Saturday, November 15, 2014

What I am Searching For

I am searching for something and I'm not sure if it's an idea, a place or a way of life that does not exist any more, or if it does, it's in small pockets across the country. I see it in people I know and I sometimes meet people  that personify it.

It's a place where folks still love America and are not ashamed to say so. Where children can play outside til the sun goes down and a mother need not panic. She knows they are safe.  It is a place where children still have respect for adults. It is a place where adults have earned the respect. In this place time moves just a little slower.

There is a place out there where a man's word is his bond and a handshake is what seals the deal. It is a place where when a man and woman say to each other “Til death do us part”, they really mean it.

It is a place where a teacher, a police officer or a neighbor is still someone that you can trust with your son or daughter. Where adults behave like adults, not teenagers. Where not everyone wants to be famous for doing nothing. It is a place where money is important but not more important than people.

It is a place where families still get together on Sunday evenings for a good home cooked family meal made with love by mama.  It is a place where children listen when grandma and grandpa share their their memories about the way things used to be.

It is a place where a man can still find work, and be grateful for the opportunity to earn a paycheck. In this place men can debate their differences in politics, or anything else for that matter, and still remain friends.

It is also an idea that I am searching for. The idea that we still believe we are a great nation and that greatness is still part of our future. It is also the idea that a nation, like it's citizens, remain humble, remain giving and perhaps more than anything else, remain forgiving.

Above all else, it is a place where a man and woman can choose their own destiny, find their own future. In this place a man or woman, can reap the benefits of hard work. It is also a place where accountability and responsibility fall squarely on your shoulders and no others.

In the America that I still believe exists, men, women and children, still respect  Freedom and the American flag and those who have served their country. They can still pray to their God, without any form of reprisal, criticism or worse. You are also free to do none of that because your right to choose has already been paid for in full by some one that has fought and died for that right.

In the America that I am searching for, All men and women, regardless of race, ethnicity or religion, really are created equal and all have a right to the American dream. This is the America that I believe in. In the America of my dreams, no one can remember what the words hate or racism mean. They have been forgotten. In this place no child knows what it is like to be unloved, unwanted or hungry.

You should know that if you are my friend, whether I see you every day or not, you are my friend because I see these qualities and hopes in you. If you are a family member I already know where you stand. I am grateful for all that we have, at home, in our country and in our hearts.

Saturday, November 01, 2014

Hiroshima by John Hersey


I just finished reading “Hiroshima” by John Hersey. It was originally published in 1946. I picked the book up so long ago I cannot remember when I got it or where but I finally got around to reading it. Considering the subject matter it's a rather small book. The story follows six of the Atomic bomb survivors from the very second the bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, Japan from the B-29 Superfortress on 8:15 August 6, 1945.

Each survivor gives a detailed account of the initial second of the super explosion and through the following years. The horror is unfathomable. Their lives were forever changed. Their loss unimaginable. Their courage and ability to survive unmatched.

Though some of the survivors expressed anger at the United States, the author himself makes no attempt at judgment or blame. According to the book most of the overall opinions of the Japanese following the bombing and the end of the war was a realistic and simple belief that it was “Just war” or “That it couldn't be helped”. I don't know if they hold that position today or not. Whatever the case, it's a good quick read and I recommend it.

Monday, October 27, 2014

A Bowl of Pozole

Pozole or Posole

Pozole condiments 

The Dog Days of Summer are behind us now and the cooler weather is coming. Over the last decade or so, Fall has become my favorite season. It spells relief from the heat. It's easier to find comfort.

Fall also means soups and stews. My wife will show her Texas roots by making a Tex Mex Guisado, a beef stew Tex Mex style (the leftovers make good a burrito filling). Caldo de Pollo, Cocido, Chile Verde and Chile Colorado are also perfect for the season. At the top of the list is Pozole - in New Mexico it is spelled Posole - and that is what we made last night. Pork shoulder,pig feet (optional), hominy and red chile (We use New Mexico Red Chile). The proper condiments are cabbage, radishes, onions, cilantro, and lemons or limes. This is comfort food. It does't get any simpler or any better than this.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Shrimp Scampi with Linguine

Shrimp Scampi with Linguine

Bruschetta with Tomato and Basil

A recent meal at our house. As much as I love Mexican cooking, I do enjoy other types of food. Shrimp Scampi is one of our favorites and is actually pretty easy to put together.We also made Bruschetta with tomato and basil. We almost always top it with feta cheese but I forgot to buy it at the market. It was still very good but it lacked that extra zing that feta cheese gives it. next time I'll write it down!

I was a cook at JoJo's Restaurant in Ontario, California in 1977, the first time I tasted Shrimp Scampi. There has an older cook - I don't remember his name - that was at one time a promising chef but he was down on his luck working as a short order cook. He would make lunch for himself and it was always something that was not on the menu. Shrimp Scampi was one of those things he would make. A food memory.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Short Ribs in New Mexico Red Chile

Short Ribs in New Mexico Chile

Tonight's dinner: Short Ribs in New Mexico Red Chile with baby gold and red potatoes, carrots and onions. This can also be made with flanken style short ribs but I prefer the English cut. They hold up much better during a long braising. I'm not going to lie. It was delicious!

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Mary Helen Smith (Huizar) 1953 - 2014

My sister-in-law, Mary Helen Smith (nee Huizar), my wife Jeri's younger sister, passed away in the early morning hours of Monday, October 6, 2014 of causes yet unknown. 

Mary was born on April 5, 1953 in San Antonio, Texas to Henry and Josephine Huizar (both deceased).  She is survived by her daughter Anna and her son Danny Smith Jr. She will be missed. Rest in peace Mary.

Below are various pictures of Mary.

Sunday, September 07, 2014

Pollo en Salsa Tomatillo con Arroz Blanco (Chicken in Tomatillo Sauce with White Rice)

An ExtraordinarySupper

Pollo en Salsa Tomatillo con Arroz Blanco (Chicken in Tomatillo Sauce with White Rice). Early supper tonight, made by my wife Jeri. Absolutely delicious!