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Back From the Big 2015 Trip


The best meals of the Big 2015 Trip ( or Time and Place) were bowls of borscht in Belarus, Russia, and on the Siberian train. The Best. A fall goal, one of many of course, is to have a stable of borscht recipes. I already tried a complicated one with beef last fall which was quite delicious but haven’t found one yet that has any ingredients accounting for that citrus edge of some I’ve tasted. Today I’m trying a vegetarian borscht from the NYTimes last week:

There are problems. The beets, Whole Foods advisor said were what I was looking for, do not look right. (See photo below) Since my idea of good veggies are ones that have white sauce or a half cup of butter or maybe are candied this is a new world for me. So just what are beets for borscht supposed to look like? Deep red right. Not striped?

And the whole bouquet garni thing is quite new to me. Sorry, already admitted I’m a foodie failure so what can I say. I asked my friend Brynne, ‘can’t I just throw the stuff into the pot instead of going the cheesecloth route?’; she said, ‘yes if you don’t mind stems,’ so I did that But where does one find allspice berries, Spice Islands perhaps, maybe Whole Foods, but by the time I got to that part of the recipe I was confused about the beets and I forgot to look.

So this will be a bastardization of the Times recipe. It’s simmering, second train mug of wine…I’ll let you know.

The Results:

This is not borscht. I don’t think the stripped root vegetables were beets. Guess I’ll have to google photos of beets. Did that. They were Chioggia beets. Don’t go there if you want red borscht is the moral of this story.

However the ‘vegetable stew’ was quite delicious. Full of greens and mushrooms and faux beets. Salty and oniony with bay leaf/allspice/thyme/parsley. Topped with fat clumps of sour cream. So I am relatively happy with today’s cooking adventure. Must build the real borscht recipe collection though.

Now if there were only some good British series on tonight to finish a proper Sunday evening.


“Soon There May Not Be a Morning Paper Anymore”

2016. A post of which I’m proud—although my faith in ‘commercial’ journalism has dropped way down since I wrote this three years ago. For newspaper lovers you’ll mourn with me. I’ve now cancelled everything, newspapers and TV, to avoid the orange shyster’s photo everywhere. Yeah….. mourn with me.

It used to be the newsboys

would sell the morning Sun.

They’d call out “get your paper here!”

To people on the run.

Some boys would take a paper route

and bring it to your door.

But soon there may not be a morning paper anymore.

No, soon there may not be a morning paper anymore.

They put the news on MTV,

They twitter and they tweet.

The blog is now the focus

Of the new reporters beat.

The boys don’t call out

Get your paper! Like they did before.

And soon there may not be a morning paper anymore.

No, soon there may not be a morning paper anymore.

Song by Ben Daitz (I think)

I just re-subscribed to the Albuquerque Journal this morning because of the absolutely brilliant, moving, scary documentary about the Rio Grande Sun, “The Sun Never Sets.” A story of what still exists in some obscure corners of the world called fearless, truth-telling, hard-hitting journalism. Really? In Espanola, New Mexico? And for how long anywhere?

I re-subscribed to the Journal, not because it has any of those aforementioned attributes in great quantities…but it is a morning paper…it is a newspaper…it is paper with words and coherent sentences and informative paragraphs you can hold in your hands comfortably over the first cup of coffee or last thing in bed at night and fold and crease and wrinkle up to clean the windows and from which you can cut out important articles for later perusal and besides…soon there may not be a morning paper anymore..

I previously took the Albuquerque Journal for years but it is actually not a great newspaper, leaning fairly far right, and being awfully thin in content and pages, with poor international, arts and travel coverage. But then I tell myself if not enough of us buy it soon there may not be a morning paper anymore.

The New York Times is delivered to my door every day—and I always mean to read most of it, but it tends to get away from me. Sometimes I have a big reading morning on the weekend and sometimes big untouched bundles end up in recycling…unread. Nevertheless I believe in the NYT and consider it the closest thing to the truth one is likely to get in corporate America and soon there may not be a morning paper anymore..

Most of us over 20 probably have newspaper reference points in our lives. Mine include dad picking up the Sunday Minneapolis Star Tribune after church. I seem to remember comics but not much else? Dad read the paper and mom did Prizeword Pete in case she should get lucky and win some actually cash, which god knows there was little of around the house. It was the closest she ever came to the evils of gambling! But we almost always got the Sunday paper however poor we were otherwise.

When I lived in the Philippines the Manila Times was delivered to our door in Angeles every morning. Since I had a maid/nanny for that brief moment in history, my morning routine was to sit on the patio eating mangoes, drinking coffee, smoking cigarettes and reading the Times. I cannot help but remember that newspaper very fondly whether it was a good paper or not.

Nowadays there are a whole bunch of entities who want to tell me about the world every morning: Old media like chatty or belligerent television personalities who yell or cook or giggle most of the time (with the exception of BBC or Aljazeera I should note); or new media such as the Huffington Post and a multitude of other websites—right wing, left wing, silly, ponderous, perhaps truthful, perhaps not—and all delivered on hard surfaces.

Okay so I’m a cranky old luddite. But let me tell you my children your smart phone will never give you the same pleasurable experience as sitting on the patio with a giant cup of fresh coffee and the Sunday Times all spread out around you!  So—if it’s not too much to ask could you all subscribe to some actual paper papers just until I go to the nursing home and believe my bingo cards are actually sharing the news with me. Soon there may not be a morning paper anymore but hopefully by then I won’t know the difference.

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