Category Archives: Fast Food

Sad Times July 23rd 2014

It has not been a very happy year so far and it shows no sign of getting better any time soon. I know I’ve been off the radar for two years now and I can’t seem to get back on the horse. I am putting a link that will tell the tale for me in the hopes of getting some help. Here it is http://www.gofundme.com/bm047c
I never thought it come to this but desperate times call for desperate measures. Thanks for reading, and to any who used my work for term papers and such. I hope you got good grades.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Alton Brown, Amanda Palmer, Anthony Bourdain, Art, Art Shows, Arthur Miller, Beacon Theater, Brian Viglione, Cafe Reggio, Central Park, Chelsea Market, Christmas, Concerts, Cooking, Cooking Channel, David Letterman, Disaster, Dresden Dolls, East Village, Emeril, Eugene O'Neil, Family, Fast Food, Food, Food Writing, France, French, French Food, Gardening, Good Eats, Greenwich Village, Grilling, Hicksville, History, Hurricane Irene, Italy, Japanese Food, Juan Miro', Late Show, Life, Literature, Little Italy, Long Island, Lower East Side, MacDougal St, Media, Medium Raw, Memories, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Minetta Tavern, Mixed Media, Moby Dick, MOMA, Music, My Truth, New York City, No Reservations, NY, Off Broadway, P J Harvey, Paris, Peter Mayle, Plays, Pop Culture, Provence, Rants, Riebe's, Samuel Beckett, Shepard Fairey, Soul Music, Spanish Food, Street Art, Thai Food, The Best Thing I Ever Ate, Theater, Theatre, Tim Holtz, Travel, Twilight Zone, Uncategorized, Vietnamese Food, Village Voice, Weather, Wine, Writing

Right Brain Cooking-July 29Th 2010

To cook well is to pull the best out of the freshest ingredients, yourself and your recipe. It takes a commitment to creating food that tastes good, looks good, and is hopefully good for you. Unless of course your making Cassoulet Toulosain or Thanksgiving dinner then it’s all good. When you cook food well you create an emotional bond between you and those who enjoy your food., and when you succeed-people remember your cooking long after your gone. I would give anything to taste my Aunt Dora’s Roast beef with Yorkshire Pudding and Roasted potatoes fried in lard again, with gallons of gravy. The fact is that when you have passion for the cusine and respect for the ingredients the result is  being asked to make your signature dishes again and again. I always want my cousin Donna to make her crab dip for Christmas, even though she gave me the recipe and I made it to rave reviews too on one occasion. I think that she just makes it better than I do.

The only way to get there is through years of practice, and when disaster strikes as it most certainly will, taking note of what went wrong and why. Then not repeating the same mistake twice. The first time I made Pan Seared Salmon with Puy Lentils in Balsamic Vinegar and Olive Oil it was a mess, the salmon stuck to the pan, the lentils saut’eed with red and green peppers were too oily and the Balsamic could do nothing to save them. The second time around the fish came out perfect with a nice browning on one side but not too done and the lentils were balanced just right. Thanks Emeril for the recipe from the book you signed at Borders in Westbury for me, lots of good easy recipes. If you are workmanlike in your approach and chef-like in  your observation of the food and how it reacts to the cooking process-then each each dish should get better with practice.

The greatest thing about learning how to cook is that almost anyone at any age can begin to learn cooking. Even if you don’t have thousands of dollars to go to culinary school, you can still for a small investment start learning the art of cooking well on your own. The internet has video demostrations by journeyman cooks to help you, and the shows available on TV/DVD can open a Pandora’s Box of information that wasn’t available when I was young. I still remember my mom and Grandma watching Julia Child and the Galloping Gourmet, they thought that Graham Kerr was charming and fummy. I watched an episode of his old show recently and I was bored beyond belief, half the show was spent telling a long lame joke before he cooked amything, and yet I remember the audience was enchanted by it all. How could we have known what would happen thirty or so years in the future. Where a TV channel would be created just to showcase clebrity chefs and later a second channel for lesser known cooks to have a chance at stardom, either way it wound up being a school for amateur cooks to learn and grow, and other channels would feature healthy cooking demonstrations and the Travel Channel focusing on the foods of distant lands.

It seems as our world got smaller, our palettes got bigger. The mac & cheese or franks an beans didn’t do it anymore for most. But I’m sure we all return from time to time to that special place where old time comfort food still lives, in our memories and that’s why we sometimes cook something just to taste it again. Yet, in these times of fast food, fast cars, and faster internet it’s become inportant to cook well. In order to win the heart  of someone or impress the boss and his wife, or even your hipster crowd of friends. cooking is the modern equivalent of being a Renaissance artist, the best of them were held in high regard, but even the journeyman were recieved recognition as being on a higher plane. So we are all riding a culinary rocket that has no end in sight. Just as long as we take care of the planet, it will take care of us and that will ensure that plenty of fresh food and water will be available for all. But perhaps the biggest reason why we should cook well is, because our taste demands it.

Peace

Glen

MyFreeCopyright.com Registered & Protected

Leave a comment

Filed under Anthony Bourdain, Cooking, Cooking Channel, Emeril, Fast Food, Food, Life, Memories, My Truth, Writing

I Cook Well-July 14TH 2010

Those of you who read my BLOG know that I am no stranger to cooking, I do most of the cooking in the house, my mom is disabled and I cook something decent at least four nights a week. But flash back and by the age of eight I was coming down early on Sunday mornings and making bacon and eggs with a pot of tea before my parents were awake. Then I would set the table and lay out the food before going to wake my parents up, my folks groggy eating half cold food and wondering what to do with me. So flashing forward 40 years later and I decide in December of 2009 to teach myself classic French cooking. I armed myself with a set of JA Henckels knives and added to the armload of cookbooks we already had and dove fearlessly into the unknown. My first dish was the ubiquitous french Navarin D”Agneau, lamb stew with spring vegetables. It came out OK but I moved on. By the time I made Blanquette de veau, veal stew in cream sauce. Coq au Vin, chicken cooked in red wine and pan roasted trout with fennel I discovered a few things about myself and about cooking well. I was blooded by a pairing knife (1st time) and wore a forearm burn proudly till it healed. Granted, not all the dishes came out great but the experience was, I learned a little about butchering meat, to look a fish in the eye before I buy it and to read a recipe carefully. I also found out what to do when you get “in the weeds.” This is where rum and Coke helps tremendously.

Most of the men at my job wouldn’t be caught dead cooking French food, and at least one thinks that canned gloppy soup over rice or giant frozen boats of mystery meat swimming in unlikely gravy is Haute cuisine!  They are all caught up in typical American attitudes towards the French and their food. Which as we all know, has been increased exponentially by the former Bush Administration, why? Because of the lack of France’s support for George W. Bush’s war for oil and profit. Even the guys that do cook would not go to the trouble and expense that I do, and I would be kidded no end by my interest in all things French.

So…why do I do it? Because I have to, because I love it. The research in my books, the planning, the shopping and the execution. The proof however is when your family, friends or guests begin to eat. Sometimes the silence is worrying until you look up to see bulging cheeks and nods of approval like some bobble head dolls on a dash-board. That makes it all worthwhile, and just like any art form you can look upon it and say “I made this …and it’s good, very good.” For me the accomplishment of feeding a dozen people Thanksgiving dinner from a kitchen the size of a NYC food cart is enormous, although it is tinged with a little sadness that my mom who taught me a great deal, because of her disability, is forced to sit on the sidelines and watch me do what used to be her job. But at least I have a prep chef and coucil.

In our current “post traumatic economy disorder” many people are finding it harder to feed the typical family of four. Television commercials are touting large TV dinners as the answer to all our problems, serve it up with a salad and call it “restaurant night!” These commercials show happy middle class families excited to sit down to such fare as an alternative to going out for a nice dinner.  The sad thing is that many families are doing  just that because they can’t afford a meal out for four unless it’s fast food served on plastic trays, and guess what-that’s not so cheap as it used to be either. But on the flip side the many chain restaurants are offering two-fer-one deals to try to lure people out of the house with the promise of good food. How much healthier it is to cook from scratch, a few basic techniques, some herbs and spices and you got it. Then get the kids or your friends involved and make it fun! It’s not hard, anyone can do this if they have the guts and the desire. You don’t need a cooking degree from Culinary Institute of America or the French Culinary Institute ( but I would still like one if I could afford to go) to be able to make a few great dishes. I have cooked as a hobby for many years before it became a passion and a necessity in recent times, but this year I feel that I reached a new milestone in my cooking. I have mastered a few techniques, taught myself to cook many things I never tried before and developed a sense of how to cook a dish  just from observing it being made on TV. There is a lot I don’t know and more that I want to do, I need better knife skills for one and I need to learn to cook fish and meat better, and I need to graduate beyond stews and casseroles. I may have my critics and that’s fine, most people do.

All I know is that I may not be a great chef, but at least I cook well.

Bon Appetite

Glen

MyFreeCopyright.com Registered & Protected

2 Comments

Filed under Family, Fast Food, Food, French, French Food, Life, Memories, My Truth

Mourning Becomes Electra-Feb 2009

Another cold windy day in late February, I’m standing in the platform waiting room of the Long Island Railroad trying to warm up with some coffee as I wait for my train. I wish I had the sense to bring some tissues or a pocket handkerchief as I slowly get rid of a head cold that had me home sick in bed three days ago. I look over at a woman in her mid-fifties but decide not to ask her for tissues, strangely though we strike up a conversation anyway, chatting about the trains and I take the opportunity to pitch the Electronic Cigarette to her ( a new way to enjoy nicotine without the cancer risks) that I have started to sell as a side income. So far only my Dad has bought one and that was a major triumph for me, to get him to come aboard after a heart attack and two strokes is probably too little too late but at least I tried. Still, many people who I thought would jump at it haven’t as of yet. Maybe their waiting for the stimulus check that will make all the difference in our lives, anyone who believes that stand on your head!

We sit down to continue our conversation across from each other and Virginia tells me she is a licensed massage therapist and practices living life to the fullest. We talk about diet and health, the care of older family members and an Indian way of life called Ayurveda, a balanced approach to life and health, and the idea of eating in reverse, having dinner for breakfast and breakfast for dinner. She is very interesting but I don’t know if I could stomach dinner in the morning.  All too soon we arrive at Jamaica Station and Virginia gets off to go to work, I wish her well and were off again on a bumpy ride while a man behind me snores like a buzz saw. I’m going in today to see Mourning Becomes Electra, my second Eugene O’Neill play and at four hours long with two intermissions it promises to be an experience. If I feel up to it I’ll go to the Village afterwards for dinner, I am dying to try a Greek place I read about on Menu Pages dot com, right now we are hurtling through the tunnel at break neck speed making writing impossible…

I make it topside after the usual cattle drive to get upstairs and on the surface again, it’s cold and I’m glad of the grey sweater my mom got me for xmas. I have it on under my overcoat on top of a longsleeve knit shirt and I’m still chilly, I can’t imagine how the homeless people survive the winter. I start walking to the theater district in the cold sunshine – it’s a beautiful day, people jostle each other as they cross the streets and vie for position at the street corners waiting for the lights to change. Suddenly an old Asian woman stops me and hands me an envelope with an address on it, she can only speak a few words but she can’t find this doctors office. I look at the numbers, she’s on the right street but I don’t see it either, I wave her to follow me and I see that the entrance is actually around the corner on a side street! I direct her to go upstairs with a pat on the shoulder for good luck, she thanks me and goes inside to get the elevator. That woman never would have found that entrance without help, so I feel good now. I made a difference for someone today, I just hope she’s not too sick.

I continue on my way but now I’m getting a little lost, I thought it was on a certain street and it isn’t there, I went to this theatre once at night ( which is documented in my post Mouth To Mouth) in the rain and now I feel stupid because I obviously transposed the numbers in my head and my subscription letter doesn’t have the address on it. I didn’t follow my own advice from a previous post to always know where your going and have phone numbers and addresses in pocket. So now I wander, I stop in a theater store selling theater district souvenir’s and they tell me to go to 43 rd St but it’s not there. I’m starting to panic, if I don’t find it soon I will have to wait till the 7:00 pm performance, I don’t want to have to kill six hours, but after a while I stop in the Lyceum Theater box office and am helped by Jennifer, a thirty-something cute woman who makes two calls for me and gives me directions how to get there from her, I promise her a drink in the future and off I go, I’ve got thirty minutes before the show starts.

Thankfully, I’ve got strong legs and I make the 3 city blocks and 4 Avenues over in about twenty minutes, I’m in now and take my seat in the next to last row. This is good for me in this small theater which seats about 250 people, the set is once again minimal but effective. There are black crepe curtains that hang over the walls and the rear of the stage which cover gilt framed portraits of the deceased family members from the past. The center stage has a few wicker chairs and a desk, while the back center stage has double doors with Roman columns on either side in between the aforementioned portraits. There are exitways stage left and right which allow the actors to give the illusion of movement, by exiting and then reappearing through the doors, this gives the actors the ability to appear to be going inside the house and back outside, the use of back lighting and also colored lights give this a Kabuki feel as well as the suspension of dis-belief when they walk in the aisle’s behind and on either side of us to add to the feeling of distance travelled.

The large cast is very good and hats off to the players who only have a few lines, they do an excellent job. But the stellar performance of Jena Malone as Livinia is what you’re paying for here. She is stretched tight as a drum in this demanding role, she has the most lines and is on stage for most of the production. The role of Christine, played by Lili Taylor is also moving and demanding, she is brilliant. This must be exhausting for all of them to do this twice a day. But I think special mention should also be given to Joseph Cross as Orin, the battle scarred brother to Livinia who’s love for his mother borders on obsession. This play is  O’Neill’s re-imagining of  The Oresteia, a Greek tragedy written by Aeschylus, but I can easily see a recurrence of themes from his Long Days Journey into Night and Moon For The Misbegotten. The loveless marriage, clinging mother,the price children pay when duty to a parent has them taking the place of a disappointing spouse. This story clearly shows how love taken to obsessive lengths can lead to hate and possession and ultimately destroy the things we meant to preserve. I leave the show a little tired, like many O’Neill plays it’s not uplifting, and four hours is long to sit in one place. I wait in the lobby and manage to get an autograph from Joseph Cross and then from Jena Malone, I spend a few moments talking with her about the production and her performance, she is off qiuckly to eat and rest, she’s got to do this all again in two and a half hours! I begin to walk back to Penn station now, I  walk in a zig-zag fashion down unfamiliar streets stopping to look at shops and to see menus in the windows of restaurants. But I’m really not feeling a sit down meal, I need a nap and a shower and a change of clothes before I do that so I walk to Penn to save cab fare and descend to find quick eats before boarding my train. I’ve been on a cheese-steak kick lately so I try the new sandwich place Charley’s for a three cheese meaty surprise on a soft roll with a beer, it’s fast food but not too bad I think as we start moving out of the station. I regret not being able to eat dinner in the village but it’s been a long winter, and I’ve been sick so I’ll treat myself another time. I wonder when I will get to see another Eugene O’Neill play and which one will be revived, I munch my sandwich and speculate about the tragedy of his life that made the writing of Mourning Becomes Electra possible as we cruise slowly down the tracks in the fading light of day.

Peace

Glen
MyFreeCopyright.com Registered & Protected

Leave a comment

Filed under Eugene O'Neil, Fast Food, New York City, Off Broadway, Plays, The New Group, Theater

Winter Horror-Feb 2009

 There is a thing that happens every year where I live around late fall, a thing that fills me with a kind of dread, I should explain that most of the local businesses are landscaped here, I imagine they are everywhere these days wherever people take pride in the look of their homes and businesses. We have gas stations with beautiful slate walled berms with dwarf evergreens, rhododendrons, perennials and annuals topped with colored bark chips. These are maintained by lucky local landscapers who make a living off the small strips of land that border banks, coffee shops, diners, and chain eatery’s like Taco Bell which features an exotic landscape that puts me in the mind of Mexico. When you leave the drive up there you pass flower beds with tall grasses, bright rust colored ground cover, topiary cut pines, and tall flowers with sword like fronds that slice into the sky like rockets waiting to be launched. It all reminds me of an old spaghetti western and I half expect to see some figure in a poncho and wide brimmed hat smoking a cheroot.

 But when the colorful blooms of spring have faded and the rich orange marigolds have turned rusty and blackened, and when the last tomatoes struggle to even ripen just a little. Then my friends the landscapers remove the sad reminders of a summer just past and instead put in their place that most depressing and fatalistic plant of all. Yes my friends I’m talking about the loathsome ornamental cabbage, I have to hope that that these were somehow genetically engineered by man and were the result of a horrible unintended mutation. That the whole idea of using these as decoration was skillfully foisted on an unsuspecting public by a person or companies unknown anxious to recoup capitol after investing in a genetic failure, and there is just no way God put his hand to such a sickly and squanamous creation. 

 They are used to great extent at malls on both the outside flower beds and in the courtyards between stores or restaurants thus ensuring an encounter with their unatural countenances no matter where you go. It was on just such a trip recently that I encountered them unexpectedly. I had taken my mother (who is partially disabled) to the mall to do some shopping, I parked in an area where there are no flower beds because it’s close to the store she needed to go in and also because there are many handicapped spaces on this side of the mall. This can be an exhausting task for me since mom can only walk so far on her own and I wind up pushing her in a Jazzy that’s really not meant to be pushed by another. So after having lunch and going to a few stores I found myself getting overheated in my overcoat, after settling my mom in Bloomingdale’s jewellery department. I walk out side for some fresh air into the courtyard to cool off. Now mind you, I haven’t been to this particular store in years and I don’t think I ever set foot in this courtyard before, so you can imagine the horror as my eyes adjust to the semi-darkness and find myself standing in the middle of a sea of cabbage. There are dozens of them in beds bordering the department store exit and the Cheesecake Factory restaurant opposite me!

 Both the sickening pale green and the whitish purple kind are here, they were planted in a haphazard fashion making the whole courtyard look like the chilling incubator in Aliens. One could easily imagine the squalid leaves opening to release an unctuous beast upon the faces of unwary families. Some of the specimens lean at ungodly angles seeming to talk to their neighbors, others stay low to the ground shooting out in all directions multiplying as they do, and yet others grow straight and tall like sentinels watching over the blighted landscape. Their long stalks looking like vertebrae supporting large vibrant heads which seem to pulsate with an unearthly glow in the fading light of dusk. Most disturbing is the dead and dying lower leaves scattered around in pale sickly disintegration, turning blackish at the edges but not turning dry and crispy like friendly blowing fall leaves that bring back memories of  jumping into the big piles that dad had just raked up. No these are heavy and flesh-like jumping into a pile of these would feel like hugging a cadaver. I am put in the mind of good old H P Lovecraft’s “The Color Out of Space” where a meteor brings unwelcome creatures to a farming community and causes a blighted heath where once was a good and wholesome meadow. I pace a few minutes wishing I had a sword or sickle to hack these blasphemous vegetative entities. I cut my time outside short wishing only to rid myself of the presence of these gross unatural horrors.

 Now I am sure that some of you just love these things to pieces and can’t wait each year to buy them and put then in your yard, and if that’s the case with you dear reader then I can only say sorry…But perhaps they have already got you in their clutches…your one of them now.  Maybe I’m just a little extreme in my dislike for one of God’s creations I  don’t know. I shake off the cold as I go back in to find my mom and take us back to the entrance we came in, where asphalt and concrete prevent the horrors from getting a foothold. I tell myself that spring is just six weeks away and the promise of  color and light will drive these things back to the gates of hell from whence they came. 

Peace

Glen
MyFreeCopyright.com Registered & Protected

Leave a comment

Filed under Fast Food, Gardening, Memories, My Truth, Rants