Archive for October, 2019


File under: Pet Peeves; conversation overheard.

Her Dad is 95, living alone in New Jersey and has appointment to see a specialist about a serious medical diagnosis and his Home Attendant, who is from Senegal, is to accompany him.

From Utah, Pam, the daughter, one of four siblings who rotate in regularly and is charged as his health proxy, calls the morning of the appointment to find out that their main Home Attendant has taken an unscheduled vacation which the agency did not notify her of and with an hour to go, her dad is with this newcomer and still not up, dressed and fed. Livid but trying to remain cordial, she asks to speak to the replacement Attendant, Temish – who is from Ghana. She wonders to herself why the Agency sends no candidates from The States who can speak better English and are assimilated into American culture these days. A fight with them is for a future day. For now, the appointment is crucial.

When she tells the new Attendant of the magnitude of the appointment and how they have to be picked up in an hour, all the replacement says is, “
I know. I know…” This is one of Pam’s pet peeves and the following conversation ensues:

“This is an important appointment.
I know.
You guys are getting picked-up in an hour.
I know.
The sky is blue gaga today.
I kn-n-n… (stuttering ensues)”

“Stop saying ‘I know’! If you knew, then you’d be up and Dad would ‘know’ he has an appointment. He is still not up, has not eaten breakfast and doesn’t remember this.
Never say to me, ‘I know’ – better to say “I understand” and then do not fear asking questions for further guidance.
Nobody “know” all, especially since you’re not from here in The States. Nobody “know” all who cannot be educated – not even me. With my Dad I can help you with and I must help you hear me – to know him and our customs better. Do you understand?”
[silence]

“I don’t know you, Temish
So to me, your mind is like and bread box with half of a loaf inside.
To me you know nothing of our ways.”
[more silence]

“I used to say, “I know…” to the elders who tried to teach me when I was growing up right there where you are right now. It is like a mental block by a stubborn child who does not want to hear nor be taught.
Except that now, adult-looking people use it as a crutch when they come to our country, trying to hold onto their own culture and not assimilate into the western lifestyle, while not admitting it. In your case, it is dismissive of me trying to help.
So, Never say, ‘I know’ because you likely don’t know. Instead, think of something to ask or add as a reply to the conversation – and with that, you will complete the communication.”
“Okay.” (progress?)

Its been a long time since an episode of “Bachelor Cooking” posted!

Not a single recipe since I was dating Inna earlier this decade, and while the hurt from those failed relations (nobody’s fault but the money) will never go away until I mend that loss with a more stable Украина женщина, I decided to follow up my “Columbus Day Top Ten” reasons post with what I created for my Italian-style Columbus Day After-parade dinner. I’ve been on a cooking “roll” (no pun intended) lately, and its a shame that I have no lady to share them with. I digress…back to the dish and not the “dish”.

This “hot” Italian sausage and spinach dish came out “restaurant quality” in my opinion. You can use just about any firm pasta as the base so long as it withstands the sausage and tomatoes; I chose Rigatoni, but Penne, Rotini or shells would work!

In the wake of Columbus Day 2019 and the inspiration of watching it from outside of NYC on WABC7NY television that glorious Monday, I wanted to extend and so I imagined, what kind of food I could make similar to what would be enjoyed in the Little Italy that evening for my own post-parade party. Before a recent trip, I stocked my provisions in the fridge and I had a craving for hot Italian sausage, which I hadn’t had the opportunity to grill all summer as I would have in normal years past. 2019 has not been a “normal” year; I’ll tell you why in a couple more posts.

So, I came up with this simple celebration of taste where you’ll only need one pot and your large black iron frying pan to create a restaurant-quality dish! I’d just recently became reacquainted with my heavy pan which was in storage, seasoned it with some extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) and put aside overnight in a cooling oven.

Therefore, when I began this dish by sauteing three hot Italian sausages on number 2.5, if your range is electric or medium-low if gas, it was ready to rock and roll. Simultaneously, prepare half-pound of Rigatoni in another two-quart pot with a dash of seas salt tossed in the water. Make sure you put three cuts on each sausage like you would a hot dog on the grill – it will make them easier to chunk with your metal spoon, spatula or precise-knife!

While that is cooking, get one onion, three garlic cloves ( or a couple teaspoons of pre-minced from the jar, half a bag of frozen (unless you want to do it yourself fresh) pre-sliced “three peppers (yellow, read & green) mix”, one can of diced peppers, a half can of tomato paste and half-bag fresh spinach (not “baby”) ready on the side to join the action. When the sausage starts to sizzle, I turn them and lace with a hand-full of Italian seasoning from my spice carousel. Cook your pasta according to the directions on the box and set aside.

After about 7 minutes, take the chunks of sausage out of the pan put in a little tin warm-foil and set aside on your stove top. Drain any excess oil from the heavy pan – but not all! Lower heat and add your garlic, chop three-quarters of a yellow onion, stir and raise the heat to medium or 4.5 on the electric range. Stir a lot and add your tomatoes (with juice),tomato paste, a splash of a red-wine beet marinade and four drops of Filippo Berio Raspberry Glaze with Balsamic vinegar and a little palm-full of hot red-pepper flakes from my spice carousel. Cook it about 10 minutes and stir often to mix it up! Remove from heat.

Drain the Rigatoni, toss with a splash of evoo and couple dashes of dried Basil. Add spinach. I transferred it to my big, silver chef’s bowl and mixed all up really good with my chef’s wooden spoon, until the spinach was wilted. Add sausage and really mix-up and toss as all ingredients now have a party going on in the bowl!

Transfer a portion to a serving dish and top with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese… “Viola!”

A nice, room-temperature glass of authentic Chianti completes this meal!

This definitely extended the Columbus Day feeling for the rest of the week as I (of course) have copious leftovers in my brand new resealable container, tempting me to munch every time I open the fridge.

As with a stew, it was even better the second serving! “Light-bulb!!! Maybe you can use this recipe for your upcoming NFL Super Bowl party!
Enjoy and please let me know how you liked it!
And now a word from our classic commercials…

1 – It gives me a nostalgic, Fall holiday feeling because, growing up in what was arguably the best public school system in America, New York City’s from the late 1950s through the early 1970s, we had to learn about Christopher (Cristoforo) Columbus [1451 – 1506] and his romanticized voyage in addition to getting another day off from the new school year! First report cards, Veteran’s Day and Thanksgiving were on the horizon!

2 – Occurring a few days after the Jewish New Year and Yom Kippur, it reminds me of our collective cultural heritage as Americans.

3 – His voyage proved the earth is not flat! Imagine only knowing Europe, Asia and maybe Africa as the totality of the planet and then sailing east of your world, trying to find a short-cut to the Far East (the Orient) without knowing if you would fall off the edge into oblivion! That was the prevailing geography of Columbus’ era!! He was truly courageous.

4 – Now THAT’s Italian! Even though he set sail from Spain, Columbus was born in Genoa, Italy. Columbus Day is an Italian celebration! Among our earliest immigrants to “the melting pot”, they are one of my favorite nationalities and some of the coolest paisans who’ve given us pizza, pasta, romantic music and not to mention movies like The Godfather, gangsters, many streets named “Columbus” (like “Columbus Circle in NYC), and beautiful women like Sophia Loren! I recall an Italian girl named Marie from my first job at an A&P food store; she used to come in with her mom and I was the sixteen year old produce clerk weighing and bagging her melons, etc. If only I wasn’t so shy back then, I would have asked her to a movie and possibly changed my history – we definitely had some chemistry!

5 – Little Italy. There is one in every major city, but New York City’s is the most famous and where the food in the many restaurants and bars is off the chain deeee-licious. It’s sure to be poppin’ down there Monday night!

6 – The Nina. His flagship, sailed 25,000 miles under Columbus’ command and was his favorite of the three ships. Real name was the Santa Clara after the patron saint, but took the nickname from her owner, Juan Nino of Moguer. I think “Nina” means “the girl”.

7 – The Pinta. Like the Nina, a Caravel ship, light and fast; commonly used by explorers of those days. The most mysterious of the trio, she returned home and apparently that is all that is known.

8 – And The Santa Maria. The least favored by Columbus was the heaviest of them all; a cargo ship. Must have been a keen trick to keep track of all!

9 – The Parades!

10 – This Poem that helped us learn about the history of Columbus Day:

“In fourteen hundred ninety-two
Columbus sailed the ocean blue.
He had three ships and left from Spain;
He sailed through sunshine, wind and rain.
He sailed by night; he sailed by day;
He used the stars to find his way.
A compass also helped him know
How to find the way to go.
Ninety sailors were on board;
Some men worked while others snored.
Then the workers went to sleep;
And others watched the ocean deep.
Day after day they looked for land;
They dreamed of trees and rocks and sand.
October 12 their dream came true,
You never saw a happier crew!
“Indians! Indians!” Columbus cried;
His heart was filled with joyful pride.
But “India” the land was not;
It was the Bahamas, and it was hot.
The Arakawa natives were very nice;
They gave the sailors food and spice.
Columbus sailed on to find some gold
To bring back home, as he’d been told.
He made the trip again and again,
Trading gold to bring to Spain.
The first American? No, not quite.
But Columbus was brave, and he was bright.”

Pickhit: I’ve noticed that some southeastern U.S. states, in what must be misguided, immature rebelliousness, gloss-over Columbus Day, previously celebrated on October 12th, the date he landed on our shores, universally across the land – and now on the second Monday – by renaming it shamefully as a “Professional Learning Day” while giving students the day off, ignoring it completely or otherwise denying pupils one of the most colorful and interesting holidays which celebrates the combining world and American (“the new world”) histories.
There was Ameriggo, Leif and Magellan, but only Columbus got the title of “first”.

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