Night of the Cephalopods

We missed our Tuesday sushi night. But the Schneiders were hungry and still wanted to eat. So we switched over to Wednesday, and at Monica’s suggestion, changed the menu to Greek.

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I was pleased, as I’d been craving Greek food and had even purchased stuff to make a Greek dinner. Earlier that week Don had even accidentally smashed a plate at our house — all signs were pointing toward Greece. More

More Tiny Little Fishies

I don’t know what it is about small fish that is so appealing to me.

I remember being in Italy as a child, and looking on in horror as my parents dug into platefuls of tiny fried fish, uncleaned and with heads intact! (Why this was more objectionable to my 11-year-old sensibilities than the squid tentacles I was gobbling with wild abandon that same trip I’ll never know.) Fast forward a quarter century of so, and I can’t get enough of the small fry.

Italian-style “fritto di mare” fried whitefish

I buy teeny, tiny “ice fish” — no longer than a nickel and pale white — at the Japanese market, coat them in a light tempura batter and make fish fries. I buy smelt or other little fish, and recreate the fritto misto that traumatized me as a child in Italy. I purchase silvery sardines to pickle or throw on the grill. I can’t remember when it all changed, perhaps it was the climbing-a-mountain/crossing-a-new-frontier aspect it. But whenever and however, I became a devotee of diminutive dabs. More

Indian Chewing Gum

Every spring, our hillsides in California are covered with a misting of glorious, delicate yellow flowers — wild mustard. Perhaps this is where we got our name, The Golden State.

When I was a child, someone introduced me to “Indian chewing gum.” Once summer had baked the leafless mustard plants into chalky white skeletons, you could break open the main stalk and inside was a kind of foamy, chewy dried pith. It had no flavor, but did have a pleasant chewiness, at least for the first few seconds before it became mushy and/or got jammed up in between your teeth where you couldn’t get it out. More