Saturday, 2 November 2013

British Food Memories

I was with my pals Ben and Bob last night and "all out of the blue" I remembered Battenberg (or Battenburg) cake.

It was one of my favourites when I was a child.  I think that I enjoyed the marzipan wrapping more than the cake itself.

The "cake authorities" are divided as to the origin of the name "Battenberg Cake" (they cannot even agree whether it should be Battenberg or Battenburg!).

Some think that the cake was made for the wedding of one or the other of the two children of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert who married into the (German) Battenberg family.

Others think that after the marriage of Vicky to Albert the British cake makers copied the German style of making cakes, and that Victoria Regina asserted that British makers of the marzipan encrusted  and other cakes were as good, if not better than German bakers.

Battenberg cake looks like this

(Damn, it's so good  -  at least  in memory).

Here is the recipe
My pal Ben expects me to make such a cake, but since I have never ever baked a cake of any kind I am not sure that this would be a good starting venture,''
My thoughts about BritFood led me to think about Marmalade.
Our Mum loved it, especially "Golden Shred" brand  - orange based

And "Silver Shred" brand  lemon based.
As a child I did not like either on account of what I called "the worms" in marmalade. (In truth they were slivered
bits of orange and lemon skin)
Later in life I began to enjoy ( now and then) the Lime marmalade  made by the "Roses" company.

But I am still not a frequent marmalade consumer.
That's unlike a clergy couple (Bert and Edna Air ) both now departed this life who I knew in Palmer MA.
I had dinner with them in their home way back in 1982 or 1983.  They had the strange habit of smearing marmalade over the hot and cooked meats on their plates (lamb, beef, pork or chicken). (This is true!)
At that dinner they enticed me to do the same, assuring me that that marmalade  would enhance the flavor of the meat. I did so, but was not convinced.

Friday, 1 November 2013

Dear American Friends

Don't forget to fall-back on Saturday night or Sunday morning.

We are returning to standard time  (thank goodness)

Thursday, 31 October 2013

Life at the margins

1. A couple of weeks ago at the Prayer Service which I lead at Sarasota's "Resurrection House" one homeless man prayed "for those who are less fortunate than we are".

An amazing prayer from a homeless man.

2. Last Wednesday at "Res House" a man prayed a long and rambling prayer which concluded with the words "so God, do the best you can, which I know you will".

What a delight.  Asking God to "do the best she/can".  Funny and touching.

3. S.P. is one of my friends.  He is a forty-something African American and a solid family man.  (He and his wife have two children).  S.P. works as the circulation manager for a New England small town newspaper.

Earlier  today, as part of his job, he was emptying a coin operated box from which locals can buy a paper. (We have them in many American towns).

S.P. was immediately set upon by an older white man, who accused him of stealing money from the box.  The man refused to believe that my friend works for the newspaper in question,  because he did not have a uniform or a name badge.  (The paper does not issue either).

QUESTION   Would this man have assumed that S.P. was stealing had he been a middle aged white man with a crew cut, rather than being a middle aged black man with dreads?

You bet your behind that he would not have done so.

For we know that Americans who are African American, or Latino, or Middle Eastern are subjected to regular and consistent prejudiced words and actions, and are very likely to be singled out by law enforcement folks, then "stopped and frisked" at will.

4.  That's the truth.

5. Racism is endemic and pervasive.

6. Racism makes no sense to decent people.

7. Racism is an affront to the Holy God who made each and every human in her/his image and likeness.

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Halloween NO Easter YES

Halloween used to be a bit of fun and nonsense in American culture.

It has now been commercialised and exported to the four corners of the earth.

So be it.  The "market" is in control.

But the market"  has also determined that a bit of harmless fun and nonsense has been transformed into a celebration of the dark side.

I hate this, with the "zombies", the "living dead", the shocking faux-cruelties etc.

What in human nature favours the dark side:  cruelty, misery, fear and the like?

Is our culture acting out a collective death wish?  I suspect so.

I wish to God that the "market" would pay more attention to the celebration of joy and life which is Easter, than to the misery, death, darkness, and  hopelessness which Halloween highlights.

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Pittsfield MA and other reunions.

I had a fine late lunch/early dinner at the Hillview Grill in SRQ today. My choice was a spinach salad which was excellent.

Dining with me were Pittsfield and St. Stephen's Parish friends  Kay and Barbara Dohoney (year round in S.W.FL.) and Tom Dillon (part time here and part time Pittsfield).

What fun!


Bob and Virginia live in the neighbouring Glen Oaks Garden Condominiums. They are snow birds who spend their summers in West Virginia.

In other seasons I encounter them in our daily morning walks. Bob and Virginia (in their 80's?) walk for five miles each day.

I used to call them "Mr. and Mrs. Pickle Face"  for they always looked so stern and stiff.  Once we started chatting I discovered that they are delightful and charming folks (don't judge a book by its covers).

Given their age I often wonder if they will be back come Fall.  Well they are back and we rejoiced to see each other last Sunday morning.


Vince and Helen also live at the Glen Oaks Garden Condominiums.  They are an entirely handsome couple (probably in their 60's) who often walk hand-in-hand, and are always cheerful. 

They too are back after a summer in parts unknown and we had a nice reunion late this afternoon. Vince and Helen each  have a great virtue.  They like my dog.


Bert and Polly live five doors away.  They are a sweet, elderly, and frail couple who spend their summers with family members in Indiana.

I wonder every year if they will be fit enough to return for the winter.  So I was delighted to see them today.    Even better, their son David was with them.  He will return up north on Saturday, but we will exchange 'phone numbers before then, in case of need.

Monday, 28 October 2013

Getting Knocked Up (via my Staten Island cuz Kippy)

Before alarm clocks, there were knocker-uppers.  Mary Smith earned sixpence a week shooting dried peas at sleeping workers' windows.  Limehouse Fields, London

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Good news from St. Stephen's Pittsfield (with the two Eds)

Some of you will remember that earlier this year I spent a great weekend with my neighbours Ed Green and Eddie Palmer at their second home in Hendersonville, N.C.

The two Eds  told me that they planned to spend two weeks in October at a time share in Hancock MA. -  in Berkshire County.

I gave them a list of  "must sees" including the Clark Art Museum in Williamstown, the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, the Hancock Shaker Village, Tanglewood in Lenox  (grounds worth walking even when the Boston Symphony Orchestra is not in residence), Chesterwood in Stockbridge (home of Daniel Chester French - sculptor (amongst many things) of the Abraham Lincoln statue in Washington D.C.)

I also suggested a visit to St. Stephen's Parish in Pittsfield (where I was Rector from 1984 - 2000) perhaps merely to see the fabulous windows by Tiffany and by Mary Tillinghast, but maybe also to be present for the Sunday Eucharist.

They took up my suggestion and were present at St. Stephen's this morning.  It happened to be the first Sunday for St. Stephen's new Rector, the Revd. Cricket Cooper.

Within hours I read this on Facebook

From Joan Morrow. 

St. Stephen's Parish, Pittsfield MA, and the Rev. Cricket Cooper became a wonderful new team this week! We are excited and delighted! New Bishop, New Rector - both wonderful:

What a hoot. During the Peace this morning, two gentlemen in front of me turned around to say they are visiting and live two doors down from JMPovey! He recommended our church, St. Stephen's Pittsfield. Ed &  Ed - a lovely couple: thanks for sending them, Dear Michael!

From Claudia Curry.

Met the two Ed's today......thanks for sending them our way!

As Joan put it -  what a hoot!