Christmas Progressives

Yesterday I ventured into Chicago with my daughter and two grandchildren for our annual “breakfast under the tree.” Before Macy’s was Macy’s it was Marshall Field’s. For years Field’s sponsored a special Christmas breakfast in their famed Walnut Room. The atrium is several stories high, and at Christmas they dress a three-story high Christmas tree. This year the theme was Believe.

We arrived at nine-thirty expecting to walk in and take the elevator directly to the hostess desk on the seventh floor.  Wrong! The store was still closed. I found a sign with the hours and learned that they opened at 10 a.m. this week. Oh well, not to spoil a good adventure, I suggested we  walk a few blocks to see the city of Chicago Christmas tree. It is always very beautiful. The walk was blustery and windy, but what the heck it is December. Surprise, when we arrived at the Daley Plaza the tree was not there in its usual place. It was gone, not a needle on the sidewalk anywhere in sight. The Chris Kindle market was being disassembled. The Jewish Minora and the Christian creche were still there, as were the pigeons warming themselves around the Eternal Flame memorial. All I kept thinking was these dirty Progressive bastards. They must have begun removing the tree at one minute after midnight. For as long as I remember, the tree, and the plaza were left up through the week between Christmas and New Year. Obviously these symbols, and cultures are offensive to others. It doesn’t matter that they have offended all Jews and Christians by these actions.

We walked back to Macy’s and waited another five minutes for the door to open. Another surprise awaited us at the Walnut Room. The original Macy hours for the breakfast changed. They no longer open for breakfast the week after Christmas. Thankfully the tree was still up and we got to admire the tree adorned in blue lights and silver sparkles. We waited another hour for the room to open for lunch. Thankfully, the service was fast but the food was ordinary. We slopped it down and left for home.

img_3161

It is obvious to me that Macy’s does not like Chicago or the traditions they inherited when they bought Field’s. Quite frankly, I don’t believe Macy’s will survive in Chicago for as many years as Marshall Field’s did.

 

A Very Modern Christmas Tree

Macy's Chicago 2014 Christmas Tree

Macy’s Chicago 2014 Christmas Tree

One of the more recent traditions we have as a family is to eat breakfast under the Christmas tree in the Walnut Room at Macy’s in downtown Chicago. We had a three-year hiatus, and I missed going. The disruption occurred when my son and his family moved out-of-town. It made the venture less exciting. This year, however, my daughter told me my youngest grand-daughter, asked why we don’t do it anymore. Well, we couldn’t have that, so we planned it, and the bunch of us crowded into her family van and off we rode to the Loop.

Since Peggy and I don’t like walking in the cold, we found a parking garage immediately across the street from the Macy’s Randolph Street entrance. We arrived at eight o’clock just as that door opened, or so we thought. Nevertheless, we hustled to the elevator to the seventh floor. As we walked through the store with its bland decor we passed a sea of designer handbags. I named to the canyon of bags. None of them are affordable in my candid opinion. I saw a big sign announcing a twenty-five percent mark down sale. The bag, on sale, sported  a three hundred and eighty dollar tag. We made it to the elevator without buying a single purse, there was no line. The elevator doors opened on seven and we saw a line at the entrance to the Walnut Room. Granted, it wasn’t the sometimes serpentine line like when visiting Disney World, but it was a line. So much for the doors open at eight. We were about fourth, and led to seats immediately, although not under the tree, but rather away from the tree right next to the buffet. My emotions wrestled with would I rather be under the tree or next to the food, the food won out.

The buffet was unexciting, scrambled eggs, sausages, bacon, French toast, fresh fruit compote, a yogurty thing with muesli, and muffins. It was a filling station buffet, certainly not up to Macy’s image and quality. In years past, we ordered from a limited menu of some really nice, and creative breakfast foods.

One feature of the breakfast is the Fairy Princess who works the room looking for wee kids to amaze. We were about to leave when she finally appeared and asked my eleven year old Jenna Rose if she wanted a wish granted. “Yess”, she answered shyly. The Fairy Princess waved a magic wand around Jenna’s head and sprinkled fairy dust on her. Fairy Princess then asked Jenna, “What did you wish?”  Jenna replied “It is a secret.” My sixteen year old grandson, Jenna’s brother debated about whether he should take a nap or hit on the Princess. He caught his mother’s look and decided a nap was in order, but he couldn’t because we all got up to leave.

Jenna Gets Her Wish

Jenna Gets Her Wish

We viewed the tree from the eighth floor and took pictures before exiting for the next adventure, to view the City of Chicago Christmas tree. Before going for the car we did the obligatory window walk to see what Macy’s had done for Christmas this year. In past years, we couldn’t get near the windows without some weaseling through the crowds. It was different this year, we were able to walk right past the windows without anyone obscuring the view. Where are all the shoppers? There were none.

My Son-in-law Jeff was about to put money into the machine to retrieve the van when I ordered him to stop, “this is my pleasure,” I said. I whipped out a twenty-dollar bill fully expecting change, but the machine was silent. The info screen said it wanted another sixteen dollars, what? I guess that is the cost I must pay for parking at the front door. That offsets the deal I got from Macy’s who charged me a child rate for my grandson’s meal. He ate enough for three adults.

We found the Daley Plaza to view the city tree. As usual, it is a live tree forty-five feet in height and nicely decorated. They used mini lights this year. What a bunch of jerks they are, don’t they know that a tree of this height needs huge lights to stay in scale? The mini lights were all but invisible. Oh well, a dull tree for a dull town.

Watch the tree and see what it does.

A Dark Day Made Worse by Rain

IMG_1580

Dreary December days bring on depression. I am one who needs sunlight to survive, and today was one of those dark days made worse by rain. The only bright spot was watching my bride eat one of her classic breakfasts. Usually she has a pretend breakfast. She will set out a number of things like a banana, an egg, juice, rice crispy square, and anything else that might suit her fancy. I’ll chug down my bowl of cereal with milk and a side of coffee. We spend time together, then she will get up to get her bathrobe so she won’t spill on her good clothes. By the time she returns I have finished, and I am cleaning up. She does the same thing, and puts all her stuff away, without tasting a single thing. I know better than to comment, I just shrug and ignore her lack of interest in eating. This morning I had eggs, so she said she would have an egg too. That means hard boiling eggs to please her palette. In the meantime my stomach growls loudly while waiting for those eggs to harden. It takes seventeen minutes to boil an egg hard. Then, there is a cool down and finally removal from the shell. Meanwhile, my two fried eggs are still in the shell waiting to hit the fry pan..
This morning Peg waited for the hard-boiled eggs. I finally served her two hard-boiled eggs on a plate before I fried my eggs. When I finally sat down to eat she got up to get a cake from the fridge. She wanted a slice of strawberry chocolate cream cake with her egg. I had to slice her a piece before I could finally attack my cooled fried eggs. Who eats strawberry chocolate cream cake with hard-boiled eggs? Not me for sure. I could not resist photographing the event. Today was a day when she actually ate breakfast. Oh, by the way do you see the orange juice container on the table, but a glass of Pepsi next to her plate.?

Lord help me, please.

I Love My Nu-Wave

I Love My Nu-Wave Cooker

Cooking is something that eluded me until I was forced into it. Then, I wanted to be Emiril overnight. I began watching cooking shows on TV to learn. Between the Food Channel with Emiril, Rachel, Mario, Bobby, Paula, Julia, Martha (yes I confess I watched Martha), and the memories of watching my mother in the kitchen I learned the basics.

Hunger is the mother of all cooking, and it became necessary to reinvent myself as a chef to satisfy that basic drive.

Over the past ten years, my appreciation for cooking gadgets has become overwhelming. First it was a proper knife and cutting board, then a whisk, a thermometer, a timer, and a salad spinner. I learned to use olive oil to saute (fry). Peggy showed me a vertical rotisserie for roasting meat, and a electric roaster oven.

The challenge was to use them all to cook, not just good, but great meals. The rotisserie was the first adventure with a whole chicken. Man did it turn out juicy. The success with the chicken led me to try a beef roast; it became another juicy success.

Thanksgiving turned into a challenge. We invited the entire family; all twenty-four of us. The volume of items being brought to the house in combination with the turkey and stuffing put a strain on our oven. That’s when we broke out the roaster oven and used it to make the turkey.

Among the best cooking gadgets ever invented is the George Foreman Grill. What a great way to heat meat evenly. Our first Foreman grill is worn out. It still works, but the Teflon is gone. During our winter hiatus to Arizona, we missed the Foreman so much we bought a new one.  We used it daily. The new one has removable plates and is easier to clean.

Two years ago, we visited friends in Georgia. I chronicled the trip in a post called Needed Downtime. Our hosts, Lou and Lori made us a huge breakfast of bacon and eggs. They cooked a pound of bacon to perfection in a record time without a mess.

“How did you do that,” we asked?

“We used our Nu-Wave cooker,” said Lori.

“What is that?”

That started them raving about this really cool gadget. They told story after story of how they use this thing to cook chicken, steaks, and even vegetables. Of course, we got a demonstration on how easy it is to use, and to clean.

“I’ve got to get me one of those,” I told them.

Fast forward one year.

Peggy and I are tourist shopping in Branson, Missouri. I should restate that, Peggy was shopping, I was gawking at the young ladies behind the counter and trying not to look conspicuous. The next thing I see Peggy walking toward me with a huge box.
“I bought you a Nu-Wave.”

My reaction was that of a normal husband, “you did what?”

“I bought you a Nu-Wave cooker.”

“How much was it?”

“Never mind, just take it, this box is heavy.”

So began my love affair with the Nu-Wave. We’ve had it nearly one year, and I have used it to grill steaks, chicken, pork chops, pork roast, turkey breast, sirloin-tip roast, potatoes, and fish. The feature I love best is the cooking card that gives me cooking times for both defrosted and frozen items.

Very often, we make our menu decision on the spur of the moment. We can take rock-hard frozen pork chops and put them on the Nu-Wave. I set the timer for ten minutes, then turn them over for another ten minutes, and wallah, we have tasty tender pork chops. While the chops are grilling, we microwave a couple of small potatoes, and some broccoli.  In twenty minutes, we went from freezer to table and made a meal fit for a king.

Here are some photos of a whole 5.5 pound chicken fully defrosted and the Nu-Wave. The cooking time is 15 minutes per pound. In seventy-five minutes the meat temperature is right on.

My Nu-Wave is now the favored appliance in the kitchen. At Thanksgiving, the turkey is in the roaster oven and a turkey breast is in the Nu-Wave.

We still use the grillerator, but steaks, roasts, and whole chickens are better on the Nu-Wave.

ANALOG Model Nu-Wave Infrared Cooler

 

Fully Defrosted Chicken

Chicken Rubbed in Season Salt and Emiril's Essence

Chicken Rubbed With Season Salt and Emiril's Essence in NuWave

NuWave Cooking Chart

Cook Times for Poultry

Control Panel With the Power Locked on FULL, and the Timer Setting

Fully Roasted Chicken With the Meat Thermometer

Bhutadarma

Nothing is impossible (at least that does not violate the laws of physics). When you can..violate the laws of physics!

I Know I Made You Smile

cartoons/humor/fiction/nonfiction

Attila Ovari

Loving Life and Inspiring Others

galesmind

Come take a journey through my mind

Nutsrok

The humor and humanity of storytelling.

Henry Game

The Next Testament

Gamintraveler

Travel Couple and Digital Nomads on a World Travel

summershaffer

A topnotch WordPress.com site

blogsense-by-barb

at the Re-Birth of America!

The Honking Goose

something to honk about

THE WAKING GIANT

United States Second Amendment Pitbull

Caustic Synergy

United and alone in the world

ELLIOT LAKE News

Political INcorrect Content & Forbidden Knowledge -- Yours To Discover

Aspiring Conservative

Conservative blog with articles about today's politics!

Conservative Kentucky

Reality From my Perspective

Hearing Aid News

HEAR it HERE first! The latest on developments in hearing aids and the hearing industry.

Socialism is not the Answer

Limited Government Is

leaf and twig

where observation and imagination meet nature in poetry

Just Cruisin 2

Where Intellectuals and Rednecks foregather.

allaboutlemon-All Around, In, And Out Of My Own Universe

Greed is an ugly default... Sharing is Caring

Nhan Fiction

"Hope is my catalyst."

prophetbrahmarishi

Just another WordPress.com site

NuVote Reach

Political Co-Dependency Intervention

The Baggage Handler

I made the impossible easy in both worlds!

David Emeron: Sonnets

If I swore not to describe my heart, would it stop beating forever?