Saturday, October 9, 2010


In the spirit of friendly competition, I prepared these tasty morsels in response to Ken Albala's Homemade Sourdough and Lebanese Halwa-based Fluffernutter--which looks DELICIOUS! Since Fluffernutter traditionally makes use of commonly-available, pre-prepared ingredients, I tried to keep the variations to a minimum.

I started with the same Breton Mini base as in the previous post, then slathered on a layer or whipped creme cheese sweetened with locally-produced Maple Sugar from Fruth's Sugarbush in Vanlue, Ohio, then added another locally-produced product, Pumpkin Butter from Cooper's Cider Mill in Bucyrus, Ohio. Since Dave Cooper does an amazing job sussing the flavor out of the pumpkin, I did nothing else to it other than top it with a pan-toasted, maple sugar and cinnamon apricot kernel and a single lingonberry for a hint of seasonal tartness.

The flavor combination is amazing--if I do say so for myself--crunchy, smooth, fatty from the cheese, tart from the lingonberry. This morsel would be especially tasty if prepared with Amish goat's milk cheese or another soft chèvre. Also, the pumpkin butter could be substituted with apricot butter.


Friday, October 8, 2010

National Fluffernutter Day: A Personal Response

For those of you who follow my daily celebratory foods updates on Facebook, you may recall that today, 8 October, is dedicated to the sticky-sweet-salty Fluffernutter sandwich. What is a Fluffernutter, and how might one go about celebrating National Fluffernutter Day, you may ask?

While I am not much of a fan of the humble Fluffernutter, and I made this clear on my Fb post, I do give props to Ken Albala, Food Historian and author of several books including The Lost Art of Real Cooking: Rediscovering the Pleasures of Traditional Food One Recipe at a Time, for ramping up what might be considered an extremely simple recipe to create an extremely desirable new sandwich. As a response to my post, he rushed home and produced his own version of the time-worn original. Needless to say, I was impressed and sought to respond with my own culinary creation:

A tasty combination of toasted caramel and marshmallow with a light sprinkling of sea salt, garnished with a sliver of a premium German 85% Dark Chocolate, all on top of a Breton Mini.


Thursday, August 5, 2010




Gee, it sure looks like this space has not been used in quite some time--and --it sure is dusty in here. It even looks like some spammers have been squatting in the previous post. Damn it! They left their garbage and empty five-dollar gin pints scattered around an improvised fire ring. The dirty buggers have been breaking down and burning the furniture; and, what's THAT smell, Oh no! what's THAT in the corner over there!

I'm going to have to come here more often and clean this place up.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Art in the Age of Mindless Production

One can best judge a eatery by the willingness of the staff to cater to one's requests, the quality of ingredients, the time it takes to go from placing an order to receiving the food, the attentive nature of the staff and the presentation of the dish. How many restaurants are actually willing to depart from a set menu in order to offer the customer what he or she requests? I know of a few in the Greater Bowling Green Metropolitan Area, but, my favorite is the Corner Grill at the intersection of Main (US 25, also known as the old Dixie Highway) and Court Streets. Seen here in a photo from February 2008:
This morning when I requested a one-egg omelet instead of the larger three-egg version of the same, the cook (who, incidentally, also took my order from behind the counter, served me, and was my cashier) suggested that I consider ordering a two-egg omelet, or a scramble, that it would be difficult to wrap all the goodness that is the quality fillings into a single beaten egg, but, he would try. I offered him broad artistic license to interpret my breakfast order as his set of skills would allow.

While engaged in conversation with my fellow companions (each foodies in their own ways), I carefully watched as he cracked a fresh egg into a stainless steel bowl, whipped it, and poured it out onto the griddle. On a separate quadrant of the grill, he mounded, cubed ham, green peppers, tomato, and cheese. I became distracted in conversation and in short time, this neatly-wrapped little pocket of joy and tastiness was in front of me (don't you just love the diminutive square of American cheese placed on top?:

If you don't have a favorite local diner or grill that prepares and serves "real" food--go find one.


Saturday, June 6, 2009

Some Shameless Self-Promotion

After a trip to the Libbey Glass Factory Outlet, a short stop for flowers, herbs, pepper and tomato plants at the Toledo Farmer's Market, and then to the original Tony Packo's on Front Street for a stuffed cabbage roll, paprikás dumplings with gravy, Hungarian pickles, and a signature Packo's hot dog,
Michelle bought me this delicious marble cake at Wixie Bakery in South Toledo.
I was fine with an unadorned cake, but Jessica and Emily insisted on the personalized message.


Tuesday, June 2, 2009

West Side Market--Cleveland

To continue with the Cleveland day trip from this past weekend, I would like to post some photos from our second destination of three. Cleveland's oldest publicly owned market: The West Side Market. The building you are looking at has been in use since 1912; however, this site has been designated for use as a public market since 1840. One may purchase any of the large variety of prepared and ready to eat foods available at the market, like these Pasties (pronounced Pass-tee), a combination of meat, vegetable and starch in a light flaky pastry:
Then retire to the gallery to watch food shopping as a spectator sport. The interior concourse houses around 100 vendors. An interior shot from the spectator gallery.
There is also an exterior arcade with 85 vendors, mostly produce.
The monger below is selling some of the BEST dried fruit I have EVER tasted. I guess I should have taken a photo of the two-pound tub I purchased, alas, it was not to be. However, one may notice the vibrant colors and wide variety of dried fruits in the deli containers below. Our container held, pineapple, pears, peaches, two varieties of apricots, apples, whole dates, date pellets, figs, a variety of plump, juicy raisins, cranberries, prunes, candied ginger, papaya, star fruit, kiwi, bananas, coconut flakes, mango, and the BEST dried strawberries I have ever tasted. I really like eating a bit of the candied ginger then chasing it with some dried cranberries.
Also at the market, Buckeyes candy in both traditional and white chocolate:
Chocolate covered jalapeno peppers:
A plethora of dried ingredients:
And even this little piggy's at The West Side Market:

Monday, June 1, 2009

Electric Sex in the Window--A Major Award

Fans of Bob Clark's 1983 film A Christmas Story should recognize where I went this past weekend.

Michelle and the girls went to Washington DC, so Matt came down from Ann Arbor and we headed to Cleveland for the day on Saturday. If you did not already guess where I was this past weekend, our main destination was the recently-opened A Christmas Story House and Museum in beautiful and scenic Cleveland, Ohio.

The majority of the exterior scenes of A Christmas Story were all shot on location in Cleveland and St. Catherines, Ontario, while the interior scenes were shot on a sound stage near Toronto, Canada, with a few exceptions, such as the Higbee's Department Store scenes, and the leg lamp scenes (delivering and uncrating the major award, interior shots looking out onto the street, and from the street into the living room).

While some of the interior scenes shot on location make use of the family living room, kitchen and entry way, the floor plan of the house was not the same as on the sound stage and when the house was remodeled for use as a touristic destination and museum, it required extensive repair and modifications to look as it does today. For example, there was a bed room where the staircase is now located, and all the wood floors on the main level had rotted out and there were vermin living out their own Christmas story in the house. The reconstruction of the interior of the house carefully used production stills as a guide and there are numerous reproductions of properties in their appropriate locations. The vintage radio even loops the Little Orphan Annie Show!
Our docent informed us that, originally, each room was open to the public; but, folks kept eating the Lifebuoy Soap. Now, the bathroom is cordoned off.
Across the street from the house, the museum holds original costumes and props from the production. NC

Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Fairy Doors of Ann Arbor

On one of my many trips to pretentious and over-priced Ann Arbor, Michigan over the past few weeks, I decided to take my camera to capture some of the interesting sights of what the locals refer to as AA, or A2.

If one pays close attention to the little things in life, like flowers and architecture, one may also notice that "we" are not alone. A close observation of the small details can reveal the existence of wee ones, or Urban Fairies all around--and I have photographic evidence of their existence.

Like this eye-catcher next to the "people" door at Red Shoes at 332 South Ashley:

And this slightly more gritty portal in the exterior wall of Selo/ Shevel Gallery at 301 South Main (even fairies have to deal with a certain amount of urban decay):

Of course urban fairies are much like their much-larger, human counterparts, in that they read, eat, live in houses with doors and front stoops; yet, they live their lives on what may seem to their human neighbors to be a Lilliputian scale with everything that is theirs in miniature. However, to the fairies, their homes seem to fit them just right.


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Holding pattern

In the same way that American singer/ songwriter John Denver observes on the title track of his 1981 album Some Days Are Diamonds "some days are diamonds, some days are stone," so goes the business of writing. For the past six months, I have been putting in exceptionally long days in my office at the university trying to say something intelligent about modes of cultural production and transmission. Now, if every minute could have been productive, I'm sure I would probably have something more profound to say. Yet, some days are diamonds . . . you know how the rest goes.

More often than not, the business of writing is just that, something one must do, a task one must labor over, muddle through, carefully chip away at a little by little. Now that I've disposed of the most obvious cliches, my personal response to the writing process is that it is just that, a process. For me, writing is a process that simply must be worked through, and waiting for a muse to speak is not an option.

With that said, the dissertation is to my committee and I have been in a holding pattern for the past three weeks: unable to make significant revisions; unwilling to do much writing other than that which I must; waiting to see what the dissertation defense scheduled on 4 June will hold.

While I have used the past three weeks to reformat and make minor revisions to the manuscript, I seem to have hit the ground running, trying to make up for lost time. In doing so, I have completely avoided my office, taken lots of day trips, spent time with family and friends, and I've even taken in two festivals (The 35th Annual Utica Old Fashioned Ice Cream Festival and the 39th Annual New Straitsville Moonshine Festival)--more on these later.


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Strange sights in BG

I'm sure riding this bike would live up to it's name.