Monthly Archives: March 2011
Everybody knows the French have a self-inflated sense of themselves, but in the realm of the kitchen it’s quite justified.
My girlfriend Florence was a marvelous Provençal-style cook. You have no idea what I’d give for some of her lapin chasseur (rabbit stew) right now. Actually there were some things that I cooked that she would ask me to prepare. She especially liked my stir-fry pork with honey-mustard sauce.
She remarked, one time that Americans couldn’t cook anything without a can of Cream of Mushroom soup. I told her that was a horrible, outrageous lie…
There’s also Cream of Asparagus, Cream of Broccoli, Cream of Celery, Cream of Chicken, Cream of Chicken and Mushroom, Cream of Chicken with Herbs, Cream of Chicken with Roasted Garlic, Cream of Onion, Cream of Shrimp and Cream of Potato Soup as well. So THERE!
Last night I made a Campbell recipe called Fiesta Chicken which uses Cream of Chicken AND Cream of Mushroom soup. It’s delicious.
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can cream of mushroom soup
2 small tomatoes, chopped
1/3 cup picante sauce
I medium green pepper, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
2 to 3 teaspoons chili powder
12 corn tortillas (6) inches) cut into 1-inch strips
3 cups cubed cooked chicken
1 cup (4 oz) shredded Colby cheese
In a bowl combine the soups, tomatoes, picante sauce, green pepper, onion and chili powder.
In a greased 13”X9” baking dish layer half of the tortilla strips, chicken, soup mixture and cheese. Repeat layers.
Cover and bake at 350° for 40 to 50 minutes or until bubbly.
Take that you Gallic Cuisine Snob!
There is a WordPress feature called the Tag Surfer that shows posts others have done on their blogs that you have an interest in.
This morning I came across one featuring paintings by the father of French Impressionism, Claude Monet. The one that instantly struck me was this one done at the small village of Etretat in Normandy on the English Channel (La Manche to the French)
When I spent five days vacationing there in 1991 there weren’t any boats on the beach.
There is one last song I want to have played when my ashes are scattered. It’s not that I just added this to the list because it is actually the second song I’d decided on several years ago. It’s by the a capella group Sweet Honey In The Rock. I’ve presented some of their videos on this blog previously. Of course all these songs have a message in the lyrics. My way of saying “goodbye.”
Yesterday I read a great post by Martha Goudey’s Blog “Taking Care of Mom” -Reflections on daily life with a 101-year-old woman. It addresses what one does with the “remains.”
I have to admit that in the two and a half years since my heart attack I think about my own mortality almost on a daily basis and what to do with my remains. I want to be cremated and have my ashes scattered on the Gulf Stream off of Fort Lauderdale. In my years as a boat captain I’ve made many trips up and down the east coast of the United States on boats and I can imagine that some small part of my ashes might take me on one last trip up that way and perhaps an atom or two might even make it all the way across the pond back to England where both sides of my family came from.
One thing I’ve done is to gather some music for the ceremony at sea. I definitely don’t want want “Amazing Grace” played. Yes, I love the song, but it is such a cliché it would make me vomit in the urn and I’d go over the side in a lump.
I’ve made a CD of the music I want played when they take me out to sea for the last time and it’s in the hands of a couple of people so perhaps it won’t get lost. One of the songs, and I can’t find a video of it, is done by Dave Hole, called “Lost At Sea.”
As the sun sinks down like a submarine
You will find me down on the coast.
I’ll be gazing out at the shining sea
That’s the time I miss you the most.
Every star that shines will one day die
Every journey comes to an end.
And there are some things we’ll never know
Though it helps us to pretend.
When I see your eyes
In the gloom around me
And if I’m asked where you are gone
I’ll say you are lost at sea.
One of the songs will be “I’ll Fly Away,”
Another is Tom Waits doing “Shiver me Timbers” which pretty well sums up my life.
And, then it’s time to do the big dump to this tune by the now-defunct New Orleans group the Subdudes. Forward to 58 seconds to start the song at the right place.
Basically there are two seasons in Panama. The “Rainy Season” and the “Dry Season.”
They look like this:
Filmed last May
Well, to be fair it hasn’t rained here in over a week.
I got in on this a little late, but better late than never, I guess.
Smashwords is having what they call Read an Ebook week. Many authors, myself included have made their works available either for free or at discounted prices.
I’m giving away my Sailing Alone To Isla short story for free and you can get my books Despair at half off (for the next four days it’s only $1.50 – a bargain at twice the price). Click on the link to take you to the page for that book or story. There will be a coupon number. Add the book to your cart and when you check out add the coupon and get the discount.
But you have to hurry to get this or thousands of other books available on Smashwords. Sign up for a FREE account and cash in.
Yes, they celebrate Carnival here in Panama but it’s not the same as when I was living four blocks off of St. Charles Avenue in New Orleans. After weeks of parades on the weekend the big day finally rolled around. People “masked” and turned out. In the 10 years I lived there I only went down to the French Quarter and Bourbon Street twice. Much too crazy. Up by my house it was primarily families. DRUNK families, but families none the less. The first parade, REX with the King and Queen of Mardi Gras would pass by my house about 10 in the morning and it DIDN’T STOP until about 4 or 5 in the afternoon. Then there was a break for about three hours and the final parade of the year would come by about 8:30 and then it would be over.
Of course, New Orleans is all about music and Mardi Gras is a part of life there so naturally it’s enshrined in song.
Here’s Al “Carnival Time” Johnson.
The one and only Henry Rowland Bird — Professor Longhair
You went looking for the Mardi Gras Indians sometime during the day and hope you’d find a Big Chief.
And on that note I’ll end this with some musical greats: Dr. John, Professor Longhair, Earl King and the Meters (Art and Cyril Neville, George Porter, Leo Nocentelli, and Joseph “Zigaboo” Modeliste
NOTE: In the song “Carnival Time” there’s a phrase that, unless you’re from the New Orleans area would make no sense to you. It’s “Throw the baby out the window.” Now, if you have no frame of reference you might think that it’s about child abuse, but it’s not.
One of the traditions of Mardi Gras is the King Cake. New Orleans isn’t the only place that has the King Cake. Here’s the history of the thing: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/King_cake
Tucked somewhere inside the cake (AFTER it’s been baked) is a small, plastic “baby.”
The tradition is that if you have the baby in your piece you are supposed to throw the next party. People have been known to swallow the baby or to palm it and throw it out a window to avoid having to host a party, thus the phrase.
I LOVE the dawn. Seeing the world wake up. Listening to the roosters calling up here on the side of the mountain in Panama.
When I was 18 I used to stay up all night so I could see the dawn. At 68 I turn in early so I can wake up and see it.
I KNOW I posted this video before but I like it.
The dawn is such a precious thing there are several words in the Spanish language for it: La Alba, La Madrugada describe the time and amanecer describes the process of the dawn.
Of the two words, La Alba is used most often in poetry.