Often a product of good timing.
Of seeing an opportunity.

First came Kat at nine months taking a major language step – understanding the story told her about the dog and “Woof!” (posted 5/29/18 and also found on web site under “Parenting”) and since she becoming an eager listener.
And learner.

Another equally dramatic moment came at eighteen months, when, very sick and seeking something to occupy Kat, I popped in the video cassette of the Beatles’ “Yellow Submarine,” a ninety-minute film, a long attention span for a toddler.
She watched the entire film and loved it.
With minimum effort from me, except to be lying near hear when two parts frightened her.

One when the MGM lion roared.
And the second when John Lennon turned into Frankenstein.

We sat together every day thereafter and watched it together.
One dozen times; two, telling the story to each other as we went.
Wonderful music; images.
And once the visual gates were opened, following through came a series of extraordinary films for parents to share with their children.
I remember them fondly.

The Little Princess
Fly Away Home
The Bear [a little scary]
Secret Garden
The Rats of Nimh
The Hobbit [the animated version]

In time, she being seven or eight years old, we watched old television series: Mary Tyler Moore, Laverne and Shirley, Happy Days, Bob Newhart.
Lovely times to share.
And physically restful.
And intellectually stimulating.

And another milestone when I put on a tape Gilbert and Sullivan’s operetta, “Iolanthe,” telling her I wasn’t sure she would like it.
She was age three.
After fifteen minutes she turned to me saying, “Daddy, what makes you think I wouldn’t like this?”

Today is Saturday, June 9, 2018
Good morning, my friends.
This is my sixty-third consecutive daily posting.
It is 5.57am
And the weather outside is lovely: sunny and 80*.
On TV: “The Wizard of Oz.”
I’m at my desk.

Dinner is in the oven, a 5.3 pound Long Island duckling, slow-roasting @ 200* for 27minutes per pound, take it out after 143.1 minutes or 7.01am. It’ll wait all day for me to return for dinner when I’ll brown it top and bottom. Juicy. Yumm! 

Readers’ Comments
Dear Dom,
(Your comment-email address link didn't work, so I'm posting this to you directly.)

Kudos to you for illustrating such a need to encourage common sense, to promote the idea that parents know better how to raise their children than does the government!  Thank you for finding a way to work legally within the system and providing such a service to youngsters eager to contribute to their world.

In northern Maine, children have worked the potato harvest for generations. They start school a month early so they can take September off when the potatoes must be harvested.  Quite a number of years ago, the government stepped in to restrict or elliminate the practice on grounds of child labor law abuse.  The children objected, informing the government that this was the only way they had to earn money to pay for school supplies and clothing for the next year.

Your point of having children work alongside their parents is invaluable.  How else will they learn self-discipline and a work ethic?  How else will they see their parents leading by example, especially in this day and age?  I agree with your dictum to refuse to abdicate the raising of your children to government or other authorities.  If we see parents in trouble, we should step forward to provide whatever help or support we can as encouragement, even if it's only listening to vented frustration. And we need to listen to the children, who often know more than we what they need at any given time.

I love the story Wendell Berry tells, in his "A Native Hill" essay, of taking his 5-year-old granddaughter out into his fields in a horse-drawn cart one winter day on his farm in Kentucky.  They worked together in the chill, and he found the child most quiet on the ride back at dusk.  Her silence made him wonder if she was too cold to speak, or perhaps angry or frustrated at having to be with him all day.  While he worried about this, the girl piped up and said, sleepily but cheerfully, "Grampa, we did good work today, didn't we?"

Work defines us.  We are never too young (or old) to learn.


Web Meister Responds:
Well said! My dear.
As to the google email not working, I fixed the link. Sorry. Numerous complaints.

Today’s Post
“Sunday Morning Coming Down: 2. The Gravy: Selecting the Meats.”

Meatballs aside, the recipe included here works with three pounds of meat.
But every family or group is different and the genius of cooking is the ability to tweak methods and ingredients to your taste.

The Gravy does well with many kinds of meat.
A variety lends complexity and richness.
A piece of beef and of pork are basic.

We’ll start with meat selections that require no preparation.
For beef, I like chuck.
Our butchers may give other suggestions.
Try each or any of them, one time or another.
Everyone has her own preferences.

For pork, a piece of butt works. And it makes attractive, non-fatty slices for eating.
I also always add a single Hot Italian Pork Sausage.
I like what the sausage seasonings add to The Gravy.
But for flavor and eating, pork spare ribs are my favorite.
So fatty.
And canine-like – I can worry the bones.
I am a certified bone ripper and sucker.

After the pork and beef issues are settled, what about adding more esoteric cuts like

pig’s foot or chicken feet?
At the least, you get that extra flavor; that extra opulence from their fats.
And for bone pickers? Amazing.
With cartilage to rip and chew and soft bones to crunch and suck.
If using one of these esoterica, add an extra half-hour to the cooking time.

Meatballs, front and center.
So intertwined with The Gravy are meatballs that the popular American name for the dish is “Spaghetti and Meatballs.”
No prob.
We understand.

You want to start a family feud?
Tell an Italo that your mother’s meatballs are the best.
Nothing else to be said.
Don’t bother coming to the christening.

Amazingly, the ingredients are pretty well agreed on.
At least two, ground beef and ground pork, meat types, with a sizeable minority adding ground veal to the mix.
Equal parts.

Then add an egg or two, a handful of freshly-grated breadcrumbs, or two, a handful of grated Romano cheese, or two, pressed garlic or two, fresh Italian parsley and/or basil, salt, and freshly-grated pepper.

Now I’m going to present to our blog and website a precisely measured meatball recipe.
But we won’t make the mistake of thinking this definitive.
The recipe a start.
When we eat our own meatballs we must question ourselves.
Softer or harder? More egg makes them harder.
Meatier or more tender? Breadcrumbs and cheese soften the balls.
More pork or beef?
85% or 80% beef?

Lots of tweaking; every time we make them.

For the starting meatball recipe:

I’m out of time and won’t be posting these recipes today.
They will have to be queued-up.

Braciola is stuffed, rolled meat.
For our recipe, it’s beef flank steak, pounded thin and stuffed.
Lots of recipes for braciola exist, but my mother’s stuffing used herbs and spices and that’s it. Nothing bulky.
After the stuffing, the braciola is rolled like a cigar and tied with kitchen string.
The braciola replaces the beef piece.

I’m out of time and won’t be posting these recipes today.
They will have to be queued-up.

Far and away our favorite prepared meat, but very expensive and difficult to make, is called panzetta, a veal flank stuffed with an egg and cheese batter.
Picture a miniature beef rib roast with a bone, meat, and stuffing for every diner, with leftovers.
Picture instead of a robust, gamey beef flavor, a delicate veal bit.
Picture instead of a bland mouthful of meat, the meat eaten with a bite of seasoned ricotta cheese.

It’s a good size and the effort to stuff and cook it usually, not always, precludes preparing any other meat.
It requires a deep turkey-sized roasting pan to cook it.
Definitely a special dinner-preparation, like a birthday request.
More often, I will make the panzetta as a roast, the same stuffing but without The Gravy accompaniment.

I’m out of time and won’t be posting these recipes today.
They will have to be queued-up.

Besides the meat recipes, the plan is to also develop the sociological background to The Gravy as another entry.

Post Scripts
Would you like this daily posting to arrive in your mailbox? 
Just send the email address to dom@existentialautotrip.com

Or would you like to comment on a posting? 
Mail the comment to dom@existentialautotrip.com 

Or would you like to view the blog?
Existential Auto Trip: www.existentialautotrip.com

God bless!
Be good.
Be well.
Love you.