A finicky guy's exploits in finding gustatory (and other) satisfaction in his kitchen, his neighborhood, and beyond.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Happy Birthday, MPB!

Yes, folks, it was one year ago today that I came rushing in from my dog walk to find Peter soaking in the bathtub, and handed him the little scraps of paper on which I'd scribbled some potential blog titles I'd brainstormed on his behalf.  "He Sew Fine" didn't get the acknowledgement I thought it deserved for cleverness and a sense of fun, but I was gratified more than you will ever know when "Male Pattern Boldness" got a smile and a thumbs-up.

It's a year later, and I think all of us who follow Male Pattern Boldness (dot com) are astounded by the richness of Peter's first year of blog archives.  It's really amazing that almost every day for the past year, Peter has come up with an interesting spin on some sewing-related (more or less) topic, and has illustrated it with found photos as well as his own — and not a few of my shots of the glamorous if not exactly law-abiding Cathy Lane.  I don't have to tell you that Peter's work has brightened the lives of a lot of people over the past year.  A lot.  Including mine.

Here's to you, my brilliant Domestic Partner!  May you have many more years of blogging, and half a million followers by your second blog birthday.

Peter at his Pfaff 30 with his "birthday" cupcake on the ironing board in the foreground
I wasn't going to blog on the weekends, but since I've already logged on to post these birthday wishes, I might as well tell you about my excursion to Whole Foods.
It's a good thing I enjoy food shopping, because Sundays at WF in Chelsea (maybe in all their branches) are a bit of a madhouse.  Today was the kind of day on which you wait by the entrance to receive a shopping cart from a departing shopper.  That means, of course, that the entire fleet of carts is being pushed around the narrow aisles of this cramped NYC branch of the store.  (If you've seen only the suburban version of WF, like the one near my parents', which has aisles down which you could drive a Cadillac, you'd be in for a shock in our local mini-WF.)  It actually wasn't too bad, except when I had to negotiate my way around the man pushing I think quintuplets in a monster baby buggy to get to the organic bananas.  Being high on produce helped me maintain my sanity and my tact, I guess.

I was especially ecstatic in the produce department today when I saw this sign near the entrance:

Can you believe it?  Mr. Whole must have read my post from last week, when I complained about the ridiculous price of organic blueberries: $4.99 for half a pint.   This week, he was offering twice as many blueberries for a buck less!  Of course I grabbed a package. . .it's baked bananas with blueberries for breakfast tomorrow!  (Who says Mondays have to get me down?)

I still have a glut of veggies on hand at home from past weeks of shopping, Urban Organic deliveries, and (believe it or not) CSA pick-ups.  (They ended in November!)  So at WF, I concentrated on restocking the fruit bowl:

I had the world's kindest cashier today, who did not charge me for the big Jonagold apple in the foreground because one of the small apples in the bag I'd selected had a soft spot.  I always develop a soft spot for my cashier when I get something for free from the notoriously expensive WF.  It's actually not that rare an occurrence, as they often don't charge for something when you hide it in your backpack.  I'm kidding!  They often don't charge when the item rings up at an incorrect price.  And then there is the napkin-hoarding station by the exit, second only to the cheese-ends bin, where I picked up these beauties today:

Even the names of these cheeses are enticing: Drunken Goat, Cabot Clothbound Cheddar, Rosso di Langa.  (I think that last one is going to be my new stage name.)
I also stopped by the meat counter, where I'm developing quite an affection for a rather maternal butcher-. . .um. . .-ess?  Butcherine?  Femme-er?    Let's just say I like the nice lady who works behind the meat counter.  Today she helped me to find the ham hocks (which they now apparently call "shank" to keep me from finding it) and to select a cut of beef appropriate for slow cooking.  I'll show you a picture of the meats; I think the maternal lady butcher would've found it weird to pose for a picture:

Awaiting their turn in the new crock pot.

I'll close for today with a picture of our lunch, which consisted of leftover mélange, Peter's specialty, which he'd cooked yesterday.  (I won't divulge the whole process here, but it involves sauteing onions and garlic in a little oil, then adding the veggies in stages according to cooking time and steaming them in a mixture of vinegar and water.)  This dish always turns out a little different and it's always satisfyingly healthy-feeling and delicious.  We never ever tire of mélange.  

Today's version, rich in sweet potatoes for a reason that will become evident in a post later this week, was garnished in our favorite way, with a drizzle of EV olive oil, a sprinkling of sea salt, and some cubes of cheese from my favorite basket:

Everything in life should be so consistently good and variable!  Have a great Sunday, everyone.


  1. Peters blog is a delight and I'm impressed that you came up with the name-MPB. Kudos to you!

    Baked bananas and blueberries! Yum! It sounds delish. I use bananas to sweeten my fruit butters. It deepens their color and adds a sweet undertone without having to add any extra sugar. And it's a nice way to use up all those black bananas that migrate to the freezer.

  2. I have to say that I'm jealous of your WF Michael. Yes, we have WF here in CA, several within 15 minutes of my home in fact. However, none of them have the cheese ends bin that yours does! My whole family loves cheese, and the chance to try small "samples" of new cheeses would be great. We have to rely on whatever samples the good folks at WF decide to put out, assuming all the other cheese lovers haven't wiped them out already! We would gladly trade our spacious aisles for that that bin. Everything balances out I suppose.

  3. I'm happy to note that both your and Peter's blog manage to always be good and variable as well! I can't wait until it's PYP's first delicious anniversary! All hail the cheese end treasures! I love some Drunken Goat.

  4. Rosso di Langa -- I love it! Besides being a voice teacher, do you also perform?

  5. That is quite a cupcake! (The frosting covered one or the one sitting behind it — you decide!)

    Looks like I'll be joining you in crockpot wonderland this week. My convection wall oven blew up today. As in *really* blew up. Scary. But it's under warranty (whew!) so it will be fixed without a dent in the bank account whenever the repair person can schedule us in.

    I have a London Broil defrosted. I'll see what else I can throw together. The pantry is low. Should've gone to the grocery store today but (1) football and (2) the well sprung a leak too and no showers available yet.

    Yeah, it's been one of those days. But I have a wonderful dark chocolate bar I've been nibbling on to feel better. :-)

  6. Peter has definitely enriched the lives of many. I'm not sure what we did without his insightful wit. I look forward to his posts ever day! And I love that MPB was your brainchild. :)

    Same goes for your blog, Michael. I absolutely adore it and literally salivate whenever I read it. I am totally in love with your breakfast bake and plan on having banana, raspberry, ambrosia apple, dried apricots, and mixed nuts in mine tomorrow. With a dollop of yogurt. Yum!

  7. @R/C: Yes, it's all a trade-off. In our WF, we almost never get free samples of anything, because there simply isn't room for the tables to be set up. At the one near my parents', Peter and I have enjoyed entire meals by progressing from sample table to sample table.

    @Melissa: I do perform occasionally, though I'm concentrating on teaching these days. The last thing I did was the bass solo part in Haydn's *Creation* done with full orchestra and chorus in Upstate NY. I can't wait until my next performance, when I shall bill myself under my new cheese name.

    @Debbie: It sounds as though you could use a nice big hug. after a day like that. But maybe I'll wait until you've been able to shower.

    @Sarah: Talk about salivating upon reading! We should have a breakfast bake-off this morning (it's Monday when I'm writing this) and sample each other's creation.

  8. @Mae: According to Wikipedia: London Broil is a North American beef dish made by broiling or grilling marinated Flank Steak, then cutting it across the grain into thin strips. The origin of the name is obscure; the food is unknown in London, England.

  9. Michael,

    Happy 1 to Peter. Awesome I should say.

    Oh, and I love the drunken goat cheese. Anything goat cheese I LOVE!

    You have the greatest food blog my dear friend.

    Ciao and happy eating!