Good news! Grab your checkbooks. I heard this morning for $32,000 you can join the President and other influential Washintonians for lunch. If you choose to attend only the reception prior to the luncheon, make your checks out for $10,000 and grab an appetizer plate. It must be interesting to move in such circles. The fly on the wall wonders what’s on the menu, as even before the state of the union I’m generally concerned with what’s to eat. For sure you’re not likely to get a plate of deviled eggs, little wienies in barbecue sauce, or a meatball sandwich. For $32,000 I’d like to start with some goose liver pate perched atop delicate toast points. Then let’s move on to an assortment of excellent imported cheeses resting next to a glistening sliver of sticky honeycomb. Pair all the above with some equally excellent wines, and, let’s see, a Prius, and I think it’s worth the outlay. I admire the president but for that amount of money I’ll put a dent in my home mortgage and enjoy a tuna sandwich, thank you very much.
I’ve attended some fairly high brow events over the years. While working in Boston in my twenties, my job threw me into the mix with a lot of well-heeled people. Fortunately my grandparents and my mother took care of my manners early on, so I managed to get through it without suffering total humiliation. The American Cancer Society, the name on my paychecks at the time, courted a lot of influential people into their fold, both as contributors and spokespeople. Fund raising functions were often held at exclusive locations and packed with political and social movers and shakers. Boston, aside from being one of my favorite cities for many reasons, houses many of the old money gentry. The upper crust is a closely guarded somewhat cliquish community populated by incredibly wealthy individuals. Somewhat spellbound by all the grandeur, I still far preferred the wonderful diversity of the city found in the fragrant Italian delis and ethnically flavored burroughs. Toni’s in Roslindale, I was surprised to note, is still open for business. I last went there in the 70′s and would go again was I to visit the city today. Their meat compared to what you find on the market shelves, cannot be beat. Homemade sausages, imported deli meats and cheeses. My taste buds are doing a happy dance at the thought of it all.
It’s the aromas of those delis and sandwich shops I remember most. Ripe cheeses, pungent meats, and the biting pickly smells when you opened the lid to the huge jars of pickles sitting on the counter. Makes my mouth water. Smell is so much a part of our eating and cooking experience. My maternal grandmother, a fabulous baker and cook, lost her sense of taste and smell to a stroke in her eighties. After that she reported life simply wasn’t the same. She ate, naturally, as we must to exist, but her enjoyment of food ended for her on the day of her stroke.
So much of our lives are guided by our noses. Certainly our noses bring us pleasure. Breathing in the glorious fragrance of a rose, serves to enhance the beauty of the flower. The smell of brewing coffee first thing in the morning to me actually surpasses the taste of the brew itself. Along with providing us pleasure, our nostrils also serve as alarms such as in the case of gas or chemical leaks or fire. I was interested to hear about a man working at NASA who smells for a living. By this I do not mean to insinuate the man doesn’t bathe. I don’t know him well enough, or at all, to base this on any fact. Rather his actual job has been for many years spending his days while at work smelling. I cannot confirm this, but I have a feeling he has an office to himself. To add another fact to the tomes of things I did not know, astronauts need to be provided an atmosphere fragrance free in order to keep from becoming ill. This is under this gentleman’s job description. Interesting.
Another fact along these same lines is about bees. For those of you who may have read my previous blogs on the subject, not my favorite insect. I understand the need for them in the balance of nature. I’d just prefer they do their good work somewhere other than in my presence. For some reason they sense my feelings on the subject and choose to sting me more often then not, thus my animosity. At any rate, they are using bees to ferret out drugs in the same manner they employ drug dogs. Bees, as opposed to their canine counterparts, have a much shorter training curve and by nature are more compact and easier to handle. The insects are trained by being exposed to a smell and then rewarded with sugar immediately following. After a brief period the bees will stick out their bee tongues when the familiar smell is introduced in anticipation of the treat to follow. Now here’s another fact to add to my encyclopedia of little known facts, I don’t believe I realized bees had tongues and rather long ones at that for their size. Every day is a new adventure.
Soooooooo, these are my convoluted thoughts for the day.
On a lighter note, the humiliation I missed out on in my earlier experiences has come to roost as I’ve gotten older. This morning I went to fetch the newspaper. Clad in my signature sleepwear, men’s boxers and a tee-shirt (Victoria’s Secret – Intimate Rendezvous Collection – argh), I eyed the paper from the front window. Normally I would slip on a pair of shorts but since we have no neighbors to our left at the moment I took the chance. The paper is always thrown about half way up the driveway so with my Croc’s in place and looking nothing but fabulous I made a run for it. Just as I bent down to pick up my paper the trash truck drove up. Ah yes, trash day. They waved. I waved back. Sigh.
In honor of wonderful Boston memories I offer up the meatball sub. We ate ours down to the ground with forks and yums.
Italian Meatball Sandwich
1 1/2 lbs. ground chuck
3/4 cup plain breadcrumbs
1 large egg, beaten
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 onion, chopped fine
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
1 tsp. dried basil
1 Tbsp. parsley flakes
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
4 French rolls split and toasted
Shredded Italian blend cheese
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Mix together all ingredients through red pepper flakes in large mixing bowl. Mix until well blended but don’t over mix.
Form into eight meatballs.
Spray cookie sheet with cooking spray. Bake meatballs for 10 mins. turning once. Drain and put in a deep frying pan.
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic minced,
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 jar basil spaghetti sauce
1 15 1/2 oz. can diced tomatoes
Heat oil over medium heat in skillet. Add bell pepper and onion and cook until translucent, about 6 mins. Add garlic. Cook for 1 min. Add sauces and heat until warm.
Pour over meatballs in pan. Bring to a boil. Cover and cook over med.-low heat for 20 mins.
Toast rolls. Spread inside of all rolls with sauce. Place two meatballs on bottom of each roll. Top with desired amount of cheese and garnish with fresh basil.