Archive for the ‘Food Stuff’ Category

The Best of All Let-Down Days

Friday, November 23rd, 2018


I love the day after Thanksgiving!  Of all the days-after of all the holidays of the year, the Friday after Thanksgiving is my all-time favorite.  First of all, it’s the left-overs!  No worries about what to fix for lunch or dinner – there is always plenty.  In my experience, even if you go out to dinner – to be with friends or family or (once for us) to a restaurant – you are always sent home with leftovers.  Yum!

And that reminds me of one of my favorite Thanksgiving stories, told to me by Virginia “Gin” Williams Jones when I edited her autobiography, “Gin’s Tonic,” for the Sou’wester magazine in 2007:

“Gin’s Tonic” Sou’wester

We were an ecumenical family.  On Sunday everyone went to the church of his/her choice.  Grandpa and Nana were Presbyterians. Dad and Mama raised us in the Presbyterian Church.  Rees was an elder in the Presbyterian Church and sang in the choir all his life.  He married Marg who was a Roman Catholic and raised the boys to be Catholic.  Jack was an elder in the Presbyterian church.  He married Julia who was a second-generation Christian Scientist.  Their children went to the Presbyterian Church.  Uncle Lew and Aunt Elaine were Episcopalians and raised Warner and Rodney in that church.  Aunt Nell and Uncle Krummie were Presbyterians and raise Herb and Lewie in that church in Portland.

We were all very respectful of each other… until Thanksgiving.  In those days Catholics couldn’t eat meat n Friday so the Catholics would eat turkey like mad Thanksgiving night while the Protestants yelled, “Get those Catholics out of the kitchen!”  Then it was all reversed the next day Friday, when the Catholics would yell, “Get those Protestants out of the kitchen!” but it was always with a great deal of humor.

Pumpkin Pie

The other wonderful thing about the Friday after Thanksgiving (unless you adhere to the modern Black Friday shopping “tradition”) is that it is an absolutely free lollygagging day.  Not only is there plenty of food in the kitchen to see you through, there is an entire weekend coming up during which you can do all the necessary weekend things.  Thanksgiving Friday is an absolutely FREE LET-DOWN-DO-WHATEVER-YOU-WANT- DAY!   Yay!

The News from Olympia

Tuesday, November 13th, 2018

Dale, two years eleven months

My mother, Helen-Dale Espy (Little) was born November 13, 1911 in Olympia.  (It was during the period of time that her father was serving as a state senator and both my mother and her 11-months-older brother Willard had been born in the state capital.)  Most of the rest of the family was at home Oysterville in the care of Mama’s sister Ruth.

This letter from my mother’s sister Medora (who was 12) tells of how she learned the news in those long-ago days of slower everything.  The “cast of characters” includes my mother’s other siblings:
Mona, 6
Sue, 8
Edwin, almost 3, (who apparently was with Mama and Papa in Olympia)
Willard, 11 months.

1912 – The Espy Children (Dale, Willard, Edwin, Mona, Suzita, Medora)

Wed. 8 p.m.  Nov 15, 1911
Dear Mama,
At recess yesterday morning Mona came over and said I had a baby sister.  She told me first and then Sue.  You can imagine how tickled I was.  Mona is tickled to death and insists that its name is Katherine.  I haven’t heard anybody’s opinion on the subject.
Sue said yesterday “I think Daisy is going to have a calf,” and Ruth said, “If you think Daisy is going to have a calf when she is walking around in the yard, can’t you tell when your own mother is going to have a baby when you live in the same house with her.”  And Sue said “I tho’t Willard is too young.”
Ruth received a card from Papa written in Tacoma.  He said he would be home Thursday.  He said Edwin was with him.  I guess Edwin was sound asleep thru the whole performance.  I do hope you don’t have the severe after pains
Sue was promoted to the third grade Monday.  I sent to Meier and Frank’s for her books.

Dale Espy Little, 1999 — “Mom at 88”

The three books we have to read out of school are Laura E. Richards’ “Florence Nightingale,” “Ethics of Success,” and “David Copperfield.” Mr. Sargant will buy “Ethics of Success” and I want to buy “David Copperfield” and “Florence Nightingale.” I have to buy one of them…
Mrs. Guy Hughes had a baby girl Saturday, Nov. 4th and Mrs. Bowen Friday. Nov. 3rd and you yesterday.  I guess we will hear of Aunt Susie’s baby soon.
With love and a kiss for the dear baby,  Medora

Mouth Watering Disappointment

Monday, November 5th, 2018

Tried and True

There’s no arguing with the fact that I’m on record as not liking to cook.  But what I seldom say and Nyel often reminds me is that I CAN cook and, not only that, I have several signature dishes – recipes that I brought in my dowry and that we both really like.  Recipes that seem to taste best when I make them.  Just sayin’…

So, yesterday we were both looking forward to spareribs.  I don’t do them often, but when I do, they’re bitchin’ as they say.  We had bought two big packages of baby back ribs at CostCo earlier this fall and had one package for dinner that very night.  The second package went in the freezer until day before yesterday when I put it in the refrigerator to thaw.


It was a shrink-wrap package and when I cut it open yesterday afternoon, the smell practically knocked me out.  OMG!  Talk about tainted meat!  I called Nyel – not to corroborate what my burning eyes and running nose already told me, but so that he knew that I wasn’t being overly persnickety.  That’s an ongoing issue in our house – I have rules about left-overs and other questionable food products; Nyel will eat almost anything.

“Throw it out!” he said.  I think that was a first.  But the garbage truck doesn’t come until a week from Wednesday and I surely didn’t want to smell up the neighborhood in the meantime.  So, the ribs are re-wrapped and back in the freezer until garbage day.

Next Time…

Meanwhile… I’m pretty much off the idea of ribs for a while.  And, no.  I’m not taking the package back to CostCo.  Number one, it’s not worth the effort of keeping them frozen on the way and, further, I wouldn’t want to inadvertently (or even advertently) expose anyone else to that odor.  It’s the second bad meat experience we’ve had with CostCo and, as far as I’m concerned, they won’t get a third opportunity.

Oh… and about dinner last night.  Nyel had made a huge batch of Coleslaw to go with the ribs.  It was delicious with our tuna fish sandwiches – tuna compliments of our friend Phil Coffin.  Now if only Mike Karvia was still raising pigs, we’d know just where to go for our next batch of ribs!

Take-out from The Bend

Wednesday, June 13th, 2018

My grandparents always referred to South Bend as “The Bend.”  I don’t know why exactly.  I do know that most of their local day-to-day (more like once or twice a month) dealings were centered across the bay in the early days – the cleaners, the bank, the dentist, the barber, were all in The Bend.  Important business was usually transacted in Portland which, in the early part of the twentieth century, was the most accessible big city.  It wasn’t until automobiles and roads arrived that travel on the Peninsula, itself, became easier for north end residents.

These days, we seldom go to South Bend.  Not unless we have jury duty or other business at the courthouse or at the Pacific County History Museum.  Otherwise, South Bend is a place to go through rather than a final destination.  We usually stop there to use the public restrooms (thank goodness for them but they are truly the embodiment of “pit” in pit stop) on our way to and from Seattle.  That’s it.

Yesterday, however, we were passing through about four o’clock on our way home from the Emerald City and Nyel suggested to nip in to Betzy’s Tienda Mexicana to check it out – maybe pick up something to take home for dinner.  Great idea!  We have heard great things about their food but we seldom are there before their 4:30 closing time.

As it turned out, there weren’t many choices.  “We’re out of rice,” the pleasant cook said.  “It takes two hours for us to clean up, so we don’t have much left by this time of day.”  Nevertheless, she put together enough ingredients so we could build four “quesadillas” when we got home – two with chicken, one with beef, and one with barbecued beef.  It smelled delicious and tantalized us all the way to Oysterville.

It didn’t take long to put it all together after we got home – lettuce, onions and cilantro, hot sauce, sour cream and – of all things! – parmesan cheese.  We zapped the four taco shells which were folded around the chicken and beef and mozzarella, added the other ingredients and voilà! (or the Spanish equivalent).  Dinner was ready! Not quesadillas exactly.  Not tacos exactly.  Not Mexican exactly.  Nevertheless… a six or seven on a scale of one to ten.  We’ll probably try it again.