Frank’s Fax Facts and Reviews
Vol.. XIV No. 6
Sunday, April 28. 2013
I have two God-children here in Mobile, as well one (God-son) in Portland, Oregon. This week, my God-daughter, Amy White, whom I had invited, came by for lunch and a good visit. I had taught Amy when she was younger, and she was a delightful, as well as diligent student. She had never tasted pimento-cheese sandwiches, so that was our main course. Incidentally, she said she loved her very first sandwich. With this, I had a vegetable salad, with “Come-Back sauce” and as dessert we had fresh strawberries over vanilla ice cream. This was all to mark the occasion of her recent graduation from the University of South Alabama. As I told her, when I got the invitation, I simply could not be there. After playing for every graduation all those years at JCJC, then having to endure three long and boring graduations of my own, I simply swore that I would never go to another one! When she got married, I was acknowledged as her Godfather, and treated as if I were her own Father (who had recently passed away).
Thursday night, I had Elizabeth French and Peggy Raines out; mainly to hear some recordings of a few of my compositions. For dinner, I had prepared Home-style Ribs, with George’s recipe (see Sicilian Cook’s Corner). These ladies have been such dear friends to me over the years, they are more like sisters (don’t forget, I had four sisters throughout most of my life) With the roasted pork, I served yellow rice with the gravy for the ribs, and more of my vegetable salad, and the same dessert Amy and I had for lunch. As usual, Peggy ended up cleaning up the kitchen and washing the things that could not be put in the dish-washer.
Saturday, my friend and sometime bridge partner drove over for a visit. He had expressed a desire to hear some of my musical compositions. He seemed to enjoy the first two scenes of A Christmas Carol, and two piano solos (untitled) and the song, “Owl as Night Watchman” (poem by Eugene Walter). We stopped for lunch (I had cooked enough Ribs for us to have more than enough. He seemed to enjoy George’s recipe (which is good, if I do say so myself!) And a new Salad and dessert were eaten. The dessert was a chocolate pie in one of those ready baked shells that are delicious, and then covered with Kool Whip,
“The reason that people love cats, we sleep most of the day; we wake up just to play, and we make sure your house has no rats!
The Chef’s Corner
Use Home-style ribs for best results.
If ribs are not separated, cut them apart and fry just long enough to get them pink (This can also be done by placing the ribs in the oven, until you add the other ingredients). Put the pan (size determined by the number of rubs you want to cook at the same time) in a preheated 250 oven. If you are not skillet-frying the ribs first, put the pan with the raw Ribs in the oven until they have reached the right pink color, cover them with the following sauce: One half medium sized Can of each of these Cream soups; cream of Celery, Chicken, and Mushrooms. Slice a small onion and add that to sauce, plus about a TBS. Worcestershire sauce. Mix ingredients and Pour over the ribs, cook them in the oven with moderate heat. Check them every thirty minutes. Do not over roast them but, you do want them too well done.
This makes a wonderful dish when added to cooked yellow Rice.
The Chef’s Pimento-Cheese Secrets
Place the grater blade on your Quisinart and Shred one 8-oz. block of Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese. Remove the blade and use the regular blade for the remainder of the recipe. Place the grated Cheddar in a bowl until ready to mix with the other ingredients. Use the regular blade to soften the Philadelphia Cream Cheese. Once it is soft, add to a generous TBS. of mustard (Dijon, preferable- but plain yellow works well. Add a generous tablespoon of mustard (Dijon or yellow) and as much onion (I usually add half of a small onion) as you like. (I have a friend who uses garlic with success, but I find the onion adds a softer and subtler taste. The hardest part of this recipe (for me) is getting as much of the final blended spread from the Quisinart to something (like a mayonnaise jar) that has a top you can close and keep refrigerated for three or four weeks , without a problem. My secret is, I right away eat whatever would be lost in the transferring of locations.
This recipe works best with a Quisinart, but it can be done with a Blender except for the grated cheese.
Draft Dodgers Limited
After we were moved into our new digs, we set out alone; determined to see every single thing we had on our To See list! We got a map of Paris and saw that most of these places could be reached by the subway. After we learned how to use it, (neither of us had ever ridden on a train below the ground!) we loved it! I saw posters all over every subway station we saw, a big picture of the American guitar virtuoso, Les Paul. I just have to tell you how funny Lynwood could be: he looked at the picture and squealed, “Look, Francis-----LAY PAUL is here in Paris!” I had to admit that this was a good one! Seeing the name of Les Paul (and I forget his singing partner’s name- I want to say Mary something or other: Ford? If you know this name please send it to me) all over Paris, told me that he had thought, at first, that he read it as LAY Paul, and upon reading the sign, I saw that the famous duo was in Paris all that week, and we both gave thought to whether or not we wanted to see them badly enough to part with that much money, I decided we simply could not afford to be “Waiting for the Sunrise”, but we were more than ready for some coffee and breakfast (read that as Doughnuts and coffee) by the time we got off to begin our sight-seeing. Of course it has been so long ago that I have no memory whatsoever as to which sight we saw in any order; but I do remember how good most of the food was (even though we had to eat like peasants). We soon (that day) discovered those wonderfully crisp and tasty loaves of freshly baked hot French bread! It was as cheap as anything we could afford, and we’d buy a loaf (they did not even wrap it in those pre-historic days) and usually some cheese to go with it. Since we both loved bleu cheese, we almost got burned out from eating it so often!
Our visit to Notre Dame Cathedral was like a dream come true! That was one sight I saw (of all the places I visited, except perhaps, Venice) that more than fulfilled my expectations! It was so grand, and memories of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and George thinking it was about football, I had to smile wistfully. I purchased my first souvenirs here, from our Parisian visit, buying a little bronze replica of the Cathedral for Mama. She had it by her bed till the day she died, in 1965.
Another Landmark for me, was the great Paris Opera House. It was right in the heart of the city, and when I saw it, my mouth literally hung open! Lynwood loved serious music and ballet (we had seen Lesley Caron in New York, in her- at that time- husband, who was the director) so I asked if he would like to see an opera that evening. I believe it was to be Romeo and Juliet, by Gounod. He said, “I don’t care which opera I see, but ever since I saw the Phantom of the Opera, I have been wanting to see this place!” We both began talking about the scene with the chandelier comes crashing down on the audience; and the more we talked about it, the more both of us got excited! We looked at the prices for admission (that night, after a day of walking around Paris for the first time. They were so dirt-cheap, in comparison to those at the Met, that we rented a box seat! It was the most wonderful thing we did the entire trip!
Later, looking down and around at everything we could store in our young memories, my friend said, “Wouldn’t it be wonderful if it fell again?”
The opera was disappointing for me; the music was definitely not up Gounod’s usual works. The French composers have been even more popular than the Italians: the opera performed most often is Carmen (Bizet) and second is Faust, by Gounod. Those were the top two when I was at Michigan State, and a lot of changes probably have been made.
There was almost an accident (but it was not sensational) when, during the ballet music (which all operas wrote back then) one of the dancers bumped into the set and fell down. I felt for her, but just could not reach her.
I found this strange (getting back to the admission prices) that an opera (which I had never even heard of) by a French composer of the Baroque era, cost more than twice as much as our box seat (by the way, nobody else was in our box! We had it all to ourselves)
(More next week)
Movie Trivia continues in the next issue