Friday, July 17, 2009

Remembering Uncle Walter

He may have retired as the anchor of the CBS Evening News when I was only 10, but I can still vividly remember Walter Cronkite delivering that day's news in my living room. It was on a television that only got seven or eight channels, had a dial that I was frequently chastised for flipping too vigorously, and had a set of floppy rabbit ear antennas, but for that half hour, it had my parents' attention.

I suppose I never paid much attention to the news back then, but somehow the warm, genial delivery of "Uncle Walter" stuck with me, because he was always held up as the gold standard of television news throughout my entire college career. My broadcasting and production professors always stressed his most under-recognized, yet most valuable talent: his writing. By starting as a newspaper reporter, he always knew how to find stories, but more importantly, how to convey information clearly and concisely to his audience.

With the plethora of celebrity deaths in recent weeks, the passing of Walter Cronkite is the most meaningful for me. Robert Lloyd, the television critic of the Los Angeles Times, summed up the impact of his passing best: "There are many more rooms in the mansion that is television news nowadays, but they have grown proportionately smaller; they are no longer fit for giants."

And Walter Cronkite was the last of the giants.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Ahi in the Morning

Last Saturday before heading to the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, Bumper and I wandered around the farmers' market in Playa Vista. Amid the usual assortment of fresh fruit, vegetables, and herbs, was a fish stand, selling both raw, and cooked and plated fish. Bumper decided that the seared ahi salad would make a nice breakfast, and while I like tuna as much as anyone, 10:00 a.m. is a little early for me.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Brown Sugar Bacon Waffles

It's a well-known fact (channeling my best Cliff Clavin) that bacon makes everything better. So when Joy the Baker posted her recipe for Brown Sugar Bacon Waffles a few months ago, everything inside me said, "Mmmmm . . . bacon."

But you just can't enjoy this kind of bacony goodness by yourself. It has to be shared, mostly because you need someone to call 911 if you lapse into a bacon coma. So last week while on vacation with my cousin John and his family, out came the recipe.

First off, caramelizing the brown sugar on the bacon was messy, but only in that the pan was a P.I.T.A. to clean. Imagine candied bacon, and that's basically what it is. Thankfully, Joy the Baker recommended letting the bacon cool before chopping it, because even chilled, it's sticky as all get out; I can only imagine how hard it is to handle warm.

The wet and dry ingredients are fairly straightforward, and the chopped bacon pieces are just folded into the combined ingredients. The trick, though, is to stir the batter gently each time a scoop is placed on the waffle iron, because the bacon tended to sink to the bottom of the batter.

The final product, at least to me, tended to be a bit dry, but perhaps that's because I've been spoiled by John's third-generation butter waffles (with major props to Aunty Lou and Grandma's recipe that he follows). And as any good German-descended family knows, butter goes on any- and everything, so some condiments moistened the waffles up considerably.

It almost became a treasure hunt for us as we ate, looking for the hidden nuggets of sweet bacon goodness nestled in the fluffy recesses of waffle. And every so often, one of us would mutter through a mouthful of waffle, "Ohhh . . . that was a good one."

Monday, July 6, 2009

Las Vegas 51's Baseball

So aside from the fact that it was hotter than a blast furnace, baseball in Las Vegas isn't all that bad. Granted, Cashman Field is rather lacking in charm, but the surrounding scenery is pretty nice.