Wednesday, April 30, 2008


Papa remembers when he was a boy taking a drive out to the farms near Seville to get fresh produce. There was one farm that his mother especially liked, and the farmer would let Pa and Concha see the animals. They would buy melons from the farmer, fresh, ripe, round, wonderful melons. The farmer would slice one open for them right there, and the children would take big slices and eat them in the sunshine, while the grown ups talked about important things, like how hot it was going to get that summer.

Then they would drive home to Seville with the car filled with melons, melons on their laps, and in between them in the back seat, and on the floor, as many melons as they could fit in the little tiny Seat.

It was a summer-time adventure to ride in the car filled with melons.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Fish Quesadillas

We had a lovely dinner of fish quesadillas the other day. I had thought of making fish tacos -- we had several tilapia fillets left over from the night before, sauteed in lemon and butter -- but I am not good at either tacos or burritos because I over-stuff them and everything spills out and makes a mess and Papa gets mad if we eat with our fingers and wipe them on our jeans, etc. etc.

The good thing about quesadillas is that it is hard to over-stuff them. You can heap in lots of ingredients, and as long as you put lots of cheese on top, it all gets glued together by the cheese as it melts.

These were delish.

Fish Quesadillas for four
8 large tortillas
4 fish fillets
1 cup black beans
3 chopped green onions
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
2 sliced tomatos
2 cups grated cheese

Sprinkle one tortilla with grated cheese. Spoon black beans on top. Flake fish fillet into bite-sized pieces and sprinkle over beans and cheese. Add tomatoes, green onion, and cilantro as you like, and sprinkle on a bit more cheese. Top with another tortilla, and fry in 1 tblsp of oil.

Serve with sour cream, salsa, sliced avocado, and more onion and cilantro. And beer.

Here's a picture (although not of our quesadillas!)

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Aalto Glass

Papa collects Aalto vases. He has a beautiful collection of glass in all sorts of beautiful colors and organic shapes.

Maybe these boys weren't born with silver spoons in their mouths, but they drink their water from Aalto glass!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

San Franciscans

Rafa got to choose his favorite photo for the blog today, and he chose a photo from when he was a baby, just one month old.

Four generations of San Franciscans.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Andaluces por el Mundo

Julio and Javier from Andaluces por el Mundo came to film us yesterday. Papa took them all around San Francisco, showing them some of his architecture -- the offices in the Ferry Building, and 135 Main. He took them on a cable car ride up to Nob Hill, and showed them Rafa's school.

I thought that I could show them some regional gastronomic specialties, so I made cioppino and caesar salad. And salami and cream cheese for a tapa. And of course we had wine from Sonoma County, and sourdough bread, and cheese from Marin. They weren't really into regional gastronomy, though. So much for my attempt to show a few Europeans that we really do have good food in America!

Cioppino adapted from the San Francisco Chronicle

1 white onion, chopped
1 large garlic clove, chopped
1 shallot, chopped
1 cup italian parsley, chopped
--saute the above in 1/2 cup good olive oil

2 large cans of diced tomatoes with puree
1 can of tomato sauce, 12 oz
2 bay leaves
1 t. oregano
salt and pepper to taste
--simmer for one hour

1 lb white fish cut into small pieces
1 lb sea scallops
1 lb shrimp
2 cups dry red wine
-simmer for 15 minutes longer

Serve in soup bowls with fresh sourdough bread and butter.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

A tuna is not a fish. What!? Are you sure?!?

A tuna is a group of university students that sings traditional songs. Each section of the university (Law, Medicine, History, Architecture) has its own group. On the night of December 8, the feast of the Immaculate Conception of Mary, the tunas meet in the plaza of the Virgen de los Reyes, between Seville's cathedral and alcazar, to sing and make offerings in praise of the Virgin Mary.

Afterward, the groups stroll through the old quarter, singing, stopping often for tapas and beer, and flirting with girls.

Don't miss the tambourine guy's antics at the end.

By the way, tuna in Spanish is atún.

Thursday, April 3, 2008


I remember the sound of the foghorn at night when I was a child drifting off to sleep. There were real foghorns in those days, posted at the entrance to the Bay, and they would begin to sound as soon as the fog started to roll in.

I remember the sound of my grandfather's footsteps on the backstairs. The wooden steps with their black plastic covering would creak as he went down to his workbench to shine our shoes and have a smoke.

I remember the steady whoosh and click of the pressure cooker in my grandmother's kitchen, and the tick and bell of the old white kitchen timer on the counter.

I remember the sound of the seashell windchimes at the front stair.

I remember the high pitch of the engine of my father's truck warming up on cold winter mornings.

I remember the click of the loose ivory on the piano. The ivory pieces that had fallen off and been glued back on would click against the ivory keys next to them. The keys were made of real ivory. My grandmother was very proud of that.

There are no more real foghorns anymore. The best we can do is a recording.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

When Dud Met Kate

Kate was a secretary at St. Paul's Insurance Company, where Dud was an agent.

Kate was smart and hard-working, but she did like to giggle, and she had a fine figure. Dud was a favorite around the office, always quick with a laugh and a joke.

Kate's supervisor was a stickler for neatness and order. Before they left for the evening, all of the secretaries at St. Paul's Insurance Company had to be sure to clean off their desks, push in their chairs, and by all means, put the covers on their typewriters. Always. No excuses.

One afternoon, Kate was scrambling to leave on time in order to get home and celebrate her younger sister's birthday. She straightened up her desk and pushed in her chair, and turned around to see Dud coming over to talk to her. "A few of us are going down the street for a cocktail," he said. "Join us?" "Oh, I couldn't," Kate replied, wanting to. "Well, then let me walk you out," Dud said. Kate grabbed her handbag and headed out the door listening to Dud talk about the joke that the fellows had played that afternoon on one of their co-workers. When they got to the street, Dud wished her a good night, and headed back inside. It was only later that evening that Kate remembered that she had neglected to put the cover on her typewriter. This was serious. Only last week, one of the girls had received a written warning because of her forgetfulness, and everyone knew it.

Kate hurried into work the next morning, hoping to be the first one in. But she wasn't. She saw Dud working at his desk, smoking a cigarette. When she got to her place, she was surprised to find that the cover was neatly placed over her typewriter. There was a note tucked under the corner of the typewriter. Her hands shaking nervously, she picked up the note to read it. "Sorry" it read. "My fault. D."

When Kate got home that evening she said, "Aunt Mae, I think he's mine."

Kate and Dud were married on September 19, 1936, at St. Cecilia's Church in San Francisco.