“It’s Always Something” or -44º F – Covid Cooking from Oregon

Taking a deep breath I begin this quick story with some residual exhaustion. Normally I would be trying to dig into the goals of the day and move through the list as best I can.

First a pipe burst in the apartment next door and the basement was flooded. That was addressed quickly and finished yesterday in a less than 24 hour turnaround time. (Whew. great. calmer feelings.)

A few hours later the pilot on the stove was fluctuating and snuffed out on it’s own. I lit it and adjusted the flame. Checked it every few minutes and it shot up a couple of inches and then, when turned down snuffed out repeatedly. Repeated efforts…waste of time…

After some consternation, (read anxiety) I was forced to report this situation to the building owner caretaker. Gas could be shut off at the stove, but the gas shut-off in the basement was stuck. After a very long wait the phone call to the gas company in Texas*, not Minnesota, last night and today, the owner got an appointment for repair between 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. on February 22. (Okay. In five days.) She also thoughtfully brought over a hot plate for me. Everything is in place, why worry. It’ll give me a chance to see how hot place cooking works.

*Texas answers all the calls for CenterPoint Energy. Since they are in the middle of an energy crisis due to the storms, my thoughts are with the people.

Oregon had lots of snow and ice as the winter storms swept through the country. Alan has sent me many of his Covid cooking meals. I’d like to share this latest efforts. Alan gave his permission.



ALAN: My version is toned down, because my housemates won’t eat spareribs or bacon. I substitute turkey bacon, use ham cubes, and vegan sausage. Instead of wine, I use an apple-flavored kombucha. It’s a wonderful sub for white wine!  I forgot the bay leaves, but I honestly can’t taste them.

It’s as good as the long version and cooks in only 40 minutes (after a hell of a prep!)

ME: Meat…craving. Wow! Nice meal!

❄️❄️❄️ ☃️☃️☃️

Thanks for stopping by my kitchen.

Have a calm day wherever you maybe.


Posted in health, Slow food and art in the kitchen, Stew | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Temperature Below Zero = Chili Dinner Saturday – Plus a Blast from the past Poem

Postmodern Poem Alphabetically Speaking – CKatt 20

Years ago, while pursuing a higher education, classes in poetry with women poets inspired me. At that time my interest in post modernism caused me to write the poem above. The picture is from an add for the film “The Matrix” which I manipulated and used to illustrate this poem. (Also wrote an extensive paper on this film like hundreds of other students. LOL.)

Continuing to find my way through this pandemic-monium, which leads the search through my past to return to my roots of creativity. This poem was completely forgotten. It is with some irony 😆 and humorous intent that I share this today. Totally Postmodern!🤣(Don’t worry if you have no idea about Postmodernism. It’s passé.)

Temperature is: -18C with wind chill -30C / -0 degrees F -22F – Practically this is long underwear weather inside. On the other hand, the SUN is shining. 🌝

I am grateful for our Chili Dinner this Saturday Eve with the Framily! Zooming prevents glooming. Zoom dinners are so appreciated.

Thanks for stopping by my kitchen!

Stay warm or cool wherever you may be.


“Oh-so-sweet shadenfreude!” for anyone who likes…

Posted in Art and Architecture, humor, poetry | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

A Contemplative Life = Sunset Snow Scene – January Notes

Sunday evening walk

Oak tree cradles three quarter moon

Ghostly empty chair

Moon and Oak © Ckatt 1-24-2

Thanks for stopping by my kitchen

Have a safe week wherever you may find yourself


Posted in Art and Architecture, Contemplative life, environment, photography, poetry | Tagged , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

From Rommegrott, Lutefisk, Lefse Recipes to Ryōkan the Hermit = Mind Traveling

I found this recipe in one of the church cookbooks that I collected long ago and far away. As a laugh, I sent this to my friend Alan, who has some Norwegian ancestry and called me to rave about how his mother made Rommegrott and how they loved it. Another person of Swedish descent turned me on to Lefse, made from potatoes. It’s like a soft potato tortilla only thinner. Slather with butter and eat. It’s harder to find them these days. Lutefisk, well that’s another story… a dried fish, pickled in lye and reconstituted into a gelatinous consistency…er, ah, I have only heard about this dish over the years. Most peoples’ description is accompanied by a hesitancy and a slight grimace, which sums up how they feel about that particular tradition. ‘Nough said.

Dewdrops on a Lotus Leaf: Zen Poems of Ryokan translated by John Stevens.  It’s published by Shambhala. 

Click on the image to expand the view
Winter Benches 11-13-2010 CKatt

Winter Benches is a color photograph without any manipulations of the image. It was taken in Washburn Fair Oaks Park, where I have made many photos.

My mind is traveling while I am not able to do so. It’s January 2021 and I was retracing my travel adventures one afternoon last week – cleaning up to throw out all the related paper I had for my trips. I attempted a chronology back to 2011. Then turning to my online calendar I realized my trips were all recorded there. LOL. I threw out the papers.

From Norway to Japan I traveled through food and poetry and back again to Minneapolis. Where today it is snowing and raining on and off. Climate change has brought us rain in January for about the last four years.

On Solstice, December 21, 2020, which seems so long ago, I attended a zoom meeting with a small study group that I attend on Zen Buddhism, when I heard this poem recited that is printed above, it was very moving. Any errors are mine.

This past week, in our discussion group based in the book “The Zen Teaching of the Homeless Kodo” we looked at Chapter 42, ‘Only When We Practice’. The book is the teachings of Sawaki Roshi, with commentaries by Kosho Uchiyama, and Shohaku Okumura .

Shohaku Okumura wrote in the end of the chapter: “Reading about zazen [meditation] is the same – like counting other people’s money or studying recipes without cooking or tasting. Even if a medicine has hundreds of benefits, reading about them won’t cure us.”

In these unsettled times, my reading has gone down to a trickle almost. As I have heard, people are looking closer at how they live and what they eat. Perhaps I am doing more cooking and tasting of life with a new vision of looking beyond the swirling turmoil.

Thanks for stopping by my kitchen.

Have a good day wherever you might be.



P.S. The friend, who taught me about Lefse, sent this note today:

“I read your blog. My grandmother made Lefse, my sisters too.
I buy it whenever I can. Of course the Norwegian-American way to make it was with dried potato flakes and lard!
My grandmother must’ve made the old fashion way.

My grandmother also served Lutefisk, but I never ate it. We bought some about 20 years ago, tried it, disgusting! We put it out for our cats to eat. One of them smelled it very suspiciously then peed on it.

There must be Norwegian markets there in Minneapolis that have it.”

Ingebretsens in Minneapolis sells Scandinavian foods – Lefse – and gifts. It’s a very nice store.

We’re Open In-Store and for Curbside Pickup on East Lake Street
9 – 4   Mon – Sat

Call to order and arrange Curbside Pick Up!    

Butcher Shop 612 729 9331      Gift Shop  612 729 9333

1601 East Lake Street, Minneapolis  MN 55407

Email: info@ingebretsens.com | Local Calls: 612-729-9333 | Meats Direct: 612-729-9331 | Toll Free: 800-279-9333

Posted in Art Work, environment, Food Humor, health, photography, poetry | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Ordinary Life = Sledding On a Sunny Day – “Just This”

It was a beautiful sunny winter day. There aren’t many of those, I’m sad to say. There are so many grey, cloudy hours day after day.

Staying inside becomes a habit. Busting out to feel the sun again, all suited up, with boots, gloves, and mask I was ready for some cold and snow in the afternoon.

I walked the short hill to the park at the end of the street. Camera tucked into a warm pocket. Ready to check on the “little jokers” aka the park squirrels…walked the perimeter of the block. Looking for a good shot.

The Little Jokers were busy leaping, digging and eating the nuts they buried this past fall. Reassured by their antics of their play, I felt content.

Squirrel Diving for Nuts in Snow 1-3-2021 CKatt
Squirrel Digging Up Nuts 1-3-2021
Squirrel Eating Nuts 1-3-2021 CKatt
Blue Winter Sky in the Washburn Fair Oaks Park – 1-3-2021 CKatt

More people appeared. Some were walking dogs, talking on their phone, sitting together on a bench enjoying the sun.

There were a few kids sledding with their family. I walked slowly, my steps deliberate. Tried to pay attention to my breath, but was too taken by the silhouettes of the family playing in the snow. Their colorful sleds and squeals of glee lifted my spirits up. Grey days had all gone away.

Much of life is ordinary with ordinary days of sun, snow and play.

Reminders like this: Breathe in and live in the moment. For this is what is right in front of us.

“Just This.”

Thanks for stopping by my kitchen.

Enjoy a moment wherever you may be today.


Posted in animals, Art and Architecture, environment, photography, poetry, wildlife | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments