Tuesday, April 26, 2022

No milkman for me, but I’ve got the next best thing

A couple weeks ago I was downstairs in the newsroom (that’s what I call my apartment building’s exercise room—it has a large Roku tv on the wall that streams the news 24 hours a day) and on the treadmill, when I saw a very charming story on CBS News.

A dairy farm in Lehigh Valley, PA was being interviewed about their success in the milk delivery service.  While it’s been in operation for several years—delivering milk, eggs, juice, yogurt, sour cream & bread to homes in the area, they saw business climb greatly during the pandemic.

And now, with the pandemic over for the most part, business was still up.  Nice!

(It occurred to me, this is in my state.  I’d later google their dairy farm to see where Lehigh Valley was— 300 miles east, the other side of Pennsylvania.  I’m probably a little out of their delivery zone.)

When the reporter asked the woman at Cow Belle if it was a nostalgia thing, she said probably for some at the start, but people had grown accustomed to the convenience.  And then she said something that made me stop treading and take notice.

“People either don’t know or don’t remember that milk stored in glass milk bottles will stay fresh twice as long as milk stored in plastic or cardboard containers.”

WHAAAAAAAT?!  For real??   This has been a problem of mine for as long as I can remember.  I don’t drink a lot of milk, but I like having it on hand to put on cereal 3-4 days a week.   So I’ll buy a quart every week or so, but either run out too soon, or get another quart and it will start to sour when I’m only halfway through.

As soon as I finished my workout and came upstairs, I went on Amazon.com and did a search for “glass milk bottles”.  There were dozens of them, but as I began reading reviews I saw a lot of negative comments about the glass being too thin, bottles shattering easily, the caps rusting or not being reusable, etc.

I finally found what I wanted from The Dairy Shoppe (click on the name to visit product page) and ordered a set.  Here they are.

They come in sets of 4 quart bottles for $19.98.  I only wanted 2 bottles, but didn’t have that option.  But I thought it was nice they included a postcard that said “If one or more bottles are broken, call this number and the entire order will be replaced free of charge.  You will NOT have to return any broken bottle(s).”

It didn’t just contain 4 white reusable caps (they both screw on or pop on & off), but a bagful of them.  It also included a snap on yellow/red rubber spout for a thin stream pour.

But these bottles… you can’t tell from my photo, but the glass is VERY dense.  With a slight indentation on the sides, they’re easy to grasp and I love how they feel.   Using a funnel, I poured 3/4 quart of fresh milk into one of the bottles, and several days later the milk in my plastic jug has gotten a slight “taste” but the bottled milk is ICY cold and still fresh!

Glass—what an amazing invention for storing milk!  What will these scientists think of next?


Thursday, April 21, 2022

I hope this recipe for garlic parmesan crusted flounder will cure me of my ichthyophobia

The other day I went to Kuhn’s for my umpteenth pound of ground chuck or chicken, but stopped in my tracks when I saw a display of flounder on sale for $7.99.  I asked the meat dept manager “Do you sell a lot of fish?” and he laughed and said no.  I said I’d love some “real” fish but was afraid to try cooking it. 

He said a lot of people say the same thing.  NOW I KNEW I HAD TO BUY & COOK THIS FISH.

When I got home with my goods, I got on my computer and googled “fear of cooking fish” to see if I was alone (nope) and began looking for ways to cook what I bought.  How is it I’m 60 years old and have never cooked raw fish? 

I found this recipe and decided to give it a try:

  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 fillets flounder
  • Kosher (coarse) salt – I omitted this
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup shredded (not grated) Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3-4 tablespoons lemon juice

1.  I tossed together the shredded parmesan, seasoned bread crumbs & (softened) garlic, then “packed” the tops of each of the fillets.  

(It said to dredge the fillets in the mixture, but that was a clumsy mess.  It was much easier to use the mix as a pressed topping.)

2. The oven is preheated to 425F.  I lined a baking pan with aluminum foil and drizzled 2 tablespoons extra light olive oil on the foil before adding the topped fillets. 

I also drizzled 2 tablespoons extra light oil across the tops of the fish, then 3 tablespoons lemon juice.   I added the freshly ground pepper last.   These will cook for 20-25 minutes.



3.  After I slid these into the oven, I went downstairs to get my mail.  My friend Dave from the first floor was in the lobby, so I stayed and chatted with him for several minutes.

When I came back upstairs and opened my apartment door, it smelled like a pricey restaurant in here!   Here’s how those flounder looked when they came out of the oven.   They were picture perfect.



4.  I was in honest-to-God shock.  These weren’t just okay, or even good.  They were melt in your mouth delicious.  (And I’m glad I omitted the salt.)

They cooked just right, with the perfect combination of parmesan, garlic & lemon. 

I paired one up with a baked potato with sour cream, and a glass of grapefruit soda.  I enjoyed it while watching ‘The Lost Leonardo’, a documentary on Leonardo da Vinci.  I made too much, but looking forward to the leftovers! 

Maybe next time I’ll tackle a fish that still has it’s scales… Eye rolling smile


Thursday, April 14, 2022

People come and go so quickly here, don’t they

I hesitate sharing this right now, for a couple of reasons.  First, my heart just feels very heavy.  Second, it’s been too soon.  Third, I don’t want a friend’s death to be viewed as an opportunity to have a new blog-post.

At the same time… I’m having trouble keeping quiet about it too.  Someone I know, Candace Merriman, died on Monday, April 11.  It wasn’t an accident, but it was unexpected.  She’d only been sick for a month before things took a turn for the worse.

For some reason, it’s hard coming to terms with this.  Candace was funny, feisty and VERY smart.  She was six months younger than me, and one of the first people I worked with when I joined UPMC Health Plan 22+ years ago. 

After I retired in 2015, she was one of three people I stayed in touch with.  Not as much as I have with the other two, but we still exchanged notes in our birthday & Christmas cards, and when Trump was in office we had some very long phone chats.

When I first met Candace in 2000, she was a manager with a nice office and a cool bubble gum machine on her desk.  I was assigned to work with her on a series of healthplan member reports for Heinz Foods. 

A couple years later, my boss announced Candace was stepping down as manager and joining our IT team as a business analyst.  She’d be in the desk in front of mine.  On her first day, she said “Hi Doug!” and I said “I can’t process this, I’m too used to seeing you as a superior, not an equal.”  She said “Why does that have to change?”

That was Candace—everything came with a sly smile and twinkle in her eye!

Over the years, sitting in such close proximity, I learned a lot about her life as she did mine.  I remember in 2007, the day after The Big Bang Theory debuted on CBS, she asked me what I thought of the premiere episode.  When I told her I hadn’t seen it and had no intention of watching the show, she said “But Doug!  The show was created just for you!  I swear to God I’m going to lose it if you don’t watch the next episode!”

She was right, I fell in love with it and we discussed every episode for years.

I’m sorry, I could go on & on about a hundred little things.  I do want to say this—I’ve never liked getting advice from anyone, but I did ask for it on several occasions from Candace and she never steered me wrong.  The stock portfolio in my retirement account… she helped me choose them.  Our boss, notorious for ignoring much of what we had to say, often came to her desk for her input as well.

I know a close one’s death always seems unfair, but Candace and her husband John had just sold their home on the Southside for a wonderful house outside of the city.  He had recently retired, and Candace (who would’ve turned 60 on Friday) was still working but planning to retire soon as well.  

Candace, I will miss you for a long, long time.


Saturday, April 2, 2022

Walking away from things for a bit

I think I’m going to take a break from the whole blogging thing for a bit.  While I’ve never tried to write more than one post a week, when your life’s as simple as mine, even one can become a real task sometimes.

Between that and the following of others blogs, some who write several times a week, I’m just feeling the need to take a step back.  Or forward, I don’t know.

Anyway, with having no idea how long this will last, I wanted to say thanks to everyone who’s visited my blog, and reached out in friendship.  I hope you know this isn’t goodbye. 

I would’ve posted this a day earlier, but didn’t want anyone to think it was an April Fool’s joke.  Take care.