Fresh, frozen or canned vegetables?

There’s always room for JELL-O.

When I was growing up in the 1960s, I associate most lunch and dinner food we ate as coming from cans. Campbell’s soup. Fruit juice, usually DelMonte or a store brand. Canned fruit, ditto.

Carnation evaporated milk, which my late great aunt Deana put in her tea. My sisters swear she said she poured it until the drink was as light as she was. For a black woman, she WAS quite fair.

And canned vegetables. The corn and peas weren’t too bad. I would eat spinach because Popeye cartoons had indoctrinated me. But other veggies went from tolerable to inedible. In the latter category, beets. They were vile. I would – seriously – put mustard on them just to kill the taste.

In the 1970s, I was off to college and beyond. My vegetables of choice were generally frozen. They were SO much better than the boring canned varieties. And even better than the Swanson frozen TV dinners we occasionally had in the previous decade.

It wasn’t until the 1980s that I actually discovered fresh vegetables to a large degree. It was A Whole New Dimension in dining. In the last couple of years, I happened to try canned spinach, though I don’t recall the brand. It was terrible! How did I eat that stuff?

Sauté

I was thinking about this because I tend to be the person who cooks the eggs in our household. Usually, when I’m making an omelet, I’ll sauté onions and spinach beforehand. I’ll add mushrooms only if my daughter isn’t eating them. I use Olivio because my nutritionist says it’s better for me than using butter. It cooks the same and works better than most butter/margarine substitutes.

Recently, my wife offered me thawed, chopped, frozen spinach to use. My instincts said this would not work for me. How does one know when frozen spinach is sautéd? When fresh spinach/mushrooms/onions start to wilt, that’s my visual cue. Frozen spinach offers me no visual cue. And it didn’t taste as good.

Now, thawed frozen spinach is great for dips at parties. Remember parties? In pre-COVID days, I used to attend those. [Sigh]

Those ever-shrinking cans of tuna fish – freshwater – are good to have on hand. Do they still also come in oil?

And canned fruit is useful when you put it in JELL-O. Which reminds me, I haven’t had JELL-O since I was sick a few years back. Suddenly, I have a hankering for JELL-O with mixed fruit, topped by Cool Whip. What the heck is in Cool Whip anyway?

Spelling tip: If you write sauté, you only need the D to make it sautéd. But if you write saute, you need the ED to make it sauteed.

FTC whatever: no compensation was received for mentioning these brands.

Frozen; The Band’s Visit- Proctors

Frozen: technically brilliant

Band's Visit.playbillOne of the perks of retirement is that I’ve gotten season’s ticket to see musical matinees at Proctors Theatre in Schenectady. Oh, I’ve had them before, but it’s been a few years that I went to the THURSDAY matinees. Those particular matinees mean three things: cheaper tickets, a lot of older patrons, and best of all, a discussion with the cast after the shows.

In some ways, the after-show talk is the best part. For instance, there were three cast members fielding questions from the audience at the mid-November 2019 performance of Frozen. I had seen the movie when it came out and thought it was though it was fine.

The cast let us know that they were up in Schenectady running technical rehearsals. Probably for geographic reasons, Proctors is often the first show on national tours. This involves making sure the show is set not just for that venue but all of the subsequent ones.

The three performers were a guy who was in the ensemble, a woman with a small role who was otherwise in the ensemble, and the guy who voiced the Olaf the snowman puppet-like creature. The first two had to make costume changes after almost every scene. The controller of Olaf had less changing, but had to make sure it was the snowman, not the person operating him, who was the focus.

Technically, Frozen was brilliant. Thanks to lighting, smoke and other effects, one believed the country was getting colder. There were audible gasps and even applause with the transition. The show was well-performed, but the extra songs did not enhance the narrative. I thought the second act in particular dragged. But I blame the script/songs, not the performers.

2018 Best Musical

Here’s the plot of The Band’s Visit. “When an Egyptian police band gets stranded in a tiny Israeli town, the musicians wait in a cafe — and get to talking with the locals.”

It is “one of four musicals in Broadway history to win the unofficial “Big Six” Tony Awards, which include Best Musical, Best Book, Best Score, Best Actor in a Musical, Best Actress in a Musical, and Best Direction of a Musical. It won the 2019 Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album.”

My wife and I enjoyed a performance in late December. The woman behind me clearly did not. “Thank God it’s over!” We surmise it’s because there’s no big numbers in The Band’s Visit to let one know It’s A Broadway Show. It’s more subtle than that.

The four cast members we saw afterwards, all men, were particularly engaging. A couple of them were from the Middle East. One said he loved the show because it’s an antidote from being told he could only play a doctor or a terrorist.

Not incidentally, two of the leads in the show were played by understudies. Was that to allow them a chance to play a show or two each week? NO, the usual leads were not available.

June Rambling: Hal Holbrook; Marimba Queens

I see signs that say ClOSED, and it makes me a little bonkers.

pinned on Pinterest by Roger Green (not me)
pinned on Pinterest by Roger Green (not me)

My denomination, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A) voted for marriage equality at its General Assembly this month. “Ministers will be allowed to marry same-sex couples in states where it is legal.”

On the other hand, Freedom and Faith Coalition’s Road to Majority conference had an Obama figurine in the urinal.

CBS News Sunday Morning did a piece, Born this way: Stories of young transgender children. The ever-interesting Dustbury on Gender Confirmation Surgery.

Writer Jay Lake worked closely with Lynne Thomas, an Illinois-based librarian… to ensure that all his blog posts and essays would be saved for posterity. “Though this is a relatively uncomplicated task for his blog content, which he unambiguously owned, it gets problematic when you wade into the legal rights of preserving your social media presence. ‘You can’t just download Facebook content into an archive.’”

A cartoon from 2008, and still apt: A Concise History Of Black-White Relations In The United States.

Mark Evanier on O.J. Simpson trial nostalgia.
Continue reading “June Rambling: Hal Holbrook; Marimba Queens”

MOVIE REVIEW: Frozen

I predict there will be a Broadway version of Frozen by 2018.

It was a very rainy Sunday afternoon. The Wife, The Daughter and I were supposed to travel from Albany to near Binghamton for a family dinner, but the forecast for locations in between were dodgy, with snow and ice likely. Instead, we went out to lunch, and then to Colonie Center Mall to see the newish Disney animated film Frozen.

frozen1
Some bullet points:
*THIS FILM IS GORGEOUS. Continue reading “MOVIE REVIEW: Frozen”