Posts Tagged With: great food

INDIA-A LAST LOOK

Looking back at my travels, I’ve done close to 3,000 blogs and this effort was disjointed and irregular. I’ve missed events, lost or misplaced pictures  and today I’m laughing about it. I thought I’d blog pictures that I didn’t fit into any narrative, like the Bengal tigers, snatched from the film we saw. Aren’t they magnificent animals?

 

We learned a lot about the Hindu Gods. The great Mahatma Gandhi was  much admired,  But I never mentioned his seven dangers to Human Virtue:

Wealth without work; Pleasure without conscience;  Knowledge without character; Business without ethics, Science without humanity; Religion without sacrifice and Politics without principle.

They resonate with me.

We learned a lot about weddings;  the groom rides a white horse, an elephant or a black horse. What about people who don’t have a horse? This groom can afford to hire a horse and carriage and decorate it. But, I never found out how even poorer people get married?  Maybe next time.

And wouldn’t you just once like to ride free and unfettered on top of a car or truck? As a farm girl growing up, I had that experience. And many times rode in the back of a pick-up. In California even your dog can’t ride untied in the back of a pick-up.

OAT is such a great company to travel with because of the great off-itinerary items included in the experience.  Though my cricket  lesson was canceled, one of the employees posed with his cricket racket for me. A cricket serve and return is like a baseball pitch. You can’t see it unless it is coming at you at 112 miles per hour. I missed the lesson, but enjoyed the match.

And I have to wonder, will I ever enter a bus with a crowd of people waiting to get on, and look for a vendor holding belly dancing beads or some other fascinating item you can buy nowhere else?

I’m an art nut and an artist. I took pictures of art everywhere.

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Art isn’t only about paintings, prints, sculpture and fabric wall hangings. What about this doorway in the Palace Hotel?

And this carved door into Agra Marble Company.

Bronze carvings on the hip of a hippo at Chandela.

And a foot rest on the end of our bed at our last hotel. Some flights were early. Others were late in the night.  We got to enjoy a professional sari fitting. A yoga class designed to remove tensions and let go of all cares. I marked down every posture he taught us.  I learned to breathe out loud. Ahmmm. Ooohhh. Mmmmm.

The gift shop had an interesting assortment of things.

These shoes have tread miles of India. A country I’d recommend for its wonderful traditions; its diverse and colorful  people. People here are warm and giving; they speak 607,000 languages. It is hard for me to imagine. My nearby town of Stockton has 22 ethnicities, which means great food.

At the airport in Dehli I saw something I’d never seen before. A smoking lounge. Paid for by Camel cigarettes my guess.

Even a decorated camel is art.  Those of you who know me, know I have to get my art “fix”. And, I did.

Alaviha. I’ll let you guess which of the thousands of languages it is. It means, goodbye.

 

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COOKIE BAKING PARTY.

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Daughter-in-law, Laurie hosted a cookie making party.

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Laurie and my sister-in-law-to-be,Theresa, had dual mixers going and gobs and gobs of cookies were the result under their expert hands.

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Stewart and Mason, home from college for the season, enjoyed the snacks and the game and the food and just being home.

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Abbie and Anthony kept themselves entertained until there was room on the counter for rolling the sugar cookies.

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Ken always likes me to taste the latest brew he has discovered. I rolled sugar cookie dough for the little ones.

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Anthony and Abbie had never cut and decorated cookies before.

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Norma got into the act along with the kids. She decided to make it a family tradition since the kids enjoyed it so much.

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Laurie couldn’t resist decorating a cookie.

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Doug, too, whose idea it was in the first place since he remembered doing the same as a kid, one of our family traditions every Christmas.

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Some of us recognized the best part of the party was not the cookies, but the lunch. Friend Tynna swooned. We had friend Norma’s enchiladas, and chocoflan, Doug’s turkey chili verde, I brought spinach souffle, that everyone loves. And, doncha know we all enjoyed  cookie tasting.

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And, then the bakers took a break, enjoying the great food everyone brought to share. Yum!

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FROM BOSTON TO REVERE TO DARTMOUTH.

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I flew to Boston, arrived about peak commute time which is why we decided to get a hotel instead of crawling our way to our destination. As it was, it took over an hour to drive the seven miles from the airport to our hotel.

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That last-minute decision landed us in the “Motel From Hell” from a supposedly decent chain, Econo Lodge. We had a great laugh about how horrible it was, the front door to the lobby handle came off in Jim’s hand when he opened the door and the problems piled up after that. A friend of mine once got drunk and slept all night in a hotel in Vegas with a dead body under his mattress. That was in the 1960’s.  I was reminded of that incident because of the smell. Well, we survived. I was tired and slept well even so.

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In the morning, we met Jim’s high school friends, Bill and Loretta Gallagher. Bill and Jim like to tour their old neighborhood and remind themselves of all their teenage exploits.

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Jim is pointing at Bill and telling Loretta how he had the hot date with Perry Como’s niece so Bill was tailgating Jim and following him so they couldn’t get to the favorite necking spot without witnesses. So Jim tries to shake him with a quick  U turn in the middle of the road and Bill T boned his car.

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And then there was the time they got stopped by the DMV guys, who always hung out on this one corner and stopped cars to check for their licenses and registration. Bill was driving his Henry J.  Out piled 13 kids before Bill could get his registration out of the glove box.

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And then, another time, they were headed for a “rumble” with their chains and chocks when the clutch burned out in the old Henry J and probably saved their lives.  Oh, yeah. These guys lived the life of Fonzie.

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We cruised the old neighborhood, with the guys marveling that the old trailer park where Jim lived was still there. Jim lived in a 12 foot trailer from age 10 to 14 with his parents and younger brother.

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When he was in Jr. High, he crawled under the fence to Suffolk Downs, lied his age, and got a job grooming horses.

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We visited the track but the place was empty. The track was being groomed and no horses in sight.

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We stopped at the oldest Cemetery in the area. Bill pointed out where there was a building from the 1600’s on this site, an old house.  The City of Revere didn’t have the money to fix it up, a fact that still annoys him that they would tear down this historic building instead of finding a way to preserve it through alternative financing.

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The gates were closed and we couldn’t enter.

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Then we met Dolly and Arthur at Demaino’s restaurant, where everyone went for Pizza in the 1950’s.  Arthur is 85 and didn’t attend high school with the rest of them.

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Amazingly, Loretta and Dolly have known each other since they were three years old.

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The only one missing is their other partner in crime, Al Penta who lives in the state of Washington. But, they always hoist a glass and remember him when they get together.

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Our time was short and sweet and then we drove to Dartmouth to Jim’s cousin’s house, Donna and Bob Parker.  Donna and I are both foodies and she immediately brought us some home-made Portuguese cookies and zucchini bread.

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Then we had dinner at one of their favorite restaurants, Antonio’s. There was a sign on the wall, Martha Stewart was here, with her picture. I guess they took over the whole restaurant with their entourage. Anyway, the food is well-known to everyone in the area. Jim and I shared what is supposed to be a single entree, the Chicken Algarvia with chicken breast, shrimp and little neck clams.

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Bob and Donna shared their entree of Pork Ribatejana, with pork, shrimp, little neck clams in a broth with fried potatoes.

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And, like the entrees, the beers are huge. Bob chugs down the last swallow.  We’ll be staying here for five days. I dieted before arriving. You can guess why.

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LITTLE ITALY FESTIVAL OF CLINTON, INDIANA

Did you know that one out of five Americans have Italian Heritage? Early railroad building and mining attracted Italian workers to Clinton, Indiana. Those ancestors built an authentic gondola, the Quaido Staggiori Fountain, and a vine covered  wine garden to help celebrate their heritage with everybody during  Labor Day Weekend. The whole town turns out for the parade, great food, dancing, music, fun and games.

Onions, button mushrooms, mashed potatoes and steak was a delicious concoction. One guy told me he drives 30 miles to this festival every year just for this dish, so I had to taste it.

Tenderloin on a bun was a popular dish as well as three inch thick barbecued pork chops, bagna caud, mosticcioli, calamari salad, Italian sausages, lasagna…ummmm! All types of authentic Italian fare with Italian wedding cakes and cannelloni for desert as well.
The problem for a foodie like me is the limited number of dishes I can taste. I don’t remember attending a festival with so many great food booths.

Entertainment was provided by local groups of kids, cheerleaders, dance troups and so on. Evening entertainment provided by Italian Singers, several Polka Bands, and a Hillbilly Band on Monday.

A carnival set-up keeps its promise of thrills for young and old.

Local organizations fund raise with games for all ages. Every year the Festival raffles off a trip to Italy, and I hope I win.

You can learn how to make wine and stomp grapes, sample sauce from the Spaghetti Sauce Cookoff, enjoy Italian Singers, tumbling, cloggers.  If you are in the area, don’t miss it. Check the schedule at:
http://www.littleitalyfestival.org/lift/schedules/main-stage-north

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I’M GOING TO NAME HER AFTER MY WIFE!!

“I’m going to name her after my wife!” So said Monsieur C. C. Duson when he established a railroad head in Landry Parrish Louisiana. Eunice is an unassuming town. It became a bastion of good food and special music after being settled by Acadians, that mix of French-speaking Cajuns. The decedents of European French, Creoles from Haiti and Germans created a unique cultural mix of people, language, music and religious beliefs, but the ancient tradition of mardi gras came from the peasant classes of France.
We walked into the Prairie Acadian Cultural Center and watched an hour video of the local people of Eunice running the Mardi Gras. The costume above belonged to the ranger working that day. A local, he ran the Mardi Gras the first time at age 14. The whole town is gearing up for this special family/community event. The costume shops are humming and parents are sewing hats and painting masks. (The pictures that follow are taken of photos.)

Its roots in Saturnalia, the raucus crowds of Euopean countries would costume themselves so they were unidentifiable. They spoofed their royals by imitating the court jester, their tall hats, or the Bishops hat, even a particular face. Winter was the leanest time of year and if they were hungry, they would resort to begging even though ashamed to beg. The costumes prevented their neighbors from knowing who they were.

In Eunice, the men traditionally ride out on horse back. Now, with farms so far apart, some ride on wagons or trucks. The assigned Captain asks if the mardi gras’ can approach. If yes, they charge and the farmer throws a chicken or two, or three. In a good year, maybe a small pig and some money. The farmer wants them gone and he throws the chicken away from his house as far as he can. The group chases the chickens until they are caught. The men may have imbibed before showing up at the farmer’s place and they reward him with a dance and song.

This mardi gras holds up the chicken he caught.

A mardi gras dances on top of his horse.
Once gathered, the meat is brought back to town, where it is cooked in a giant gumbo for the whole community. Parades, song and dance, and feasting is part of the celebration. Adults and children of all ages join in the fun. For some young boys, it is a right-of-passage. According to our ranger, running the Mardi Gras is tough, you become a grown-up from running the Mardi Gras. The video makes that clear. This festival has been studied in depth.

We left the Acadian Center and visited the Eunice Museum, The Cajun Music Hall of Fame and a local radio station.

A cigar box banjo above and an unidentifiable stringed instrument below.
An old time German accordion, all part of the great musical tradition of Cajuns.
Initially, 32 Cajun musicians were honored in this historic Hall Of Fame. They now add two per year. People outside of Cajun Country don’t necessarily recognize these unforgettable musicians who have contributed so much to this great,original music.
At work behind the window was the disk Jockey/ad hawker, from Station KBON 101.1 on your dial. The station plays mostly Cajun music, of course. The walls are filled with autographs and pictures of great musicians who’ve appeared on this station. We recognized Fats Domino, Little Ritchie and below, Doug Keershaw, the Ragin’ Cajun among other notables. We followed wall after wall of autographs and pictures.
What a great place to visit. Now, this is only an inkling of what Eunice, Louisiana is like.
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