Saturday, August 31, 2013

On the market...


Home Grown
After arriving in Lewistown late Friday, my
first thought is always FARMER'S MARKET!
Locals set up their booths every Saturday all
summer long in a park a few blocks away
from our condo. It's odd that I'm so excited
given I'm at the Union Square Farmer's
Market every weekend in Manhattan. Both
are unique in their own ways but the folks
here in Montana (left) would sell a lot more
if they took some tips from the city slickers!
Believe it or not, most people want to eat
healthier. For whatever reason it seems
that most Montanans have not embraced
the concept of anything organic. Well...
at least not the Hutterites (shown left)
who grow most of the vegetables. We used
to have an organic food coop. However mismanagement and apathy caused it
to slowly fail and then finally close. Somebody local needs to figure this out.

The most popular item at Union Square are
the cut flowers. Who can resist carrying home
a bouquet or bunch? You can't stroll past a
booth and not be tempted. Right now the
Dahlias are simply beautiful. The biggest
issue in Montana is our very short growing
season. Seems that most of our Lewistown
farmers prefer veggies over posies. I suggest
they reconsider... not only are flowers prettier,
they seem to fetch high prices!

The hottest culinary phenomena in Manhattan
is exotic animal protein. In Montana we're surrounded by tasty cattle. Meanwhile every home freezer is filled with venison, elk, antelope, pheasant, grouse, and more. Yet why is a market in Manhattan the only place I can buy fresh rabbit?! Can't Lewistown leverage our big bucks for big bucks? Hilger Meats (owners shown left) should set up a booth and sell pork jerky. Yes...
I said PORK jerky and trust me... it's delicious!

My personal favorite is cruising the plethora
of farm stands that bring the most amazing cheeses to Union Square every weekend. Every single one seems tastier than the one before. Not only beautiful to look at, they are amazing to consume. What about Lewistown?! We've certainly got cows, goats, and even Lhamas. So why can't someone local milk the opportunity and mold this into a chance to build a new cash cow? Get moooooooving!

In the end, the most popular booths at Union Square give out free samples. You can walk through the market and devour a meal bite by bite, booth by booth. While I have no desire to dig into a common bowl, it's obvious that hundreds are willing. One thing is certain, samples drive sales! Come on Lewistown, give, give, give! If only Mrs. "N" (left) would open up a jar of her Chokecherry jam, her apron pockets would overflow with cash!

Friday, August 30, 2013

Going home...


 On my way home...
Can't wait to ride the open range!
Giddy up!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

A delicate balance


Just a big baby.
It's time that I finally confessed. After but a brief
respite in the gym... I gave up. Please, don't all
of you unleash a tsunami of support. The last
thing I need is a plethora of facebook postings
telling me things will get better. The truth is
I simply loathed every moment of the process
and rather than feeling better about myself,
I sunk into a deep, dark funk. My mind wasn't
ready nor was my body. Intellectually I know
that something has to change, but in reflection,
I'm not certain working out is the answer. Rather
than battle the bulge, I've decided to embrace the
reality of who I am and what I've become.

Time changes all things.
Accepting one's age and how that physically
manifests itself upon your tired old bones is
tough. I have no desire to be twenty one
ever again. And yet, somehow I have a rather
warped self image that thinks my ideal body
weight should be at or around one hundred
and sixty eight pounds. That's rather odd
given that at twenty one, I thought my body
was too skinny whereas I was certain that my
nose was too large. Now that Mother Nature
has realigned things, my nose seems to be
in proportion with my corpulent composition.
Maybe for the first time things are in balance?

Facing the facts.
Most of my dearest friends are contemporaries.
It's obvious that we all struggle with our body
images. Life is a constant battle against the
pounds that self indulgence and a cultivated
palate bring with age. Isn't it time that we
simply accepted how we've evolved and enjoy
life? All one has to do is look in the mirror and
the facts are all there. We're older, wiser, and
in most cases happier. That's because we've
finally embraced the soul within us. So why is
it so hard for us to embrace the body within
which that soul resides? Nothing ever stays the
same so maybe flab is absolutely fab?!

Seeing is believing
Don't worry, I'm not prepared to strip down and
strut my stuff... yet! However I am resigned to
embracing my expanded self. Once I've accepted
reality, I hope to move on to a healthier place.
A friend once had a raging affair with a much,
much younger man. When they first met, he saw
a sexy, smart, beautiful, and confident woman.
Age didn't matter, the person she was did. Slowly
she realized that if he could love her "as is", why
couldn't she!? Ultimately when the affair ended,
she knew deep down in her soul that she was a
fabulous, sexy woman. Sometimes we just need
someone to tell us the truth. Amen Brother!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Something's fishy...


OOOO la la
I recently had dinner at Le Bernardin.
One of this country's top restaurants,
it's always a fabulous experience.
I must admit that I've lived a rather
charmed existence in that I've been
able to dine at Le Bernardin many times.
While the food is beyond memorable,
so is Eric Ripert the studly movie star
handsome head chef. His cuisine is
almost as beautiful as he is. After an
evening of visual and culinary delights,
I couldn't help but reminisce about a
prior night at this palais de poisson.

Tres magnifique!
For whatever reason, handsome men have
always cooked ze feesh at Le Bernardin.
Founder Gilbert Le Coze was one of the
sexiest men I ever had the pleasure of
meeting. In 1994 Gilbert died of a heart
attack at his gym. Eric Ripert assumed
leadership immediately. Un renard argente,
Eric had trained under Gilbert for several
years and therefore was ready to assume
leadership of this jewel on West 51st.

Table for two 
While his sister Maguy was the
mother hen who ran the business,
Gilbert was the cock who ruled
the roost! Years ago I took "T"
there to celebrate some sort of
special occasion. Shortly after
we were seated, it was obvious
that one of us was being hunted.
Gilbert slowly circled the table,
then reached from behind "T" to
adjust her table setting. The entire
room could sense his energy. OMG,
he was one hundred percent MAN!!
After dinner, DRINK!
After dinner, I noticed Gilbert was at the bar sipping a cognac. So, I insisted "T" and I have an after dinner drink! The resulting repartee was like watching the mating rituals of a rare bird, Viva la finesse Francais!
Mon amour
Gilbert introduced himself, stating
that I had a very beautiful wife.
I immediately made it clear that
we were best friends not lovers.
As we chatted, Gilbert mentioned
his home in Mustique. We asked if
he knew our friend Jerry Hall and
he indicated "mais oui!" Shortly
after, "T" commented about how
beautiful she thought Jerry was.
Gilbert leaned forward, looked her
straight in the eye and said "Blondes
are pretty but I prefer... brunettes."
Au revoir!
Our chat continued until "T" announced she was going home to her husband and two boys. Gilbert gallantly kissed her hand and bid us adieu. While nothing ever happened, neither of us will ever forget that electrical night.
Bonsoir Gilbert!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

How quickly we forget...


It wasn't that long ago...
I saw The Butler Saturday afternoon
and was moved by the memories it
brought back. Growing up during
the sixties, our world of constant
turmoil seemed normal. Everywhere
one went you were confronted with
conflicting messages. Thinking that
was normal, one didn't question the
dychotomy. It was a part of life and
therefore ordinary. Who knew that
within my lifetime, the racist schism
would be outlawed? Slowly, we've
become one... or at least tried to.

Seeing in believing
My Dad worked at Manufacturers Hanover Trust in Harlem His important customers were Jewish shop owners and "Negro" community leaders. Howard never saw race or color, only people. I'm fortunate in that my Dad's legacy has enabled me to be "color blind" all of my life. But as I look back now, some of the most important people in my life have been "colorful". Not that I ever noticed...

Small world
The day Dr. King was murdered, my
Dad rushed to Harlem. Remembering
the 1964 riots, he wanted to show the community he cared. Howard and several colleagues sat in front of the bank sharing their condolences with all who stopped by. Mayor Lindsay walked 125th Street to share his grief and support. My father was deeply moved by the events of that day. Who knew a banker could be so brave?

My first love 
As a boy, I knew nothing of these
problems. Our home was filled with
love. Della was the strong and wise
black woman who helped raise me.
We were "buddies" and I adored her.
After Della retired, every few weeks
an envelope would arrive. Inside was
a card addressed to "my boy", one
dollar bill, and a stick of Juicy Fruit
gum. The day Della died, I felt a deep
sense of loss that was not equaled
until my parent's deaths many years
later. You see... Della was family.
Travels with my aunt...
Marshall and Norma Cole were my
father's customers and the most elegant
of my parent's friends. World travelers,
a visit to their posh Harlem hi-rise was
always a treat given we were served
some delicious discovered delicacy.
Throughout my childhood beautifully
wrapped packages would arrive from
exotic places. Inside a lengthy letter from
Aunt Norma described their latest locale.
Her kindness provided fodder for many
a show and tell. The Coles taught me to
explore the unknown. They were family.
My favorite cousin
I've built my career in a very small
industry. Years ago I met a vibrant,
smart, witty, and beautiful woman
at an agency we were considering.
Given we shared the same last
name we immediately embraced
and declared ourselves "cousins".
Later on, "B" Clark joined us at
Marshall Fields and we've enjoyed
a love fest ever since. My respect
and appreciation for this lady is
beyond description. While not a
true blood relation, she is family!
Lessons learned
I am adopted. Therefore I shared no
physical connection with my parents
and yet... we were as close a family
as most. I was blessed to have a father
who believed that we are all exactly
the same. Howard never saw color
and fought against inequality. It's so
amazing that he was who he was in
a time when few acted publicly in a
similar manner. He taught me to not
see color, just shades of kindness. If
only Dad could see the glorious rainbow
our world has become. He'd be proud.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Feed me!


You can't go back?
Aren't there times when
you just want to go "home"?!
The older I get, the more
I appreciate the food of my
forefathers. While I rarely
indulge in childhood delights,
I look back at them fondly.
Remembering those nights
I rushed home to dine on
Swiss Steak and Apple Brown
Betty. I encourage you all to
release your inner child. Go
ahead, grab a Fluffer Nutter!

Snick Snacks
During the holidays, my Aunt Millie loved
"horses doovers". For weeks in advance
she and my mother planned these delights.
Both were tea totalers, therefore booze was
off the menu. Instead we nibbled on tasty
delicacies always accompanied by an iced
glass of Pepperidge Farm Firehouse tomato
juice. "Chicken in a Biskit" was my favorite.
You must experience these savory tidbits.
Still as salty as chewing on a bouillon cube!
It ain't ham - it's wham!
Sorry if I repeat myself but there
is no epicurean delight as tasty
as Taylor's Pork Roll. Better
known as Taylor Ham, just fry
a slice of this meaty melange
in butter and you'll experience
unadulterated delight! Caution,
it is an acquired taste treat!
Missed congeniality.
As a child there is no more
special accompaniment to any
festive occasion than a Jello
salad. Without these quivering
mounds of congealed color one
doubts I could have survived a
childhood spent dining on my
Mother's overcooked meat and
veggies. Those gelatinous gems
saved me from starvation!
Mystery meals
Somehow concoctions created from canned soup, canned vegetables, and cubed protein became de riguer in the fifties.
It's a mystery how legions of Americans survived these ungodly combinations of processed food. Casserole?

Ethel was not a fabulous cook 
(I am being so kind right now). 
One of her specialties was a 
concoction of spaghetti, tomato 
juice, sugar, and spices. All were
placed in a pressure cooker. Ten 
minutes later, a sweet, doughy
meal was ready. Mother proudly 
boasted that her triumph tasted 
"just like Franco American!"