Dad’s Batter for Frying


To avoid any confusion this is MY Dad’s batter recipe.  So if you’re a sibling it’s your Dad’s recipe.  If you’re a child of mine (Guns & Roses…) this is your Grandfather’s batter on your Father’s side.  If you’re my grandchild…

I’m learning more about my Box Project all the time.  I’m not just capturing my own favorite recipes but also rediscovering family history too.

Rather than rewrite the recipe I simply posted a photo of the 3×5 index card.  This prevents me from revising the recipe as I write.  Because as I look at this recipe I can’t help but think beer not water and maybe heating up the oil before you start frying might be a good thing to do.  Or the “half glass” measure?  Trust me on this.  I had to have asked Dad for the recipe then wrote it down verbatim.

I’ve not deep fried anything at home in decades.  Not even sure anyone in the family besides my oldest grandchild would enjoy a piece of batter fried chicken.  Well, maybe he would.



Not Italian


Growing up I was convinced I was Italian. As a kid all of my friends were either Catholic or Jewish. Imagine your childhood in a time and place where delicious ethnic cuisine was a couple of blocks away. The businesses were always family businesses. The food was wonderful. Naturally my favorites were southern Italian and anything you’d find in a good Jewish deli (except Borscht which I never liked nor understood). Bagel with cream cheese and lox? Love it. Sunday gravy with meatballs and sausage? Isn’t this what every family makes and eats on Sundays? Didn’t everyone go to synagogue on Saturdays and church on Sundays? When I was around 12 or 13 I began my spiritual quest. We had the big Sunday meal with family but for some reason we didn’t go to church or synagogue. I was confused about faith. So I turned to The Wise One of the family for guidance.

“Father, why don’t we go to church or synagogue?”

The Wise One did not hesitate with his response.

“You don’t find God. God finds you.”

Now imagine being around 12 years old and having that thought stuck in your brain.

Faith is a funny thing. You either believe or not. So the thought that I might have some Italian blood persisted my entire life. This belief persisted until this past week. My brother got one of those DNA ancestry tests done and graciously gave me permission to share the most intimate details of our genetic heritage in a public post.

Well, I’m not Italian. And I’m not 100% of what I thought I was.  I might be Vietnamese.

Well this puts a different slant on everything.

Update 01.22.18

My Grandmother Was Italian. Why Aren’t My Genes Italian?

We do have the genes we inherit — 50 percent from each parent. But Elissa Levin, a genetic counselor and the director of policy and clinical affairs of Helix, says a process called recombination means that each egg and each sperm carries a different mix of a parent’s genes.

“When we talk about the 50 percent that gets inherited from Mom, there’s a chance that you have a recombination that just gave you more of the northwest European part than the Italian part of your Mom’s ancestry DNA,” she says. That’s also why siblings can have different ancestry results.

While catching up on the news I stumbled upon this article from NPR.

I feel better already.  I might still be Italian.





2017 – Year End Review

This happened…


I had trouble growing tomatoes but managed to grow a few bunnies.

The Protector 090217

A new member of the family arrived.


Another next Gen got married.

We did not move to SF for the opportunity to buy and live in a closet for $425,000.

I discovered yet another reason to quit playing guitar (watch his left hand).


The Old Man Car lives on.


And this guy showed up at the house.

Happy New Year to all.


Another Dot in the Road

Christmas 2018

I am alone this Christmas for the first time. The day started early, another byproduct of the aging process. For months I’ve known that I would be home alone today. The Boss is out of town to experience the joy of Christmas with our first Tiny Human Grandchild and her clan in Providence RI. Our other Number One Son is hiking somewhere in the Colorado Rockies. This Christmas I am home alone with my thoughts and memories.

The funny thing is I really don’t mind being home alone on Christmas. I don’t have a problem being alone. Some people get lonely when no one else is around. That’s not me. You can be in a room full of people and feel lonely. Or you can be alone and feel completely surrounded by the love of family and friends. There are just so many wonderful memories of Christmas all fighting for my attention right now. All day long these memories will begin bubbling to the surface. And believe it or not I just got a Merry Christmas text message from an old college buddy. This simple gesture brings back fond memories of Sweet and Sour Tripe (trust me, you don’t want to know the rest of this story). I can’t stop smiling.

The tree lights are on. Christmas music is in the air. I’m wearing my Life is Good tee with Jake’s dog on it (the one I wear every Christmas). I started a pot of Mayocabo beans early and they might even be ready for lunch later. The smiles keep coming because the memories are surfacing from places and times nearly forgotten. I wasn’t quite sure how I would feel home alone today but I’m fine. I have time to read and write. Dinner tonight will be with friends gathered together for some good food and good company. Believe it or not I just got a message from my stomach. It’s time to make my world famous multi-grain pancakes for Christmas breakfast.

The Unoriginal Cabbage Soup

Nothing of importance is ever achieved without discipline. I feel myself sometimes not wholly in sympathy with some modern educational theorists, because I think that they underestimate the part that discipline plays. But the discipline you have in your life should be one determined by your own desires and your own needs, not put upon you by society or authority.

Bertrand Russell

We all know better, but we don’t choose better. I was a cokehead, a heroin addict. At night you get coked up knowing you’re going to feel terrible in the morning. You have to make the habit of doing what’s difficult now to make you better. It’s easy to do the right thing when you’re used to it.

Russell Simmons

I named this soup Unoriginal because there’s really nothing original about cabbage soup.  It could just as easily be called What’s in the Fridge Soup because I had a small head of cabbage that needed to be eaten.  There were two halves of two different peppers and half an onion.  What do you do with these odds and ends?


Something happened to me this summer.  I was a lapsed vegetarian for over 30 years and in the beginning of August I got serious about my diet (again).  Kyrie credits his diet for the recent Celtics winning streak.  Clearly something is happening to a lot of people.  It’s not just me.

Choose better.  Losing 200 pounds was not easy.  Regaining 40 pounds was easy.  Making the right food choices?  Trust me, it’s easier than you think.

1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic minced
1/2 large onion, thin sliced
2 carrots, peeled cut into coins
1 stalk celery sliced thin diagonally
1/2 each red and green bell pepper, slice
1 cup frozen corn
7 oz canned diced tomatoes with juice
1 small head green cabbage sliced
1 quart organic vegetable broth
1/2 Tbsp paprika
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried thyme
Salt and pepper to taste

  1. In a medium size pot heat the olive oil.
  2. Everybody (except tomatoes, corn and broth) in the pool in the following order: onion, carrots, celery, peppers, garlic, cabbage.
  3. Saute until the cabbage wilts, add herbs, salt, and pepper.
  4. Add vegetable broth and tomatoes.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer.
  5. Simmer partially covered for 30 minutes.  Add corn and simmer an additional 5-10 minutes.
  6. Yum.


Doris’ Baked Oatmeal

We all have friends like this. They are the ones with whom time is a meaningless concept. Five hours, five days, five years pass and it doesn’t matter. Time is meaningless because the friends you share a unique time/space continuum with are always there for you. Years will pass (and they do) but when you see each other again it feels as if no time has passed.

There comes a time when we all reach out. Maybe it’s for companionship, perhaps for understanding. There is a bond that exists unbroken by time or geography. A call is made. Yes, it would be great to see you again. Most of the time nothing further comes of the call. But then the second call comes, you clear your schedule, and you make time to spend with your special friends.

“Do you eat oatmeal?”

(and who at this age in life doesn’t eat oatmeal?)

“Yes, I love oatmeal.”

“Then I will make baked oatmeal in the morning for breakfast.”

Baked oatmeal? Never heard of it. I’ve been cooking for over 40 years and never heard of baked oatmeal. So when in doubt do what everyone else does.

Google it. Amish Baked Oatmeal. Dozens of recipes, all the same, each just a little bit different.

So I took a picture of the recipe but not of the book cover or author. The recipe is Amish and I’m stealing it now. I guarantee the recipe will change, but for now, I’m stealing it unchanged.  Kathy King is listed on the line with the recipe title.  So Kathy, wherever you are, Doris and I thank you for this yummy oatmeal recipe.

Doris’ Baked Oatmeal


I don’t want anyone to think we just jumped in the car and drove three hours for oatmeal.

No, we jumped in the car to go see this guy with our buddies.