Get a Load of This

The following is reprinted from the local paper. It would be hilarious if not so chilling. Feel free to have opposing emotional responses including not only fury but also abject hilarity. Question at the end…

“Take the Quiz: Are you conservative or liberal”

A few months ago a friend of mine who had never voted or followed politics that much asked me, “How do I know if I am a conservative or liberal thinker?” For those of you who may have the same question or may be confused, I found a little seven “comparison” quiz to help you figure out which best describes your thought on the issue.

If you’re a consdervative and don’t like guns, you don’t buy one. If you’re a liberal and don’t like guns, you want all guns outlawed.

If you’re a conservative and a vegetarian, you won’t eat meat. If you’re a liberal and a vegetarian, you want all meat products banned for everyone.

If you’re conservative and homosexual, you quietly live your life. If you’re a liberal and homosexual, you demand legislated respect.

If you’re a conservative and don’t like a talk show host, you switch channels. If you’re a liberal you demand that those you don’t like be investigate by the government’s FCC and be shut down immediately.

If you’re a conservative religious non-believer, you won’t go to church. If you’re a liberal non-believer, you want any mention of God and religion silenced by order of the federal government. Unless of course, it’s a foreign religion.

If you’re a conservative and decide you want health care, you go about shopping for it, or you may choose a job that provides it. If you’re a liberal you demand that the government, or rest of us, pay for and provide it.

So how did you do?

My friend also related to me this story about a young woman who was about to finish her first year of college.

Like so many others her age, she considered herself to be verty liberal, and among other liberal ideals, was very much in favor of higher taxes to support more government programs, or in other words the redistribution of wealth.

She was deeply ashamed that her father was a rather staunch conservative, a feeling she openly expressed. Based on the lectures that she had participated in, and the occasional chat with a professor, she felt that her father had for years harbored an evil, selfish desire to keep what he thought should be his.

One day she was challenging her father on his opposition to higher taxes on the rich and the need for more government programs.

The self-professed objectivity proclaimed by her professors had to be the truth and she indicated so to her father. He responded by asking how she was doing in school.

Taken aback, she answered rather haughtily that she had a 4.0 GPA, and let him know that it was tough to maintain. She insisted that she was taking a very difficult course load and was constantly studying, which left her no time to go out and party like other people she knew.

She didn’t even have time for a boyfriend, and didn’t really have many college friends because she spent all her time studying.

He father listened and then asked, “How is your friend Audrey doing?” She replied, “Audrey is barely getting by. All she takes are easy classes, she never studies and she barely has a 2.0 GPA. She is so popular on campus. She’s always invited to all the parties and lots of times, she doesn’t even show up for classes because she’s too hung over.”

Her wise father asked his daughter, “Why don’t you go to the dean’s office, and ask him to deduct 1.0 off your GPA and give it to your friend who only has a 2.0. That way you will both have a 3.0 GPA and certainly that would be a fair and equal distribution of GPA.”

The daughter, visibly shocked by her father’s suggestion, angrily fired back, “That’s a crazy idea, and how would that be fair? I’ve worked really hard for my grades! I’ve invested a lot of time, and a lot of hard work! Audrey has done next to nothing toward her degree. She played while I worked my tail off!”

The father smiled, winked and said, “Welcome to the conservative side of the fence.”

I guess he was just sayin’!

—————————————————————————————

I guess he/she is just f*&k#$g stupid! Now the question is…do we author a response to the paper and risk a firebombing of Wasserhaus and quite possibly, by extension, CasaWasser? It’s almost too pathetic to warrant a response.

Silver Creek Social Club: Stir Fry

-Chris

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A CasaWasser Thanksgiving (Short Version)

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. A day full of cooking and eating – what’s not to like? My initial plan was to do a Thanksgiving LIVE blog. Ha! I didn’t even get close. I remembered the blog sometime after the 2nd turkey was pulled from the oven, looking amazingly yummy I might add! Since that idea was obviously way too ambitious I am settling for the short cut version. Here goes…

We were out in Wasserland for 4 wonderful days. The following sous-chefs, I mean guests, were all in attendance: My parents, Antonia & George; my brother Bryan; and sister-in-law Denise. We had Thanksgiving, went on a brief “Black Friday” shopping stint, visited the famous Christkindlmarkt in Bethlehem (disappointing to me but my Mom loved it), and did some holiday baking and decorating.
The decorating took a large portion of the weekend. Who knew we would need so many wreaths?? I had to scratch the idea of hanging garland on our fence like Wasserhaus does, once I realized we would need 200 feet of it! 😮 But all in all the house looks pretty cute.

However, my biggest accomplishment this weekend had nothing to do with decorating, or Thanksgiving dinner for that matter. Some of you know I’ve been on a quest to find the perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe. As you might suspect I have serious opinions about what a good chocolate chip cookie should taste like (chewy, with slight crispiness to the edges and not too many chocolate chips). I don’t know why I didn’t do this sooner but I finally tried the “perfect chocolate chip cookie” recipe
from Cooks Illustrated. Voila! Perfection. I didn’t even alter the recipe at all. Ok maybe I added less chocolate chunks than called for but I promise that
was it. If you like triple-c’s (our code word) you MUST try this recipe. If you do not like these cookies, please unsubscribe yourself from this blog, defriend me from facebook, and just cut-off all contact. We are not compatible!

Since we are discussing baking and I am sure Leslie is wondering what we had for dessert on Thanksgiving I might as well mention the “fake-a-misu”. I don’t like pie and Thanksgiving dessert is always an after-thought for me. This year Ossie took some initiative and got a store bought pumpkin pie. I set out to make an “easy” Tiramisu for me! In the end it tasted nothing like Tiramisu, hence the name. Next year Thanksgiving will be BYOD.

This was supposed to be the short version wasn’t it?? Until next time…

P.S. I forgot to mention we were treated to snow on Thanksgiving day. The only problem is the girls are already talking about playing in the snow for Christmas Day! They might be looking for a bit more than Wasserland is prepared to deliver.

-Tannia
 

 

 

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Zero Sum Society or Hope Springs Eternal, Thankful Either Way

Phew! We’ve finally surfaced. I’m sure that we’ve lost what ever little (yet devoted) following that we had but we’ll try to rebuild some momentum. Naturally, with fewer weekend visits during the months of hibernation, there will be fewer posts but they will be of increasing quality, we hope.

The fall was great. We didn’t see as much of Leslie and Grady as we would have hoped as she and he are embarking on a new phase, moving from Washington DC northwards. With a weigh station in Westchester, they will then press on to Boston. The good news is that she’ll be living near our great friends Connie, Beth and Annette but the downside is that we fear fewer visits given the additional distance. Zero sum society.

We did all get to “enjoy” the Colgate-Lehigh tailgate and football game a few weekends ago just down the street from us. I use the word “enjoy” loosely as although there was a well planned tailgate complete with all the right food, a big rug and scrabble (drink choice: Whisky Sours….that’s making a career decision at 10am, isn’t it?), Colgate was slaughtered (top three play makers out with injury). The upside of that, of course, was being able to leave at half time for an impromtu part-two of the tailgate. Zero sum society.

This past weekend was our PreThanksgiving Weekend where we do the full meal with all the trimmings. Greg had to be on the west coast and Leslie and Grady were in the throws of packing up their lives but we did have year two with Ossie, Tannia, Catalina and Savanna. In addition, we had family member Michael Bolton join us as well. Zero sum society.

The menu was top notch, fear not. We did the bird (brined and stuffed with aromatics), Potato Parsnip and Roasted Mushroom casserole (gruyere cheese should have merited inclusion in the title given the key role it played in the dish), butternut squash casserole, Tannia’s famous stuffing (600mg salt per serving…the key to it’s fantastic taste), a spinach salad (some people have curious TGiving traditions), biscuits and gravy. Of course before we could enjoy all this, Michael and I (forever thankful Michael!) at Wasserhaus and Ossie at CasaWasser had to do the annual leaf raking. Our front yard is not deep but it is the perfect catchall for the leaves from the forest of trees across the street. Leaves first! And then you eat! Zero sum society.

Attention must be paid to the dessert effort as well. The first was “Butter Pie” which was a recipe from the New York Times on Wednesday, November 17. I think they called it Butter Pie because they felt that was slightly less off-putting than “Sugar Pie”, which is what it really was. Lots of butter and brown sugar, baked in a pie crust…like a caramel pie. Except when you use a frozen crust rather than the scratch crust. Apparently changes the cooking time. It had a crust but under that was a sea of thick caramel. Not how it’s supposed to be but fantastic! Zero Sum Society.

And then of course you decide to place it on the counter, BEFORE DINNER, dump a quart of vanilla ice cream on it, and pass out the forks. Everyone in the deep end! It was fantastic. And worry not! We had an ice cream cake to celebrate Tannia’s birthday planned as a surprise after dinner!

Amongst all of this, there’s a constant presence of the things we’re thankful for this year, as they relate to Wassergass living:

  1. The chance to experience the uniqueness that is this crazy quilt of a family out in Wasserville.
  2. A beautiful place in which to do it.
  3. The chance to see three kids grow up with us being the towering examples set before them.
  4. Knowing that you have a group of people that have your back and provide support that is unwavering (and this expands beyond just our two-tenths of a mile on Wassergass Road).
  5. The relief that comes with the knowledge that we all share the same enthusiasm for cooking, eating, drinking, laughing, crosswording, game playing, and laughing (!). And eating.
  6. That everyone is gainfully employed at the moment.
  7. That whatever ruts there are in the country road, there’s never a question of how everyone feels about each other.

Wow, I guess it’s now that you realize that all this couldn’t be further from a Zero Sum Society. We’re WAY in the black giving us a new meaning for Black Friday.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Silver Creek Social Club: Pork Chops

-Chris

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Short but…actually just short.

This weekend reminded me of our old days in Westchester when we would spend almost all of Saturday in the car running errands. The Wasserhaus crew was not in residence so Saturday morning, with our to-do list in hand, we set out for the day. We went to the glass store, went to pick-up a truck, moved a sofa, returned the truck, went to Target, went to lunch, went to the supermarket, took the car for a carwash, went to the hardware store and then got home in time for Ossie to replace the glass in the kitchen window and for me to clean the sofa Wasserhaus, very kindly, donated to the CasaWasser cause. Phew.

We left Wasserland early Sunday with a heavy heart because, the weather was glorious and it had been such a short visit. The girls and I got to the apartment and promptly went out to the East Village to hang out with friends. One of the things that makes me love the country so much is the contrast of city living. As soon as we hit the park someone ran over my foot with a scooter (no apology necessary apparently), a child tried to bully Savanna and her friend off the swings (oh no buddy…not on my watch!), and we came upon a poet reading aloud from his poetry book about, nothing other than, an orgy. Catalina: Mommy, what’s an orgy? Me: A group of people loving each other. Catalina: Our family is an orgy. Gotta love the city.

-Tannia

Best Dishes:  Belgian Waffles & Caribbean Beef Bones Soup

Did you know?
The Belgian waffle was originally called the Brussels waffle. The man who introduced these waffles decided to change the name to Belgian waffles after noting American’s poor geographical skills. 😦

 

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Fall

This weekend was all about fall. The Wasser crew, minus Leslie and Grady but plus my Mom, went on a very uncharacteristic day trip! Saturday we took a fall foliage train ride from a quaint little town called Jim Thorpe (town motto – ‘History, Adventure, Inspiring’ – no it’s not a typo!).  It wasn’t quite peak leaf peeping season yet but the scenery was spectacular nonetheless. A great time was had by all. Sunday we decided to give Greg a little break from making breakfast so we ate at Casa Wasser – bread pudding french toast (http://www.Epicurious.com) & bacon. We all had projects to complete so Wasserhaus departed shortly after breakfast to get their chores done and Casa Wasser got to work.
Over at Wasserhaus Chris mowed the lawn. If you haven’t noticed he is maniacal about it. We’re thinking of sending him to Mowers Anonymous. No such problem exists at Casa Wasser as our lawn hasn’t been touched since early September (sorry Babe)! Greg took on the task of fixing their fence. I don’t know what he did or how he did it but it was pretty impressive and the fence looks perfect!
At  Casa Wasser I got to work on perfecting my chocolate chip cookie recipe. No worries as soon as it is ready I will post here. I’ll warn you though that I like chewy cookies with not so many chocolate chips 🙂 This particular batch was chewy, but only while warm, and had way too many chocolate chips. Speaking of dessert – we had some of Joan Mooney’s (Chris’ Mom’s) famous brownies this weekend. All I have to say is WOW!
While I was baking Ossie assembled a desk for the girls that will go in their “office”. Then his last project of the day was watching the Giants game. They won and all was right with the world.
On another note many of you have asked how the pond is doing. Well I must say it is beautiful. It has cleared up and since the weeds have died it actually looks pretty again. Michael Bolton (last week’s Wasserhaus guest) was nice enough to trim back some unwanted foliage that was blocking my view so now I can sit on the side deck, with my cocktail on the table Chris and Greg painted and gave to us, and look onto the pond that Ossie cleaned, and read a book that Leslie donated to the Casa Wasser library. It takes a village people! The smaller pond is another matter entirely. It is still very swampy looking. Check back next year.

Question of the week:
When do you use baking soda vs baking powder?
The short answer…Both are chemical leaveners. Baking soda should be used when your ingredients contain acid (cocoa powder, buttermilk, brown sugar, etc). The amount you use will affect the color, texture, and taste!
-Tannia

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WasserFall

Celebrate Good Times!

So here we are with a late post this week. I had to leave early on Sunday to travel for work and didn’t get back until Wednesday and then I was sick in bed Thursday etc., etc., etc.. And apparently, the CasaWasser crew seems to absolved themselves from blog entries. We’ll wait for a response on that one.

It was a Saturday arrival for Wasserhaus but Leslie and Grady had to remain in Washington as Leslie had to jet off to Haiti for work on Sunday. As an aside, Leslie was successful in selling her townhouse in DC (8 days, full asking!….maybe there’s hope ahead…) and will most likely be relocating to Boston. We loved having a toe-hold in Washington but now our anchor in Boston (my family, Connie, Beth and now Leslie and Grady) becomes that much more weighty.

Saturday was a day of errands. We heard Ossie drive by the house mid morning with a series of loud “fraternity barks,” so we knew they were up and running, having arrived Friday. I had to drop off the door to the wood stove at the Woodstove Warehouse (www.woodstovewarehouse.com) in Limeport as last year’s wood delivery was full of pieces that were too big, as it turned out, and I had managed to crack the glass in the door while trying to make a large piece of wood fit in the stove. A teachable moment.  The “WW”  was conveniently located near the “Lifestyle Mall” so an easy lunch was procured on the way home.

Upon arriving back at the homestead, I’d found that our friend Michael (whom we refer to as “Michael Bolton,” although the long hair is long gone…) had already stacked the cord of firewood that was delivered while I was out. Michael is always unbelievably helpful when he visits (and not otherwise engaged in a tennis tournament…) and the fact that he apparently has OCD (see picture below) works very well for us.

OCD Wood Stacking

Dinner was a perfect macaroni and cheese prepared by Tannia and served with “pride and a green salad” at CasaWasser. It was a great kick-off to fall with us being able to enjoy their side deck for the first time, with the sun setting over the pond. As you could see from the picture at the top of the post and the two that follow, the evening ended (at 9pm, of course) with a rousing rendition of a number from Dancing with the Stars.

"For the brothers on lock down."

Savanna

Alas, we didn’t manage to drive by the Silver Creek Social Club this week but I’d imagine that we’ve come around to Baked Stuffed Shrimp or Stir Fry (sort of nebulous, that one..) by this point in the culinary calendar.

It’s supposed to be a gorgeous fall weekend this weekend in the Lehigh Valley and almost the whole country and we plan on actually making a day trip of it on Saturday to attempt some “leaf peeping.” Stay tuned. It’s very ambitious of us.

-Chris

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Parents’ Weekend

What a great weekend! It turns out that no matter how old you are, you still want your parents’ approval. And you try a little harder too. You may not have wine with lunch, waiting for 5:00 snack time, you may actually venture out in the car for something other than the supermarket and/or the liquor store, you have multiple appetizers, you go to a restaurant for dinner (!) rather than the more attainable lunch…that sort of thing…

Mum and Dad arrived on Friday and tucked themselves into the Holiday Inn Express (“It’s fine!”) in Hellertown. Greg and I had managed to get the day off, as it turned out, so we were able to do early arrival and cut the lawn, clean the cobwebs (a week’s absence..well you know the story…) and make sure that there was some Bombay Saphire for dad’s martini (“Oh, OK, I’ll have one too…but vodka please.”) on hand. Oh, and this crew likes “snack time” so the “amuse bouche” must be strategized (more on Saturday…). Unfortunately, Ossie had to work on Saturday so the CasaWasser crew was not in-residence but we did have one for them!

Mum and Dad arrived from Chez HIE at 3:30 and we managed to entertain ourselves until 5:00. Usually, it’s 5:00 here all the time but this weekend we actually waited until 5:00. A simple cheese and cracker spread sufficed and we enjoyed an imbibement. Then we tootled off to Bolete. Bolete is a local, highly-acclaimed restaurant in the Lehigh Valley which has been lauded by Gourmet magazine as well as being one of Conde Nast’s 105 best new restaurants in the world in 2008 (http://www.boleterestaurant.com/). Quite impressive. Although the menu had too many raw meats as appetizers (as my father said, “If you want someone to pick apart a menu, you’ve come to the right place!”), we had some great meals, and eating in “the tavern room” is always a family favorite. The fact that the owners come from Boston and one of them grew up in Marion enhanced the evening that much more. The group at the table next to us was looking at us all night and conspiratorially touched Greg and me on the shoulders as they departed. We think it was because they thought Greg was Lenny Kravitz (even though he doesn’t have the dreads anymore…).

The plan for Saturday was for my parents to come by “around 11.” In the Mooney family, that means somewhere between 10:58 and 11:02. You can imagine our concern when it was 11:20 and there was no parent to be found on site. Our thoughts ran from calling the local hospitals to saying something to them like “when you’re staying under our roof…!” (even though they weren’t). Apparently they’d found their way to the Celtic Festival (“Are there many Irish in the area?” “No.”) in Bethlehem and it sounded great. We have to get out more.

John, the Chimney Sweep (original drummer for the Delphonics and frequent drummer for Patti Labelle!), who we look forward to seeing every year at this time, came by and did the needful and joined us for lunch. Years ago we were making one of our house specialties (thanks to Suzy Pelosi), Turkey Meatball Tortilini Soup, which we offered to John. He’s been talking about it since so I made sure that it was on the lunch menu for wood- stove cleaning day. Lunch isn’t a huge priority with my father, which is more than made up for by the multiple carbohydrates that he has for breakfast as well as the enthusiam he displays at snack time.

After lunch we did a tour of the local colleges (Lafayette and Lehigh) and also included a visit to Wegman’s which is an amazing supermarket. It’s not really close to the house, but after seeing it, it’s worth the travel time. We returned home to find that Leslie and Grady had arrived and we started with dinner and snack prep.

We had a plethora of appetizers: cucumber bruschetta, roasted figs with goat cheese and the most insane wedge of a cheese type thing that had saga blue cheese with marscapone crusted with cranberries, walnuts and caramel (!). Dinner was a “full Indian” with chicken, cauliflower and mashed chick peas, all with a red onion and pepper salad on top. Hello! My mother’s spectacular brownies (just the right chewiness with chocolate bits) topped off the evening.

Sunday morning was the usual “couple of muffins and we’re on the road” (or in this case fantastic scones that Leslie made) with the call at about 10:45 with them already in Connecticut. We’re here now, working on the puzzle and my parent’s are gone. And there’s wine with lunch again.

Silver Creek Social Club: Chicken Cordon Bleu

-Chris

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