Getting Started

“The secret of getting ahead
is getting started.”

Happy 2021 New Year all you fellow Blogaholics.

I’m confident all of us agree, we’re glad to see 2020 in our rearview mirror. My first post of 2020 I ended with a quote from Billy Wilder.  He once said, “It’s easy to know the right thing to do after something has happened, but it’s hard to predict the future. Hindsight is 20/20 vision.”

Little did I realize what 2020 would have in store for the world. If I had any hindsight, I would’ve had a larger stash of toilet paper.

Hopefully, going into this new year, we all will allow ourselves to be more compassionate, give more unconditional love, not take our friends and family for granted and be better listeners as well as experience life to its fullest.

I have put together my 2021 goals, and because 2020 was such a nightmare, I plan to be diligent reaching as many of my goals as possible. I can see clearly now, the first and most important step to reaching any goal is, getting started.

Shine On

2020 Merry Christmas

“And above all, watch with glittering eyes
the whole world around you
because the greatest secrets are hidden
in the most unlikely places.
Those who don’t believe
in magic will never find it.”
Roald Dahl

Shine On

Backstory of Beef Wellington

“The only thing I am afraid of is fear.”
Arthur Wellesley

You’ve got to take your hat off to the 1st Duke of Wellington. Not only did the feisty Irishman vanquish Napoleon, he twice became prime minister and lend his name to the infamous Wellington boot as well as giving us the delicious Beef Wellington to remember him by.

Field Marshal Arthur Wellesley was born in Dublin, May 1, 1769 into an aristocratic Anglo-Irish family. At age 12, he was sent to school at Eton in England. His father’s death that same year threw the family into financial turmoil. Arthur’s mother withdrew him from Eton to be schooled in Belgium and France. She saw such little promise in her son that she felt the military was the best career choice for him. In 1787 at age 18, he was commissioned as an ensign in the British Army.

An outstanding British soldier and statesman, he was one of the most important military and political leaders of 19th-century Britain. Rising to prominence as a general during the Peninsular campaign of the Napoleonic Wars, he was promoted to the rank of field marshal after leading the allied forces to victory against the French Empire at the Battle of Vitoria in 1813.

Following Napoleon’s exile in 1814, he served as the ambassador to France and was granted a dukedom. During the 1815 Hundred Days War, he commanded the allied army, which together with a Prussian Army under Blücher, defeated Napoleon at Waterloo. His battle record is exemplary; he ultimately participated in some 60 battles during the course of his military career.

Wellesley died from a stroke on 14 September 1852. On his death, he was once again hailed as the hero of Waterloo. Queen Victoria even described him as ‘the greatest man this country ever produced’. He was given a state funeral in London and was laid to rest in St Paul’s Cathedral, next to Britain’s other military heroes.

So, how does all this history relate to Beef Wellington? Well, it seems the Duke of Wellington was quite indifferent to food. However, he did love a dish of beef, mushrooms, truffles, Madeira wine, and pâté cooked in pastry. The Duke loved this dish so much, it had to be served at every dinner. Therefore, his chefs named the dish in his honor.  Some also speculate the dish was named after him because the fillet of beef, wrapped in puff pastry finished product looks like a highly polished Wellington riding boot.

Beef Wellington, like many other dishes, has a debatable story of origin. Many different experts cite England, France, Ireland, and even Africa as the possible birthplace for the dish. Although, several contend that France is the most likely origin for the dish since wrapping meat in pastry is a technique that has been practiced in France for a long time, even before the dish became popular.

This tenderloin of beef in puffed pastry was first made famous in the USA by the TV chef, Julia Child. Her cook book, Mastering the Art of French Cooking was immensely popular in the USA. She presented a version of the well-known French fillet of beef in crust, which she entitled, Filet of Beef Wellington on TV in her New Year’s Day 1965 show.

Thanks to the success of Childs’ Beef Wellington show, the dish became hugely popular in North American social circles and was repeated in a large number of magazines and cookbooks, including the very influential, White House Cookbook.

To Americans, unaccustomed to the English idea of meat in pastry, Beef Wellington must have seemed like quite an exotic dish. It can be an intimidating and complicated dish to put together. But, thanks to cooking shows and YouTube, anyone with a desire to cook this fancy feast can put together a beautiful and tasty Beef Wellington.

Shine On

Some Things Never Change

“From my tribe I take nothing,
I am the maker of my own fortune.
A single twig breaks,
but the bundle of twigs is strong.
Show respect to all people,
but grovel to none.”

With Thanksgiving behind us, I realized I had not heard one newscaster or for that matter, one government official mention Native Americans. This nation began with the genocide of the Native Indians. I often wonder what North America would look like without its 1492 landing and the fore fathers that confiscated it unlawfully.

I’ve been reading and listening to the news about the Coronavirus impact on Native Americans. There’s one article in particular written by Lizzie Wade in Science Magazine that was eye opening about the COVID-19 data on Native Americans which is a national disgrace. I hope you’ll take the time to read the article.

This country hasn’t respected Indigenous people since the day we set foot on their land. It angers and saddens me that some things never change.

Shine On