While sitting at a family dinner recently I thought that of all the venues where we engage in conversation our exchanges during the sharing of a meal is the most delightful and memorable.
We are loud, sometimes irreverent, and we’re bent to pick on anyone, guests included, when we see the potential for a good-natured laugh. We recount family history, sometimes we talk politics, but mostly it’s just the sharing of our lives through unremarkable stories about ourselves or others that we find amusing or entertaining. And we learn about each other in the process.
I noticed a common theme of conversation during our last two family gatherings that is certain proof we spring from the same gene pool.
We all have a knack for setting something on the roof of our car and then driving off, some more than others.
Hannah admitted to slinging numerous drinks on different occasions from the roof of her car after stopping to pick up a chicken biscuit on her way to school. Every now and then she even left the biscuit on top. While the drinks were never recoverable, the biscuit always was.
My brother, Brandon, confessed to turning a corner which hurled his daytimer from the roof of his car into the middle of Frankford Road a handful of years ago.
Amazingly it landed intact and was picked up by a Dallas Police Officer who witnessed the unfortunate incident, and who pursued him and returned it when Brandon stopped to gas up. While he was grateful for the return of the daytimer, at the dinner table Brandon expressed more pleasure that the pursuing officer didn’t issue him a speeding citation.
And then there’s Ariel.
This spring we traded cars so she could use my 4Runner to assist with the move into an apartment off Lover’s Lane and Greenville Ave. in preparation for her second year at SMU. My car keys went missing and she searched frantically for them before calling me.
Refusing to believe that the keys were permanently missing I made my way to her apartment. When we had jointly searched for 30 minutes or so (it didn’t take long as not much had been moved in yet), I too conceded that they were missing until her boyfriend returned from a round trip to SMU. We discovered my keys had taken a joyride atop his parent’s Blazer that he had borrowed to help with the move. Amazingly my keys had survived their journey to SMU and back down I-75. I am very thankful for roof racks.
And, once again, there’s Ariel.
A few weeks ago she ended several hours of violin practice in the basement of Meadows (where she typically practices 4 or 5 hours per day) to head home for the day. Her typical routine is to set everything (books, music, purse, violin) on top of the car so she can unlock and then load which she did except this time she forgot to load her cased violin.
When she turned the corner onto Binkley her violin, a slave to the laws of physics, slid off the roof and onto the pavement.
The horror of the situation settled in fast and she responded as you’d expect any passionate violinist would to retrieve her most precious possession that’s worth more than double the value of her car.
She stopped the car in the middle of the intersection, jumped out, and in one fluid motion locked the car door as this is her custom because she doesn’t have electric locks. Yes, a locked, running car parked in the middle of an intersection.
Eventually the SMU police were called, an officer promptly responded, unlocked the door, and she was on her way. Both she and her violin escaped physically unscathed. Even the violin case, a recent purchase, itself showed little or no damage as a result of the tumble.
She now vows that her violin will always be the first item placed in the car.
And she has done so. I just wish she'd get everything in the car.
A month later she left her cell phone on top of her car after a wedding gig; the cell phone was irretrievable. The next time something goes missing I’m going to ask whether or not it’s been close to the roof of her car.
So those were the best of the stories from the past two meals.
More important than the stories we've told though is the joy and laughter we've shared along with a great meal. We have yet to conceive any brilliant ideas or solve any of the world's problems; we simply enjoy each other. We take time to nourish our hearts as well as our bodies.
And that’s what mealtime should be about.
Savor the taste of your family bonds and friendships around the table soon.
Spicy Herbed Beef 4 lbs. round roast 1/4 cup vinegar 2 T. Worcestershire sauce 2 T. garlic, minced 1 T. dried oregano 1 small onion, diced .7 oz package Italian dressing mix 2 t. dried basil 1/4 t. salt 1/2 t. pepper
Using a sharp knife, make cuts1/2-inch deep over the entire roast. In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, oregano, onion, dressing mix, basil, salt and pepper.
Oven Roasting: Place the roast on a roasting rack. Spoon the sauce over the roast. Cover and roast at 325 degrees for 48-60 minutes, or until tender and cooked to your preference.
Crockpot: Place the roast in the crockpot. Spoon the sauce over the roast. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or until cooked to your preference.
Sandra’s Cooking Notes:
This recipe is a family favorite and it’s very simple.
I adapted the recipe from “The Complete Rival Roaster Oven Cookbook”. I don’t own the roaster, but bought the cookbook because it has some very simple, delicious sounding recipes. The original recipe calls for cooking this roast in the oven. I prefer the crockpot.
This is the second year for the KickStart dinner and auction benefiting Chuck Norris' KickStart Foundation. Featuring Wynonna in a private concert, a live auction featuring a Harley Davidson motorcycle autographed for you by Chuck Norris, guitar autographed by Wynonna, performance by Dallas KickStart Team and more, this event is a wonderful way to thank clients and major corporate partners while rubbing elbows with Hollywood insiders.Lisa and Kenny Troutt are honorary chairs.
In addition to a performance by the KICKSTART demo team the evening will feature a silent and live auction of exclusive items including a one-of-a-kind Chuck Norris personally autographed custom Harley-Davidson motorcycle; an autographed guitar by Wynonna Judd; an African safari; Andreas Beckman custom boots; a weekend getaway at the Norris Ranch; a trip to Costa Rica; a trip to Atlantis Paradise Island in the Bahamas; Mordechai Yerushalmi hand crafted jewelry, sports memorabilia and more.
Bid on a trip to Lexington, Kentucky with VIP tickets to the 2006 Keeneland Race track and a 7 night vacation at the Griffin Gate villa owned by Hoffman International Properties.
How can I attend?
Please join us on Saturday night, September 9th as we celebrate KICKSTART’s success and secure it's promise for the future. "We're thrilled to welcome Wynonna as our feature entertainer in an up-close-and-personal concert on this very special night." Sponsorship levels are $25,000, $12,500, $7,500. Individual tickets are $500. Seating is limited and by reservation only. For more information contact Marissa B. Seim at 214.704.7773 or
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Several years ago I decided that when Hannah graduated from high school I would take both my girls on a big hurrah trip somewhere. Since it was my dollars that would fund the excursion I unilaterally decided that "somewhere" would be Italy. And a great decision it was if I must say so myself.
For several glorious days this past June we thoroughly exhausted ourselves by taking in most every major site there is to see in Rome, Siena, Montalcino, Florence, and Venice. I made all the arrangements myself with the help and guidance of a dear friend over the Internet. We navigated our way around using the public bus and train systems and even rented a car in Tuscany, all without knowing a word of Italian. I have more than 500 digital photos to show for the effort.
I came home saying, "Ciao," and with an addiction to real Italian pizza. I never tired of eating pizza in Italy and sometimes we ate it more than once a day. This was convenient as this was about all my budget could afford. I was not happy about having to surrender a stick of salami to customs upon our return, but I did manage to hang onto a nice hunk of parmigiana reggiano.
My favorite food discovery was an appetizer I ordered in a small cafe and wine bar, Alle Logge, in Montalcino, - toasted pecorino cheese. It was a beautiful chunk of pecorino that had been melted, slightly toasted, and drizzled with the most delightful honey I've ever tasted. The honey was clear and clean tasting, almost transparent on the dish.
I hadn't been home more than 48 hours when I made my way to Jimmy's Food Store, determined to recreate this dish at home. I picked up a nice hunk of Tuscan pecorino there and then a jar of a light, mild-tasting German honey, Acacia, at Central Market. Back at home, I used a non-stick pan heated with a bit of oil to melt and then toast the cheese. It turned out a bit toastier than the dish I'd had in Montalcino, but it was close enough for me and definitely a keeper.
The first trick to this dish is letting the cheese come to room temperature before toasting so that it melts easily. The second trick is to make sure you buy Tuscan pecorino. Be careful at Jimmy's. There was much confusion behind the counter there on my second trip as to which pecorino was Tuscan and I came home with the wrong kind. It definitely didn't melt.
Ariel's favorite food find was Italian cappucino which is served luke-warm and has a deeper, richer flavor than we get in the states. We drank cappucino's every morning with breakfast as this is the Italian way and beyond breakfast when the mood would strike us. Most Italians chase their morning cappucino with a pastry while standing at a coffee bar sometime during their morning commute. I am convinced that this is why this drink is served luke-warm. They don't have time to let it cool.
I want to go back to Italy and spend more time in Tuscany. So many wines, so little time. But for now, I am content with my toasted pecorino and (German) honey dish along with my memories of a great time with my girls. We had very few tense moments given that we shared every meal and one bathroom for 11 days straight.
Take a look at the movie I made using the photos from the trip here.
Join us as Compass Bank presents the 10th Annual Texas Trailblazer Award Luncheon Reach for the Stars benefiting The Family Place.
Victor Rivers - National spokesperson for the National Network to End Domestic Violence - Celebrity Guest Speaker
At a cocktail reception sponsored by deBoulle last week, Paige Flink, Executive Director, The Family Place, announced Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison will receive the first ever Gerry Beer Founders Award. The award has been established this year to commemorate the 10th Anniversary of the Texas Trailblazer Luncheon.
Gerry Beer was a pioneer in the field of family violence, identifying the need for services and shelter for battered women and children at the forefront of a movement to come. When she began her work in family violence, there were no laws in Dallas protecting battered women, no policies for the arrest of batterers, and no shelter to save lives. Gerry secured volunteers and later funding to begin a hotline and outreach counseling.
This grassroots effort grew into The Family Place, which opened one of the first shelters for victims of family violence in the state of Texas in 1978.
The Gerry Beer Founders Award honors a woman who has taken a stand against family violence and whose trailblazing contributions and achievements have made a profound impact on women’s issues.
The Texas Trailblazer Award Nominees: Anne Davidson, Lynn McBee, Nina Vaca, Virginia Whitehill, Billie Williamson
Honorary Committee: Celebrating our 10th Anniversary, we are honored to present each Texas Trailblazer Award recipient through the past nine years as our Honorary Committee: 1996 - Louise Raggio; 1997 – Ebby Halliday Acers; 1998 – Norma Lee Beasley; 1999 – Anita N. Martinez; 2000 – Nancy Brinker; 2001 – Vivian Castleberry; 2002 – Elaine Agather; 2003 – Caroline Rose Hunt; 2005 – Colleen Barrett
When: August 23, 2006. Registration 11:30. Luncheon begins at noon.
Where: Frontiers of Flight Museum at Love Field
Sponsorships are available. Tickets are $100 each, by reservation only. So call ahead to reserve your spot.
About Victor Rivers: As an actor Victor Rivers is the veteran star of more than two dozen films. He may be best known for such roles at Magic Mike from the cult hit BLOOD IN/BLOOD OUT, as Eddie Murphy's sidekick in THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN and as Antonio Banderas' ill-fated brother in THE MASK OF ZORRO.
As an actor Victor Rivers is the veteran star of more than two
On television Victor has guest starred on such hit shows as MIAMI VICE, JAG, STAR TREK, C.S.I. MIAMI, and 24.
Victor's dramatic personal story also reflects an amazingportrait of a young man overcoming the odds.
The D Magazine party Thursday night is going to be an absolutely FUN bash! The band, A Hard Night's Day, is not just Beatles. They're so much more and a show band, at that. Plus the hottest DJs in town, great food, drinks. The event benefits Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children.
If you want to see what the night life is like in Dallas, they're all going to be here. Bring some friends and have a ball! You'll be the star at the coffee-klatch and water cooler conversations Friday morning.
The slogan "Don't Mess with Texas" is up for a national ad award. You can vote only one time from one computer, so vote as much as you can: from work, home, laptop. Link to eBuzzNewsletter for links to all of these and more.
Questions? Email me:
. See you Thursday!