It aired in 2001 and maybe only a couple of times immediately after. Its not available on DVD, streaming, or even uploaded to YouTube. It was a simple episode of Al Roker’s old Food Network show Roker on the Road, where he visited historic Sturbridge Village in Massachusetts to give viewers a taste of what an 1830’s Thanksgiving would look like. As a 10 year old who was really into history, it captivated me. I recorded it onto VHS (remember those days?) and proceeded to watch it every year as a sort of tradition. Maybe five or six years ago, I had a friend burn it onto a DVD for me so that I may preserve it forever…and also use as a historical resource for when I teach. For all I know, I could have the only copy on this planet. Just last week, I showed it to the class I am currently interning in, and they enjoyed it. Even now, all these years later, it is not Thanksgiving in this house without a viewing. My love of history and food aside, it simply is just wonderful programming. You will learn plenty in this one hour show, and Roker’s goofy tongue-in-cheek humor will have you giggling from start to finish (with quips such as referring to ladies undergarments of the time as “Queen Victoria’s Secret”).
Suddenly is a 1954 film directed by Lewis Allen which depicts an assassination attempt on the life of the President of the United States. Produced just nine years prior to the JFK assassination, it is impossible to not draw some comparisons, no matter how minor. But it runs a little deeper with this film starring Frank Sinatra as the lead assassin and Sterling Hayden as a proud sheriff who will try to foil the plot. The internet is a wonderful source of rumors, including one which stated that Lee Harvey Oswald watched Suddenly less than a week before his infamous deed. Others state it was his “favorite movie” and some have gone so far as to put those words in the mouth of his brother when interviewed after Kennedy’s death and even Marina herself. Like many of the conspiracy theory aspects, these go unfounded. Two books (one a biography of Sinatra, another on Oswald) have each reinforced this, but again, there is no proof—no Dallas or nearby theater schedule or TV guide listings, which would have no-doubt been discovered by now. There was also no home video at the time, so this almost absolutely rules this out. However, if you have seen the movie then you can see why a rumor such as this would not only spread, but carry weight.
You need to have this on Thursday. Trust me. Before I begin, I just want to say I am not taking credit or claiming ownership of this recipe. There are hundreds of similar ones online. I read through a few and made a some tweaks until I got what I felt would be the most enjoyable. The recipe below is what I made last night, and it really was to die for. Though this is billed as a “Fall” sangria, it does have quite a summery flair if not for the cranberries which are now in season. The overall balance is perfect between sweet and tart, and the finish goes down way too easy. Here’s a couple of other tips before you make this (or any) sangria: please do not use name brand liquors. There are so many websites and shows out there that want you to use an expensive bottle of wine or the finest white rum. It really is nonsense, because when it all gets mixed together you will not know the difference. This isn’t the Food Network. This is your kitchen. Unless you have one of their salaries, do not be ashamed to make this on the cheap. For wine, I used Crane Lake ($3.99) and the rum is Seafarer, which ranges for $13-15 a 1.75 L bottle and is what I always have on hand for those summer cocktails and other kinds of sangria.
They served up a steak that was to die for—literally and metaphorically. It was a garlic butter sirloin. I was only a teenager, but I had reached that point in my life where a slab of bloody meat on a plate had become one of my favorite foods. I cannot remember how many ounces it was, but it seemed gigantic to me. On top was a too-big-for-your-own-good scoop of garlic butter dotted with parsley. After only a minute or two, it would start to melt due to the heat of the steak. It was at this moment when a magical transformation happened, on the same level as a religious experience: when you cut into the meat itself, the blood and juices slowly mixed and mingled with the creamy butter and created its own unique sauce even more tasty and interesting than what it was supposed to be. I think I ordered this three or four times before the unthinkable happened…the restaurant serving it up, Steak & Ale in Middletown, went out of business.
In 2013 and 2014, Shout Factory released the first two volumes of the Vincent Price Collection. Both featured high-definition restored versions of some of Price’s finest work on Blu Ray. There were quite a few films from his teaming up with Roger Corman in the 1960’s as part of his “Poe Cycle”, such as The Masque of the Red Death, The Raven, The Fall of the House of Usher, and The Pit and the Pendulum. There were also others thrown in to make this an eclectic mix, such as A Comedy of Terrors, House on Haunted Hill, and The Abominable Dr. Phibes (and its sequel). Both sets featured six and seven films respectively. I had been in the dark about whether there would be a third installment, and just yesterday, I read there would be. Of course, what is included all boils down to which rights can be acquired by the distributor, and for what cost, but what we will be presented with this coming February 2016 is rather unimpressive.
Restaurant: Mike’s Dairy and Deli (takeout only)
Date: Cumulative Visits
Location: 160 First Avenue, Atlantic Highlands, NJ
What’s that? He’s writing about a deli? Why yes, yes I am. This may seem out of place but I feel compelled to write a review about a convenience store in Atlantic Highlands named Mike’s (not to be confused with the chain sub shops). There is no inside seating, and their cooking area is a little more than a counter and small griddle, but man, they sure know how to whip up a decent sub. Whenever I am working over at the Strauss Mansion Museum, I find myself here picking up lunch or dinner. All half subs are $5.99, regardless of what you want inside them (even bacon). I’ve never ordered the whole, but I did not have to. They pack so much meat and cheese into their sandwiches that unless you are wandering in from 40 days in the desert, you can probably be suited with a half. I like to get their “Garden State” sub, which is Chipotle chicken, spicy Gouda cheese, bacon, lettuce, tomato, onion, and a peppercorn mayonnaise. Other combos contain the norm you can expect from a deli, and they also offer breakfast sandwiches in the morning.
This past Thursday, I gave a lecture on the history of liquor at Brookdale Community College. To my happiness, it was very well received, with many participants asking if I would present a sequel in the spring. I tried to cover as much as I could. Such an extensive topic could not be condensed into just two hours. We began with the beer and wine brewed by the ancient Sumerians and Egyptians, before jumping thousands of years ahead to the Whiskey Rebellion. This was a young America’s first domestic insurrection, where hundreds of whiskey and bourbon distillers in Pennsylvania and Kentucky revolted in protest at a new tax being levied against their products. With the nation more than $70 million in debt, Alexander Hamilton thought the fastest and least unobtrusive way to make that money back was a tax on liquor. He was only correct on one of those assertions—you can guess which.