Starting point

Starting point

Sunday, March 10, 2019
How does a New Englander root for the Yankees?
He doesn’t.
Why does a New Englander want to learn how to make Manhattan Clam Chowder?

Because he loves clams and all that cream and butter makes his battle of the bulge that much more difficult.

A startup recipe, please.

I went on the Internet and this was the first recipe that came along.
It’s from Sam Sifton who has several other versions of Clam Chowder. He’s experienced.

I read the recipe and it’s the style I am interested in and on first glance makes sense.
It’s good enough as a starting point.
When I get to the execution my own experience and taste will make changes as they often do.

But it won’t be immediately.
Daughter Kat is home from school with visiting friends and I am enlisted to produce four meals for them next week.
As a reward I get to spend almost an entire day alone with her.

I get the better of that deal.

Meanwhile, take a peek at the recipe.
If you have any thoughts, share them with me before I start making adjustments.

Sam Sifton: Manhattan Clam Chowder
24 medium-size quahog clams, usually rated ‘‘top neck’’ or ‘‘cherrystone,’’ rinsed
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
¼ pound slab bacon or salt pork, diced
1 large Spanish onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
2 large ribs celery, cleaned and diced
1 medium-size green pepper, diced
2 medium-size carrots, peeled and diced
Red-pepper flakes, to taste
3 large Yukon Gold potatoes, cubed
3 sprigs thyme
1 bay leaf
1 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes in juice, crushed or roughly diced
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
¼ cup chopped parsley.

Put the clams in a large, heavy Dutch oven, add about 4 cups water, then set over medium-high heat. Cover, and cook until clams have opened, approximately 10 to 15 minutes. (Clams that fail to open after 15 to 20 minutes should be discarded.) Strain clam broth through a sieve lined with cheesecloth or doubled-up paper towels, and set aside. Remove clams from shells, and set those aside as well.

Rinse out the pot, and return it to stove. Add butter, and turn heat to medium-low. Add bacon or salt pork, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the fat has rendered and the pork has started to brown, approximately 5 to 7 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove pork from fat, and set aside.

Add onions, garlic, celery, green peppers and carrots to the fat, and cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are soft but not brown, approximately 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in potatoes, and continue cooking until they have just started to soften, approximately 5 to 7 minutes. Add 4 cups of clam broth, reserving the rest for another use. Add the sprigs of thyme and the bay leaf.

Partly cover the pot, and simmer gently until potatoes are tender, approximately 10 to 15 minutes. Using the back of a wooden spoon, smash a few potatoes against the side of the pot to release their starch and help thicken the broth.

Meanwhile, chop the clams into bits that are about the size of the bacon dice.

When potatoes are tender, stir in tomatoes, and heat them through. Add chopped clams and reserved bacon, stirring to combine. Add black pepper to taste. Let chowder come to a simmer, and remove from heat. Fish out the thyme and the bay leaf, and discard.

The chowder should be allowed to sit for a while to cure. Reheat it before serving, then garnish with chopped parsley. Serve with oyster crackers.

Postings Count, Weather Brief, and Dinner

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Some people don’t have this much. Clean water. Bread. Cause for celebration.

Some people don’t have this much.
Clean water.
Cause for celebration.

My 332nd consecutive posting, committed to 5,000.

Time is 12.01am.
On Sunday Boston’s temperature will reach a high of 39* with a feels-like temperature of 32*, with mixed precipitation.

Dinner alone, so I haven’t decided what. There’s time.

Today our winter-spring shoulder calendar is hard at work. Today a mixed precip day, but the next six showing sunny skies and four of the six days warmer than 45*. Astounding!.    Tick Tock. In clock language: Enjoy today.

Today our winter-spring shoulder calendar is hard at work.
Today a mixed precip day, but the next six showing sunny skies and four of the six days warmer than 45*.

Tick Tock.
In clock language: Enjoy today.

Tick Tock : Marking Calendars and Deep Weather

After 332 posts we’re at the 6.64% mark of my commitment,
the commitment a different way of marking the passage of time.

Question of the Day

Who is Robert Kraft?

Love your notes.
Contact me at

From my son, Dom:

I just wanted to comment on how much I enjoyed your posting regarding coffee-shop etiquette.  After reading through it and thinking about it for a little while I realized that the reason it stuck with me is because it focused so much on paying attention to what was going on in the world around you.  Cafes can be wonderful spots to slow down your day, to pause and sit and sip and think, but only if we allow them to be.  For many people coffee shops are a rushed experience, graded more on the speed of which we can get in and out of them than anything else, and certainly we don't always have the time to sit.  But when we do, we should care for those around us as well as ourselves: being conscious of others’ needs, knowing that crying baby represents not a nuisance but a part of being among other peoples' life-experience, actually adds to our enjoyment.  Your writing, whether intended or not, reminded me of the way I would ideally like to go through life, so thank you for it.


Web Meister Responds: If it strikes you as a good thing, I meant it.
Seriously, thank you for extracting a life lesson from the thinking.

A grape is purple.

A grape is purple.

Elephant jokes to tell at a bar:

How do you tell an elephant from a grape?

Café du Grand Cour, Aups, Provence, France photo © Howard Dinin.

Café du Grand Cour, Aups, Provence, France
photo © Howard Dinin.

occasional notes on the subject
by Howard Dinin

As a boy, I never liked coffee, or thought I didn't. Dark, bitter, mysterious, and forbidden. It was for adults somehow, and the last thing I wanted was to be an adult. Some things don't change.

Liking coffee did change for sure. And as it did for so many people in so many different ways, going to college—the mythic “rite of passage” aspect we like to anoint ourselves with—made me a coffee lover.

Coffee houses were de rigeur back then—maybe it was just Boston and Cambridge, but somehow going to a coffee house meant more than a hot hopefully complex beverage – a brief safe immersion into a vaguely bohemian experience. And all without the price of being maybe labeled a beatnik. In short it was romantic. And it's never lost that quality for me, even in such a manifest violation of what is basically a term of art: “coffee house,” as Starbucks.

It was Starbucks that eradicated, really incinerated (the process they seemed to use to roast their beans back in the day), what to me was the platonic ideal of a coffee house, innately though, the legendary Coffee Connection of the nearly godlike (in the Greek sense of there being a pantheon in this particular sphere) George Howell. It was he who conceived of the coffee house (never a shop, never a mere pedestrian cafe, with maybe a tray of chicken and tuna salad sandwiches) as a place of solitary contemplation, while engaged in the simultaneous act of slowly, methodically savoring, with an air of worship, a mug of perfectly brewed elixir, concocted of perfectly roasted beans, and for sure, only of single-origin.

I’ve never forgiven George (more or less a contemporary of mine) for selling his wonderful shops, now 25 years ago, to the corporate titan. It still rankles and doesn’t go down, like cold coffee and dregs.

The Biscuit Café & Bakery, Somerville, Massachusetts photo © Howard Dinin

The Biscuit Café & Bakery, Somerville, Massachusetts
photo © Howard Dinin

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft on the field prior to an away game against the Oakland Raiders.  The Patriots won 49-26.

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft on the field prior to an away game against the Oakland Raiders.
The Patriots won 49-26.

Answer to the Question of the Day

Who is Robert Craft?

Robert Kenneth Kraft (born June 5, 1941) is an American businessman.

He is the chairman and chief executive officer of the Kraft Group, a diversified holding company with assets in paper and packaging, sports and entertainment, real estate development and a private equity portfolio.

He is the owner of the National Football League's New England Patriots, Major League Soccer's New England Revolution, and Gillette Stadium, where both teams play.

In June 1963, Kraft married Myra Nathalie Hiatt, a 1964 graduate of Brandeis University and the daughter of the late Worcester, Massachusetts, businessman and philanthropist Jacob Hiatt.
She died due to ovarian cancer, aged 68, on July 20, 2011.
The Krafts were members of Temple Emanuel in Newton, Massachusetts.
A patch bearing Kraft's initials (MHK) appeared on the Patriots' uniform jersey throughout the 2011 season.
The couple had four sons:

Jonathan A. Kraft, born March 4, 1964, president of The Kraft Group and the New England Patriots

Daniel A. Kraft, president of International Forest Products, founded in 1972 by his father

Joshua Kraft, president and CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston

David Kraft, is suing Kraft interests for his share of the wealth.

In June 2012, Kraft began dating actress Ricki Noel Lander, who is 39 years his junior.

In July 2012, Kraft assisted Lander in creating an audition video for a role in The Internship, a then-upcoming Vince Vaughn/Owen Wilson film.
In the video, Kraft reads Wilson's lines for a bikini-clad Lander, dances briefly, curses, and throws a punch at another actor.
After an anonymously supplied copy of the video was hosted on the Barstool Sports website, it went viral and became a subject of commentary on late night television.
In a statement, Kraft said, "I tried to help Ricki prepare an audition tape ... I never intended that it would be made public and I regret that it has.
I think we can all agree that Owen Wilson has nothing to worry about.
I am going to stick to my day job."

Lander gave birth to a child in the fall of 2017.
While there was speculation that Kraft was the father, he denied paternity of the child when the birth was announced in May 2018.

On February 22, 2019, Daniel Kerr—the police chief of Jupiter, Florida—announced that Kraft would face two misdemeanor charges for "soliciting another to commit prostitution", stemming from a human trafficking sweep in Jupiter.
Investigators suspected the managers at the Tokyo Day Spa, where Kraft was allegedly video recorded in sexual activity, were sex trafficking women, forcing the women to perform sex acts on clients.
Deputies had begun to monitor the day spas, and were able to place hidden cameras inside the facility.
They claim Kraft was caught on camera "receiving the alleged acts", according to the lead investigator.
A spokesperson for Kraft issued a statement to "categorically deny that Mr. Kraft engaged in any illegal activity."
On February 25, Dave Aronberg, state attorney for Palm Beach County, announced that Kraft was among 25 people facing first-degree misdemeanor charges for soliciting prostitution at the Jupiter day spa.
The next day, Kraft's attorney electronically entered a not guilty plea in Palm Beach County.

I have a good recipe for Manhattan Clam Chowder but I’d rather watch Dom work it out.

I have a good recipe for Manhattan Clam Chowder but I’d rather watch Dom work it out.

Good Morning on this Sunday, the
Tenth of March.

Today we talked about a New Englander’s search for Manhattan Clam Chowder.
We talked about weather and time.
Read an interesting letter from Domenic that extrapolated a life lesson from the posting on cafes’ dos and don’ts.
We introduced the first of a series of entries from Howard Dinin, a terrific entry on cafes.
And we talked a bit about Robert Kraft.

And now? Gotta go.

Che vuoi? Le pocketbook?

See you soon.

Your Love