This week 40 years ago the Kansas City International Airport was dedicated by Vice President Spiro Agnew. Hard to believe that it’s living out its last few years.
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I’ve used a few photos from this batch in my previous posts about the tough looks of old-time bosses, about a day in life of a Kansas City Ford dealer (this one received a comment from someone in the photo), and about the schoolchildren visiting the Nelson-Atkins. These pictures were taken for the feature story “Kansas City and St.Louis: Picture portfolio shows some contrasts between striving city and a settled one“, published in March of 1954.
Back to back in the middle of the U.S., 235 miles apart across the state of Missouri, ate the two cities – Kansas City (pop. 456.662) and St.Louis (pop.856,796) – which together sum up a good part of America. In many ways the two are alike. Both were founded by French traders (St.Louis in 1764 by Pierre Laclede Liguest and Auguste Chouteau, Kansas City in 1821 by Chouteau’s nephew). Both are on great rivers, both lie in the same farm belt, both are famous for their newspapers and both are prospering. But in outlook and temperament the cities are radically different. Old and mellow, St.Louis reflects the East and South of the U.S.; its most prominent statue is that of Louis IX, the saintly French monarch for whom the town is named. Young and brash, Kansas City faces the wide-open energetic West; its favorite statue is of an American Indian who gazes out over the stockyards.
Nowhere is the contrast between St.Lois and Kansas City more noticeable than in civic improvement. Kansas City is eager to better itself; efforts to make St.Louis pay for its own civic health run into endless delays.
…is covered in this video.
If there is something else you wanted to know that is not covered in my groundbreaking Behind The Iron Curtain series, this would be a good time to ask. I might even cover your question in an upcoming post.
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Korean Spicy Carrots are like American Chinese food – they are not known in their supposed country of origin, but that doesn’t make them any less delicious. There is a fairly large population of ethnic Koreans in the former republics of what used to be the Soviet Union; many of them live in the Central Asia courtesy of comrade Stalin who thought that they might be thinking of spying for Japan. Sometime between then and now Korean Spicy Carrots were born. The average citizen may not know much about Koreans but there aren’t many people who haven’t tried the carrots. Koreans guard the secret better than the Coca-Cola recipe, but there are many that come close and they are fairly easy to make.
Attention: Do not attempt to change the following recipe. John Dickerson of Bowling Green, MO changed the recipe and was soon beaten, robbed and repeatedly sodomized, his wife left him and he has a confirmed case of the swine flu. Dick Johnson of Butte, MT, didn’t change the recipe, instead sending it to 45 of his closest friends; soon he won the lottery, married Ms.April 2008, and discovered that he is fluent in 6 languages. Make your own conclusions.
For this recipe you will need julienned carrots, ground or crushed coriander seeds, cayenne pepper, vinegar, vegetable oil, onion, garlic and salt (kosher is good). It is very important to have julienne carrots, they look similar to thin long matchsticks. You can learn to do your own, try a special peeler, or do what I do and buy them. The package I have says “shredded”:
…but as you can see on the photo they are square shaped and not flat shreds. Real Koreans manage to have them cut in long almost spaghetti-like strands.
Mix carrots with salt and leave for 20 minutes. The amount of salt should be slightly more than you would use for a regular salad.
In the meantime, in a skillet heat up some oil and place a sliced onion in it. I used 1/2 cup of oil for the amount of carrots I had and that might have been a little much, maybe 1/3 cup will do next time; adjust accordingly with the amount of carrots.
Press as much juice out of the carrots as possible until they look fairly dry.
Construct a volcano-looking mound out of carrots. Place coriander and red pepper into the “crater” area. I used 1/2 teaspoons of each. Adjust to your own heat tolerance.
Remove onions from the skillet (they should be golden, not burned) and pour almost-smoking oil into the “crater”. Add a splash of vinegar, 2 finely minced (or pressed) cloves of garlic and mix.
Place the carrots in a container and refrigerate for 12-24 hours. Some recipes suggest to chop the fried onions and add them to the mix. I didn’t, I ate some and threw away the rest.
Korean Spicy Carrots can be enjoyed as a salad, pickle-like condiment, on a sandwich, in a taco or with whatever else that may benefit from a spicy kick. Make sure you go easy on heat if you can’t handle it. Enjoy!
Nineteen years ago today an otherwise routine TWA flight landed in the Kansas City International Airport with me, my family and all of our possessions on board. We walked out into a 70F day wearing winter jackets and fur hats to start our lives in this country with a few hundred dollars and our broken English.
To mark this date I will answer the question I’ve been asked the most during these years –
How do you say “fuck” in Russian? What part of Russia is Ukraine?Do you miss the old country?
Do I miss the old country? The short answer is no. I really don’t. I don’t long for the streets and the beaches; don’t miss the sound of a familiar language; don’t care to mingle with the people; don’t feel like I belong there.
There is a long answer though, to a slightly different question: do I miss the old country between 1969 and 1992? Yes, I do.
I had plenty of time to think about nostalgia and even test it out by going back several times. I think that places don’t mean much without the memories. Memories is the difference between the place that means something in one’s life and just another tourist attraction. You walk down the streets and remember a place where you first walked next to a girl; or a spot where you stood on your first day of school with a giant bouquet of flowers; a storefront that used to sell the best ice cream in the city; a toy store where you wandered in without any money; a street where you got punched in the nose (and still have a crooked nose as a reminder); a park you used to go to with your parents; a place where you learned to ride a bike; a building where you first love used to live; a street where you walked wearing a gas mask to win a bet; many other things, probably not that important in the big picture but still somehow stored in your head all these years. These things I miss, but they are no longer there, they were just a brief moments of my life and there is no way to go back and relive them. Maybe it’s better that way; that’s what makes these memories unique and a huge part of who I am.
I don’t have to go back to a specific place to reminisce. The place since moved on anyway – rebuilt, reinvented, repainted, renamed, refurbished, re-branded, repopulated, recycled and replaced. I no longer feel like I am a part of it. I feel like I am going back to the old country when I talk with my childhood friend in Argentina, or call my old neighbor in Boston, or catch up with my army buddy in New York. Old country is us. Old country is our memories. Old country is these photographs. Fuzzy and oddly vivid, just like I remember.
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