Extraordinary Stories

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Tuesday, May 31, 2016

The "Making REAL Chicken Pot Pie" Story

It was an ordinary day.  Exploring a website known as Eater.com which is sponsored by Campbell's and has stories headlined with titles such as "Tracing the Spicy History of Thai Green Curry", "Digging for the Roots of Hawaiian Roast Pork", "Searching For the Origins of Mexico City's Beloved Snack, the Taco", "Searching for the birthplace of Chicken Pot Pie in Lancaster, Pennsylvania", ……… WOW!  Did I read that right?  Yep!!  A story about the birthplace of Chicken Pot Pie!  Heavens, I could have written that story years ago, since it happens all the time in the kitchen of my house.  My wife has been making the best chicken pot pie for years and years.  Chicken Pot Pie has its roots in English dishes made from leftovers which the Pennsylvania Dutch, who are descendants of German and Swiss immigrants, both Lutherans and Anabaptist (think Amish) who settled in southeastern Pennsylvania in the 17th and 18th century, were famous for making.  Back then pot pie probably was known as "bott boi" in Deitsch.  Lancaster, Pennsylvania is the only area in the country to make this style of broth pot pie with "square noodles" which is known as "slippery pot pie."  Now to be fair, I do remember my mother making slippery pot pie before I married my sweetheart, Carol, but that was half a century ago and I can't remember much from that far back anymore.  Anyway, I though you might like to see how it is done and if you follow Carol's directions you may be able to make your own REAL chicken pot pie; the good kind …. "slippery pot pie."  Follow along as I take you back in time to when meals were really hearty and meant for the worker who toiled in the fields all day. Carol purchased some chicken parts which included a large breast and a large leg and thigh.  She also gathered carrots, celery, onions and potatoes ….  


Cut the carrots, onions and celery into small pieces and place in a pot with the chicken pieces.   Cover with water until the ingredients have about an inch of water over them.  Cook on medium temperature until the chicken begins to fall off the bone. Click on photos to enlarge.
Remove the chicken from the bone and place the chicken back in the pot.
Add a container of chicken stock and heat on medium until the liquid begins a slow boil.
Prepare the dough by adding 2 cups of flour, 1 Tsp. shortening, a pinch of salt, and 3 eggs.   Blend with water until you get a sticky mixture.
Coat your work surface with flour, place the sticky mixture on the surface and use a rolling pin to roll the dough to a thickness between 1/8" to 1/4".  I like my pot pie dough thicker which makes it more chewy.  
Cut the dough into squares and drop into the stock which is at a slow boil. 
Place the dough, one at a time, into the stock.  If you put too much in at one time, it will stick together.  The dough will drop to the bottom for a short time and then will begin to rise towards the top.
The dough is beginning to float on the top of the slightly boiling broth.  At this point you can add a few potatoes that should be quartered before you drop them into the pot.
Slowly bring the mixture to a boil and allow it to boil for 20-30 minutes, or until the potatoes are soft.  
The final result.  I like to put a few squares of butter on my potatoes and naturally have to have a helping of applesauce.  Many picture pot pie as a pie with a crust on it with filling inside, but this is the REAL pot pie as it was made back in the 17th and 18th century.  Truly a hearty meal.
Hope you enjoy the results as much as I do.  I had to have two helpings and will probably eat the leftovers for lunch tomorrow.  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.
  

Monday, May 30, 2016

The "SXM Visual Memories: #3" Story

"Old Glory" waves proudly outside LDubs house!
Foreword:  Today is Memorial Day in the United State of America.  The day we set aside to remember all those who died while serving in our country's armed forces.  The holiday, known first as Decoration Day, originated on the last Monday in May back in 1868 after the American Civil War ended.  The Grand Army of the Republic, an organization of Union veterans began it in Decatur, Illunois. Today, we honor those who died for our country with parades, flowers on gravesides and family celebrations.  I wish to make special note of my good friend and neighbor, Thomas Legath, who proudly served in the Vietnam War and died recently from an illness associated with his combat duty.  May we all remember those who have served to protect our nation.

  It was an ordinary day.  Final day of the photographs I took during our stay in St. Martin this spring.  Many visitors to the Caribbean make their voyage during the winter months to escape the cold temperatures and bad weather of the USA and Canada.  Carol and I traveled to the Caribbean twice during the winter months, but had problems both times with travel to the airport in the snowy weather we encountered.  We finally decided to postpone the vacation until spring to avoid the chance of flight cancellation as well as being able to take advantage of "Off-Season" prices on most Caribbean islands.  For instance, on the island of St. Martin, the price of accommodations and car rental are usually one-half the cost of the "In-Season" prices.  The date they change is traditionally April 15.  So we can rent a villa on the island of St. Martin for 20 days for the price of 15 during the "In-Season."  A no-brainer for us!  Also, the trade winds are considerably less in force during the spring and you don't have to eat quite as much sand on the beach.  The water temperature is also slightly warmer, but for many that isn't a concern since the temperature in the winter is usually above 80 degrees anyway.  Well, my final edition of photos to share with you were taken during our recent vacation and I hope you find one or more that you enjoy.  Remember to click on the images to enlarge them.  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.
















Sunday, May 29, 2016

The "SXM Visual Memories: #2" Story

It was an ordinary day. During the 21 days we spent on the island I had my camera in my hand every one of those days.  Years ago Carol used to say, "Are you taking you camera with you AGAIN!"  She now knows better than to say anything, since she realizes that my camera is part of my persona.  I would feel ill at ease without it.  Seems there is always something to document or record for my scrapbook, slideshow or posterity.  Well, my friends and readers, you are going to get a chance to see a few more of my close to 1,900 photographs that I took during our annual trek to the island of St. Martin.  Because of a bum foot this trip, I wasn't able to make my early morning rounds of the beach bars and community of Orient before the area came to life, but I think you will be able to get an understanding of, and feel for, the flair of what is known as "The Friendly Island."  Enjoy once again!  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.  PS - Click on photos to enlarge.
















Saturday, May 28, 2016

The "SXM Visual Memories: #1" Story

It was an ordinary day.  Doing one of the things I enjoy the most …. taking photographs while on vacation.  Doesn't everyone take photos of their vacation?  Something to remember all the good times you had while traveling to the destination that interests you the most.  And, in my case, that would have to be an island somewhere near the equator where the water is warm, the sun is hot and the food and drink is amazing.  Carol and I have been blessed to have been able to travel to many islands in the Atlantic Ocean as well as the Caribbean Sea and find each is slightly different in nature.  Over the past fifteen years of travel we have gained an understanding of the culture of each island and what each island has for the tourist to explore.  And naturally I have to document all of this for my vacation slide show and scrapbook as well as to illustrate the stories that I share with you.  On the recent vacation that Carol and I made to the island that is shared by two nations and cultures, Dutch Sint Maarten/French St. Martin (SXM), I tried to capture the flavor of the island in a way that the usual viewer wouldn't look at it.  So here goes my first of three posts of SXM's visual memories.  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.   PS -  Remember to click on the photographs to enlarge them.