Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Guest Blogger: PM's Mother

We have a very special lady filling in the part of the Playground Monitor today. In fact, it is the Playground Monitor's own Mother! As we're learning on the Playground, she's one smart lady, filled with funny anecdotes and wise advice. Guess that's where PM gets it. Help me make PM's Mother welcome today!

Don't forget. One lucky commenter keeping me company today will win a book and surprise goody from the Playfriends!

(*Culinary Institute of America)


This is a romantic tale about the adventures of an Old Fart (hereinafter referred to as OF) and his slightly overweight Beautiful Lady Friend (hereinafter referred to as BLF) and their unforgettable journey to dine at the renowned Culinary Institute of America at Hyde Park, New York (hereinafter referred to as the CIA) ...

The OF and his BLF arose at the break of dawn and drove for hours to reach the CIA by the appointed time. At the magic hour they were lead into the American Bounty Room to a table for two laid with fine cotton, Villeroy and Boch china and stainless steel flatware. The table was appropriately decorated with flowers but alas, there was no romantic candle light, for it was the middle of the day.

Having read a menu in the lobby, the BLF had her appetite whetted for a repast of mountain trout, but the menu for today was contrary to the one in the lobby and no trout was to be had. Instead, both the OF and BLF decided to dine on Spit-Roasted Cornish Game Hen with Wild Mushroom Sausage, Savory Bread Pudding and Sherry-Thyme Jus.

This majestic (pronounced expensive) meal began with a soup sampler of three soups -- a Puree of Roasted Carrot, Apple and Vidalia Onion Soup, Tortilla Soup with Quesa Blanco and Hominy and a Crayfish and Asparagus Bisque. The couple could have selected only one of the soups, but what the heck, this was a once-in-a-lifetime adventure and they decided to go for broke!

The OF, having a more hearty appetite, ordered a salad of Jaxberry Farm Organic Mixed Greens with Sherry-Mustard Vinaigrette and Roasted Sunflower Seeds. While having such an exotic name, the plate looked as if someone had raked up the greens from a freshly mowed field. The artistic arrangement of sunflower seeds on the plate created an aesthetic arrangement worthy of the price.

While awaiting the soup and salad, a slightly nervous young waiter (hereinafter referred to as Bread man) served a mouth-watering selection of breads consisting of crusty French Baguettes, Savory Herb Muffins and (good ol’ southern) Corn Sticks with fresh creamy butter. The BLF showed no imagination and selected a baguette while the OF took a corn stick. Fortunately, the Bread man returned several times. BLF was able to get a corn stick and OF sampled the herb muffins.

Enter the Magnificent Entree! The OF and BLF were presented with a plate worthy of a place in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Set before them was a dish of succulent roasted fowl with a delicious sausage stuffing and a savory bread pudding and garnished with six slightly blanched Blue Lake green beans, complete with tails and two pencil-thin steamed carrots with stems intact. The entire effect resembled something akin to the NBC Peacock.

Only slightly glutted themselves, when the Bread man returned to clear the table of dishes and scrape the crumbs away, he suggested an after dinner beverage. OF had a cup of mundane coffee while BLF drank a more continental espresso. ...

Dessert was a sight to behold! The OF gorged himself with a luscious Raspberry and Lemon Napoleon and the still slightly overweight BLF indulged herself with a Milk Chocolate-Caramel Crème Brûlée.

Being assured that she would not have to wash dishes before leaving the premises, the BLF waddled to the Ladies Room while the OF shelled out his life savings to pay for this great banquet.

No adventure would be complete without a visit to the Gift Shop. As the hero and heroine departed this institute of sinful (and fattening) cuisine, they ended the adventure with a slow walk though the splendid aisles of the CIA Book Store (such an artful name for gift shop) and returned to the asphalt carpeted parking lot for the trip home to indulge in the customary activities of OF’s and BLF’s around the world . . . to sleep away their excess culinary indulgences.
The public dining room at the Culinary Institute of America is a training ground for young folk wanting to make a career of the food service industry. Our BLF enjoys any meal she doesn't have to cook for herself, so she really appreciates the expertise of chefs around the world. What was your most memorable dining experience?

About PM’s Mother: This widowed octogenarian retired in 1992 after a 30 year career in newspaper advertising. She relocated from North Carolina to the coast of Georgia to live near family, consisting of 2 daughters, 2 great sons-in-law, 3 grandsons and 1 precious two-year-old great granddaughter. Soon after her retirement she became involved in her church and served as president of her ladies' group for three terms and secretary for two terms; also she served as the only three term president of the local Women's Club (only because they couldn't get anyone else to do it.) Now she enjoys traveling, reading, messing with the computer and avoiding all domestic duties, hence hiring a house cleaner and eating out a lot!


Jane said...

My most memorable dining experience was when I was in Hawaii and we attended a luau. The pig was cooked in the ground and we tried several local dishes including poi. It was delicious and the atmosphere was great. It was a great cultural experience as well.

Angel said...

Ugh! I don't want to even think about food. I've been up sick tonight. It ended up being a good thing, though, because I'd forgotten to go let SP's dogs out before I went to bed, so I made a run to her house.

See everyone in the morning! Welcome, PM's Mom!


PM's Mother said...

A-h-h-h, Creme Brule'-- the world's most elegant dessert! Angel, your illustration has captured my essence! Thank you for your kind words.

MaryF said...

That was a wonderful post, PM's Mom!

Now, I want to go to the 'CIA'. :)

My most memorable dining experience was very recent. A friend of mine set up her outside "bistro" with fine linen, china, etc. She made a gourmet meal (Salad with mango salsa, grilled steak, asparagus, garlic mash potatoes, with berry cobbler for dessert)and had another friend play violin, so my husband and I could celebrate our 20th anniversary in style.

I'll never forget it.

Now, I want some of the milk chocolate creme brule'....:)
but alas, its off to work.

PM's Mother said...

maryf, how romantic. Just like Charlene and Bill's rooftop dinner in Designing Women.

KansasSue said...

PM's momma....that sounds wonderful, and OF sounds like a prince.

My most memorable meal was lunch, and it was a bag of chips and a deli turkey sandwich, finished off with a can of soda and chocolate chip cookie. What made it special was the location - at a picnic table on the grounds of the burnt out Carnegie mansion on Cumberland Island, off the coast of the southernmost tip of Georgia. Simple food, but I was surrounded by beautiful scenery, fresh ocean air, and a few feral horses grazing freely around me. The feast for the eyes made the meager repast seem elegant, as I imagined the fabulous lawn parties that must have been thrown there eons ago.

CrystalGB said...

Hi PM's Mom. Thank you for sharing your wonderful dining experience. Makes me want to eat there.
I have not had a dining experience like that.

Liza said...

I have a friend who graduated from CIA and now runs two of the most amazing restaurants around. I eat at both restaurants as often as possible(luckily they are my best friends, so I get really great discounts).

I think the most amazing place I ever at was the Signature Room in Chicago. My friends and I all went for a 30th birthday dinner. The atmosphere was as wonderful as the food.

Liza said...

BTW, my friend's restaurant makes the best Creme Brule` ever! If you are ever in Franklin,TN eat at The Red Pony.

Sherry W. said...

Hi PM's mom! Love your post!

My most recent memorable meal was last month's HOD potluck luncheon. It was great! You would not have believed the amount of food and all the different tasty dishes. Not only are these ladies great writers, they're also great cooks!

Angel said...

Okay, I can finally face the subject of food. :)

I'm glad everyone liked the Creme Brulee picture. I'm a huge fan and can't get it often enough around here. Although, Ben and Jerry's had Creme Brulee ice cream for a while...

The Red Pony, huh? We'll have to check that out.

I would say my most memorable dining experience in recent years was in a farmhouse in Scotland with PC's inlaws. They welcomed us into their home with abundant graciousness. The gorgeous view out the window near the table showcased green Scottish hills and occassional sheep.

Darling Geek's mother served some yummy food while we were there. Hummus. His Dad braved the midges to grill for us. And rhubarb crumble. I'd never had rhubarb before! Awesome. The bacon there is out of this world too.

And there is nothing like a scone eaten at the top of Edinburgh castle. That trip made me memories of a lifetime!


Jolie said...

This is sad--because I've been with my husband for almost 11 years--but my most memorable dining experience was from high school. I was a cheerleader for the wrestling team and we'd made it to state semi-finals (or something...I don't remember the specifics about that LOL). As was tradition, the coaches took the team and us girls to a really fancy spancy restaurant after the meet. It was the first time I'd ever had steak (filet mignon to be exact) and I had no idea how I liked it done. So I ordered it medium rare like my boyfriend did. Well, long and short of this is, I gagged my way through the filet, which I swear moo-ed at me. :( Now that I'm more experienced with carnivorous consumption, I realize that there was no way my filet was MR--it was actually quite rare and probably someone else's. But because of my naivette and a fear of looking a fool in front of my older, much cooler bf, I choked my way through it. Needless to say, I don't eat meat any less than charred nowadays. :)

BTW, PM's Mom, that's a very sweet story. :)

Anonymous said...

Welcome PM Mom!
What a great story. My favorite memory is taking my dad to Wendy's for lunch. He wouldn't go out very often, but I took us both, he wanted to pay for it and this was a few months before he passed away unexpectedly. So I treasure that memory.

Cherie J said...

My most memorable dining experience was recent. Hubby and I dined at the Columbia restaurant in Celebration, Florida. We started out with a glass of their delicious Sangria. Then we had a serivng of their signature house salad which was divine. Then i had the best Seafood Paella I have ever tried. Then hubby and I shared a scrumptious White Chocolate Bread Pudding that was divine. All in all a fabulous meal.

Cheri2628 said...

This was a wonderfully entertaining story! Now I need to go to the CIA myself the next time I visit New York!

Ellen said...

I have never had a dining experience to rival all the ones mentioned here. But the CIA does sound like a place I would love to go.

Shari C said...

I defnitely have never had such wonderful dining experiences as mentioned above. Being raised in the state of Wisconsin where every Friday night was 'Fish Fry Friday' and any restaurant or bar that had two chairs and a table served a fish fry I grew up to love my fish fries which were haddock, French fries or potato pancakes and cole slaw. I absolutely love to have broiled haddock with hot parsley butter on and potato pancakes with apple sauce to put on them...yummy!

Maureen said...

Hi PM's mother!
Your meal sounds lovely. Like you, I appreciate any meal I don't have to cook. The most memorable meal I remember is my husband's cousin's wedding. It was on a yacht out of Manhatten. I had filet mignon as we looked out the window at Manhatten and the Statue of Liberty lit up at night.

Angel said...

If y'all want to check out the happenings in San Fran, click on the link for Barbara Vey's blog on the right side of the Playground blog home page. She's got a picture of the Maven's posted today!


catslady said...

Mine was many years ago. We took a trip to Europe. My husband and I took a boat trip at night in France. I think there were like 7 different kinds of wine (which I would appreciate even more today lol) - escargot which I love and pate (which I no longer will eat like veal) and I don't remember exactly what else but only that it was all so wonderful. I was in my early 20's and this was all fairy tale to me.

Virginia said...

PM'a Mom, what a great post! Thanks for sharing.

PM's Mother said...


I guess this blog constitutes my fifteen minutes of fame. I have enjoyed reading each of your special dining experiences. Some have tickled my funny bone while others have touched my heart. A memorable dining experience is not necessarily a pricey meal in an elegant dining hall, but the simplest of food in a hole in the wall place with a loved one. My late husband and I use to share a can of sardines, some cheese and crackers while sitting on the river bank while he fished. (I do my fishing with a knife and fork.)

In my 81 years I have had dining experiences similar to yours:

kansassue: I am familiar with Cumberland Island. On a clear day I can see the northern tip of Cumberland from the pier on the island where I live. I, too had a deli sandwich there, but mine was eaten while sitting on the white sand of the beach.

Sherry W: Re HOD Potluck. If Playground Monitor provided a dish I am sure it was delicious. I sew…she cooks!

Angel: I love scones also…but a scone ain’t nuthin’ but a biscuit. It’s the clotted cream and strawberry jam that makes ‘em tasty. My memory recalls eating scones, clotted cream and jam at an inn in Cornwall overlooking Bodmin Moor that Daphne DuMaurier described in her book “Jamaica Inn”.

Jolie: I’ll share a high school dining experience with you. The Minister at my church invited all six of the high school graduates from our church to dine with him in the local hotel dining room. This was the fanciest place in town (except for the Country Club). He had chosen the menu which included half a fried chicken. I had never been served chicken this way before. At our house it was always cut into pieces (leg, thigh, breast, etc.) which one picked up with one’s fingers and ate away. I had a terrible time trying to eat this properly with a knife and fork. I have since mastered this skill.

Robertsonreads: Sometimes a special meal is a combination of food, place and companion. It doesn’t have to be fancy nor pricey.

Cherie: It’s always special to share dessert. Next to Crème Brule’ I like bread pudding next best. The very best bread pudding I have ever shared was at Tommy Condon’s Irish Pub, 160 Church Street, Charleston, SC.
To Those of you who’s Fabulous Meal was on a boat or ship: You should try the Princess Cruise Line’s Inland Passage from Seward, Alaska to Vancouver, British Columbia. The Alaskan King crab legs are to die for. They are already split – all you need to do is pick the meat up with a fork and dip it into drawn butter. Yum!

Angel said...

PM's Mom, thank you so much for blogging with us today! I'm always more than happy to talk about food. :) And you are right, the clotted cream and jam did take an ordinary scone and make it melt in your mouth!

Until tomorrow!

Anonymous said...

Welcome, PM's mommy.
I love to eat - so great topic.

I have eaten a yummy meal at my cousin's wedding - a buffet many years ago.

Pat L.

Michele L. said...

Hi PM's Mom!

So nice to have you here! Really enjoyed reading your lovely post! I might be the only one who has never tried Creme Brulee'! Don't faint now!

I would have to say my most memorable dining experience would be at the Ritz Carlton Restaurant in Chicago. My husband and I dined there several times while dating. When we got married we stayed there for our honeymoon in 1985. Well, needless to say, I got very sick and wound up in the hospital! The food was fantastic as usual but my stomach was poked and proded, by the ER people, because I had it coming out of both ends that night, and they thought I had food poisening. I never had any pains though but food poisening was the diagnosis.

Well, the hotel was so sorry for what happened to me that they gave us a complimentary 5 course meal on the house! We went back about 3 weeks later when I was totally recoved and feeling much better so I could enjoy their food!

Michele L.

Anonymous said...

congrats on all the hard work and rasing kids.