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

Birthday Celebration

“Life should be lived with a smile on your face
and no one does a better job
of putting one on my face than you.”
Happy Birthday!

Shortly after our Thanksgiving dinner together, I asked my son what his plans were for his upcoming birthday. He planned to spend his birthday with his girlfriend and wanted to spend the following day with me to celebrate.

In a normal year, I would take my son out for a birthday dinner at his favorite restaurant. Unfortunately, most of the restaurants have closed due to the pandemic. I offered to cook and bake whatever his heart desired.

He had never had Beef Wellington nor my famous family recipe of noodle kugel.  He also wanted me to make his favorite dessert I make, Chocolate Mousse. So, with that request, having never made Beef Wellington before, I had time to learn how to make this classic traditional English comfort food.

I spent hours watching YouTube videos of dozens of chefs from around the World share their techniques for Beef Wellington. Taking notes and making a long list of ingredients required, I spent one day just shopping at a half a dozen stores for all the ingredients for my son’s special birthday dinner.

The recipe I ended up using was Gordon Ramsay’s, which seemed to be the most popular among Michelin star chefs. The few changes I made to Ramsay’s recipe is, refrigerating the prepared beef tenderloin a day before rolling it up in the puff pastry. I also cooked it almost 40 minutes because the tenderloin I had bought was 2.5 pounds and required more time in the oven.

Here are some photos from my son’s birthday celebration:

Shine On

Looks Can Be Deceiving

“It’s not what you look at, it’s what you see.”
Henry David Thoreau

On my daily walks along the Esplanade there’s a house that has a fairy garden with tiny figurines. One of the figurines has one of Henry David Thoreau’s famous quotes, “It’s not what you look at, it’s what you see.” This quote points out the difference between the senses and perception.

Our senses give us information and facts but does not always allow us to perceive or experience the item our eyes see. For example, I might see a tree as a plant with stem, and branches and leaves. But, what I might perceive is a natural beauty that represents thousands of years of evolution or the hand of a higher power at work. I might look at a painting and view a canvas with brightly painted colors and brush strokes. But, what I see is a mastery of beauty, passion or a story that touches my mind and my heart.

I think what Thoreau was telling us was to not only view the world around us from a sensory input means, but more importantly to see beyond the shapes, colors, and lighting to the inner meaning and beauty contained in the world around us. Thoreau wants us to understand that it is often the unseen or the perceived that is far more important than the seen or input from our eyes. We should take in the world around us with our mind’s eye rather than just our physical eye.

Our awareness of the objects around us is informed and fine-tuned by any number of factors—our strength and energy levels, our sense of confidence, our fears and desires. Being human means seeing the world through your own constantly shifting lens because as we all know, looks can be deceiving. 

Shine On