fifty years ago

I want to acknowledge that today is D-Day. That’s important to remember. It is especially on my mind this year as I am reading a book on the literary and art scene in Paris between 1940 and 1950. It was not long after D-Day that Paris was liberated, though the war would go on for another year. But more on that down the line.

Robert KennedyWhat is on my mind today is what happened fifty years ago. On June 6, 1968 Robert Kennedy died. He was shot in the early morning hours of June 5 after declaring victory in the June 4 California presidential primary. I had a paper route in those days, and as Don McLean sang about how he and his paper route intersected with events in the larger world, so did I and mine.

On Wednesday June 5 I got up, as I always did in those days, at 5:00 a.m. to fold my papers and I was not completely awake. The assassination was late enough that it was past the deadline for the main front page news story, but still early enough that the editors could pull out the promotional material above the masthead and replace it with a large headline: “Kennedy Shot” and a few paragraphs about what was known at the time. Below the masthead was a headline that reflected Kennedy’s victory in the California primary. It was very disorienting and it took me a little while to process what had happened.

I have a hard time believing that it has been fifty years. It has been though. And it was one of those events that changed the course of American society.

the continuing Microsoft saga

I wrote recently that I was not pleased with Microsoft. When I applied the infamous Windows 10 April update to my laptop it could no longer see my desktop, something which I heavily relied on.

MicrosoftMore recently my desktop demanded that I apply the April update there. I had no choice but to comply. After the update I wanted to see if anything had changed with respect to my laptop. I found that if I manually entered my desktop’s name in my laptop it could see the two folders that I had shared. That was a start, though annoying that it did not find them automatically.

The other annoyance is that the recipe database on my laptop does not find those folders on my desktop when I try to do a backup (even though they’re there in Windows Explorer on the laptop), so I can no longer do a backup directly from my laptop to my desktop as I did before. I have to go through a couple of iterations.

Except that this evening Windows Explorer found the shared folders automatically and the recipe database saw them as well, so today all worked as I would expect.

We’ll see what happens next time. Microsoft does indeed aggravate.


Cajun blue cheese burgers and corn

Memorial Day dinnerWe had a very enjoyable grilled dinner for Memorial Day.

I bought 93% ground beef at the grocery store and mixed in Penzeys Cajun seasoning. I shaped the patties to match the sourdough bread we had on hand. Terry grilled the burgers and we put blue cheese on top.

Terry also grilled an ear of corn that we split. I made an orange, tarragon, and basil butter seasoning mixture which we brushed on the corn.

Perfect for Memorial Day.

Sacred Music Friday:The Lord Bless You

The Lord Bless You And Keep You by John Rutter as sung at the Royal Wedding by the choir of St. George’s Chapel, conducted by James Vivian

still going

I have written periodically about my FoodSaver which I use to seal up and freeze leftovers. It is an essential part of our cooking routine and, as with olive oil, I would be lost without it.

Last year it stopped working properly, but I was able to fix the problem by replacing the drip tray.

FoodSaverRecently it started behaving badly again, and I had to coax and cajole it to properly seal up food. I briefly thought that it might need replacing, but then I realized that replacing parts rather than the whole thing was probably the best, and by far least expensive, course.

I went to the FoodSaver web site and it didn’t have what I wanted. I tried calling, but I went through the Sunbeam menu tree and when I got to FoodSaver I encountered a busy signal.

So onward. On Amazon I found the lower foam gasket and on eBay I found the bag detector tray on a storefront that was actually Sunbeam itself. The gasket arrived first and then the bag detector tray a couple of days later. My FoodSaver is once again acting like new and sealing bags without complaint.

That is, as I said, very important to our cooking routine.

faux KFC

For some reason Yum! Brands shortened Kentucky Fried Chicken to simply KFC a few years back. In any case the food is quite unchanged and a lot of people, myself included, have a fondness for the standard Original Recipe. I found this list of seasonings to emulate KFC Original Recipe on the Yahoo Pressure Cooker Recipes group nearly two years ago. It’s by a guy named Edward Evans. I just recently got around to trying it.

2/3 tsp. salt 1/2 tsp. thyme
1/2 tsp.basil 1/3 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. celery salt 1 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. dried mustard 4 tsp. paprika
2 tsp. garlic salt 1 tsp. ground ginger
3 tsp. white pepper

The recipe called for mixing the ingredients with flour and dredging the chicken in it, which makes perfect sense. Beyond that, the cooking instructions were rather odd, and omitted any mention of liquids, which are essential for pressure cooking. Here’s what I did:

faux KFCI browned a boneless chicken breast in my Cuisinart CPC 600 electric pressure cooker, being careful, as one must with a pressure cooker, to only use as much oil as the chicken would absorb. I removed the chicken from the cooker and inserted the trivet.

I returned the chicken to the pressure cooker and added water to just below the level of the trivet, a little less than two cups. I had heated the water in the microwave while I was browning the chicken so my Cuisinart came up to pressure very quickly. I cooked on high for ten minutes and allowed ten minutes for natural pressure release before manually releasing the remaining pressure.

I was quite pleased with the result. The chicken really did have a taste reminiscent of KFC.

an unfinished novel

The Flame Throwers coverThe Flamethrowers: A Novel
by Rachel Kushner
Scribner; Reprint edition (April 2, 2013), 404 pages
Kindle edition $12.99, Amazon paperback $15.30
Purchased during a BookBub sale for $1.99
(or maybe it was Book Riot)

I was looking for my next book to read when this title showed up in one of my BookBub emails on sale for $1.99. The book got significant critical recognition, so I thought it worth a try.

The novel started out engaging enough. The first person female narrator graduated from the film program at the University of Nevada, Reno in the 1970s. She moved to New York City, but returned to Nevada where she set out across the salt flats on a borrowed Valera motorcycle, that being a fictional Italian make. Her boyfriend, Sandro Valera, is a company heir and an artist. He had obtained the bike for her, which she managed to destroy on her salt flat run. She then proceeded to break the land speed record for women on a different motorcycle which an Italian had used in an attempt to break the men’s land speed record.

Back in New York she spends a lot of time in the art world with Sandro and his group. Eventually I felt that the novel was just bogged down with the goings on there in New York. My iPad Kindle app told me that I was 41% through the book and I just didn’t care what happened to the narrator, her boyfriend, or the other characters.

Time to move on to another book. I probably got my $1.99 worth.