My guest today is the generous, forthright and passionate advocate for civil liberties, The Militant Negro™. Not a day goes by when one or more of my posts are shared on his eclectic blog and I know that I am just one amongst many have reason to be grateful for his kindness. You will find the arts, poetry, fiction as well as down to earth and compelling documentation of the the many civil rights violations that are part of all our cultures.
Anyway, now it is time to find out which of the five questions Mr. MN chose to respond to.
The Smorgasbord Sunday Interview – Getting to Know You – The Militant Negro™
First thing is I am Notorious for breaking the rules and NOT following protocol, so I will not attempt to follow the 100 word rule. I find it difficult enough talking about me. I am boring. But I will do this to the best of my abilities. Second thing is I don’t have WORD so sending this to Ms. Sally is not possible and I am just too fuckin lazy to figure how to send it to her in some other format……so….you’ll just have to read about me here. Sorry Ms. Sally. My apologies.
So here goes. My chosen five questions.
Question #2: Which is the most valuable thing you have lost and did you ever find it?
In 2000, I “lost” my wife and son in a car crash. Now people say I “lost” my family but thats incorrect. God, in it’s infinite fucked up wisdom, saw fit to remove from my life the two most important loved and cherished human beings I knew & depended on for my very existence. We were married 9 years and our son was 10 years old.
My wife and I lived in Sugar Loaf Key, Florida. We had a business together, computer business. She wrote code, and designed software systems for the computers I built from scratch using hardware I purchased from places like Mac Warehouse and The PC Network. I also had my “day” job of being a chef. We were happy. Not just happy, but HAPPY.
We planned a vacation to Chicago, my then home town. We were to drive down, stay in a lake front hotel, do the pool thing, sightseeing, room service, dinner, dancing, allowing our son to spend nights with his grandmother who lived in a Chicago suburb. THAT would allow my wife and I, a “honeymoon” adventure all over again.
Shit happens. A client who just couldn’t wait to get her system until we returned from Chicago, as was the deadline schedule she originally agreed upon, had to have her system NOW. She was a client who paid on time and never bounced a check, so I agreed to stay behind 2 days, take a flight out to Chicago in 2 days, meet my family. My wife would drive herself and our son to Chicago, stay two days with her mother until I arrived, then it was hotel time for us all.
One mile from the Austin Ave exit on the Dwight D. Eisenhower Expressway, she was in the wrong lane to exit, because every highway exit is usually on the right hand side of any road. The Eisenhower exit at Austin Ave is on the LEFT hand side and she was in the FAR right hand lane. Like most drivers in a big city, she thought she could cross 4 lanes of traffic in an instant and not miss her exit.
An eighteen wheeler crushed the SUV to a pancake, instantly killing both my wife and my son.
Will I ever find what I “lost”? I have never looked.
Question #4: Do you have a phobia and do you remember how it started?
My phobia is snakes. When I was three years old in my first homeland of Sicily, I crawled away from the house and into an Aspic Viper den. Now believe this or not, I was not bitten, so the story goes, even tho I am told I was in the den for 83 minutes. My grandparents climbed down and killed every Aspic Viper in the den, which was a bit of over kill seeing how they allowed me to visit unharmed. True story, or so I have been told since I was seven years old.
Question #10: How would you describe your fashion sense?
From high school until today, I love dressing up. I remember wearing suits to High School my Junior and Senior years of high school, after “finding” myself. I love suits and all that accompanies a suit: dress shirts, ties, socks, pocket handkerchiefs, pocket watch with a vest, dress shoes and hat. I was born in the wrong decade. I should have been born in the 50’s so I could dress.
Question #17: What do you consider to be the best dish that you prepare – and have you the recipe?
Stuffed Peppers. My Grandma’s Old School Sicilian Way.
J.B.’s Sicilian Meatloaf
Many people cook/make a version of the traditional meatloaf. Although I’ve eaten many a meatloaf over the span of my life, I’ve cooked 3 times as many meatloaf recipes than I have eaten. The following meatloaf recipe for “Sicilian” Meatloaf is fool-proof and lets face facts, ANYTHING Sicilian is bound to just be better.
I don’t do recipes like regular food preparation staff, so buckle up and hang on for the ride.
First thing is to turn on your oven and get it up to a temperature of 375, which should be done as you complete this recipe. It’s vitally important to understand any recipe, except for all baking recipes, can be altered, improvise and made your own. That’s the beauty of cooking over baking, so that said, if you want my perfect results, do not deviate from this recipe. If you happen not to like some of the ingredients I use, by all means change them, comprehend that your results may differ from mine.
Finely chop the following: 5 medium-sized juicy red tomatoes (Do NOT discard the juice, it plays an important part in making this meatloaf moist) , 5 cloves of garlic, 2 bunches of cilantro, 2 red, green or yellow bell peppers (your choice), one bunch of green onions or scallions (your choice), and finally, this is optional, but works wonders for moistness as well, 3 stalks of celery.
The issue I have with most meatloaf recipes is they turn out dry and most are overcooked. You’ll notice breadcrumbs, a staple in most meatloaf recipes, is absent from this recipe because breadcrumbs suck moisture from the meatloaf during baking, causing dryness.
For the meat in meatloaf I use the following, as I stated above, changing the recipe is permissible but your results will vary from my tried, tested, true results. One pound of Sicilian pork sausage (most grocery stores sell a fresh or frozen version of Sicilian sausage labeled as Italian sausage), one half pound of ground lamb, 4 pounds of ground ribeye steak, all these ground meats can be found at any local grocery store and pick your ribeye steaks and have them ground by your grocery store’s butcher. Ribeye is selected by me because it has the perfect meat to fat ratio to add flavor, stop dryness, keep the meatloaf MOIST.
To this meat mixture add 2 packets of Quaker maple sugar instant oatmeal (for moistness), 2 eggs beaten and add one teaspoon of any liquid smoke and one teaspoon of Franks red-hot sauce (omit this hot sauce step if spicy is not your thing). Lastly and very important, add 3 teaspoons of olive oil, for moisture. Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl, mixing gently until well incorporated. Over mixing this meat mixture will cause the meatloaf to become tough, be gentle.
A step I use, which is not included in the recipe above, because many folks have health issues with certain seasonings, is MY seasoning blend I use in most dishes. Cooking for me is about 3 things, flavor, texture and taste. My seasoning blend is perfect for ME, if you want to add seasonings to this recipe, I suggest you use what you like. MY seasoning blend consists of smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, Emeril’s Cajun seasoning, lime/cilantro seasoning mix. I add my seasoning mix to the meatloaf just before I mix, remember…. gently mix.
In a large UNCOVERED baking dish pour the meatloaf mixture in, gently mold into any shape YOU desire, usually a loaf shape is good but hey, be creative. Add this incredibly perfect creation into that hot 375 degree C oven, gas or electric, does not matter, and bake for 35 minutes. THIRTY FIVE MINUTES ONLY (remember overcooked = dry tough inedible meatloaf).
After 35 minutes is up, turn oven off AND LET MEATLOAF REST INSIDE OVEN FOR 15 MINUTES. During this rest period, meatloaf will continue to cook to perfection. I guarantee.
This recipe for meatloaf, Sicilian, Meatloaf, can be served a plethora of ways: as a side to eggs, over rice, crumbled into any and all pasta dishes, goes great in Mac & Cheese, served hot or cold as a sandwich, a side to all vegetables, and so on. Your imagination is unlimited. The dish will taste even better the next day because over time in the fridge, the flavors of all the ingredients will melt as one.
Question #47: What season is your favorite and why? Fall is my favorite season because my birth month is a Fall month. My wife and son and I loved the Autumn season and all the holiday festivities that were upon us during September and October. I am an Earth tone color type of guy so the Fall colors were my favorite for taking photographs, one of my secret passions/hobbies.
I warned you I break the rules so instead of five questions, I am doing SIX questions….
Question #50: How many different languages can you speak and what are they? Mandarin. German. Portuguese. Farsi. Japanese. Sicilian. English. Arabic. Navajo.
OK, thats it….
© The Militant Negro™ 2018
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My thanks to Mr. MN for sharing so movingly and also interestingly today. Wow… all those languages and I have problems with just English at times.
If you would like to participate in this series of the Sunday shows.. here are the details and also my efforts at answering five questions. https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/04/22/the-new-series-of-the-smorgasbord-sunday-interview-geting-to-know-you-and-i-will-go-first/