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Contact me at Mom25dogs@gmail.com

Friday, September 17, 2010


When I was growing up, this is what I thought a pantry was:

My family always did canning and freezing so neat rows of homemade canned goods and a large chest freezer was a pantry to us.

Pantry - A pantry is a room where food, provisions or dishes are stored. A room for storage of food supplies; a larder. A room or closet in which food, groceries, paper products and other provisions are stored. Today kitchens will at least have a pantry cabinet if not a full pantry closet or even a pantry room. In my home I have pantry cabinets in the hallway outside my laundry room & kitchen. The closet in this hallway is my utility closet, not my pantry, as I have the cabinets. I would love to have a full pantry AND Butler's Pantry.

Butler's Pantry - A butler's pantry or serving pantry is a utility room in a large house. It is usually located adjacent to the kitchen or dining room. Common uses for the butler's pantry are storage, cleaning and counting of silver; European butlers often slept in the pantry, as their job was to keep the silver under lock and key. The wine log and merchant's account books may be kept in the butler's pantry. The room is used by the butler and other domestic staff; it is often called a butler's pantry even in households where there is no butler. In the Butler's Pantry the silver was polished, knives sharpened, the good china washed, silver secured, candlesticks serviced, oil lamps filled, all the other tasks which needed the Butler's expert care and attention to maintain household standards. Even when you don't have a "Butler" a Butler's Pantry is a great place to store serving pieces, silver pieces, silverware, china sets, linens, serving trays, party pieces such as punch bowls and cups, etc. Today they range from a room smaller than the main kitchen to built-in china cabinets with a counter in a hallway between the dining room and kitchen. It's a place to store the serving pieces and arrange food for serving such as hors d'oeuvre trays or transferring food from pots and pans to serving pieces.

I did a Google search on pantries and got some great ideas. I chose photos that range from very expensive pantries to the pantry cabinets. Some people use shelving in their garage or basement to store groceries. Whatever works for you! The main thing is that your food storage is organized, clean and easily accessible. If you have crumbs all over the shelves you are asking for bugs and rodents. If you have half finished bags that are 3 yrs old, throw them away. If you have cans that are 5 yrs old, it's time to throw them out. If your cabinet or closet is so crammed that stuff falls out, it's time to cull out and clean it up. If the pantry floor is stacked with bags, it's time to empty the floor. You can clean, paint and/or line the shelves. You want your pantry to be neat, clean, organized, and, even, decorated. Look at these photos for ideas.


Notice the stepped shelves for canned goods in this pantry!

Always turn labels to the front!

This pantry has almost everything behind doors and in drawers. This helps with dust. There is also a countertop. You can set your bagged groceries here while you unload the car and then put things away.

This is one of my favorite pantries!

I like the chalkboard on the cabinet for keeping a shopping list of what's needed to replace items in the pantry.

This little room off the kitchen, replete with a window, is so like what my Grandma had in her kitchen! Hers were always lined with jars of canned vegetables, pickles, etc.

Butler's Pantries

I would call this more of a Bar than a Butler's Pantry.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Think of a Numb3r by John Verdon

Think of a Number by John Verdon

Mark Mellery calls his old college friend, recently retired NYPD detective David Gurney. Gurney and his wife, Madeleine, have moved out to the New York countryside on a farm. Gurney barely remembers Mellery but becomes intrigued when Mellery says he has a puzzle. So he meets with Mellery. It seems Mellery was a party boy in college and after college became a full fledged alcoholic. He turns his life around and starts counseling others and now has a spiritual retreat center not too far away from Gurney's farm. He has recieved some weird poems that seem to refer to something in his past. He is afraid he may have done something during one of his alcoholic blackouts. The sender also throws in a game. He/She asks Mellery to pick a number then look in the sealed envelope that accompanied the letter. Somehow the sender had guessed the correct number. This is what really gets Mellery's attention. Are the notes threats? Why now? What did he do? What should he do? How did the sender get the right number?

The murder scenes have puzzling clues too which tasks Gurney's solving skills. His wife, Madeleine, helps him with some good catches. But their relationship is suffering. He is not able to turn off his detecting and fully engage with her and she resents it. I thought Verdon did a good job of integrating Gurney's marriage relationship without too much intrusion into the main story. Good character development. I really enjoyed this book. It was a great mystery and I look forward to more. I'm hoping Gurney's marriage survives because Madeleine and David are a good team for future novels. Considering this was Verdon's first book, it's wonderfully structured. Well done, John Verdon!

Marks of Cain by Tom Knox

Marks of Cain by Tom Knox

Tom Knox is the pseudonym of British journalist Sean Thomas.

Englishman and journalist, Simon Quinn, looks into a series of brutal murders involving victims connected to the Basque regions of Spain and France. Tortured and garroted these murders get the attention of the police. Meanwhile American and attorney, David Martinez, is by his dying Grandfather's bedside. His Grandfather asks him to look into his family history, the history of the Basques in southern France and northern Spain. He sets out with a strange map. He meets the beautiful Amy in a bar where he is asking for Jose Gavrillo. For some unknown reason the men try to attack him and Amy speaks up for him. But the evil Miquel comes on the scene and knocks Amy down. David jumps on Miquel but ends up being knocked out too. For some reason, Amy (who is not from the region, is not Basque) lives here and is deeply attached to the Basque Independence movement. She was a former lover of Miguel. She knows the difficult Basque language, knows the villages and hidey holes and befriends David. She, her background and her quick attachment to David didn't make sense. When it got to the gratuitous violence, weird sex, and constant foul language I gave up on this book. Knox, or Thomas, was using this book as a vehicle for his male fantasies and not a very good vehicle. It's pretty badly written just hopping from one sex scene or violent scene after another with little connection. Poorly structured and offensive and I only read 1/3 of the way through. I give it a big thumbs down!

What is the mark of cain? It comes from the story in the Bible of Cain and Abel.

Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, saying, "I have gotten a man with the help of the LORD." And again, she bore his brother Abel. Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, and Cain a worker of the ground. In the course of time Cain brought to the LORD an offering of the fruit of the ground, and Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat portions. And the LORD had regard for Abel and his offering, but for Cain and his offering he had no regard. So Cain was very angry, and his face fell. The LORD said to Cain, "Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it." Cain spoke to Abel his brother. And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against his brother Abel and killed him. Then the LORD said to Cain, "Where is Abel your brother?" He said, "I do not know; am I my brother's keeper?" And the LORD said, "What have you done? The voice of your brother's blood is crying to me from the ground. And now you are cursed from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother's blood from your hand. When you work the ground, it shall no longer yield to you its strength. You shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth." Cain said to the LORD, "My punishment is greater than I can bear. Behold, you have driven me today away from the ground, and from your face I shall be hidden. I shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me." Then the LORD said to him, "Not so! If anyone kills Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold." And the LORD put a mark on Cain, lest any who found him should attack him. Then Cain went away from the presence of the LORD and settled in the land of Nod, east of Eden. (Genesis 4:1-16)

What was this mark? No one knows. But it was a mark of grace. This man was guilty of not obeying God and brought his idea of a sacrifice instead of God's idea of a sacrifice. But despite God's warning he didn't repent, he just stewed in anger until he murdered his brother, Abel. God caught him in his sin and still Cain didn't repent so God punished him. And, yet, God's grace placed a mark on him to protect him from being attacked by someone. So, although Cain was cursed in punishment, the actual mark was a sign of God's grace and protection. People have obsessed on what this mark was. But it's really not an important fact, which is probably why God didn't reveal what the mark was. What is important is that God loves us even while we are yet sinners. He sent Jesus, His Son, to die on our behalf, to save us from our sins. Once we accept Jesus Christ as our Savior, God places the Holy Spirit within us to teach and train our new spirit.

John 14:26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.

Ephesians 1:13-14
In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.

This is the mark of being a Christian. The Holy Spirit is our "mark". It marks us as one of God's children and protects us from satan and eternal hell.

The Super by Jim Lehrer

The Super by Jim Lehrer

This was a quick read and I wasn't impressed with the book.

In its heyday, the Santa Fe railroad’s famous Super Chief was luxury travel and celebrities often used it... it became known as “The Train of the Stars.”

This was before airplanes were the only way to go. This book was set in 1956 when the luxury train was just about to begin it's decline. The Super Chief was the flagship of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway that went from Chicago to Los Angeles and back. The streamlined Super Chief was the first Diesel-powered, all-Pullman sleeping car train in America, and it eclipsed the Chief as Santa Fe's standard bearer. The Super Chief 1 began running from Dearborn Station in Chicago on May 12, 1936. The Super Chief 2 was the much improved version and began running on May 18, 1937. It could make the trip in 40 hours. It was luxury train travel with gourmet meals.

The Super Chief had dining cars that sat 36. Dining cars almost always operated with a lounge car coupled to them for bar-lounge service and a waiting area when the dining car was full. The height of Super Chief lounge and dining facilities came in 1951 with the new 600-series Dining Cars bracketed by the 500 series Pleasure Domes in front and a bar-lounge-dormitory unit in back (moved from the front of the trains). When Santa Fe rolled out its new "Pleasure Dome"-Lounge cars in 1951, the railroad introduced the traveling public to the Turquoise Room, promoted as "The only private dining room in the world on rails."

The room accommodated 12 guests, and could be reserved anytime for private dinner or cocktail parties, or other special functions. The room was often used by the era's celebrities.

The private dining room called the Turquoise Room on the Super Chief passenger train.

Industrial designer Sterling McDonald created the train’s classic interior Indian designs and themes. Whenever possible McDonald used authentic Native American (many of which depicted the Navajo) colors (such as turquoise and copper), patterns, and even authentic murals and paintings in the train.

He used a combination of rare and exotic woods like ebony, teak, satinwood, bubinga, maccassar, and ribbon primavera for trim through the train giving the Super Chief an added touch of one-of-a-kind elegance.

Onboard crews included train engineers, conductors and brakemen, Pullman conductors, Pullman porters, dining car stewards, waiters, cooks, bartenders, lounge attendants, along with cleaning crews at both ends of the line and maintenance crews en route. At times, during the trains history, there were barbers, maids and valets. The staff aboard the Super Chief, with the exception of the conductors and dining car steward, was black. To be a porter during the depression wasn't a second rate job.

The Santa Fe Super Chief was the next to last passenger train in the United States to carry an all-Pullman consist. The train maintained its legendary high level of service until the end of Santa Fe passenger operations on May 1, 1971.

When Amtrak took over operation of the nation's passenger service on May 1, 1971 it ended the 35-year run of the Super Chief on the Santa Fe, though Amtrak would continue to use the name along the same route for another three years. In 1974 the Santa Fe forced Amtrak to drop the train's name due to a perceived decline in service.

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