Roots Of Creole Cooking
Today in 1812, the Territory of Orleans was admitted to the Union and became the State of Louisiana. Happy birthday to us!
Two years later on this date (or perhaps two days from now--the exact date is unclear), the event that gave the Napoleon House its name occurred. Napoleon Bonaparte abdicated as emperor of France, and was exiled to the island of Elba. Nicholas Girod, former mayor of New Orleans, offered Napoleon an apartment in his building the corner of St. Louis and Chartres. The apartment is now used for private parties by the Napoleon House, one of the city's most famous watering holes.
Today in 1881, a centrifugal separator was patented by Edwin J. Houston and Elihu Thomson that could separate cream from milk. Or mud from water. A derivative of the concept is found in many homes: the juice extractor.
Also on this date in 1828, in the Netherlands, Casparus Van Wooden patented a chocolate powder that could be stirred into milk. The forerunner of Quik?
Annals Of Food Research
On this date in 1932, after many years of research, W.A. Waugh and C.G. King at the University of Pittsburgh isolated Vitamin C for the first time. It's called ascorbic acid because it prevents the condition called scurvy. Sailors in the British Navy found they could prevent scurvy by eating limes. Coincidentally, in 1581 on this date, Queen Elizabeth had dinner on one of their ships: The Golden Hind, just back from an around-the-world trip with Sir Francis Drake at the helm. They made her eat a lime.
The Old Kitchen Sage Sez:
You know what has more Vitamin C, ounce for ounce, than any common food? Cilantro. Keeps you breath fresh, too.
Somebody (not Le Cordon Bleu, the famous French cooking school, that's for sure) started a rumor that today is National Cordon Bleu Day. "Cordon Bleu" ("blue ribbon") in the name of a dish name usually means that it's stuffed with ham and cheese, then baked or broiled. The idea really got out of hand in the 1960s and 1970s, and we became sick of it. Now you hardly ever see it--although lots of common dishes, particularly in Italian cooking, are stuffed with ham and cheese. (Or, one would hope, prosciutto and Fontina, as the dish in the recipe section of today's newsletter is.) The real Cordon Bleu cooking school has advanced far beyond such practices, and has a website here.
Eatonville is a well-tended farming area in south central Mississippi. It's nine miles north of Hattiesburg. A mix of dairy farming, pecan groves, and vegetable farming still operates, but a lot of the houses are suburban, no doubt because of the growth of Hattiesburg. The area seems to have had a forest fire not long ago. A large school and a well-tended baseball diamond are more positive assets. The nearest restaurant is the Chicken House, four miles away in Moselle. I wonder what's good there.
This is the twenty-sixth in a series of Gourmet Gazetteer places whose names begin with "Eat."
lemon curd, n.--A spread made by cooking butter and egg yolks with sugar and lemon juice until very thick. It's on the breakfast and afternoon tea tables everywhere touched by the eating culture of Great Britain. It most famous use is as a spread on scones. It's available in jars, but it's much better when made fresh on the premises.
Did you know that there is a patron saint of the internet and of computer users? It's St. Isidore of Seville, a very learned bishop who is not just a saint but a Doctor of the Church. He also had some involvement with beekeeping. Today is his feast day.
Deft Dining Rule #402:
A restaurant where the fish of the day is the same every day--especially if it's tilapia, salmon, or catfish--isn't putting much effort into buying its food. You probably will not be impressed by the fish entrees there.
Deft Dining Rule #403:
The exception to Rule #402 is Pacific salmon in season (spring and early summer). The best of all is Copper River salmon.
Actor Barry Pepper was born today in 1970. He was the sniper in Saving Private Ryan. .Muddy Waters, the famous bluesman, was born today in 1915. Pro football player Chad Eaton was born today in 1972. . Suzanna Salter, the first female mayor in the United States, was elected on this date in 1884 in Argonia, Kansas.
Words To Eat By Cordon Bleu
"Ham's substantial, ham is fat. Ham is firm and sound. Ham's what God was getting at When He made pigs so round."--Roy Blount, Jr.
"Never commit yourself to a cheese with having first examined it."--T.S. Eliot.
Words To Drink By
"The only way to keep your health is to eat what you don't want, drink what you don't like, and do what you'd rather not."--Mark Twain.
UPI Almanac for Thursday, April 4, 2019
Today is Thursday, April 4, the 94th day of 2019 with 271 to follow.
The moon is waning. Morning stars are Jupiter, Mercury, Neptune, Saturn and Venus. Evening stars are Mars and Uranus.
Those born on this date are under the sign of Aries. They include social reformer Dorothea Dix in 1802 inventor Linus Yale, developer of the cylinder lock, in 1821 baseball Hall of Fame member Tris Speaker in 1888 actor Bea Benaderet in 1906 blues musician Muddy Waters, born McKinley Morganfield, in 1913 author Maya Angelou in 1928 actor Anthony Perkins in 1932 music producer Clive Davis in 1932 (age 87) former baseball Commissioner A. Bartlett Giamatti in 1938 South African musician Hugh Masekela in 1939 golf Hall of Fame member JoAnne Carner in 1939 (age 80) author Kitty Kelley in 1942 (age 77) actor Craig T. Nelson in 1944 (age 75) actor Christine Lahti in 1950 (age 69) actor Hugo Weaving in 1960 (age 59) Irish television talk show host Graham Norton in 1963 (age 56) actor David Cross in 1964 (age 55) actor Robert Downey Jr. in 1965 (age 54) singer Jill Scott in 1972 (age 47) magician David Blaine in 1973 (age 46) actor James Roday in 1976 (age 43) actor Heath Ledger in 1979 actor Natasha Lyonne in 1979 (age 40) actor Eric Andre in 1983 (age 36) singer/actor Jamie Lynn Spears in 1991 (age 28).
In 1841, President William Henry Harrison died of pneumonia after serving one month in office. He was the ninth President of the United States, and the first to die in office. He was succeeded by Vice President John Tyler, the first person to occupy the office without being elected to it.
In 1850, the city of Los Angeles was incorporated.
In 1887, Susanna Madora Salter was elected as the first female mayor in the United States -- in Argonia, Kan.
In 1933, the USS Akron, a U.S. Navy airship, is destroyed during a major storm off the coast of New Jersey. The tragedy claimed the lives of 73 of the 76 crewmen and passengers.
In 1949, representatives of 12 nations gathered in Washington to sign the North Atlantic Treaty, creating the NATO alliance.
In 1968, civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated as he stood on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis Tenn. He was 39.
In 1975, Microsoft was founded by Bill Gates and Paul Allen.
In 1983, the space shuttle Challenger lifted off on its inaugural mission.
In 1991, Sen. John Heinz, R-Pa., and six others were killed in the midair collision of a chartered airplane and a helicopter that was inspecting the plane's landing gear near Philadelphia.
In 2005, the president of Kyrgyzstan, Askar Akayev, officially resigned. He had been driven out by a coup a month earlier.
In 2013, Pulitzer Prize-winning Chicago film critic Roger Ebert died after a long battle with cancer. He was 70.
In 2013, a British judge told Mick Philpott, 56, he had "no moral compass" and sentenced him to life in prison for setting a fire that killed six of his children.
In 2014, the United Nations announced that the millionth refugee from war-torn Syria had entered Lebanon.
In 2017, Syrian government forces kill dozens of civilians in a chemical attack in the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhoun.
A thought for the day: "There is no room in baseball for discrimination. It is our national pastime and a game for all." -- Lou Gehrig
Tired of turkey? Feeling a post-Christmas energy lull? Collard greens might be the solution! The Wellness Almanac is excited to welcome, Geneviève Blanchet, a Registered Holistic Nutritionist, and recent arrival in Pemberton, as a regular contributor to our site. She blends Asian tradition and modern western nutritional science with the wisdom of healing herbs. She is passionate about eating fresh, seasonal and nutrient-rich food and would like to share what she’s learned with you. www.lepetitchou.ca.
Post by Geneviève Blanchet
In this winter chronicle I would like to offer you advice on how to nourish yourself to store energy and stay warm and strong throughout the winter.
Winter is a time to cook food slowly it brings the energy of the food deep within where nourishment is needed to keep you warm and give you necessary strength to live through the cold weather. Soups, braised dishes, and roasted root vegetables warm your body and restore moistness. Bitter foods are also appropriate in winter since they cool the exterior of the body and bring body heat deeper and lower. These foods include dark leafy greens, celery, oats, quinoa, rye, romaine lettuce, citrus peel and chamomile tea.
One of my favorite dark leafy green in the winter is collard greens. This mild-tasting blue-green vegetable from the kale family, contain nearly the same amount of calcium as does milk! Vitamin C, vitamin A, folate, and fiber are among the array of nutrients packed into collards and they outrank broccoli, spinach, and mustard greens in nutritional values.
The best bunch of greens is found after the first frost, making them perfect for winter.
Quick, light-cooking methods can be use with any strong flavorings like garlic, onions, hot pepper, ginger and curry to enhance the flavor.
Steamed collard greens can be hard to chew and almost unpalatable.
Available twelve months of the year, prefer the smooth, green leaves without any yellowing.
Avoid wilted greens they have already lost some flavour and vitality. The young or small collard leaves will be tendered than larger leaves.
Store unwashed in a clear plastic bag in the refrigerator
They are best used within 3 to 4 days
The method I use is cooking the greens in a small amount of water as a preliminary step before sautéing. Alternatively, you can sauté the collards, they will be a little chewier and stronger tasting than precooked collards, but slightly quicker to cook.
The large and sturdy fanlike collard leaves are attached to a thick, heavy stalk that is best removed and discard or use in longer cooking method like stews. By folding each leaf in half, vein or underside out, use a knife to slice leaves from the rib.
To chop, stack 4 to 5 collard leaves on top of each other and roll into a fat cigar shape. Slice crosswise into strips. Slices about ¼ inch wide make an attractive presentation.
Collard Greens, Caramelized Onions and Walnuts
Here is a recipe to bring you vitality and warmth. It is gluten free, dairy free, easy and delicious. In Ayurvedic medicine, onions, garlic and ginger, or Trinity Roots are used to support the immune system and warm the body. According to Chinese Medicine, walnuts is a warming food and is used to strengthen the kidneys and lungs, it is also a chi tonic and reduces inflammation.
1 large bunch collard greens
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 onions, sliced into crescent
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, minced
3 tablespoons raw, unsalted walnuts, chopped
2 tablespoons dried currents, cherries or cranberries, unsweetened
1- Wash collards, remove stalks and slice the leaves into strips.
2-In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions and sauté for 15to 20 minutes, until golden and soft. Stir frequently so the onions don’t burn. Add garlic and ginger and sauté for another 2 to 3 minutes, until golden.
3-While the onions are cooking, bring 3 cups of water to a boil in a large pot. Add collards, cover, and cook over high heat for 5 minutes. Drain in a colander and set aside.
4- Once the onions are soft and caramelized, add greens and mix well. Season with salt and pepper to taste and cook for 2-3 minutes to heat through. Serve hot and garnish with walnuts and dried currents.
Pork Fried Rice
By Amy’s Cooking Adventures
Pork Fried Rice is a takeout favorite made in your own kitchen with fresh ingredients!
Prep time: 00:05 , Cook time: 20:00 , Total time: 25:00
¼ lb Sausage
2 tbsp sesame oil
3 cups cooked brown rice
2 cloves garlic
½ cup peas
½ cup cashews
This recipe sounds awesome, with lots of great flavors! I love pork fried rice :)
This sounds delicious! I might substitute Yellow Saffron Rice instead because it has that take-out fried rice kind of flavor already and just might be excellent with your recipe!!
This looks absolutely wonderful. Where do you get the Chinese sausage? Thank you for the recipe. Pinned.
We may have met by chance. but we become friends by choice.
Hi Sue! I couldn't find Chinese sausage in my area, so I used spiced some ground pork myself (it was my left over wonton filling http://www.amyscookingadventures.com/2013/01/wonton-soup-srs.html)
I suggest trying a larger grocery store or an Asian market if you have one in your area!
My husband LOVES fried rice, so we're definitely going to have to try this! I'm pinning it now, thanks so much for sharing it at my link party!
Love this! Fried rice is totally the best part of Chinese delivery!
Thanks for linking up to What's Cookin' Wednesday!
A childhood favorite! Looks fab. Thanks so much for sharing at Super Saturday Show & Tell… I’m SO glad you came to (link) party with me! http://www.whatscookingwithruthie.com Come back again tomorrow to share! xoxo
Your directions say to cook the sausage and put it aside, but it is not mentioned again. When do you put it back into the mix?
Is the rice wet or dry like in a resturant.
It depends how long you fry your rice & how wet your rice is to start
Does anyone know where how the restaurants get the smoky taste in rice. I love it.
Income Tax Reduction
By Dan Brown
This session, our largest priority has been the Family Recovery Plan. This legislation plan was designed to give our citizens relief in the harsh economic climate. There are four parts of the Family Recovery Plan: Taxes, Jobs, Energy, and Healthcare. This week, the House passed House Bill 64, which seeks to reduce income tax. We believe this will aid in stimulating the economy and provide much needed tax relief to Missouri families and small businesses.
At the federal level, reducing an individual’s income tax has proven to be very successful. In the 1920’s, presidents Harding and Coolidge slashed tax rates by more than 50 percent and the gross domestic product - the measure of national wealth - rose at an annual rate of almost 1.5 times the previous rate. In the 1960’s, presidents Kennedy and Johnson also proved lower taxes meant higher growth by cutting top tax rates from 91 percent to 70 percent. When these cuts were enacted in 1965, growth and private investments increased dramatically. Then, in the 1980’s, President Reagan once again proved this correlation by cutting taxes. During Reagan's two terms he cut taxes across the board and the gross domestic product growth averaged 3.2 percent compared with 2.8 percent in the eight years preceding his election.
We are looking forward to a similar achievement at the state level. HB64, sponsored by Representative Lipke, has two main provisions that will reduce taxes. The first provision will provide savings for all Missouri taxpayers by increasing the amount of federal tax an individual can deduct from their state taxes. We increased this deduction from $5,000 to $7,500 for an individual and $10,000 to $15,000 for a married couple. This will also help small businesses across the state, seeing that approximately 50 percent of small businesses pay their taxes as individuals. On the surface, this change may look like a loss of revenue to the state, but a reduction in income taxes is normally followed by an increase in collection of capital gains taxes. The second part of the bill will allow income to flow back into family budgets. The bill raises dependent exemption to $1,600 -- which has not changed since 1998 when it was increased from $400 to $1,200. By increasing the exemption by $400 per child, Missouri families will be able to keep more of their income to pay for necessities.
As I have promised since we started this session, my top priority is to pass legislation that will help you, my constituents, weather these rough times. There is no question that by cutting taxes, we can stimulate the economy. That is why I supported this tax reform legislation.
Saving money on our tax bill allows more disposal income and frees up money to buy goods and services. If allowed to keep more money, we the people will spend and stimulate the economy.
This week I had the pleasure of visiting with the 4 graders from Mark Twain Elementary and Saint Patrick’s Catholic School. As always, thanks for giving me the opportunity to serve you in the House of Representatives. Please feel free to contact me with any concerns and interests at either 573-751-5713 or at [email protected]
There's no Missouri connection at all to today's post. It's just a song I like by a singer I like. I'm a Georgia native, transplanted to Missouri. Here's another Georgia native, one a little better known who never moved to Missouri:
In the spirit of the theme for the week, I have searched hard for a historic contribution from male family members. In previous posts we have had, from Mother (Eve’s Pudding yesterday, and Mum’s Delight pudding some time ago), then in a single post we had the triple delights of Auntie’s Pudding, The Good Daughter’s Pudding, and Grandma’s Pickle. Aunties win, no doubt of that. Puddings definitely win in the content stakes too. Why is that? There is a dearth of grandmother’s stews, or daughter’s roast chook, or sisters muffins – and the dearth of male contributors is almost absolute. Why is that? With more men in the home kitchen in the last few decades, hopefully future cookbooks will correct the deficit.
I did find one exception to half the rules – from Uncle, for Pudding.
Heat half a pound of treacle in a basin, mix in with it half a pound of flour, six ounces of minced beef suet, two ounces of brown sugar, one tea-spoonful of ground ginger, one of ground cinnamon, one of allspice, and the same of carbonate of soda. Beat up two eggs, mix them with a tea-cupful of butter-milk, and add to the other ingredients mix them all together, pour into a buttered mould, and boil for two hours, serve with egg sauce.
Practice of Cookery and Pastry, Williamson, 1862.
Saturday, April 25, 2009
On DNA - From Today's Writer's Almanac
This information in today's Writer's Almanac about DNA makes me happy. "Deoxyribose nucleic acid." Say that three times really fast! To contemplate the building blocks of our bodies, beings.
I say "Thank you" to Watson and Crick for their work compiling others' research efforts. I celebrate the initially, un-acknowledged Rosalind Franklin. I marvel considering who and where our next Nobel-prize winning scientists are. I stand in awe considering all the information that is held in my own DNA, as well as yours. "What will we discover or learn next?"
It was on this day in 1953 that Watson and Crick published the article in which they proposed the structure of DNA. The article appeared in Nature magazine, and it was only about a page long. It began, "We wish to suggest a structure for the salt of deoxyribose nucleic acid (D.N.A.). This structure has novel features which are of considerable biological interest." Their hypothesis about the double-helix structure of DNA revolutionized biology and paved the way for the field of genetics. Some science historians rank their feat with Newton describing the laws of physics.
Watson and Crick's discovery was actually the result of synthesizing many other people's ideas and research. They spent relatively little time in the laboratory doing experiments. They relied on the research of others, especially Rosalind Franklin, who had taken X-ray photographs of DNA samples. Their initial failure to acknowledge their huge debt to her caused a great debate in the scientific world. Many people felt that she should have shared the Nobel Prize, which Watson and Crick won in 1962.
It would have been simpler if Paul "Fotie" Photenhauer, semen-cooking enthusiast, were more of a creep. Then it would have been easy to dismiss his self-published cookbooks, 2011's Natural Harvest: A Collection of Semen-Based Recipes and the new Semenology: The Semen Bartender's Handbook -- two volumes that literally made me throw up in my mouth a little bit when I received them.
They have recipes like Slightly Saltier Caviar, Special 'S' Barbecue Sauce, Mexican Cumslide, and Watermelon Gin Jizz, all which require teaspoons and tablespoons of the stuff. There are sentences such as, "Like fine wine and cheeses, the taste of semen is complex and dynamic," along with tips on how to make one's semen taste better (ginger!) and last longer (keep it in the freezer!). And then there are the photos, which give a new dimension to the term "food porn."
But after talking with Photenhauer on the phone (he's based in the Bay Area, but currently traveling around Europe), I reconsidered my gag reflex, at least a little. He made semen-eating seem, if not reasonable, at least mostly harmless. For starters, Photenhauer isn't some perv who drinks semen all day -- he says he reserves semen cooking for special, intimate encounters with his partner. "For me, it's more of a fun twist to add to food, or in this case a drink. It adds a definite personal twist to it," he says. "I would never eat or drink semen, cooked or otherwise, from someone I wouldn't be willing to have sex with."
Though semen cocktails don't equal sexytimes for most of us, the cookbooks do bring up the question of why semen-swallowing is such a social taboo outside the bedroom. Which is how Photenhauer got the idea in the first place, at a dinner party back in 2006. The conversation at the table turned to spitting or swallowing, and he noticed that everyone, gay or straight, expected their partner to swallow but weren't necessarily willing to reciprocate.
"If you want your partner to swallow, you should be willing to eat your own semen -- I mean, it's your semen," he says. "Then I started thinking about it. People eat all kinds of weird shit. Eggs are the menstruation of chickens. Milk is the mammary excretion from cows. Semen is. at least it's fresh and you know who the producer is.
"The question is, why is eating semen so much weirder than having a yogurt?" I gave a noncommittal, slightly horrified response, which he picked up on. "I mean, I get it. I'm not an idiot. I get that there's a difference. But the question is, why is it so much different?"
Frank Holmes - U.S. Global Investors (May 8, 2015) - This week, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil prices reached a 2015 high, rising above $60 before cooling to just below that. This marks the eighth straight week of gains. Investment banking advisory firm Evercore makes the case that the recent oil recovery is closely following the average trajectory of six previous cycles between 1986 and 2009. Although no one can predict the future with full certainty, this is indeed constructive for prices as well as the industry.
Because oil remains in oversupply, the recent rally owes a lot to currency moves. The U.S. dollar, which has weighed heavily on commodities for around nine months, declined to its lowest point since mid-January. We might be seeing a dollar reset, which should finally give oil—not to mention gold, copper and other important commodities—much-needed breathing room.
The oil rig count continued to drop in April and is now at a five-year low . According to Baker Hughes, 976 rigs were still operating at the end of the month, down 11 percent from 1,100 in March and 47 percent from 1,835 in April 2014. Eleven closed this week alone. This spectacular plunge has had the obvious effect of curbing output and helping oil begin its recovery from a low of $44 per barrel in January. Production appears to have peaked in mid-March at 9.42 million barrels per day and is now showing signs of rolling over.
A price reversal historically has occurred between six and nine months following a drop in the rig count . The number of rigs operating peaked in October and oil started to bottom in January.
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
Some Background on Slave Laborers and Displaced Persons (DPs)
My parents met in a slave labor camp in Germany during World War II. My dad had been there for four years, my mother for almost three. They met toward the end of the war. My dad had worked on a farm when he was a boy before the war, and the Germans needed people to work on their farms. The German male population was mostly in uniform and out of the country trying to conquer Russia and England and Africa and other countries too.
So the Germans grabbed up people to work in their munitions industries, clear the rubble from the cities the Allied planes were hammering, and do farm work too. They grabbed them up wherever they could find them. My dad and mom hadn’t met yet, and they were picked up separately in different parts of Poland and sent west to Germany. My dad was picked up when he went to his village to buy some rope. My mom was picked up when she was hiding from the German soldiers who killed her mother and her sister and her sister’s baby.
In Germany, my mom mainly did agricultural work. She worked in the fields and in the barns. She didn’t talk much about what she did, but one of the things she mentioned all the time was how hard it was digging beets out of the frozen ground. (I wrote a poem about this called “The Beets.” If you Google my name and the word “beets,” you’ll be able to read about what that was like.) The other thing she always talked about was the wooden shoes she had to wear. In the winter, they always froze, and her feet froze too. She blamed the wooden shoes for the fact that in her last years her feet were useless. They were kind of shapeless and puffed up, and she couldn’t stand or walk.
As a slave laborer, my father did all kinds of different work. He dug for German bodies under the bricks in Magdeburg he worked in German coalmines he carried heavy things in the factories were they were making German guns and uniforms he hoed German fields and milked German cows. Like the other slave laborers from Poland and every other country in Europe, he didn’t have a choice. Slaves don’t have choices. Toward the end of the war for some reason, the Germans put him to work on the farm where my mother was a slave laborer. My parents met at the end of the war. My father was being driven on a death march past the camp my mom was in. For some reason, the German guards leading my dad ran away when they came to my mom's camp. My mom and dad were suddenly free for the first time in years.
After the war ended in the spring of 1945, my parents got married. The Germans couldn’t keep anybody apart then. My dad liked to say that after the liberation of the camps, the first thing the slaves did was eat. The second thing they did was get married. And then they had babies.
Maybe they shouldn’t have had babies so soon because the former slaves weren’t really physically very strong, and the conditions weren’t too good either. The slave laborers were now called Displaced Persons, but they were still living in the old barracks that they had lived in when they were slave laborers. Some of these camps still had unburied bodies piled up waiting to be buried, but there were so many bodies that needed to be buried that the DPs sometimes had to live next to where the dead were waiting to be buried. The DPs, my mom told me, were always being shifted from one camp to another. Germany was being divided up between the Allies, and the Displaced Persons were being resettled over and over again. It was like the Allies couldn’t decide what to do with all of these DPs.
A lot of the babies in those DP camps were sickly and many of them died. My sister and I got sick and dehydrated and feverish, but we survived. Years later, my mother was telling me about this and she said, “I thought you were a goner.” It was like this all over, I guess. At one of the DP camps, the one at Wildflecken in Germany, there’s a Polish cemetery where you can see the graves of 427 babies born right after the war. Kathryn Hulme was a UN administrator at this camp and wrote about her experiences in The Wild Place.
There were masses of DPs in Germany after the war. The numbers are hard to imagine. I’ve seen estimates as low as 11 million, and as high as 20 million. There were DPs there from all the countries of Europe, and they were all kinds of people: Jews, Catholics, Muslims, atheists, gypsies, Christians of all kinds. The Germans had brought them all to work in the slave labor camps. In these camps, there were farmers and lawyers and nuns and college professors and school girls and nurses and priests and waiters and artists from everyplace. My father would talk about the Greeks he worked alongside of, the Italians who kept dreaming about eating macaroni, the Russians who the German guards hated and abused all the time, and the Frenchmen who showed their fine Sunday manners even when they were dying. And after the war, many of these people couldn't get back to their own countries, and they waited in these DP camps.
What education my dad had came mainly from what he learned about the world from the people in the camps. He was an orphan and had never been allowed to go to school, but he learned about history and geography and politics and even opera in the slave labor camps. There was an Italian professor who spoke Polish and loved to talk to the other slave laborers about Italian operas. It was amazing what my father knew about Italian opera. He had opinions on the relative merits of French and Italian and German operas. And my dad could back those opinions up! Verdi was great. Wagner, not so hot.
I don’t personally remember much from this time after the war. I was born in 1948. I just have a few memories, and maybe these are based as much on the photographs that I played with as a child as anything else. I remember living in barracks, watching the convoys of dark green army trucks always passing. I remember a pair of camouflaged pants my mother sewed for me out of material that she salvaged from an old army parachute. I remember being lost in the barracks, wandering around calling for my parents and my sister Donna. It felt like I was lost for hours, and it felt like the barracks and the camp went on for thousands of miles. And maybe it did go on for thousands of miles, from one end of Germany to the other. It felt like that.
As I said, there were a lot of people from all over in those DP camps in Germany, and it took a while to get this mass of DPs straightened out after the war. The DPs were all lost, separated from their families, grieving for their dead mothers and dead fathers and dead sons and daughters, afraid to stay in Germany where they had been slaves, and afraid to go back to where they came from because home was maybe just another bunch of graves, or maybe the Communists had taken over and were shipping the DPs who returned to Siberia and the slave labor camps there. The DPs all felt mixed up and lost.
The United Nations was still trying to straighten this mess of DPs up six years after the war when my parents and my sister Donna and I were allowed to leave in 1951
(The illustration here and the next one are by the Polish artist Vojtek Luka. He drew them to illustrate my book Third Winter of War: Buchenwald.)