The world is a simple place. We basically are  all the same.  The two things that are common to all is regardless of our ethnic diversity,  most of us still have one head, two arms and two legs.  Our similarities also extend to food and music.  After all we all eat and in different ways make music.  Not that we agree on everything.   

And we all have a love of certain foods due to availability of the basic ingredients common to where we live.  Yet to some the habits and customs of either the food or the music might not be so appealing.  And to many it’s the same recipe only a few ingredient’s change.

The best example is a dish made from rice, meat and grape leaves.  In Greece, they mix ground beef or lamb with rice and herbs and wrap it in a blanket of grape leaves and tastefully drape it with a sauce made from lemons.  In Israel they mix ground beef with rice, herbs and spices, wrap it in a blanket of grape or cabbage leaves and cook it in a sauce made with a tomato base.   

Similar dishes are found in central Europe and the middle east and with a little coaxing my mother would make my favorite dish.  We called it called Stuffed Cabbage a simple tomato based stuffed grape leaf.

The Greeks use Lemons for the sauce as they have the mountainous soil both good for olives and citric lemons,The Israeli’s make the same dish but are hydroponic growers, the world leaders in hydroponic farming, and conduct clinics for countries throughout the world.  Thus an abundance of tomatoes, thus a tomato base.  

The Mexicans know corn meal and call it a taco or burrito.  In almost every other country that has beef and rice the story is similar including corn meal, beef and rice or chicken and rice  served many ways.

Same foods,  different condiments, bases or spices.  Common to all those countries is peppers which are grown world wide in varying strengths and potencies. That’s the seasoning in various degrees… 

Here are recipes that I may have culled stock ideas from and modified from the web closest to how I cook.  I rarely use a cookbook, most chefs on TV never show you the stock recipes they cook from, adding a pinch here and a new flavor there.  And rarely show you the ten to twelve people backstage that make them look so good.

I rarely write things down. I am what they call taste motivated and you would not like some of the concoctions I have made since I thought they were terrible too.  Simple lousy taste on occasion, I missed, blundered and fortunately our condo has a garbage chute for simple, and fast removal of the evidence.  

Many processes came from my Mom, memory and family, since I am older now, a lot older than some of these TV chefs and I chuckle a bit since most of these common recipes have been around, some dating back centuries, some slightly different based on country of origin which they all make a claim they invented it. 

Feel free to alter, change, modify, correct, substitute, and let your taste buds lead the way.... These recipes are endless and passed down through the generations, once in a while a burnt hair smolders in my kitchen reminding me of the real chefs a long time ago who scratch cooked things and wrote them down...on cave walls, the beginning of the recipe.

After my Mom passed on I realized when I cleared out her belongings for charity, I never found a cookbook, no notes, it was all in her head, passed down from her mother. 


Have fun in the kitchen, just like the Dean and Duchess of French cooking, Julia Childs and Jacque Pepin used to say. "Bon Appetite”!  French cooking would not be as popular if it wasn’t for these two people.  But there is a small problem...

Between her (Julia's) scratchy voice and Jacque's blurred French accent attempting English, I couldn't understand either of them. I called it “ Cooking by pictures".  I couldn’t understand a word and my ears pained and strained to understand what he was saying.  Thats why his daughter who speaks perfect Engleeeesh…was on his newest series of shows.

On the reruns on the Food Network, I turn on music instead and hit the TV mute button because even on the reruns I still can't understand a word he says, some things are timeless and I like good music. I just look at the pictures and get the drift.

VOILA!  Brilliant…they made a book several books.  They have a fantastic book out available on Amazon and thats an easy read and a way into American French Cooking.  The product number is B00009WO95 and it's called Julia-Jacques-Cooking-At-Home.  In English, you can read it, you do not need an interpreter nor muffled earphones.


CSPI’s Most Outrageously Unhealthy Restaurant Meals (Condensed)
Every year the Washington, D.C., consumer-watchdog group Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) takes a look at menus from the country’s top chain restaurants and figures out which meals are so unhealthy, they deserve some kind of dishonorable mention.  Hence, those with shocking amounts of calories, fat and sodium, which contribute to the nation’s problems with obesity, diabetes and other diet-related diseases, are below.

1-   IHOP’s Chorizo Fiesta Omelette 
The omelet alone, made with chorizo sausage and pepper-jack cheese, and topped with sour cream, has 1,300 calories. But it comes with three buttermilk pancakes (or hash browns, toast or fruit). With the pancakes and four tablespoons of syrup, this breakfast has a day’s worth of calories (1,990) and two days’ worth of saturated fat (42 grams).

2-    Dickey’s Barbecue Pit’s 3 Meat Plate 
For this combo meal, CSPI chose Polish sausage, pork ribs and beef brisket, and sides of Fried Onion Tanglers and mac and cheese, plus the free roll, pickles, onions and a 32-ounce (the only size offered) sweet tea. Diners can also have as much free soft-serve ice cream as they want. With just one half-cup of ice cream in a cone, this 2,500-calorie meal has 49 grams of saturated fat and 4,700 milligrams of sodium (about 2 1/2 to 3 days’ worth), plus 29 teaspoons of
 sugar. CSPI says it’s like eating three Big Macs with five Vanilla Cones.

3-   The Cheesecake Factory’s Louisiana Chicken Pasta
This Parmesan-crusted chicken from repeat offender The Cheesecake Factory is served over pasta with mushrooms, peppers and onions in a spicy New Orleans sauce. At a hefty 1½ pounds, it has 2,370 calories (more than a day’s worth), 80 grams of saturated fat (a four-day supply) and 2,370 milligrams of sodium. It’s the equivalent of two orders of fettuccine Alfredo plus two breadsticks at Olive Garden.

4-   Sonic’s Pineapple Upside Down Master Blast
A 32-ounce cup filled with vanilla ice cream, pineapple and “salted caramel & pie crust pieces,” this is topped with several inches of whipped cream. It has 2,020 calories, 61 grams of saturated fat (three days’ worth), 4½ grams of trans fat (over two days’ worth) and about 29 teaspoons of added sugar. That’s the same calories of roughly four
Dairy Queen Banana Splits.

5-   Steak ’n Shake’s 7×7 Steakburger ’n Fries
This burger from the midnight-to-6 a.m.  Up All Night menu features seven beef patties and seven slices of cheese, plus a side of fries, totaling 1,570 calories and more than two days’ worth of saturated fat. With a 960-calorie Chocolate Fudge Brownie Milkshake, the grand total comes to 2,530 calories, 68 grams of saturated fat, more than 5,000 milligrams of sodium and 26 teaspoons of added sugar. It’s like sitting down to four 9-ounce Outback Steakhouse sirloin steaks, each topped with two half-cup scoops of Breyers Chocolate Ice Cream.

6-   Outback Steakhouse’s Herb Roasted Prime Rib Dinner
If you eat this 16-ounce prime rib, with a dressed baked potato and classic blue cheese wedge, plus half of the bread on the table with a little butter, you’ve consumed 2,400 calories, 71 grams of saturated fat and 3,560 milligrams of sodium. It’s the same as eating three Outback 10-ounce rib eye steaks, each served with garlic mashed potatoes.