us on the Front Range have had a real Minnesota January. Temps below zero tomorrow. In the single digits at night for over a week. Some Snow.

    My casement window in my bedroom wouldn’t shut. And it was cold outside. I googled casement windows, found a screwdriver, trekked out in the Snow. As you might expect, none of the information on the internet helped. Frustrating. Until. What’s that gouge? Looked under the window. Yep, a screw had worked its way loose and impeded the window on its way to full closure. A few turns of the screw et voilá. All fixed except for the gouge which will require a file. Which I don’t have. But I will.

    Agency. Yes.

    I have a high altitude coffee maker. It keeps a reservoir of hot water so coffee brews quickly rather than waiting on the slow boil of 8,800 feet. In cleaning it I ran a coffee pot full of vinegar through it, then a pot full of fresh water. Done. So I thought. Made a pot of coffee, took the cup up to a zoom call with the Ancient Brothers. Took a sip. Yep. I had coffee brewed not with water but vinegar! Another fresh water pot through the system. Still vinegary. It took yet another fresh water pot to get the vinegar calmed down.

    Those things we do to keep life managed to some extent.


    Meanwhile in the alternate universe of U.S. politics. Iowa votes. Then, New Hampshire. 45 sits in at his appeals court hearing. Yesterday Lauren Bobert did not punch or grope anyone. At least so far as the news knows. Colorado continues its quirky political path with no sitting Republican Representatives running in this next election.

    Also. News I’ve not shared before. We have terrible mail service in the Mountains. I don’t, but most of my nearby neighbors do. Mark, my mail carrier, is a pro and has been consistently good since we got here. Elsewhere packages don’t come, mail gets delivered to the wrong address or not at all. The post offices have high staff turnovers and face closure to consolidate operations. Our entire congressional delegation is on this, but the pace is soooo slow.





  • It’s Insurrection Day!

    Winter and the Winter Solstice Moon

    Shabbat gratefuls: Shabbat. A Mountain night. Cold. 12 degrees. Good sleeping. My bed. My medical guardian. My aleph necklace. Black Bean soup. Great workout. 180 minutes this week. Prolia delivered. Energy level better. Probably rising testosterone. Prostate cancer. Lower oximeter readings. Low blood pressure. Life at altitude. CBE. Parsha Shemot. The first in Exodus. People of the story.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: The Torah

    One brief shining: Mice are a problem for me though perhaps not in the way you think, they’re a moral hazard because others want me to kill them as does sensible medical advice and I don’t want to do that because hey mice gotta live too and yet I have four Rat zappers which do the job quite well, electrocuting the cute little buggers.


    Yeah. I still eat meat, though less and less, yet I do not like killing anything myself. No, that’s not strong enough. I hate killing anything. And I know that that aversion makes me an oughta be vegetarian, maybe even a vegan, but I’ve never been able to go there. Yes, I contradict myself. I know it.

    I finally looked up whether Mice are actually bad and yes in fact they can carry salmonella, hanta virus, and chew through electrical wires. I know one chewed through the plastic water hose that connects to my dishwasher. I guess that means-he cringes at the thought-deploying the Rat zappers yet again.

    The Rat zappers have to be emptied of course. No ducking responsibility. I throw the little corpses over the fence. Ravens come and take them away. At least the Rat zapper does not introduce poison into the ecosystem. And the Ravens like the food. A cycle of nature, yes, but one I’m artificially aiding. At the expense of Mouses lives.

    So. In the end self care trumps Mouse lives. A first world issue for sure.


    And other sad news. 2024 is an election year. Maybe, THE election year. Maureen Dowd in a column today invoked Oscar Wilde about fox-hunting: “the unspeakable in pursuit of the inedible” to describe the two likely candidates for President. Too close to true. I’m either an optimist or simply deluded but I cannot, will not believe that Trump will win. I know he can, that’s pretty damned obvious; but I believe that the true beating hearts of America will not allow it. Evidence? Not so much.


    Well, it’s Insurrection Day again. A day that, like Pearl Harbor and 9/11, lives on in infamy. Right? Well, no, not according to Republicans who swallow lie after lie after lie. There was an interesting article in the NYT the other day. 1,240 people have been arrested over January 6th. 350 cases are pending. 170 have been convicted at trial while on 2 have been found not guilty. 710 plead guilty and of those 210 plead to felonies. More than 450 0f those have gone to prison for various lengths of time ranging from a few days to 20 years. And, the article says, those 1,240 may be only half of the eventual arrests and indictments in an ongoing investigation. NYT, January 4, 2024.

    How anyone can conclude that with only 2 out of 1,240 found not guilty, and with that number likely to double in the coming months, that nothing bad happened when “patriots marched at the capital” I don’t know. All those courts, judges and lawyers at work affirming time after time the larger crime that happened one perpetrator by one perpetrator. 170 juries.







  • Its All Nature

    Winter and the Winter Solstice Moon

    Thursday gratefuls: Rich. Tara. Jamie. Ron. Irv. Marilyn. Susan. The MVP squad. Tom. Diane in Taiwan. That Desert Eagle Mark saw. Ai Weiwei. Genius beyond genius. Art. Missing art. Missing music. Writing. My life. Shadow Mountain home. Cooking. Problem solving. Life. Death. Faith. Its all Nature. The Sacred. Talk about manifesting. Water Vapor. Clouds. Transience revealing permanence.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Life and death

    One brief shining: Protean a word embedded in the Greek vision of divinity, of gods and powers, able to change shape transform metamorphose Ai Weiwei Protean man building big cabinets and small cabinets, creating a marble toilet paper roll, challenging nations from his spot acquired through doggedness, brilliance, and a love of problems and, oh yeah, Legos.


    Wanted to make a black-eyed pea soup for the MVP gathering last night. But. Ordered black beans instead. What to do? In a fateful decision I chose to make a black bean soup with what I had on hand, using as well some of what I ordered for the black-eyed pea soup. OMG. How to make bad choices moi. I think it’s better than I originally thought but I took a bag of clementines to MVP instead. The upside is that I got interested in beans again and soup. Which I know I can make if I have the right ingredients and follow the recipe. So now I’m thinking bean soups, freezing.

    Part of the issue with the soups I looked at it including the black-eyed pea varieties were their use of ham hocks. Fine with me, I don’t share my coreligionists aversion to pork, but I respect it. And, one of our little group, Rich, is a vegetarian. So. Conclusion. I’m going to make some black-eyed pea soup for me with ham hocks and all the trimmings. Figure out something else to take next month.


    Coming home the thirty minute drive from the synagogue to Shadow Mountain in the night. Darkness. Trees. The occasional glow of nocturnal evolved eyes on the road side. Hoping for another flashy glimpse into the world of the sacred but fine with the clouds lit up by moonlight, the Lodgepoles and Aspens crawling up the Mountain sides, my own temporary life moving with and through them. Feelings of love for the Forest, the Mountains, Kate who once rode beside me, my friends at CBE, this solitary life I lead now. Some sadness floating up, accepted, yes sad without Kate, without Kep. Without.

    Further on as I make the sharp turn that leads to the top of Shadow Mountain already beyond the sadness welcoming myself back to my home. Enjoying the folks who savor their Christmas Trees and lights so much they can’t part with them quite yet. Enjoying the world I have and am for this time part of. How wonderful it is to be. To open up and let the moonlight in, to feel sad, to shift to feeling at home, to care deeply about friends. In the hospital. Wandering. Discussing faith and wonder.

    How wonderful is to have made bad black bean soup.



  • It’s a New Day, It’s a New Life, and I’m Feeling Good

    Winter and the Winter Solstice Moon

    Tuesday gratefuls: The Shema. Hebrew. Decoding. Learning a language. Ooph. Sinking into the New Year. Great Sol blazes across another Colorado blue Sky. Black-eyed Peas. Black Beans. Black-eyed Pea soup. Cooking. In my remodeled kitchen. Tom’s poems and his depth. Mario’s optimism and self-confidence. Paul’s will and intellect. Bill’s steadiness and insight. The Ancient Brothers. Five years or so of honesty, authenticity, compassion, and love. Diane in Taiwan. Great photos. Tara and her skill as a teacher. My friends.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Soup in Winter

    One brief shining: Yes oh yes each morning a resurrection, each day a new life, new chances for love and justice and compassion, for leadership in your own heart, for doing what you can, surrendering when you must, for standing out as the unique and irreplaceable one that you are as part of the one that envelops all in its sacred embrace.


    Leaning into the Jewish idea that each morning is a resurrection from the one-sixtieth of death that is a night’s sleep. Each day is a new life we could even say a new year since it’s the only time you have this new year, this day. What is your kavanah, your intention, for this new life you’ve been given? Yes, given. You woke up, didn’t you? Grief teaches us about the wonder and awe of this simple pleasure, waking up. And about the opportunity it is. This is not just any day, it’s a new day!

    Perhaps we should set aside New Year’s resolutions. As if we didn’t know that already, right? Instead let’s make new day intentions. Maybe find a bit more joy than yesterday. Imagine if you could find just a bit more joy each day. What could you feel like at the end of a month?

    Perhaps a bit more calmness. Not a lot. You don’t have to wind down, be chill in every moment. No. Take a breath now and then today. Try that 4-7-8 breathing or some other calming technique. At least once. See if it helps.

    In my case. Give focused attention to Hebrew while at Tara’s. Prep that black-eyed Pea soup for the MVP group tomorrow night. Consider driving into Denver to Listenup and buy a new cd player. Smile at that Lodgepole soaking up the heat and energy from Great Sol. Be easy as I do all these things. Not pressing as I might. Not pushing. Flowing with them. Letting the Water of my day find its own path to the gentleness of evening.


    And, in other news. In an 8-7 decision Israel’s Supreme Court had its Marbury v. Madison moment and came down on the side of judicial authority. We’ve not heard the last of this one. Also, a Korean presidential candidate got stabbed in Busan. Japan had another quake, a 7.6 with many aftershocks. Tsunami warnings in Japan and Korea. And 45’s star continues to rise among the ranks of the Grand Old Party. May it go nova and turn into a political black hole for all of them.



  • Eating

    Winter and the Winter Solstice Moon

    Tuesday gratefuls: Emunah. Faith. Panentheism. MVP. Rich. Susan. Jamie. Marilyn. Ron. Joan. Tara. Yet more Snow. A new year on the way, Gregorianly speaking. So many new years. 2025. A quarter century into the new millennia. Y2K. Those of us born in the middle of the last century of the last millennia. Mark and an orange/red Moon. Kep, my sweet boy. Kate, of blessed memory. Jon. Ruth. Gabe. Pammy. BJ. Sarah. Anne. Pork tenderloin medallions. Easy Entrees.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Good sleeping

    One brief shining: Chose to make my own Christmas meal with Pork medallions, mashed Potatoes, and mixed Vegetables; got out the small cast iron skillet, drizzled some virgin olive oil in it, poured water into a sauce pan for the mashed Potatoes, and tossed the steam-in-bag Vegetables into the microwave, pressed the on button for the skillet, ticked down to 7 on the induction settings, waited for the oil to shimmer and placed the Pork medallions in the skillet, put the wire oil catcher on it, hit 3 minutes on the timer, after 30 seconds I set the microwave to work, at 3 minutes I turned the medallions over, made the mashed Potatoes while they went another two minutes, ding, the Vegetables came out, plated it all and Merry Christmas, Charlie!


    I enjoy cooking but the trick for me now is a meal that doesn’t take too long to make. With frozen vegetables and dehydrated potatoes I can focus on the entree, meat or fish. Neither takes too long when cooked in a skillet. The elaborate meals I used to make for Kate, for the grandkids and Jon are more work and clean-up than I want to expend. When cooking for just me. Clean up is a factor, too. Elaborate meals require many different bowls, pans, utensils. Using a cast iron skillet cleanup is easy. Ditto with the frozen Vegetables steam-in-bag and the dehydrated Potatoes. I know they sound awful, but really they’re pretty good. Some meals I’ll make Rice in my Rice cooker. Also pretty straight forward.

    Even with this quicker fix for a meal I still don’t cook often. Maybe 3 or four times a week at night. I make breakfast each morning. Eggs. Fruit. Yogurt. Bean burrito. Sometimes tinned fish. Toast with Bread Lounge sourdough. Sometimes Mueslix or steel-cut Oats. Varies. Lunch is often Sardines, crackers, fruit. Or, tinned Tuna. Tinned fish have no additives, are easy, and taste good.

    Another quick but good cooking method involves prepared meals from the Evergreen Market or Easy Entrees. They sometimes are a little more work, but they provide variety in my diet. Pork schnitzel. Cannelini beans in an herb sauce. Pork fried Rice. Green Beans with Bacon and vinaigrette, Steak au poivre or Steak Diane, a roasted vegetables skillet dish. That sort of thing. These are once in a while meals.

    Don’t eat out much. Breakfasts with friends. A very occasional meal like the one I had with Alan last week at Bastien’s Steak House or the Urban Farmer for Thanksgiving. Sometimes lunch out, but rarely. So I make most of my own food with an emphasis on simple and quick, and tasty. Took a while to get into a rhythm after Kate died, but I think I’ve found one that works for me. Mostly healthy.

  • An often harsh culture

    Lughnasa and the Korea Moon

    Saturday gratefuls: The Grilled Fish shop. Mackerel. Salad with sesame seed dressing. Kimchi. Tofu soup. Pickled radish. Bean Sprouts. Friendship day between Korean Air Force controllers and US controllers. Barbecue with hamburgers and hot dogs. Bulgogi. My son’s care for the folks who work for him. Working out. Pain free. Slow and deliberate. Walking by Mr. Lee.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Korean Culture

    One brief shining: The waitress, maybe 5 feet tall, brought out a wooden tray filled with side dishes and slid them into place with the ease of long practice, small covered tin bowls held Rice; she went away and came back with a flat wooden plank containing three whole grilled Fish, all Mackerel, which Seoah prized apart with the blunt end of her metal chopsticks.


    The Grilled Fish House sits back from Songtan-ro next to a mechanics shop which never seems to have any cars in the bays. About a five minute walk from the apartment building.

    A light Rain fell. Seoah had her umbrella up; but I carried mine unfurled, enjoying the sensation. Rain is no longer common for me in the Mountains. The day was warm.

    A table full of working men drank beer and wielded their chopsticks click clack click. An aquarium at the front held three sullen looking fish, a desultory final home.

    Seoah and I ate all three Mackerels. Thought it would be too much. It wasn’t. Over the meal we talked about Korean culture. I had collected two paper cups for water and put them top down on the table. No. Always this way. Cups up. Ah. Also. I’ve noticed you just put money down on the counter when paying. Yes? Korean people are sensitive. Think that means you disrespect them. Oh. How do I do it properly? Both hands on the money and hand it to them. I can do that.

    This conversation segued into bullying. The intense competitive nature of Korean society manifest especially in the schools, the military, and business leads to constant maneuvering for positions of authority or power. The apparently weak or different suffer. Seoah confirmed this and shook her head. This country.

    Korea has universal service so all Korean males go into the Republic of Korea armed service. The ROK. Between age 19 and age 28 a young man has to enlist  for a time period between 18 and 21 months depending on the branch selected. There are exemptions, but most end up doing at least alternative service.

    The harshness of the service experience as displayed in D.P., Deserter Pursuer, seems to be common knowledge. Look at this article in the Washington Post.

    Seoah confirmed that her brother had trouble when he served. It seems especially the intelligent and the artistic, the gay and the just different, experience brutal beatings and constant hazing. Seoah said she thought many of the episodes on D.P. drew on real stories. If so, OMG.

    A similar dynamic occurs in schools. This is a culture’s way of enforcing its most conservative and ugly values. Not much different from racism and sexism.

    Seoah said she prefers American culture because it recognizes boundaries between individuals. Not to say we don’t have our bullying and hazing.. We do. The difference seems to be the ubiquity of them in Korean culture.