: views from the Hill

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Old Bailey Online - The Proceedings of the Old Bailey, 1674-1913 - Central Criminal Court

Old Bailey Online - The Proceedings of the Old Bailey, 1674-1913 - Central Criminal Court

[courtesy of Auntie K. Thanks, K!]

First thing I did, of course, was pop /towse/ into the search to see what the Towses were up to from 1674-1913.

Monday, April 28, 2008

I miss sunsets

We face east toward Oakland and Berkeley and get sunshiney wakeups in the morning, but our location means the sun sets behind the hill directly behind us so we never see sunsets unless we're out and about.

I was talking with a nabe the other day who told me he takes the stairs to Pioneer Park (AKA Coit Tower to most) to watch the sun set. Sounds like a plan.

We were out and about yesterday ...

Tales of the City: Derek Powazek

Derek Powazek - 90-Second Story: Grumpy Neighbor

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Recent Earthquakes - Map for 120-40

Recent Earthquakes - Map for 120-40

Reno's rocking. ...

[ref] nineteen shakes >= 3.0 in the last five days. ...

3.5 2008/04/26 08:20:40 39.543N 119.936W 1.1 4 km ( 2 mi) NNE of Verdi-Mogul, NV

3.4 2008/04/26 02:11:59 39.525N 119.927W 2.1 3 km ( 2 mi) ENE of Verdi-Mogul, NV

3.7 2008/04/26 00:29:20 39.527N 119.927W 2.7 3 km ( 2 mi) ENE of Verdi-Mogul, NV

3.4 2008/04/25 23:43:50 39.521N 119.924W 1.4 3 km ( 2 mi) ENE of Verdi-Mogul, NV

4.7 2008/04/25 23:40:10 39.520N 119.930W 1.4 2 km ( 1 mi) ENE of Verdi-Mogul, NV

3.3 2008/04/25 23:39:59 39.516N 119.924W 1.7 3 km ( 2 mi) E of Verdi-Mogul, NV

3.6 2008/04/25 18:13:20 39.529N 119.918W 1.6 4 km ( 2 mi) ENE of Verdi-Mogul, NV

3.3 2008/04/25 10:30:10 39.531N 119.928W 1.4 3 km ( 2 mi) NE of Verdi-Mogul, NV

3.3 2008/04/25 01:42:58 39.521N 119.922W 2.6 3 km ( 2 mi) ENE of Verdi-Mogul, NV

3.3 2008/04/24 18:00:33 39.531N 119.929W 2.2 3 km ( 2 mi) NE of Verdi-Mogul, NV

3.6 2008/04/24 17:47:52 40.375N 115.374W 0.0 6 km ( 4 mi) ENE of Ruby Valley, NV

4.2 2008/04/24 15:55:49 39.527N 119.929W 2.8 3 km ( 2 mi) ENE of Verdi-Mogul, NV

3.0 2008/04/24 15:51:06 39.539N 119.938W 1.8 3 km ( 2 mi) NNE of Verdi-Mogul, NV

4.1 2008/04/24 15:47:04 39.533N 119.932W 1.1 3 km ( 2 mi) NE of Verdi-Mogul, NV

3.0 2008/04/24 00:33:15 37.891N 118.097W 5.5 42 km (26 mi) S of Tonopah
Junction, NV

3.0 2008/04/23 14:21:39 37.377N 114.696W 9.9 14 km ( 8 mi) SSE of Helene, NV

3.2 2008/04/22 19:06:54 37.992N 118.681W 5.6 38 km (23 mi) SSW of Qualeys Camp, NV

3.8 2008/04/22 13:40:09 41.221N 114.806W 7.7 18 km (11 mi) NE of Wells, NV

3.1 2008/04/21 12:14:10 39.517N 119.922W 2.6 3 km ( 2 mi) E of Verdi-Mogul, NV

Update: Earthquake wizards say the increasing 4.1->4.2->4.7 quakes don't follow the standard pattern of large shake followed by decreasing intensity aftershocks. They don't know quite what to make of it. CNN update

Highland bagpipe is a recent invention for nostalgic Scotish émigrés, expert claims

By Patrick Sawer
Last Updated: 3:04am BST 21/04/2008

Whisper it if you dare, but the age-old Highland bagpipe - beloved of sentimental Scots and American tourists in search of their Highland roots - is in fact a recent invention.

A controversial new study has claimed that far from being the time-honoured instrument which led the clans into battle against the Auld Enemy, the bagpipe as we know it was developed in the early 1800s.

It now seems that, like the kilt and most tartans, the tradition of the great Highland bagpipe was something manufactured for the benefit of nostalgic Scottish émigrés.


[via Funky Plaid at Swirling Vortex of Verisimilitude]

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Home again, home again, and wilted spinach salad and garlic bread for dinner

We got back from our flying visit to Obama country late Tuesday.

Posted by Picasa   (One of the reasons we visit Obama country. ...)

Weather when we landed was spitting. (Oh, please give us more rain before the dry summer months kick in.)

We caught the Super Shuttle in from the airport. His nibs had signed and paid online (cheaper that way) before we left home. There were two other guys in the van before us and we wondered where we'd be taken on our way home. Super Shuttle is a fantastic random way to see parts of the City that we don't usually see.

Both guys -- turned out -- lived in the Sunset, just a few blocks from each other. One was like at 26th and Noriega, the other at 27th and Judah, maybe?

After dropping the second guy off, the driver drove like a bat outta hell to get from the Sunset to Telegraph Hill, through the park, up Park Presidio to 101 to Lombard then over on Larkin and up Union, down Montgomery.

Home again, home again. Drop the bags on the floor. Pick up the mail that's sitting where it fell after the mail carrier stuffed it through the door slot.

By now it was past 7:30p and our usual behavior would've been to walk down to Mario's Bohemian Cigar Store and order a large carafe of cheap red wine and two orders of canneloni. Soul soothing food for tired people. Ymmm. But there was this drizz, see? and I was tired and ... I can make dinner quicker than we could walk the four blocks down to Mario's and wait for our order. Not to mention I didn't feel like walking uphill home after dinner.

Dinner Tues

Preheat oven to 375dF or so. Set the rice cooker cooking rice. Fish from the freezer, thawed in the microwave. Place on aluminum foil. Sprinkle with mixed herbs. Squeeze half lemon on top. Wrap up and put in oven for 15min. (~$3)

Prep broccoli and put in microwave for 3min. (~$0.50)

Hmmm. Hmmm. Start sorting through mail. 15min up. Check fish. Put back in for another five minutes. Check broccoli. Zap for another minute. Rice is done. Fish is done. Broccoli is done. Dinner is served ~ twenty-five minutes after we decided not to walk down to Mario's.

Cost: maybe $4 for the two of us. ($0.50 for broccoli. $0.20 for rice, maybe? $0.20 for lemon. $3 for fish. ... Cheaper than Mario's, that's for sure.)

Dinner Wedn

Last night I just wanted something simple. Still lagging from the trip. His nibs had stopped off in Chinatown on his way back from his doctor's appointment and stocked up on fresh veggies and fruit. What sounded good?

Hardboil two eggs. Well, three eggs, really. Save one for an egg salad sandwich Thursday or Friday. Peel and chop two eggs.

[How to boil an egg. Place egg in small pot. Cover with cold water. Place pot on burner. When water boils, turn off heat, put lid on pot and wait ten minutes. After ten minutes, pour hot water from pot and cool egg(s) by filling pot with cold water.]

Rinse bag of spinach from Chinatown. Shake dry. Put in large heat-proof bowl. Cost: $0.50

Toss chopped egg on top. Cost: $0.40 +/- for two eggs.

Take about 1/3 lb bacon and cut into small bits. Fry. Cost: ~$0.70 (bacon 4lbs/$8 @ Costco)

While waiting for bacon to crisp, slice a chunk of sour batard in half, butter, sprinkle with garlic herb sprinkle, put back together, butterside<->butterside, wrap in aluminum foil and heat in 400dF oven. Cost: ~$0.60

Take fried bacon bits out of frying pan and toss onto spinach in bowl. Pour off all but 3T of bacon fat. (Save remainder of bacon fat in refrigerator dish with bacon fat already saved there for another day. ...)

Add 2T olive oil to bacon fat in frypan. Heat. Add 1/2 onion, chopped. Brown. Add ~ 3T balsamic vinegar and scrape up bits from bottom of frypan. Cost olive oil/onion/vinegar ~ $0.50

When hot through, pour onion/vinegar/fat over spinach/egg/bacon and toss. Serve with garlic bread.

Cost for tasty, nutritious (well, except for the bacon and bacon fat) dinner for two: $3, if that.

Home again, home again. Let's take a boat to Bermuda. Let's grab a plane to Saint Paul. Let's take a kayak to Quincy or Nyack. Let's get away from it all.

But it's oh. so. nice. to come home.

Why Hillary Makes My Wife Scream

Why Hillary Makes My Wife Scream:

Tom Hayden on Hillary.


Chapter 1. Specimens of the American Vulgate

Chapter 1. Specimens of the American Vulgate. 1. The Declaration of Independence in American.
Mencken, H.L. 1921.

[The following is my own translation, but I have had the aid of suggestions from various other scholars. It must be obvious that more than one section of the original is now quite unintelligible to the average American of the sort using the Common Speech. What would he make, for example, of such a sentence as this one: "He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures"? Or of this: "He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the legislative powers, incapable of annihilation, have returned to the people at large for their exercise." Such Johnsonian periods are quite beyond his comprehension, and no doubt the fact is at least partly to blame for the neglect upon which the Declaration has fallen in recent years. When, during the Wilson-Palmer saturnalia of oppressions, specialists in liberty began protesting that the Declaration plainly gave the people the right to alter the goverment under which they lived and even to abolish it altogether, they encountered the utmost incredulity. On more than one occasion, in fact, such an exegete was tarred and feathered by the shocked members of the American Legion, even after the Declaration had been read to them. What ailed them was that they could not understand its eighteenth century English. I make the suggestion that its circulation among such patriotic men, translated into the language they use every day, would serve to prevent, or, at all events, to diminish that sort of terrorism.]

When things get so balled up that the people of a country have to cut loose from some other country, and go it on their own hook, without asking no permission from nobody, excepting maybe God Almighty, then they ought to let everybody know why they done it, so that everybody can see they are on the level, and not trying to put nothing over on nobody.

All we got to say on this proposition is this: first, you and me is as good as anybody else, and maybe a damn sight better; second, nobody ain’t got no right to take away none of our rights; third, every man has got a right to live, to come and go as he pleases, and to have a good time however he likes, so long as he don’t interfere with nobody else. That any government that don’t give a man these rights ain’t worth a damn; also, people ought to choose the kind of goverment they want themselves, and nobody else ought to have no say in the matter.

[... Chapter 1. Specimens of the American Vulgate. 1. The Declaration of Independence in American. Mencken, H.L. 1921. ]

[via Archer]

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Twitter Saves Man From Egyptian Justice

Twitter Saves Man From Egyptian Justice

Way to get publicity for twitter, Ev.

This Is How We Lost to the White Man

'This Is How We Lost to the White Man'

Article in the May Atlantic about Bill Cosby's activism and his path from I Spy and the Huxtables to his Pound Cake speech and on.

The Web article includes a link to a vid interview with Ta-Nehisi Coates, who wrote the article. Both the article and the Coates interview are time well-spent.

Link: The Pound Cake Speech - Bill Cosby, speaking 17 May 2004 in Washington, DC, at the NAACP's 50th anniversary of Brown v Board of Education (text and audio)

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Michelle Obama on The Colbert Report

YouTube - Michelle Obama on The Colbert Report

How I spent my Sunday with Obama and the Mayhill Fowler Agenda

I was starting to hear whispers in the blogosphere about Mayhill Fowler and the bzzz she created with her column on Huffington Post on Friday covering a comment Obama had made at a fundraiser five days before. (Five DAYS?!?? How's that for the immediacy of blogging, eh?)

Comments on the HuffPo posts about the uproar questioned her motives, her allegiances (was she really a closet Hillary supporter?) and her purpose in following Obama's campaign.

A Google search for /"mayhill fowler" -huffington/ brought me to this pro-Obama blogger post on the Obama site, a supporter who was at the Sunday event, someone who could at last put things in context.

Sandy's Blog: How I spent my Sunday with Obama and the Mayhill Fowler Agenda

Odd. The only Mayhill Fowler that Zabasearch.com shows in Oakland was born in 1974, six years after HuffPo's Mayhill Fowler graduated college. I assume that Mayhill Fowler is an offspring of the Mayhill Fowler on HuffPo. How come the sixty-one-year-old Mayhill doesn't show up with Zabasearch? Her husband does.

Update:Another blogger who was there chimes in: David Coleman: I Was There: What Obama Really Said About Pennsylvania


2004 Charlie Rose clip (up on YouTube) that shows Obama talking the same sort of talk only instead of the sound bite, there's a full discussion:
clip and full interview.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

View from the Hill

In today's Chron ... a view from the Hill



The text was influenced by the mystery I'm allegedly working on. (Nothing about people with telescopes and/or wheelchairs. Honest!)

Update: Updated link to Madonna strip. Previous link was 404.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Dinner last night - give me that old time sauce and sole

Simple really.

We buy fish at Costco in big cheaper-by-the-pound lots and then divvy it up into 1/2lb. bags for the freezer.

Cost of fish ~$3.

1C of dry white wine. (Doesn't need to be the pricey stuff, but at least make it something you'd drink out of a glass without spewing. Peter Vella Chardonnay out of the box we stash in the hall closet for just such uses.)

Chopped onion. I used maybe half an onion. (onion $0.39/lb in Chinatown)

Add wine and onion to saute pan and heat to boiling. Add fish. Cook until fish flakes easily with a fork. Take fish out of pan and put in a glass baking dish.

While the fish is cooking. Melt a cube [1/2C] of butter in a measuring cup in the microwave. Butter melted? Fish done and removed to baking dish? Good.

Boil down the wine and onion until reduced to about 1/3C. Add the hot wine/onion reduction to the melted butter in the measuring cup.

Separate two egg yolks.
(We used the egg whites in the scrambled eggs this morning. ...)

Put two egg yolks in blender and whirl. You see where we're going right? While the yolks are whirling, pour the wine/onion/melted-butter mix into the blender and whirl until it all thickens up. Call this a Hollandaise variant if you must.

Pour the sauce over the fish that's in the baking dish. Sprinkle with a bit of shredded Parmesan cheese. On top of that, sprinkle a dusting of paprika.

Put under a broiler until the sauce browns lightly.

Served with rice and asparagus, which happens to be 99c/pound in Chinatown and local, not shipped in from Chile or some such place. We had about half a pound between us.

Total cost something like $4, maybe $4.50 for the two of us.

Delish. Hard on the arteries, but delish.

Views from the Hill

No picture. Didn't think of it while everything was happening.

BIG CLOUD OF BLACK BLACK SMOKE coming up from the other side of Treasure Island. We popped the cover off the telescope lens and spotted a yacht adrift, flames billowing above it, being pushed south by the tides. The boat drifted behind the Admin building and then came into sight again. Looked like probably an engine fire. That end of the boat was engulfed in flames. Engine fire? Fiberglass boat? The smoke was immense.

One of the fireboats headed off from Pier 22 1/2 to deal with the blaze. Coast Guard and other boats were keeping clear after rescuing the folks on board the boat. The fireboat eventually arrived (They're not the fastest boats on the Bay.) and started dousing the blaze. Eventually the yacht sank beneath the waves.

Not a sunny Saturday for the people on the yacht, but at least they got out with their skins intact.

Update:Chron story

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Callooh! Callay! Internet Resource for Writers rounds the Big One

Internet Resources - Writers Resources - Writing Links & Writers Links for Writers

And, turns out, the count didn't zero. Rather, added another digit.

I'm *still* going to swop in another free hit counter. Maybe Site Meter. I'm not too fond of how the current hit counter delivers data.

A MILLION HITS! I can't believe it.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Kensington, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Kensington, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Brilliant blog.

Internet Resources - Writers Resources - Writing Links & Writers Links for Writers


Hit counter stands at 999439. When it rolls over to zeroes, I plan to swop it for a different counter.

Mercy me. A million hits. Who woulda thunk back when that this day would come to pass?

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Lost in Translation the sequel

Posted by Picasa

Lost in Translation


Seen parked near the Pyramids in Giza.
Posted by Picasa


Have I mentioned that Archer is back? Yeah, he was all of six weeks into his "Adios to the Web" retirement when he came back.

Why hadn't I noticed? Well, to tell the truth, I haven't been keeping up with my Bloglines gang and he'd only been back for two weeks when we left for most of March. Then March slipped into April and here we are.

If I hadn't kept Archer on my Bloglines list (even after he said farewell on Jan 2, 2008), I never would've known he was back. But I did, and when I checked the Bloglines list an hour or so ago, there he was! New content! Outstanding! Happy day. Archer's jumble of sense, nonsense, blatant lies, and outrageously gross humor is intact.

For those of youse others on the list, I may need a while to catch up. I mean some folks have a hundred posts I haven't read yet and even HCC has a backlog.

A belated welcome back, Archer. Good to see you.

Friday, April 04, 2008

"Gordon Ramsay always advises his victims on Kitchen Nightmares to simplify, and it's good advice."

Ah, jeez.

I don't watch TV. Period. None. Zip. Even if I did, I don't think I get the Fox Network in the subset of available channels that comes with our barebones ($2.80/mo in addition to my computer connection) from Comcast.

After SG's comment (see title of this post), I hied off to Google with a /kitchen nightmares gordon ramsay/ search.

First up: the Fox Kitchen Nightmares Web site. Entertaining little itty-bitty less-than-a-minute clips.

After some poking and prying around in YouTube, HotDiggity! a stash of episodes (which I have, with great reluctance, set aside until later. ... His nibs doesn't care to be forced to listen to YouTube clips I'm playing while he's plunked in the chair of the desk face-to-face with me. ... Later!)

Thanks, SG! I just caught up on the season finale of Project Runway yesterday and was wondering what I'd do ... Gordon Ramsay it is!

Cookbooks as Anthropology and the art of cooking

comment on the cookbooks post:

Mainly, though, I don't use cookbooks for meals any more. Everything we eat seems to be variations on about ten themes. Gordon Ramsay always advises his victims on Kitchen Nightmares to simplify, and it's good advice.

Of course cookbooks are not only, or sometimes hardly at all, for cooking. From the pure book POV I love David, and Claudia Roden. I have a fat tome of classic techniques in Italian cooking by Antonio Bugialli, which is only for thumbing through.

We pretty much stopped cooking from cookbooks when the youngsters were in the house. No time for browsing through cookbooks when you are working and raising, and it's disappointing to spend time prepping something that's downed in ten minutes and appreciated just as much as if you'd made them their favorite meatloaf. We had dishes we knew they liked that we varied in one way or another but yeah, ten themes is probably accurate for our cooking repertoire then too.

I like cookbooks, whether I'm cooking from them or not. I sit and read them and I'm in another world, a world with cuttlefish on the table or an endless number of cabbage recipes, or no eggs-milk-butter. You can tell a lot about how people live by looking at the cookbooks written for them.

A friend once asked, "But really. How many cookbooks do you need?" What can I answer to something like that?

Cookbooks aren't just something for checking out a recipe for mu-shu pork or Char Siu Bao or gingersnaps. No, when I need a recipe, it's usually not a specific cookbook I head for. I pull out five cookbooks and find five recipes and mix them up, or I go to the Web and do something similar with Google.

Cookbooks are for dreaming over, for sitting curled up in a chair with a breeze coming in off the Bay with a pad of sticky notes, marking pages with possibilities for future dishes or snacks or desserts.

Dinner the other night (and last night as leftovers) was a variant on shrimp à la king, made without recipes. Simple, ready?

Olive oil. A small red onion. Garlic.
Bell pepper strips from Trader Joe's, mélange à trois green/yellow/red: frozen. (16oz bag)
Medium-sized shrimp from Trader Joe's: cleaned, cooked, frozen. (16oz? bag)

Butter. Flour. Heavy whipping cream.
Parmesan cheese. Pale dry sherry.

Olive oil in pan. Heat. Add garlic and sliced onion. Cook until browned. Add red-yellow-green pepper strips. Cook some more. Add shrimp and stir until shrimp is hot. Set aside.

Butter in pan. Add flour for roux. Add cream for Béchamel sauce. Toss in shredded Parmesan cheese and sherry and then fiddle with cream and cheese/sherry until you have a nice thick not-too-cheesy sauce. Grind of pepper. Stir sherry sauce into shrimp/pepper medley. Serve with rice.

Total cost ~ $10, if that. From that we had two dinners, or four meals. It was delicious.

Would I have known to toss those things together if I hadn't already made seafood enchiladas =and= chicken with the sherry Parmesan sauce? Would I have tossed the melange à trois peppers with the shrimps if there hadn't been a shrimp à la king in my past? I don't know. I think, like many things, it's easier to cook without recipes, once you have enough time booked using someone's tried and true directions.

Natural cooks do not spring from Zeus' brow.

Oh, how I love cookbooks.

Update: "So, what are you planning for dinner?"
"I dunno. Haven't decided yet. Have any preferences?"
"I'd like meatloaf."

Meatloaf for dinner tonight -- "Cottage Cheese Meat Loaf," to be exact.

from "the spillover effect" to the dance of knives: restaurants in San Francisco

comment on the cookbooks post:

I love the spillover effect. Do you use double-sided tape?

I assume you mean the paper bits behind the picture of the younger younger guys?

Those bits are on a French board, or whatever you call it, that hangs over the edge of the counter. Had to hang over because if I gave it a 90deg turn, it wouldn't fit under the upper shelf.

French board: padded board with criss-crossed ribbons that you tuck your bits of whatever under. Seems to me Sabrina had one where she kept her memorabilia and spent tickets and pictures and invitations and whatever.

The original plan -- still in general play -- was to use this board for restaurant business cards and menus for places we might want to return to. The cards would not only remind us of places we'd liked but also provide reservation # and address information.

Alas, as we've found, this town has thousands of restaurants and they are constantly changing chefs or closing or deciding they want to be small plates or deciding they want to change direction or ...

Keeping business cards and/or menus doesn't mean the restaurant will be the same or even in business should we decide we want to go again.

We try to keep up. Every Wednesday The Inside Scoop column in the Chron food section covers the who's leaving, who's arriving foodista gossip. Cortez on Geary (yummy food) just sold. New owner says food and chef will stay the same. Sure. Michelle Mah (formerly of Ponzu) will be the chef at Midi, which is taking over the Perry's space on Sutter. Bruno Viscovi has sold Albona Ristorante Istriano to his nephew and the chef who's been there ten years. Nothing will change. Sure the food won't change, but you won't have Bruno going over the menu with you in caring detail, telling you exactly how the soup was prepared and which vegetables go in the beef stock. sigh. Shuna Lydon left Sens before we had a chance to taste her desserts. Scott Howard closed recently. A loss.

And the knives dance. 'Round and 'round we go.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay! A new mouse!

My mechanical mouse was getting fussier and crankier. Lately, each time I tried to make the pointer move it dodged and dawdled like nobody's business. Editing was a pain. Clicking wee boxes was a pain.

I finally complained to his nibs who took the mouse apart and extracted all the dust and gunk collected in its innards. The mouse still balked. I was glum.

So his nibs went off to Fry's while he was out of the office at lunchtime today and brought me home a beautiful little laser Logitech mouse that plugs into one of the USB ports on my machine. $9.95 plus tax.

So long, clenched teeth!

O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay! A new mouse!

The Best Cookbooks

Mark Bitten is asking for help updating his "50 Cookbooks I'd Rather Not Live Without" cookbooks list.

417 comments so far.

I don't know what I'd do if I had to choose my fifty favorite cookbooks. I have bookcases filled with cookbooks elsewhere and maybe a foot-plus of cookbooks above the bar sink here. Are the cookbooks here the ones I'd rather not live without? Are there fifty of them?

On the shelf above the bar sink:
[* means that this blog post accomplished its purpose of making me think about the cookbooks I have here and I'm taking this book elsewhere and freeing up some shelf room ...]

  • The Microwave Guide and Cookbook (no author given) *

  • Eliason, Harward, Westover - Make-A-Mix Cookery - a classic used constantly while raising my family. I still pull it out to make cream cheese swirls, a coffee roll with cream cheese filling sort of like a cheese Danish, which I make for Easter brunch and other special occasions.

  • More Make-A-Mix Cookery ... vol 2. of the classic

  • Sunset Chinese Cook Book - this book falls open to the kung pao chicken recipe page, now stained and splattered and no longer attached to the binding it's been used so much

  • Sunset Cooking Bold & Fearless: a cook book for men *

  • Sunset Cook Book of Favorite Recipes *

  • Betty Crocker's Bisquick Cookbook * - used constantly while raising kids. I'd make the biscuit mix from Make-A-Mix Cookery and use the Bisquick recipes from this book

  • Shinojima - Authentic Japanese Cuisine for Beginners - picked up on our trip to Japan last year. [or not. When I was going through it, I noticed the price information on the back was in $$$. Picked up where, then?] I need to sit down with it to see if it deserves to be kept in the limited space here. [Made the cut. Keeping here.]

  • Mabel C. Lai - Chinese Cuisine Made Easy - "Hot & Spicy Soup" (p32) 'nuff said. I always need to check how many golden needles, wooden ears and bamboo shoots the recipe takes. Gee, I haven't made the soup in a long time. Need to get some fresh tofu and check the cupboards for golden needles, wooden ears and bamboo shoots. The "Ginger Broccoli Beef" recipe is exceptional too.

  • Ranck, Good - Fix-It and Forget-It Cookbook: feasting with your slow cooker - another classic.

  • Shirley - Wonderful ways to prepare chicken - bought for $1.95 at some Gemco/KMart-like store more years ago than I can remember. (c1979). "Piquant Chicken" (made with honey, lemon juice and ginger) is a favorite. "Chicken Diva" (with a sherry-Parmesan white sauce and broccoli) is another. "Sherry Creamed Chicken." Maybe chicken tonight. Hm.

  • Sunset Recipes for Ground Beef - falls open to the splattered page showing "Cottage Cheese Meat Loaf." The recipe not only includes cottage cheese but also uses rolled oats instead of bread cubes. Delish. When the young ones were MUCH younger, I'd cook the meatloaf with carrots, beans and/or peas mixed in as the accompanying vegetable. I tend not to look at the other recipes for meatloaf (24 variations ...) but say, "Almond Studded Curry Loaf" using Major Grey's chutney sounds not half bad. Am I in a rut?

  • Killeen - 101 Secrets of Gourmet Chefs: unusual recipes from great California restaurants *

  • Goldstein - From Our House to Yours: comfort food to give and share - provenance unknown. I need to sit down with this one. I really liked Joyce Goldstein's cooking at Square One decades back and enjoy her articles in the Chron food section. [Made the cut. Keeping here.]

  • Duchess of Devonshire - Chatsworth Cookery Book. Signed. Picked this book up when we were back visiting the relatives last fall. Need to sit down with this book too. Should it be taking up space here? [Made the cut. Keeping here.]

  • America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook - a new classic. I love this stuff.

  • Rombauer, Becker - Joy of Cooking. 'nuff said. I love the nitty gritty detail but don't much love the "see White Sauce 111, 341" and "Please read About Doughnuts, 244" sorts of forward and back references in practically every recipe. Still. If you've never quite got the hang of preparing sweetbreads, the Rombauer clan will set you straight. Superb indexing.

  • The Best of Bon Appetit (1979) - Ginger Cream Chicken (p69) (madeira, ginger, chopped up candied ginger, cream -- what's not to like?)

  • Cooking Light 5 Ingredient 15 Minute Cookbook - Goodwill purchase. I don't know if I've ever cooked from this book. I need to sit down with this book.

  • America's Best Lost Recipes - I adore Christopher Kimball and his crew at Cook's Magazine and America's Test Kitchen and all the affiliated incarnations.

  • Betty Crocker's Cookbook - the classic. The cookbook I used most after I moved out on my own. Splattered. Marked. Oooh. Here's a piece of folded paper with a recipe for "Rasa Malaysia Portuguese Egg Tarts" Those were exceptionally tasty. BCC is my go-to book when I can't remember how long to cook a roast because it's been so long since we had one.

  • The Silver Spoon from Phaidon Press. 1263pp. Can't remember where this one came from either, but like the America's Test Kitchen books, it's just a fun read. Perch: four recipes. Octopus: six recipes Catfish and tench: four recipes. Cuttlefish: six recipes. How can you not like a cookbook with recipes for "Heart Kabobs" and "Cream of Fennel Soup with Smoked Salmon"?

  • Eichelbaum - Cooking for Heart & Soul: 100 delicious lowfat recipes from San Francisco's top chefs * a cookbook to benefit the San Francisco Food Bank - this was a prize from a drawing at a Food Bank event. I need to sit down with this one. [Made the cut. Keeping here.]

  • Bon Appetit - Too Busy to Cook? Also kept (it seems ... page falls open) for the Ginger Cream Chicken recipe. That is one delicious recipe. I make it these days with boneless, skinless chicken thighs instead of chicken breasts, but then I make most of my chicken recipes with thighs instead of breasts. I don't hack up whole chickens like I did back when now that there are only two of us to feed so we have neither chicken breasts nor chicken livers as much as we did then. A large bag of chicken thighs from Costco is in the freezer and we take what we need for whatever we're cooking. Buy a new bag when the current bag is getting near gone.

  • seven different editions of the Presto pressure cooker recipe book and a Wards Cooker (pressure cooker) recipe book from 1947 and a Wards Magic Seal Pressure Saucepan recipe book. How many books do I need to look up how long to cook artichokes or beets or pot roast in a pressure cooker? I think I need to re-think this stash.

  • Royal Cook Book (from the Royal Baking Powder Co)(1925) - classics like "Eggless, Milkless, Butterless Cake" "Lady Baltimore Cake" "Royal Sponge Cake" but also a bunch of recipes that don't use baking powder at all. I'm assuming the Royal Baking Powder company wanted a free giveaway that the fickle homemaker would hold on to, that would keep their name front and center even if she didn't =yet= use their baking powder..

  • Recipe Finder Index - a critical item back in the days before I could find a recipe for just about anything on the Web. Once the number of cookbooks in the house reached a certain point, there were times when I was all,"Oh, I'd like to make that sausage pie thing with spinach and basil again but which cookbook has the recipe?" The Finder Index is broken into categories (Appetizers & Snacks, Beverages, Desserts -- Pies). Space for recipe name, source & page#, date tried, and notes. I'd forgotten about most of these: "Nanking Liver" from the New Poor Poet Cookbook, "German style Kidneys" from Sunset Cooking with Wine, "Migg's Fish" from the Southern Junior League Cookbook, "Sherried Chicken Livers" from Sumptuous Indulgence on a Shoestring.

  • Law - Pacific Light Cooking. Another Goodwill purchase. Need to look at this one.

  • Child, Bertholle, Beck - Mastering the Art of French Cooking. A classic. I have no idea why it falls open to the section with onion recipes. Looks like something spilt there once upon a time. Heavily stained page: "Navarin Printanier" [Lamb Stew with Spring Vegetables] I love this cookbook for its sense and its recipes and the way they laid out the pages. Its sequel is over with the other cookbooks,as is Simca's Cuisine and two and a half shelves of books on French cooking: Beck, Child, Pepin, others.

  • Dailey - The Best Pressure Cookbook Ever - so why all the Presto recipe books? Oh, look! There's yet another Presto recipe book inside! That settles it. The batch listed earlier is going elsewhere.

  • McLaren - Pan-Pacific Cook Book: savory bits from the world's fare (1915) e.g. #63 Tchi - a Russian national soup. "Chop fine half of a small cabbage and a large onion and fry in dripping for a few moments; stir in two tablespoons of flour. Cook for three minutes, then add slowly two quarts of beef stock. Simmer for half an hour, add a few forcemeat or sausage balls and a wineglass of white wine. Simmer twenty minutes more and serve." Fun. His nibs' great great aunt was involved with committee work for the 1915 Fair so we pick up books and whatever we can find about it, if they can be had for a reasonable price. This cookbook was $15.

  • The Daily Echo (Halifax) - Good Housekeeping Everyday Cook Book. Very beat up. Of uncertain age. Falling to bits. First six pages gone, which is probably where the date information was. Recipes provided by the Daily Echo, plus handwritten recipes inside in various hands and pasted-in recipes cut from papers or magazines. A look into the past.

  • Small-ish book with many pages, separated by alpha dividers. May have been intended as an address book but used instead for recipes. Recipes written in different hands. Provenance? Recipes assigned to letters higgly-piggly. "Pots de creme" recipe under "P" and a different "Pot de Creme" recipe under "D" for "dessert" Also under "D" "Iced Tea" ... "drinks," I suppose. Also in "D" "Daiquiri" with a note, "Edie, Ethel and Emily liked"

  • Robertson, Flinders, Godfrey - Laurel's Kitchen. (1976). This book was my second go-to book after Betty Crocker. Vegetarian. The younger ones consider "Chillaquillas" (or ChileeKillees, as we called them) comfort food. Cheap, tasty, good.

  • Ayer y Hoy de la Cocina Navarra - with a handy dandy translation of the recipes into English. A goodie gift from the Kingdom of Navarra during a meet the winemakers of Navarre event. I need to check out the recipes. This book probably belongs elsewhere.

    and last but not least

  • Stewart - The Martha Stewart Living Cookbook. 1200 recipes. Tasty.

What does that add up to? Thirty-plus. I'll weed through the ones I set aside and take them elsewhere, opening up space for other cookbooks I'd be happier to have close by. For now, here's what the shelves above the bar sink look like.


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The Memlng Index - A Long, Obscene and Fascinating List Of Links

The Memlng Index - A Long, Obscene and Fascinating List Of Links

Some gems. Some not so. Interesting collection.

from Eames to civets

from Mixed Use to Kopi Luwak.

Mixed Use, a fun shop on Union at Grant that sold used everything from Dooney & Bourke bags to fur coats, to men's cowboy boots, fifties furniture and Scandinavian bookends at prices too high for my Goodwill sensibilities, closed up at the end of the year.

The store had a diverse collection of things for sale and was a wonderful place to poke around in but, as I mentioned, I never bought a thing there because I'm a thrift store girl at heart. I can get the D&B handbag that Mixed Use was selling for fifty dollars for fifteen at the Goodwill, ten dollars if the store is having a "30% off anything with a blue price tag" day. Plus no sales tax at the Goodwill. Oh, yay, Goodwill.

Granted, Mixed Use had the crème de la crème of secondhand stuff. No need to hunt pearls in thrift store oyster beds. But, for me, the hunt (and the successful pearl capturing) is the fun of it. ("Like my Ferragamo shoes? $6 at the Goodwill!")

The store's location on Union, a few buildings east of Grant, might've also been a factor in its demise. (I'm sure my not buying things there wasn't.)

Shops on Grant between Broadway and Fillmore have problems attracting a customer base. I'm not sure what the solution is. Mixed Use was not even on Grant, but off Grant and being off Grant -- on a stretch of Union that usually only neighbors walking home and hardy hill-worthy tourists use -- had to have effected its walk-in business.

Despite the sign down at the corner of Union and Grant directing people up the hill to the shop and good writeups in the San Francisco mags, I was usually the only potential customer in the shop those times I popped in to see what they had in their inventory. Their problem was their location. They would've done much better in Polk Gulch. Or Union Street in Cow Hollow. Or down on Fillmore. Their problem was there were no other nearby nifty little shops to attract like-minded customers.

I was sorry to see them go.

Who would brave the space next?

We noticed new signage last month. A new tenant had opened shop at 463 Union Street. The windows are still papered over but his nibs was able to pick up a brochure when he walked by the storefront the other day. Will this business make a success of the space?

Kopi Luwak Trading Company

Hm. Phone and email orders only at this stage.

Maybe that's the ticket: not depending on walk-in customers.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

What's Lost Is Found Again

Wednesday I knew where my set of keys to the loft was and his nibs' set as well. The younger younger guy had left both on the dining table before he decamped.

By Thursday evening, his nibs' set was nowhere to be found. When asked where the key set was I said, "I remember it was on the table just last night. Right there." The set wasn't there any longer.

He'd dropped me off at the loft Thursday morning before he headed south to work. I'd used my set to get in and dropped some stuff off there and picked some stuff up there and fetched my Mini from the garage where the younger younger guy had left it while we were gone. I'd then spent the rest of the day in the southlands myself, checking in on the homestead, visiting the mater, stopping by the older younger guy's place.

Thursday evening his nibs' set of keys was missing. Mine was in the zippered pocket in my zippered bag where I keep it but his was gone, missing, bunked, no 'stá aquí.

Where had the keys gone? I took my zippered hobo bag and emptied each and every pocket. Same with my camera bag. Checked pants in the wash. Checked jackets and vests worn any time since we'd returned. Checked every horizontal surface on which I could reasonably think I might have left them.

Over the weekend we upended the living room and the dining room, which we really had to do anyway because they wanted cleaning and dusting and vacuuming.

The keys were nowhere to be found. But I had my keys, right? We could just make copies. But it wasn't that easy. One of the keys is a key to the mailbox in the mailbox bank in the lobby. I'm not sure how easy it is to get a duplicate key for a mailbox.

Also on the keychain were keys to the locks on the locked storage cupboard in the garage. (Not that the locks are any good or hold up against a serious intruder armed with a crowbar, as we know from experience.)

Also on the keychain was the key to the front door to the building, a copy of which is only available from the building management company and then only at a cost of $50.

Oh, my.

By Monday morning the keys weren't the only things lost. I'd also mislaid -- somewhere between getting ready for the FFCoppola-isn't-cooking-this-year fundraiser dinner for North Beach Citizens the night before and tucking in after a raucous evening -- a string of wooden beads with a dime-sized Thai Buddha medallion attached. Both the beads and the medallion had huge sentimental value and I felt majorly unlucky to have lost them. (The beads were originally a hand-strung bracelet the younger younger one had made for me to remind me to count my blessings -- identify one blessing for every bead if the grey black ooze is threatening. The Thai medallion had belonged to my dad.)

Two important things lost, keys and beads. All was not sunny in my world.

I was reassured, a bit, by Jon Carroll's column last Friday.

I think that we, as a nation, underestimate the ability of things to hide. You can't find something and you think, "oh, I have lost it." And then later, sometimes much later, you discover that you didn't lose it at all; it was where it was the whole time. Indeed, it was where you put it. You don't have a problem with lost things; you have a problem with putting things in strange locations.

The things themselves are getting fed up. They are tired of being blamed for being lost. They are not children; they do not wander off or run away from home or hide in the closet to scare their parents. Things are without means of locomotion. They stay where they are put.

So allz I had to do was figure out where I'd left the keys and the beads, right?

I searched again. Top. Bottom. Left. Right. NSEW.

Finally, I said, "The beads have got to be here. I always keep them in the left front pocket of my black jeans. I take them out at night and put them >here<. I put them back in my jeans pocket in the morning.

"I don't specifically remember transferring them to the khaki pants I wore to the NBC dinner, but even if I had, I wasn't fiddling with them there and I would've come home and taken them out before I went to bed and put them right ..." and there they were. I'd dropped the beads smackdab on top of a shell necklace that had been sitting on the countertop and they'd sort of camouflaged themselves, hiding amongst the shells. Yay. Hooray. The beads they are found.

Next up the keys. We were heading out to Costco and decided to check the cars one last time. I checked through the Mini. Nada. His nibs checked through the Honda. Nothing. "Did you check the door pockets?" "Yes." "Glove box?" "Yes." We checked the trunk. Nothing. So we hopped in the Honda and off to Costco we went, stopping by to drop some things at the loft, which we searched even though I knew for certain I hadn't left the keys there.

At Costco we bought the usual necessities and things that aren't necessities but we buy anyway. After loading up the trunk, we were getting ready to leave the Costco garage and I fiddled around with a popup gizmo in-between the front seats that opens to reveal two cupholders.

Ah hah! That's where the keys had been hiding. My fault, I'm sure. I must have had both sets of keys when I got in his nibs' car Thursday morning and I'd decided to stash his set in this nice little nook in his car and then forgotten I'd done so. Mystery solved. (Well, sort of. I still can't remember putting the keys there and his nibs knows for a fact it wasn't him.)

But what's lost is found again, halleu.

And whenever anything goes lost again, as it surely will, I'll remember Jon Carroll's wise words on the subject and

... Where is Jon Carroll, by the way? Yesterday where Carroll's column should've been was a Chron note: "Jon Carroll is taking the day off." Okay. He's allowed.

Today where Carroll's column should've been there was ... nothing, not even a note.

But he's not missing. I just need to remember where I left him.