Ah, this photo makes me nostalgic.  I took it the other night at the local grocery store. What is better to a kid than a bowl of chocolate chip cookies for breakfast?  I’m not sure why I got the sudden urge for cereal the other night, but I did.  Perhaps it is the ultimate comfort food of one’s youth.  Capt’n Crunch, Fruit Pebbles, and Apple Jacks were all sugar-smothered staples of my childhood breakfasts.  Oh, and how I loved “Boo-Berry”, but that was always difficult to find.

When I was a freshman in college the dining hall offered a “cereal bar” where we could go to indulge in these nostalgic noshings from childhood.  But as an adult I just don’t eat much of it.  My Mom used to eat Cream of Wheat and Wheatabix…I think my Dad called it Wheatabox because he said it tasted like cardboard.  So, do you have a cereal that makes you nostalgic? Do you still eat cereal? If so, what kind?


Affordable Health Care Act Decision On Thursday


SIGH…I am probably going to offend 2/3 of my audience here, but I really think I WANT  ObamaCare (more properly known as the Affordable Care Act) to be upheld by the Supreme Court on Thursday.  Before someone pigeonholes me as an Obama lackey, not so fast…to me the issue is just a very personal one..I don’t really care about the political part.  As someone who is self-employed, affordable health insurance is ALWAYS a struggle.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve just put off addressing a medical issue because I couldn’t pay for it.  So far, I’ve been lucky and haven’t had any major health scares, but it’s scary. If I got a major disease, I’d be screwed. So I don’t care whether it’s ObamaCare, RomneyCare, BushCare, GoreCare (LOL, now that would be a bad name for any health plan), as long as the plan works, I Don’tCare.  People say they don’t want “government bureaucrats” dictating our health care and I would agree…except right now insurance company bureaucrats dictate our health care and I don’t see much advantage there.

So, for me, the Affordable Health Care Act is a no-brainer.  For those of you opposed to it, what are the reasons? I’m not asking to be argumentative, I really would like to know because it helps me become better informed?  For instance, if you already have great health insurance would Obamacare somehow interfere with that?  If it wouldn’t, what’s the beef with ObamaCare?

Creatures of Habit?


This is not a post poking fun at my parents (okay, well, maybe just a teensy bit), I’m just sort of doing a comparison.  My `rents are wonderful souls and any fun-poking is done in good humor. Actually, I am going to try to talk them into doing a video interview soon.  Many visitors to my Amish Cook website have met my grandmother, why not my parents?  I’m sure they’ d have some interesting things to say! So stay tuned:)

Meanwhile,  on a particular day this week I  tried calling them and they didn’t answer their phone.   Oh geez, that’s right, it’s XXX at X p.m., they’re at the grocery store. (Ha, see, I know my Dad too well, notice I didn’t say what day or time they were at the grocery store because he’d say “I can’t believe you just told the world when our house is unoccupied each week”..never mind that he has the fourth most common name on the planet…I think mine is the fifth).  Anyway, they go to the grocery store on the same day and time each week. My parents are creatures of habit:  lunch at noon, supper at 6, grocery store at the same day and time each week.  They’ll go to a party and often decide ahead of time how long they’ll stay. (Mom & Dad:  we’re going to the Finkbeiner’s party and we’ll stay about an hour…Me: why don’t you just stay as long as you’re having a good time?)      There’s something comforting about a routine, or at least that is what I’ve been told.  I don’t have much of one.  I might eat supper one day at 6:12, another evening it’s pushing 9 o’clock. If my wife would let me, we’d eat supper sometimes at midnight.  I tend to go to bed around the same time and get up around the same time.  I always have to brush my teeth minutes after I wake up and eat breakfast right after (shouldn’t it be the other way around, though?).  So I do have some semblance of predictability in some ways, but I’ve always been a little resist to routine, finding it more confining than comforting.  But I also know that I may be in the minority here.  So does anyone have any thoughts on this routine vs. haphazard?  Who are you more like: me? or my parents? Is it a generational thing?

Morning TV?


As long as I can remember, my mother has watched the Today Show in the morning on NBC.  Growing up the show was just part of the tapestry of our morning, always on in the background. Most of the time it was Jane Pauley and Bryant Gumbel, before eventually transitioning over to Matt Lauer and Katie Couric.   Meanwhile, Joan Lundun ably held down the fort at ABC’s Good Morning, America...but we never watched it.   So I grew up with Willard Scott and his buffoonish weather antics and wild-haired Gene Shalit reviewing movies along with Pauley, Gumbel, Couric and the like.  Sheesh, Gene Shalit is 86 years old this year???  That’s nuts.  Anyway, the Today Show is on my mind this morning because it appears there is going to be yet another changing of the guard.  All the major networks are reporting that anchor Ann Curry is on her way out.   So, what do you think? Will you miss Ann?

I’ve never been a guest on one of the major morning TV shows before.  Those are really tough to get on, but my publisher always sends one of our cookbooks to the producers in hopes that their interest might be piqued enough. I was invited on Fox & Friends once to discuss our The Amish Cook at Home cookbook.  While Fox & Friends isn’t one of the major morning shows, it is the marquee morning offering on Fox.  It was a warm summer Friday morning and I was supposed to arrive at the studio in New York City around 6 a.m. for a 6:45 a.m. segment (it wasn’t even the main show, it was called “Fox & Friends First!”, a half hour show that airs before the main one).   I wasn’t supposed to cook on the air, I was instead bringing a selection of prepared foods using recipes from the book: a homemade slaw, pie, rolls…all recipes prepared ahead of time by my wife. The food would be on the set and I’d walk the host through each dish and discuss its importance in Amish culinary culture.  We’d be filming the segment live outside on the plaza of the Fox studios.   At least that was the plan until Hurricane Ivan decided to churn up the east coast.  Fox News switched to 24 hurricane coverage and decided to bump my segment until Monday.  All of this meant that the prepared foods would be sitting inside a cooler in our car the whole sweltering New York City weekend. Okay, we’ll just look at the food..mental note to myself: make sure the host doesn’t try any of it. Period.

An Iraqi biological weapons expert was the scheduled guest after me on that Monday.   He didn’t speak English all that well, so I was wondering how he’d do as a guest on the program. But he spoke well enough to indicate that he thought the Cole Slaw looked might tasty (apparently sitting in a sweltering car all weekend doesn’t make food look bad).  Rachel had to, very politely, urge him not to eat the slaw.  I was sure by that point the slaw itself was a biological weapon after marinating in a hot car all weekend.  Rain continued to pelt New York City on Monday so our segment was filmed in what amount to a closest inside the Fox studios.  A phone on the wall rang twice during the segment, the weapons scientist and Rachel were jammed into a corner…SIGH…so that was my brush with morning show glory.  Maybe another time when one of my fiction books come out.  Okay, so, back to Ann Curry….are you upset she is leaving? Which morning show do you watch?

Three Legged Cat Update


Okay, if you can stand another update on Kierney, our three-legged cat:)  He really has been progressing so well.  For anyone new to this blog, one of our cats had to get one of his hind legs lopped off in April.  A cancerous tumor had developed and was threatening to spread and the vet determined that removing his leg was the only way to give the cat a good quality of life.  I was a little concerned and skeptical that this would be possible, but my wife used to work as a vet tech and she assured me that she had seen three-legged cats adjust quite well.  So, almost two months later, you can see for yourself!:)  The video by the way begins with Kierney laying on his back. He loved to do that when he had four legs and he seems to like doing it with three just as much.  So, no, he is not writhing in discomfort, he just loves to do that for some reason.  His fur has not fully filled in yet where the surgery was performed, but it is getting there.  Then look how he jets off!  Three legs, no problem!  To see the video of my cat, CLICK HERE.  Do NOT click the big video below, that is a random WordPress ad.

Visit To A Perfect Restroom


I hate public restrooms.  This is a photo of just a typical germ-pit public facility.

If my own restroom at home is a little messy, that’s fine, it’s my mess.  But, ugh…some people can be so gross and my guess is that men’s restrooms are grosser than women’s.  My disdain for public facilities goes back a long way.  I remember my freshman year at a tiny Catholic college in Cleveland I discovered that the Jesuits left a wing of their administrative building unlocked 24 hours and right inside a little-used entrance to their building (that happened to be right across the small courtyard from my dorm) was a restroom.  It was literally a two minute walk from my room.  It was kept impeccably clean and no one ever seemed to use it.  So I would sneak over there. I’m not sure I ever used the wretched freshman guys restroom in my dorm. Finding the Jesuit restroom was a real coup and I generally kept quiet about it as to not give away such a prime place.  Unflushed toilets, soiled seats, graffiti, and  general grossness leads me to just “hold it” until I get home.  But if I have to use a public restroom I do have some techniques perfected to avoid the worst:

1)  Hotel lobbies:  hotel lobby restrooms are the best and I often use them when traveling even if I am not staying at the hotel.  Really, who uses a hotel lobby restroom when all hotel rooms have a restroom of their own?  The answer: almost no one.  Yet they have are regularly cleaned by housekeeping staff and most people don’t realize there is a restroom in the lobby.

2)  Kohl’s:  Seems the majority of shoppers there are women so the men’s room gets very little traffic and are quite clean. I discovered this fact while my wife has been shopping there.

3)   Handicapped stall:  While I’d never take a handicapped parking space, if the coast is clear I have no such reservations about using the handicapped stall.  They’re roomier and often cleaner.

Restrooms I avoid at all costs:

1) Airport restrooms

2) Fast-food restrooms

3) Stadium restrooms

I do like some of the airport facilities and trendier places that have what I call “no touch” restrooms in place. I took a video of a visit to the men’s room at the Premium Outlets in Monroe, Ohio.  It was amazing and should be a model for all public restrooms.  Number one ( pun intended), the few times I have visited it has been deserted (which I realize is an unrealistic characteristic for most public restrooms).  Number two (okay, pun intended), you don’t have to touch anything.  The urinals are self-flushing, the sink faucets and hand-driers are motion-activited and the entrances and exists zig-zag out to the main concourse so there is privacy yet no dirty doorhandle to touch.  Take a tour of this amazing restroom here.  The video begins while I was drying my hands and I mutter ‘favorite kind of restroom.’

Presidential Poll #1


Politics interests me, although I am not sure why.  I guess its just interesting to watch the machinery of democracy in action.  I spent a good deal of my early childhood living in the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia (stay tuned for some upcoming posts about that), which are both feudal monarchy governments. So maybe the closed political systems of those countries made an early impression on me and stoked an interest in our more transparent (in theory) system?  I don’t know. But, sheesh, our Presidential campaigns are way too long.    Canada has the right idea, they actually have a limit on how long campaigns can last. Here in the US, there are people out there already angling for the job in 2016.  That’s too early and our campaigns are too long!  Ugh…we still have five more months of Obama vs. Romney and the thought of that just makes me queasy and uneasy.

I did run for local office myself once about 10 years ago (I lost).  I’m not sure what I was thinking (yet a post for another time), but it was an interesting experience and a good front-row seat to see the ridiculous role money plays in politics.

Today is an interesting election is taking place to see whether incumbent Wisconsin governor Scott Walker will keep his job.  He is being challenged in a recall election.  I thought it’d be fun to do a Presidential poll 5 months out from the election and then do another one in late October and we’ll see how closely the Amish Cook’s Editor’s electorate matches the national.  Cast your vote below and no worries, it’s anonymous voting, I can’t see who is voting how (not that I really care, it’s a free country, do as you wish!)



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