Notes From The Back Of The House

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August 14th, 2011 · Uncategorized

I have recently started exploring the art of picture taking again after a 30 year hiatus.  I bought a used Nikon D60 and a AF-S  Zoom Nikkor 70 – 300mm f/4.5 – 5.6G IF_ED telephoto lens. 

Above is Copp’s Pond near my cabin in Tuftonboro, NH.

Below is a Heron I startled and sent flying.

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Flavor – with John Willoughby

March 29th, 2011 · Uncategorized

My tongue danced as I read through, Deep Flavor, No Browning Required. My training practically mandated the sear citing the same Maillard reaction. Many Chefs claimed that it must be done to seal the flavor in. Here’s a Google page about the Maillard reaction along the length of which I found some pretty interesting reading. Back to the Willoughby article.  He touched on three of my favorite cuisines as examples and I implore you to follow his links and try the foods, techniques, and experiences. Morrocco & tagines /    Paula Wolfert.

Clay Pot Pork

The amazing and complex flavors of the foods of India are next in the article.

When cooking use thick heavy pots. Cast iron is very good. They convect the heat MUCH better and cheap, thin pots will burn in a heartbeat.

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Ludwig Bemelmans

March 26th, 2011 · Commentary

Some years ago I was living near  Killington, Vt. and attended an auction to benefit the Woodstock, Vt. animal shelter.

( No,   Thatwas the other Woodstock.)

But I digress.

By that point in time I had been working as a Chef long enough to prove in any court that I was certifiably masochistic and a bit off kilter.

But I digress.

I love auctions, and garage/estate sales and the occasional treasures one might find lurking in said environs.

It was just such a treasure that caught my eye while wandering the auction grounds at the shelter. My eye fell upon an  objet d’ art leaning up against a table leg, awaiting its turn at the podium. It was a very simple line drawing, black ink on paper, of a Maitre’ d greeting a patron.

Being an off kilter Chef, I revered most things culinary, and this was a gem, indeed.

The signature was that of Ludwig Bemelmans and it was an original.

I looked around to see if anyone had noted my interest, the slight trembling of my hand or the mad twitching at the corner of my eye that always accompanies the discovery of a treasure.

(No, it doesn’t make any difference how small, or insignificant, the treasure, I still tremble and twitch. I am, after all, a Chef) and that reminds me of The Rules of The Chef.

But I digress.

The wonderful piece of art finally took its place at the auction block shortly after someone announced lunch was being offered and I held my breath as the process began.

I never bid right off the bat.  (nice turn of phrase, eh?) Rather I wait to see who has interest so I can gauge  their level of desire. This done, of course, with extreme stealth so that THEY might not identify ME, in turn.

But I digress.

After at least an hour with no bid, ( actually, only a minute or two but it seemed to be 60), my hand shot skyward like a moon bound missile.

There was no competition, the prize was mine.

Later, as I prepared to leave, a handsome and well turned-out woman of respectable age approached me, introduced herself, and said she was the donor of the drawing and Mr. Bemelmans,  an old friend,  had created it one afternoon as they chatted in her apartments in New York, the city. He subsequently tore it off his pad and presented it to her.  It was a spiral bound pad, and the chads remain still.

I regret that I was not thinking well enough at the time to retain her name.

Ludwig Bemelmans captured in a few lines the professionalism, savoir faire, and aplomb of the Maitre’ d.

He also created Madeline, as well as many other works of art,  wit, and literature.

The Carlyle Hotel Bar, a NewYork landmark,  sports a mural by Bemelmans.

There is a good article about Bemelmans at Turner Bennett.

See the books - Hotel Bemelmans,   When You Lunch with the Emporer,  &   Luchows .

“Caviar is to dining what a sable coat is to a girl in evening dress.
Ludwig Bemelmans

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Bottled Water

March 18th, 2011 · Commentary, Our Environment, sustainability

BOTTLED WATER     – $.70 to $2.00 @bottle

TAP WATER -  .02 cents  per GALLON


Turn on the tap instead and save big money … and the environment.

“…..if you’re a moderate water drinker who downs just one 16-ounce bottle a day, you’ll spend about $80 for just a three months’ supply, or 11 gallons worth, of bottled water.

Meanwhile, that $80 will get you at least a year’s worth of filtered tap water……”

The Story of Bottled Water

“……….1.5 million barrels of oil per year, which is enough to fuel 100,000 cars for that same year, are required to satisfy Americans’ demand for bottled water.

Many of these disposable plastic bottles sit forever in a landfill…….

Why You Should Stop Drinking Bottled Water, PLEASE

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Emily Palmer Cape

March 4th, 2011 · Uncategorized

This painting is for sale

She was the FIRST WOMAN to graduate from Columbia University.

In  1883  Columbia President Frederick A. P. Barnard, an early champion of higher education for women,  issued a call for New York area women interested in a higher education.

Emily Cape was the single applicant.

Ms. Palmer later became  very involved in the establishment of the Society of Independent Artists in 1884 as a group of artists requiring no jury-no prizes and equal standing for all.  Their first exhibition was in New York, 1917, and included, among others,  Rockwell KentWalter ArensbergMarcel Duchamp, Man Ray, and Emily Palmer Cape with 2 pieces, ” The Pool “  &  “A Glorious Day “.


The above piece of her work is in the original frame and is titled,    “Bermuda” ,    and  dated 1940.

It is for sale.  Contact me HERE

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Chef Knives For Sale

February 21st, 2011 · On The Job

These Sabatier Elephants are extraordinary knives.  They have led a very pampered life.         NO CHOPPING   /    NO HACKING    /   STRAIGHT BLADES  They are carbon steel and the real thing.  $ 300

6″       -       10″        -        12″

At Bon Vivant, Sabatier knives have been our choice for over 20 years. Director Louise Hasson believes “These Thiers-Issard 4 star Elephant Sabatier knives are the finest in the world!”

Thiers Issard Sabatier have manufactured the Sabatier****Elephant knives in Thiers since 1958.

They have spent their entire lives hanging out with some other  distinguished sharpies, such as:

quite a few carbon Henckels, including Chef knives,   a great scimitar,  and,   the beautiful Gustav Emil Ern  16″ Chef’ knife below.

$ 150

I will add photos of the other knives soon, meanwhile I can be contacted HERE.

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Recipe Reconstruction

February 10th, 2011 · Chef Jobs

Forensic recipe reconstruction is a passion for

Karl Wilder
My Photo
There was the instance of a person who couldn’t quite duplicate Grandmas fried chicken until it was determined that she always kept a small coffee can near the stove while cooking and in the fridge the rest of the time.
Can you guess?

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January 16th, 2011 · Commentary, Food

January, February, and March is when a really good bowl of stew takes the chill right out of the air.

It’s a pretty easy way to put together dinner; a little trimming, chopping, and prep and you’ve got dinner in the pot.  The smell of stew simmering throughout the day just seems to lift my snow laden spirits and puts a real kick into my day.

That’s a big plus up here in the New Hampshire woods.

I always make a huge batch of it and freeze portions in ziplock bags for retrieval down the road.

I just polished off the last of a batch of beef stew I made with turnip, parsnip, potato, celery, carrot, & onion.  It sure hit the spot.  I roasted the veggies first, that adds a wonderful depth of flavor.

The Irish Beef Stew pictured below, at Simply Recipes, is a masterpiece. The recipe is here.

This morning I was delighted to stumble across an entire months worth of stew recipes at Delish.

The Cataplana, #10 grabbed my attention right off the bat. I would suggest that you try Linguica, a wonderful Portuguese sausage,  along with the original pork.    # 11, Green Chili Pork Stew,  has been a favorite since I first tasted Chili Verde,   (Google search) many years ago.

If you like Mexican food you must give it a try.  Chili Verde can be eaten as a stew,   rolled into a burrito smothered with cheese,   or applied as a sauce.

No need to forego stew if you’re vegetarian.

The multi-talented Kimberley Stakal opines on “Crafting A Vegan Winter Stew“.  I tried the sample, it was great.

I encourage you to spend some time looking over her website and blog.

There’s plenty of stuff to stew about here.  Grab a pot, prepare a bowl.  Spring is only 64 days off.

And now……………

Memphis Soul Stew

STIR   SLOW        -         SERVE    HOT

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MINUTIA & Chuck Lorre

December 28th, 2010 · Commentary

There is no explanation or apparent reason for my fascination of the insignificant.

Not trivia, which also intrigues me.   I never placed well in the game version, however.

Rather, I speak of the things that transpire in the backgrounds of life, movies, plays, and the odd occurrences at the end of TV shows.

One of the most interesting comes from Chuck Lorre.  He’s been using the very brief moments at the end of his shows to offer vanity cards, (#1), on myriad topics.  Here’s a favorite of mine – it’s a summary of the last 10 years.

Several of his missives  became the victim of TV censors.

# 217 – “words that confuse the CBS censor” is one such.

Most televised stuff has ‘em.  Some good – some not so much.

You’re so vain: TV vanity cards


A whole lot more if your curiosity has been piqued. (Parts 1 & 2)

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Oprah – Check out this American Hero !

December 27th, 2010 · Uncategorized

…………”EVERY day he makes a difference to at least one person”…………….

Bob Dotson gives us the amazing American Story of :

Dr. Russell Dohner

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy


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