• Russian Gourmet:Smoked Fish

     Delicious smell and delicate taste of smoked fish cannot be overstated. “Hot Smoked” fish is cooked by smoke, while “cold smoked” is cured by smoke allowing it to retain firm texture, natural fattiness and moisture, adding unbelievable smoky taste and golden skin. Smoked fish goes with everything: vodka or beer, baked potato, bread with butter, bread without butter, and then some more vodka or beer…..
    Good enough for the last meal…

    smoked mackerel  smoked mackerel

    smoked mackerel smoked mackerel 

     smoked mackerel

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  • Porcine Wishes and Motorhome Dreams

    Kansas City,

    Recently your generosity helped finance some worthwhile and other projects. Your giving hearts and open wallets gave a much-needed hand-up to several budding entrepreneurs so they can continue to make this city better, funner, more exciting place to live.

    This is why I find it appropriate to ask you once again for a small donation. I am not asking for myself, I am asking for all of us. We all know that Kansas City is one pig truck away from the big leagues.

    ©Joe Mabel

    With the pig truck cruising our streets and highways we will finally join the ranks of trend-setting metropolises such as Seattle, Los Angeles, Chicago and, dare I say it, Omaha.  With the pig truck of our own, you will finally be able to proudly say: “I am from Kansas City” without having to listen to the laundry list of the things we don’t have from Trader Joe’s to the In-N-Out.

    ©Joe Mabel

    Isn’t pride worth just a few of your dollars? How much do you love your city? Donating money to the pig truck fund is like stuffing dollar bills into a stripper’s thong so she can graduate from the law school and finally take her rightful place in the society – doing the same thing but with the clothes on.

    But wait, there is more. Unlike some other cities where a similar pig truck may exist, the Kansas City version will not be serving food. I will be just driving it around town. This will make it the first ever ironic food truck, leaving the other cities in the junk pile of backwardness and unhipness.

    ©Joe Mabel

    Here is how this is going to work: every donation will be rewarded.

    • Less than $10 – you will be allowed to wash the truck on the first-come-first-served basis.
    • $10-$50 – unlimited photos in front of the truck for you and your friends. (photos not included)
    • $50-$100 – you will be allowed to climb on/in the snout area and take a photo. (photos and liability not included)
    • $100-$1,000 – one ride to/from work limited to 25 miles for you and 5 of your friends and family members. 2 honks oinks will be allowed during the ride at the time of your choosing.
    • $1,000-$10,000 – one 50-mile round-trip to the location of your choice, pictures, truck-wash and unlimited use of the honk oink.
    • $50,000 – you will be given full use of the vehicle for one (1) night with no driving privileges. You will receive “We Did It Piggy-Style” framed certificate upon emerging from the truck. Your future child will appreciate an autographed framed photo of you in front of the truck with the caption “You were conceived in a pig”. (condoms, STD treatments and liability not included. Maximum 3 persons.)
    • Other prized can be arranged.

    Only your generosity can save the future and the prestige of this city. Your dollars will propel us ahead of all the places who now have the audacity to look down on us.

    Send your donations:

    c/o #kcpigmobile to the email address on this site.

    ©Joe Mabel

    Don’t let the pigtail of progress wave in your face.

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  • Old Photos:National Independence Day of Israel

    Yom Ha’atzmaut – national independence day of Israel is celebrated in April.

    Prime Minister Dave Ben-Gurion (6L), Foreign Minister Moshe Sharett (4R) and Labor Minister Moshe Ben-Tov (2R) at Proclamation of nationhood of Israel.

    Prime Minister Dave Ben-Gurion (6L), Foreign Minister Moshe Sharett (4R) and Labor Minister Moshe Ben-Tov (2R) at Proclamation of nationhood of Israel.©Time Inc.Frank Scherschel

    Establishment of Israel had important connections to the city where I was born and the city where I live now.

    Odessa became the home of a large Jewish community during the 19th century, and by 1897 Jews were estimated to comprise some 37% of the population. They were, however, repeatedly subjected to severe persecution. Pogroms were carried out in 1821, 1859, 1871, 1881, and 1905. Many Odessan Jews fled abroad, particularly to Palestine after 1882, and the city became an important base of support for Zionism.

    The Kansas City connection is through the President Truman and Eddie Jacobson who influenced Truman’s pro-Israely stance. A recent play at the Lewis and Shirley White Theatre at the Jewish Community Center covered the subject of their friendship. Truman library also has a collection dedicated to the recognition of the State of Israel. Then:

    Areal view of Tel Aviv. 1948

    Areal view of Tel Aviv. 1948 © Time Inc.Dmitri Kessel


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  • Old Photos: Churchill’s Iron Curtain Speech

    Just like many other great speeches, Churchill’s Sinews of Peace address delivered on March 5, 1946 at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri was reduced to a few soundbites that everyone recognizes but can’t necessarily put in a context. In this case there is probably not a person alive who haven’t heard about the Iron Curtain, a Cold War reference to the division between the Soviet- and Western-influenced zones in Europe. For almost half a century, the Iron Curtain dominated the international relations, as well as lives of hundreds of millions of people. Today, its legacy is still haunting the world and, on a smaller scale, provides inspiration to a large section of this blog.

    From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic an iron curtain has descended across the Continent. Behind that line lie all the capitals of the ancient states of Central and Eastern Europe. Warsaw, Berlin, Prague, Vienna, Budapest, Belgrade, Bucharest and Sofia, all these famous cities and the populations around them lie in what I must call the Soviet sphere, and all are subject in one form or another, not only to Soviet influence but to a very high and, in some cases, increasing measure of control from Moscow.

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  • Spring Gourmet: Marinated Leaf Lettuce

    By a strange coincidence as I was preparing to write this, a post showed up in my reader with some research on the origins of this recipe. Apparently it has some Jewish roots and comes from the regions of Ukraine and Moldova, where people enjoyed it for years with a myriad of variations. It has a pleasant refreshing taste but I was surprised to discover that many people enjoy drinking slightly fermented brine than eating the greens. In any case this is very simple to make and goes well with any meal.

    As with most recipes published here you can’t really screw this up. I started with 2 bunches of leaf lettuce (you probably want to start with one), garlic (young garlic is preferred, but I didn’t have it), and a bunch of dill.

    Chop dill and garlic, cut and throw away the thick ends off the lettuce and chop or chiffonade the rest in 1/4” or wider strips. You cannot have too much of any ingredient here, so don’t bother weighing and measuring.

    Place everything in a bowl or container. In a pot heat up some water, add salt, white vinegar and sugar to taste. The taste should be pleasant, not too sweet, not too sour, not too salty. We are not making pickles here or brining a turkey, make it so the taste is enjoyable to you. Heat up the liquid until it boils, then let cool down a little. There should be enough liquid to submerge the greens, but keep in mind that they will compact to about a third of the original size. Pour warm brine over the green mix and let sit on the counter until it cools completely or even overnight. It’s ready to eat in just a few hours.

    According to the article I read, many people add a piece of rye bread to promote fermentation and consume the resulting refreshing drink. In my family we just eat it as a salad, but I must admit that I never drain it and enjoy the brine as well as the greens.

    When I was growing up® and the produce was still seasonal, this was a welcome taste of the spring and early summer – fresh, green, smelling of dill and garlic. Nowadays, you don’t have to wait til May to try your first lettuce of the year but  somehow it still tastes better around this time.

    And now we dance!

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