National Prime Rib Day!

It’s a meaty day, prime for celebration! It’s National Prime Rib Day!!!! Usually the stuff of proms and weddings prime rib is the most easily recognized celebrity meat.

yes, please.

yes, please.

The enormity of the entrée is the stuff of wonder. The tenderness of the meat is due to the amount of the fat in the cut’s area and the slow roasting cooking technique. As does the deliciousness, and some simple seasonings applied don’t suck.

I worked in an establishment that had the tastiest prime rib. It operated under different names over the years. Eileen’s and LL Chapman’s were staples on the Boston Post Road in Old Saybrook.  The chef was an old autocrat. Maurice Davies Blake was rumored to have cooked for the Truman Administration in the White House. He was very active in the CT Chef’s Association. The CT Chef’s Association’s membership also included my very dear Godmother Mary Marino (Their FIRST woman president) and her husband Joseph Marino. Maurice was a pain in the ass, and his food was the stuff of magic. The CT Shoreline (Yankee Key West) was eating Yankee Pot Roast, Hamsteak Hawaiian, Chicken Broccoli Alfredo, and Chicken Caesar Salad in the mid Eighties until their belts moved open a notch. These staples of his cuisine were so popular  throng of the same people lined up every Friday and Saturday to get some. Chef Blake told great tales of his former restaurant ‘Maurice’s, and Peggy’s too’ in East Haddam. He had a throne reserved for him in the lounge. He could see the entire goings on of his restaurant, and fans could line up to kiss his ring. He didn’t work the line in the evening, his talents best used in saucing and seasoning the prep for the night cooks. Things had to be as he wanted. Exactly.

Young Tony: (writing special board) Chef, what’s the soup of the day?

Chef Blake: Old Fashioned New England Corn Chowder.

Young Tony: (writes) Corn Chowder. 

Chef Blake: OLD FASHIONED. NEW ENGLAND. CORN CHOWDER. Write it like I told you or I’ll cut your god damned fingers off.

To be savored, Maurice in the above exchange needs to be read in a very thick Maine accent. 

His prime rib would run out every weekend night. It was that good, and the source of the expression, “While it lasts”. That last part may or may not be true. Maurice was so full of stories that you couldn’t discern bullshit from bouillabaisse. You would want to listen anyway as his Maine-iac accent was earcandy, like Tom Bosley’s in ‘Murder She Wrote’. The prime rib was in two sizes; King 16 oz, Queen 12 oz. You could almost cut it with a fork, it was so tender. The color was perfect red on the medium rares, pink on the medium cooking temperatures. The au jus was so amazingly perfect for it’s seasonings, we would consume it with loaf after loaf of fresh french bread. So what if our tables needed anything at that moment, we were in church. It’s twenty five years later and you can ask any long time Shoreline Resident if they know of this prime rib and they’ll smile broad and say, “oh, yes….”. Sigggghhhh. That was some good eating.

Go find some good prime rib tonight, you deserve it. Make your night a banquet you deserve.


My favorite picture of Aunty Mary.

Aunty Mary and Julia

Aunty Mary and Julia

Christmas Eve

AAAAAaaaaaaaah, home for the holidays! Dish It Out is Out! Literally, we’re on the road. Eating a frenzy towards New Year’s. Boot camp has been replaced with food camp. No carb left behind. Cleaning your plate is the highest compliment (and in some countries, so is belching). Seconds is expected, thirds is the new black. Doctor who? Long armed people eat better. I can’t believe that’s not margarine. Feed me, Seymour. Reckless abandon. Need I go on? Oh, but I will.

eat in the manger you animal

Major Manger Mangia

Christmas Eve has a tender place in my heart, stomach, heart. It’s a fantastic night for eating special foods and for getting together with the near and dears. A couple lifetime’s ago we used to gather with my awesome Godmother and her five children. (Aunty Mary will get her own post)  It was a standing event at which we’d eat some fantastic stuff. My cousin Joey’s calamari; amazing. Aunty Mary’s clam chowder is still the benchmark for comparison. There was always good eating. As I got older I had to have my own Christmas Eve Open House.  I made great efforts in decorating, cooking and hosting. Truth be told, I have more than a normal amount zeal for the holiday in my DNA. Tinsel in the cards, wreath on the truck, I’ve been seen wearing antlers. I am a man on a mistletoe. The stakes were high, and soon the guests would be. I would see to it with witty holiday napkins and carefully suspended glass ornaments, with nicely garnished canape plates  and spicy cocktail onions that we would eat drink and be merry (or sally or trish or carole) We would make that little cottage by Long Island Sound as full of laughs and love as our stomachs would soon be. Hey, it was Christmas Eve.

That’s what makes the night for me, the gathering and the grazing. There may be no room at the Inn, but there’s gonna be a spot with the Spats’. It’s important to me to put the year to an end in the prescence of good friends and family. Equally impressive is the care that we put into our food then. This extra love put into every bite is awesome to me. We eat the things not made regularly or that are for special occasions only.  We use the good olive oil, the good china. Our near and dears are in the house, we’ve all made it another year, come hungry and all that.  I suspend my exercise regimen (and sometimes my fat pants) during the Holiday Season. I think it provides me with more time to enjoy the meal. I can always walk the meal “off” and have a conspiratorial visit with a loved one. Quality time’s made here.

In fact, our recent trip back east was strewn with quality time and great visits. Mick and I stayed with Jo Jo who saw to it that our glasses were never empty and the bed was warm. We made sure that all of her dogs received an equal amount of attention. I swear there were ten of them. Alright, maybe three. Jo and I served time together in a restaurant cursed with great food and shiftless owners. It was our salad days if you will. A fantastic host,  she put us up to stay even while having her family for dinner the next day. She had snacks ready to drop on our first night of tasty crackers, shrimp, cheese and olives. I could live on this. She then buried us in homemade meatballs, sauce and spaghetti. Oh, and she took care of any extra space with broccoli rabe and sausage stuffed bread. In case the bed was lumpy the bread in the tummy could be slept on. We pulled out the war stories and stopped short of the photo albums. While the time disappeared with the wine, night became day. We awoke to wrap and run. Down the stairs we bound to find her holiday dinner going on all cylinders. Her family was arriving any minute  but breakfast made with love, was awaiting on the back burner. . She couldn’t send me to a family dinner hungry, it was after all a very long 45 minutes until. We stayed two more nights and contemplating Occupying Guest Room.

It was a Christmas Eve like any other; Awesome!