Duff Goldberg burst upon the culinary scene with hit award winning series ACE OF CAKES, on the FOOD NETWORK. It was unique in the realm of reality TV, insofar as, it was real, what a concept. Duff and his cohorts showed us that , when it comes to designing, baking, assembing, and decorationg cakes, There are no limits.                                                 Pushing the envelope of physics and gravity is merely a theory, and he was ready to bend it to will.

The art of pastry making has long been the domain of quite, thoughtful, genteel spirits. Happily crafting roses and daffodiles out of sugar and butter, that is until Duff Goldman broke the mold, for the better.

Duff started working professionally at the age 14, earning his chop’s. Going off to Corcoran College of Art and Design in Washington D.C., where he studied both the abstract as well as the concrete, becoming somewhat of a standout in the local graffiti community. Moving out west he studied at the Culinary Institute of California. Refining his talents in upscale restaurants in Napa, California and Vail, Colorado, then migrating back to the east coast. Opening CHARM CITY CAKES in Baltimore, Maryland, he assembled a group of likeminded individuals (creative, edgy and twisted) ,pastry chefs, painters, architects and sculptors. The aim was to do it in a way nobody was doing it, at that time.


Duff Goldberg

Duff Goldberg at CHARM CITY CAKES

Cake decorations is a very old tradition, in the court of King Louie XIV, the “Sun King” if France, the elaborate pastries were regarded as high art. The term “fit of a king” was the watch word of the day. Well Duff and his merry band of flour dusted anarchist stormed ramparts in a modern day revolution. Maybe anarchist is not the correct label for Duff and his gang, after all anarchists have too many rules. But at CHARM CITY CAKES, the only rules are: Have fun and make something scream “WOW!”. You want a cake that looks like a motorcycle, no prob, dude, “would you ike the wheels to spin?”. You want a rocket, sure, with or without sparks and smoke coming out of its tail? After all, if you can dream it, they can make it. As I said physics and gravity are only a theory and Duff and his crew have their own ideas on that.

Duff Goldberg’s cake creations

Duff Goldberg and staff at CHARM CITY CAKES

Well it didn’t take long until the world found out about Charm City Cakes, and the FOOD NETWORK beat a path to the “Kingdom of Duff”. ACE of CAKES lasted for 10 seasons. But not limited to just a single platform to perform, Duff has graced the likes of: Diners, Drive-ins and Dives, Iron Chef-America, Chopped, Cupcake Wars, Best thing I ever ate and Simply Ming. His work has also been featured on The Price is Right, No Reservations, Extreme Makeover, The Tonight Show, The Talk, The Chew, Good Morning America and many, many more.

His book; ACE OF CAKES (Inside story of Charm City Cakes) published by Harper Collins is a must read. Not stopping there, he has rolled out a line of backing and decorating products of professional grade for the home baker.

He Has recently open Charm City Cakes West in Los Angeles, so the Left Costers can get a taste of the real deal, from one of “the originals”, in though, deed and looks, in the culinary world.

It would not surprise me in the least to learn that Duff has sent some goodies to the International Space Station, so the astronauts could enjoy a treat that is truly out of this world. Because when I think of Duff, the old Jackie Gleason/Ralph Kramden line “To the Moon Alice, to the Moon” does not seem that farfetched.

Head Staff Writer

James Garr

Coming soon to Cookingontv.net shop. You will be able to order the book, “ACE OF CAKES, Inside the world of Charm City Cakes.” 


He’s Larger than Life.

Anthony Bourdain is larger than life. He is a man possessing many talents, writer, chef, TV personality and worldwide traveler. But most of all he knows to live, and survive in some of the most unusual and sometimes hostel environments, and do it with unassuming style and (sometimes) grace.

Most of us became aware of him with his outstanding series “A COOKS TOUR” (2001). His travels around the world were a culinary tour-de-force, mixing cultural exploration and personal philosophy. It was an odd mixture of shocking and reassurance. It offended us (the safe at home couch-potato) and a way to see things we never knew we wanted to see. Anthony uses the term “Food Porn” to decribe the vicarous thrill people get from watching and reading about food: exotic, dangerous, kinky, freaky and,oh so sexy. He became our porn star,a stand-in for the fantasies we are too timid and up-tight to try for ourselves. The man is a true stud. Everyone remembers watching him eat the live, still beating heart of a cobra in Viet Nam, eating an iguana in Mexico or the infamous warthog “poop-shoot” in the Kalahari dessert. An eye-opening, stomach churning event that has been etched in to my memory. Although he jokes the most disgusting thing he has ever eaten was a Chicken McNugget.

But Cooks Tour really introduced us the man behind the smirk, because Anthony gave us a peak at the other side of his personality. He likes to say, about his self, “There is a “good Tony and a bad Tony” While the “Bad Tony makes for fun TV, the “Good Tony” make it complelling. The episode in Las Vegas, pure was “Bad Tony”. The episode in Mexico, with his friend Carlos and his family, “Good Tony” reigned surpreme. Tony is like a really good cannoli: crusty and flaky on the outside, but soft, sweet and gooey on the in-side. Anthony has the balls to show us. His strong attachment to Madame Ngue in Viet Nam in her little restaurant, or the love-hate-ambivalence for his Russian “fixer” Zamir. You see something you almost never see on TV, a real person, the person behind the mask. You get a view in the heart and soul of Anthony Bourdain.

2005 premiered “ANTHONY BOURDAIN: NO RESERVATIONS”. It was like A COOKS TUOR with a big budget, with the sane love of travel and the people he would meet. There are two episodes that are my all-time favorites. The first is when he he went to Livingston, Montana, a small, somewhat sleepy small town in the southern part of the state. Why is it one of my favorites? Well it’s my hometown. If you come from a small, out of the way place, you know the feeling when you get a chance to see it featured on TV. It also helped me to explain to my friends why I am the way I am.

The episode on Beirut is still the show that sticks with almost everybody who has seen it. Berirut was a city making a comeback after civil war and strife; it was bursting at the seams with excitement and good grace. Eager to show the world; that it was back. Once dubbed the “Paris of the Middle-East” it was ready to strut its stuff. Bourdain and his crew were ready to carry that message.  Then the unspeakable happened. Like it so often does in that part of the world, someone shoots and someone shoots back, and soon all-hell breaks loose. Once the airport was shelled, the NO RESERVATIONS crew was trapped with no way out. While they were not in any real danger ( if such a concept is possible in a city under siege) they were, never the less trapped. Anthony’s running commentary is so compelling that it is truly an edge of your seat experience. It was nominated for a Emmy Award in 2007.

In 2011, Bourdain went on to do “The Layover” on the Travel Network.The premise was: what if you have 24 to 48 hours in a city?  What would you do, what would you see and especially what and where would you eat (and drink!)?


He has appeared on Bravo’s TOP CHEF and TOP CHEFS ALL-STARS. He teamed up on an episode of BIZARRE FOODS with ANDREW ZIMMERN, as well as a judge on ABC’s The TASTE. Also let’s not forget his appearance on NICK JR.’s YO GABA GABA!, Dr. Tony, and a voice over on the SIMPSONS.

Kitchen Confidential: Adventure in the culinary underbelly was on the New York Time Bestsellers list in 2000.  If you to know why Anthony is Anthony this is the book for you.  It traces the early life of a very remarkable man. He is honest (brutally honest) about his life, his serious problem with drugs and the hubris of youth. It is one hell of a read. Anyone think of a career in the restaurant trade should, no make that, must read this book. One piece of advice he gives: is before you shell big bucks going to culinary school, get a job in a real restaurant kitchen. See if you have what it takes to survive and thrive in an often times hostile enviroment. I say, read this book first. Even if you have worked in the trade, this book is a must read.

Tony released A COOK’S TOUR: In search of the perfect mel (2001) as the companion to the TV series.

His book THE NASTY BIT’S (2006) is a collection of essays that take up where his previous books left off.

In 2007 NO RESERVATIONS: Around the world on an empty stomach gives a running account of the TV series and MEDIUM RAW: A bloody valentine to the world of food and the people who cook (2010), well the title tell you everything you need to know about this gem of a book.

Before Anthony became a best seller of foodie books he also penned two very good works of fiction.  BONE IN THE THROAT (1995) and GONE BAMBOO (1997) both revolve arond a contract killer and a cross-dressing mobster. I highly recommend both, they are fun read.

Tony is an upfront and highly opinionated person, which makes him someone you would like to share a meal and a beer. No doubt he will stand firm on this taste in music ( The Ramones, The Stooges, The New York Dolls) or how he once said that if you played music by Billy Joel in his kitchen he would fire you.

Over the years he has won many awards, such as:

2008: James Beard Foundation’s Who’s Who of food and beverage in America.

2009 & 2011: Emmy Awards for NO RESERVATION

2014: Peabody Award for PARTS UNKNOWN

Married and with a daugther, Tony has mellowed (a bit), but still striver for excellence in what he does and stands for. Considering what he has achieved over the last 20 years while on the public eye, we are all eager to embrace whatever he brings forth in the future.

Bad Tony “Pearls before swine”

Good Tony “You don’t mean that”

Bad Tony “Well, maybe your right”

Good Tony “Oh well, you meant it…so ok”

Head Staff Writer

James Garr


Flashlight Productions

Copyright 2014



The jewel of a city Charlotte Amalie is normally a busy and vibrant sea port on the island of St. Thomas. But when CARNIVAL starts (April 24th thru May 2nd) the city really unfurls the masts and sets sail on a joyous and fun ride. When we arrived at Charlotte Amalie we were blown away at the shear natural beauty, but the lasting impression is the smiling faces. Everybody is smiling, and it’s not hard to see why. The U.S.V.I. is a small piece of paradise, a precious green gem set upon the iridescent blue Caribbean Sea.  While other island nations try to evoke a tourist friendly atmosphere, when you are in Charlotte Amalie you soon realize the good people of USVI (also known as Bahn har or born here) don’t have to try. They truly are the friendliest people we know. No pretense or show they are the real deal, good humored, loving, graceful and genital spirit, are a fundamental part of who they are.  Carnival kicks off in early April when the various festivities (mostly on the week-ends) start the party rolling. There are calypso eliminations, Prince and Princesses selections, Queen Selection and traditional games. It’s a chance for the elders to show the youngsters the games from the past like Tee Toe Tum,  Three Hole Nogle and the Hoople Race.

There was also a May-Pole dance which is an old British tradition. The pole, which must be 30 feet tall or there about has twenty long and colorful ribbons attached at the top. Each ribbon is held by a child in traditional costume in a boy-girl-boy-girl pattern around the pole. As the music and singing starts the children begin to dance around the pole, boys going counter-clock wise and girls clockwise, weaving in and out as the ribbons wraps tightly around the pole in a beautifully decorated pattern. The May-Pole tradition is held on May 1st. as an age old celebration for the start of the month of May.

This year, Friday April the 24th, the Opening Ribbon Cutting was held, honoring the talented and beloved Cleve “Grupo” Turnbull, an artist whose spirit and talent represent so much of what it is to be Bahn har.  The ceremony was attended by Gov. Kenneth Mapp, Lt. Gov. Osbort Potter, the Carnival Queen and Princesses. Naming the Carnival Village GRUPO’S ART GALLERY, his likeness is represented on booths up and down Main Street.  Once the ribbon was cut and the children’s rides began to operate, the crowds began to mingle among the booths, which were a festooned in color. Everywhere everything had been decorated in the bright multihued Caribbean style. You can feel Grupo smile. The aroma emanating from the many food booths is an intoxicating and hunger inducing smokiness, it’s a good thing that Sara and I are here together, so we can sample twice as many incredible delights.

Soon the MOCKO JUMIES (stilt walkers) were high-stepping to the beat of the Milo’s Kings band, the party was moving in to high gear. Keven and I started walking down Main Street, following the aroma of tantalizing food. We stopped at the booth run by Helen Hunt and tried her Seafood rice, an irresistible mixture of conch, whelks (a sea snail) and lobster. Helen told us that she has been running this booth at the carnival for 15 years. Just down from Helen’s booth is “Try a Thing” run by Maynard Bougouneu which specializes is soups. The Red Pea soup and the Crab Kalalloo are fantastic. Sara wanted me to try the Goat Water; well with a


name like Goat Water I was a little hesitant. After all that is not the most appetizing name, but I was glad I tried it, it’s earthy flavors and in Maynard’s style; hot, the addition of Scotch Bonnet peppers really have a kick, in a good way. Sara headed straight to Akimo Martin’s booth “Set deh Trend” for some vegetarian side dishes, trying to be health conscious, but she couldn’t stop eyeing the fried cheesecake. I know where she is going for dessert. “Drinking Patna’s” run by Ian Turnbull and Ricky Banes is a great place to stop for fried wings, and it is hard to choose from all the irresistible sauces created by the chef from the Fat Turtle restaurant, I went with the spicy mango, and a fruit juice and Rum drink. We noticed they were pouring Cruzan Rum, distilled were in the U.S.V.I., I suggest picking up a bottle or two, its duty free, so, splurge a little. We tried Fungi (pronounced foon-gee) a cornmeal and okra porridge, some Roti a curry and meat stuffed roll and Johnnycakes, we were ready to check out the many entertainment venues the Carnival Village had to offer. Naturally, Brad got a bag full of Pate (pronounced Pah-Teh) fried dough filled with sweet fruit jelly, “Just in case I feel like nibbling of something” has said.On the last day of the Carnival is the ADULT’S PARADE. It’s the biggest event of the month and the culmination of the month long party. The participants can spend the entire year on their costumes, some of which are so elaborate that they span the width of the street and need wheels to support their weight. The beads and feathers are outrageously beautiful. Some of the partakers choose to ware only the tiniest of bikinis adorned with beads and a few carefully placed feathers as they stroll down the route. The Carnival King and Queen start the parade with the Princesses; all riding in the back of shining convertibles festooned with ribbons and banners. Followed by troupes and floupes, the parade seems endless, with majorettes and marching bands, giving way to Caribbean Ritual Dancers and Gypsies ,

Traditional Indians and Zulu warriors, all decked out in their Carnival finest. Floats with as many as 100 people dancing and singing to live music, it’s imposable not to have a great time. We saw cowboys and sea animals and the ever present Mocko Jumbies bring good luck and happiness to everyone in attendance.  We have been to Rio for their Carnival and New Orleans for Mardi gras, but by far the most fun and enjoyment we have ever had is here at Charlotte Amalie on the island of St. Thomas in the United States Virgin Islands. It’s is a place and event you will remember all your life and will want to return to over and over again. As the theme says “Culture to the Extreme”, they are not kidding, because we had an extremely great time.

Sara and Brad Gibson

Staff Writers,



           U N I Q U E   T A S T Y   F O O D S 


Chicken & Brown Rice

 Johnny Cakes


To learn more about making caribbean meals like Johnny Cakes, Chicken and Brown Rice, Lobster, Fugi, Salt fish and Patties.

Recipe section on making caribbean meals is coming soon at www.cookingontv.net.

ST. Thomas Carnival Recipes 2015


I have added some substitutions in case some of the items are not available in your area. Of course as with all substitutes the flavor will be a little different, but the overall dishes (I hope) will please you. There are a number of good sources for the hard-to-find items on the “NET” so it’s up to you, but please try the following recipes for a taste of the Caribbean.


Note: If you cannot find Kallallo (also known as Callallo) Swiss chard, mustard greens or spinach work well, prepare them the same way.

2 Lbs. Kallallo (Swiss chard, mustard greens or spinach)

1 Tbsp. Vegetable oil

1 Tbsp. Butter (or margarine)

1 onion, chopped

3 whole scallions, chopped

½ tsp. dried thyme

½ tsp. salt

½ tsp. ground black pepper (more if you like)

1/3 cup water

Remove the leaf from the main stems of the Kallallo and rinse well in cold water; you may have the do this several times until the water drains clear. Finely chop the leaves and stems and place in a medium bowl.

In a medium sauté pan over med-high heat, add oil and butter. Once the butter melts add the onion and scallion, stirring until onion softens, 2-3 minutes. Add the Kallallo, thyme, salt and pepper. Mix to combine, add water and cover. Reduce heat to medium low and cook until stems are tender, 8-10 minutes


4 Lbs. goat meat (lamb may be substituted) cut into 1 inch cubes

½ cup vegetable oil (divided)

1 Lb. papaya (also known as pawpaw) chopped

2 green plantains, sliced

1 lb. christopenes (a.k.a. chayote) peeled, seeded and chopped

1 (16 oz.) can breadfruit (optional)

½ lb. carrots, peeled, sliced

½ lb. turnip, peeled and chopped

1 onion, peeled, chopped

½ lb. taro root, diced

½ lb. tomatoes, chopped

½ cup tomato ketchup

½ lb. yams, peeled, chopped

¼ lb. margarine (1 stick)

½ cup flour

2 dried bouillon cubes (I use 1 beef, 1 chicken flavored)

Ground black pepper to taste

2 scotch bonnet chilies (or habaneros), whole

In a large stock pot, over high heat, add half of the oil and brown the meat in batches, do not over-crowd the pot, adding remaining oil as needed; this could take 3 or 4 batches. Return the meat to the stock pot, add 4 cups water and reduce heat to medium. Cover and simmer the meat for 2 hours, stirring occasionally and adding more water if needed.

In a large fry pan, over medium heat, add margarine and flour, cooking and stirring to form a roux, 1-2 minutes. Add yams, onion, taro root, carrots and thyme. Sauté for 3-4 minutes, add tomatoes, ketchup, plantains, christopenes and breadfruit, stir and cook 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and add to the meat in the stock pot, stir to combine, add the bouillon cubes and scotch bonnet peppers, add more water if necessary to cover the ingredients. Cover and simmer 1 hour, over med-low heat. Remove the peppers (you can chop them and serve them on the side for the truly brave). Serve with a crusty bread or johnnycakes.


3 cups flour

1 Tbsp. baking powder

1 ½ tsp. salt

2 Tbsp. sugar

½ cup vegetable shortening

2/3 cup water or milk

Oil for frying

In a large bowl, mix flour, baking powder, salt and sugar to combine. Cut in shortening. Slowly add water, while mixing to make soft dough. Knead, in the bowl, until dough is smooth and holds together. Let rest, covered, for 20-30 minutes

Form into 2 inch balls, flatten with your hand. In the Caribbean they flatten them with a gentle clapping motion, be careful not to make then too thin, ¾ inch is about right. Prick with fork several times. Add oil to a large fry pan, over medium high heat (350F degrees) fry for 3-5 minutes then flip and continue to cook other side until golden brown. Remove from oil and let rest on a cooling rack or paper to absorb the excess oil. You can enjoy them hot or at room temperature.

RED PEA SOUP with dumplings:

For soup:

1 pig knuckle, cut into 6 pieces

1 lb. dried Red Peas or dried Pink Beans, soaked overnight

1 onion, peeled and chopped

2 ribs celery, chopped

2 cloves garlic, peeled, minced

1 tsp. dried thyme

1 sweet potato, peeled, quartered, sliced ½ inch thick

Salt and pepper to taste

Soak pig knuckle in a bowl of cold water, drain and change water every few hours until water remains clear, 8 hours or overnight. Store, covered in the refrigerator. Drain and rinse the Red Peas and add to a large pot. Add pig knuckle, onion, celery, garlic, thyme and 10-12 cups of water. Over medium high heat bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium low and simmer, partially covered, for 40 minutes, skimming any foam, until beans are almost tender. Add sweet potato, season with salt and ground black pepper to taste. Simmer for about 1 hour until beans are very tender.

For Dumplings:

1 cup flour

¼ cup white cornmeal

1 tsp. sugar

1 tsp salt

½ tsp. ground black pepper

1 Tbsp. butter

In medium bowl combine flour, cornmeal, sugar, salt and pepper. Cut in the butter using a pastry cutter or 2 knives, add up to 6 Tbsp. ice cold water, stir with fork until stiff dough forms. Move the dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead until smooth. Roll out dough to ¼ inch thick, cut into 2-inch squares. Add dumplings to soup and simmer until tender and soup thickens, about 40 minutes.



In Search for the perfect Puttanesca and a piece of pie. I have a friend in Naples, Sofia. She is one of a kind, if you get my drift. So when I called her and asked if she could help guide me the most perfect Puttanesca in Naples she laughed at me and said “McGinty you have never had that problem in the past, why now?” “Sofia, you know more about the food seen in Naples than anyone. ” “Food” she laughed again “Oh that kind of Puttanesca, ok, I’ll help you with that.”    When she grabbed my arm and off we went. But when the first stop was the Archaeological Museum (Museo Archeologico) I was stumped, but then again I was with Sofia, a woman of many charms and surprises. I learned a long time ago when you are with Sofia it’s best to just go along with the ride. “This place has the best artifacts from Pompeii and Herculaneum; you remember that had that really bad day because of Mount Vesuvius back in A.D. 79” “A little before my time, but I’ve heard of it, so what does that have to do with my Puttanesca?”

“Oh silly boy, watch and learn”. The first thing she showed me was the stature of the Farnese Hercules. He has just performed one of the last of The Twelve Labors, which is suggested by the apples of the Hesperides he holds behind his back. And he had just been told by the god’s that he would have to return the apples and one more task; he had to go to hades and come back, gee, thanks’ boss.Then the fresco Battle of Alexander dating from circa 100 BC, is a Roman floor mosaic originally from Pompeii, depicts a battle between the armies of Alexander the Great and Darius III of Persia and measures 2.72 x 5.13m (8 ft. 11in x 16 ft. 9in). It’s believed to be a copy of an early 3rd century BC Hellenistic painting.

Then with a wicked grin, Sofia led me to the Secret Room (Gabinetto Segreto). “Since you are looking for the perfect Puttanesca I thought you might enjoy this place.” She knows my well. The Secret Room is a large collection of ancient Roman erotica, you know, porno. It was collected from the brothel (Lupanare) in Pompeii. I’ll say one thing for the old boys back then, they knew how to party. “Well McGinty, you know what Puttanesca means don’t you? It means a lady-of-the-night.” I did know that and it’s why I like it so much, if you get my drift. “That’s enough of art for you Jay, it’s time to eat!” And it was off the Spanish Quarter, with its crowded alley and insane moped drivers. Where ever you go in Naples there will be great Pizza, and Sofia knew the best comes for the small family owned hole-in-the –wall places. No tables, just a slice at a time and greasy hands, just the way I love it.

“Now McGinty we go to my neighbor, Via Vicaria Vecchia, the real heart of Naples!” Italy intensifies as you plunge deeper. Naples is Italy in the extreme — its best (birthplace of pizza and Sophia Loren) and its worst (home of the Camorra, Naples’ “family” of organized crime). The city has a brash and vibrant street life — “Italy in your face” in ways both good and bad. Even though it’s Italy’s grittiest, most polluted, and most crime-ridden city, walking through its colorful old town is one of my favorite experiences anywhere in Europe, or maybe the world.  And it was made even more enjoyable with Sofia holding my arm. Along the way we grabbed another slice of pizza on the stroll.“You know McGinty, there are only two true styles off pizza, Margarita: with tomato sauce, mozzarella and some fresh basil and Marinara: with tomato sauce, oregano, garlic and no cheese, I prefer my pie with cheese.” I had to agree, I live my pie cheesy. As we walked we passed a number of promising restaurants like L’Antica Pizzera da Micheles at Via Pietro Lollette & Via Cesare Sersale, world renown and with a long line to match. Sofia steered us past and to Trattoria Campagnola at Via Tribunall 47.  “I eat here all the time and the food is exceptional. It has an outstanding pasta and great wine  selection.”  Unfortunately the chock-board menu out front did not list Pasta Puttanesca being served tonight. With that disappointment I sighed. But Sofia laughed and gave me a big kiss. “ Don’t worry Jay,  I’ll make you my very special Pasta Puttanesca myself, at my place. And I guarantee you will remember it for the rest of your life” As I said Sofa is a one of a kind, she is funny, smart and a great cook. And she didn’t lie I will

remember that night for ever.

Jay McGinty,

Roving Correspondent,




The New Year is celebrated all around the World, and Peru is no different, with this festival largely associated with drinking and having lots of fun with your friends. However, there are a number of rich customs associated with New Year that are intended to bring good luck.In general, in Peru people are more connected with the spiritual, the mystic and the superstitious than we are in the west… and they do believe in miracles! Customs associated with the New Year are intended to bring good luck­ a popular tradition is to dress up a doll ­ (or effigy) with old clothes and then burn it, which signifies getting rid of the old, and making a new start. New clothes are also popular representation of the new, and markets catering to this idea spring up in the streets of Cusco in the days before New Year. If you haven’t got new clothes, underwear is a very popular alternative. The color of your underwear is also important ­ with most popular being yellow (for happiness and luck) followed by red (for love) or green (for money).

If you want to travel in the upcoming year, you should take a suitcase or briefcase and carry it around the block or Plaza de Armas on New Year’s Eve. Eating of grapes as the clock strikes 12 is also a popular way of bringing luck ­ one grape for each of the 12 upcoming months. Other people light coloured candles (the meaning of the colours is the same as for the underwear, with white bringing good health) in their house. People also participate in a tradition known as “baño de flores” ­ or a bath of flowers. Depending on what they are wishing for, they fill a basin with water and flowers of a certain colour (roses for love, for example) and will bathe using this combination of water and flowers. At midnight, they put beans into their pockets, and whilst doing so, they wish for money.

A classic custom is to place three potatoes under your chair or sofa ­ one peeled, on partially peeled and one with its skin. At 12 o’clock you need to choose, (without looking) one of these potatoes and it will forecast what type of financial year you will have. The potato with no skin means no money, partially skinned means a regular year and a potato with a full skin means lots of money!

In a similar vein, if you throw 10 cents over your shoulder it represents throwing out the poverty of the previous year, and therefore bringing auspiciousness. Other people distribute rice around the house, which is intended to bring money and luck. As illustrated here, Cusqueño families have a wide range of customs to celebrate the New Year ­and each family has their own tradition. Many families celebrate the New Year together by having lunch and then the young people will go out with their friends. There isn’t a specific food associated with New Year but turkey, chicken and guinea pig (cuy) are common, and drinks such as chocolate (also associated with Christmas), pisco sour and Cusqueña beer are popular.


Robert Rodriguez is an American filmmaker best known for his successful collaborations with Quentin Tarantino, including From Dusk Till Dawn (1996). Robert Rodriguez, is also into cooking.  His cooking channel on youtube.com is call “Robert Rodriguez’s Cooking School.”  Friends we’re going to watch Robert Rodriguez’s Cooking School videos while you read this awesome filmmaker bio.






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Filmmaker Robert Rodriguez grew up in Texas as a part of a family of 10 children. Initially rejected from film school, Rodriguez taught himself the basic editing and directing skills before attending a film program. His first feature, El Mariachi, showed his talents as a filmmaker and helped land a deal with Columbia Pictures. His later films include From Dusk to Dawn (), Sin City(2005) and Spy Kids ().

Foray into Filmmaking

Director and filmmaker was born on June 20, 1968, in San Antonio, Texas. As a part of a large family, Rodriguez began by making short films, which often featured some of his nine siblings. Initially rejected from film school, Rodriguez continued making movies. He won several awards for his efforts and was eventually accepted into the film program at the University of Texas at Austin.

He made his first feature film El Mariachi (1993) on a very tight budget—only $7,000. Some of the money came from his work as a human guinea pig to test a new medication. Playing on Mexican and American western themes, the Spanish-language action movie centered on a wandering musician who gets caught up with some bad guys after switching guitar cases with a hitman who uses a similar case to carry around the tools of his trade.

Commercial Success

As El Mariachi demonstrated, Rodriguez was a talented filmmaker, and it helped him land a deal with Columbia Pictures. His next project was his first major production. Desperado (1995), another action film, starred Salma Hayek and Antonio Banderas. Rodriguez then brought an element of the supernatural to his southwestern-set films with From Dusk to Dawn. The story focuses on two brothers – played by George Clooney and Quentin Tarantino—fighting off vampires while stuck in a small border town. Rodriguez revisitedEl Mariachi territory with the sequel Once Upon A Time in Mexico (2003).

Around this time, Rodriguez and his wife Elizabeth Avellan started their production facility—now known as Troublemaker Studios—near Austin, Texas. Over the years, he has chosen to work near his home, far away from the Hollywood scene.

In 2001, Rodriguez stepped away from the adult action and horror genres and into brand-new territory. With Spy Kids, he showed the world that he could make fun, engaging family films. At times spoofing James Bond, the film featured Antonio Banderas and Carla Gugino as secret agents who end up needing help from their two children. This film and its two sequels—Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams (2002) and Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over (2003)—did very well at the box office and with critics. Robert Rodriguez, a true filmmaker and 10 minute cook.



                     ROBERT RODRIGUEZ





Ina Rosenberg Garten (first name ; born February 2, 1948) is an American author, host of the Food Network program Barefoot Contessa, and former White House nuclear policy analyst. Known for designing recipes with an emphasis on fresh ingredients and time-saving tips, she has been noted by Martha Stewart, Oprah Winfrey, and Patricia Wells for her cooking and home entertaining.

Garten had no formal training; she taught herself culinary techniques with the aid of French and New England cookbooks. Later, she relied on intuition and feedback from customers and friends to refine her recipes. She was mentored chiefly by Eli Zabar, owner of Eli’s Manhattan and Eli’s Breads, and food-show host and author Martha Stewart. Among her dishes are c?ur à la creme, celery root remoulade, pear clafouti, and a simplified version of b?uf bourguignon. Her culinary career began with her gourmet food store, Barefoot Contessa; Garten then expanded her activities to several best-selling cookbooks, magazine columns, self-branded convenience products, and a popular Food Network television show.

Early History and Career   « less

Born Ina Rosenberg in Brooklyn, New York, and raised in Stamford, Connecticut, Garten was one of two children born to Charles H. Rosenberg, a surgeon specializing in otolaryngology, and his wife, Florence. Encouraged to excel in school, she showed an aptitude for science and often won top honors in local science fairs. Garten’s mother, an intellectual with an interest in opera, refused her daughter’s requests to assist her in the kitchen and instead directed her to concentrate on schoolwork. Garten described her father as a lively individual with many friends, and has commented that she shares more characteristics with him than with her mother. At 15, she met her future husband, Jeffrey Garten, on a trip to visit her brother at Dartmouth College. After a year of exchanging letters, they began dating. After high school, she attended Syracuse University with plans to study fashion design, but chose to change her major to economics. Shortly thereafter, she postponed her educational pursuits to marry.

On December 22, 1968, Rosenberg and Garten were married in Stamford, and soon relocated to Fort Bragg, North Carolina. She began to dabble in cooking and entertaining in an effort to occupy her time while her husband served his four-year military tour during the Vietnam War; she also acquired her pilot’s license, according to an interview she gave to the Raleigh News & Observer. After her husband had completed his military service, the couple journeyed to Paris, France, for a four-month camping vacation that Garten has described as the birth of her love for French cuisine. During this trip, she experienced open-air markets, produce stands, and fresh cooking ingredients for the first time. On returning to the U.S., she began to cultivate her culinary abilities by studying the volumes of Julia Child’s seminal cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Her weekly dinner party tradition began taking shape during this time, and she refined her home entertaining skills when she and her husband moved to Washington, D.C., in 1972.

In Washington, Garten worked in the White House and took business courses at George Washington University, eventually earning an MBA, while her husband worked in the State Department and completed his graduate studies. Originally employed as a low-level government aide, she climbed the political ladder and was assigned the position of budget analyst, which entailed writing the nuclear energy budget and policy papers on nuclear centrifuge plants for Presidents Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter.

Strained by the pressures of her work and the serious, high-power setting of Washington, Garten once again turned to cooking and entertaining in her free time, constantly arranging dinner parties and soirées at her home on the weekends. Meanwhile, she was buying, refurbishing, and reselling homes for profit (“flipping”) in the Dupont Circle and Kalorama neighborhoods. The profits from these sales gave Garten the means to make her next purchase, the Barefoot Contessa specialty food store.



             Ina Garten          



“No, no, we need the bill in regular dollars,” I said, assuming the number in front of me was in yen.

A few years ago, Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart made headlines by co-starring in two plays concurrently. Tickets were going fast, and when my friend Matt called me to ask if I wanted to go see No Man’s Land or Waiting for Godot, I opted for Godot since I’d heard of it. You can’t always get what you want: We got two tickets to No Man’s Land. They were expensive, but at least they were very, very far from the stage.

Matt asked if I wanted to grab sushi beforehand, around 6:45. The play was at 8, but he could leave work early. The consistent assumption of people making plans with me is that, since I am a writer and work from home and they have firm adult schedules, I will be available at the times they need. I always resent this, mostly because it’s true. Matt asked if I’d ever seen the documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi. “Of course,” I lied.

Not too far from the theater, it turned out, one of Jiro’s protégés had opened his own sushi restaurant. It was supposed to be transcendent. And so it was decided: We would fill our bellies with potent, nutrient-dense raw fish and then listen to Magneto and Professor X say some old words.

We walked into a nondescript office building, and the security guard told us the restaurant was on the third floor. The air was already thick with adventure. In Manhattan, a restaurant a few floors up meant either great food or the TGIF in Times Square. We walked through a red curtain into an empty dining room and were welcomed by a very friendly staff.

We were told Jiro’s protégé Toma was actually there that night, and we should sit at the counter. Matt was giddy. The wizard himself would be making our sushi before our very eyes. Suddenly, I was bummed that we only had an hour to eat. I like sushi a lot and was prepared to do some damage.

We started with tuna, then fatty tuna. Then upped the stakes to toro. After each roll, the wait staff would remove our plates and bring new ones, along with a fresh set of hot towels. Chopsticks were discouraged and so were any dipping sauces. (Even soy sauce!) It was like being on Mars. Or perhaps like being in Japan.

Toma had an assistant who looked exactly like him but who was proportionally smaller, like the first insert of a Russian doll, and together they prepared us what was easily the best sushi I’ve ever eaten or ever will. After every dish, Toma penciled a figure into small ledger. Then he would turn with a smile and suggest another spectacular morsel.

The uni was particularly good. Uni is sea urchin, which has a disarmingly soft consistency—imagine frozen yogurt that tastes like the bottom of a sailboat. I loved the stuff. And we didn’t need assurance that today’s uni was fresh since Toma was literally cleaving a live one in half a few feet from us.

At a certain point, Matt leaned over to me and said, “This is gonna cost us.” I agreed; the food was incredible and the service peerless. I’d never been so doted upon in a restaurant, except for one time when I thought I found a piece of metal in my calzone (it was only glass). But we were prepared to pony up at least one hundred. Maybe 150.

When the bill came, we took a deep breath. “This is going to be more expensive than the tickets,” I joked. We opened it together, like shitty Golden Globe presenters.

The bill read one-one-zero-zero. Eleven hundred. One-thousand one-hundred. $1,100. Dollars.

As I mentioned, I write for a living. I didn’t have $1,100. Matt didn’t either.

My immediate reaction was that it was a misprint. “No, no, we need the bill in regular dollars,” I said, assuming the number in front of me was in yen. The place was authentic, why stop at the bill? Alas, it was eleven hundred American dollars. The wait staff, to their credit, calmly pointed out that the bill was correct and what had really happened here was that the uni was “fresh.”

I gave them a debit card that was certain to be declined—if a bank account could laugh, mine would have. It was just meant to buy us time to form a strategy. Matt was talking about the best way to argue our point, that we simply weren’t prepared for a bill that high, and were given no warning that a single piece of uni might have been, conservatively, $100. I wasn’t listening to him very closely, as there was a window near us, and I was thinking about how much damage a 30-foot fall would do if I landed with a well-timed roll. Could we pop up and run?

Matt had a plan. “Here’s what we’ll do,” he said. “I’ll put it all on my credit card. Then I’ll call the card company, and I’ll fight it. I’ll fight the purchase.”

As they returned with my declined debit card, which was barely real—I think I’d gotten it at Citifield in exchange for an umbrella—Matt handed over his, then turned to me and delivered another dagger: “Shit. We can’t not tip them.” And of course, he was right. The service was first-rate. What’s 20 percent on top of $1,100? More than my last week’s worth of food, easily.

The sushi was excellent, but that was beside the point, wasn’t it? Sure, I felt good. Great, actually. Healthy. I felt like I could run a few miles or maybe lift the back of a car an inch or two off the ground. I don’t think I got sick that year, come to think of it.

But I wasn’t even full. I felt how one should feel after a quality meal—energized, alert, on balance. But I’m Italian, so I can’t acknowledge that I ate well unless I’m clutching my intestines and bargaining with God. On the walk to the theater, Matt kept mumbling “… gonna fight it, that’s all… fight the purchase…” I walked to an ATM right after the theater and took that very large sum out of my savings account and paid him cash.

(It turns out you can’t just buy expensive things then “fight the purchase.” Matt paid his card in full over time. The interest on the meal alone could’ve bought him lunch for a week.)


Guest Article Writer: Chris Galleta

What $400 Gets You at NYC’s Most Expensive Suchi Restuarant – Consumed

 A R T I C L E  S E C T I O N #5 

A new television show of the same name, “Julie Taboulie’s Lebanese Kitchen,” has also been created for PBS. The show’s opener includes Sageer dancing in Clinton Square in Syracuse, near the water at Skaneateles Lake and driving through Upstate New York.

It’s not yet listed on WCNY’s show listing. It’s showing on WGBY in Boston.

The cookbook contains 125 recipes ranging from mezza (small plates) to street food (skewers and sandwiches) to asha (main meals). Sageer explains how to make many of the building blocks of Lebanese cuisine: yogurt and breads, stuffed vegetables, meats paired with lemons and herbs, and pilafs based on rice and bulgur wheat.

There are step-by-step instructions and photos showing how to make kibbeh kbekib, lamb and bulgur wheat stuffed with a mix of ground lamb, nuts, herbs and spices. Sageer provides the same type of precise, visual instructions for making Syrian string cheese.

Sageer also takes readers through the basics of building a Lebanese pantry, with spice mixes integral to making falafel, shawarma, tahini dressing and pickled vegetables. The cookbook contains a glossary of ingredients and online sources for staples, spices and even harder-to-find vegetables.

The recipes are laden with homecooking wisdom. Use a new egg to test water’s salinity. Use the rim of a small bowl to cut out dough for fatayer, meat-and-spinach-stuffed pies. Crack uncured olives with a wooden spoon or rolling pin before putting them into the brine.

Sageer grew up in Utica and in Liverpool. She earned her sing-song nickname when she was about 6 or 7, she writes in her new cook, because even as a child she was obsessed with taboulie and food in general.

A trip back to Lebanon in 2007 as an adult further awakened her curiosity about the food she loved. As her family shared recipes and dishes with her, she convinced some of her cousins to visit the pastry makers and nut roasters whose creations rounded out the meals. She returned to New York hungry and determined to better learn her mother’s cooking.

Sageer launched her first cooking endeavor, “Julie Taboulie, Lebanese Cuisine,” as a month-long cooking class as a local library. As this is Upstate New York, Wegmans soon came calling, followed by local television affiliates. About five years ago, her first show, “Cooking with Julie Taboulie,” was distributed nationally. The PBS show was nominated for an Emmy in 2013.

Article writer, Teri Weaver