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Blue's Babes
Cold Front Passing
Costa Rica
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Yard work
Monday, 31 March 2014
Mood:  vegas lucky
Now Playing: @ Joe's Beanery & all over the internet
Topic: Birdwatching

It's opening day - never mind it's in Texas - Phillies at Texas Rangers - schedule makers gone mad. And the day before April Fool's Day - 

Max, acting the fool, has posted two new e-books on Amazon - all about Costa Rica and tropical birds - tales, tales, tales - Fish, Costa Rica, Bird

But April is Liddy and Max's month - think Hong Kong in 1956 - they were crazy in love and free to enjoy it - 58 years later - still lots of joy - the Luminous Liddy continues to add luster, Max is trying to keep up - he's learning how to cook - rots of ruck with that- Liddy insists that he listen to her instructions, and you know how that goes - April Fool, Max. 


Posted by maxblue3 at 11:30 AM EDT
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Saturday, 27 July 2013
Ratatouille - yum
Mood:  hungry
Now Playing: @ Joe's mouth-watering beanery
Topic: cooking

The battle of Verdun, a six month nightmare beginning in February 1916, that resulted in nearly a million - A MILLION - French and German casualties left the opposing sides so exhausted that it took two years before they were prepared to renew the killing, with the help of 16 American divisions (665,000 men), 20 miles north at St. Mihiel.

The War Guilt Clause finds its way to the French field kitchens at the St. Mihiel salient before the American assault begins. This is a novelist's dream - let your imagination flow - French field kitchens? Why not? French chefs? Of course. Garlic. basil, rosemary, thyme? Most certainly.

From The War Guilt Clause, page 274:

     Just then a bell rang and eight men in white aprons wearing tall white toques entered the area carrying large trays which they held, palm up, at shoulder height. On the trays were steaming bowls of French Ratatouille Chaud, a hot vegetable stew laced with garlic and herbs. The field kitchens in place for these several years here in the Lorraine were manned by some of the finest chefs in the land and they took their jobs seriously. Herb gardens of basil, rosemary, thyme, as well as rows and rows of garlic, grew in fenced areas near the kitchens.

From Time Life Books - The Cooking of Provincial France:


To serve 6 to 8

Three pounds firm ripe tomatoes; 2 eggplants peeled and sliced 3/4 inch thick; 2 zucchini unpeeled, sliced 1/2 inch thick; 1/2 cup olive oil; 2 green peppers, seeded and cut in 1-inch squares; 2 1/2 cups thinly sliced onions; 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh parsley; 1 TBSfinely cut fresh basil or 2 tsp dried basil; 2 tsp finely chopped garlic cloves; salt, freshly ground black pepper.

Peel the tomatoes, cut them into quarters, and cut away the pulp and seeds, leaving only the shells. Cut the shells into 1/2 inch strips and drain on paper towels.

Lightly salt the eggplant and zucchini slices, spread them in one layer between paper towels, and weight them with a large, heavy platter. After 30 minutes, dry the eggplant and zucchini thoroughly with fresh paper towels.

In a heavy 12-inch skillet, bring 1/4 cup olive oil to the smoking point, and brown the eggplant slices for 1 minute on each side. Remove them to paper towels to drain. In the same skillet, lightly brown the zucchini, peppers, and onions one after another, adding more oil if necessary. Drain the zucchini and peppers on a paper towel, but remove the onions to a plate.

With a fork, stir the parsley, basil, and garlic together in a small bowl.

Pour 1 TBSP of the oil remaining in the skillet into a heavy 4 quart enameled casserole. Spread one third of the eggplant slices on the bottom, sprinkle 1 tsp of the herb and garlic mixture, and season with salt and pepper. Arrange successive layers of zucchini, peppers, onions, and tomatoes, sprinkling herbs, salt, and pepper on each layer. Finish with a layer of eggplant. Sprinkle with the remaining herb mixture, salt and pepper, and pour in the oil left in the skillet.

Over moderate heat, bring the casserole to a boil cover and reduce the heat to a simmer.  Every 7 minutes use a bulb baster to draw up the liquid and transfer the liquid to a small saucepan. In 25 minutes, when the vegetables are tender, remove the casserole from the heat.   Briskly boil the liquid in the saucepan and pour it into the casserole.

Serve hot - Ratatouille Chaud . . . or cold - Ratatouille Froid . . . the lads on the Western Front would kill for Ratatouille Chaud   

Posted by maxblue3 at 11:21 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 27 July 2013 3:20 PM EDT
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Wednesday, 24 July 2013
War Guilt cooking
Mood:  hungry
Now Playing: @ Joe's, let's eat, beanery
Topic: cooking

A key plot element in THE WAR GUILT CLAUSE develops when the twins, along with Mary Cady, invade Shadow Lawn, Woodrow Wilson's retreat in Long Branch, New Jersey. Joseph Tumulty, Wilson's personal secretary, is annoyed at the intrusion and shoos the youngsters into the Shadow Lawn kitchen where Mama Leona rules.

Mama Leona gave the boys and Mary the onceover, and decided they could use more than cookies. "When's the last time y'all ate?" she asked.

"This morning," said Ted. Now that the subject had come up, both Ted and Ed realized how hungry they were.

"We could eat a horse," said Ed.

Mama Leona laughed, "Horses we don't have, but I got some nice meatloaf I could heat up. How does that sound?"

Ted gulped; his stomach juices were suddenly flowing.

"We like meatloaf," said Ed.


Mama Leona and her kitchen are a figment of Max Blue's imagination, but her meatloaf lives in the Blue kitchen, thanks to the imagination of The Luminous Liddy.

                       Liddy's Meatloaf

Begin with a meatloaf mix of ground beef, veal, and pork, 1/2 lb, beef, 1/4 lb veal, 1/4 lb pork.

1/4 cup minced onion, 1/2 cup bread crumbs, 1 Tbsp minced parsley, 1 Tbsp salt, 1/3 cup tomato sauce, 2 Tbsp Parmesan cheese, 2 tsp ground black pepper, 1 large beaten egg.

Mix everything together in a bowl - here comes the fun part - with your thoroughly washed hands, take hold of the gummy mix and knead it, relishing the feeling of the sticky stuff as it runs between your fingers until you are convinced all the disparate parts are now a palpable whole.

Place the mix in a loaf pan and place in a preheated 350 degree oven for one hour after which a meat thermometer inserted into the loaf should read 170 degrees.


Thank you Mama Leona, and thank you Luminous Liddy.

Posted by maxblue3 at 11:54 AM EDT
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Monday, 22 July 2013
The master chef
Mood:  a-ok
Now Playing: @ Joe's, what's cooking? Beanery
Topic: cooking

How did she learn so fast? From that, how do you boil an egg? beginning in June, four months later, just in time for her 19th birthday, she was using her Father-in-law's scotch to improve the taste of a duck she was roasting at the East Peoria hilltop house where she and Max were marking time before the next leg of their lifetime journey. The Luminous Liddy took to cooking like a duck takes to water. Fifteen years later she was the Executive Chef at the Hershey Foods Company corporate headquarters in Hershey, Pennsylvania, and teaching a class in Chinese cooking on the side.

But here in 2013, the Luminous Liddy is all cooked out. "It's your turn, Max" she said, handing me an apron, a toque, and a spatula.

So here goes: From The Joy of Cooking, a recipe for vegetable hash. Max's Triple Play:

The core: chopped, and/or diced vegetables, a cup of each - celery, carrots, onions, turnips.

1. Beef hash - the core plus a cup of diced potatoes.

Place vegetables in a suitable saucepan, add two cups of beef broth, one teaspoon salt, and cook until carrots are tender (maybe 10 minutes). Pour the mixture into a sieve and collect the drained liquid in a sauce pan. Add a tablespoon of corn starch to liquid and heat until thickened, stirring continuously. Add vegetables along with two cups of chopped and pre-cooked roast beef. Heat for ten minutes and serve.

2. Chicken hash - the core plus a cup of pasta(your choice -penne, ziti, shells, elbows, spirals, whatever). Substitute chicken broth and pre-cooked chicken, and proceed as above.

3. Shrimp hash - the core plus a cup of rice. Use chicken broth, and  a dozen or so peeled shrimp, and proceed as above.

Lots of room for innovation -  cup of peas or corn, or both - try different spices - Liddy says bay leaves would be good with the beef, some ginger with the shrimp, rosemary and thyme with the chicken.

Suggestions are welcome - help me out here, sports fans.



Posted by maxblue3 at 8:28 AM EDT
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Saturday, 20 July 2013
The Joy of Cooking
Mood:  happy
Now Playing: @ Joe's beantime beanery
Topic: cooking

The Joy of Cooking

It’s the name of a 65-year-old cookbook given to Max’s mother by her sister, Jayne on his Mom’s 45th birthday in April, 1950, two months before North Korea invaded the South. In July, 2013 that cookbook is Max’s primary source of information as he takes up the task of serving the Luminous Liddy who has tired of the job, and more importantly the physical effort involved. For Max it is a daunting task given Liddy’s  cooking skills acquired over the years – how to follow that act?

In June, 1956 when Max and his bride of two months took up housekeeping at Grandma Giessow’s house on Delor Street in south St.Louis, the first question the Luminous Liddy asked was, “Where’s the can opener?” Cooking? Who knew cooking? Max was off each morning to attend an Organic Chemistry course at Washington University leaving Liddy to find ways to entertain herself until he got home. Imagine the 18-year-old Liddy, who less than a decade earlier was not aware  there was such a thing as the English language, standing alone in Grandma Giessow’s kitchen, her unwrapped but restless brain embarking on a voyage of discovery – she would bake a cake – Max would be pleased. It was a gas oven, Liddy would figure it out. She turned on the gas, reached for the matches, lighted the match, and . . . POOF; it could have been worse; singed eyebrows, a psychic shock, and a bucket of tears when Max called as he did every day at 10 o’clock to be sure she was all right.  

Posted by maxblue3 at 8:03 AM EDT
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Tuesday, 16 July 2013
Guilty? Or Not? Chateau-Thierry-Belleau Wood
Mood:  quizzical
Now Playing: @ Joe's trying to get it all sorted out Beanery
Topic: War

Into the second decade of the 21st century and books are still being published about WWI. Two recent ones: The Sleepwalkers - How Europe Went To War in 1914 by Christopher Clark, and The Devil Dogs at Belleau Wood - U.S. Marines in World War I, by Dick Camp.


Library shelves are filled with volumes telling about the circumstances that led to the 1914 world upheaval events that resulted in thousands of gallons of human blood being spilled in the wheat fields of northern France, to say nothing of the beet fields of western Russia, and the olive groves of Turkey and Italy. Christopher Clark in The Sleepwalkers, has yet another go at explaining how it all came about, once again focusing on the bitter and seemingly unresolvable hatreds between the Austro-Hungarians and the South Slavs of Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia, and the others. When World War I mercifully ended, the Paris Peace Conference convened in January 1919 and set about rearranging world geography and deciding what the winners would gain and the losers would forfeit; there was never any doubt in the peace writer's minds that the German Empire was responsible for the  whole mess, and accordingly saw to it that there was a clause in the Treaty of Versailles assigning blame - THE WAR GUILT CLAUSE.   

The Devil Dogs At Belleau Wood was written by a Marine and lovingly reviewed on Amazon by Marines. A scholarly review told a different story - poorly researched, dotted with inaccuracies, famous heroic quotes that were apparently supplied by Marine historians. Failure to credit the U.S. Army's role in the horrendous flesh-ripping episode. Confusing accounts of where things happened. Chateau-Thierry morphing into Belleau Wood in the narrative. Lots of problems. 

Posted by maxblue3 at 2:45 PM EDT
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Saturday, 13 July 2013
War Guilt Babes
Mood:  cool
Now Playing: @Joe's back to Guilt Beanery
Topic: War

The WAR GUILT CLAUSE has it's share of Blue's Babes - returning from TIMES: Mother Frederick, Mary Cady, Mama Leona, Edith Galt Wilson - new to the story:

Peggy Schooner - "Have you ever heard such green-colored baloney? This is Ray Baker, one of the most opinionated muckrakers who ever put pen to paper, and he's telling us he won't be presenting his own  opinions - bullshit!"

Frau Schmid - Frau Schmid sipped her cocoa and said, "You are welcome here my young American, with but one condition: you must reject all thoughts of war; Herr Kelly is correct, there are no enemies at Sicher-Havre. If you agree, you may stay as long as you like."

Mother France - "And let it be understood that when the mothers unit, no power on Earth, most certainly no collection of mere men, no matter how exalted, can stop them from achieving the goal they seek - it is simply this: the governments of the world must stop killing their sons. Please deliver this message to Mister Wilson."

Posted by maxblue3 at 8:54 AM EDT
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Friday, 12 July 2013
The War Guilt Clause - an apology
Mood:  irritated
Now Playing: @ Joe's what were they thinking? Beanery
Topic: War

When Max signed off on the final edit of THE WAR GUILT CLAUSE, he did not get to see the Copyright page which contained this disclaimer: This novel is a work of fiction. Names, descriptions, entities, and incidents included in the story are products of the author's imagination. Any resemblance to actual persons, events, and entities is entirely coincidental.

Well, no. This is a novel with a Bibliography - 13 references that fed the author's imagination with the real events that shaped the story, sparked by Paris, 1919, Margaret MacMillan's fact-filled account of the 1919 Paris Peace conference, and David Fromkin's spot on entitled A Peace to End All Peace. Nothing coincidental about those treasures. To be sure, large parts of the novel flow from the author's imagination, but the framework is based on real people and real events.

Posted by maxblue3 at 6:54 AM EDT
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Thursday, 11 July 2013
Mood:  don't ask
Now Playing: @Joe's don't blame me beanery
Topic: War

Don't blame Joe, and don't imagine there is a mood to match the feeling you get looking at the rows of Crosses and Stars of David marking the burial places of the soldiers and marines who fought at Belleau Wood, France in June, 1918. The front cover of Max Blue's novel, THE WAR GUILT CLAUSE, features a photo of the American military cemetery at Belleau Wood. It can be seen if you go to this link: The photo was taken by Max in August, 1970, an early indication that World War I battlefields were on his mind but far from the small corner where thoughts of writing about them were beginning to germinate.

Just yesterday, July 10, 2013, almost 95 years since the battle, Max received a shipment of THE WAR GUILT CLAUSE from Tate Publishing, and was pleased to note that the inscription on the Star of David tombstone in the foreground was legible: Barney Ginsberg, Pvt, 3rd platoon, 71st regiment, 2nd division, New York, June 20, 1918.

Belleau Wood has often been written about as a U.S. Marine operation for which graphic accounts of Marine heroism have fed Marine recruiting literature for all these years. The Marines were there, as part of the Army, and fought valiantly to be sure, but Barney Ginsberg and the U.S. Army were there as well.

The cemetery at Belleau Wood is officially the Aisne Marne American Cemetery; it contains the graves of 2,289 Americans, most of whom fought in the vicinity of the Marne River valley in the summer of 1918. This cemetery is one of eleven American military cemeteries in France containing the graves of 30,109 Americans from WWI and 30,402 from WWII. From the two wars almost 7,000 men are listed as missing.




Posted by maxblue3 at 12:15 PM EDT
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Wednesday, 10 July 2013
Worlds to conquer
Mood:  blue
Now Playing: @ Joe's grieving beanery
Topic: Blue's Babes

TIMES -2004

21.      Mother Frederick – “It’s only a game, and not the end of the world.”

22.      Mary Cady – “Aunt Winnie, you must find someone else . . . I have to return . . .  England needs me.”

23.      First Lady Edith Galt Wilson – “They want you to show them the way.”

24.      Mama Leona – “Horses we don’t have, but I got some nice meatloaf I could heat up. How does that sound?”


25.      Lucy Gordon – “Four niggers? Can he do that? Can white guys work with niggers in Lee County?”

26.      Becky Mulhane – “Is he dangerous?”

27.      Dr. Susan Land Jackson – “Flapper, it’s DNA!”

28.      Alberta – “Who say God got a mouth?”


29.      Lindsay Mae Lewis – “George, from now on I’m going to call you Cowboy. I think it suits you better. George is way too mild for a guy with your talents. And you know what, Cowboy? You and I are going to conquer the world.”

30.  Chang Fong-ying – In Ming-gao she saw boyish innocence. She stepped forward, took a firm grip on his arm and said, “let’s go, Cowboy, we have worlds to conquer.”

31.  Soong Ching-ling, Madame Sun Yat-sen – “China under Mao Tse-tung and Chou En-lai will be a different country. The dignity of the people will be primary.The principles of Dr. Sun Yat-sen will be upheld- the people’s livelihood first – always. And my dear, it will not be forgotten that half the people are women.”

32.  Soong May-Ling, Madame Chiang Kai-shek – “Why honey, you can’t even begin to imagine how much mah American friends would appreciate getting to know you. You could be of great service to China, mah dear.”

33.  Sumisan Children . . . Nagasaki. “Oh, Sumisan,” Lindsay Mae gathered the grieving, several inches shorter Japanese lady in her arms and held her tightly, rocking back and forth, trying with the gesture to erase the ghastly thought of Sumisan’s children perishing in the glare of an atomic nightmare.”

Posted by maxblue3 at 7:48 AM EDT
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