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When the boss visits

One of the strangest, quirkiest, most puzzling elements of the Deepwater Horizon disaster is that the bosses came to visit that day. This has gotten very little attention until the past week, when several testified. Did they change the dynamic on the rig? Did they distract the crew or the rig managers? Did having the bosses aboard somehow alter the pace of operations or the procedures? There is no compelling evidence, so far, that they made a difference, positive or negative. Their own testimony is: We didn't know what was going on. They were playing with simulation software on the bridge -- seeing how the rig would function in a major storm -- when the explosion happened. One had gone to the galley for coffee and cigarette break.

Here's our story:

HOUSTON- Before BP executives flew to the Deepwater Horizon one Tuesday afternoon in April, they went over some talking points. They wanted to address the need to avoid hand and finger injuries from dropped objects. They would warn of hazards such as "Slips, Trips, Falls." And their talking points would also highlight the Horizon's "hallmarks," including:

"No blame, 'can do' culture - fix the problem, learn, move on"

"Prudent risk-taking - freedom to fail, no fear of second guessing."

It all became bitterly ironic a little more than seven hours after the executives landed on the rig's helipad, when something went disasterously wrong and the Deepwater Horizon exploded.

Three of the executives testified here last week before a joint investigation of the U.S. Coast Guard and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement, providing for the first time details of one of the Horizon's most intriguing subplots. They were repeatedly questioned about what they knew and when they knew it.

They insisted that they had stayed out of the way, caused no distraction, and distanced themselves from key technical decisions. In doing so, the executives have contended that, despite many collective decades of experience in the offshore-drilling business, they failed to detect the ominous signals of a "well control" problem, and had no clue that they were aboard what amounted to a ticking time bomb.

David Sims, the BP executive who wrote the talking points, and his boss's boss, Pat O'Bryan, were part of the group of VIP visitors on April 20. Also on board the helicopter flight were Daun Winslow and Buddy Trahan, top executives for Transocean, the rig's owner.

O'Bryan called the VIP trip a "leadership" visit. Winslow called it a "management visibility" exercise. They weren't going to involve themselves, they said, in any technical operations. They were there primarily to be seen by the rank and file.

"I tried not to, try not to, be a distraction. I don't go with big agendas when I go on these visits," O'Bryan testified.

The executives arrived at 2:30 p.m., signed in, and listened to a one-hour safety briefing. They were given hard hats, gloves and ear plugs. Each executive received a card assigning him to a lifeboat in the unlikely event of an emergency evacuation.

The BP well-site leader, or "company man," in charge that afternoon was Robert Kaluza, who had been on the rig just four days. A second company man, Donald Vidrine, relieved Kaluza for the evening. Neither has testified: Kaluza has invoked his 5th amendment rights and Vidrine has cited medical issues.

The executives did get a hint that something wasn't going precisely according to plan that afternoon. A pressure test on the well had given an unsatisfactory result, and a second test had to be conducted. While visiting the drilling floor, some of the executives heard a discussion about the tests. Winslow testified that he suggested that they leave so the workers could sort out the thorny issue.

Winslow said he asked one of the Transocean drillers, "You got everything under control here?"

"Yes, sir," he said the driller answered.

After visiting other sites around the rig, the executives ate dinner, then held a meeting to discuss the talking points. Winslow described it as a light-hearted gathering.

The drilling operation was more than a month behind schedule and burning through about $1 million a day. But, in their Houston testimony, BP executives gave no indication that that was a focus of their visit. O'Bryan said the Deepwater Horizon was one of BP's top performers and he wanted to learn from its success.

At 9 p.m. they went to the bridge. It was an exceedingly calm night. No wind. Using a global positioning system and a series of automatic thrusters, the rig remained almost perfectly stationary atop the well.

To see what it would be like to navigate in a storm, the executives played with software that simulated 70-mile-per-hour winds and 30-foot waves.

Winslow left, and went to the galley to get half a cup of coffee. He lit a cigarette.

It was about that moment when the rig began to shake. This was no simulation, but a violent, high-frequency vibration.

On the bridge, Capt. Curt Kuchta opened a door to look outside. The executives could see a supply boat, the Damon Bankston, anchored close by. Mud, cement, or some kind of fluid, was raining down on it.

They heard a hiss.

The first explosion, Winslow said, was the loudest noise he'd ever heard in his many years working offshore.

Then came a second.

Chaos broke out on the bridge. The captain asked the offshore installation manager, Jimmy Harrell, for permission to activate the emergency disconnect system to detach the rig from the well. These moments continue to be a focus of investigation, with officials repeatedly asking witnesses about the chain of command, with the OIM in charge when stationary but the captain in charge when the rig is underway and in certain classifications of emergencies.

Sims was asked by a federal investigator why he didn't try, himself, to activate the emergency disconnect system.

"I'm a visitor, I don't know specifically. I wouldn't know where the button, if there is a button, to push would be. I was trying to stay out of the marine crew's way and let them handle the situation," he said.

O'Bryan recalled seeing the emergency disconnect panel "light up red." Outside, he saw crew members mustering at the lifeboats.

"I remember looking at Dave and I said, 'We need to go.' "

Trahan wasn't so lucky. The explosion buried him in rubble.

"I looked to where our maintenance office had been," Transocean tool pusher Randy Ezell testified, "and all I could see was feet, a pair of feet sticking out from underneath a bunch of wreckage and debris . . . When we got the debris off of this person, we saw that it was Buddy Trahan."

Winslow, meanwhile, ran from the accommodations area and saw the derrick on fire and people screaming. He saw several people in the water far below, swimming. A man clung to a handrail, dangling over the ocean.

Winslow tried to coax him back to safer footing.

"Do you trust me?" Winslow asked.

The man answered that he didn't know Winslow.

The executives went to a lifeboat. They said they were among the last to get aboard. The captain reappeared and said there were still men on the rig and he was going with them to another lifeboat, Winslow testified.

He had to decide, at that moment, whether to leave or stay.

He had one foot on the lifeboat, one on the deck.

"I procrastinated for a minute or so," Winslow said.

Then he told the coxswain to lower the boat.

O'Bryan, a large man, said he could barely squeeze into a seat.

Sims said he found one of the last places to stand.

There were still people in the water, but Winslow saw that the Bankston had launched a rescue boat. He helped guide the lifeboat to the Bankston and then tied it off.

Of 126 people aboard, the 11 who died included 9 Transocean employees who had been working on the rig floor.

Winslow testified that he did not sleep as he, the senior Transocean official, was transformed into the leader of the emergency response. The rig burned out of control and began listing. The derrick toppled. Fire boats soaked the rig but the fire did not abate, as the well continued to shoot gas and oil onto the Deepwater Horizon.

Winslow supervised desperate attempts to shut down the well via the blowout preventer on the sea floor. He still hadn't slept when, on Thursday, nearly 48 hours after the executive management visibility trip had begun, the Deepwater Horizon sank.

Winslow spoke to the Coast Guard. Then he told a colleague, "I'm tired, I'm going to lay down for a while."

By Joel Achenbach  |  August 30, 2010; 8:58 AM ET
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Next: Competitive Vacation Review


The saga continues.

Thank you for the update, Mr. A.

If an expensive project is a month behind schedule and the boss flies in for a visit, my experience is that it's not a "leadership visibility" type of get-together.

Posted by: MsJS | August 30, 2010 9:33 AM | Report abuse

One event that has me curious concerns the replacement of the BP boss on the rig. If the executives say that this rig was a top performer, why did they replace the top guy and how did that affect the decision process in the "prudent risk taking"?

Posted by: edbyronadams | August 30, 2010 9:34 AM | Report abuse

What a provocative idea. And it makes a certain amount of sense. An official visit from the boss is a sure way to kill productivity. Oh, sometimes there are efforts to make sure everyone looks busy, but there is always a certain degree of theatricality in this. It's natural. And while it may or may not have contributed to the Deepwater Disaster, it does raise a question. Why should the presence of the boss make work cease?

The underlying message coming from middle management is often that it is more important to cater to and please the boss, as if he or she is some kind of celebrity, than it is to get work done. This bothers me because it means, at some level, the underlying mission has been forgotten. And I think that some of your better bosses understand that.

I once had a boss who absolutely refused to make official visits for just that reason. Instead he would simply show up now and again to say hello. He would carefully avoid middle management to avoid fawning. And then warn us not to tell his staff where he was.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | August 30, 2010 9:39 AM | Report abuse

If the second Death Star could explode with the Emperor aboard, I don't see why the Deepwater Horizon shouldn't with its executives.

Posted by: GomerGross | August 30, 2010 9:40 AM | Report abuse

I've worked in a couple of branch offices and we used to call the out-of-town bosses 'corporate seagulls'. They fly in, run around, make a lot of squawking noises, eat all your food, cr@p all over your work, and then fly away.

These BP guys make a point of saying they weren't there to talk about how behind schedule the well was. They didn't have to. Just being there said enough.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 30, 2010 9:47 AM | Report abuse

Happy BD, Ivansmom! You will find that fifty is indeed nifty. . . .

I thought the Emmys program was a bit "meh" -- I turned to Twelve Angry Men, which is always good, especially when E.G. Marshall starts massaging the bridge of his nose and Lee J. Cobb predictably goes off the deep end and Ed Begley gets all gruffy ("know what I mean?"). The case was stellar, and I love how it all plays out, no matter how many times I see it.

Posted by: ftb3 | August 30, 2010 9:48 AM | Report abuse

Happy belated birthday to ftb and happy on-time birthday to I-mom. And happy birthday to anyone too shy to share theirs.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 30, 2010 9:54 AM | Report abuse

Padouk, I think I have to disagree with your major thesis. I've been a big fan of management guru Tom Peters and especially his book "A Passion for Excellence." Peters is a mjor advocate of "management by walking around," by which he means top executives getting their butts out of their chairs and walking around their plants, their stores, their factories, their job sites, greeting, cheerleading, meeting, shaking hands, showing the flag, etc.

Peters tells the story of Sam Walton, the founder and CEO of Wal-Mart (whatever else one may think of Wal-Mart) who only spent one day at week at his corporate headquarters, and spent four days a week on the road, doing nothing but visiting each and every store in the chain. When he had visitinged every single one, he started the visiting all over again back at Store One. Every single Wal-Mart employee knew that Sam Walton was going to be in their store sometyime or other that year.

Yes, on the day of the visit a certain amount of productivity is lost, and time and effort is spent straightening up the place because the boss is coming (is that a bad thing?). But there are plenty of businesses (and government agencies) where no one has any idea who the boss is, and has no idea if the boss even gives a damn or is just a bottom-line guy (or gal, Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina-wise).

In my own agency, which is annually ranked at the bottom of those government surveys of federal employyee satisfaction, I have never once even seen our two past and present Secretaries, nor any of the past three administrators. I don't know if other govt. departments are the same or no. But "a visit from the boss" simply doesn't happen here in the trenches.

Tom Peters has much good to say about managers and bosses doing exactly what those BP guys were doing.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 30, 2010 9:56 AM | Report abuse

Monday morning SCC: the "cast" was stellar.


Posted by: ftb3 | August 30, 2010 10:05 AM | Report abuse

yer burfday, ftb - make sumpin' uv it or lay on a couch tryin'. *grin*

Posted by: talitha1 | August 30, 2010 10:17 AM | Report abuse

I agree with both Mudge and RD_P.

There's a difference between 'management by walking around' and 'drop everything, the boss is coming'. One is a practice/process, the other is an event-with-agenda.

Without knowing whether this executive team regularly visited drilling rigs and other corporate outposts and when this visit got scheduled, I can't say which category this visit falls into. The timing seems too coincidental for it to be purely MBWA, but not all the relevant info is available.

Posted by: MsJS | August 30, 2010 10:18 AM | Report abuse

True, MsJS, but the fact that this team had an agenda and a list of talking points about safety with the special theme of protecting hands and fingers from dropped objects tells me this is a routine kind of thing for them, that they visit other sites and deliver safety messages, and inspect this and that. -- in other words that they didn't just parachute in from out of the blue.

Also, the kind of benign safety message and talking points they had pretty specifically indicates they had no clue anything was wrong on the rig, and had no special reason to be dictating any kind of procedures. This has all the earmarks of a casual visit with no ulterior motives, and no "secret" agendas or intent to either meddle in anything, nor to help secretly fix some problem. And you don't stand around on the bridge fiddling with simulated storm maneuvering software and you don't go to the cafeteria for a coffee and a smoke if you think the place is about to explode. Yes, the timing is coincidental ... but that's why they call them coincidences. This has all the earmarks of MBWA and showing the flag, nothing more.

We also know, independently, that the well had been "kicking" for a week, and that there were questions about the Halliburton cement job being adequate, questions about the centralizers, and other technical problems. Clearly these four guys knew nothing about any of that (because it wasn't in their jurisdiction) and equally clearly they did nothing about those problems *because that wasn't part of their jobs." They didn't even know where the emergency disconnect button was, or even if there was such a button, or a lever, or a switch. These were not hands-on rig people, but some other kind of management. They were, simply, in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 30, 2010 10:34 AM | Report abuse

MsJS, the timing and planning of the visit do seem suspicious.

But also odd is how the story has evolved....first, the execs were there to celebrate the rig going from exploration to extraction, then they were there to celebrate the rig's safety record. Now they were there to discuss finger/hand injuries? As the details are being eeked out over the course of months, the inconsistencies get lost.

30 million over-budget and the subject didn't come up? Not even with the top staff on-site? Apparently Halliburton was going to move the rig to another site once the well was capped. Whether BP would again rent that rig or not, why would you discuss safety issues with a crew that's got a good safety record *and* is within days of finishing the job? Wouldn't you give the safety speech to the crew of the next exploration?

Posted by: LostInThought | August 30, 2010 10:55 AM | Report abuse

Mudge - the difference has to do with the scale of the organization. The bigger the organization the greater star power the head tends to have.

Now, both my manager and her manager practice a form of management by walking around, which works quite well.

By "Boss" I am referring to a scenario in which the ultimate head is so functionally and, often, geographically remote that visits are an event.

As an extreme example of what I mean, consider a multi-billion dollar company with dozens of divisions worldwide. When the president of this firm, who might reside in, say, New York, makes an official visit to a division, productivity crashes.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | August 30, 2010 10:58 AM | Report abuse

And note that I'm not asserting that this phenomenon has anything to do with the Deepwater Horizon disaster. Indeed, I strongly doubt it does.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | August 30, 2010 11:00 AM | Report abuse

You are right. There is always the agenda, and then there is The Agenda.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 30, 2010 11:02 AM | Report abuse

LiT - that's a good point. The argument could be made that this wasn't a random visit, but an indication that management knew there was something afoot.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | August 30, 2010 11:02 AM | Report abuse

I get the sense from Joel's article that the question is whether the presence of upper-level management caused the local management to take the eye off the ball. It's possible that these particular managers are heroes of the proletariat, but that there is a general management culture that provokes caution among the line-workers regarding excessive honesty and natural behavior.

I know that when we have visits from the funding-program managers, we put on a bit of a dog-and-pony show. Resources are constrained and, although we respect these guys, we figure we have to compete with our colleagues for their attention and sense of goodwill when it comes time to dole out the limited resources and to decide whose projects do not meet "programmatic goals".

Posted by: ScienceTim | August 30, 2010 11:03 AM | Report abuse

I'm only curious about the helicopter. I have seen them wait on management until they are finished. One assumes in that dense part of the oil activity, the pilot flew off to do another errand before returning, or another pilot returned for the transport of the managers back to shore.

I hear the BP commercials guy as saying "awl." It's guys from New Jersey that say "oy-erl."

Posted by: Jumper1 | August 30, 2010 11:13 AM | Report abuse

I never saw much respect for "bean counters" in that industry. Even the rig managers, although treating them respectfully as team members, would roll their eyes a bit when they were gone. The workers only respected observable knowledge and experience and dirty hands and hard work.

Posted by: Jumper1 | August 30, 2010 11:17 AM | Report abuse

That's it SciTim. It's the middle-management to upper management relationship that can be so disturbingly sycophantic.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | August 30, 2010 11:24 AM | Report abuse

The fact is that they were in the process of shutting this well down. It could be that management wanted to see how that was going and do a bit of black slapping. It could also mean that the site manager wanted to demonstrate that it was shutting down while they were present so he rushed the cementing job.

Posted by: edbyronadams | August 30, 2010 11:26 AM | Report abuse

Yes, the higher up the manager the bigger the star power, I agree. But there are all different kinds of managers, especially in an outfit like BP, and we don't know what any of their (these 4 guys) job descriptions were, or what aspects of the job they had jurisdiction over.

We also don't know much (or anything) about the general parameters. We don't know if a million bucks a day is a lot or a little. We don't know if being 30 days behind was a big deal or not. (I can tell you from the job sitting on my desk right now that being 30 days behind schedule is meaningless and a joke).

It is meaningless in my view to call these guys "upper level management." It doesn't tell us what they do, or how high is "high," where they are in the heirarchy, and so on.

In general, we have to take their testimony more-or-less at face value. There wasn't a single whiff in Joel's article to undermine anything they said, or to cast doubt upon it. If there had been, I think Joel would have found a way to say so, or to present some contradictory testimony. You guys can exercise your conspiracy-theory mindsets all you want to, but absent some kind of contradictory testimony from somewhere, the facts as given speak for themselves:

These guys were not apparently aware of anything wrong;

They had some utterly irrelevant, benign safety message about fingers and toes;

They were on the bridge playing with simulation software;

They claim to have stayed out of the way of the rig people and their problems and discussions and arguments.

It isn't that all this testimony is compelling; it isn't. It is that there is NOTHING on the record to subvert it, and there's a hundred other people on the rig who could contradict it at the drop of a hat if they wanted to. It would be foolish in the extreme for these four guys to tell usch a bening, harmless story about howe they knew nothing and stayed out of the way IF IT WASN'T BASICALLY TRUE. It would be beyond stupid and beyond crazy to testify under oath to a story like this if any Tom, Dick or Harry from Haiilburton or TransOcean could call them liars. It is dumb to risk this scale of perjury, and there's nothing to suggest it.

Note also that two OTHER guys who could have testified have refrained from doing so. One took the fifth, the other claims to be too sick. Whether that's true or not. If the lawyers for these four guys had even the slightest doubt about the accuracy of their testimony or the possibility of contravention, their lawyers would have clammed them up like Phillips Seafood House. But it didn't happen.

There is basically no reasonable choice but to take their testimony pretty much at face value. Yes indeedy, all sorts of misfeasance, malfeasance, unfeasance, crossfeasance, ultrafeasance and dumbyfeasance plus illegalfeasdance may have and almost certainly did happen -- but these four weren't it.

These guys make "perfect" BP witnesses -- because they don't know anything and didn't do anything.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 30, 2010 11:30 AM | Report abuse

This is an interesting article. I'm with MsJS in that I agree with both RD and Mudge. Management by walking around is good, and there is a difference between that and management dropping in from the sky to disrupt production.

While as yet we cannot know which this is, I am impressed with LiT's observations. The reason BP execs were at the well has indeed changed over time. Also, as others have said, merely by being there management may have sent a message which didn't need to be articulated regarding the schedule and money.

Professional experience makes me extremely sceptical of taking the BP exec witnesses' stories at face value. I have no doubt they are true, as far as they go: I'm absolutely certain there were safety talking points, etc. However, it is entirely possible that those were part of a standard visit agenda which had little to do with the real business reasons for this visit, at this time. I'm not intending to disparage BP execs particularly here; I am inherently sceptical of any witness testimony which, in a time of crisis, sticks to a relentlessly innocuous surface story although other compelling and less innocuous stories are plausible.

Thanks to all for the birthday wishes! I am hoping for cake, and bears. Talitha, what a great song. Thank you.

Posted by: Ivansmom | August 30, 2010 11:40 AM | Report abuse

…….^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^((((((/__ \))))^^…….

Posted by: MsJS | August 30, 2010 11:53 AM | Report abuse

Secret footage of the hearings:

Posted by: yellojkt | August 30, 2010 11:55 AM | Report abuse

>"No blame, 'can do' culture - fix the problem, learn, move on"

Well, they're certainly looking for someone to blame now! Learning doesn't count unless it's applied.

On face value, it looks like it was accidentally visit day. The long-term, ongoing problems seem to be more important than the final visit.

Speaking of which, I am spraying walls with an organic mixture, using a pressure-assisted weed sprayer. Seems to be helping. When I bathed Emma today (I'm still home until tomorrow) I got past the usual skunk, down to the burning machine-oil smell. So, progress. I probably won't have to rent an ozone machine and vacate the house.

I spoke with a neighbor whose dog was minding its own business (literally) when sprayed through a chain-link fence by one of these skunks. They didn't work on the house aggressively at the time; 6 months later, it still smells.

Posted by: -dbG- | August 30, 2010 11:58 AM | Report abuse

Oh, and Happy Birthday!

Posted by: -dbG- | August 30, 2010 12:01 PM | Report abuse

"The BP well-site leader, or "company man," in charge that afternoon was Robert Kaluza, who had been on the rig just four days. A second company man, Donald Vidrine, relieved Kaluza for the evening. Neither has testified: Kaluza has invoked his 5th amendment rights and Vidrine has cited medical issues." - Joel's article

Tighter than a crab's a$$. (That's waterproof, folks)

Posted by: yellojkt | August 30, 2010 12:01 PM | Report abuse

Chief Judge Alex Kozinski said that because of the ruling, "1984 may have come a bit later than predicted, but it's here at last."

Posted by: Jumper1 | August 30, 2010 12:02 PM | Report abuse

You're right Mudge that we don't know how many VPs of Drilling there are, or the percentages on budget numbers. But I'm guessing white collar workers stand out in a predominantly blue collar environment. And testimony given months ago (in writing?)indicated the execs were there to celebrate 7 years without a loss-of-work injury (or something like that), and that the chain-of-command was in appears as if a 23-year old woman made all the calls you'd expect from the person in charge....the sos, a man-overboard call, and the abandon ship call.

I'm not inclined to take anything they have to say at face value. If that's the case, why bother with hearings, just ask them what happened, skip the back-up documentation and move on.

Time to make some cookies...first day of school and all.

Posted by: LostInThought | August 30, 2010 12:12 PM | Report abuse

Exactly, yello. The guys who knew something clammed up. The guys who didn't testified freely -- because they had nothing.

If you want to hide or bury something, one way you do it is provide a ton of innocuous testimony from people who don't know anything.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 30, 2010 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Many thanks to MsJS for that splendid bear!

Posted by: Ivansmom | August 30, 2010 12:22 PM | Report abuse

from the article:

"Also in Sunday's interview, Beck dispelled rumors that he might be considering a run for president in 2012, with Palin as his running mate.

"Not a chance. I don't know what Sarah is doing. I hope to be on vacation," Beck said, adding: "I don't think that I would be electable."

Not electable? Mad Glenn? Who woulda thunk.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 30, 2010 12:46 PM | Report abuse

We have some good news from the Va. courts:


Posted by: Scottynuke | August 30, 2010 1:05 PM | Report abuse

Perzactly, mudge. We know who will be the fall guys if and when the subpoenas fly. Meanwhile the execs are just 'shocked, shocked' that there was gambling going on in the back of Rick's.

Here is more secret testimony:

I couldn't get video, but here is a transcript:

Posted by: yellojkt | August 30, 2010 1:09 PM | Report abuse

Woke up to a light rain falling here on the left coast, temps in the 40's. The rain was just enough to turn the dust on the yard gravel to mud that the dogs promptly transfered to the kitchen floor. The rain has since got a little heaver much to the relief of the fire fighters that have been on pins and needles the past week since the eleven Ashland houses burned.
From over a hundred to the 40's in less that a week.

Posted by: bh72 | August 30, 2010 1:13 PM | Report abuse

BP/BP counsel isn't controlling the witness list, who testifies isn't up to them. The guy who is too sick didn't just have his mommy call. There're others outside of BP backing up that claim. The four discussed here had no choice but to testify. Also, it's SOP for lawyers to prep witnesses before their testimony. They may have told the truth, but the whole truth? That's a different question.

Posted by: LostInThought | August 30, 2010 1:23 PM | Report abuse

And speaking of dogs (thanks, bh72), I've been busy (sorta) thinking up great and cool doggie names for a new pooch a friend is buying this week. She lost her 9 year old German Shepard about 8 days ago and, while grief stricken, she is going to get a 4-month old Golden Retriever (cream colored out of Russian stock) fluff ball. I do like Goldens, and this one is supposed to be a cutie pie. Well, okay all (if not most) doggies are cutie pies at one time or another. I thought of a great name while falling asleep, didn't write it down, and now I cannot for the life of me remember it, dontcha know. Ah, well. Fluff ball will get a name one way or another and settle in with a tremendously wonderful doggie mamma. Can't wait to nuzzle that muzzle and scritch the tum-tum.

Posted by: ftb3 | August 30, 2010 1:43 PM | Report abuse

The management visit was mentioned in early stories. I suppose the visitors now view drilling safety a bit differently.

Some managers are extremely good at walking around. A couple of directors of the agency from which I retired were pretty much masters of the art, dropping into field offices with no disruption at all, other than sometimes a bit of amazement at their presence.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | August 30, 2010 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Jumper, thanks for the link. Justice is not keeping up with technology. This could get scary.

Posted by: russianthistle | August 30, 2010 2:19 PM | Report abuse

Landing; 2nd attempt ...

Posted by: russianthistle | August 30, 2010 2:37 PM | Report abuse

Couple of things here --

First of all, of the 126 people onboard the DWH, I think only something like 7 were BP employees - the rest were Transocean and other subcontractors. One could easily suspect that that the situation there wasn't of managment and staff, but of the Transocean folks trying to keep the (BP) customers happy in order to pay the cost overruns and to secure future business.

Why would the BP folks be there to train folks who do not work for them directly? Wouldn't the Transocean staff's safety training on their own rigs be the Transocean folks' responsibility?

And on that note, wouldn't the Transocean folks be seeking to reduce costs by all possible means in order to keep BP happy? [Or at least less upset] and to reduce the cut into their margins?

Secondly, it's not uncommon for large organizations to develop a sort of spontaneous intertia from within as a response to an outside stimulus in order to have appearances or results be to the organization's best possible advantage. Not necessarily a conspiracy as much as a defense mechanism, like elevated heart rate and breathing with adrenaline production in mammals. Very subtle stuff like a different word used in an email, a document that was lost or thrown away, a cleared out system cache, a backup that didn't run one night for some reason, a logfile directory that filled up, etc. with no direction from anyone to do so... people will act (or not act, in some cases) in their personal and collective best interests, and be able to rationalize and even explain the results as nothing more than coincidence. And I'm not going to bring up the Bush Administration White House email systems.

No conspiracy at all, but possibly an almost automated systemic response to a perceived threat to any organization, be they comprised of living cells or -- people.


Posted by: -bc- | August 30, 2010 2:45 PM | Report abuse

That was very funny, weed. Thanks.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 30, 2010 2:46 PM | Report abuse

I want to walk with the animals, talk with the animals...

Check out a few of the interactive critters in this picture from a book by H.G. Wells, J. S. Huxley, and some other dude named Wells (H. G.'s son?):

Make sure to save item #10 until you have explored some of the bigger creatures.

Posted by: ScienceTim | August 30, 2010 2:53 PM | Report abuse

Call it an autoimmunity positioning system.


Posted by: -bc- | August 30, 2010 2:53 PM | Report abuse

Funny you should mention the Bush Administration e-mail system, bc.

It's as if they didn't want them to be saved.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 30, 2010 3:12 PM | Report abuse

Happy birthday, Ivansmom! Do you get to trade in an accordion file for your accordion? That seems like a good deal to me.

Posted by: -pj- | August 30, 2010 3:20 PM | Report abuse

"Largest sea flower-like blobby thing". Ah. Scientific classification after my own heart.

Posted by: Ivansmom | August 30, 2010 3:23 PM | Report abuse

Weed, that was really funny. Check out the others ones with Gleeson. *and I luv the accent, yanno*

Posted by: ftb3 | August 30, 2010 3:25 PM | Report abuse

I interrupt this thoughtful discussion to request menu advice from the gourmet Boodle. I have just invited some friends over to dinner next weekend, and I have no idea what to serve them. I'm a competent everyday cook, but my guest meal repertoire is lacking. For this particular meal, I have various restrictions. One guest is allergic to shellfish, and another to wheat gluten. A third prefers no wine, even with the alcohol cooked off. The gluten cuts out wheat-based pastas and most bottled sauces/condiments (like soy sauce). All ingredients must be available at my small-town Kroger. I would prefer things that can mostly be prepared ahead or be finishing up in the oven or the pot while I hang out with my friends, but a quick stir-fry or such would work, too. Any thoughts?

Posted by: -bia- | August 30, 2010 3:30 PM | Report abuse

Indeed, yello.


Posted by: -bc- | August 30, 2010 3:35 PM | Report abuse

bia -- you can make by Spinach-Tomato-Cheese casserole ahead of time and with gluten-free cracker crumbs:

2 pkgs, frozen chopped spinach (cooked and drained)
1 can stewed tomatoes (try to find salt-free and HFCS-free if you can)
1/4 cup sweet chili sauce (also try to find HFCS-free)
1 cup gluten-free cracker crumbs (try to find HFCS-free and lower salt) (btw, try to get cheddar cheese flavor)
1 brick of Cracker Barrel extra sharp cheddar cheese, grated (I use the 2% fat kind)

Mix it all up, put in a casserole dish. You can bake it for 35-40 minutes at 350F or nuke it for maybe 7-8 minutes or so (turn halfway, if you don't have a carousel) or until it overflows onto the bottom of the microwave (sorry, but that does happen sometimes).

It's really good, and can serve as a vegetarian main dish or as a side dish.

Posted by: ftb3 | August 30, 2010 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Ah, pj, that would be fine indeed.

Isn't "accordion" an interesting word? Beginning as it does with "accord", it conjures the image of happy folk all in agreement. Music, bringing people together.

Of course, the remainder of the Ivansclan would suggest those folk are agreeing that accordions should, in the main, be seen and not heard. Or perhaps not even seen.

Posted by: Ivansmom | August 30, 2010 3:41 PM | Report abuse

There's always the Bacon Explosion, bia...

*helpful smile* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | August 30, 2010 3:52 PM | Report abuse

Risotto (a category of fancy-shmancy Italian rice dish) is naturally gluten-free, which means that you can achieve freedom from gluten with no compromise, substitutions, or cheating. The Vegetarian Epicure and Moosewood cookbooks feature a wide variety of lovely risottos

I find the absence of cooking wine to be somewhat noxious, but not entirely impossible. Is that an ethical restriction ("I think God created wine so that he could test whether we are lousy drunks")? or biochemical ("wine contains subtle toxins that will make me die within the hour")? If it's on the trivial level of "I just don't like wine", then to heck with the weenie -- time to grow up, bub. If it's the other issues, then ethical comportment demands that you do without cooking wine. Alas.

Based on your listed restrictions, you could always go with a hunk of beef, a scoop of rice, and a stem of steamed broccoli. Gourmet eating, in many locales. Throw in some freshly-grated horseradish, and that's pretty good eating.

Posted by: ScienceTim | August 30, 2010 3:53 PM | Report abuse

From yello's article: "The Administration Office later proposed a plan to fully restore the missing e-mails in 2005, but White House counsel Harriet E. Miers rejected the plan, according to the report. Miers did not return requests for comment."

I'm so glad she didn't get that appointed-for-life job. The more I hear about her, the more appreciative I am of that.

Posted by: MoftheMountain | August 30, 2010 3:59 PM | Report abuse

Bia - a roast chicken is among the simplest dishes known to man, and perfectly fine for company. Preheat oven to 350. Get a chicken, rinse it and pat dry, stick it in a roasting pan (aluminum available at Kroger's), on a rack or not as kitchen equipment dictates. Brush it with melted butter. Cut up a little onion and stick in the cavity. Cut a lemon in half, squeeze the juice over the buttered chicken, and toss it in the cavity with the onion. Add salt. Stick the whole thing in the oven for about 1 1/2 hours. Cover with foil when the skin starts to look brown and tasty enough to eat. Don't have 1 1/2 hours? Set the oven to 375. Want more chicken? Use two in the pan and adjust cooking time. It is way easier to cut up a chicken than you'd think.

Or, a very forgiving already-cut-up and company-type chicken dish:

Get cut-up chicken, all breasts, all thighs, mixed parts, whatever. Rub a roasting pan with butter. Put in the chicken, add some small potatoes (or cut big ones up), add some peeled shallots or small onions (or cut big ones up). Dot it all with butter, just for the heck of it. Cover the pan with foil and bake at 350 for half an hour to an hour - cooking time depends on whether your chicken parts have bones.

Posted by: Ivansmom | August 30, 2010 4:04 PM | Report abuse

bia, for an appetizer or adjunct to the main course, I'd recommend my baked vidalia onion (soup). My normal recipe calls for 1/3 cup of white wine in each individually made portion, but this gives you the option of eliinating the wine for this one person and substituting water or chicken stock/vegetable stock (as you prefer, for vegetarians). Or you could just make all of them the same, without ther wine but with some other liquid. (These are normally made with beef stock, but you can substitute vegetable stock). They can be made up several hours in advance, if you wish (but only add the wine/liquid at the very last minute) before popping them in the oven for an hour. So this gives you plenty of time to socialize, or otherwise tend to the rest of the meal. No gluten, no milk/lactic/cheese, no shellfish in it.

Alternatively, if you have access to really big, beefy tomatos, I'd really recommend the Tomato Lemon Mint Salad. To die for, and very different from what they'd expect. Also pretty summery, whereas the onion soup is autumnal/wintery.

How about a roast pork loin with cranberry chutney?

Can the no-shellfish person eat salmon? How about grilled planked salmon? Or a poached salmon with sliced lemon and herbs? Make it up ahead of time, pop it in the oven or on the grill.

Twice-baked potatoes -- filling, quick and easy way to cheat, starch but no gluten. Make up and do first baking and prep ahead of time, then just warm up for final twice-baking.

Grilled asparagus (drizzled in olive oil and sprinkled with Monteal steak seasoning). Can grill it inside our outside, or bake/broil it. Quick and easy.

Winter comfort food: big pot of my shepherd's pie/cottage pie: no gluten, no major bottled condiments (you can omit the tablespoon of A-1, tho' it breaks my heart to do so). It is basically just layered hamburger, peas and/or corn, and mashed potatoes, nuthin' much else, just some tinkering and a few easy add-ins (chopped sauteed onions), etc.

Or slap a couple of T-bones on the grill.

Consider that we may (or may not) be up to our eyeballs in hurricane next weekend. (Where are you in the world?)

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 30, 2010 4:04 PM | Report abuse

Yes, Ivansmom, the accord is usually in dislike of the instrument. Discordion, anyone?

But in the hands of a master, it's a wonderful instrument:

Here are a couple of Joe Ely songs with Joel Guzman on the accordion. Ely blows one of his own lines on the first one, but hey:

Posted by: -pj- | August 30, 2010 4:10 PM | Report abuse

I thought about and rejected Chicken Marsala because of the no-wine restriction, but Tim's excellent point at 3:53 makes me re-think it. He's right that one needs to probe the no-wine question a bit and see what its parameters and basis are.

My son "insists" upon no wine, and claims he won't eat anything I make if it has wine in it. Ohhhh, little does he know. The young are so easy to fool, poor lambs. My spaghetti sauce, which he raves over, always has a half cup of cup of red wine in it (wine releases the sugar in the tomatoes). I just don't let him see me put it in. Ditto the zinfandel in my Chicken Waldorf, which he loves.

Sometimes I put the wine directly inside the cook; it is faster-acting that way.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 30, 2010 4:15 PM | Report abuse

I'm getting really hungry and want to go cook something now.

Posted by: Ivansmom | August 30, 2010 4:18 PM | Report abuse

The intertubes are full of chicken& (gluten-free) sausages gumbos, served on gluten-free rice that should do it. This is what we are having tonight, in this Louisiana-like heat. No kidding, it is almost 90F and sticky.
Mudge's onions are a bit of work but worth it.

I made 6 little tubs of pesto for the freezer yesterday (it was cooler inside than outside!). 6 little tubs of summer to rediscover during the bleakness of winter. When a recipe calls for 1 cup of melted butter, a cup and a half of olive oil and 12-16 garlic cloves it put a smile on my face.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | August 30, 2010 4:19 PM | Report abuse

ftb, I'm rather fond of the name Moonshine for cream-colored canines.

And a happy birffday to all the Virgos!

Posted by: MsJS | August 30, 2010 4:21 PM | Report abuse

"a hunk of beef, a scoop of rice, and a stem of steamed broccoli."

That sounds like dinner at chez yellojkt most nights (at least when I cook at all). At the Shirlington Harris Teeter on Saturday (and if you don't know why I was in Shirlington, you need to follow me on FourSquare), I found a rack of pre-cooked ribs for only eight bucks. A pot of rice and some steamed green beans later, I had Sunday dinner.

My super secret pork-chop recipe is vegetable oil, red wine, and soy sauce. My fancy dinner for guests meal is a spiral-sliced ham with mac and cheese on the side. I am no use on this challenge. What about fajitas? Just make sure you serve corn tortillas.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 30, 2010 4:22 PM | Report abuse

Lately we -- my wife especially -- have been on a retro-1950s salad kick she revived: a simple wedge of iceberg lettuce. VERY 1950s -- but still good. We like it with blue cheese dressing and crumbled blue cheese ( the really good stuff), with sea salt and ground black pepper. But recognizing that blue cheese is a very acquired tatste, one can easily go to ranch dressing and feta, or any other dressing, for that matter. What's the last time you had a wedge of iceberg? Think about it. It's a back-to-basics thing. Simple, easy, refreshing. No mystery green stuff whose names you can't pronounce or that looks like lawn trimmings.

You could always have Archie Bunker Theme Night, bia:

Wedges of iceberg
Parsley potatoes
Canned peas or string beans, microwaved
Beer served in bottles, something down market like PBR or the Rock.
Orange jello for dessert. Maybe with a single chocolate chip cookie if they cleaned their plates.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 30, 2010 4:31 PM | Report abuse

Not gourmet, but pot roast is another gluten/shellfish/wine free food that can be prepped ahead of time and just pop it in the oven while you socialize/prep or put it in the crockpot to cook while you are at work (if you're okay with leaving it). The veggies to serve with it can be whatever is on sale/available. I generally start with onions, carrots and potatoes. Brown the roast on all sides before cooking and cook until fork-tender. I generally don't even spice it much, maybe salt and pepper and some broth for cooking liquid.

Posted by: MoftheMountain | August 30, 2010 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Well it's about freaking time:

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 30, 2010 4:43 PM | Report abuse

The hunk of Grilled Beast can go with Marcella Hazan's Apulian-style potatoes with onions.
(for 4-5 servings)
2 lbs peeled, thinly sliced (1/8-3/16") potatoes
(a mandoline comes in handy)
2 medium onions sliced as thinly as possible
(the mandoline comes in really handy)
1 pound peeled, seeded tomatoes, cut up coarsely
(8 very large romas, 10-12 medium-small ones)
1/3 cup olive oil
1.5-2 teaspoon fresh oregano or handful of cut-up basil leaves
pepper to taste (salt if really needed, the cheese is salty)
3/4 cup freshly grated romano cheese.

Pre-heat oven to a hot oven, say 400F
Mix everything but the cheese in a large mixing bowl. Smear a 13x9 in. baking dish with olive oil.
Put the mix in the baking dish and cook 35-45 min, mixing it 2 or 3 times. Add the cheese after the second or third mix. Cook until potatoes are done, it will depend on thickness and oven temperature.
Let cool at least 10min. before serving. scalding hot is not good for this dish.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | August 30, 2010 4:45 PM | Report abuse

Hi folks... I have been alternately out of town and busy, starting with an impromptu trip to Nashville, deadline week at work and then another rather quick trip to visit Son of G. Returned today and boy, am I beat.

I think of the times that The Boss has dropped in on The Little People in past jobs and can only imagine the impact the suits had on the oil rig.

Haven't really backboodled at all, but I did see there's something stinky at dbG's house (*frowning*) and that today's Ivansmom's birthday! Happy, happy, I-mom! (*smiling*)

Posted by: -TBG- | August 30, 2010 4:47 PM | Report abuse

An easy company dish is chicken parts (skinned and boneless, or not as you prefer) baked with a sauce comprised of honey, mustard and curry.

Put 1/2 stick to a stick of (*gasp*) butter in a baking dish and put in a 350-375F oven until it melts. Take it out and swirl it around until the dish is coated. Then stir in some honey, the mustard and the curry (to taste) until all combined. Season the chicken parts however you wish (I do like tarragon and thyme on chicken) and coat each piece in the sauce mixture, landing topside up, and make sure there are no overlapping pieces in the baking dish. Bake for 40-50 minutes, depending on your oven temperature, or until done.

I like to serve it with rice in which raisins have been plumped. Add some ground cloves to the rice, too, although not too much. I find that cloves tend to get cloying if the amount is too high, but that's just me.

Green beans with chopped mangoes would probably go well with this dish, too.

*getting hunger pangs suddenly*

Posted by: ftb3 | August 30, 2010 4:54 PM | Report abuse

And it turns out the Conventional Wisdom is wrong: alcohol doesn't burn off in cooking (unless you cook for 3 hours)...

Posted by: -TBG- | August 30, 2010 4:55 PM | Report abuse

Back to the Gulf.....
The recipes.....
The militant conservatives....
The intertubes........?

Oh, I forgot to mention 'the capability of empathizing' with a group. what you missed in the response was the question: how does a paralyzing emotion lead to relief for anyone in any 'group'? Specifically how would this process you describe (capability>empathy>rage>fear>soar>found a republic or save it) work on "women's rights [women were (are being) tortured and many died (and are dying) on behalf of obtaining the right to vote), civil rights and voting rights for minorities (Christians), the reversal of child labor laws, and much, much more" in Islamic dominated countries? The answer is not one bit, if WE open OUR borders and protection to the worst of this lot who do not have such enlightened views of such issues and will have even less incentive to reform these travesties in the countries and societies they dominate in. We already know what the extreme examples of this culture is capable of. The best WE can expect from the 'moderate' range of the spectrum is what WE already see: they will pi** on your foot, tell you it's rain or you are imagining things if you object, and insist that the most insulting agendas and initiatives should be allowed, so WE can prove WE are the accepting Ones and they are the 'forgiving' of what they have plenty of domestic help characterizing as some kind of 'phobia'. Good luck making the world a better place with that plan ftb3. Some people have no problem turning somebody else's cheek to be smacked a good one, but boy are they offended when they catch a direct hit. Hello? Americans are tired of having this Cra* shoved in OUR face, up OUR nose, down OUR throat. WE didn't ask for this kind of problem to come here and only the insane among US are responsible for it's existence, growing and festering across OUR land. WE can tell when they know 'they' are LOSING. CBS commissioned a professional crowd estimator, (probably the same guy they got caught sending out in a ninja suit with an i-phone, followed up with a CBS camera crew, to create an incident with decent people exercising their constitutional right to assemble and speak freely near the "take this Cordoba and shove it, if you don't like our laws" cultural center in Nueva Yorka last week). This guy must have used a logrithmic scale, one American for every 100 square feet, at the Restore Honor in DC Saturday, their number about 60,000! 'They' are just pathetic, and so deserving of losing, WE can't wait for the next auction to see what these losers will bring for their sad excuse for a ABMSNBDNCNNBS government-media snews organization, maybe the 'new' economy (not) will dictate they must pay to have the chain removed from their (and OUR) necks. How sweet the thought! So yesterday and this morning they are reliving ghosts of Katrina and The Titanic! Too bad the real racists in this country can't judge a rally by the content of character!

Posted by: RichNomore | August 30, 2010 4:55 PM | Report abuse

As amazingly entertaining as your posts are, I suggest you find and use the 'Enter' key. Hint: It's the one on the other end of the row with the CAPS LOCK key.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 30, 2010 5:03 PM | Report abuse

No wonder Julia Child always looked so happy.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 30, 2010 5:05 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: gmbka | August 30, 2010 5:05 PM | Report abuse


So now it's my -- no, wait ... *MY* responsibility -- to cleanse the countries practicing the Muslim faith of their misogyny? Cool. I'll put on my cape and take care of it right away. And then I'll go after the so-called Christian fundies and do the same with them (no supplication and submission to them men for me, man!). And then, and then ... wait, I need to take a bathroom break.

Okay, I'm back. And then, I'll make sure everyone has indoor plumbing here in Amurrika. Oh, wait, that's socialism. Can't have that, since indoor plumbing ain't in the Constitution. Never mind.

RichNomore, don't bother baiting me. I ain't buying what you're selling. If perhaps you could bother to be more coherent and not generalize so much, it might be worth my while to pay more attention to you. And know this -- Americans (all of them or some of them or one of them) have been eating the *expletive* of other Americans (all of them or some of them or one of them) for centuries. Decent Americans, all. Or not. You generalizations and absolutism approach do not help your arguments. Not with me.

And, as has already been asked here -- what are *YOU* doing, besides waiting for me singularly to change the world?

Posted by: ftb3 | August 30, 2010 5:11 PM | Report abuse

Re: converting wine into cooking water, I remember an America's Test Kitchen show where they said that alcohol and water have a strong affinity for each other and so the alcohol will never completely evaporate. (I'm not a chemist and I think 'affinity' was the word they used.) If you leave the top off as the mixture simmers, more of the alcohol will evaporate, but some will always remain.

But the most important rule of cooking with wine is that if you aren't willing to drink it, don't cook with it. Use good stuff, it makes a difference.

Posted by: -pj- | August 30, 2010 5:13 PM | Report abuse

This is all sounding great -- I knew I could count on y'all! The no-wine guy is a (long sober) recovering alcoholic with a (well-managed, but still) anxiety disorder (hence the history of self-medicating alcoholism). So it's not really the part of a friend either to tell him to suck it up or to lie about what I'm feeding him. That darn trust thing.

One or more of these options will do very well, but if you've got more ideas, feel free to keep em coming.

Posted by: -bia- | August 30, 2010 5:29 PM | Report abuse

I think the people talking about pot roast (or beef stew) are on the right track. In any case, potatoes can be the main nonglutenous carb in the equation.

Too bad CrazxyBroke is so frothing as to be indecipherable. I almost saw a line of thinking there. Nah, it was just a coincidence. An accidental resemblance.

Posted by: Jumper1 | August 30, 2010 5:44 PM | Report abuse

Rich, I didn't get through your whole post because I see the same flaw in the beginning of your argument that you built a sandcastle on last time. Being infuriated doesn't lead to paralysis; more often than anything, it leads to action. Whether that action is a good choice or not varies. Lech Walesa was infuriated when he hopped up onto that wall. The man in front of the tank in Tiananmen wasn't paralyzed with fear. A husband who walks in on his wife with another man and shoots them both isn't kicking back and considering his options. This type of action is about a common as dirt.

That you've built an entire argument on anger --> inaction says tons about you and your perspective, which makes all that WE and OUR stuff in your post lead intelligent people to conclude you speak for no one but YOU.

Posted by: LostInThought | August 30, 2010 5:47 PM | Report abuse

Oh, I can't let this pass. Richnomore mentioned "OUR land" and I wanted to express the foreign (oops, a pun) concept of all those local people (you know. "natives") who were on the shore greeting Columbus (you know, that stoopid white guy who got lost trying to find India) when he landed. I have a colleague in Oklahoma who is part Cherokee. His people could rightfully say (in conjunction with all the other tribes) that it was "OUR land". It were all those stoopid white Europeans who were the initial terrorists (and whom Timothy McVeigh tried to emulate).

I would submit that this country does not *belong* to anybody living in it in unequal measure. Because if ownership is based on the amount of taxes one pays, then (if possible, of course) I would go out of my way to pay more in taxes than you, thereby owning a larger share of this country than you. Where would you like to be deported? To a country that would not accept the nonsense you post and jail you for it? You know, a country that does not confer liberties on you that you have here, no matter how much you bloviate about losing said liberties (without any factual or legal support, of course)? Whaddya think?

Posted by: ftb3 | August 30, 2010 5:54 PM | Report abuse

A menu

Appetizer: strained gazpacho in a yellow-pepper cup

Main course:

- grilled flank steak marinated in olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, shallots, papper and fresh herbs (thyme, Italian parsley) and sliced very thin on the diagonal
- pommes de terre Anna
- grilled tomatoes
- haricots verts

Dessert: baked new-crop apples and grilled pineapple

Posted by: Yoki | August 30, 2010 5:59 PM | Report abuse

Bia, do-ahead always works for me. I'd do pot roast too, or for the summer, good tomato salad, corn on the cob, potato salad or twice-baked potatoes and a whole filet either grilled or broiled--the filet naturally gives varying degrees of doneness and some delicious leftovers to drape over a salad.

Tbg! You're back! I think it's inevitable--Emma's nickname has changed from 'Nemmie' to a (still) affectionate "Stinky." progress today--the house air has cleared enough that I can sniff out little hot spots of skunk oil.

Posted by: -dbG- | August 30, 2010 6:07 PM | Report abuse

Potatoes Anna! What a wonderful dish.

Posted by: -pj- | August 30, 2010 6:07 PM | Report abuse

Perfect, Yoki.

Posted by: -dbG- | August 30, 2010 6:14 PM | Report abuse

Hog brains marinated in methedrine come to mind for some reason. I don't know why.

Posted by: Jumper1 | August 30, 2010 6:15 PM | Report abuse

No alcohol or gluten in that.

Posted by: bobsewell | August 30, 2010 6:18 PM | Report abuse

Though it wouldn't hurt to flambee the pineapple with a little dark rum, for them wots not so picky.

Posted by: Yoki | August 30, 2010 6:20 PM | Report abuse

Predictable, totally....

Posted by: RichNomore | August 30, 2010 6:25 PM | Report abuse

As, alas, are you RNM

Posted by: ftb3 | August 30, 2010 6:33 PM | Report abuse

Well of course it's predictable, RichNomore. I don't understand your point. Does predictability inherently carry some measure of qualities you dislike?

Posted by: MsJS | August 30, 2010 6:36 PM | Report abuse

In what may seem to be a complete non sequitur, I've always believed that the Challenger disaster was directly related to overwhelming pressure to provide Ronald Reagan with a flashy talking point for that evening's State of the Union address.

White House PR staff had long been banging the drum and touting RR as being responsible for the "Teacher in Space" program - again, a PR effort to distract from the wholesale appropriation of the Shuttle program by the Department of Defense.

That particular launch had already been delayed several times because of weather conditions, and I'm convinced that without that evening's speech looming, the shuttle never would have been launched in temperatures so far outside mission safety parameters.

So, what does this have to do with the BP explosion? Simple - it's an open question whether proper procedures were soft-pedaled in order to give visiting brass the impression that everything was operating smoothly. I, of course, can't know the answer; still, this inexplicably suppressed information leaves me with a distinctly unpleasant sense of deja vu.

Posted by: randyman1 | August 30, 2010 6:36 PM | Report abuse

YOKI... no fair.

Well, I have spent about the last 6 hours with various reps of my mobile company. No web access (no nuttin.) I can only make calls which is very passe. Still no luck.

In between calls, I have been working on a Mudge special pizza. Dough is about done rising. I have already sauteed the bacon, the sausage along with onions in pepper and oil and some slivered peppers of various types in a vinegar, sugar and Marsala sauce. For locals, think about the only really good part of the Grotto's pizza. I think I nailed it, but with much better peppers from the farmers market.

Pepperoni and olives are ready to go, as well. Cheese to grate and sauce to select and blend. That's it. I am contemplating firing up the oven right now.

Posted by: russianthistle | August 30, 2010 6:41 PM | Report abuse

Okay, somebody do something unpredictable to entertain Rage Boy.

bc asked an interesting question about the safety talks. Why would BP give talks to Transocean personnel?

I think it's because the outfit with the lease (BP) is seen as, and assume, that it's their baby, their operation. They are in charge, so safety reflects on them. On land, this is most definitely the case. At sea it's different because the Company Man can't walk off the drill floor (where he seldom is anyway on land) and stand on solid ground, like he can on land. But on a drill ship, the line of ultimate responsibility for the well - not the operating equipment - rests on the contractor: BP. So safety reflects on them even if the routine operations are under control of Transocean.

Posted by: Jumper1 | August 30, 2010 7:28 PM | Report abuse

Back from a long hot day, walking around Old Montreal, it was great but I am so tired. Saw a couple of great signs for the bunker but having a difficult time uploading the photos.

Will post them when I get a chance.

Posted by: dmd3 | August 30, 2010 7:41 PM | Report abuse

When presented with views not in a group's accepted box, the predictable response is to characterize and define the disturbance in terms that suit the confronted and then attack and find fault with that construct, thereby avoiding the difficulty that a direct addressing might cause, such as seeing "the same flaw in the beginning of an argument that .... built a sandcastle". This is a very effective debating technique allowing the one seeking some advantage to then project their own flawed thinking toward the presenter. Shall WE call this nullification without representation? That failing the next plan is to retreat to a mythical village where lacking the vocabulary or energy all further communication is in ebonics, such as recipes and food talk, in this instance. Plan C is silence.

The Challenger disaster is a complete sequitur here, RR bad O'B good, Bushes bad JFK (Vietnam Vet) good, etc. isn't that the creed of the Wright Wing of the Collectivist-Activist Coalition now occupying OUR house?

When OUR does not include everyone, whose responsibility is that?

Good thing WE don't have to hope OUR country and government confers liberty, unless or until, God Forbid, this bunch manages to strike through the Inalienable in the CONSTITUTION. OUR faith, OUR voice.


You mean the Return Key marked 'Enter', isn't that like the shut-down button in Windows that is labeled 'Start'? It is amazing isn't it?

Posted by: RichNomore | August 30, 2010 8:26 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: Jumper1 | August 30, 2010 8:30 PM | Report abuse

JFK was a Vietnam vet? I never knew that.

Posted by: -pj- | August 30, 2010 8:31 PM | Report abuse

At times I am a successful cook and the last time that happened I made meat rolls. I use breakfast or sandwich steaks, cover them with chopped onions and slices of bacon, roll them up and hold them together with wooden toothpicks. Then I brown them in olive oil. When that is done, I remove the rolls and throw any amount of chopped onions, carrots, celery and whatever herbs I have handy into the pot, stir them over high heat for about 2 min. Then I fill up with water, put the rolls back when it is boiling and let everything simmer for about 1 1/2 hrs. After that I remove the meat rolls and pour the sauce into a blender, which results in a nice gravy. Sometimes I add some salt and warm everything up when the guests arrive. Polenta goes well with that, as well as potatoes and a nice salad.

Posted by: gmbka | August 30, 2010 8:33 PM | Report abuse

Salad of baby spinach with paper thin sliced purple onion and tart apple (Granny Smith works well) chopped walnuts, and crumbled gorgonzola. Dress with a good raspberry vinaigrette (cheater's version-mix prepared Italian dressing with raspberry preserves to taste)

Roast chicken (or buy a rotisserie chicken)
Sweet potato casserole (recipe here ) If you don't want to serve walnuts in the salad, and then pecans on the casserole you can use chopped dates on the salad. Takes the crunchy texture out but gives an interesting contrast to the onions and cheese.
Any steamed veggie that looks appealing at the store.

Dessert- home made sorbet (if you have an ice cream freezer)Best if prepared a day or two ahead.
Make a simple syrup of 1 cup sugar and 1/2 cup water. Heat mixture over medium heat until clear, stirring frequently. Put in fridge to cool.
You will need 2 cups of fruit juice. This past weekend I used fresh peaches, frozen raspberries, and the juice of 1 fresh lime. If you don't have a juicer puree several peaches in a blender or food processor. Allow the raspberries to thaw and add enough of their juice to the peaches to make 2 cups, add the lime juice. Chop about 1/3 cup of the raspberries and set aside. Mix the simple syrup and fruit juice and cool a couple hours in the fridge. Freeze in ice cream freezer according to directions, adding the chopped raspberries midway through.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | August 30, 2010 8:42 PM | Report abuse

*Dang it* FTB, you'll just have to find you 'bloviation' fix somewhere else WE are your grandfather's conservatives and WE want OUR Oldsmobile and OUR Pontiac back. NONE of this sh*t was necessary. Go ahead bloviate if you must WE won't hold it against you, no matter what yellojkt says about you and your recipes.

Posted by: RichNomore | August 30, 2010 8:46 PM | Report abuse

Dude, get some sleep.

Posted by: Jumper1 | August 30, 2010 8:52 PM | Report abuse

Looks like Haiti will be spared Earl

Posted by: bh72 | August 30, 2010 9:02 PM | Report abuse

>WE want OUR Oldsmobile and OUR Pontiac back

I don't understand. Did you forget where you parked them?

I'd give you my sister's Oldsmobile, but I have to warn you the back right tire sometimes falls off when you go around right corners, downhill.

Posted by: -dbG- | August 30, 2010 9:05 PM | Report abuse

Richnomore, I'm still waiting to hear what you are doing to make the country better. I posted a partial list of my activities.

Posted by: slyness | August 30, 2010 9:06 PM | Report abuse

RichNomore - While your point that this (or any other group) can be unwelcoming to opposing viewpoints is certainly valid, I suspect you'd find this particular group is actually reasonably easy to approach with divergent opinions.

The close-mindedness here is more about tone than content, although you've correctly surmised that flat assertions of (for lack of a better shorthand) "right-wing conservative" views will generally be met with more derision than similarly flat assertions of "left-wing liberal" positions.

A fair number of the regular commenters here open to reasonably-stated viewpoints of almost any sort, and are distrustful of emotional appeals to various fears. Wild-eyed hippies like Curmudgeon have different standards, though.

Posted by: Bob-S | August 30, 2010 9:15 PM | Report abuse

Oh, Yoki, you reminded me of Potatoes Anna. I can see them. I can smell them. I've got to make some! Now!


Posted by: Jim19 | August 30, 2010 9:18 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | August 30, 2010 9:45 PM | Report abuse

Good lord, is *he* still here? I feel like I'm hiding out in the garage until the obnoxious company leaves.

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | August 30, 2010 9:51 PM | Report abuse

Maybe I'm just over tired or having a senior moment, but RNM doesn't even make sense to me. Ignoring him seems a good idea besides, the garage has spiders!

It will be interesting to see how close Earl gets to us and even more interesting to hear how the news people hype the heck out of it.

Posted by: badsneakers | August 30, 2010 10:16 PM | Report abuse

"WHO....... r U?", said The Caterpillar to RichNomore, er, uh, I mean, Alice.

now go away, or I shall taunt you a second time.

Posted by: -jack- | August 30, 2010 10:16 PM | Report abuse

I found this old nautical atlas from 1490 in the University of Heidelberg. Perhaps you can translate. The handwriting does look mighty familiar.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 30, 2010 10:35 PM | Report abuse

Finally able to upload the signs, this boodle seems to need a little humour at the moment.

Posted by: dmd3 | August 30, 2010 10:51 PM | Report abuse

c'mon. Post the picture of the giant stuffed bear.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 30, 2010 10:52 PM | Report abuse

The $32,000.00 stuffed Polar Bear, which really freaked my daughter out!

Posted by: dmd3 | August 30, 2010 10:58 PM | Report abuse

Just realized what photo you ment Yello, but I was referring to an actual stuffed polar bear that was for sale in a store in Old Montreal.

Posted by: dmd3 | August 30, 2010 11:03 PM | Report abuse

You should have put it on the boodle credit card. It would have looked great in The Bunker next to the Lladro Cinderella set.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 30, 2010 11:09 PM | Report abuse

-jack- That was a jolt shot straight back to my misspent youth! I was already a fairly big fan of The Who as a kid in the mid-1970's, but when I saw "The Kids are Alright" in 1979, my fondness turned to unconditional love.

In 1982 or 1983 I went to an art-house triple-feature of "The Wall", "Quadrophenia", and "The Kids are Alright". While I loved it, that's probably more Who than anyone really needs at one sitting.

Posted by: Bob-S | August 30, 2010 11:17 PM | Report abuse

Potatoes Anna is one of those very old, classical dishes that never fails to please, no matter what food fashion is la derniere cri. Sort of like Olive Balls. Certainly neither have ever been forgotten Chez Yoki. However, LTL, I think 10:00 pm is a little late to start. There is always tomorrow!

Posted by: Yoki | August 31, 2010 12:19 AM | Report abuse

Wow. RNM (BTW, is that rich like George Bailey?), you got it together there doncha? While driving tonight, I got LiT about what would make someone think that anger means inaction, and I thought how very childish that response is (instead of running, DC freezes at the sound of smoke detectors because they are so loud and unexpected), and wondered what terrible thing happened to you as a child that you would make it to adulthood thinking that it's not fight or flight, it's fight, flight or freeze.

At this point though, I'm no longer willing to create plausible scenarios in my mind for you as to why you would act like such a butthe@d. I'm thinking character flaw, not childhood trauma.

As for tackling my point, well, you didn't. You just scoffed at the fact that I pointed out a flaw in your argument, used a lot of words that made it sound like you were saying something (when you weren't), and called it a day. Does that work for you often?

It's not that your views aren't within an accepted box, it's that your argument lacks reason and logic. You seem to want to equate your experience to that of any other American and throw around WE and OUR like we all know what you're talking about or share like thoughts and experiences. We don't. Be specific. Claim your experiences as yours. Own them. Don't assume they're everyone's. And quit yelling.

Opposite viewpoints here are not only acceptable, they're encouraged. That's how smart people get to the heart of a matter -- they look at the problem from all sides, twist it and turn it, put it under hot and cold running water, put a black light on it (cause it looks cool), and try to put themselves see how it plays out. Stand in someone else's shoes. Some of my favorite people here (hi MsJS) don't share my viewpoint, but they make me think. Some people here don't share my experiences (hi Cassandra) but they make me think. Some people here don't share my outlook (hi Mudge) but they make me think. I like those people. A lot. How very boring my day would be if everyone around me had the same opinions.

But no one likes to be yelled at, no one likes to be called names (unless it's darling, sugar, or honey) and you're never going to get someone else to seriously consider your perspective if all you do is b!tch and moan. And not in a good way.

It's been my experience that if you treat someone as an equal, they will afford you the same courtesy. You should give it a shot.

Posted by: LostInThought | August 31, 2010 12:40 AM | Report abuse

yeah yeah yeah SCC. delete try to put themselves.

Posted by: LostInThought | August 31, 2010 12:45 AM | Report abuse

Huh? papper? SCC: fresh-ground pepper.

Posted by: Yoki | August 31, 2010 1:06 AM | Report abuse

Awake late, which was an excuse to polish off a somewhat wrinkled home-grown mango in the fridge. The wrinkling and overall not-so-great appearance of the fruit had nothing to do with flavor, which made nearly everything else today seem not worth eating.

The Mexican mangoes in the supermarkets are evidently mostly "Tommy Atkins", a variety promoted by a Mr. Atkins from Broward County. The original tree started life about 1922, and its fruit got promoted about 1947. It has a reputation for being sturdy, but not the best-textured or flavored.

Mangoes are in the same family as poison ivy, subject of that creepy Post story. I wasn't aware of the evidence that rising carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has been a bonanza for vines. If only Japanese honeysuckle and English ivy hadn't arrived.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | August 31, 2010 1:27 AM | Report abuse

And what of Virginia Creeper?

Posted by: Yoki | August 31, 2010 2:43 AM | Report abuse

Here, as elsewhere, there's Virginia creeper vines everywhere. The tall ones climbing to the tops of the oaks are gone, so no more displays of bright red color this time of year.

The article's point about vines being cheaply constructed compared to trees is quite accurate, so it's necessary to explain why the world is covered with trees rather than writhing masses of vines. I don't know the reason. Maybe with vines growing faster, the world will enter a vine era. I wish I could post a photo from circa 1993, of sewer vine destroying a forest in Miami that had survived hurricane Andrew. The only holdout was a gumbo limbo tree, whose slippery bark the vines couldn't grasp.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | August 31, 2010 2:58 AM | Report abuse

I'm guessing it has something to do with respiration or transpiration, but fortunately I don't know what the heck I'm talking about.

Posted by: Yoki | August 31, 2010 3:23 AM | Report abuse

There was a period when the Big Guy would drop in on the different gov’t departments. It’s supposed to be a surprised visit, but every department knows when he’s coming. When he showed up everyone feign surprise.

Posted by: rainforest1 | August 31, 2010 3:36 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: Yoki | August 31, 2010 3:53 AM | Report abuse

Good Morning, Cassandra!

Hot where I am. Not pleased. No storm, though.

Posted by: russianthistle | August 31, 2010 5:56 AM | Report abuse

I'd never refuse a birthday present from Mother Nature, but I do hope Earl stays offshore. I mean, everyone else on the East Coast would prefer a nice Labor Day weekend, right?

As much as I wish we could all let Whitestock fade away with a whimper, Hank Steuver's got a nice take on it:

*astounded-that-we're-already-two-thirds-done-with-the-year Grover waves* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | August 31, 2010 7:18 AM | Report abuse

Good morning all, hey Cassandra!

Mr. T and I heard a crash out on the main road as we were walking this morning. Traffic was snarled for the better part of an hour but seems to be moving now. I hope everybody is okay. What a tough way to start a morning.

No vines on my lot, I work hard to keep them at bay. The worst around here are the wild grapes, they will take over in a heartbeat. Our next door neighbor doesn't manage the weeds at the back of his yard, with the result that there are grape vines 2 and 3 inches in diameter back there. It's annoying.

Waffles, anyone? I got pumpkin waffle mix at the Fresh Market, let's try it out!


Posted by: slyness | August 31, 2010 7:54 AM | Report abuse

MMMM. Pumpkin waffles. With nutmeg.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | August 31, 2010 7:59 AM | Report abuse

God loves us so much more than we can imagine through Him that died for all, Jesus Christ.

Morning, friends. I'm running late this morning, one terrific headache, so working on that. I had a rough night of it with the leg and hand. Everything trying to pile up I guess with all the stuff I have to get together.

You go, girl, a big hello, LiT! If Glen Beck has become the new spiritual leader of the religious right, why are all of the followers just of one race? Doesn't God love the rest of us?

Morning, russianthistle.

Slyness, the hot weather is back with a vengence. Perhaps it will stick around for the winter and no one will have to pay a heating bill.

I have much to do this morning, so have to get started before the heat gets unbearable.

And don't forget folks, the school supplies, just simple stuff, paper, pencils, etc. A lady called me last night about the after-school program, and more kids are asking for help. I'm hoping that's a good sign, and hoping we can answer that need. Thanks again.

Have a great day, folks, and much love to all.

Posted by: cmyth4u | August 31, 2010 8:25 AM | Report abuse

Finally my old keyboard back on, the one what doesn't stick! Doubled my wpm. I forgot why I unplugged it; I suppose I will find out when I type "quisling" or "sizzle" or something. (nope, that wasn't it)

Posted by: Jumper1 | August 31, 2010 8:33 AM | Report abuse

Assuming Earl follows the prescribed course, Surfline says Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey and Long Island can expect 8-10 foot surf on Friday, declining to 5 feet or less on Saturday.

slyness, I noticed the pumpkin waffle mix at Fresh Market. Need a report.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | August 31, 2010 8:39 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, y'all.

Full bore breakfast this morning. OJ, grapefruit juice, DIY omelets, bacon, sausage, muffins, fresh berries and coffee.

@LiT 12:40am: *clapclapclap*, though I think it's more of a lifestyle choice than a character flaw.

slyness, pumpkin waffles are awesome, thanks for sharing.

Cassandra, Glenn Beck and you both are entitled to your opinions. For what it's worth, in the long run yours are stronger and more supportive than his. Ever consider a broader platform from which to express them? If Glenn Beck can, why not you?

Hot here today. Off to do errands before the pavement melts.

Posted by: MsJS | August 31, 2010 8:56 AM | Report abuse

Another crazy breakfast for me... leftover pizza from last night. Oh, so good. This is my fifth or so time making dough in the recent past and I think that it is something that I can get used to. The biggest challenge for most is to have a place to work the dough. I have a granite counter island unit that I bought a several years ago and it is perfect.

The twist this time was that I found a recipe (actually a comment added to a recipe) that suggested adding garlic powder and oregano to the dry components in the dough. My understanding is that you also have to have lots of extra flour. Not being a baker, I am starting to get the understanding that making dough has as much to do with feel than anything else. I started with a whole cup of warm water for the yeast rather than 3/4's. I ended up adding flour as I kneaded the dough until it started to "behave."

I have a pizza stone which I also used to pita last week. I am coming to the realization that I need to really pre-heat the oven and the stone. With a nice hot stone, you get a good crisp crust. At about 400F, you can also start the crust without toppings for about 10 minutes. Keep the door to the oven closed and trust that it will work.

BTW, I have made the pie by hand using the knuckle technique a couple of times, and it is doable, but you have to do a number of them to get even average at it. No need to toss and spin as the dough does its work with its own weight. I am just as happy getting the dough to a good consistency and using an untapered dowel pin. I get my crust rolled out in about 2 minutes, tops. Again, if the dough is sticking, you didn't add enough flour and work the dough. You can use your pin to transfer the pie to the pizza pan.

If my pizza is bigger than the pan, that is perfect, I just fold the edge over for the outside crust--less leaking for those pizzas with everything.

Sorry to go on, but there are two things to note here, and I speak to those folks who complain about having lots of left-overs in the fridge... pizza from scratch is simple. You can do the dough while you prep the toppings and sauce. Also, it is perfect for those rush around evenings with kids. You can get the yeast started and help Johnny with math. Then you can get the dough going and pull out some left over tomato sauce and even get a topping done in a saute pan before helping Melissa with English. You can even do a lot of the prep the day before.

To kit up for Pizza is pretty inexpensive and the pizza stone (and not necessary) comes into play on so many other baking opportunities. I just did pitas for the first time and did OK. Plus, your baked items will last longer since they haven't spent a week in a warehouse or have tons of preservatives.

It is also a great way to get your older children involved with their own food.

And, best of all, pizza is a clean-as-u-go type of meal.

Posted by: russianthistle | August 31, 2010 9:00 AM | Report abuse

Who knew pizza had all those magnificent qualities? Thanks, Weed!

Posted by: MsJS | August 31, 2010 9:13 AM | Report abuse

The number of kids in our county, every year, needing the simplest supplies, is frightening.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | August 31, 2010 9:15 AM | Report abuse

Text on the front page Gallery box: "Richer colors like burgundy and navy wore by the stars won our approval."

*sigh* Sherman had it right: Wore is hell.

'Morning, Boodle.

This hed also makes me laugh: "Drug couriers using disguises." No fooling? Why, those wily dogs. Who would have imagined.

And the brand new three-strain flu shots are out and said to be available, with copious supplies, unlike most years. And this year there's a super-high-dose version for seniors that's four time stronger than the regular dose. Getting old is not for wimps.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 31, 2010 9:17 AM | Report abuse

I had missed this cubehead

Posted by: Jumper1 | August 31, 2010 9:23 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, all.

RNM, Pontiac and Olds are no longer around for good reasons.

And Buick would have been gone too, if GM hadn't figured out how to make them popular in China.


Posted by: -bc- | August 31, 2010 9:29 AM | Report abuse

I was initially prepared to despise this feature, but wound up liking it rather a lot: a Ron Charles book review.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 31, 2010 9:34 AM | Report abuse

Howdy y'all! I see the Boodle is still filled with tasty recipes and cooking tips. Yum.

LostinThought, nicely done. I find myself unable to read RichNoMore and you neatly summarized why. It isn't that I object to what he is saying, though I suppose I might if I understood it. I just can't follow it.

We rejoiced in delicious birthday cupcakes last night from a local cupcake bakery.

Posted by: Ivansmom | August 31, 2010 9:41 AM | Report abuse

I'm dead certain the lose of the Pontiac and the Olds were Obama's fault. Ditto the Avanti, the Studebaker, and the Pierce Arrow. It's plainly a consequence of liberation theology.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 31, 2010 9:52 AM | Report abuse

New Kit, I wonder if there is mention of jet lag?

Posted by: DNA_Girl | August 31, 2010 9:52 AM | Report abuse

MsJS, you are good to laugh with me... you were, weren't you?

Seriously, the point I failed to make is that so many people fear leftovers, I just call them toppings. If you bought too many things at the farmers market, it's pizza time! Garlic, peppers, roasted tomatoes, even left over hamburger can make it onto a pizza with no problem.

One of the interesting discussions that we have had here at the Boodle is surviving on $20 a week for food. That is a huge challenge, but it more skills you have in the kitchen, the easier it is. Also, the wider your tastes for different food items, meats included, the easier it gets.

We are also lucky here with folks like Yoki and Mudge who are both kitchen gods to help us all out with ideas and encouragement. I also like the regional variation... make that international variations that we get.

At times, I am saddened with the arc of where my relationship with my child has gone, but I do know that, in our good times, I did teach her, from a very early age, how to cook. I look back with great pride at her prepping ingredients into the ramekins and getting everything ready, then stepping up on a step stool and working with a wok or skillet on high heat (me holding and reminding her: just don't try to catch anything... no biggy).

I taught her to cook with her eyes, hands, nose and, most importantly, ears.

I am pretty sure that I have said this before, but when she nailed chicken piccata better than restaurant quality on her own, I knew that the world was a safer place for her.

If you can make a sauce, you can do almost anything.

Or, as a noted kitchen theologian once said, "BAM!"

Posted by: russianthistle | August 31, 2010 10:30 AM | Report abuse

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