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July 2006 Archives

July 3, 2006

Sense of Kinship

Our nightly ritual during Red Sox season is to bring our dinner into the tv room, settle onto the black couch, pull up the tray tables and watch the game. Since the season runs from April to October, that's a lot of tv dinners, so to speak.

When yet another boring commercial comes on, I drift back to junior high, or maybe high school, and Grandma Pete is close in my mind. Just like us now, she never missed a Sox game on tv. A rather more complicated procedure than just clicking on the proper cable channel, it involved regular minor adjustments to the antenna, turning the rotor and searching for the best, or at least passable reception, unfortunately too often at crucial points in the game. How she would have loved seeing her favorite Ted Williams, clear and crisp in high definition on a wide screen tv, along with endless replays of game highlights.

Way before Grandma was a tv fan, she and Grandpa would make the long drive from Orange, probably 2-1/2 to 3 hours each way, to see games in person at Fenway. Their friend, Mitch Goyette, who ran the corner store, gave them their first tickets to a home game and they were hooked. They were at Fenway for the longest night game, 15 innings on June 16, 1947, between the Red Sox and St. Louis. That night's highlight was Grandpa's catch of a foul tip off the bat of Tebbets, and the baseball he caught still sits on the mantle in Orange noting the game facts and how it lasted until 1:10 am. My Dad remembers that they didn't get back to Orange until after 4:00 that morning. There's a second ball along with the Tebbets one, but the cover has come off, baring the string core and making the writing illegible.

That close connection with Grandma Pete continued out in the strawberry patch this weekend while I sweated, long after the others had finished picking, making sure I didn't miss even the tiniest berry. Grandma always was a stickler about that. And once they're patiently picked over, right down to the last, mini berry, I enjoy them just like I used to when Grandma would let me have strawberries for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

July 4, 2006

Flags for the Fourth

Heading into the center of Orange MA

July 18, 2006

Good Eating and Then Some

Lest you think I've gone into blogging retirement, let me tell you about the good eating we've been doing of late. It's quite wonderful how a quick and light, but well-flavored meal, can put a lovely ending on a hot or not-so-productive day.

Quick and light is my current goal of choice for dining, with the added challenge that it never, or only in cases of absolute craving, be the same thing twice. Inspiration can come from the weekly newspaper, new magazines, old memories or Google cooking, but the important thing is that the source is merely inspiration. It is not necessary to get special ingredients or to follow the steps absolutely; just grab the basic idea and see where it takes you. I seem to like my cooking more now with a little serendipity.

So what has that led me to for such good eating? Well, first I made a somewhat repeat, kind of a cousin once removed, tilapia dish we had weeks ago. Instead of spinach I used callaloo from the farmers' market, and, lacking mangos, replaced the mango butter sauce with a grapefruit sauce from the ruby red ones I had on hand. I thought 'grapefruit sauce' was original to me until Google showed me otherwise, meanwhile reassuring me the combination would likely work. It did, perhaps even better than the original, but I never print out the Google result anymore. I don't even bring my computer into the kitchen, but go back and forth to the office as needed. That way I'm more likely to experiment if I don't remember exact proportions and when it works, I can take the credit. It also ensures that I won't make the same thing twice, since I can't usually find it again.

After skipping a night to eat something else, it was back to what to do with the rest of the tilapia. It seems when you buy the frozen tilapia at Trader Joe's it always comes four filets to the package, meaning we still had two. Now when you pan sear these thin pieces of tilapia, they tend to flake apart, just the way you'd want them to in a fish taco, and my leftover dinner idea was born. I added some lime juice to the baggies of fish and set them back in the fridge to marinate. Then I swung by the market to pick up some red cabbage, realizing that was a necessary counterpoint to the softer fish, even though it went against my 'don't be a slave to the recipe' rule. At supper time, I briefly fried up the fish, sprinkled the cabbage with a little cider vinegar and salt, chunked up a ripe avocado and grabbed some cilantro from the back porch. Then we rolled it all up in whole wheat tortillas and ate while we watched the Red Sox beat the White Sox. You know I don't think we even bothered to put in any salsa.

The other not just good, but great, eating was not an at-home meal. Meg had told us about a clam place in Lynn called Christie's, highly recommended and blogged about at great length, that met our criteria. It was summer, it was hot, it was Friday night and time to get out of the city. The clams were calling. Well now we're spoiled, because I don't think clams anyplace else will ever seem worth it again. The batter - so light, the bellies - so creamy. Even the tartar sauce had just the right zing. It's going to be the only place to go when the clam craving hits, and I can see that happening often, South Beach or not. It will mean extra time on the erg, but the clams are worth it, plus we haven't even tried the scallops yet.

July 19, 2006

The Process of Writing

From another excellent column by Donald Murray, "writers have to write to discover what they have to say and then how to say it." Same goes for me as a blogger and I'm often surprised by what comes out.

About July 2006

This page contains all entries posted to hey jud in July 2006. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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