JakesPrinter’s has brought another great theme for this week.  CITY

After reviewing all of my favorite shots from my favorite cities I found too many to narrow down.  So what I decided to do is pick my favorite city to highlight and post some of my favorite pictures from that ONE city.. and for the others.. well.. I couldn’t just ignore them so they will need to follow in a slideshow.  Now if you’ve read a few of my past posts you will know what city I’m going to profile.  I hope you enjoy.


Statute of Liberty

New York

Canal Street New York

Elmo New York

New York Cabs

New York Times Square

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See more of Jakesprinters Sunday Post: City

Random Fav Photes

“ You don’t take a photograph, you make it. –Ansel Adams

I used to just snap and shoot and then print or upload all of the photos I took.  I loved pictures and thought they were all amazing.  One day I somehow got involved with a random group that did random things and this one random lady was arranging herself in some of the most random positions.  She had a camera so I got it that she was taking random photos of apparent random things.

I stared at her so long she must have sensed me there.  At any rate we began a conversation about what she was doing and she enlightened me on her photo taking hobby and how her goal was to take a very normal object and make it into something incredible, beautiful, abnormal and on and on.  She would do this one day a month.  She would pick one thing or one way of doing something and just keep doing it with that same object over and over to achieve 30-40 shots of whatever.  Very interesting thought I.

At the moment I was watching her she was actually photographing a street light.  She had come the night before and taken about 20 night time shots of this one lamp and at this moment she was on her 30th daytime shot.  She had every angle of this lamp on her camera and I was shocked at how different it looked in each picture.

Previously, one of her favorite photos shoots had been in a park and for about 3 hours all she did was set the timer on her camera for 5 or 10 seconds and toss it into the air and obtained some crazy random shots.   She actually played catch with her camera with a kid and they would take turns tossing it back and forth while it multi-burst or time shot things.  She had been doing these things for over 10 years, only for her own pleasure.  This was before blogs were so big and she did not have a social network.  It was just for her own amusement.

This entire concept intrigued me and since that time I have taken some very random shots.  Some that no one but me appreciate.  I have been asked to take down some of my random shots as people do not always feel like I’ve captured their “best”side.  I do love the random candid shots and for this, though I have hundreds, I have included some of my favorites.  Enjoy.

“I am not a glutton – I am an explorer of food” ― Erma Bombeck

“What keeps me motivated is not the food itself but all the bonds and memories the food represents.”
– Michael Chiarello

Memories of my childhood seem to revolve around family food fests.  Aside from Thanksgiving, Christmas, 4th of July and Memorial Day, there were camping trips, visits to the lake, jeep club races and trail running events all which produced some of the most amazing and lasting impressions of my youth.  All of these recollections can be quickly brought to the front of my mind by the simple smell of a turkey, hamburger, hot dog or fruit salad.
“The most remarkable thing about my mother is that for thirty years she served the family nothing but leftovers. The original meal has never been found.”
― Calvin Trillin
During my childhood I didn’t know this, but in retrospect it’s very obvious.  My mother wasn’t the best cook in the world.  She did ok and it wasn’t terrible.  As a matter of fact my recollections of fried chicken, mashed potatoes and a vegetable still make my mouth water.  However, I remember even more distinctly many meals my mother prepared each week that were simply named goulash.  Goulash was in fact, every container of leftover food in the fridge combined in one large pan and heated up.  Sometimes it worked out fine and sometimes it REALLY didn’t.
Aside from goulash, the other thing my mother loved to experiment with was odd foods.  When I say odd foods, I am saying foods that other parents in our neighborhood would not have dreamed of using.  I remember an entire octopus sitting in our freezer for months before my mom felt confident enough to attempt to cook it.  I like to call that one an epic fail.  There was cow tongue which she over-salted causing extreme thirst when eaten.  Still can’t eat it.  As a child her sweet potatoes were one of my favorite “every holiday” foods.  As an adult I realize that I loved them only because they were covered with a 2 inch layer of marshmallows.
Now before anyone starts thinking I am only complaining about my mom’s food and cooking I want to say I’m not.  As a matter of fact, if it were not for my mom’s verve for food experimentation and her demand that we finish EVERYTHING on our plate, no matter WHAT was on our plate, I probably never would have taken some of the craziest cooking classes or tried some of the foods I have tried as an adult.
“You can’t just eat good food. You’ve got to talk about it too. And you’ve got to talk about it to somebody who understands that kind of food.”
― Kurt VonnegutJailbird
My overall point is that the making and eating of foods create memories.  There isn’t a food out there that I cannot trail back to a certain very specific time, person or place in my life.   So here’s to my fondest memories of food exploration.  Here’s to the foods I will never, ever forget.
Guam During my time in Guam I worked with many Philippinos who would host barbeques every day they were not working.  Between pig roasts with Guamanians and Phillippino bbq’s I was able to enjoy a variety of “chomorro” cooking styles that included whole pig roasts (lechón) fresh or fried spring rolls (lumpia) Balut and Spam.
Spam is a meat product that is not usually considered a primary meat source on most American’s menu. In places like Guam, Hawaii and the Phillipines, it is used in many main dishes.  Overall, it wasn’t bad.  You can use spam in everything and it’s relatively cheap.  You can fry it, blend it with other foods and can even make simple spam sandwiches with it. 
Balut is a fertilized duck egg. It was the most terrible experience for me.  Admittedly I was dared to eat it and did not consume it in a traditional manner. I didn’t season it or eat it with any sauce. I simply shoved it in my mouth, tried to chew it and ended up chasing it with the closest beer.   All I really remember is needing to fish out of my mouth bits of beak, feather and claw.  I also remember feeling quite ill for the next couple of days.  I’m convinced it was psychological, but I do not see me giving it another try.
Cambodia,   Colombia,  Thailand,  China,   Australia  and Venezuela  Through these countries I have tried all kinds of foods ranging from snakes, crickets, frogs, spiders, kangaroo and crocodile to arepas, amok, Khmer rice porridge, Ajiaco soup, cuy, street foods and a few unknown meats.  I’ve even taken a variety of cooking classes in Cambodia, Thailand and Venezuela in order to try to preserve some of my favorite food memories.  In these classes we were taught to shop for the freshest meats and veggies and how to dice and slice, puree, and blend the ingredients to create the best texture and flavor in all of your dishes.  More importantly, we were shown how to enjoy the food you are eating with the people you are near.
I have saved my favorite for last….
Korea   While in Korea I was exposed to many different foods.  It was possibly my favorite place to eat.  Korean dishes are focused around rice, meat and vegetables. I loved everything about Korean food from how it was prepared to how eating it became a group event.   Korean bbq’s usually involve choosing the meat yourself, cooking it at your table and eating it in a fresh lettuce or sesame leaf.  Tteokguk (soup) is also often prepared at your table with all the ingredients fresh at your disposal.  I loved Kimchi from my first bite but with my daughter it  took a little longer.  Aside from Kimchi my 2nd favorite dish was Bibimbop.  This is a mixed dish of rice, vegetables and meat cooked in a stone bowl and often topped with a raw egg.  We used metal chopsticks in Korea just like we use metal silverware in the U.S.  Aside from childhood memories, these dishes and experiences were really by far my favorite food memories.
 Sadly, the re-creation of all of these events are never as good as the original largely because the foods were location and people specific.  This will not stop me from trying to recreate them and that plan alone will ensure that I will have many more food explorations ahead of me.