Posts Tagged ‘Beverly High’

Traditions

Monday, January 5th, 2015

GreenbergsLatkaFactory
I’ve had two mothers-in-law. Neither were big fans of mine. One was the “I will not reveal my recipes to you” kind, and the other, many years ago, gave me the few recipes I still use. I think I’m kind of likeable, but maybe not if I’m married to your son? Moving on.

Cooking scares me. I’m just not that talented in the kitchen. I can dance. But I can’t follow steps. Cooking is all burners and timing and chopping and it’s something that has always overwhelmed me. So, here is what I am: a great guest. I’ll eat your food. I’ll tell you how great it tastes. I actually clap, applauding you when I’m sated.

I’m in awe of traditions that people have created. I dropped that ball. I’ve been divorced, and with blended families found it’s just not my thing. But I appreciate this quality in other people, and this Chanukah my husband and I were invited to our friends Chuck and Karen’s party.
You walked through the front door into the tantalizing aroma of potato pancakes. Like a bloodhound, I followed the scent till I was at the stove where two of my friends, now married 37 years, were hard at work. A tag team of latke makers, Richard was using a ladle to drop the round balls into burning oil. At his side, JoAnn, with a spatula, turned and removed them from the heat at just the right moment. I watched, mesmerized. I hugged them as they told me they have been dressed in aprons performing this act at Chuck and Karen’s holiday party for over thirty years. Impressive, the closeness of these longtime friends and the traditions they have built with their families. I flashed on JoAnn telling me how they all, with kids in tow, vacation together every year at the Surf and Sand Hotel in Laguna. I have great friends but we don’t do group vacations. (more…)

The Ugly Duckling

Sunday, July 31st, 2011


I was born with one lung not working and was promptly whisked away to an incubator. Age two, I got scarlet fever and my parents worried I might not survive. Age three I was fully cross-eyed. But I did not (as yet) have an inferiority complex. I was very happy-go-lucky. Chatting it up all the time with my imaginary friends and all.

Oprah tells this story about herself, a lot. A random woman walked up to her in church one day and commented on her bee-stung lips. She had paid her a compliment on her beauty that was long overdue. Until then, no one had noticed any beauty in Oprah and it meant so much to her that she found the woman, this white woman, many years later and thanked her.

During my cross-eyed period, when I was old enough to be cognizant, people, random people on the street, would turn their heads to look at my brother Alan. He was adorable. They might even comment on his fetching looks, then look back at me and not say a word. Not a word. It would kill me; my fragile little ego, so wounded by a random stranger. And I would wait until I got home to cry from the sting of not being noticed as beautiful.

My mother would look me in the eyes, those crossed eyes with their hideous glasses, and say, “By the time you are 16,” yes, she nailed the number down — not 15, not 18, but at 16 “you will be prettier than them all.” Uh huh. I thought that the crystal ball she was looking into was on crack (and there wasn’t even crack yet). Or perhaps, it was gazing into the far distant future and seeing my drop-dead, gorgeous daughter Augie.

my gorgeous daughter Augie!!!!

(more…)

Little Drummer Girl

Thursday, April 7th, 2011

Fredrica Duke, Little Drummer Girl


I have a favorite sound, not that you asked. And no, it isn’t the obvious one, crashing waves. Nope. That’s my second choice.

I once went to Orange County with my husband to see a friend who was a famous jazz singer. She gave us free passes, we couldn’t resist. As we approached “will call” to retrieve our tickets, I overheard the orchestra tuning up. This was years ago. I looked at my husband and announced, “That is my favorite sound. So, if ever we are on The Newlywed Game and they ask you my favorite sound, that is what it is, please remember.” I doubt that he made a mental note of it, so we won’t be winning any game shows.

I have a prized possession – a note I wrote to my daddy when I was little. The note says that my grades are good enough to get into orchestra. Proudest moment of my life, and I needed to share the good news with my dad who was in London producing a play (and turning down an unknown band called the Beatles who wanted to come to the States). I looked forward to that day — being in the orchestra — my entire school life. I would watch the elegant older girls clutching their violins and dream of the day that that would be me.

I brought home the application for orchestra. There were a few questions on the form and I enlisted my brother Alan’s help. He asked me what instrument I wished to play. I said, as if there were any other answer, violin. He then said, “Okay, second choice.” I again said “violin.” He said “No, Fredde, they need a SECOND choice, what other instrument might you want to learn?” “Nothing Alan, I only want to learn to play the violin. Just put that and let me turn it in tomorrow, that’s good, thanks,” I said, as I tried to pry the paperwork from his hands. He refused to accept this as an answer because he goes by the rules. I kept insisting, “I ONLY want to play the violin and no other instrument — don’t even write one down.” Now it was a battle. “Listen,” Alan said, “the bells could be fun, you might find them easy since you already play a bit of piano? So, how about those bells?” “Okay, sure,” I reluctantly gave in just to get him off my back, and he filled out the rest of the form. (more…)

Valentines Day and Gourmet Grandma’s Salmon

Sunday, February 14th, 2010

forkI fantasized that I could cook meals long before I made it a reality.  Refer to my “About” page.  I never observed my own mothers amazing cooking and had little interest.  She was a true caretaker or maybe I was a hysteric with little interest. I ate her delicious meals and it didn’t matter to me how it ended up on my plate.

I was,  however, a hopeless romantic.  And as each Valentines Day approached even as a teenager I PLANNED to make a heart shaped cake or something special for a boy I loved.  I’m sorry for them that it never happened and if any of them find their way to this blog, I invite those boys/now men to take me up on the offer.  You know who you are and I will make you a damned good cake-come and get it!

The first meal I made of any substance was at the age of 32.  It is Gourmet Grandma’s secret and easy way to cook salmon.  For me, part of the beauty is the little preparation involved- and I almost feel like that little girl waiting for my mothers meal to magically arrive; that’s how easy it is.

Stop fantasizing and start doing, it doesn’t matter at what age you start.  I’m being forced into that as my new motto.

Gourmet Grandma’s salmon recipe

I use two, but fine, take one, I don’t care…sheet of aluminum foil

place the salmon fillet on the sheet of foil

I drizzle good olive oil,  just a touch and only a touch of salt and pepper

Gourmet Grandma used to add julienned carrots, carrots sliced thinly

very thin sliced onion

thin slices of lemon and some dill

you can add any vegetables, I only cook the salmon, no vegetables, onions, dill or lemon

fold the foil into a pouch, nothing genius about this….play with it and figure it out, if I can do it, you can

cook the salmon in the pouch of foil in a 400 oven for 15 minutes

if it’s very thick, you might have to go a few more minutes