$1,500 A Pound?

If you’re hunting truffles, the nose knows. And you need to get a good one on your side. It used to be pigs that did most of the truffle hunting but they tended to want to eat them. So, man’s best friend, as it turns out, could be trained to sniff-out those ripe underground fungi. And dogs do it for the thrill of the hunt (and maybe a few treats). But they won’t eat the profits! Awesome!!  :-))))  So, you see, it only looks like poop. To truffle hunters those balls are 24 carat gold.

What in the world could cost fifteen hundred dollars a pound?  For those of you who are gourmet cooks, you’ve probably already guessed it.  I was listening to the radio this week and heard a report that it’s “truffle season” in Europe, and prices for the rarest white truffles are over $1,500 per pound.  As a curious sort, I had to learn more about this – and as a foodie, I was intrigued.  I’ll admit I’ve not eaten real truffles before and now my interest is peaked (but my commonsense wallet is not).  Special thanks to Wikipedia. If the weather cooperates  this weekend plan to head out to the beautiful parks with Jackie for a little hiking – never know when I may stumble upon some rare white “ohio” beauties. Now,  in full disclosure I really wouldn’t know what to look for!

  • truffle is the fruiting body of a subterranean ascomycete fungus, predominantly one of the many species of the genus Tuber. In addition to Tuber, many other genera of fungi are classified as truffles including GeoporaPezizaChoiromycesLeucangium, and over a hundred others. These genera belong to the class Pezizomycetes and the Pezizales order. (yep, I paid attention in science class)
  • Some of the truffle species are highly prized as food. French gastronome Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin called truffles “the diamond of the kitchen”. Edible truffles are used in French and numerous national haute cuisines.
  • Phylogenetic evidence suggests that the majority of subterranean fruiting bodies evolved from above-ground mushrooms. Over time mushroom stipes and caps were reduced, and caps began to enclose reproductive tissue. The dispersal of sexual spores then shifted from wind and rain to utilizing animals.
  • The first mention of truffles appears in the inscriptions of the neo-Sumerians regarding their Amorite enemy’s eating habits (Third Dynasty of Ur, 20th century BC) and later in writings of Theophrastus in the 4th century BC.  .
  • A truffle’s substance is pale, tinged with rose. Unlike truffles, terfez (known as the desert truffle) have little inherent flavor. The Romans used the terfez as a carrier of flavor, because the terfez tend to absorb surrounding flavors. Because Ancient Roman cuisine used many spices and flavorings, the terfez may have been appropriate in that context.
  • Truffles were rarely used during the Middle Ages. Truffle hunting is mentioned by Bartolomeo Platina, the papal historian, in 1481, when he recorded that the sows of Notza were without equal in hunting truffles, but they should be muzzled to prevent them from eating the prize.
  • During the Renaissance, truffles regained popularity in Europe and were honored at the court of King Francis I of France. They were popular in Parisian markets in the 1780s, imported seasonally from truffle grounds, where peasants had long enjoyed them. Brillat-Savarin (1825) noted that they were so expensive, they appeared only at the dinner tables of great nobles and kept women.
  • For discovering how to cultivate truffles, some sources now give priority to Pierre II Mauléon (1744–1831) of Loudun (in western France), who began to cultivate truffles around 1790. Mauléon saw an “obvious symbiosis” between the oak tree, the rocky soil, and the truffle, and attempted to reproduce such an environment by taking acorns from trees known to have produced truffles, and sowing them in chalky soil. His experiment was successful, with truffles being found in the soil around the newly grown oak trees years later.
  • These successful attempts were met with enthusiasm in southern France, which possessed the sweet limestone soils and dry, hot weather that truffles need to grow. In the late 19th century, an epidemic of phylloxera destroyed many of the vineyards in southern France and an epidemic killed most of the silkworms there, too, making the fields of mulberry trees useless.
  • Thus, large tracts of land were set free for the cultivation of truffles. Thousands of truffle-producing trees were planted, and production reached peaks of hundreds of tons at the end of the 19th century. In 1890, 75,000 hectares (190,000 acres) of truffle-producing trees had been planted.
  • In the 20th century, with the growing industrialization of France and the subsequent rural exodus, many of these truffle fields (champs truffiers or truffières) returned to wilderness. The First World War also dealt a serious blow to the French countryside, killing 20% or more of the male working force. As a consequence, newly acquired techniques of trufficulture were lost.
  • Between the two great world wars, the truffle groves planted in the 19th century stopped being productive. (The average lifecycle of a truffle-producing tree is 30 years.) Consequently, after 1945, the production of truffles plummeted, and the prices have risen dramatically. Today, they are a rare delicacy reserved for the rich, or used on very special occasions.
  • In the 1970s, new attempts for mass production of truffles were started to make up for the decline in wild truffles. About 80% of the truffles now produced in France come from specially planted truffle groves.
  • In 1999, the first Australian truffles were harvested in Tasmania, the result of eight years of work. Trees were inoculated with the truffle fungus in the hope of creating a local truffle industry. Their success and the value of the resulting truffles has encouraged a small industry to develop.
  • In June 2014, A grower harvested Australia’s largest truffle from their property at Robertson in South Wales.  It was a French black perigord fungus weighing in at 1.1172 kg (2 lb 7+716 oz) and was valued at over $2,000 per kilogram.
  • Tom Michaels, owner of Tennessee Truffle, began producing Périgord truffles commercially in 2007.  At its peak in the 2008–2009 season, his farm produced about 200 pounds of truffles, but Eastern filbert blight almost entirely wiped out his hazel trees by 2013 and production dropped, essentially driving him out of business.
  • The black truffle or black Périgord truffle (Tuber melanosporum), the second-most commercially valuable species, is named after the Périgord region in France.  Black truffles associate with oakshazelnut, cherry, and other deciduous trees and are harvested in late autumn and winter.
  • Tuber magnatum, the high-value white truffle or trifola d’Alba Madonna (“Truffle of the Madonna from Alba” in Italian) is found mainly in the Langhe and Montferrat areas of the Piedmont region in northern Italy, and most famously, in the countryside around the cities of Alba and Asti.  A large percentage of Italy’s white truffles also come from Molise.
  • In Spain, per government regulation, white summer truffles can be harvested only in May through July.
  • In the U.S. Pacific Northwest, several species of truffle are harvested both recreationally and commercially, most notably, the Leucangium carthusianum, Oregon black truffle; Tuber gibbosum, Oregon spring white truffle; and Tuber oregonense, the Oregon winter white truffle. Kalapuya brunnea, the Oregon brown truffle, has also been commercially harvested and is of culinary note.
  • The pecan truffle (Tuber lyonii) syn. Texense is found in the Southern United States, usually associated with pecantrees. Chefs who have experimented with them agree “they are very good and have potential as a food commodity”.  Although pecan farmers used to find them along with pecans and discard them, considering them a nuisance, they sell for about $160 a pound and have been used in some gourmet restaurants.
  • Because truffles are subterranean, they are often located with the help of an animal possessing a refined sense of smell. Traditionally, pigs have been used for the extraction of truffles.  Both the female pig’s natural truffle-seeking, and her usual intent to eat the truffle, were thought to be due to a compound within the truffle similar to androstenol, the sex pheromone of boar saliva, to which the sow is keenly attracted. Studies in 1990 demonstrated that the compound actively recognized by both truffle pigs and dogs is dimethyl sulfide.
  • I am simply letting everyone know,  I will not be walking a female pig through the forest looking for truffles anytime soon.   I would much rather be walking down a beautiful golf course looking for my ball!
  • If you are so inclined, here’s a recipe.

 

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DO YOU LIKE CONTESTS?
Me, too.

As you may know the Kowalski Heat Treating logo finds its way
into the visuals of my Friday posts.
I.  Love.  My.  Logo.
One week there could be three logos.
The next week there could be 15 logos.
And sometimes the logo is very small or just a partial logo showing.
But there are always logos in some of the pictures.
So, I challenge you, my beloved readers, to count them and send me a
quick email with the total number of logos in the Friday post.
On the following Tuesday I’ll pick a winner from the correct answers
and send that lucky person some great KHT swag.
So, start counting and good luck!  
Oh, and the logos at the very top header don’t count.
Got it? Good.  :-))))
Have fun!!

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Please STOP

There are a lot of things we take for granted in this world but “stop signs” have got to be near the top of the list. And these marvelous inventions have kept a lot of us out of accidents! Trivia: Did you know that in Hawaii some of the stop signs are blue? Well, they are. Read on my friend. And never stop learning.  : )

On one of my runs the other day, I noticed a rather familiar sign up ahead – the STOP Sign.  Simple in design, easy to read, and clear of its intent. As I approached the intersection, I found myself “following directions” (something my lovely wife Jackie says I don’t consistently do – but that’s for another story). When I got to the office, I of course started searching for info on the design, and of course, was quite impressed with the thought, time and effort put into “managing” our road systems – talk about a PIA (Pain in the @%$) Job!  Today we have something like 160,000 miles of highway roads and about four million miles of public roads – just in the US.  Here’s some great information on STOP signs, road signs and road sign directional management I think you’ll enjoy – I for sure learned way more than I expected – and kudos to the designers, engineers and just “smart” folks who helped figure all this out. What’s cool is, we’re at a point in automobile management where the visual control systems we’re so accustomed to are gradually being replaced with “smart cars”, and “self-driving cars” – wonder if they read the signs like we do.  Special thanks to 99% invisible, Wikipedia and Dornbos Sign & Safety Company for the info and YouTube for the Mix.  Enjoy!

Put the Top Down, Crank It Up and just Drive Mix

  • Signs telling drivers to STOP are easy to identify in the United States — aside from the big block letters, their red backgrounds and octagonal shapes give them away (at least until you spot a blue one – Hawaii). But to understand why most are red, one needs to go back a bit further, to a time when stop signs were a wild new idea.
  • Road signs have been used since the time of the Roman Empire. Roads can be traced back to the Bronze Age, but the Romans were the ones who took the idea and ran with it. The system of roads they’ve built, including bridges and tunnels from Portugal to Constantinople, enabled them to move armies faster. This also allowed them to bring in more people and goods. This means that with a strong road system, Rome was able to become successful.
  • The very first road in Rome was the Via Appia, or also known as the Appian Way. This road was built in 312 B.C. At regular road intervals, milestones were placed, and these often stated who was in charge of the maintenance of that road portion and as well as the completed repairs. Aside from that, the Romans also built mile markers at intersections to specify the distance to travel to Rome.
  • During the Middle Ages different sign types were placed at crossroads to point or direct people toward different towns. However, after the fall of Rome, roads were no longer maintained, which made transportation more challenging.
  • Many inventions and progress in industry and transportation were seen in the 19th century. During this time, many travelers no longer need to ride horses to get across different towns. New modes of transportations enabled them to travel further and faster. These include bicycles 1418-1817 and automobiles about 1885.
  • One of the earliest organized signing systems was developed by the Italian Touring Club. By the early 1900s, the Congress of International Touring Organizations in Paris started considering standards for road signage. Nine European governments in 1909 chose four pictorial symbol signs to be used as a standard in those areas.
  • Born in 1848 in New York City, William Phelps Eno grew up in a world without stop signs. He saw firsthand the chaos of city intersections packed first with horse-drawn carriages and later with cars. As an adult, he wrote a key article on traffic issues in 1900 advocating for signage and other safety measures, then went to work on traffic plans for New York as well as Long Island and Paris. Eno is broadly credited with a number of traffic control innovations, including rotary junctions, pedestrian sidewalks and stop signs.
  • Early stop signs still were not the red-and-white affairs we are most familiar with nor were they all octagonal. Instead, they varied — one of the first recorded signs to go up in Detroit, for instance, had black lettering on a white background, presumably to maximize contrast.
  • Then, in 1923, the Mississippi Valley Association of State Highway Departments formalized the octagonal shape we associate with these signs to this day. The distinctiveness of the octagon was useful, but there was more to the decision than that — the designers making the call wanted to create and reinforce associations between geometry and safety.
  • Traffic shape designs were based on a simple, albeit not exactly intuitive, idea: the more sides a sign has, the higher the danger level it invokes. By the engineers’ reckoning, the circle, which has an infinite number of sides, screamed danger and was recommended for railroad crossings. The octagon, with its eight sides, was used to denote the second-highest level. The diamond shape was for warning signs. And the rectangle and square shapes were used for informational signs. (how cool is that!)
  • According to the Department of Transportation, each street sign must have an individual and varying shape. The DOT’s Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices actually defines the symbology of shapes. For example, the octagon is a cross-breed between a square and circle, which suggests power and complexity (so cool – now it all begins to make sense).
  • Still, even with the shape decided, it would be years before an official background color was designated. And when the time came, the first color chosen was not red but yellow. While red was often associated with stop and thus a logical choice, material science of the 1930s had not yet caught up — reflectivity was deemed more important than color, so yellow was chosen as it would work at night. Red took its place only when retroreflective reds became available.
  • Finally, in 1954, a red background with white letters became the new standard, which in turn brings us back to another color. Blue is much rarer, but there are some blue stop signs out there for one simple reason: they aren’t really stop signs, at least not officially.
  • In some places, laws or ordinances prevent the use of public signage on private property, so in parking lots or other privately owned paved spaces, blue is used as a differentiating tactic. The solution is simple, clever and effective — whatever color the sign may have, the distinctive lettering and shape will always send a clear message to stop.
  • Researchers found different shapes have different effects on our brains. People perceive the depth and forms of shapes in strange ways, as each shape conveys a different feeling and gives off a different message. By recognizing different patterns of various shapes, people are able to become more aware of how to interact with their surroundings and gain a better understanding of traffic flow on the road.
  • Early on, signs were dipped into paint, and the letterings, symbols, and borders were painted black. This made it possible for the signs to be created in larger quantities. The machinery used to make these signs, however, could only create signs up to 24 inches. Therefore, this became the standard size for road signs.  (now that’s great trivia!)
  • In 1948, after the 2nd World War, the round letter alphabet was used on road signs, and sign legends were simplified by eliminating unnecessary words. In 1954, the use of secondary messages on stop signs was prohibited, and the yield sign was introduced. It’s a sign that features a yellow triangle with the black wording “Yield Right of Way.”
  • In 1971, the use of symbols on signs expanded and has increased international uniformity. The color red was allowed to be used for additional regulatory signs. For guide signs, the colors white on green were made standard. The color orange was used for construction signs and work zone devices. School areas were also addressed, and the school sign with the pentagon shape was introduced.
  • The manual for road signs is always being revised to improve the safety and efficiency of travel. Today, you can see many different colors and shapes of road signs everywhere you go. And these differ in every place or country you visit. In the United States, here are some of the present-day road sign colors that you might encounter – see if you can guess the background colors:

White – for regulatory signs

Red – for stop, yield, and prohibition signs

Blue – for road service, evacuation routes, and tourist information

Green – for directional guidance and permitted traffic movement

Yellow – for general warning messages

Fluorescent yellow or green – for pedestrian and school crossing

Brown – for guides to recreational or cultural interest areas

Orange – for warnings and guides in construction zones

  • It’s amazing to know that road signs have been used for thousands of years, even before automobiles were invented. With the standardization of road signs, the roads and highways we have today are organized and safer to drive on. Thanks Mr. Eno!

 

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DO YOU LIKE CONTESTS?
Me, too.
As you may know the Kowalski Heat Treating logo finds its way
into the visuals of my Friday posts.
I.  Love.  My.  Logo.
One week there could be three logos.
The next week there could be 15 logos.
And sometimes the logo is very small or just a partial logo showing.
But there are always logos in some of the pictures.
So, I challenge you, my beloved readers, to count them and send me a
quick email with the total number of logos in the Friday post.
On the following Tuesday I’ll pick a winner from the correct answers
and send that lucky person some great KHT swag.
So, start counting and good luck!  
Oh, and the logos at the very top header don’t count.
Got it? Good.  :-))))  
Have fun!!

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Dear Abe

Does Abe Lincoln look better with a beard? Clearly, yes. What about those well-known actors? Michael Fassbender, Kristofer Hivju, Brad Pitt, Ryan Gosling, and Leonardo DiCaprio. I’d say Fassbender and Hivju, yes, better WITH a beard. The rest of those guys can go either way. If anyone disagrees, send me an email. But overall, beards work. And those eight guys at the bottom are really working their beards! Can you imagine them going out to dinner? Their wives are waiting and waiting, hollering to their husbands to hurry it up or we’ll be late. And they’re still upstairs doing their hair. Hahaha!!!

Sometimes a simple observation, and the power of the pen, can change a man, and change history. At 6ft 4in our 16th President Abraham Lincoln remains the tallest of America’s 46 presidents. He also stands as one of the highest in esteem, according to polls of historians, politicians, and the general public.  Another noted physical feature was Lincoln’s beard (along with his extra tall top hat). He was the first president to have a beard – and we can thank an 11-year-old girl for that distinction.  Now, I’ll admit, I’ve grown a beard (never thought of old Abe when I did it … and never ran for office) – it came in quite nicely if I do say so myself…until Jackie had enough of it and I shaved it off. I came across this great trivia story, written by Ray Setterfield for ??? and had to share. It’s what movies are made of – a little girl, a personal letter, a new look, and a remarkable President.  And for all of my “facial hair” friends out there, please be sure to click the link below – it’s the latest Top “beard looks” (I attended a wedding over the weekend, and it seemed like more than half of the young men were sporting beards). See if you can find your look in the list (full, bushy, biker, viking??).  Shoot me an email with your favorite “beard” story too  skowalski@khtheat.com.  Enjoy!!

Check Out These Cool Beard Styles

  • On this day, over 160 years ago, Grace Bedell of Westfield, New York, sent a letter to Abe Lincoln in 1860, just before the presidential election, urging him to improve his appearance by growing a beard. Her letter read:

Oct 15. 1860
Hon A B Lincoln

Dear Sir

My father has just home from the fair and brought home your picture. . . I am a little girl only eleven years old, but want you should be President of the United States very much so I hope you wont think me very bold to write to such a great man as you are. . . I have got 4 brother’s and part of them will vote for you any way and if you will let your whiskers grow I will try and get the rest of them to vote for you   you would look a great deal better for your face is so thin. All the ladies like whiskers and they would tease their husband’s to vote for you and then you would be President. My father is a going to vote for you and if I was a man I would vote for you to but I will try and get every one to vote for you that I can. . . I must not write any more answer this letter right off

Good bye
Grace Bedell

  • Lincoln took Grace’s advice, grew out his beard and won the election.  He thanked her in person when his train stopped at Westfield on February 16, 1861 on his way to Washington.
  • The New York World reported:
  • On reaching [Westfield, Mr Lincoln] said that if that young lady was in the crowd he should be glad to see her. There was a momentary commotion, in the midst of which an old man, struggling through the crowd, approached, leading his daughter . . . whom he introduced to Mr. Lincoln as his Westfield correspondent. Mr. Lincoln stooped down and kissed the child and talked with her for some minutes.
  • Her advice had not been thrown away upon the rugged chieftain. A beard of several months’ growth covers (perhaps adorns) the lower part of his face. The young girl’s peachy cheek must have been tickled with a stiff whisker, for the growth of which she was herself responsible.
  • Abraham Lincoln was born into poverty in a one-room log cabin near Hodgenville, Kentucky. His father, Thomas, a poor pioneer, was a farmer and carpenter, and his mother, Nancy, was a seamstress.
  • Lincoln spent much of his youth working as a farmhand, but later became a merchant, a postmaster, a county surveyor and a lawyer, although he had no formal qualifications for any of these posts. He was largely self-educated and his total schooling, given to him by traveling teachers, is estimated to total only around one year
  • But he was always a voracious reader and when he decided to become a lawyer, he simply taught himself the law, (now that’s a PIA (pain in the @%$) Job! for sure) then set up in practice at Springfield, Illinois, admitting later: “I studied with nobody.”
  • He sat in the Illinois state legislature from 1834 to 1842 and in 1846 was elected to Congress as a member of the Whig Party. In 1856, Lincoln joined the new Republican Party which had been formed two years earlier and in 1860 he was asked to run as their presidential candidate.
  • Lincoln won by electoral votes but was particularly unpopular in the South where it was (rightly) feared that he would attempt to abolish slavery.  Before the new president took office, seven southern states left the Union to form the Confederate States of America, also known as the Confederacy. Four more joined later.
  • This ran counter to everything that Lincoln believed, and as many Unionists saw leaders of the breakaway states as traitors, civil war seemed inevitable.
  • Fighting began on April 12, 1861, when Confederate soldiers attacked the Union’s Fort Sumter at Charleston, South Carolina. The war continued for four years and cost the lives of between 620,000 and 850,000 men. On April 9, 1865, Confederate general Robert E Lee surrendered, effectively ending the war.
  • Lincoln delivered the famous Gettysburg Address later that year calling for “government of the people, by the people, for the people”. Months later he stood for re-election and won. In his second inaugural address he was, typically, conciliatory towards the southern states. The address ended:
  • “With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.”
  • Of course, as we know, Lincoln got to serve only one month and eleven days of his second term before being shot and killed while attending a theatre performance. His assassin, John Wilkes Booth, was a strong supporter of the Confederacy.
  • “Honest Abe” remains one of the most popular presidents in American history, consistently ranked in the top three alongside George Washington and Franklin D Roosevelt. His greatest achievements are seen as ending the Civil War, abolishing slavery and developing the economy.

Perhaps all because of a little girl and the power of a simple idea.

 

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DO YOU LIKE CONTESTS?
Me, too.

As you may know the Kowalski Heat Treating logo finds its way
into the visuals of my Friday posts.
I.  Love.  My.  Logo.
One week there could be three logos.
The next week there could be 15 logos.
And sometimes the logo is very small or just a partial logo showing.
But there are always logos in some of the pictures.
So, I challenge you, my beloved readers, to count them and send me a
quick email with the total number of logos in the Friday post.
On the following Tuesday I’ll pick a winner from the correct answers
and send that lucky person some great KHT swag.
So, start counting and good luck!  
Oh, and the logos at the very top header don’t count.
Got it? Good.  :-))))
Have fun!!

::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

Bakes

Ok, I am hungry!! (Ok, I’m always hungry.) But Cleveland Clambakes are one of the very best ways I can satisfy that hunger. Those food photos really get me going. I might try breakfast, lunch and dinner bakes one of these days. Yeah, that’s a good idea. I found those cool b & w photos from the Euclid Fish Company. And that pretty picture of clam digging on the coast in Washington. Then, see that photo of the giant clam above? It’s a Geoduck found in the Pacific Northwest. And a quick Google search revealed an abundance of t-shirts to express your love of the clambake. Read on and enjoy!!

Autumn in Cleveland is marked by three things: lots of football, crisp weather, and the return of the fill your belly backyard feast called the clambake.  And as a foodie, I just love ‘em. Now it has been a few years since I have been able to gather my extended family together for a Kowalski clambake! Digging out the giant pots from the attic, and from family, the special trip to the seafood store and farmer’s market, prepping the backyard and staging everything, the strategic timed layering, the great aromas, and just the fun of being outside with friends and family drawing the broth and enjoying the rewards.  Hot, savory fresh clam broth is amazing, along with steamed corn and chicken (chef meat and fish variations include fresh sausage (gotta try mine), and of course our close friend Stacy who makes the absolutely best chowder!   When my family gets together, we easily finish off 70+ dozen clams,  making me really hungry just writing this!  The last of the season’s corn, local sweet potatoes, and lots of “slaw”. Then we like to top it off with a selection of local brews – spice, pumpkin and Oktoberfests, and I’m in heaven.  Of course, lots of crunchy bread and butter to soak up the goodness – followed by the slow crawl to the festive desert table. (hungry yet)  I came across this article by Annie Zaleski for thrillist.com and just had to share some of local history around “bakes”.  I have to humbly admit,  Cleveland clam bakes are the best!!   Enjoy, and please share your own recipes and traditions – I’d love to hear ‘em. skowalski@khtheat.com

  • A Cleveland clambake is unique and distinct in both process and composition from those held elsewhere. Instead of being prepared the New England way — on a beach or near water, using a sandy process involving fire pits, rocks, and seaweed — all of the components are thrown into one big pot and steamed together. And Cleveland’s variation is characteristically hearty: a dozen clams, half a chicken, an ear of corn, a sweet potato, rolls and butter, and coleslaw.
  • According to John C. Young, president of Euclid Fish Company, the Cleveland “big pot” approach has been the staple of area clambakes forever.  And he would know: his grandfather, chef John J. Comella, helped kickstart the clambake as we now know it by formalizing the menu and making the bakes more accessible and portable through the family catering business.  “We feel that my grandfather really said, ‘OK, here’s the clams, half-chicken, ear of corn, sweet potato, rolls and butter, coleslaw. Let’s put it all together.”  According to Young, his grandpa loved to cook, loved to talk about food, loved to talk about making people happy through cooking food … and helped supply a ton of “bakes” with churches and social groups throughout town.
  • By all accounts, Comella developed this passion early. He spent his childhood in San Francisco shadowing his own father, a fisherman and produce dealer. The family eventually moved to Cleveland; sadly, Comella’s father passed away when he was 12. The young man shouldered the responsibility to support his family during the Depression — first by selling waffles from a wagon, and then by peddling clams and oysters. Interestingly, his “first love” was actually baseball, Young notes: “[He] actually was going to play for the Indians, but couldn’t pull it off because his family was totally dependent on him.”
  • In 1944, Comella opened a market at E. 185th St in Euclid, OH, under the name Chef Comella’s Fish and Clambake Company. (This eventually evolved into the Euclid Fish Company.) For the chef, clambakes were a family affair. In fact, Young says his uncle (who’s also named John) remembers being at Comella’s house on Hiller Ave in 1944, “going up and down the steps, husking corn and washing clams” from the basement.
  • “When I was a kid, it was a real small house, but everything in the planet took place in that basement,” Young says. “Like a lot of Italian families, everything revolves around the basement, cooking, and with food.” Things started progressing outside of the house after World War II ended when Comella traveled to Toledo and bought some army surplus aluminum pots, which expedited the growth of the catering business.
  • Back in the day, seafood traveled by trains, originating in New York City and moving west through Great Lakes cities — Albany, Syracuse, Rochester, Buffalo, Cleveland, and eventually Chicago — where it would be re-iced. During certain eras, when shellfish such as clams and oysters arrived in Cleveland, they would often be directed to Lake County, where many of the city’s elite families had summer homes and would throw parties on Little Mountain.
  • Guys would bring out clams and oysters to Rockefellers and all the big-name people in town, because that’s what they were looking for during the summertime.
  • Still, pinpointing the exact moment when Cleveland clambakes became a Thing is tough. References to these types of events pop up in the Plain Dealer archives going back to the 1860s. On October 15th, 1866, an article titled “Great Clam Bake at Camp Gilbert: A ‘Running Account’ Of It” included everything from guests taking generous doses of cholera medicine in between artillery practice to the anonymous author being told a “history of clams and clam bakes,” hinting that the parties were already ingrained. His verdict of the day ended with the “firm opinion that clam bakes were glorious institutions.”
  • A Plain Dealer account of the following 1867 Camp Gilbert feast confirmed this characterization: the paper printed a gluttonous clambake menu featuring a staggering amount of seafood, meat, vegetables, and a spread of pies for dessert. A July 15th, 1878, article, meanwhile, references “a grand clam bake” in the works for September at a Euclid Ave house.
  • His verdict of the day ended with the “firm opinion that clam bakes were glorious institutions.”  In the coming decades, clambake references continued to appear regularly, both in the society pages and event listings. (From the September 25th, 1938, Plain Dealer: “Lindsay’s Sky Bar will have a musical clam bake on Oct. 6.”) They became favorites of local companies and political figures, as archival photos, papers, and letters at the Western Reserve Historical Society’s Research Library reveal.
  • Black-and-white photographs dated from 1941, 1945, and 1949 show employees of the Halle Bros. Co. (aka the now-defunct department store lovingly known as Halle’s) having a grand old time at a clambake while playing horseshoes or tug of war and chowing down on food. Posed shots reveal men in dress shirts looking raucous and slightly rumpled, perhaps because some of them were holding what looked to be adult beverages.
  • In light of such historical references, it’s no wonder that by the time Randall Ruhlman wrote his article for The Clevelander, a monthly magazine published by the Cleveland Chamber of Commerce, in 1950, clambakes were popular enough for him to be cheeky about their ubiquity.
  • “Clam bake season, the period of the expanding belt line, has come to an end for 1950,” he wrote. “It’s a mighty important period in our scheme of living and it runs concurrently with the corn-on-the-cob season in these parts… The average businessman, trade association member, lodge brother, union member, butcher, baker and candlestick maker attend at least two or three clam bakes a season.”
  • More library research shows that these weren’t necessarily always sedate affairs. The October 1957 Cleveland Clinic newsletter touted its annual clambake sponsored by the professional staff — whose 100 attendees reportedly “devoured” more than 1,500 clams — like so: “Clams and clam juice, lobster, sweet potatoes, chicken, pie, ice cream and strained ligaments met 100 members of the medical and administrative staff on Saturday afternoon, September 14, at Cyrus Eaton’s Acadia Farms in Northfield. And, of course, a dignified amount of beer.”  (A separate letter written a few days after the bake by Jay, Eaton’s grandson, casually mentioned: “I am pleased to report that Mr. Becker, our only casualty, felt fine the next day and apparently did not have any serious problem. It was a great help to have Steve drive him into the hospital.”)
  • Naturally, clambakes in Cleveland could have their political inclinations, going by former mayor Ralph J. Perk’s papers at the WRHS Research Library. In 1967, the then-Cuyahoga County Auditor had a sizable election deficit from the previous year that he was trying to reduce by holding “card parties and other functions” — for instance, a clambake. The Friends of Perk Committee sent out hard tickets to the bake with a letter referencing how much he still had to raise ($9,887.50, down from $21,000) that also touted how Perk was “one of the few public officials in modern times who refuses to have a 2% kick-back fund from his employees to pay his expenses.”  (Apparently the strategy was brilliant: judging by the stack of responses from law firms, banks, and individuals, many people who regretfully couldn’t attend often donated money to Perk’s cause anyway and also sent back tickets — which could be given away to other people, especially senior citizens, so they could attend).
  • According to meticulous records, Perk kept up the clambake for years to come, and turned it into an annual fundraiser for his various political campaigns. In 1970, the Friends of Ralph J. Perk Committee sent out tickets with a not-so-subtle bit of messaging: “You will show your appreciation to Mr. Perk for his continuing devotion to public service and his excellent record as County Auditor by properly distributing the enclosed tickets to your many friends. If you desire more tickets they are available, and we will appreciate any additional effort to make this an even greater success than in previous years.”
  • And a 1971 bake in advance of his successful mayoral run was promoted with a more sanguine nudge: “As you know, Ralph Perk is a candidate for mayor of Cleveland this year, and the support of his friends is greatly needed in his campaign to bring experience and integrity back to this city.”
  • Today, Euclid Fish Company honors its founder by proudly selling Chef Comella’s Original Clambake, complete with a returnable steamer. But Young knows that clambakes are malleable — in fact, this year the company is also offering three different seafood boils: Low Country, Portland, and Mid-Atlantic. “People are kind of varying it as people’s tastes have changed,” he says. “I look at it as if [whether] you’re going to cook salmon or clams: ‘OK, what’s your taste? What do you like?’ It’s a blank canvas. Cooking is like art.”
  • Michael Symon has touted a (tasty) variation on a Cleveland clambake, which features shrimp and kielbasa in addition to clams. Andy Dombrowski, the corporate chef for Zack Bruell Restaurants, says the company did a “pretty traditional, straight-up” clambake at Platform Brewery back in August to celebrate the brewery’s Yammy Yammy beer, but Bruell’s Alley Cat Oyster Bar is planning a clambake in October which will utilize salmon in addition to the usual seafood offerings.
  • For most, it’s all about friends and family.  According to Dombrowski, the appeal of clambakes is obvious. “To me, a clambake is more of a backyard thing than necessarily a restaurant thing,” he says. “I think it’s a time to get together and have a party in the fall, eat and drink, and have a good time with your friends and family.”
  • It’s also ideal for a party since clams “hold up to being cooked,” he notes. “It’s not like something like a lobster or mussels or other kinds of shellfish, like shrimp, that if you cook them and they hang out for 45 minutes, they’re tough and not very good. Clams are fine — you dip ’em in butter, and they’re good to go.”
  • “It’s all about being outside,” Young says. It’s all about being with your friends, and all about enjoying food. I think that’s what my grandfather really believed in.”

Special thanks to the Western Reserve Historical Society’s Research Library. Sources used in the story include MS. 4456, Ralph J. Perk Papers; MS. 3913, Cyrus Eaton Papers.

 

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DO YOU LIKE CONTESTS?
Me, too.

As you may know the Kowalski Heat Treating logo finds its way
into the visuals of my Friday posts.
I.  Love.  My.  Logo.
One week there could be three logos.
The next week there could be 15 logos.
And sometimes the logo is very small or just a partial logo showing.
But there are always logos in some of the pictures.
So, I challenge you, my beloved readers, to count them and send me a
quick email with the total number of logos in the Friday post.
On the following Tuesday I’ll pick a winner from the correct answers
and send that lucky person some great KHT swag.
So, start counting and good luck!  
Oh, and the logos at the very top header don’t count.
Got it? Good.  :-))))
Have fun!!

::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

Partly Sunny

From air, thin air, and no air in space to land and sea. Huge amounts of weather data is collected then algorithms and humans make sense of it. And BAM!!!!!! It’s on TV (or an App) in a form we mortals can understand so we know whether to wear a coat or sunscreen when we go out or to bring an umbrella. Amazing stuff!!!!  :)))))  Please…read on.

If you know me, I’m an optimist.  I prefer “partly sunny” to “partly cloudy” and wake up every day looking on “the bright side”, anxiously tackling your PIA (pain in the @%$) Jobs!  Today’s no different, enjoying a gorgeous morning sunrise as I look out over the lake from my office. I’m also intrigued by something that impacts us every day – the weather.  What we do, what we wear, what we talk about.  As we move into Fall, the weather around here is changing – cooler in the mornings and evenings, great cloud clusters, a different “blue” sky, and sometimes a bit unpredictable during the day.  Throughout the Midwest, farmers are harvesting crops, boaters are bringing in their boats, fishermen are targeting streams as fish head home to spawn, games are won and lost in the wind and rain, and most of us are moving our summer wear to the back of the closet.  Through technology, we can just ask our smartphone – “what’s the weather today”, and we get instant, detailed hour by hour response.  I looked up some history and found out the Nation Weather Service formally began today, over 150 years ago.  Through each decade, with the steady advancement of technology, our ability to track and better predict weather grows stronger each year.  Here’s some fun facts and trivia to expand your knowledge, along with a couple nice tunes for the day.  Enjoy, and thanks to noaa.gov, Wikipedia and You Tube for the info and videos.

John Denver – Sunshine On My Shoulders
Aquarius (Let the Sunshine in)
Good Day Sunshine (Remastered 2009)

  • On February 2, 1870, the United States Congress passed a resolution requiring the Secretary of War “to provide for taking meteorological observations at the military stations in the interior of the continent and at other points in the States and Territories…and for giving notice on the northern (Great) lakes and on the seacoast by magnetic telegraph and marine signals, of the approach and force of storms.” The Resolution was signed into law on February 9, 1870 by President Ulysses S. Grant, and the precursor to the Weather Bureau and National Weather Service was born.
  • The new agency, called the Division of Telegrams and Reports for the Benefit of Commerce, was formed under the U.S. Army Signal Service. The new weather agency was placed under the War Department because “military discipline would probably secure the greatest promptness, regularity, and accuracy in the required observations.” Because of the long name, the agency frequently referred to it as the national weather service or general weather service of the United States.
  • The new weather agency operated under the Signal Service from 1870 to 1891. During that time, the main office was located in Washington, D.C., with field offices concentrated mainly east of the Rockies. Most forecasts originated in the main office in Washington with observations provided by field offices.
  • During the Signal Service years, little meteorological science was used to make weather forecasts. Instead, weather which occurred at one location was assumed to move into the next area downstream. The weather forecasts were simple and general in content — usually containing basic weather parameters such as cloud and precipitation.
  • The Division of Telegrams and Reports for the Benefit of Commerce remained under the Signal Service until 1891. On October 1, 1890, Congress voted to transfer it to the Department of Agriculture and renamed the Weather Bureau.
  • Weather forecasters in the Signal Service and early Weather Bureau years primarily used information from surface weather observations. The early meteorologists were aware that conditions in the upper-atmosphere controlled surface weather conditions, but technology had not advanced to the point of taking upper atmospheric observations.
  • Around 1900, the Weather Bureau began to experiment with kites to measure temperature, relative humidity, and winds in the upper atmosphere. Kite observations were taken intermittently from about 1900 to about 1920 with a kite network of stations established during the 1920s and early 1930s. These pioneers (yes, Ben Franklin) were the first to observe classical meteorological features which significantly impacted weather over the United States. By the early 1930s, kites were becoming a hazard to airplanes in flight, causing kite observations to give way to airplane observations.
  • In 1931, the Weather Bureau began to replace kite stations with airplane stations. The use of the airplane as an upper-air observational tool continued to expand during the 1930s. Airplanes were an expensive and dangerous way to obtain upper-air data. Also, it frequently was impossible to use airplanes during bad weather; the time when observations were most important.
  • The development of the radiosonde was a benchmark to operational meteorology. With the relatively inexpensive instrument, the upper atmosphere could be sampled routinely and simultaneously in both bad and good weather. The radiosonde was one catalyst which increased meteorologists’ understanding of the weather. Following the implementation of the radiosonde, the science of weather forecasting began to improve substantially and steadily. How it Works
  • One of the more important advances for the Weather Bureau was the advent of the teletype system. The forerunner of the teletype, the telegraph, served the early needs of the agency, but it was readily apparent that this system was labor intensive and not reliable. The system contained many vulnerable areas, any of which could result in an important warning not being received or a critical observation not transmitted.
  • The teletype was introduced in the Weather Bureau in 1928 and its use spread rapidly. Within two years, teletype circuits covered 8,000 miles, mainly in the eastern part of the country, and by the mid-1930s, teletype circuits covered over 32,000 miles.
  • While under the Department of Agriculture, aviation weather services of the Weather Bureau expanded rapidly. Initiation of air mail flights and the increase of aviation activity following World War I placed a large demand on the Weather Bureau for forecasts of flying weather. In 1919, daily flying weather forecasts were started primarily for the Post Office and military aviation, but the most significant advances occurred with the passage of the Air Commerce Act of 1926 which made the Weather Bureau responsible for weather services to civilian aviation, establishing a network of stations across the United States to take surface and upper-air weather observations.
  • As the Weather Bureau became more associated with the aviation community, it became apparent that the agency belonged in the Department of Commerce. On June 30, 1940, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt transferred the Weather Bureau to the Department of Commerce where it remains today.
  • During the late 1940s and 1950s, the main contribution to Weather Bureau operations was in the area of radar meteorology and computer models of the atmosphere. The military gave the Weather Bureau 25 surplus radars which subsequently were renovated to detect weather echoes. Information gained from the operation of these radars eventually led to the formation of a network of weather surveillance radars still in use today.
  • With the development of computer technology during the 1950s the way was paved for the formulation of complex mathematical weather models to aid meteorologists in forecasting. The first operational use of these computer models during the 1950s resulted in a significant increase in forecast accuracy.
  • The Weather Bureau entered the satellite age in the 1960s. The first weather photographs from space in the 1950s actually were by-products of films made to record the attitude of rocket nose cones. However, following the launch of Explorer in 1958, the importance of satellites to observing the world’s weather soon became apparent.
  • Most early weather satellites were low orbit versions which viewed small and different sections of the earth’s surface. In the 1970s, geostationary weather satellites were launched which provided meteorologists with continuous observations over much of the western hemisphere.
  • In July 1970, the name of the Weather Bureau was changed to the National Weather Service. At the same time, the National Weather Service was placed under the National
  • Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) within the Department of Commerce where it remains.
  • The 1970s saw considerable expansion of technology and automation throughout the agency, led by the development of the Automated Field Operations and Services system, or AFOS. AFOS was designed to bring the NWS into the modern era, using alphanumeric and digital displays to view weather maps and compose forecasts and warnings.
  • In addition, radar technology and capability continued to expand. The NWS deployed new WSR-74S/C radar across the nation, while the National Severe Storms Laboratory in Norman, Oklahoma, experimented with Doppler radar technology. The Next Generation Radar Program, commonly known as NEXRAD, would revolutionize the NWS’ ability to forecast several weather.
  • A super-outbreak of tornadoes in April 1974 was a turning point for the agency, spurring what became the most ambitious and successful transformation in the agency’s history: the Modernization and Associated Restructuring, or MAR. Planned in the 1980s and implemented in the 90s, the MAR modernized the agency’s observational infrastructure. NEXRAD, a new generation of environmental satellites, the Automated Surface Observation System (ASOS), and a new Advance Weather Information Processing System (AWIPS) to replace ASOS, were centerpiece technologies.
  • The MAR was completed in 2000, and forecast capabilities continued to improve through the beginning of the 21s Century. However, another super outbreak of tornadoes in 2011 — eerily similar to the 1974 outbreak in both scope and lives lost — was a stark reminder that even timely warnings are only as good as the action people take in response to them.
  • From the “Critical Conversations” that followed between NWS and its partners in government, the private sector and academia, the concept of Building a Weather-Ready Nation was born and a refocusing of forecasting efforts toward “the Last Mile” with Impact-based Decision Support Services. The key to creating a prepared, resilient nation is connecting forecasts to the life-saving decisions that allow communities to withstand them. IDSS is all about delivering forecasts to emergency managers and public safety officials to ensure these decision-makers make informed decisions and understand the impending situation based on expected impacts.
  • The Weather Research and Forecasting and Innovation Act of 2017 codified the IDSS approach into law, authorizing the NWS to provide IDSS across federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial levels of government for the purposes of public safety and disaster management. As the NWS begins its next 150 years, the agency and its employees remain focused on one enduring mission that has remained consistent throughout its history: protecting lives and property and enhancing the national economy.

Additional Reading:

  • In addition to the hotlinks incorporated throughout this story, we invite you to learn more about NWS’ storied history by exploring the entirety of the NWS Heritage website.
  • Also, visit HERE for detailed history by decades.
  • Latest satellite imagery around the globe.

 

::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

DO YOU LIKE CONTESTS?
Me, too.

As you may know the Kowalski Heat Treating logo finds its way
into the visuals of my Friday posts.
I.  Love.  My.  Logo.
One week there could be three logos.
The next week there could be 15 logos.
And sometimes the logo is very small or just a partial logo showing.
But there are always logos in some of the pictures.
So, I challenge you, my beloved readers, to count them and send me a
quick email with the total number of logos in the Friday post.
On the following Tuesday I’ll pick a winner from the correct answers
and send that lucky person some great KHT swag.
So, start counting and good luck!  
Oh, and the logos at the very top header don’t count.
Got it? Good.  :-))))
Have fun!!

::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::