Chasing Words

Sun casting out light,
the birds competing with song,
the day before the day.


The new sun casts out
its light in straight lines,
while it playfully wrestles the little clouds.
From on their phone lines,
mockingbirds compete
with trills and songs and whistles.
The day before the day.


The sun casts out
its light in lines
as I make my way;
the birds compete
with trills and rhymes;
the day before the day.


Rounding the corner, I look up from the dog and am stunned.
Through clouds gilt-edged against the sun, the light cuts out in straight bright lines. Around the light, the sky is a brilliant blue, fading into the dark gray blue of the mountains. The air seems alive with light, but at the center of it all is the rising sun.
From telephone pole to telephone pole, the mockingbirds call out, competing to see who will win the morning.

I already have;
I walk on, beginning a new day.

Shoefly Scones

I could just break down and call this really large molasses cookies, but I think of them as scones. This is a reprint with a few corrections of a recipe I published last June.Shoo Fly Scone 4 I needed something new and fast for breakfasts this week, and thought I would make these again.
I also left some for my dear friend Mel and her family, since today is her birthday. Happy Birthday, Mel!
By the way, I did some field-work since last year, and the pronunciation of Scone become more like “scon” the further north you get.


  • 2 ½ cups flour (Whole wheat, white, both, as you wish) and ¼ more for the topping
  • Optional: add ¼ cup of gluten and ¼ cup of brewers yeast for extra protein, and to make the scones firmer.
  • ¼ cup of sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 3 Tbsp cold butter
  • ¾ cup plain yoghurt
  • ½ cup molasses (or dark corn syrup, or a mixture)
  • 1 egg

Step 1, Prepare Ye the way: Preheat the oven to 400°, assemble all the ingredients, run to the store because you are out of molasses, and grease a baking sheet.

Step 2, sifting the dry ingredients: In one bowl sift (mix if you don’t have a sifter) the flour, sugar, baking powder, yeast & gluten, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Mix thoroughly.

Step 3, pastry cutting: Cut in the ice cold sliced butter, using either a pastry cutter or a knife. I suppose some processer thingy can do this, too, but I don’t own one. The result should be crumbly.

Step 3, pastry cutting addendum: Take a quarter cup of flour, mix it with a few tablespoons of sugar and some cinnamon, cut in a tablespoon or more of butter, and set it aside for the crumble topping.

Step 4, mixing the wet ingredients: In another bowl, mix the yoghurt, the molasses and the egg.

Step 4, combining the big mess: Add the wet ingredients to the dry ones and mix well. THe results might be a bit gloppy. Try not to overwork the dough.

Step 5, baking: Flouring your hands, form little scone sized patties out of the dough (should be 6 to 8, depending on your size preference) and put them on the greased baking sheet.  Grab some of the crumble topping and top the dough with it liberally. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. See how they look. Stick a toothpick in one and see if it comes out battery.

Final Step, share and enjoy They do make a handy breakfast, which is much easier to eat in the car than the pie. To your left, they are pictured with my Rhubarb-Almond Scones. They are perfect for sharing over breakfast, or in the afternoon over tea, or for dropping by and giving to friends.


Why the long shorts?

When the Bistro was on the road recently, I happened upon a copy of USA Today (June whiteredseersucker12, 2014), that printed thing whose lack of journalism is compensated for by colour. In it, an etiquette and style writer criticized how short men’s shorts were becoming. After all, she wrote, who wants to see a man’s thighs?
The photo that accompanied it showed this mid-thigh pair of men’s shorts.


Seriously, USA Today?
He is wearing a pair of pink seersucker shorts, for crying out loud!
Your problem is its length?

At athletic events, of course, the longer shorts of the time are coupled with high athletic socks, giving us a look like this:Lionel Messi (L), Bruno Alves (R)

Which is not too different from this:victorian bathingsuit

bruce_jenner_wheaties_boxI certainly am not an advocate of short shorts.
Somehow, Bruce Jenner came back, but we certainly don’t need his  I’m not really that big of an advocate of shorts in general. They are comfortable in warm weather, but not very high on the fashion totem.
But this: mid-thigh being considered “too long?”
or even long? Not exposing anything but the knee?

This is a little crazy— especially when we think about the standards for women’s shorts.

Among the ancient Greeks, the male body was a symbol of Netuno19bpower—virility and action rather than a passive, vulnerable object—and therefore depicting it nude was a symbol of power.
By contrast, in our culture, clothes are power, so the more power a man wishes to project, the more he puts on—business suits, hunting cammo, or Teflon armour.
So maybe length does matter.
Of course, the gaze we fix upon women’s clothes is much more sordid.

We have always been ludicrous when it came to women’s bodies, but here in the 21st century, when we should have been getting away from our hang-ups and cultural expectations are we going to start worrying about not exposing men’s thighs?

Our Nation’s founders all had bodies, but two centuries later, American’s are as obsessed and repulsed by them as ever.

Men’s thighs— OY!
Have a bialy— it’ll do ya’ good.

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On New Year’s Eve, we listened to an article on NPR about a judge who made his own bialys. I recall having heard or read the word thrown around a few times, but hadn’t really pick up on them. When he said warm chewy roll crisp on the outside with sautéed onions and poppy seeds, he had my rapt attention.
Beets & Bialys jan 21 (2) (1202x808)A bialy shares some common qualities with its cousin, the bagel, but is so much more fun. It has a thick, high-gluten dough like a bagel, but isn’t boiled before braking to make the outside so chewy–it is just baked. It is also filled with onions & poppy seeds–not unlike an Ashkenazi Mini-Pizza.
The bialy epicenter in this country is the Jewish bakeries of the various boroughs of  New York City. Originally, the bialy is believed to have been called Bialystoker Kuchen, and they came to this country with Jewish immigrants from the beautiful Polish city of Białystok. Many of these Immigrants came for economic reasons, or to escape Tsarist Progroms like the one in 1906. Going into the 20th Century, the majority of its residents were Jewish, but the 20th Century took a devastating toll on the Jewish population of Białystok.

A good source for this history is Mimi Sheraton’s The Bialy Eaters. This recipe was modified from Smitten Kitchen, who adapted it from The Bread Bible.


For the dough:

  • 2 cups King Arthur bread flour
  • 2 Tbsp wheat gluten
  • 1 tsp yeast
  • pinch sugar
  • a little less than a cup of warm water
  • 1 tsp salt

For the onion/poppy seed topping:

  • 2 Tbsp butter (or more)
  • ½ small chopped onion
  • 1 tsp poppy seeds (or more)
  • ½  tsp course salt (kosher would make sense, kids.)


Step 1, Prepare Ye the way: Assemble all the ingredients, rummage around the pantry to find your poppy seeds, run to the store because you are out of butter, &tc.

Step 2, Sift & Leaven: sift the flour and gluten into a separate bowl (I like the chewier texture the gluten gives it, but I’m sure you could omit it–FOOL OF A SCHNOOK!!). In your mixing/bread-making bowl, add the yeast & the sugar to the warm water, whisk & let it rest a bit.

Step 3, Come together & knead: gradually add the flour into the yeast. Before it Bialy dough (3)becomes too thick, add in the salt. continue to add flour (maybe more than 2 cups?) until it is very, very, very still–downright resistant. Knead, knead, knead. This is the weirdest dough I have dealt with; like the Golem, I hope it’s on our side.

Step 4, Rest & Rise: coat the dough with olive oil, put in a large bowl and allow it to rise. For best results, this would be a slow rise, several hours, but it can be rushed in a warmer place to an hour or so.

Step 5, Shape & Rise: divide the dough into 6 balls (fewer if you want them big, Bialy dough (2)or more if you want them small). Flatten the balls with your hands on a parchment sheet–the shape you are looking for is a flattened roll with space in the middle to hold filling. Cover with plastic wrap or a damp cloth, and let rise for another 30 minutes or more.
Note: some also prefer the bialy more flat & dimpled. You can also play with cheeses & pizza toppings, &tc.

Step 6, Heat & Toppings: preheat the oven to 475 degrees. If you have a stone to bake them on, that’s great. In the mean time, chop and sauté the onions in the butter on a low heat–you want them soft, but not browned. Take it off the heat and stir in the Poppy seeds & the salt.

Beets & Bialys jan 21 (4)Step 7, Put it all together: press the middles of the rolls down a bit more and cover this indentation with the onion mixture. Put tem in the oven for 10 minutes, or until them are golden brown.
Mother's Day 2014 (4)
Step 8, Take them out & Enjoy: allow them to cool a bit, but they are best fresh. You can eat them plain, or with a little schmear (cream cheese) maybe some capers. They are great as a side to Beets & Bialys jan 21 (3)salad or to Borscht.

They make wonderful gifts –I mean, as soon as you say butter, onions & poppy seeds, most people are ready to go–at least the sort of people I hang out with.

I also like to use them as buns for sandwiches. Black Bean Burgers on Bialy Buns with Fries (5)
My favorite is with Black Bean Cheeseburgers and Fries.
In fact, that’s what Wode, Mousy & I will be having for supper later this evening, if you wish to drop by.