your table’s ready

by Rudi Hurzlmeier

Hello and Happy New Year!

We’re baaaaaaack! Hope you had a nice holiday. Other than a little adventure with our well pump on New Year’s Eve, we managed to survive all the busyness, insane consumption of cookies and undue pressure to be merry and jingly and ho ho ho all the time, and now we’re just happy to get back to our quiet routine here in the woods with bears, books, and warm cups of tea.


Like that wonderful bear in Mr. Hurzlmeier’s painting, I’m tipping my hat to you. I’m glad you’re here because we’ve saved a special seat for you at the table. If you please, says Mr. Bear, make yourself at home.


I hope you don’t mind, but we had to make today’s tea with bottled water. That’s because our tap water still smells like bleach. When the new pump was installed, the contractor sanitized our well. We were lucky to find someone on a holiday weekend who provides emergency service. One minute you’re washing and rinsing the dishes, the next minute you turn on the bathroom tap to brush your teeth and no water at all. ūüė¶

It’s good to know you can actually call someone close to midnight and they’re actually cordial and patient and try to troubleshoot with you over the phone before agreeing to come over bright and early the next morning. So we welcomed 2017 without clean water and there was no dumpling soup or any other cooking going on but we were just relieved we didn’t have to check into a hotel and wait days and days to get someone to fix things.

Did I mention one reason the well pump failed was because we had a power outage on Christmas Eve? Chain of events, chain of events. Never a dull moment.


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eating out with the obamas

Sampling a peach at Kroger’s Supermarket in Bristol, VA (July 2009).

Do I dare to eat a peach?

Thanks to this man,¬†I¬†can proudly say, “Yes!”

Exactly one year ago today, the very first African American was elected President of the United States. On that day, the universe, and our consciousness, shifted (and my heart soared to the stars and beyond).¬†A President born in Hawai’i?¬†Surely now¬†anything is possible.

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chili in every bowl

Happy Inauguration Day! So exciting!

I know you’ll be busy watching the inaugural ceremony and parade on TV and all, but NOW HEAR THIS: in order to properly celebrate this momentous occasion, this defining moment, this day when America turns on its axis — there is one thing you absolutely have-tuh do:


That’s right! As I mentioned when I posted his recipe awhile back, chili is Barack’s favorite thing to cook. It makes perfect sense, too — an easy crowd pleaser, infinitely adaptable whether you’re a carnivore or vegetarian. Everyman’s food.

There is one thing, though: Barack’s chili (pictured above with ground beef), is surprisingly bland. No salt or tomato sauce was listed in the recipe ingredients. I know there are as many kinds of chili as there are people, but I did think the omission of salt was strange. Maybe that’s why he’s President and not a professional chef!

Anyway, it doesn’t matter whether you doctor up Barack’s recipe, use your own, open up a can, or grab a bowl of the stuff at your favorite restaurant — just as long as you eat some (over rice). Yes, it’s your civic duty!

And for dessert, indulge in some of this special Ben and Jerry’s ice cream, renamed just for the month of January in honor of Barack Obama. It’s available in scoop shops around the country — "amber waves of buttery ice cream with roasted non-partisan pecans." All proceeds from its sale goes to the Common Cause Education Fund.


Just last week, Barack was spotted at Ben’s Chili Bowl in D.C. (see video).

This cool video featuring the Obama song will get you movin’ and shakin’ (thanks, Jules)!

Also, this is a very interesting website covering Barack’s Hawai’i connections — places he lived, schools attended, etc. Thanks to James for the link!

For the official Inauguration Day Schedule, click here.

Change we can believe in:
Yesterday = chicken in every pot
Today =  chili in every bowl.

Hot stuff!

talkin’ bout barack

The Obamas visiting the U.S.S. Arizona last year.

So, the past few days I’ve been wondering something.

When orator extraordinaire Barack Obama is in Hawai’i, does he ever speak any Pidgin? I mean, can you imagine him saying something like:

Ho, dis haupia cake broke da mout!
We go holoholo bumbai.
No can.

It’s hard to imagine, but I tend to think he must speak some Pidgin when he’s with old friends. I haven’t lived in Hawai’i for 30+ years, and I never speak Pidgin here in Virginia, yet whenever I’m back home visiting family and friends, I naturally begin to shorten my phrases and assume that unmistakable Pidgin "accent." It’s in my DNA, and I think it’s in Barack’s, too. Len wholly disagrees, citing that Barack is too conscious of his public image to utter so much as a syllable in Pidgin, since the press would pick up on every word he says.

Like Pidgin is bad, or something? Not so.

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have a bite with barack

~ This is the sixth in a series of posts about Presidential Food

“Tell me what you eat and I¬†will tell you what you are.” ~ Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin (lawyer, author, epicure)

Shave ice of many flavors


Flanked by the ladies in Hawaii this past summer.

Right about now, all¬†five White House chefs are probably wondering what’s going to be on the menu for the next four years.

Will they have to brush up on their Chicago pizza skills?¬†Import bags of poi from Hawai’i? Or will they be asked to serve their culinary creations on green plates?

Barack’s pizza policy: vegetarian

Regular readers of this blog (all three of you) know that I’m a strong believer in the old adage, “you are what you eat.” When it comes to food in the White House,¬†each First Family has brought something distinct to the table — not only with regard to what is served, but how it’s served.¬†There is nothing more revealing of personality than one’s style of entertaining.

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