Sunday, November 30, 2014
Last August we had a double family emergency. On the day that Num’s Uncle passed, Num’s younger brother, Mike went to the Dr because he suddenly had very bad headaches. The Dr’s discovered a Brain tumor, he was immediately admitted into Hospital, where they found cancer in his lungs as well. Num had literally been back from Oklahoma City 2 days when this all occurred. We decided we would drive back to Oklahoma, I had been wanting to take a road trip in America for a few years and this seemed like the opportunity. Before I go further I feel that I need to explain who ‘we’ are. I am a Blond Blue Eyed “Brit” who has lived and worked in the USA for thirty plus years. I have a small Catering company that is quite successful. Num (Noom) is an African American from Oklahoma City. He is a very successful musician. He played Percussion with Burning Spear for many years. Traveling the world with “Spear” playing in front of 10’s of thousands of people. He won 2 Grammys with Spear. he has also won a grammy with Common; had a shout out from his cousin Kanye on Gone from Late Registration. We met in Central Park after a Summer Stage concert eighteen years ago. We have been a couple since. We are both now in our mid - late 50’s. I say all of this because I want it to be clear who we are as I go forward with my story. We were up early one hot August morning to get on the road early and avoid traffic and set out on our journey. Num likes to take Route 71 to get to Rte 70. Our second stop was in a rest area up in the mountains of Pennsylvania. I had left the bathroom before Num and bought myself an iced black coffee, as I was the next driver. People had smiled and greeted me while I was alone but once Num and I were together I noticed people turned away, gave us funny looks. There was a couple of local farm stands in the parking lot, we walked over to see if there was anything to tempt us. As we got closer I saw the woman move her money box below. Did I see what I thought I saw? For a minute I was nonplussed and then I thought “Right, we are no longer in NYC” It was shortly after this that we began to see ad’s and Billboards for fracking, offering to buy land, lease equipment; Pro coal, oil and gas. Then there were the Billboards denouncing Yoko Ono, Robert Redford, Lady Gaga as Big Green Radicals. They want us all to be Green but fly private jets… We were now in ‘Murrica. Our first night we stayed in some hideous motel in Indiana, which had been the best that this particular stop area had to offer. We were too tired to drive further, just wanted to stop, shower, hopefully sleep and be back on the road. We were up at first light, we wanted to get through St. Louis before rush hour. Michael Brown had been shot a few days earlier by the white cop, Daren Wilson. Ferguson was rioting. We made a bathroom stop just before St. Louis and there were a group of older whites recounting that the NY Times had said St. Louis was the most dangerous city in the US, and that clearly it was the Blacks fault because how could it be our fault. Clearly they felt very free to express their opinions in front of me. Then Num came from the bathroom and they moved away, giving me sidelong looks. No I was not part of their club after all. I was far more interested in crossing the Mighty Mississippi. When I drove across from Los Angeles in ’88 I had been alone. There was no iPhone and I had barely been able to see the iconic bridge and river. I noticed a strange correlation, as we drove and there were more “Christian” billboards that were Pro Life; denounced evolution; Pro some hateful perverse religion advocating hate; them and us, misinformation about Science, so the racism get worse. I began to realize just why America was so divided there was nothing offering an honest opinion. Just as the media likes to tell us that the Islamic terrorists and Taliban do not read the Koran, they only hear what a particular Imam has learnt and shares a distorted version of Islamic law. It seemed to me that here in the middle of the country the same was true of Christianity. Although we tend to believe that the majority of American Christians can read and form their own opinion. Oklahoma. When I drove across country on my own Oklahoma City had been one of my stops. I had stayed in a Motel off of Route 40. It was 7ish or so when I pulled off. I had got a room and walked across the road to a Diner and ordered dinner. Looking up, I realized that everyone else in the Diner was watching me read my Joseph Campbell book. They watched me eat. They watched me pay. They watched me walk back to the Motel, climb the stairs to my room. It totally ‘put the wind up my tail’ if not freaked me out. Locking the room door, I saw it had 5 locks. Who has five locks on a motel door, oh my god there must be a reason for this? I barely slept, at 5am I got up, drove off, and vowed never to come back. Everyone in that diner was white. I have never forgotten it. I was genuinely scared. I tell this story to all of Num’s Okies that come to stay with us and we all enjoy a good laugh about it! Our Motel had a breakfast buffet that we got up for each morning. The first morning I had my initiation into how some of my next few days would be. As we headed to our table, there were a group of white men, could be ranchers/cowboys, they kept their big stetsons on while eating. They start to greet me, then realize that I am with Num and their faces change into masks of hatred. Ok then, haven’t even had a mouthful of coffee and it starts. Although as a food person I was far more thrown by these huge buckets of something white and gelatinous that were hung along the buffet station. That was an awful lot of yogurt! But no, it was some substance they called gravy, as in gravy and biscuits. My stomach lurched at the thought. White thick gravy that they poured all over their eggs and bacon. Ugh. and all the guests were ladling it on. As we left the Motel to go to the funeral, both nicely dressed a young white man and his family were walking towards us. This person was so incensed about Num and I his face screwed up with hate and anger, his hands balled into clenched fists. I thought my god he is going to spit at us. His child ran away behaving badly and he had to to deal with that. And so it went. Everywhere we went where white people were, this irrational anger. Even in walmart. I did however notice that white men with black women did not get the same response. Less threatening, I would guess. This was all such a contrast to the love and laughs I was having with Num’s family and friends. Some of who I met for the first time, but all greeted me with Love, hugs. Sitting with family sharing hopes and dreams, talking of life, in the cool of the night. This is what I chose to remember and reflect on. On our final day, we went to have breakfast and then take Nick to his first day of school. Nick was so excited about starting school, we were all laughing and joking about life and how going to school would change him. At breakfast we were sitting laughing and this older white man came and stood in my line of vision. Deliberately. Hands on hips, glaring at me. Were we just having too much fun as a family? There were a couple of incidents on our drive back. One in a rural stop in Ohio, we had seen a sign for Pizza, so pulled up. We walked in, the whole place froze and went quiet. I looked at the Pizza, there were meatball, sausage, pepperoni. I asked the young man behind the counter if there was plain. “Whadduya mean plain?” Well, cheese and sauce, the original kind, I responded. “This is what we have, take it or leave it. “ We had wanted to sit and eat, use the bathroom etc, but we got a slice and hastily made for the door. The next stop for gas. I had been driving, got out of the car. I left Num filling up with gas as I went to the bathroom, coming back out. This bearded white haired man, shouts to me “Be safe Ma’am” I am I replied.
Sunday, November 23, 2014
This is an early good cateress newsletter. I have added a few photo's good cateress, newsletter. Nov/Dec 06 When I started to write the newsletters I knew the November and December would be the hardest to write, as they are my busiest months. So I have decided to combine them. As a caterer any sense of joy for the Christmas season is lost, but in my teen years I still had it.
Tuesday, November 11, 2014
Friday, October 3, 2014
Monday, September 1, 2014
It’s Moulis Legume time! We even sing a song that Num has made up with Moulis Legume as the chorus. Soups and apple sauce time of year. After a month or so, of very regular use, the Moulis goes back to the basement for another 11 months. A quick Tomato Basil soup. I have to say here that I did not measure anything! 2 - 3 lb tomatoes - I used a mix of tomatoes from the garden, local San Marzano - rough chopped 3 medium sized onions, roughly chopped 3/4 garlic cloves, sliced 3 nice top sprigs of Basil Olive oil Saute onions and garlic together until clear, add tomatoes, chopped basil and salt and pepper. I also add a pinch of cayenne, I like the heat and it enhances the flavor. Simmer together for 30 - 40 minutes. Let cool. Pass the mix through the Moulis Legume. Put back in pot, add 2 - 3 cups of chicken stock, tablespoon of organic sugar. In one batch I added a tablespoon of tomato puree. Simmer together for another 20 minutes. You could add some cream, I prefer not too. Serve with Parmesan cheese. I like this soup Hot and Cold.