Monday, April 19, 2010

A Culinary Tour of the Willey Family (in one day)

It occurred to me today (while sitting in a mandatory "new hire" training class) that yesterday was an autobiographical day for food in my mom's family. With my parents visiting, we had three meals that are completely dependent on where Willeys lived. [Willey is my mom's maiden name and my middle name....Willey women are occasionally impatient but damn can they cook!]

Breakfast: sourdough pancakes; origin: Newfoundland/Nova Scotia
While chronologically northeastern Canada comes last in our family history, breakfast comes first in a day, so we'll start with sourdough pancakes. While living in Newfoundland and Nova Scotia, my aunt and uncle sent some sourdough starter as a Christmas present for my brother (before I was born). The starter has been split numerous times, and I make pancakes (and only pancakes for some reason) with it regularly. Traditionally, blueberries are used, but yesterday we had blackberries and raspberries (Indiana-grown from last summer). Sourdough pancakes differ from traditional pancakes in at least three ways (other than their clear superiority): 1) they are sour (obviously), 2) they are thinner and denser than regular pancakes, and 3) you never ever eat them with imitation maple syrup. These were the only pancakes we ate at home and I had no idea they weren't "normal" pancakes until I spent the night at friends houses. Nova Scotia in particular is very important to our family---check out our blog entry from last summer for a glimpse of why.

Lunch: taylors ham; origin: New Jersey
Both my parents grew up in the Boss's home state (my mom moved at age 12, more on that below), and for the Willeys at least, Taylor ham was a staple. What the heck is it? I am not really sure. Here's what wikipedia has to say. All you really need to know is that it is made of pork and is delicious. While not required, it is recommended that you eat it with mustard. Taylor Ham is not local and fresh (sorry, Jamie Oliver) is processed meat, but it reminds me of summer and my grandparents and the beach, and every bite is just full of happiness. (Indiana folks, it is available at the Fresh Market---or our house---if you ever want to try it).

Dinner: tortellini en brodo; origin: Italy
To put it simply, tortellini en brodo is an Italian beef soup with tortellini. But that doesn't begin to cover it. What can I say about tortellini en brodo? I think it's been my favorite food since I first tasted it. After making the soup, you cook the tortellini in the broth, so the pasta and soup flavors meld together in the perfect blend. I generally only have it once a year (around Christmas), but our farmer's market was selling local oxtails, so my mom and I had to buy them! My mom's family learned to make it while living in Italy in the 1960s (my grandfather worked for Esso and was sent there for 4 years). Those four years in Italy gave my family so much, not the least of which, were recipes.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Good Poems

So I Run
Will "Da Real One" Bell

As I travel backwards through time I search to rescue all my heroes
And I find myself in the underground railroad
Standing side by side with Harriet Tubman
As she decides to go whether go left or right tonight
As the barking dogs approach from the south
I rub the clothes from a thousand slaves on my body
And I hand her a flashlight
And I run

I run til I get to Jackson Mississippi and it’s June 11 1963
And I ‘m standing in the bushes with this white man in front of me
And so I peak over his shoulders I can see what he sees
“look out!”
And from a distant car I can hear the shouts, “you better run!”
So I run
I run til I get to the spring of 1963
And I’m in Birmingham Alabama
And I’m peeking through a church basement window
4 little girls—4 little worlds
And I notice that I’m standing next to a box
And I can hear the sudden sounds of a tick tock
So I open it up and cut the red wire to the bomb to make it stop
And I can hear them coming from up the block
And they’re screaming: you better run,
So I run
I run til the get to the night of February 21 1965
And I found myself standing backstage at Manhattan’s Autobaugn ballroom
Trying to explain Malcolm that the enemy has sent four of his goons
And I explained that yes,malcom we know change is going to come
But it don’t have to be this soon
So I took a few of Malcolm’s security people and we just cleared the whole room
All of the sudden the CIA showed up screaming
You better run
So I run
I run til I get to April 4, 1968 in Memphis, Tennessee
And I’m down in front of the Loraine motel with Dr Martin Luther King
And shots begin to ring
And I just don’t want to lift every voice and sing
So I scoot back
And I cover Dr. King with my own body
As we hit the floor
And I hear the scream across the street again
You better run
So I run
I run til I find myself standing in the middle of an intersection in Las Vegas and it’s September the 7th in 1996
The day TuPac was being followed by an entourage
And eyewitnesses and everybody claimed not to see it
So I ran alongside the passenger side and pulled tupac out
So sug knight was the only one to get hit
Then I heard that scream again
You better run

The Ball, the Rim, and Him
Al Letson

Do you heart that?
That ball (beat)
Bouncing on asphalt
Ringing in the emptiness of a small court somewhere near here
One boy one ball one dream one hoop.
Listen slowly stepping up to foul line
I am metal rim whose orange paint has chipped or faded years ago
I am hoop then bal the ball then hoop
Then aim extend small jump release
And the ball flows through the air defying gravity and the rim innnnn
He scores!
Take it from the top he round his back through his leg without a glance
behind his back
pass it to a man on his side
His man run down the court takes the ball to the left
Takes the ball to the right
Sees him out the corner of his eye
Then pass
Touching the ball like an ancient relic from Africa
He hears voices of legends from before him
Speaking his name saying “join us. Join us from the sky. Like superman does. like a plane does”
One step two step up up up double pump
Hang on the rim
Looking down at mere mortals
Here the rims orgies shiny and new
Here were fallen street ballers
Hiding the drugs they sold or used
Higher than high school A’s or F’s
Here with Jordan, King James, Shaq, and Kidd
Here the complexities of life are all made simple
Here it’s all about the ball the rim and him
And then and then and then and then
with a little bit of reluctance he lets go
Of this small circular piece of Olympia
He lets go
And falls back to us
The un-understanding masters
we don’t know
We don’t know what it feels like to fly with the gods
But wether he’s crossing robbers on the ground
Or killing naysayers in the air
None of that matters man
None of that
Just the ball the rim and him
Do you hear that?
That ball (beat)
Bouncing on asphalt
Ringing in the emptiness of a small court somewhere near here
One boy one ball one dream one hoop.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Let's Go Bulldogs!

We are very excited about Butler playing in the championship game tomorrow! It would be extra special if they won it by beating Dook. Let's go Butler!!