Friday, October 30, 2020

 Happenings…and Wildlife

Fall has arrived but we are still semi-trapped by Covid-19 and are likely to be until mid-2021.  Still, it is a beautiful time of the year.  Blog topics are a challenge without hitting the road but such is life.  Travel means exposure and risk…so we’re doing our best to stay safe.

Laurie always decorates our front porch during the month of October.  It’s a combination of celebrations…the fall season as well as Halloween.  This modest display includes real pumpkins and gourds, stackable metal jack-0-lanterns, a small metal ‘bag’ with a jack-o-lantern face and a few ears of colorful Indian corn.

Indian corn, also called flint corn, is one of the oldest varieties of corn.  It’s a type that Native Americans taught the colonists how to cultivate.  This corn’s colorful kernels are ‘as hard as flint’, giving this type of corn its alternative name.  It is less prone to spoiling and dries uniformly.  Flint corn can be used by people and livestock and it’s used in such dishes as hominy and polenta.

Laurie has continued with her efforts to capture the best bird photos possible.  In this case, it was a male yellow finch working over one of the remaining cone flowers.

Then there are the larger birds that regularly wander through our yard as well as the wooded lots across the street and along one side of our home.  We do see a lot of turkeys around here…

Who doesn't love bluebirds!  We seem to be very popular with these pretty birds, especially when we feed them mealworms.  However, in this case, he was just looking for a drink of water from our deck railing mounted 'water hole'.

We’ve got woodpeckers!  This hairy woodpecker had just grabbed a great nut from our feeder when Laurie snapped this photo.

Yet another woodpecker!  In this case a red-bellied woodpecker stopped by for a snack…

No…Laurie didn’t take this photo of a yellow-bellied sapsucker.  I borrowed the photo from the Internet in order to illustrate a bird story.  Laurie has rescued many birds over the years.  Recently a yellow-bellied sapsucker crashed into one of our windows at dusk.  He was stunned and out of it but still breathing.  Laurie picked him up, stroked him and talked softly to him.  When he became more alert, she placed him on out deck railing…and a short time later he flew off into the woods.

From time to time, a number of these colorful birds show up at our feeder.  This is a rose-breasted grosbeak.  This visitor stayed at the feeder and gorged itself until it was satiated…

…and of course, we always love to see our neighborhood deer.  There are about 4 regulars with occasional other strays, plus a buck or two from time to time.  One recent evening as we returned home after midnight, we spotted deer bedded down on a neighbor’s lawn…  The first photo was taken late in the evening and the 'fuzzy' photo of the buck was taken through a screen.

Once again you are correct!  This photo of a house wren was also borrowed from the Internet…and yes, there was a recent incident that caused me to include the photo.  The other night we had our front door open and our sliding screen door in place.  When it was time for bed, Laurie went over to slide the screen door closed and shut the front door. 

No sooner had she closed the screen door than a pretty little wren decided to come in for a ‘visit’.  It was 11:30 PM!  We’d stopped putting wreaths up on our front door because the house wrens love to perch on them at night…and because we’d already had 3 other wrens in the house since we’ve lived here. (On one occasion, 2 wrens came in at the same time…and our cat at the time about had a heart attack!)

This time it took a little more than a half hour to convince our wren to fly out an open sliding door.  It had taken up residence in the guest bedroom.

Another day and another appointment with one of my physicians… As we drove east on I-40, nearing the doctor’s offices, we came across this rather spectacular fire.  A large RV trailer had erupted in flames and it was parked right under a bridge.  The trailer was destroyed but all involved apparently survived although one person had to be rescued.  We wondered how the fire started…

…and then there was action right in our driveway!  When neighbors Mike and Sherry had their house built, the builder did so much damage to this tree right next to our lot that it just didn’t survive in the long haul.  A tree removal service took down a couple of large dead trees 2 homes up the street and then took a few minutes to dispose of this sad remnant of the woods that used to be next door.

I thought that I’d end this post with a recent photo of some of Laurie’s family members.  These cute kids are actually her cousins from Scotland.  When we last saw them in person at a Scottish family gather in 2016, they were a wee bit younger and smaller.  From the left we have Della, then Moir and last but not least, Maura.  Laurie and her sisters are planning a return trip to visit their Scottish relatives in 2021 or more probably in 2022.

Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…

Thanks for stopping by for a visit!

Stay Safe and Take Care, Big Daddy Dave 

Monday, October 26, 2020

Faux Home Cooking!

So…when is home cooking really not ‘home cooking’?  By my definition, ‘faux cooking’ takes place when the entrée for your meal is a ‘ready to cook’ product from a restaurant, a grocery store or a friend and neighbor.  During the pandemic, these means of meal preparation are not only acceptable, but rather they are desirable!

Of course, there are winners and losers even in the ‘faux cooking’ school of meal preparation.  Some items just don’t strike a positive note on your taste-buds while others turn into repeat meal items.  Despite that fact, with meals of this type, usual non-existent prep and easy clean-up are very welcome in this Covid-19 stay-at-home era. 

The fact is that we just aren’t motivated by food like we might normally be.  Cooking from scratch generally doesn’t appeal to us.  We’re at about 2 meals per day and, even with snacks we wouldn’t normally have on hand, our total calorie count is down and we’ve actually lost a few pounds. 

On to the food!  In this case, we’d purchased a Ham and Cheese Quiche Lorraine from Fresh Market.  Nothing like an easy meal to prepare…and it certainly simplified clean up when the meal was over!  Laurie gave this quiche her stamp of approval while I thought that it was just OK.  To be fair, I’ve never been a full-fledged quiche fan… She plated this slice of quiche with some amazing grapes that also came from Fresh Market. Pink Lady I think they were called?

Another dinner…another prepared meal to consider.  This is Omaha Steak’s Meat Lover’s Lasagna.  This lasagna is made with Omaha steak’s premium ground beef, a sauce made from crushed tomatoes and a 5-cheese blend of Mozzarella, Parmesan, Romano, Monterey Jack and Ricotta.  You don’t even have to thaw this entrée… Just pop it into the oven and serve it when it’s heated throughout.

Our mutual verdict on the Omaha Steak’s lasagna was that it was decent but that it doesn’t come close to measuring up to Costco’s sausage and beef lasagna.  The sausage in Costco’s version adds a lot of flavor.  Of course, in this case, Omaha Steak’s version got an extra vote in its favor…as it was part of a gift box for either Father’s Day or my birthday.

Back in ‘medieval times’…when I was a youth, I remembered having fried corn meal mush with butter and syrup for breakfast.  I hadn’t run across any corn meal mush in the local grocery stores but I did find a ‘tube’ of polenta…a refined big city cousin of corn meal mush. 

So, what the heck.  One morning I cut the tube of polenta into discs and fried them in butter.  After they got a little crispy, I plated them, slathered them with more butter, and then added pure maple syrup.  Laurie even gave them a try.  We both agreed that they were OK but they weren’t quite on a par with my youthful memory bank.

Stepping aside from commercial sources for our meals during the pandemic… Nothing beats homemade, especially if the items provided are high on our list of favorite foods!  In this case our friends Larry and Bev delivered some of Bev’s famous and fabulous yeast rolls that were ready to pop into the oven.  Here they were just fresh from our oven…

Back to commercial prepared food items… The beef pot roast on that platter was yet another Omaha Steak House gift item!  Laurie did have to prep the carrots and potatoes and there was some clean up after this meal.  However, we gave the pot roast itself 4+ stars out of 5.  It was very nice…and I had leftovers too!

This photo shows what Laurie’s plate looked like before we dug into our feast!  One of Bev’s yeast rolls was featured too… My plate was a bit more crowded and not too photogenic as I put gravy on everything except my roll.

One final and very happy photo!  In addition to those lovely yeasty dinner rolls, Bev and Larry also treated us to this batch of yeasty sweet rolls.  They made for a great breakfast…and there weren’t any leftovers either!  These sweet rolls were excellent…

Unlike us, Bev and Larry have been creative cooks during the pandemic.  To view some entrees that are truly deserving of publication, go to Larry’s/Big Dude’s blog site at  

Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…

Thanks for stopping by for a visit!

Stay Safe and Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

Friday, October 23, 2020

Visions from the Past – Currier and Ives’ America

Nostalgia… That factor drives much of the current divisiveness that festers across the USA.  Many people, if not most, don’t really like to see major changes that impact or may impact their way of live.  The fact is, that wherever you live, change is always on the horizon and its progression is virtually unstoppable.

Which brings me to my topic for this post… One of my mother’s books that came into my possession when she passed in 1995 is entitled “Currier and Ives’ America”.  It’s “A Panorama of the mid-nineteenth century scene”.  The book which was published in 1952 includes 80 prints in full color.  These 80 prints present a view of American life in the 1800s, albeit sometimes looking through rose colored glasses.  The prints provide glimpses of “the way it was” that are nostalgic, idealistic, unrealistic, and that are often out of tune with today’s views.

There are 20 sections included in this copy of the original Currier and Ives prints.  The above print was published in 1868 and it’s entitled “The Four Seasons of Life – Middle Age (The Season of Strength). In the book it is preceded by Childhood (The Season of Joy) and Youth (the Season of Love…and its followed by Old Age (The Season of Rest).

FYI, Currier and Ives was a very successful printmaking company that was based in New York City from 1835 until 1907.  The firm produced prints from paintings by talented and often renowned artists as black and white lithographs that were then hand colored.  In this case the artist was Charles Parsons (1821 – 1910) and the talented lithographer was Lyman W. Atwater. (1835 – 1891)

Another series in my book is entitled “Winter Pastimes”.  This particular depiction of winter fun has a lot going on…a sleigh ride, ice skating, sledding and some form of stick ball.  The original lithograph by Frances Flora Bond Palmer was published in 1855. 

Fanny Palmer (1812 – 1876) was an English artist who became quite successful in the USA as a lithographer for Currier and Ives.  She specialized in rural farm scenes, famous American ships, architecture, hunters and Western landscapes.

Other prints in the Winter Pastimes series are: “American Winter Sports” (Trout Fishing “On Chateaugay Lake”); “Ice-Boat Race on the Hudson”, and; “The Sleigh Race”.

This idyllic print is entitled “American Country Life – October Afternoon".  It is yet another Fanny Palmer lithograph and it was first published in 1855.  This print is part of “The Country Gentleman” series in my book.  The others included under American Country Life are “May Morning", Summer's Evening”, and “Pleasures of Winter”.

Lithographic prints could be reproduced quickly and they cost much to create either.  Currier and Ives called itself “the Grand Central Depot for Cheap and Popular Prints” and advertised its lithographs as ‘colored engravings for the people’.  Small works sold for 5 to 20 cents each and the larger versions sold for between $1.00 and $3.00.

Another section in my book is called “Rural Enterprise”.  The colorful and vibrant lithograph shown above is titled “Preparing for Market”.  It was originally published in 1856 and the artist was Louis Maurer. (1832 – 1932) As he lived to be just over 100 years old, this talented German-born American lithographer was the last surviving artist known to have been employed by Currier and Ives.

Currier and Ives not only sold prints from its headquarters, but also via pushcart vendors, peddlers and book stores.  The company also sold wholesale as well as retail.  Outlets were established across the USA and in London England.  Prepaid orders could also be had via the mail…

Another portion of the book is called “Clearing and Tilling”.  Fanny Palmer was the artist who created this lithograph, which is titled “American Farm Yard – Morning” in 1857.  Other titles in this section were titled “American Farm Yard Evening”, “Haying-Time.  The First Load.” and “Haying Time.  The Last Load.”

All Currier and Ives lithographs were produced on lithographic limestone printing plates on which the drawing was done by hand.  The drawings on the plates were copied from original artwork.  It often took more than a week to prepare it for printing.  Each print was pulled by hand.  The prints were hand-colored by a dozen or more women, often German immigrants with an art background.  They worked like an assembly-line…one color to a worker.  They were paid $6.00 for every 100 colored prints.

The section titled “Homes Across the Country” includes this rather striking home in a 1871 print called “A Home on the Mississippi”.  No artist was credited for this print.  Currier and Ives did have some ‘house artists’ on staff plus not all of the art used for the companies lithographs are credited for one reason or another.  In Fanny Palmer’s case, a number of her works weren’t signed around the time of her husband’s death.

There is a lot going on in this print.  Carriages in motion, couples visiting, a steamboat coming along the river…and 4 black Americans walking along the road.  The Civil War had ended only 6 years earlier.

By way of contrast, “The Pioneer’s Home on the Western Frontier” dated 1867 is also included in the “Homes Across the Country” section.  The remaining 2 prints in this section are “Life in the Country – Evening” by Fanny Palmer and “The Western Farmer’s Home”.

Currier and Ives published at least 7,500 lithographs in the company’s 72 years of operation.  Artists produced 2 to 3 new images every week for 64 years! (1834 – 1895) More than 1,000,000 hand-colored lithographic prints were produced…

This section is titled: “---And Horses Run Faster”.  For some reason that I’ve been unable to determine, horses in this series are generally referred to as “Cracks”.  In any case, the print shown above is called “Trotting Cracks on the Snow”.  Louis Maurer created this composite scene which was issued in 1858.  Horses are prominently featured in many of the Currier and Ives prints and of course they should be.  They provided the main means of transportation and if you didn’t have at least one horse you were very poor indeed.

Interestingly enough, horses were such a big deal when this print was published that all 11 horses in the picture are named.  They are: Pocahontas, Lancet, Prince, Grey Eddy, General Darcy, Flora Temple, Lantern, Lady Woodruff, Brown Dick, Alice Grey and Stella.  At one time Flora Temple held the record for a mile in 2.19 and 3/4ths.    

Then of course…speed became a factor.  If a driver were overtaken on the road, a “brush for the lead” frequently ensued.  It wasn’t long before race tracks sprung up and these races were a standard feature at the fairs which were held in the fall.  ‘Knocking off the seconds’ in horse racing became a national interest!   

This is another lithograph featured in the “---And Horses Run Faster” segment.  “Trotting Cracks at the Forge” was published in 1869.  In this case, a famous cartoonist and artist named Thomas Worth provided the sketch upon which the print is based.  The 3 horses in the blacksmith’s shop are though…Mountain Boy, Grey Eagle and Lady Thorn.

Note: A large folio original lithograph (19.25” x 29.25”) of “Trotting Cracks at the Forge” sold at an October 11th auction for $9,500!

Now onto “Pleasures of the City”!  In this case, the city featured was Currier and Ives home base, New York City.  Those folks with the necessary means, (status and financial wherewithal), got out and about.  It was really for social entertainment as well as to see and be seen.  This particular lithograph is titled “Speeding on the Avenue”.  The scene is alleged to be set along the Harlem River.  That bridge in the distance is called the High Bridge or the Aqueduct Bridge.  It was completed in 1848 and today it is still being used by pedestrians and bicyclists.

The print was published in 1870.  John Cameron, (1828 – 1876), a Scottish American artist created this print and many others, with an emphasis on horses.  To view many examples of Cameron’s work, you can just go to     

This lithograph titled “Wild Duck Shooting – A Good Day’s Sport” is part of a grouping that’s labeled “Hunting Becomes a Sport”.  The original painting was completed by Arthur Fitzwilliam Tait (1819 – 1905) and the lithograph itself was published in 1854.  Tait became an important British/American artist, best known for his wildlife paintings.  One of his paintings sold in 2006 for $167,300!

The other prints in this section of the book include: “American Hunting Scenes – A Good Chance”; “Life in the Woods – Starting Out”, and; “Life in the Woods – Returning to Camp”.  While hunting and fishing were still survival necessities in the Western USA, in the East both activities were already transitioning to the point where they were being considered as a sport.   

One section of the book is simply titled “Protecting the Property” and it includes 4 prints that all fall under the general label of “The Life of a Fireman”.  They each have sub-titles.  This one is “The Fire”.  The first one is “Night Alarm”, the second “The Race” and the last one is “The Ruins”.  All 4 of these original drawings were completed by Louis Maurer.  An original large folio 2-stone hand-colored Currier and Ives lithograph of “The Fire” recently sold for $4,750.

In the 1800s, fire was a huge threat to any city.  Fire departments were usually volunteer operations and fire service and fire equipment were often paid for via customer subscription.  Fire-fighting equipment were painted in elaborate schemes and were given fanciful and romantic names.  It wasn’t until the around the mid-1840s when fire hydrants were installed in New York City.  Volunteer firefighters were still the norm in the city until 1866 when they were replaced by professionals.

This print is titled “Yosemite Valley – California” and it was published in 1866.  The scene, which depicts an encampment of Native Americans, was published just 3 years before the last spike was driven for the transcontinental railroad.  Note Bridal Veil Falls in the distance.  Of course today Yosemite is one of our most popular National Parks.  It suffered through 4,500,000 visitors in 2019.  I couldn’t determine who the original artist was for this piece. 

Note: Copies of the Yosemite Valley prints taken from the same book that I have can be purchased on-line starting at $15.00 and up…some nicely framed too.

Other lithographs in this section include: “The Great West”; “The Route to California”, and; “Through to the Pacific”.  It’s notable but not surprising that except for the Yosemite Valley print, all of the others feature the newly completed railroad.  Of course they were published in 1870 and 1871 after the transcontinental railroad was completed. 

Because I really like trains and because this 1871 lithograph/print is so colorful, I just had to include it in this post to my blog site.  It shows the brightly colored locomotive chugging along the Truckee River through the Sierra Nevada Mountains on its way to San Francisco.

Then there is another section of the book that is simply called “Steel Ribbons Unwind”, and it’s all about the railroads. “The Rail Road Suspension Bridge” by Charles Parsons is the earliest of the group.  It was published in 1856.  An original small portfolio version of this lithograph recently sold for $1,600.  At least 50 railroad prints were published by Currier and Ives over the years. 

The Rail Road Suspension Bridge soared over the Niagara River and the river gorge just downstream from Niagara Falls. (The Falls are visible in the distance) It was engineered by the same company who designed the Brooklyn Bridge and it connected New York State in the USA to Ontario Province in Canada.  This bridge stood across the river from 1855 to 1897.  It was the world’s first working railway suspension bridge.

This is another of the prints included within the “Pleasures of the City” section of my book.  “A Night on the Hudson – Through at Daylight” was designed by none other than Fanny Palmer.  Curiously, this lithograph was published in 1864, although the 405 foot long steamboat Issac Newton suffered a boiler explosion in 1863, killing 9 people, and was no longer in service.  Actually, the Francis Skiddy suffered 2 disasters, one in 1861 when she collided with another ship.  A boiler explosion ensued with 3 of her coal stokers/firemen and 4 passengers killed.  In late 1864 she wrecked again, ending her career.

An 18 inch by 28 inch original lithograph of “A Night on the Hudson” recently sold for $14,000. 

Francis (Fanny) Palmer was one of Currier and Ives best known artists, creating at least 200 different lithographs for the company.  She was also one of the few women who supported her family through her art during the mid-1800s.  Fanny was involved in every stage of the lithographic printing process in some way and she was widely known for her technical skills.  She is credited with assisting Nathanial Currier in the improvement of existing lithographic technology, including Currier’s own lithographic crayon.  

To view a plethora of Fanny Palmer’s works, you can go to    

Under the subject titled “The Main Artery”, all 4 prints in my book relate to life and riverboats on the Mississippi River.  The print shown above was created by Fanny Palmer and it was published in 1868, only 3 years after the end of the Civil War.

While Currier and Ives prints depicted a variety of images of American life beyond the limited offerings from my book.  These included portraits of people, patriotic and historic events, battles of the American Civil War and even Lincoln’s assassination.  However, these prints were also a product of their time in history and many of their prints were inherently racist in nature.  In this print for example, the black residents along the river bank appear happy and content, while living in the shadow of a big plantation house.

Then there is this print from “The Main Artery” section of the book.  “High Water on the Mississippi” was also the creation of Fanny Palmer and it too was published in 1868.  In this case, a group of black Americans are polling along in the flood on the rooftop of a building. 

While today the above images would most likely be labeled as racist, they are mild by comparison if one were to hold them up against Currier and Ives series of prints issued in 1879 called the “Darktown Comics”.  This was an early form of popular culture with the aim of depicting Black life and culture in a less than human manner.  These cartoonish images showed African Americans ‘trying to’ perform basic tasks that were more or less normal for ‘ordinary/white’ folks.

Most of the “Darktown Comics” were the work of Thomas Worth, the same artist who created “Trotting Cracks at the Forge”.  There were about 75 ‘Darktown’ prints created and published between 1879 and 1890.  Originals and reprints are available from many sources even today…

On to more pleasant lithographs… Under the heading “Winds of Trade” Currier and Ives published many a ship print.  These weren’t just any ships, they were the record shattering speedy clipper ships.  This is the “Clipper Ship – Red Jacket”, artist Charles Parsons, and dated 1855.  The subtitle for this print reads “In the ice off Cape Horn, on her passage from Australia to Liverpool, August 1854.

On her first voyage, Red Jacket set the speed record for sailing ships crossing the Atlantic by traveling from New York to Liverpool in 13 days, 1 hour and 25 minutes.  Later, she was outfitted for the Australian immigrant trade.  She completed her first voyage from Liverpool England to Melbourne Australia in just 69 days.  In 1867, she became an Australian and Indian coastal trading vessel, finally wrecking in 1885.

One more clipper ship!  This is the “Clipper Ship Dreadnought off Tuskar Light”.  It is yet another work by Charles Parson.  This medium size clipper ship was built for the “Red Cross Line” which consisted of transatlantic boats that carried immigrants westbound between Liverpool and New York.  The Dreadnought also had a couple of nicknames…The Flying Dutchman and The Wild Boat of the Atlantic.  She averaged 19 days eastbound and 26 days westbound.

Built in 1853, the Dreadnought had quite the career.  It even included a mutiny.  But in 1869, under new owners, she floundered among the breakers at Cape Horn and her captain and crew managed to put ashore on the island of Tierra del Fuego.  Stranded for 17 days and living off the shellfish along the beach, they were finally rescued by a Norwegian vessel.

I’ll end this lengthy post with one more artistic creation by Fanny Palmer.  “Wooding Up on the Mississippi” was published in 1863.  An 18 inch by 28 inch original lithograph of this work recently sold for $17,500.

Of course, reality can be far different than the images we produce and enjoy.  Life along the banks of the lower Mississippi was far from idyllic.  By the middle of the 1800s, there had been over 4,000 fatalities on riverboats due to boiler explosions alone.  While the Princess shown in the print above was said to be the fastest paddle steamer on the river, it was also one of the most elegant.  However, on 2/27/1859, as she pulled away from a wharf at Baton Rouge Louisiana, her boilers violently exploded.  The steamer and its cargo were completely destroyed and at least 200 of the passengers were killed or missing.  Many others were badly injured.  Note: Newspapers of the time didn’t report the number of casualties among the ships enslaved crew…

I hope that you enjoyed this look back at America…albeit through rose colored glasses.  The images are generally enjoyable and calming.  But change was definitely at work and old ways were disappearing.  Conflict was part of reality.  Like now, we will persevere and as a nation, we will be stronger due to our unavoidable progression into the future.

I guess I could sell my book couldn’t I?  At $5 an image, I could pick up $400 and some on-line sales pro could probably turn a nice profit on the purchase.  Just a thought...not happening.

Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…

Thanks for stopping by for a visit and special thanks if you actually read through my verbiage!

Stay Safe and Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

Monday, October 19, 2020

Once Again, It’s Mostly Food Time at Home…in a Pandemic

It’s another pandemic post about food!  We aren’t creatively inspired by this self-isolation regime and as a consequence, home cooking is limited at our house.  We’re always looking for take-out options or some new product for us to try at home, whether it’s from the grocery store or on-line.

However…we did go out to eat once in the last 3 weeks!

After a follow-up visit to Knoxville’s Tennessee Orthopedic offices, we tried to think of a restaurant that would be safe for someone trying to avoid Covid-19.  Wild Wing Café in the Turkey Creek Shopping Center came to mind.  It was before 4 PM on a weekday, it was nice out and the inside of the restaurant is huge.   The outside was packed with folks and the inside was empty with the tables far apart and the staff were all wearing masks…  Perfect!

We decided that we’d order a starter…in this case Buffalo Chips – Sauced Up! ($5.99) As you can see, this appetizer was stacked high with homemade potato chips tossed in hot sauce and topped with melted blue cheese crumbles.  Then it was drizzled with ranch dressing.  It may not have been the healthiest choice but it was very satisfying! 

For our main course, we shared an order of 18 chicken wings with blue cheese dipping sauce. ($17.99) Diners can order a different sauce for each half dozen wings.  Choosing your sauces can be a challenge as there are 33 house made choices.  We decided on these three: China Syndrome (described as very peppery - 4 peppers hot); Red Dragon (a hot teriyaki wing sauce – 3 peppers hot), and; The Slayer (hot with lots of garlic – 2 peppers hot).

We enjoyed all of our wings with their different flavors and levels of heat but The Slayer is still our favorite!  Learn more about Wild Wing Café at

Most Americans are not familiar with crumpets.  A crumpet is a small griddle cake made from an unsweetened batter of water or milk with flour and yeast.  They are popular in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada, New Zealand and Australia.

In any case, Laurie developed a craving for crumpets…and I went on-line to see what I could find.  After a bit, I discovered these crumpets, 8 to a package, from Butler’s Pantry Crumpets, LLC in San Francisco California.    

While early crumpets were hard pancakes that were cooked on a griddle, today’s versions are made with yeast and they’re usually soft and spongy.  This soft crumpet came into popularity during the Victorian era in the United Kingdom. 

The first photo shows our crumpets fresh from the toaster with fresh Amish butter.  The second photo takes the crumpets to the next level…slathered with peanut butter and a nice mixed berry jam.  These crumpets are indeed a bit spongy and one needs to keep an eye on them in the toaster.  The bottom or back side of these crumpets can get ‘over-toasted’…something we’d all like to avoid.  We both liked the crumpets texture and decided that they were a nice change of pace for us…

Time for some take-out food!  We ordered dinner one night from Little Italy Restaurant in Loudon Tennessee.  We’d started with some garlic bread with herb garlic butter ($2.25), forgetting for the moment that entrees were accompanied with buttery garlic knots…

Laurie’s entrée was the Veal Marsala, sautéed veal with mushrooms, garlic and Marsala butter over linguine. ($18.95) She was very happy with her choice and there was enough left over for a subsequent meal as well!

My entrée was the Chicken Broccoli Parmesan over angel hair pasta.  It normally comes with onions and pepper slices…which I left off my order. ($14.95) I shredded some real parmesan we’d purchased at Fresh Market.  It kicked up both of our entrees another notch.  Of course, as might be expected, I added Tabasco to my entrée for a burst of heat in that parmesan sauce.  I also had enough food left over for a second meal.

Both of our entrees also came a fairly large dinner side salad.  It was all good!  To check out the menu at Little Italy, you can go to  

What?!  A healthy meal!  Yes indeed… On our last visit to Costco, we’d purchased a package of frozen barramundi!  This was Australis All Natural Barramundi…the Better Fish.  The package contained enough fish for 2 meals.  In this case we kept it simple, just seasoned green beans and barramundi filets. 

Barramundi is a type of seabass native to Australia and the Indo-Pacific area.  It is a popular game fish and it has become a widely farmed fish in the aquaculture business.  It is a firm, flaky and mild white fish.  We first experienced barramundi while on vacation in 1989.  It tasted enough like lobster that Laurie fell in love with it… Subsequently, we’d only seen it once on a menu here in the USA.  FYI, barramundi is an Australian Aborigine word meaning “big scaled river fish”.

To learn more about barramundi, you can just go to

Yes this is another Costco product.  Kirkland’s Signature Seasoned Roast Beef, (and their sliced turkey as well), are almost food basics for me.  I usually buy one of each then freeze one until I’ve consumed the other… They provide ready to eat ‘finger food’ for a snack and both products make great sandwiches.

One evening when trying to decide what to have for dinner, I mentioned the sliced roast beef and Laurie said that she’d go for it if we could have it with au jus so she could dip her sandwich.  Great idea!  I added a bit of Tillamook shredded 3-cheddar cheese and some hot Jalapeno slices to mine.  I’d eaten half of my sandwich when I remembered to take a photo.  It was a very good sandwich with the au jus enhancing the whole experience…

That’s it for now… Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them.

Thanks for stopping by for a visit! 

Stay Safe and Take Care, Big Daddy Dave