Many of us have seen the movie, Finding Forrester in which William Forrester wins a Pulitzer Prize for his very first book, and never writes for the public again. Many believe the character is based on none other than J.D. Salinger, of Catcher in the Rye fame. In the story, a young Black teenager, Jamal befriends a reclusive, Caucasian writer in is neighborhood. Jamal is able to refine and develop his talent with the assistance of William. But I digress, this is a story about literary one-hit wonders. I wonder if I might end up the same way if I decide to write a book. The pressure to keep up the high standard would be unbearable.
So, here is a list of some very famous literary works, and their one-hot wonder of an author, for the most part.
10. Black Beauty by Anna Sewell (became disabled at the age of fourteen)
9. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell (won a Pulitzer Prize but the book was so long she was probably too tired to write more)
8. The Devil in the Flesh by Raymond Radiguet (did he also write the Devil and Mrs. Jones?)
7. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte (she wrote lots of poetry)
6. In Search of Lost Time by Marcel Proust (no wonder, as this novel was 3200 pages long!)
5. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath (never heard of either one)
4. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde (he is best known for his rather witty plays)
3. To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee (she won a Pulitzer Prize for this)
2. Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger (a favorite of every high school of college student)
Seaweed, much like the one we eat with our sushi, is from the algae family, including red, brown and green algae. Seaweed is generally consumed by Asians, though some countries like Scotland, Chile, Peru, Wales, and Scandinavia are also consumers. In Asia, the sheets of seaweed are dried to make nori, used primarily in soups and to wrap sushi. It is also flavored and salted and enjoyed with sake and beer. Gourmet brands can be purchased. Usually, the more expensive nori is a better grade, and stands up better for sushi making.
Great use of seaweed, The Mermaid Collection
Are you like me, when you pass the cheese display at the grocery or specialty store? Do you always opt for the safe choice, like cheddar, jack, brie, or gouda? Would you like to at least pretend to know something about cheese? The wine is easy enough to fake, just ask the waiter or waitress for their favorite. I would hate to pay $10 or more per pound and end up with Velveeta.
So, today, I bring you Cheese Tasting 101. Please understand that your cheese palate is just as peculiarly individualistic as wine tasting.
10. Mascarpone (Italy)
This is a tasty triple cream cheese, with at least 75% butter fat. It is quite spreadable, and comes in a rather thick, ivory color. I know you like it, since it is one of the main ingredients of tiramisu. It is easily overpowered by other flavors, so use it with some sugar or like the Greeks, with their loukoumades. First, spread a little mascarpone, then dip into some fresh fruit preserves (other than fig, quince or rhubarb).
9. Camembert (France)
OK, the French can do cheese, other than brie. Camembert and brie are like family (brothers to be exact). Both are made from unpasteurized cow’s milk, then curdled, placed in molds to set, and turned without pressing. This process results in a rather soft cheese. Molds then ripen the cheese for a few weeks, giving the characteristic hard white coating, and soft cheese on the inside. Camembert is a little softer than brie.
8. Pecorino (Italy)
This is a thousand-year old cheese from the Roman countryside. It is made exclusively from Sardinian sheep milk. It is curdled, salted, then pressed into molds. The pressing removes the moisture, resulting in a very hard cheese. The result is a flavorful cheese that can enhance a meal or be eaten alone. The Sardinians also grate the cheese onto pasta, or eat it in small cubes.
7. Gruyere (Switzerland)
Could it be named after the town of Gruyere, Switzerland? First made back in the 12th century, it is another curdled cheese, then cooked at a low temperature to remove more moisture. The bacteria in the cheese releases carbon dioxide producing the trademark holes. The result is a hard texture, a nutty flavor, and holes. Leave it to the French to create a cheese controversy, by naming a similarly styled French cheese using the Gruyere name.
6. Stilton (England)
At place called Stilton, England, 1730, a man named Cooper Thornhill was a cheese lover who sold his cheese to travelers from his inn. A real cheese lover, he acquired the rights to market Stilton cheese. As a protected cheese, it must be made according to strict guidelines. Stilton is made from pasteurized milk, then curdled with rennet, and then drying the resulting curds. The curds are salted, then placed in a cylindrical mold, and periodically turned. The cheese is then pierced with needles, impregnating the cheese with mold, producing the blue veins inside the white flaky cheese. The resulting Stilton is rich and creamy, flavored like blue cheese, but not too strong. It is best with crackers, or on salads or soup. Some people say a Stilton cheeseburger is primo! Right, Chrissie?
5. Red Windsor Cheese (England)
Really, Louise, a red cheese? The process is similar to regular cheddar, then curdled, and sliced into small cubes. After some sitting, the cubes are cooked and stirred for 20 to 40 minutes before draining. The curbs become lumpy, then salted and mixed. Usually a Bordeaux or Port is splashed onto the curds, then pressed and left to mature. The cheese forms a firmness, with pink marbling throughout. The taste is strong and slight hint of wine, mostly as an aftertaste. Most people are shocked by “red” cheese.
Wow, it is really a red cheese!
4. Danablu (Denmark)
This Danish Blue from Denmark is the strongest flavored of the blue cheese family. The blue veins of mold lace the cheese and its rich soft texture. It is almost spreadable and quite crumbly. It was invented in the 20th century by Marius Boel, who was just trying to replicate Roquefort by those snooty French. Happily, Danablu has eclipsed Roquefort in popularity, as well as availability. The aging period is two to three months, leaving a cheese that is too strong to eat alone. It is known as the butyric tang!
3. Nettle Cheese (England)
I have some new-found respect for those bloody Brits, they are really cheese masters, or at least cheese artisans. Nettle cheese is rather obscure, and originally from Cornwall. It is made like normal cheese but wrapped tightly in nettle leaves. The nettle leaves begin to grow mold, resulting in a mild taste, but a strong aftertaste in the mouth. The mold also leaves a hard but edible rind which has its own sharpness. It is best served as a snack, with crackers or bread, and great with Alfredo sauces.
2. Emmental (Switzerland)
This is actually the real Swiss cheese. Often the Swiss cheese in the store is an inferior cheese, not emmental. First made in 1293, near Berne, it is the oldest of cheese from Switzerland. The large holes (also called eyes) produce very interesting slices when cut. The texture is firm with a yellow color and strong flavor. The holes are from bacteria that metabolizes the lactic acid in the cheese. The resulting carbon dioxide releases into the cheese, forming the bubbles that expand and produce the eyes. Experts say the larger the eyes, the stronger the flavor. After emmental, you will never go back to inferior Swiss cheese.
1. Halloumi (Cyprus)
Could it be that the strangest cheese is the best cheese? Best of all, it does not melt, making it perfect to pair in kebabs with fruit and vegetables. Simply, the curd is heated before it has been placed in brine. The heating denatures the proteins in the cheese, resulting in long fibers that are resistant to melting. Halloumi originated from Middle Eastern Bedoiins, or nomads. It is a cheese that keeps well, and made from either goat or sheep milk. Turns out one of the best ways to eat it is to slice it thinly and fry it in a pan. The outside becomes crispy, the inside is melted, giving it a strong salty taste. But I have had it on the grill, skewered with fresh cherries, making an absolutely fine appetizer.
My new favorite, halloumi
Most of the Napa and Sonoma County wineries charge a fee for wine tasting. Some, actually most, will apply the tasting fee to any purchases you make on site, at the time of tasting. Just go to eConcierge.com and get your discounts online or directly into your smart phone with their App.
Arrowood (all 2 for 1 except as noted)
Chateau St. Jean
Clos Du Bois
Kunde (free wine tasting)
Ledson (upgraded wine tasting)
Schug (15% off)
Franciscan ($5 off wine tasting)
Rutherford Hill (10% off purchases)
V. Sattui (upgraded wine tasting)
And here are their top ten bites (I do not necessarily agree):
2. Culinary Institute of America (CIA)
3. French Laundry (if you can get in)
4. Oakville Grocery (one of my favs)
7. Mustard’s Grill (another fav)
8. Auberge Du Soleil (not worth the $)
9. Bouchon Bakery (yes)
10. Dry Creek Kitchen
Known or not known wine facts:
Wine is fat-free and contains no cholesterol.
A six ounce glass of wine contains about 130 calories.
California produces about 77% of the U.S. wine grape crop.
Although red wine can only be produced from red grapes, white wine can be produced from both red and white grapes.
Compared to beer and liquor drinkers, (and even non-drinkers), wine drinkers have healthier lifestyles.
Wine drinkers tend to exercise more, smoke less, and have a higher intake of fruits, vegetables and salad.
Wine drinkers have a higher education level as well as socio-economic status, eat less saturated fat, but more fiber.
Wine drinkers are also better adjusted, less neurotic, and depressed.
Wine drinkers have higher IQs.
I see no good reason why you should not keep drinking!!!
By now, most of you know about my award-winning shoe story. And the fact that I believe shoes are very important, not as fashion, but for comfort. Any of you who have or still suffer from foot pain know what I am saying. Those of us who have found a profession that requires standing, and/or walking knows the importance of a good, comfortable pair of shoes. If they happen to be stylish, you certainly may have earned some bonus points.
Here are interesting shoe stories and facts:
The Shoe Corner and the Legendary Shoe Tree are both located in Indiana. The Shoe Corner is located at 109th Street and Calumet in St. John, Indiana. People throw all kinds of shoes there, then periodically, someone clears it up. But more shoes keep appearing. Summer is the best time to visit. If you go, take a pair of shoes to contribute. The Shoe Tree is quite different. Anyone who successfully ensnares a pair of shoes in the tree branches will be endowed with good fortune! It turns out that former Boston Celtic great Larry Bird has a pair of shoes hanging high above.
Legendary Shoe Tree
Many other states also have shoe trees. Located on the border of Idaho and Washington, I have seen the famous Priest Lake Shoe Tree, on my way from Spokane to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. Locally, San Diego boats the Shoe Tree on Morley Field in Balboa Park. Most of you thought the main attraction was the San Diego Zoo. Rumor has it that the first pair of shoes throw up into the tree were meant to celebrate a hole in one in a close match of Frisbee golf.
Priest Lake Shoe Tree
Arizona, just about 30 miles from the California border, stand Parker, AZ and its Rice Shoe Tree. Called Rice because it is located near the uninhabited town of Rice, the tamarisk tree was slowly choked to death by the deluge of shoes. The tree would not die, but did suffer TWICE from arson!!!
Leave it to a prairie state like Nebraska to convert a fence into a Shoe Fence a few miles east of Northport, NE. Some so-called experts view the old shoe as an old farmer’s trick to protect the wood from rotting. Of course, if the shoe from the stinky feet of Frank Costanza (George’s father, played by Jerry Stiller), it may have stopped this tradition in its stinky tracks.
New York must raise its ugly foot with a cluster of five shoe trees in Lyndonville. The Sneaker Trees of Lyndonville contain five maples on Morrison Road. The idea is to make a wish, then toss your sneakers into one of the trees. Your wish comes true as long as the sneakers catch. They say the best wish is a wish for a new pair of sneakers!!!!
I conclude with yet another shoe story, that I in fact, told today at the clinic. I went on a golf vacation to Spain and Portugal right after 9/11. I saw a great pair of golf shoes at the famous Valderama Golf Club in
Sotogrande, Spain. But, thinking better of spending the money, I passed on a beautiful brown leather pair of golf shoes that were so unique. Well, I went back a year later, on my way to Gibraltar and Morocco. Guess what? They only had one pair of those fabulous shoes left, and it was in MY SIZE!!!!!
I welcome shoe stories from any of you.
Here is the top ten, and my comments about each if I have been there. Walking in a new city is one of the great joys in life. Though I have been walking more foreign cities than American, the thrill is always there.
10. Oakland This is a total mystery to me, unless you want to get shot or mugged while trying to find dinner or the BART station. But there are parts of the city that might pass as walkable, although they are somewhat hilly. Perhaps Montclair or Piedmont might be walkable, if you can find anything to eat or do there. Oakland Chinatown has some really good and fairly priced food.
9. Minneapolis This is the only city in the top ten that I have not visited, although I must have been at the airport when Northwest Orient was still flying. My guess is that the strong Scandinavian and German heritage is widely experienced. And the Mall of America is actually in Bloomington. Covering over 96.4 acres, this could be the best indoor walking in the northern states during winter.
Mall of America
8. Miami Anyone who has walked Miami Beach can tell you that it is the ultimate rip off. But it is a place to be, to be seen, and to eat and shop. Personally, I prefer Little Havana for its charm and plentiful restaurants and cigar shops. I see Miami more as a stopover, on the way to either a cruise or onto to Central and South America.
7. Washington, DC I would rate DC much higher, at least some of the neighborhoods. Certainly the Capitol Mall area and the Smithsonians are a great walk, along with Georgetown, Adams-Morgan, and U Street. Add to this, a great network of buses and Metro (underground subway) when you get tired of walking. DC also has plentiful dining options, along with a vibrant food truck scene. Love the trucks!