Category Archives: Travel Blog

Our Family’s Acme Juicer

“Old Faithful”

I always feel, when I pull this bad boy out of the cupboard, that we’re part of the Bugs Bunny/Roadrunner Hour. Acme was always the brand that the Roadrunner featured and it always puts a smile on my face when I use it.

My parents bought this centrifugal juicer back in the 50’s – sometime after my brother, George, was born in 1956 and before I arrived in 1959. Lots of fruit and vegetables have been juiced in this machine and I am so grateful to have it with us in Cabo.

Getting the juicer here was no small feat. It’s heavy, and I mean REALLY heavy and there was no way that it was ever going to be part of my luggage. Mom’s neighbors and friends, Rob and Kathy, drove down every year from Alberta to Vicente Guerrero, a small puebla located on Highway 1, approximately 175 south of Tijuana, Mexico. They come, at their own expense, to do missionary work at the orphanage located there. We admire their commitment and selflessness very much. Anyway, Rob and Kathy agreed to stow boxes for me for three different years so that I could get some of my heavier articles here. The Acme juicer arrived last winter and we were so grateful to receive it.

After my parents bought it, my Dad belonged to a health club that had a steam room. Dad loved onions and decided to make onion juice for himself using the Acme juicer. It seemed like a good idea until he went to the steam room after drinking the juice. One by one, every single man got up and left. It finally dawned on Dad that the onion juice was coming through his pores and he stunk out the other steam room users. They say that a skunk smells his own smell last! I guess that was true in this situation.

My Mom processed high bush cranberries in that juicer and so much more over the years. One of the highlights when I was a kid was the treat of fresh carrot juice when we dug up our garden. I loved carrot juice then and I absolutely still love it now!

Some years ago, the lug nut in the centre of the machine stripped out and I was desperate to find a replacement. The internet is a wonderful thing as I located a parts provider in Minneapolis, MN, who sent me the part I needed to keep the juicer going for a few more decades (this machine was definitely made to LAST!)!

The other day I dug out “Old Faithful” and did up a batch of juice using fresh organic carrots and beets from our local market, ginger, apple and cucumber that we grew in our Tower Garden, ginger and apple. It was absolutely delicious and transported me to those years on the farm when we made our harvest carrot juice in the fall.

Thanks, Mom (and Rob and Kathy), for finding a way to send this treasure and piece of family history to its new home in Mexico!

Pomegranate Harvest

Pomegranate Harvest

We had the pleasure of having my precious Mom here for just over three weeks. She wanted to contribute, so was given the job of checking the pomegranate trees for ripe fruit, then picking and seeding them (and a couple of other jobs as well, but not as fun as this one).

Our Pomegranate Queen!

We had a beautiful rain and, unlike most days when there are one or perhaps two ready, we had over a dozen bursting and ready to harvest the day following when the sun came out. We managed to give a few of them away, but Mom faithfully seeded the ones we were left with and put them in containers in the fridge for our consumption.

Pomegranate Harvest

Pomegranates are absolutely DELICIOUS when picked off the tree, as any fresh fruit is, and we kept Mom very busy with this task. I promised to make her a very famous Mexican dish called Chiles en Nogada, but we just ran out of time. I committed to practicing and making them for her next year and I made my first batch last night, inspired by a recipe from the Atlantic magazine by Rick Bayless.

Traditional Chiles en Nogada originates from Puebla, is tied to the independence of Mexico, and celebrates the three colors of the Mexican flag: green from the Poblano chile, white from the walnut cream sauce, and red from the pomegranate seeds. This dish is usually served at room temperature, but I reheated the chiles, stuffed with picadillo (a mixture of ground lamb, fruits and spices), then topped them with the cold walnut cream sauce and garnished with the pomegranate seeds. I served the Chiles en Nogada with steamed romanesco, beautiful and fresh from the organic market up the street.

Chiles en Nogada and Steamed Romanesco

This is definitely a time-consuming dish to prepare, but I look forward to making it for Mom next year when she visits. It’s the least I can do for all the pomegranates that she picked and painstakingly seeded for all of us to enjoy!

Opting Out

I have long struggled with using Facebook for personal purposes and have posted very little while I have been signed up on it. The few times that I’ve gone on it to see what’s happening in people’s lives have amazed me with the amount of time that can be and is wasted by people NOT living their own lives. I feel the same way about television: I’d rather LIVE my life in prime time than WATCH it, so I spend very little time in front of it (and I’m very selective about what I do watch). I’ve experienced where people post things without thinking, forgetting that employers, customs officers, police and others in power, check social media and what has been posted earlier and thoughtlessly in their lives, can come back to impact them later. I’ve experienced people using Facebook as a surveilance tool and compromised personal relationships because of their response to something happening in other’s lives.

I believe that Facebook was tampered with during the American election in late 2016 and that it continues to be responsible for promoting and spreading hatred and ignorance to people who do not have the capacity or intelligence to think more critically and check sources.

I have been using Facebook for professional purposes, but I’m rethinking that now. In my opinion, Facebook is for personal use, although it can and is used by many for professional purposes as well (Mexico, for example, uses Facebook extensively for everything, both personal and professional uses).

There are better tools for professional use, like LinkedIn. We can keep the standards high by reporting anyone who is abusing it or using it for inapproporate social contact. It is purely a professional network and needs to be kept as such. 

I refuse to ever use Twitter. I refused long before watching a moronic President send out his impulsive and reprehensible “tweets”. He sends out unfiltered garbage that is so far from behavior I expect from ANYONE, and especially from a “world leader”. He is clearly NOT that.

The good news is that we get to vote with our participation and subscription to social media. I, for one, have decided to extricate and opt out of Facebook and Twitter. I hope others decide to do the same.

Unexpected Kindness

Unexpected Kindness

Earlier this week, we were walking from Harlem to the Upper East Side to visit our friends, Damon and Kendra, and to share dinner with them and their delightful daughters, Evelyn and Nina.

The View from and in Damon and Kendra’s Apartment

I have a tendency to walk very quickly and, not paying attention to the ground but rather to all the sights and sounds that New York City offers, I missed seeing an irregularity in the sidewalk. I tripped and it felt like everything immediately changed to slow motion as I tried to regain my balance and avert an inevitable fall. But fall I did, but I managed to take some air and land so that the brunt of the fall was on my wrists and the top (not the front, which would have been normal) of my knees. Had I not done that, I would have hit my head, for sure. Ron, of course, had tried to stop the fall, but it was impossible. He rushed to see if I was okay, but he was not alone. A young woman walking behind us ran up to check and to give us the silver bracelet that broke on impact. A very kind gentleman rushed up from the corner ahead of us to check on my condition and to lend whatever assistance was required. He pulled a salve out of his pocket for me to apply to my scraped knee and was so kind in his concern and manner. All I wanted to do was dust myself off and get out of there as quickly as possible as I was thoroughly embarrassed.

When we got to Damon and Kendra’s, we doctored my wounds and Kendra shared that, although New York is a city where people tend to be very impersonal, they will rush to help in situations like mine. The unexpected kindness was very surprising to us, but affirmed that people are really good at heart, wherever they live.

Blood-Orange Rosemary Fizz

Blood-Orange Rosemary Fizz

 

Some of Alberto’s Produce at the Pedregal Organic Market

We are so fortunate to have the organic market half a block away from us on Wednesdays and Saturdays. On Wednesday, Manuel had the most beautiful blood-oranges, so I decided to try a new cocktail that evening. I saw a recipe that inspired the drink on the Food & Wine website – it used both blood-orange and rosemary, of which we have two large bushes of.

For each drink (I used red wine glasses to serve), here are the portions:

2 ounces fresh blood-orange (or pink grapefruit juice can be substituted)

1/2 ounce Campari

1/2 ounce rosemary simple syrup*

2 ounces Prosecco

1 blood-orange slice, for garnish

1 rosemary sprig, for garnish

Put desired amount of crushed ice in each wine glass. Add the blood-orange juice, Campari and rosemary simple syrup. Mix and top with the Prosecco and garnish with the blood-orange slice and rosemary sprig.

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Blood-Orange Rosemary Fizz

*To make the rosemary simple syrup, stir together 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 cup water and 2 fresh rosemary sprigs in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, and boil for 1 minute or until sugar is dissolved, Remove from heat, and let stand 30 minutes or until cool. Pour liquid through a wire-mesh strainer into an airtight bottle, discarding rosemary sprigs. Cover and chill. Syrup may be stored for up to a month in the fridge.