Monthly Archives: March 2013


We call my grandmother Gummy.  Madame Gumball, if you are my father and are feeling contrite.  Gummy is derived from my sisters’ inability to pronounce grandmother as children.  Or grandma.  Or anything really.  They are thus credited with the creation of the masterful name “Gummy”.

If our family has a matriarch, its most definitely Gummy.  We all adore her but are frightened of her “jokes” about how when she gets a cane, she will hit her grandchildren with it to keep us in line.  She is probably kidding.  We don’t know.

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P1010829This is, in a sense, a restaurant review.  I have been going to Chez Pascal, a small French restaurant on the East Side of Providence, RI for the past 9 years.  In fact, I spent two summers selling gourmet hot dogs, sausages, and sandwiches for them (yeah they do that too).  My family is quite close to the owners.  We love them.  Really love them.  They make the restaurant a special place, somewhere that feels like home, for everyone that walks through the doors.

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I love a good grilled cheese.  I mean, I love cheese.  But a good grilled cheese I’ll take every day.  I especially love them with caramelized onions.  Because caramelized onions are in my top ten necessary foods.

I tend to make my grilled cheese with mustardy beer onions when people are coming over and I have planned literally nothing to feed them.  This dish tastes good and fancy and involves things that should always be in your kitchen.  Onions, beer, mustard, cheese, and bread.

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A member of our family, the only Irishman we’ve got (who would like to be known as Pinocchio here, because he just wants to be a real boy who eats real gluten food), recently learned that he has Celiacs disease.  He is distressed, understandably, because he thinks this means he will never eat real bread or cake again.  (Its mainly the cake that makes him sad.)



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I sent out a mass text to my four friends yesterday asking them if they wanted to get oysters and beer from the oyster and beer fish market that Slug had found downtown.  Not a single one responded to me.  So I tried an experiment.

Many hours later, I sent out a mass text to the same people asking them if they would eat a pie if I made one.  Immediate responses.  One friend said “yes” another said “when” and Slug for some reason did not respond.  A third friend claimed he “wasn’t hungry today” which just does not make sense.

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As a child, I did not get lox.  I wasn’t a fan of anything salty or fishy.  So lox were a double no in my book.  But as a faithful Jew food lover (albeit an unknowledgeable one) I felt like I needed to learn to appreciate lox.


I still don’t like full bagels (too many carbs, not enough butter) but mini bagels do the trick.  Schmeared with a generous dosage of cream cheese (either plain, full fat, or the kind riddled with herbs), some lox and a couple capers, these guys are my perfect food.  I don’t have them often, due to the ridiculously high price of lox, but I still love ’em.

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Now here’s the deal.  I’m Jewish.  I had a bat-mitzvah.  But my mother, the main chef of the family (no offense, Papa B), was raised Italian Catholic.  Technically this means I’m not Jewish as Judaism is passed down through the mother, but I’m reform, and reform Jews are less picky.

Here and there, we’d have some Jew Food for dinner, but I don’t think I really know much about Jewish cuisine.

Oh sure, I know latkes, hamantashen, challah, and of course, rugelach, but I honestly can’t name too many other Jewish foods for you.



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