Thursday, March 17, 2011


Russian curd cheese

How to make:

Note: Please read all of this once before you start. You will 'see' the process and exactly what you will need to do this.

Ingredients: Whole milk and sour cream

Do not use anything but whole milk.

In a ‘clean’ stainless steel pot, large enough to hold a gallon of whole milk, pour it in and add 4 oz of sour cream (half a tub of an 8 oz container). With a whisk beat it until the sour cream is completely mixed with the whole milk. Cover it and leave it in a warm place for 48 hours. You can watch it if that turns you on. It’s cool!

After 48 hours you will see that a crust of white curd has formed on the top.

Don’t mess with it. Don’t stir it! If you must 'look', take a spatula and every so lightly, take in and slide it in along the side of the curd and see how deep it is. But, not mix it!

Put it on the stove, low heat, like 3 or 4 and wait till you see bubbles starting to break through the surface. There should be a uniform bubbling or peculation. It will take about 30 minutes. Don’t rush it with higher heat! You will scald it and ruin it!

You will now need a strainer and a piece of cheese cloth to lay into the strainer. Put this strainer so that your can retain the liquid that drains out, through it. I’ll tell you why later. You will love what you can make from it. Take a ladle and slowly scoop out the now cooked curd floating on the top and pour it into the cloth covered strainer. Let it drain. After the liquid has completely drained through, Take this curd and pour it into a separate container. This is your Tvorog. You will refrigerate this.

Continue doing this until you have completely drained the whole stainless steel pot of all the curd, floating on the top as well as settling on the bottom.

Now you have the tvorog, ‘curd cheese’ and the liquid from it. Put both of these in the refrig. after they have cooled to room temperature. If you want, after it has cooled, you can eat some.

Okay, what is this liquid. It is the remain of the now made tvorog. You can use this as follows and I promise you if you do, you will have a smile on your face to end all smiles! Well, maybe! You will have a secret that others will be envious of! Promise.

With this, you will make Russian style pancakes which are more like crepes than pancakes but, the flavor is to die for!!! You’ll see!

Russian Pancakes:

Eggs: 6
Tvorog liquid: 3 cups
Veg or olive oil: 2 Tbsp
Flour: 1 cup

Important: Beat the eggs separately until they are well constituted. Add the 2 Tbsp’s of oil and continue mixing. Add the liquid tvorog and mix. Finally add the flour and mix until well blended. Smooth!

Set on a side.

On a flat skillet heat it up on medium high (6 or 7). When it is uniform hot pour a little oil on it and make sure the surface is covered with the oil. Hold the skillet and pour a ladle of the pancake mix onto the skillet. Set it on the burner. Take a little butter on the end of a knife and run it around the edge of the pancake. When the pancake as stopped bubbling, take a spatchela and flip it. Take it off in two minutes. Continue this until the mix has been completed. Enjoy!

Back to the Tvorog!

How to eat it. Well, you will no doubt find the perfect way, just for yourself. But, to start, try this:

Take some tvorog in a bowl and mix a spoon full of sour cream with it. Have a taste! Like? I cut up ham and pickles and mix it in. After you have done this, let your imagination do the rest.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

‘Bail out! Bail out!’

Did you live in Kailua, on Oahu in July 8, 1957? Do you know anyone who did? I did.

If you lived in Kailua on …July 8,1957, there is a slight possibility, maybe more so, maybe less so, that you are alive today because of an incident that didn’t happen.

Bill Humphrey, Lt Bill Humphrey, US Marines Pilot was doing a regular maintenance scheduled flight of his, single engine ‘Wildcat’, having taken off at the Kaneohe Marine Air field, angled off to the left. Swept across the bay toward the Koolaus. Continued left parallel with the Koolaus towards Makapuu and approached Kailua town when something went seriously wrong. His engine immediately ahead of the cockpit burst into flames. His ‘Mayday, Mayday’ radio call was received by the tower at the base and Bill informed them of his location and status. ‘Bail out! Bail out!', came the tower response. Bill, turning his plane with the flames flaring over the cockpit windshield and flashing now through the firewall control ports, responded: ‘Negative Sir! Negative! I have to get this plane out over the water!’ The glass windshield in the raging inferno was potting with holes and the flames where roasting the cockpit, as the plane came out over Kailua town, the beach front homes in a smoke trailed fireball and then hitting the water, catapulting and going down in about 20 feet of water.

The medical examiners report would say that Bill was dead before he hit the ocean.

On this July 8, 1957 I was walking home through the ballpark toward my street where I lived on Kuukama. My house was the second from the corner. As I came around the street corner I saw in front of our house several cars. I was thinking that my Mom was having one of her bridge gatherings and then I saw Pat, my sister’s car and thought, humm, she doesn’t play bridge. Then I recognized Claude Details car and started wondering what was going on. Claude DuTeil was the minister of our church of which I was an acolyte. I saw his car every Sunday and he lived at the other end of Kuukama.

As I walked into our yard I heard the un-mistakable crying of someone. Someone balling and crying uncontrollably but I didn’t recognize the voice until I walked in and saw my sister Pat, Pat Humphrey sitting on the couch next to my Mom also crying. Claude behind my Mom with his hand on my Mom’s shoulder. My neighbor, Lynn Wade got up as she saw me and walked over to me and we stepped outside. “Bob, Bill was in a plane crash and is dead.”

Bill would never know his infant son in this life, to make sure that no one else’s life ended because of him, ‘Bailing out!’

You can find Bill’s grave site at Punchbowl, Section G #717.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

USA: Fiction or Non-Fiction?

Before you perhaps make an arbitrary choice or decision, consider this ‘non-fiction’ episode. But first, do you remember going to the library as a child for the first time? Wow! Zillions of books! Two Sections! Fiction! Wow! Cool! Non-fiction? What? I stood there looking at this ‘Non-fiction’ sign and thinking that Adults are not necessarily going to tell you the God Aweful ‘Non-fiction!’
Hummm! Yes!

So, before I even had so much as touched a book, by eyes were already open.
Sometime later I discovered ‘disclaimer’ and thought, Ahhh!, another word for ‘Non-fiction!’
And then, can you imagine, ‘Yes, your Honor!’ See, you’re already ahead of me! ‘Yes, I swear to God, it is the Absolute, (fingers crossed), Non-Fiction!’
Yeah, our black brothers can tell you all about their ‘non-fiction’ experiences. Well, at least one has figured it out. Why do I feel ‘white-maled’ by a ‘black-male’ living in the ‘white house’? I’m pissed! Naaaah, just kidding! I’m not pissed. I like him, actually.

So, anyway the ‘non-fiction' episode:

On December 27, 1969 shortly after 8AM, I signed a document that basically, but very clearly stated two things. One, that I would not disclose the nature of my service to our country in Viet Nam nor would I disclose where and with whom this service was in Viet Nam, to anyone. Two, that if I was ever asked why my service had been reduced to a little over a year of active duty and only two years of 6 years in the Reserves, I was to reply as follows: Our Government had over enlisted 30,000 too many troops and needed to reduce this number and I was therefore discharged, Honorable, satisfying my military service to our country.

I was walking across the asphalt outside headquarters at Fort Mason in San Francisco, thinking about this seeming absurd statement, which I had just signed. Another military screw up. One arm not having a clue what the other arm is doing. But, I frankly didn’t care! I was free! I was out! I could get back to my life which was waiting for me just 8 hours away in Hawaii. The fact that our Government was at the very same moment increasing the number of troops in increments of 10.000, 20.000, 30,000 to support its failing efforts in the Viet Nam ‘Conflict’, not war, by supporting a bourgeois corrupt regime repressing it’s peoples into farm slaves didn’t seem to fit, did it?

I met my future wife on the 3rd or 4th of that January, 1970 and we were married on June 21st, 1970. She was the only person that ever asked me about my military service and I told her, with as straight as a face as I could, “Our Government had over enlisted 30,000 too many troops and needed to reduce this number and I was therefore discharged, Honorable, satisfying my military service to our country. I had full G.I. bill to pay for my college, and to even buy a house.” And, she apparently believed me. Why not, actually.
For me it was just another little closure on a part of my life that I would just have soon forgotten.

Life goes on. Two children, lifes adventures, mishaps, etc.

In about 1995 or as recent at 1997, I remarked in a letter two my children that the only person who had ever been aware of my being in Viet Nam and what I had done was their grand father, Joe Wittenmeier, who I had ‘by chance’ meet in San Francisco on the Friday before the eventful Monday the 27 of December 1969.

I had arrived at Fort Mason in the later part of the afternoon on that Friday. I went into headquarters and the clerk looked at me, my discharge papers, turned around and looked at the clock on the wall and without turning back around to look at me, said, still staring at the clock, like it was somehow telling him what to tell me: ‘There is not enough time to get you discharged today. You will have to wait till Monday morning at o eight hundred. You can stay here in the barracks or leave. But you must be here promptly at o eight hundred on Monday morning so we can discharge you.

I stood there looking at this same wall clock watching the seconds roll around slowly and realized that I had no idea what the clock was telling me to tell him, so I said: ‘See you at o eight hundred!’, and I walked out the door and looked at the Golden Gate bridge, listening to the traffic of 101 just above me and I said to myself, I got to get out of here! I walked up to 101 just before the toll gates and in my Navy blues, duffle bag over my shoulder stuck out my thumb. Joe Wittenmeier, by future father-in-law pulled along side me, rolled down the window and said, “Where you going sailor?” “Out of town!” I got in as he opened the door. Half way over the Golden Gate bridge, Joe Wittenmeier was the only person who know that I had just returned from Viet Nam where I trained Navy Seals to paddle Zodiacs straight and that I had moved to Hawaii at the age of 6 and sailed there from the very same point of departure, Fort Mason, in 1954 in December also.

So, as I was walking out the door of the Fort Mason headquarters the next Monday morning, besides thinking how screwed up the military was, I was also saying to myself, ‘Oops!, I just lied!’

And I lied again, on orders. Heavy duty orders. The military has executed men for just such ‘not lieing’.

In any part of this ‘non-fiction’, did anyone ask, How the hell did Bob Palmer end up in the military in the first place? I can only prompt you here to ask this question. It was the lottery draft. I was number 26. My parents called me on Maui where I was surfing and pretending to be a student at Mauna Olu College and said to me, Make a reservation to come over to Oahu. We are going to take you to the Naval Reserve Center and get you into the Navy Reserves. So the next day, I did just that. The next night I flew back and layed in bed and said to myself: ‘Self, you have just been fucked!’

Well, it was either this or going Quebec and learning French and living with Pierre and Rene’e.

This is already too long of a story. It make it short I came in first in my class and got to choose my post, Pearl Harbor, USS O’Bannon and then, and then and then there I was on the asphalt of the Fort Mason grounds waiting for my bus to go to Travis Air Force Base and then back to Oahu and, like I said, get on with my life.

You make the call: USA: Fiction, Non-fiction or …..