Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Home Again - Dinner Fare

I made a trip to my parents recently and although I missed my place, sleeping in my childhood room, virtually unchanged, including the retro shag carpeting, was comforting. The rainbow? I wanted to liven up the plain walls when I was in about Sixth Grade. Dad said "OK, but you have to use paint we have already." Hence the very 70's pink, green and gold that had been out in the garage for a while. There's a full rainbow on the other wall. As tacky as it may be, Dad refuses to paint over it and just paints around it.I did get some things done around the place. Dad's little bathroom (the "boys" room it is called) was in serious need of some sprucing up. The walls hadn't been painted for years. There were just some beads on the window from the 70's and no personal things at all in the room. With some help from a brother with tools, we painted and fixed it all up, including decorative "stuff" from the craft store, a new cabinet which was painted, a home-made curtain to replace the beads, a railing to help older people get up and around, and a special sign from his favorite (and only) daughter. (click on photo to enlarge.) It was a wonderful visit, but I am glad to be home for a quiet Supper in my own kitchen. Guinness Shepherd's Pie is in the oven, made with fresh range beef, beef stock, Worcestershire sauce, Dijon, a blend of savory herbs, and a full bottle of Guinness, simmered long and slow, then baked briefly under a layer of mashed potatoes studded with Extra Sharp Irish Cheddar. The recipe is one that sort of evolved and I'm not even sure where it originally from so if any of you know, please post a link.

While it bakes I listen to something that makes me wistful, but brings a smile. I would guess that only a handful of my readers might recognize these musicians. But Schooner Fare is a big favorite of mine. This song is over 25 years and one that makes everyone in my family wistful, young and old alike.

Sort of like a comforting dinner of meat and potatoes with those memories of being loved.


  1. Me and my college buddies used to go to see Schooner Fare in the basement of Barstan's pub in Orono, Maine, back in 1979. They'd just come out with "Day of the Clipper"


    I might point out that the only way to really listen to them is after about 5 pints of Guinness, and maybe a couple shots of Jameson's.

    And THAT'S how I broke my liver ... ;-)

  2. Borepatch - I still remember sneaking in, at about age 16, with fake ID into the Aquarius Tavern in Seattle to watch "Heart" while visiting my Aunt and Uncle there.

    Good times.

  3. Heartwarming.

    You did take down the biohazard posting before you left didn't you? :-D

  4. Ah yes, Borepatch, did you ever see them in Portland at The Holy Mackerel? Many pleasant memories, seeing Tom Rowe in the video makes me miss him all the more. Wonderful post.

  5. I don't recall ever hearing Schooner Fare before, but of course know of the Clancy's and Tommy Makem.

    And as for "The Dutchman." I like to think I have an extensive library of great Celtic music, but had never heard that one before. Simply amazing. The story reminds me so much of my Grandfather and Grandmother, and his battle with Alzheimer's. Except he watched elk instead of tugs on a canal.

    The song has immediately gone on the list for future inclusion in the Great Music Monday.

    Thanks for posting it.

  6. Does Barkley get to join you on these trips? Seems like he'd enjoy that.

    I am going to try that Shepherd's Pie, sounds yummy

  7. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/02/magazine/02cooking-t.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1&hp

    I find it amazing that most Americans don't cook anymore. As a single guy, I date on occasion, and it's a rarity to find women who cook (never mind cook from scratch). It's even getting hard to find women to whom food is important. In my culture, food is everything - more important than money, sex or fame. Everyone's daily life revolves around what's put on the table for breakfast, lunch or dinner. The thought that life revolves around mediocre fast food, take out, and frozen dinners would be too much for me to bear.

  8. Dang you, just started one of those 3 day lose 10 pound diets today and I open this blog and see that picture - you fiend! Stomach is so rungry, that looks like good grazin'. Oh well, just 3 days, until next week anyway where it starts again anew.

    Very good read and as always, good pics. Thank you.

  9. Have always loved Shepherd's Pie.
    Comfort food.

    See Ya

  10. When I was in Maine I saw them twice, at Peak's Island and in Lewiston for a health care benefit. I've liked their material for twenty years. It was a pity about Tom Rowe, but the Romanoffs did a very nice duo album after his passing.

  11. Glad you had a nice visit. The rainbow is beautiful, as it the thought of a young Brigid asking for it.

    Shepherd's Pie? We will never speak of this again.

  12. Love the Shepard's Pie idea, will have to try it. The "Dutchman" brings back some old memories.

  13. I seem to vaguely remember Simon & Garfish singing that song. It was at a open-air concert in San Antonio, but I don't remember exactly when. Probably around 1979-1980 when I spent so much time in SA.

  14. The grub sounds great but in this heat i'm cooking alot lighter. Last night was grilled Tilapia with lemon parmesan and a cool mango, jicama salad. But, what i really was thinking of were those rainbows. Instant time portals. For you and your Dad. Nothing triggers a flood of memories like driving by my old house (with Red's corrall still standing out back) and seeing my basketball hoop. It was MINE! It was also a magnet for neighborhood kids. Despite the rust and the bent rim, it still transports me to being 12 again. If we had a ball that held air, we were good. If I was a crystal worshipping,new age spiritual fruitcake like the folks over in Sedona, Az. I would call that old hoop a vortex. Where all that I was, am, and will be, come together. steve

  15. As much as I like Makem and Clancy, "The Dutchman" always got to me. Still does. It's one of those songs with so much truth wrapped up in a few words.
    Dratted screen blur.

  16. I was pretty heavily involved in the folk music scene in DC in the 80's. Schooner Fare would come down several times a year, and my ex and I got to know them pretty well. Part of my Navy retirement party was their concert that weekend. Having reserved front row seats, and having Steve mention that it was my retirement was special. We all really miss Tom, taken way too young....

  17. But that's a secret only Margret knows...

    Always loved that song, even when girls were exotic things in short-shorts, competing with track and smallbore four position for my attention. The girls eventually won.

    Thanks for bringing back a sweet memory.

  18. Brigid, even your recipe leftovers are always tasty! Sometimes I wish I could kiss the cook--instead I'll just tip my fine Irish apron to you in a delicate bow!

    (then I'll scrub the kitchen on my knees in fine Irish guilt for all these calories!)

  19. Ed - sometimes the old songs are the best.

    Anonymous - thank you. More most Scot than Irish, but appreciate the music AND the sentiment.

  20. zomg, luvluvluv the rainbow!


I started this blog so the child I gave up for adoption could get to know me, and in turn, her children, as well as share stories for a family that lives too far away. So please keep it friendly and kid safe. Posts that are only a link or include an ad for an unknown business automatically to to SPAM..