Yay…it’s snowing………………..yay

The last winter before I moved to Georgia, I was living in a Co-op in Great Neck, NY on Long Island.  Parking was a premium so I was parking my car on the street.  A ritual for me in the winter was to take Sophie dog for a walk early so I could clear my car off from the night’s previous snow fall.  Sophie dog loved the snow so any opportunity to play in snow that hadn’t been peed or pooped on was taken.  We got ourselves booted up, scarfed and gloved and parkered up and went down the front steps toward where I parked my car..dog leash in one hand, shovel in another.Scan_Pic0030

We rounded the corner and walked to where my car was…something seemed amiss… there were trees down…and then I saw it..my car…with a giant tree laying across the roof and the hood and part of the side of the car…My car..that I just bought a couple of years ago..crumpled and covered with tree branches and snow and ice. I turned to Sophie who was playing in the snow behind me and said…”well Soph…I guess Mama’s not going to work today”  And back home we went to call Geico and work and police and City of Great Neck

Everything got taken care of pretty easily but it also made me think about living in New York.  My Mom had passed, My Dad had moved to Florida and while I had a few friends in NY, they were either married or engaged.  I didn’t have my best friends close by. I felt very alone.  My brother and his family lived in Massachusetts. I needed a change. Life had been a challenge for me for a few years and I thought maybe I need to change my environment. I wasn’t working at the time and felt like it’s a now or never kind of thing…. I knew ONE person who lived in Georgia and he lived in Smyrna. Over the course of a few months I visited a few times to see if I would like it. Of course when I went down there it was awesome weather and lots of fun things to do and great places to explore.  My friend knew where to go and what to do and he was a handyman kind of guy so his house was fun,  Yeah I could live down here. So after telling my Dad and friends I was moving …I did. I had originally intended on renting out my place in case I wanted to come back.  But I got an offer I couldn’t refuse and sold my Co-op..This was it…I packed up my place and the moving company came and my life’s possessions were heading to Georgia.   David, my friend from Smyrna came up to NY and with Sophie Dog as our co-pilot we headed South.

I had a rental house already lined up and Sophie Dog and I were ready for our new adventure…and it has been, In the almost 15 years since I moved down here I can count on one hand the times it’s snowed….the times it’s snowed so much that commerce and traffic stopped dead.  People up North and in the Midwest laugh at Southerners who freak out over an inch or 2 or 3 of snow. The truth is…that we are not equipped for it. From the texture of our roads,  to the availability of snow plows and salt,  to our cars,  to the fact that people born in the South do not know how to drive in this kind of weather.

I grew up in NY and went to school upstate NY,  I knew how to drive in snow and ice..I even knew how to do all this while going up and down hills.  I learned not to break. I learned to use my gears. Drive in low. And drive just fast enough to gain traction,. I also know to drive with a bag of sand or kitty litter, for traction if i get stuck.  Most Southerners don’t have enough experience driving in snow. It’s not their fault..It just doesn’t snow bad enough or often enough to get that experience.  Actually I don’t know if people in general know that driving in low gives you more control thus less chances of skidding or getting stuck trying to go up a hill

.molly and meThis is Molly dog and me in NY during happier times.

Last year we had a terrible storm. Apparently all of Georgia was on the road at the same time trying to get home….The streets weren’t salted or plowed so very quickly the roads turned into a sheets of ice…trucks were crashing into other trucks..the cars around me all shimmying and skidding and me?  I was driving a straight line slow and steady. Took me over 8 hours to get home, which normally is a 20 minute drive.  I did great getting up the hills leading to my street,  while cars around me were sliding sideways down the hills. I managed to get to my house but my driveway was a no go. It is very steep and I couldn’t get a running start…I just got stuck…So i parked my car in front of my house and dragged myself up the grassy side to my front door.  Duncan Dog was going to have to go potty close to the house. There was no way I was going to try to get down that hill to walk him.  He didn’t like the snow, so he was happy to comply.  It is so funny he is the same breed as Sophie dog yet while she loved the snow, he hates it.  Go figure. I didn’t have a shovel and I had nothing to break the ice with.  I was stuck for a couple of days. I was able to work remotely so at least i wasn’t bored.  But it reminded me of why I left NY.  I like the snow ..as long as it doesn’t inconvenience me and as long as I don’t have to deal with it.

576Before it got covered and smothered with Ice and SnowOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A few months ago I was sitting in front of my computer and saw some of my snow pictures from last year and thought..hmm maybe I need to buy a snow shovel and while I am at it see if there is such a thing as pet friendly Ice melt. My logical thinking was if i was prepared for snow ..I wouldn’t need it.  Just like taking an umbrella and it doesn’t rain.  So I just came back from walking Duncan dog and looked at my shovel and thought…maybe I will get a chance to use it this year.  As I am writing this and looking out my window..I see the snow has stopped,  so maybe It wont get so bad. Maybe I wont need the shovel this time. The porch however,  is getting icy,,,so I know I’ll get to use the ice melt. So not all was wasted…Duncan is snug in his chair and I am snug in mine.

duncan snug in his chair

Why Bread and Butter Cafe

Having been born in the 1950’s I was subject to many rituals and customs of my mother. Some of them I still continue to this day and others I have archived to a dusty box in the closet. Back in the day when people invited you to their house for dinner or lunch or anything special you then had to reciprocate by way of bringing something. When I was a little girl my mom called that a bread and butter gift.

It was a big deal to bring the appropriate gift. It could be a baked good, a casserole or an actual gift. My mom did not cook so much back then so it was not going to be a homemade item. No cookies, no cakes, no casseroles. We were lucky back then that she didn’t poison us with her cooking..but then… that story is for another time.

So back to the gift. Let’s digress for a moment… My family was part owners of a local Pharmacy in our lovely little town on Long Island. Bell and Halpern. Dad passed away this past June and just this past week Mr. Bell passed on. But to this day…when people hear the name Bell and Halpern, memories flood back to all. It was the store to find the perfect Bread and Butter gift back then…as a matter of fact..it was The store to go to, to find any gift…we had a great store…China, Glassware, jewelry, watches, wallets, luggage, appliances, TV and stereos and radios, books, fragrance and cosmetics. We used to laugh it was the Bloomingdales of Pharmacies..all it lacked was apparel.

Again back to the bread and butter gift. It didn’t need to be expensive or big…but it did need to be thoughtful…and thats what I am hoping this blog will be. I am bringing to your house a little gift of myself to thank you for having me over. Here have a piece of cake.

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Hello world! Welcome to my cafe.

For all my life, cooking and baking was where I went to lose myself. Dicing, Cutting, chopping,  working that knife  you had to keep your mind on the task at hand.  Or you would lose a finger or at the very least cut yourself..which I have been known to do when I lost sight of what I was doing.

Baking requires following a recipe.  Measuring and weighing ingredients exactly.  I have a dyslexia with numbers so I constantly check myself.  With baking you don’t know if you have a fail until you cut into a cake or bite a cookie or your souffle’ is flat as a crepe.  But I love it…and I think I am pretty damn good at both baking and cooking and the only lessons I have had were from Home Economics in Middle School or from watching fine cooking shows. Julia, Jacques Pepin, Jose Torres, Galloping Gourmet, Nathalie Dupree to name a few, were my teachers albeit through the TV and through the internet.

I always said it was cheaper than therapy and always came out of a “session “with the house smelling great and something to eat.  Of course its more fattening but way more fun and no one to say to you…”do you think that was a smart thing to say or do?”

I have never been a fan of therapy,  but for reasons that don’t seem logical to those who like it. No reason to comment here on it..but it has just never been the route for me…thus cooking and baking and now blogging?

So back to cooking and why this blog now when there are more than a million blogs out there with amateurs and professionals and people somewhere in-between.

Sometime back in August I lost my job.  I used to sell restaurant equipment.  While the job itself wasn’t all that great and the people I worked for and worked with weren’t all that great, I loved it.  I loved working with chefs and cooks getting their new business started or getting their business back on track after new equipment was delivered to them.

I miss that part of my job.  I miss talking to bakers and chefs and store owners.  I miss the conversations about food and sharing of recipes and emails back and forth with pictures of what they did best and what I tried to do.  It was a community I was part of because of me selling equipment.  I want to find a way back in..

So, readers if you will allow me…I will try to educate and entertain you.  Why some equipment matters more than others.  Why sometimes doing something simpler is better than fussing.  Why this is infinitely better than therapy.

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