Tag Archives: food

Pass around the coffee and the chapatis

Yesterday I had thanksgiving dinner with a very international crowd. Most of them were Kenyans, but there was also a Swede, several USAians, and a Bolivian. We had the traditional Thanksgiving meal of empanadas, samosas, chapatis, and, of course, turkey. Before dinner we sang “Umwema,” and Moses prayed in Swahili and English. We sat around the table for perhaps 4 hours, talking, laughing, joking in various languages, and reminiscing.

My parents were out of town yesterday, and got back at about 1 this morning (Just in time to get in the line of shoppers outside of Target! … Just kidding.) so we’re going to have Thanksgiving dinner again, this time with more of our family, tomorrow.

I do, indeed, have much to be thankful for.

Home again, Home again

I’m a little grumbly here, because I was almost done writing this posting when Firefox crashed. Bah.

Anyways, as I was saying …

I am pleased to announce, after extensive testing, the results of my survey. Nobody in the world makes coffee as good as I can make it right here at home. Except, just maybe, my dad. I’m not sure what’s so hard about grinding up a few beans and pouring water over them, but every time I travel, I’m better off just foregoing the coffee, since everything I get served is swill fit only for watering the daisys. Poor daisys.

It is really good to be home.

I still enjoy travelling. (Ok, I have come to hate the actual travelling part. Thanks, TSA.) I like being other places and seeing new things. But, increasingly, I just want to get back home, after a few days away. I suppose I’m just getting old and settled, and, I think, that’s probably OK with me. (Inner voice: OLD MAN! OLD MAN!)

So, it was a week of Apache training. I learned quite a few things, and have a lot of changes that I need to make to my class notes and to my book. I wonder if I will be able to keep up the drive to do so this time. Generally, the urge dies out after a few days. I’ll try harder.

The network at the training site was somewhat restrictive, so I was off IRC for almost the whole week. On Friday, Eddie reminded me how to tunnel IRC (or anything, I suppose) over an ssh connection to anywhere. You open an ssh connection to wherever you can ssh to, and then you can tunnel any other protocol over the top of that, so that you can use your preferred IRC client (xchat, or whatever) to connect over that tunnel to anywhere else. I suppose it’s just as well that I didn’t remember earlier in the week.

ssh -C rbowen@wooga.frumble.com -L 8081:irc.freenode.org:6667

Then point your IRC client at localhost, port 8081.

Most evenings while on my trip, I went out somewhere, saw a thing or two, but was back in my room by 7 or 8. I read a lot of stuff during those 2 or 3 hours before going to bed. Here’s some of it.

In the Presence of Fear by Wendell Berry. Avoid this book if you are content to be fat, happy, and complacent in your current view of your consumer life. This is a collection of essays about how the world has changed in the last several presidential administrations, and, particularly, how it has changed since the incident in 2001 when we realized that we didn’t live in an isolated bubble. Very good stuff. Whatever your political leanings tend to be, Berry gives a lot of plain common sense to some issues that we tend to over-politicize.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon. A murder mystery of sorts. Written from the perspective of a young autistic man who finds a dead dog in his neighbor’s (I suppose I should say neighbour’s. He’s british.) yard, and who sets out to find out how it died. Funny, sad, and eye-opening. Highly recommended. It was recommended to me by someone in blog-space. I don’t rember who. Get this book.

The Gift Moves by Steve Lyon. Steve is the organist/pianist at my church. He’s also the husband of the well-known children’s author George Ella Lyon. The book was shelved (mistakenly, I think) in the children’s section of the book store. Yes, it’s a book about some kids. Sort of. It’s also a book about a culture (seems post-apocalyptic, but hard to say) where the economy is based on gifts, rather than on money or barter. It’s about how we relate to one another. Or, I suppose, you could read it as a shiny happy kid’s story. Presumably that’s where the store thought it would sell better. After all, who wants to think? Recommended. Frankly, I didn’t expect to enjoy it, largely because of where it was shelved. But I like to read books by people I know, and I was pleasantly surprised.

The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett. I keep thinking that the Discworld books will get tired and boring. And perhaps that’s happening just a little bit. But this book was funny I suppose it gets a “2” on the measure on the “laughed out loud in public” scale. The story was good, the characters were interesting, and the conclusion was unexpected. I recommend this if you’ve read any of the other Discworld books. If you haven’t, I recommend that you read The Colour of Magic first. Try to get a British edition of you can find it. Apparently they tried to Americanize it for the US printing, whatever that means. Silly publishers. And if you’re in this area, I’m sure that Ken would be willing to loan you a copy. I don’t seem to have a copy any more.

And I suppose I should mention that I picked up a new printing of A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens. This is a Barnes&Noble printing. A little pocket-sized edition of ACC as well as The Chimes and Cricket on the Hearth. Nice binding and size, so I could hardly pass it up, now, could I?

Oh, and one more thing. While in Palm Beach I ate at a place called City Cellar. Twice, in fact. I had two of the best meals I’ve had so far this year. The first night, I had crab-encrusted chilean sea bass. It was positively heavenly. The next night I had mahi in a tamarind sauce, which was almost as good. It was … *ahem* … somewhat pricey. The bass, at least, was worth every penny. The mahi was more expensive and less wonderful, but only marginally so.

Ok, there. Finished with no crashes, and crammed more topics into a single post than is my usual habit. Deal with it. I write for me and not for you anyway. 🙂

Painted Horse

Monday night I ate at the Painted Horse Cafe, recommended to me by the folks at the Biba. I ordered the special – veal – without asking what the cost was. Yowzers. I don’t think I’ve spent that much on a meal so far this year. But, I suppose it’s ok to splurge a little bit. This is a great training class, and a little celebration is in order.


Last evening, various of the Sams authors went to Ringside Steakhouse. Apparently it was voted the 6th best steakhouse in the country. It was, without question, the best steak that I have ever had. And I was sitting at the fun table. Entirely too much serious technical conversation appeared to be going on at the other tables. 😉

But, let me back up a moment, and recount the taxi ride, before I forget some of the details.

Taxi driver: What are you guys in town for?
Us: Software conference.
Td: Oh. Software is the way to go. You know why?
Us: Why?
Td: Because God uses software to run the entire universe.
Us: *stunned silence*
Td: And God’s wife is Mona Lisa.
Us: *boggle*
Td: And taxes are from Satan. God gave us life for free, and Satan is trying to take it away. On April 15th, we pay Satan.

This actually went on for quite a while longer, and I know I’m forgetting something. Perhaps one of the other guys can fill in some of the details. It was very surreal.

Discussion at dinner also involved a brilliant new idea for a book series that we’re going to do. I can’t reveal the highly confidential details, but let’s just say that it features soft, absorbent paper. Possibly perforated. I don’t think I’ve laughed so hard in many moons.

The Stonehenge party was last night, too. However, by the time we left Ringside, it was already 11pm, and I’ve been up late every night so far. We agreed to meet back at VQ for a somewhat quieter evening than would be had at the Stonehenge party, but apparently various folks changed their minds in transit, so some of us were there for a while waiting for the rest. Around 12, I just could not stay awake any longer.


Last night a vendor took several of us out to dinner.

We started by going to Pacific Pearl, but, alas, it looks like it has closed. 🙁

So we went to Malone’s, where I had the Sirloin Oscar – a great steak with a cheese sauce and crab meat on top. Mmmm. I had a glass of Ravenswood Zinfandel, and a glass of Wolf Blass Cab. They pour *really* big glasses there.

I also had a glass of Sandeman’s 10 year tawny port, which was really really good. Highly recommended. Even better when someone else is paying for it.

Bristol bar & grill, Creve Coeur, MO

I had dinner last night at the Bristol Bar & Grill, just a little bit down the road of where I’m staying. I was terribly underdressed, but it didn’t bother me a whole lot.

I had Grilled chicken penne with a variety if interesting spices. It was pretty good, although there was too much penne and not enough chicken. The spices, however, were wonderful.

I had a Salena Shiraz, which I don’t think I’ve ever had before. It was served *way* too cold, and so it was near the end of the mean before it was really starting to get good. But by that time, I wasn’t really able to pick out particular aromas very well, what with the chicken. So about all that I can say was that it was nice, and tasted like a good standard Shiraz.

I guess some people like wines chilled, or that enough people don’t know any better, that it’s worthwhile serving it at this temperature. It felt like it had just come out of the fridge. 🙁

Psychic communication

There’s something strangely supernatural that happens when I cook. It seems to send out messages to receptive (yet annoying) people, so that, as soon as all the food is ready and I’m sitting down to eat it, they call. And, moreover, the harder I’ve worked on the meal, and the more important that it is that it be eaten hot, the longer they will yap.

*sigh*. Another breakfast ruined.

Bread machine bread

I’ve been making bread in my new bread machine for about 3 weeks now. I’m finding that it is just a little too dense. I don’t know if I need to take it out of the machine after the mixing phase and bake it in the oven, or if there’s some ingredient that I’m missing. I’m still experimenting with different recipes, but they are all a chore to chew. And, of course, the little person doesn’t like them at all.

I’m also finding that they are VERY salty. Must try with less salt.

Coffee smells

Why is it that, some mornings, coffee smells like the most wonderful thing in the world, and some mornings it smells like eau de skunk? I swear, this morning the coffee smelled like a skunk had sprayed, and then died, in my kitchen. But it was exactly the same coffee (Tanzania peaberry … mmmmm) that I made yesterday. I don’t get it.