We’ve all heard of, and perhaps even experienced, the “Continental Breakfast.” On occasion, I’ve encountered it in hotels and it has generally left me unimpressed with its often dried out bread items and unimaginative accompaniments. If I were from “the Continent” and was presented with one of those bastardized versions of what should be the most simple and satisfying meal of the day, I suspect I would be inclined to drop the uber-American phrase “Have a nice day!” liberally, and with increasing sarcasm, throughout the day. You see, bad food makes me cranky.
During our visit with family last month we were spoiled by a version of the Continental breakfast. It began with a trip to the bakery in town where we pointed, with increasingly difficult to maintain restraint, at the array of baked goods in the glass case. Our chosen items were placed in a large, low-sided wicker basket to make keeping track of our selections easier. Personal favorites were the pumpkin seed topped rolls and the pretzel bread. It ain’t all pumpernickel and rye, my friend.
Once back at home, the breads were placed on the table along with a dazzling array of meats and cheeses. The meat selection included a smoky Black Forest cured bacon, ham, pâté, pimento studded bologna, and liverwurst. Basically, more German cold cuts than can be found in any single Capital Region locale other than Rolf’s. Also on the table were some cheeses, although these were primarily French except for a semi-firm Black Forest cheese which was pleasantly mild with a thick thread of smoke in the center. I need to talk to the Cheese Traveler about that one. The other cheeses were a St. Andre triple cream, a bleu and a camembert, each beautifully spreadable and delicious.
To round things out (my stomach, more specifically), there was some fantastic yogurt with way less sugar than its American counterpart, cereal, fruit and some sweet cherry tomatoes from Spain. This type of breakfast is leisurely – one has a small plate and fills it maybe a couple of times. The coffee is strong, with a nice crema layer on top, and each cup is brewed to order. It all has a very Continental feel to it and I think it buries the French petite de jeuner. Frühstück – it’s breakfast.
1. Birthing you was one of the most satisfying experiences of my life.
2. Acknowledging, and acting upon, the fact that you’re not the only person in the universe will only make you a better man.
3. You can do anything. Anything.
4. Being able to do anything doesn’t eliminate the reality of life that you will still have to make choices because you really can’t do
everything. At least not simultaneously.
5. Cool hair and charm will only take you so far. Maybe it will be far enough, but that’s a big maybe.
6. Your braces should be considered a very expensive gift – not a punishment.
7. You remind me of me, which is why I am watching you ever so closely.
8. I can’t wait to go to Ireland with you this summer.
9. When you finally get a j o b, you don’t have to pay me back for things I’ve bought for you. Those were gifts. You do, however, owe me
$14 for those library books you lost.
10. Speaking of books, I am so proud that you are a reader and love talking about books with you.
11. Your (nearly) lifelong concern with your clothing and what you’re wearing makes you fun to shop with.
12. Watching you play with little kids – and enjoy it, makes me smile.
13. You’re growing up too fast.
14. You’ll always be the little boy who liked to whisper “hi” in my ear.
Happy birthday, Griffin Hudson Lilly.
My byline snap
Notice I said catch-up instead of catsup or ketchup. We all (or those of us who hang on every word of dialogue in Mad Men at least) know there’s only 1 ketchup.
I digress – anyway, here are some blog posts from my other spot out here on the internet, Moms@Work.
Also, excitedly enough for me, the print edition of the May/June issue of Women@Work is now available in all sorts of lobbies and waiting rooms around town. Grab one, why don’t you and read my piece on page 59. Don’t forget to linger over my name on the page listing of contributing writers!
Filed under Boys, Education, family, ideas, moms, Moms@Work, Observations, politics, Schools, Spring, travel, vacation
Last Sunday I absolved myself for Saturday night’s indulgences by participating in the Hand in Hand Run/Walk down in the Hudson Valley. Let me be honest with you, I’ll pretty much take any opportunity to visit with friends in the New Paltz area to enjoy some “adults only” time, but the added bonus of a morning race across the Hudson River makes me feel like a winner every time. This day was no exception.
The race is a fundraiser for programs to support developmentally delayed and disabled children, a cause close to my heart. Although April has been a recovery sort of month for me in terms of running, I decided to go for the 5 mile run instead of the 5 K option, abiding by my motto of preferring to regret doing something rather than not doing something. It was a good choice despite the blustery, cold wind that accompanied the portions of the run that involved crossing the river. Twice.
The course was challenging, but scenic, and the sun was beautiful on the Hudson. I don’t know about you, but when I’m in close proximity to the majestic Hudson I can’t help but be stunned by how beautiful it truly is. Imagine being an early explorer and sailing along those waters, in the shadow of the Catskills? Impressive!
This race was an affirmation in every way for me. After running the Delmar Dash the previous week in a disappointing time, I felt much stronger on Sunday, despite the more challenging terrain of this course. Seems that partying with the girls, along with a heaping bowl or two of pasta, just might be the best race prep. I finished 5th in my age group (a small percentage of the participants) with a time of 47:20. Not too shabby.
I’m eyeing a couple of races for May and am particularly excited for SPAC’s Rock and Run on Sunday, May 19th. They’ve introduced a 10K option for this year and I’m sure the course will be beautiful. Sounds like more pasta (and another bottle of wine) will be in order. Who’s in?
They scare me.
I’ve always considered the pressure cooker to be the most menacing piece of kitchen equipment. I understand the appeal of cooking something super fast, rather than leaving it to braise for hours upon hours, but I was always intimidated by their mystery. This past week has only confirmed my fears.
They continue to make a contribution to contemporary life.
Last Monday’s events at the Boston Marathon added the verbalized request from my youngest child of “Please don’t get killed at your race on Sunday” to the terrorism dialogue I have had with my children over the years. The opening statement in this conversation came in the form of question in September of 2001: “Why do the buildings keep falling down?” I don’t like having to revisit these acts of violence with my boys, and I am resentfully heartbroken about the necessity of these talks. It sucks.
They boggle me with their capabilities.
I don’t understand a lot of what happened last week. I can’t grasp that so much carnage can come from ball bearings, nails and other bits of metal. I will never accept that an elected official could make a statement like this, and while I’m not beyond a bit of suspicion when it comes to my government (weapons of mass destruction, anyone?), I really don’t believe there is any type of conspiracy theory worthy activity here, either.
They work quickly, but not necessarily reliably.
The media coverage was at least as explosive as an overheated pressure cooker. The unsubstantiated information circulated was alarming and it was difficult to look away from my Twitter feed. When those pictures of the two suspects were “broadcast,” it became impossible to ignore the immediacy of current news technology. It was breathtaking.
I don’t ever want one in my home.
Maybe 10 or 12 years ago, my friend Amy turned me on to Aimee Mann. I don’t recall exactly how it happened, but it involved a show at The Egg and an extra ticket. I don’t think I had any familiarity with Aimee Mann’s music beyond her ‘Til Tuesday stuff, but she hit me big. There was something appealing about her soft voice and her hard to take lyrics that I found powerful and moving. In the Egg’s lobby, immediately after the show, I bought two of her cds. A fan was born.
Through the years, I’ve listened to Aimee Mann with an enthusiasm which bordered upon obsession. When I was feeling positive about life, she made me appreciate my happiness. During the more emotionally challenging times, I knew that Aimee Mann understood my struggles and she kept me looking ahead. Her music is penetrating and she has written moody music for movies (Magnolia soundtrack) and revisited childhood classics with her contributions to the I Am Sam soundtrack and her cover of How the Grinch Stole Christmas.
I caught her show a few years ago in Washington Park, a venue that didn’t necessarily suit her, in my opinion. Thursday night, on the invitation of two dear friends, I headed down to Hudson’s Club Helsinki to check her out again. The gorgeous space that is Helsinki, perfectly matched the intimacy of Mann’s music and she and her band put on a terrific show. Opening act and collaborator, Ted Leo, seemingly the result of some sort of merging of Elvis Costello and Joe Jackson, was a bit weak as a solo act, yet he shined when he shared the stage with Aimee. She was funny as hell – self-deprecating and quick-witted in the same way her lyrics tend to be. Her observations, along with her black-framed glasses, were sharp and defining and it was a memorable show.
Although I failed at capturing a photo of she and I together, wearing our strikingly similar outfits of short shorts and nerdy eyewear, the night overall was perfect in every way.
Thank you, Amy.
Thank you, Aimee.
A big part of traveling, for me at least, is the food. I’ve seen some stuff written recently about Michelin starred restaurants in Germany, but that wasn’t what this trip was about. No, this time with family was more focused on home-style cooking a la Deutschland.
Wandering around Freiburg’s Munsterplatz earned us a delicious sausage sandwich from Meister’s food truck. Topped with beautifully browned onions and a dab of mustard, it was the perfect snack to tide us over until dinner. Next time I’m in Germany I hope to schedule an entire day in Freiburg eating, beginning with strong coffee and pretzel rolls smeared with unsalted butter. I hope to make lunch a leisurely enough event that it will effortlessly flow into the evening’s repast. I think the best way to accomplish this lofty goal would be to begin at the Munsterplatz’s food trucks with some version of wurst, washed down, naturally, with a fine hefeweizen or two.
For dinner, I plan to wander down to the Markthalle (food court) and sample as many different offerings as humanly possible. ”Food court” is a bit of a misnomer because this place is nothing like what you might find at Crossgates.
If the broom is out, they’re open!
It’s more like a German version of the restaurants at Eataly except the individual kiosks are each independent and devoted to an eclectic array of international cuisines. There are tables and central gathering spots where one can enjoy a bite to eat and/or a drink and there is a bustling sense of activity akin to that of a bee hive. That’s where I want to be.
Unless, of course, I’ve got wheels and get a little outside of the city and find a Straussen or Broom restaurant. We hit one of these last month in the Markgrafler wine region and thoroughly enjoyed the meal, the local wine and the cozy makeshift dining room in the winery’s tasting room. I had the Flammkuchen and it was delicious – and perfect with the local wine! Flammkuchen, or fire cake, is sort of like a pizza, but instead of tomato sauce, the top is spread with some sort of creamy yumminess. I had mine with diced veggies and it was a satisfying yet not too heavy dinner.
All this food talk and I still haven’t shared any images of our traditional Black Forest breakfasts…until I get to it, imagine plates holding meats and cheeses accompanied by a basket of freshly baked breads and rolls. Yes, save that thought and trust me, morning was definitely not anything to dread.