Sunday, December 25, 2011
THE DAYS AFTER CHRISTMAS
In the 50's I had a wonderful office job in downtown Boston.
I liked the work, the people, and the fact that the office was in the heart of the shopping district.
On my lunch hour I could scoot over to Filene's Bargain Basement store, and if I was lucky "get a designer label item for a steal." If you were a tourist Filene's Basement was the number one attraction in town. Not anymore though, they are going out of business.
One outstanding memory I have about Filene's is what they did to one of their display windows right after Christmas.
The display had jolly, smiling and fat Santa asleep on his throne. He had done his job, was content with himself, his elfs and reindeer!
Now that I think about it, I don't remember seeing Mrs. Santa in the window! In those days maybe she was still in the kitchen cleaning up!!
As long as I worked in Boston I never missed a time to go see Santa snoozing away at the corner of Washington and Franklin Streets.
Is that how you feel after Christmas, snoozing away, or are you like Mrs. Santa Claus, cleaning up the kitchen?
Saturday, December 17, 2011
CHANUKAH NOW AND THEN
CHANUKAH THEN - FOOD
When I was a youngster growing up in the depression era Chanukah was celebrated with special foods, not gifts.
What I remember about the holiday was the lighting of the Menorah and the delicious potato latkes my mother made. In my adult life I have tried, time after to time to make potato latkes like she did but have never been successful. I gave up trying a few years ago!!
I think I finally figured out her secret!
Use a lot of oil in the fry pan.
Here's my recipe for Potato Latkes:
Millie's Potato LatkesOver the years the observation of the holiday has become a combination of a family dinner and gift giving.
6 Russet potatoes
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 tsp. baking powder
salt and pepper to taste
3 tbsp flour or matzo meal
Peanut oil for frying
Peel and grate potatoes (I use the food processor) saves the fingers.
Pour off some of the water. Grate in the onion. Add beaten eggs and remaining ingredients. Add a little lemon juice to keep the potatoes from turning black.
Drop by tablespoon onto a preheated frying pan with about 1/4 inch of oil in the pan.
Turn and brown each side.
The secret of making latkes in advance is to fry them and remove them onto paper towels to drain, just for a few seconds. I then place them on a cookie sheet and freeze them.
When ready to serve, defrost the latkes, set oven at 400 degrees and heat until hot.
Serve immediately to the anxious guests.
I would have the family over for dinner and we would exchange gifts. Each person would give and get eight gifts for each night of Chanukah!!
As soon as the holiday was over I would start thinking about next year and keep my eyes open for some unusual gifts, some funny, or some practical.
The goal was to keep the cost down and at the same time give something that the recipient would enjoy.
Once I started wrapping the gifts I had another goal in mind. How could I wrap the gift up so that my son Steve could not guess what was in the package!! He was darn good at guessing!!! In all the years that we "played that game" I can only think of one hilarious time that he could not guess what the gift was, it was fireworks!!
CHANUKAH NOW - GUESS THE GIFT
We don't celebrate the holiday the way we used to but Steve and Carol still surprise me with some wonderful and thoughtful gifts - and mother tries to guess what's in the package!!!!!
Steve and Carol were here last week and I had the best time with them, and had the best time trying to guess what was in the package. I came close but "no cigar."
GUESS THE GIFT
I guessed "a calender."
Yes, right!! but what kind of calender?
MAD MEN 2012. It's hanging in my kitchen right now.
GUESS THE GIFT
I guessed "a book."
Yes, right!! but kind of book?
THE UNOFFICIAL MAD MEN COOKBOOK. Each recipe comes from a specific season and episode.
It's really interesting to read about the episode and what was served at the time.
GUESS THE GIFT
I guessed "a bottle."
Yes, right!! but what was in it?
A bottle of gin for my gin and raisin arthritis remedy.
GUESS THE GIFT
I guessed "something soft"
Yes, right!! but what was it?
A beautiful fringed scarf from India. Carol had recently returned from a trip to India!!
We all had the greatest time. And as far as the latkes go - we went out and had them at a restaurant.
Image: Kasha Varnishkas, Salmon Croquettes and Potato Pancakes at 3 G's
That's the way it is today!!
Here are two bonus videos from 2008:
Steve Wrapping Gifts
Millie Unwrapping Gifts
Sunday, December 11, 2011
BIG NEWS - IT'S 78 DEGREES IN FLORIDA
I hear it's cold in Massachusetts.
Residents up North need to have their heat on, but down South, here in sunny Florida, we need to run the air conditioners!
Steve and Carol came down with me and helped me get settled. The two of them were wearing shorts most of the time and loved the warm climate.
When I first arrive in Florida, my cabinets and refigerater are totally empty so the big job we have is to fill them up with all the necessities and the good stuff that is available at the markets down here.
The next important thing that has to be done is to go to Comcast and rent the modem. Their office is very large and they are set up to handle lots of people! Boy, it's a good thing they have an efficient system and lots of seats while the customers are waiting their turn.
My condo development includes basic cable but not HBO which I have up North.
I'm especially hooked on Boardwalk Empire and wouldn't you know, tonight is the finally episode. When I finally got to talk to an agent, I inquired about what it would cost to add HBO. "$6.00 a month." Ok, that's reasonable, I signed up!
Previous years I have not signed up for HBO since I am usually very busy down here and always felt I didn't need it. This season could be different. At the moment I know two of my friends who are not going to be here. Another friend is on the fence, waiting for test results.
I've always had five ladies for a weekly Mah Jongg game but right now that looks questionable. Maybe there are other ladies who are having the same problem so maybe we can join forces with other players? Time will tell.
Oh what a joy that is!!
One day it was just about 4:00 PM and we were ready for a very early dinner.
My daughter-in-law has been down here many times and she KNOWS that if you want to eat at "3 G's" you had better get there EARLY. Sure enough, when we got there we were seated immediately.
Matzo Ball Soup appetizer
Liver and Onions with Potato Pancakes and Apple Sauce
I had the most delicious hot corned beef sandwich on fresh rye bread served with crunchy half sour pickles, cole slaw and a potato pancake.
Can't get anything like that up North.
One night we ate at Seasons 52 where we all enjoyed our dinners.
The portions at all the restaurants are large so I've been bringing home doggie bags. Looks like I won't be cooking for a while, and, that's a good thing. ;-)
So that's life in sunny Florida - so far, so good!!