Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Poetry for Book Club

For Book Club this month we're celebrating Beth's brother-in-law's poem publication "Bemidji Blues" in the prestigious Poetry magazine.  As a result, I have poetry on the brain and a $4.00 copy of The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer translated into "modern English" by J. U. Nicolson with pen and ink illustrations by Rockwell Kent was a logical buy at the Bottom Shelf. The book was apparently passed over by Nancy.

One of the characters I remembered liking, the Cook, is described in this translated prologue as a grim figure from which Kent must have gotten this impression. I wouldn't want this chap to touch my food.

The Cook
"And he could roast and seethe and broil and fry,
And make a good thick soup, and bake a pie.
But very ill it was, it seemed to me
That on his shin a deadly sore had he..."

The actual Cook's Tale contains a description of a much more attractive person: 

"There lived a 'prentice, once, in our city,
And of the craft of victuallers was he;
Happy he was as a goldfinch in the glade,
Brown as a berry, short and thickly made,
With black hair that he combed right prettily.
He was as full of love, I may aver
As is a beehive full of honey sweet;
Well for the wench that with him chanced to meet. "
Who knew that "seethe" was actually a culinary term at one time? Wouldn't stove settings be infinitely more interesting with the addition of this temperature... say somewhere between "medium" and "high"?I love the sound of "seething" something until done. 

Geoffrey Chaucer (1343 – 25 October 1400), known as the Father of English literature, is widely considered the greatest English poet of the Middle Ages and was the first poet to have been buried in Poet's Corner of Westminster Abbey. While he achieved fame during his lifetime as an author, philosopher, alchemist and astronomer, composing a scientific treatise on the astrolabe for his ten year-old son Lewis, Chaucer also maintained an active career in the civil service as a bureaucrat, courtier and diplomat. Among his many works, which include The Book of the Duchess, the House of Fame, the Legend of Good Women and Troilus and Criseyde, he is best known today for The Canterbury Tales. Chaucer is a crucial figure in developing the legitimacy of the vernacular, Middle English, at a time when the dominant literary languages in England were French and Latin.
This recipe appeared on my gmail page
yesterday when I checked my Spam
mailbox and scores high on the
terrible recipe list. Have you ever tried shredding
a can, excuse me "cn" of Spam? How about garnishing a
quiche with a whole cooked artichoke?
  Categories: Meats, Eggs
       Yield: 4 servings
       1 c  Coarsely chopped mushrooms
       5 T  Butter/margarine
       1 c  Finely crushed stone wheat
     1/4 c  Green onions, sliced
     1/4 c  Brown onions, chopped
     3/4 c  Monterey Jack cheese
     3/4 c  Medium Sharp Cheddar cheese,
     3/4 c  Mozzarella cheese, grated
       1 c  Ricotta cheese
       4 ea Eggs
     1/4 t  Cayenne pepper
     1/4 t  Paprika
     1/4 c  Milk
       1 ea Cooked artichoke
     1/4 c  Green bell pepper, chopped
     1/4 c  Red bell pepper, chopped
       1 cn Spam, shredded


Hugo is delightful. For all of you film buffs it's a must see. We saw it in 2D and I'd like to return for a repeat in 3D. The acting performances are good, the movie has a beautiful look and the score is excellent.

I was surprised to see this song posted on YouTube, but here it is. The French lyrics crawl below so you can work on your accent while singing along. 

 Coeur Volant

As we settled into our seats near the back of the theater, a older man came slowly up the stairs clutching a huge bag of popcorn to his chest. It must be some new sort of super-size thing; looked like a burlap bag. The man chose the seat directly in front of us and before he sat down, he gently placed the bag on the seat next to him. Clearly he AND the popcorn bag together would be too much for a single seat.  He pulled down the dividing arm rest between the seats and settled in with his enormous drink, a companion to the popcorn colossus. We expected someone to join him but sadly, nobody ever did. The popcorn apparently was his date for the evening. He proceeded to demolish the whole thing. We could see his silhouette against the screen - reach, grab a handful, reach, grab a handful - non-stop for two hours and 5 minutes.

As we left, we noticed a crumpled sweater in the empty popcorn's seat.  Had he wrapped it round the bag to keep it warm? Was there really a human date who changed her mind and left him only with her wrap and the popcorn?

We've seen people bringing all manner of food into movies recently - even containers of take-out Chinese food. The crumpling packaging is noisy and the aromas are distracting. I don't understand why people cannot refrain from eating for the duration of a film, usually 1 1/2 hours or 2 at the most.  And when did it get to be acceptable to hang your feet over the back of the chair in front? Everyone does it, young and old - standards of decent public behavior seem to have slipped down yet another notch.   

Friday, February 24, 2012

Memories of Honfleur

French Haystack

From my travel notes, October 2010. 
On the way to Honfleur in France, we passed a number of these fantastic haystacks. Haywalls would be a better description. They looked so conceptually Swiss, so orderly and single-purposed, not like the French at all. 

Honfleur harbor 
We stayed at the lovely La Cour Sainte Catherine which we discovered on the Slow Food website. It's a sort of BandB which grew from one building to another. Our attic room over the garage was charming, clean, quiet and comfortable. Breakfasts were excellent - hot, strong coffee and freshly baked bread served in the main house.

My French Canadian relatives departed France for Canada from Honfleur harbor which I'm sure looked much different four centuries ago. 

Richard opening the door. We did not ride up on that motorcycle.
Cour de Sainte Catherine Chat

Still life - October garden bounty at the hotel
The Bakery


Oldest house -Honfleur


Thursday, February 23, 2012

That's Entertainment

 Cats lounging around.......until a mouse dropped into the solar tube!
That's Entertainment!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Tatts for Tunes

My piano is still on Craig's list and I got an offer this morning for a trade - my piano for their studio tattoo work. What would be an equal trade? Could I take my husband and get both our scrawny butts covered with roses? Perhaps an avocado on each cheek? A bowl of guacamole on our tummies? Or something like these:

    1/2 arm salad bowl

    fishbortions photostream forearms
    1. Arty painting on forearm On the side

What did she say?

Alan Alda was interviewed on CBS this morning by Charlie Rose. He actually asked him "How is life after MASH?" What? As if he hasn't done anything since. I thought it was insulting. Alan Alda however brushed it aside and put together a very acceptable reply.

What stopped me in my tracks was the conversation that ensued about Alan and his wife of 55 years. Alan described being at a dinner party recently and as is often the case they separated the couples to enliven the table conversation. Alan was at one end and Arlene at the other. He couldn't concentrate on the conversation at his end because he kept straining to hear what she was saying.

Doesn't that comment say everything about a relationship?

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Things I'm happy I didn't buy

Mel Gibson's bath tub
Friends of ours are going to Bali in May and I'm making up a list of suggested hotels, restaurants and things to do. While scrolling through my pictures I found this one. At the time we were shopping for items for the house and I was interested in stone sinks. The store owner tried to talk us into a stone bathtub. This was identical to one they had just shipped off to Mel Gibson.

Am I glad we weren't so seized with Bali fever that we went for this monstrosity.

Gamelan Gong

The young couple buying my piano told me they live in a neighborhood in Carmel Valley where most families are Indian or Asian. When they stroll down the street at night, the sounds of kids practicing cello, piano, violin, flute, saxophone drift out of most houses. If they can't hear practicing they can hear "Tiger Moms" yelling at the kids. 

She is Asian, he is not. The player piano is mostly for her - she intends to use the auto play feature. He wants to actually play and teach their young daughter. She's only a year at the moment but they want her to grow up with the sound of the piano and the constant presence of music in their home.

The conversation reminded of our last trip to Bali. In a cab going somewhere, our cab driver laughed when I asked him if he played in the gamelan orchestra. "Oh yes", he replied. "I play the gong. Three times. Once at the beginning again in the middle and at the end. Very loud." He paused for a moment and then added. "Not many notes - but very important. If wrong, everyone gets very mad at me". He laughed and we laughed with him. This is usually a good question to ask males in Bali. They all do something in the banjar, musical or artistic. If they don't play gamelan, they paint or sculpt. It's considered essential for humanness.

There is no standard tuning for a gamelan orchestra. In fact, they try to tune their instruments in a unique way so that it can be distinguished from other orchestras in other banjars (villages). Gamelan accompanies all events of significance. They say "It isn't official in Bali until the gong is rung". Many people don't like the sound - it drives my musical brother-in-law crazy.

After a few days, in Bali, my ear adapts to the strange scale and western tuning starts to sound harsh to me. Balinized.

I've wondered recently if I perceive this sound differently than people with full hearing and that accounts for why I like it so much.


Farewell Player Piano

This piano was a gift to myself 12 years ago when I was working really hard and needed a juicy incentive to keep forging ahead. I imagined when I had the instrument play itself the house would sound like Nordstrom's shoe department - heavenly, but it wasn't that way. The acoustics in my house with tile floors and a long hall created a strange effect and I never liked it very much. In fact, I never liked it at all. It was a nice piece of furniture and useful for parties when the house was full of people - the bodies seemed to cushion and modify the tone. We don't have room for it at the rancho.

The piano suffered from not being played enough. They get a kind of arthritis...sticky keys and bit of sound distortion at the lower end. Still a great beginner piano and fine for parties. 

It will have a new home soon where I hope it is played and enjoyed more often.

Monday, February 20, 2012

First Cousin Once Removed

First cousin once removed holding first cousin twice removed. We visited this newest member of our family over the weekend. He's a little doll with a cleft chin, cheek dimples, big baby blues and a winning smile. He accepted us very nicely - no crying or shrinking away - he seems to be a naturally sociable little guy.

Our first cousin once removed and her husband, our first cousin once removed by marriage (does this sound like The Mikado?), are exhausted as the little boy is teething and they get little sleep. Nick fell asleep standing up in Whole Foods. When you get three hours sleep a night, week after week, it wears you down. We're hoping the teething is over with soon and everyone can settle down for a while.

Dinner in Glendale

Palate in Glendale was our choice for dinner last night. We enjoyed a meal there last year and hoped to repeat the good experience. The place was strangely quiet as pulled up and parked directly in front. The last time we were there, the place was jam packed, with two valets managing the cars in front. Hmmm - my husband commented all the rest of the food emporia in the town looked crowded as we drove by. A line was even out the door at Porto's Bakery; we haven't see that kind of crowd in years.

 After we were seated in the empty restaurant, we were handed the prix fixe menu which was all they were serving on Sunday evening. The two choices of entrees were Manila Clams or Sheep Sirloin - that  was it. We left amid some huffing and puffing of the wait staff and called around to the old standby's like Taix and the Tam. Everything was booked so we ended up at the unheralded (to us) Clancy's Crab Broiler, where dinner turned out to be perfectly fine. The restaurant was full but quiet and comfortable. Service was excellent.

Menacing looking but delicious catfish
I had the tempura battered catfish, Richard the sand dabs. Both were surprisingly good and the evening was saved.

Parking Sign

Parking is getting very limited in Glendale.  We parked under this sign yesterday even though it was Sunday at 6 pm.

My Grandmother was a cougar

My grandmother was a cougar. Jennifer and Christopher - she would be your great, great grandmother on the Irish side. After my grandfather died, when grandmother (Ma'am) was in her forties, she married a man twenty years younger -  his name was Bertie and I never knew how, where or what the circumstances of the marriage were. Researching the family on, I came across a census document and found the answer to how they must have met. The census report lists the Killeens (my family), including grandmother, my grandfather and their children and on the next farm, a family named Kilby and among the people living there is one Bertrand Massey, a servant, who would become my step grandfather. Grandmother didn't travel far to find a second husband! Talk about blooming where she was planted.

I realize this document is far too big for the page, but you can't read it at all when reduced to fit this space. Fifth line down on the census is Massey, Albert birth date 1886 and under column six, "Domestic", born in England and under column 17, his occupation is listed as "Servant". Seventh line down is Lucy Killeen, my grandmother, wife of the head of household, born in 1866 and the whole family are lumped together as farmers.

Ma'am's kids, my uncles and aunts hated Bertie and tongues must have wagged as he was younger than most of her children and he was a servant.

I remember him as a shadowy figure sitting quietly next to her, holding her hand. Her other hand was always occupied with the rosary. The clickety, clickety click of those beads traveling through her fingers is a sound I'll always associate with her.  She prayed for everybody and everything including the horses she had money on in races all across the U.S. and Canada, but that's another story.

Years later after my grandmother was dead and Bertie had left the family home, we found out that he was gay. My father handled all the families legal matters and when Bertie was arrested for lewd behavior he called my Dad to get him out of jail. Woe is the man who must call on his step-son to get him out of the hoosegow. We never heard anything more about him or from him again. Maybe I'll find out more from the records.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Raised Waffles

I'm still looking for a perfect waffle recipe. This one is pretty close - rich flavor, light and crisp texture. It's from "The Breakfast Book" by Marion Cunningham which I used for starter recipes when I worked for the California Egg Commission. Marion found the recipe in an early Fannie Farmer cookbook.

The yeast is the secret to both flavor and texture. Waffles all pretty much look alike while resting in the iron, but when you hold them up to the light you get the whole (pardon the pun) story. The laciness and airiness comes from yeast rising in the batter and creating small bubbles. 

Raised Waffles
(about 8 - 10 waffles)

1/2 cup warm water
1 package dry yeast
2 cups milk, warmed
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 eggs
1/4 teaspoon baking soda

Use a large mixing bowl as the batter will at least double it's original volume. Place water in bowl; sprinkle on yeast. Stir and let dissolve for 5 minutes.

Add salt and sugar to warmed milk and stir. Add with melted butter and flour to the yeast mixture and beat until smooth and blended. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let stand overnight at room temperature.

Just before cooking the waffles, beat in the eggs, add the baking soda and stir until well mixed. This is a thin batter. It will keep for several days in the refrigerator.

Note: Two of us eat half the yield of this batter. We cook it all and freeze the uneaten waffles. Although not as good toasted, they are great when the larder is bare.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Speaking of garden heads



From Cindeesgarden.blogspot
And my garden brain for comparison

Brain Head in the garden

My aging brain cannot remember if I posted anything about this "brain head".  I can't decide where to put it in the garden. For now it's on a pillar gazing at the pool. And more garden news......
    Brain Head

    Pancake plant has 13 new "children" clustered around her base
    Bocapa is popping out here and there

    Kangaroo paw

    KP blossoms

    Lipstick plant

    Pineapple plant - Farmer's Market $7.00

    Pineapple plant blossom

Extraordinary Popular Delusions

My serious reading is now done on the IPad and my new guideline is to purchase "real books" if they are curious in some way. This book's jacket was well worth the three bucks at the Bottom Shelf.  It was first published in 1841 and reprinted in 1932. Some of the delusions and madnesses the author covers are:
    1. The south sea bubble
    2. Tulipomania
    3. Magnetizers
    4. Influence of politics and religion on the Hair and Beard
    5. The Crusades
    6. Witchmania
    7. The Slow Poisoners
    8. Duels and Ordeals
    9. Relics
It was "The Slow Poisoners" that interested me.

 "The Italians of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries poisoned their opponents with as little compunction as an Englishman of the present day brings an action at law against anyone who has done him an injury." 

In the year 1659 it was made know to Pope Alexander VII in Italy that great numbers of young women had avowed in the confessional that they had poisoned their husbands with slow poison. The Catholic clergy were shocked and alarmed at the extraordinary prevalence of the crime. People who would have been deterred from using the pistol or the dagger employed slow poisons without dread. It was noted at the time, that if any couple lived unhappily together, the husband soon took ill and died. Females were particularly prone to committing poisoning and it seems to have been regarded as a perfectly justifiable means of getting rid of an enemy or husband.  Ladies put poison bottles on their dressing-tables openly and used them with little scruples upon others. The idea was to send a cruel husband to "his last long sleep".  Sounds better than murder.

The poison was incorporated in food and drink. Small quantities were administered over a long period of time which gradually wore out the constitution of their victims. Arsenic was mixed into the salt, cantharides (Spanish fly) with the pepper.  Seven different kind of poison were commonly used: aquafortis, arsenic, mercury, powder of diamonds*, lunar-caustic (silver nitrate), great spiders and cantharides.

This poisoning business caught on in France as well; in the late seventeenth and eighteenth century the prisons of France teemed with people accused of this crime. Officials clamped down and two famous Parisian poisoners were discovered and burned alive in 1768  "their hands had been bored through with a red-hot iron and then cut off". Thirty to fifty women were hanged in principal cities; others were tortured on the rack to reveal their sources and confess.

Apparently slow poisoning enjoyed a revival in England around 1850, once again carried out by women and their victims were their husbands and children. The motive was thought to be "burial money" which they would collect from a burial club to which they subscribed, kind of a fore runner of the insurance policy.

Diamond powder administered internally, was a legendary poison. The son of the Turkish Sultan Bajazet (1447-1513) was said to have murdered his father pouring a large quantity of powdered diamond in his father's food.
In l532, Pope Clement VII’s doctors dosed him with fourteen spoonfuls of pulverized gems, including diamond, which resulted in death for the patient.
In the same century, Catherine de Medici was famous for dealing out death by diamond powder, and Benvenuto Cellini, the famous Italian goldsmith, described an attempt on his life by an enemy who ordered diamond powder to be mixed in his salad.
The association of diamonds with poison may have been promoted to discourage the practice of stealing diamonds by swallowing them, particularly during mining.

Diamonds are a girl's best friend.

Read an article in this morning's newspaper about a woman who lost a piece of jewelry in her plumbing. Flushed it down the john. Ugh. Well, the happy ending of the story is that municipal workers, forewarned of the loss, actually found it during a repair and returned it to her.

The incident prompted me to recall my own personal lost jewelry story. I was living in Bend, Oregon and wore a 1 carat diamond on a chain around my neck - never took it off. One morning I woke up and realized it wasn't in place. I searched everywhere. Nothing. I was resigned to the loss.

About a month later, at a meeting in Pacific Palisades I excused myself to go to the bathroom and as I returned to my chair, I noticed a glint in the carpet. I reached down to see what it was and there was MY DIAMOND. I was astonished, but as I stood looking at it, I could figure out what happened. I think the diamond fell off my neck at home, the carpet was vacuumed and the diamond must have been flung from the floor into my briefcase which I kept by my desk on the floor. As was my wont, I stuffed files into the case for the meeting, never really cleaning it out before hand. When I pulled the files out of the briefcase in my colleague's office, the diamond must have been lodged against one of the files and fallen on the floor. Nothing short of a miracle that I noticed that glint.

After re-uniting with the diamond, I decided that I should do something else with chain, no necklace. Months later, I put it in an envelope in my purse and left for another project in LA, planning to swing by the diamond mart downtown and have it set in a ring. I was really busy on that trip and was running at full speed. I made a shopping trip for food (I think it was a focus group for McIlhenny's I was doing) at Smart and Final. Rushing, I got the shopping cart out to the car, unloaded and took off for the group. When I got there, I realized I didn't have my purse. Another panicked search ensued and the stark realization hit me that I must have left it in the parking lot of Smart and Final in LA, not in a very good neighborhood. I was carrying several hundred dollars of cash - that potential loss ran through my brain, followed immediately by the OMG - that damn diamond was in there too. I got back into the car and sped to Smart and Final. An hour had passed since I'd left - little chance that the purse would still be in a cart, but I looked around quickly and then went into the store to ask. The manager had it...he'd spotted my purse in a cart and took it into his office for safe-keeping. I tried to give this guy the cash as a reward but he would take nothing. When I told him about the diamond, his expression changed for just a moment - he smiled and told me he had just gotten engaged and was looking for a ring. I wrote a letter full of praise and gratitude about him to the President of S and F.

Here's the diamond in the ring - it didn't really turn out very well and I've only worn it a few times. But as they say, diamond's are a girl's best friend and in spite of my carelessness this one seems to want to stick with me. 

Almost everyone has a lost jewelry story and I heard quite a few of them as these incidents unfolded and I talked about them with people. Some of the stories were amazing.  

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

From the Food Lab

From the web site, Serious Eats 

On Browning

Of course, we've all seen those avocados that seem perfect on the outside, but once you cut into them, a series of deep brown stripes and striations appear. What's up with that? Unfortunately, it's not something that can be predicted or prevented. It's caused by uneven enzymatic action inside the avocado as its developing and is exacerbated by extreme weather conditions as the fruit develops.For Hass avocados, you can expect the likelihood of this phenomenon to increase starting in December and maxing out around February (ack, Superbowl season!).
What about leftover avocado? Any way to keep it from browning? Oxygen is the enemy of avocados—it's what causes them to turn that unsightly brown. Plastic wrap works alright, but even plastic wrap is oxygen-permeable. My avocados didn't last more than about 8 hours wrapped in plastic before visible browning occurred.

The old rub-with-oil-and-place-face-down-on-an-oiled-plate works fine if you've got a perfect half of an avocado with a smooth face, but it doesn't help if you've got, say, 3/4 or 1/4 of an avocado.
The better solution in that situation? Just submerge the sucker in water. I store my unused avocado pieces in a plastic container filled with water in the fridge for up to overnight. Perfect, oxygen-free seal for any shape, and because an avocado is so dense and high in fat, water is slow to penetrate it (it'll eventually become softer).

Monday, February 13, 2012

Support Group

Co-facilitating the San Diego Acoustic Neuroma Association support group has turned out to be a very satisfying experience. I volunteered to help out as the group is being run by a wonderful woman who herself is not an AN sufferer. She is a therapist who took over the group which was suddenly without leadership. It's been a delight to work with her and to gradually begin to be of value to her and the group.
I really didn't think I'd get that much out of a support group and went to the first few meetings as a total skeptic. I had made my choice, had my treatment and was going on, pretty well dealing with the attendant problems. What could a group do for me? Well, turns out, quite a bit. There's value in sharing the same space with people similarly afflicted and I can't explain why. Sort of like belonging to a club and being accepted without conditions by your fellows. 

On Saturday, we had a great speaker at our meeting, one Dr. Chen who has so many titles, it's kind of mind-boggling that he would even deign to speak to our small group. There's never a very
large congregation of AN sufferers in one spot as the tumor is rare - 1 in 100,000 so they never get a huge audience. One of his many distinctions is that he treated Ted Kennedy with his brain tumor.

Dr. Chen is a physician who communicates in language everybody understood; who boiled things down to a manageable essence; who truly wanted to be understood for a change. Why this simple concept is so difficult for physicians? I understand the difficulty to some degree but most of these doctors are so incredibly smart and so capable that one would think they would figure out a way of all things, to simply communicate with their patients. This doctor was also very frank...he said, "You know I can have a consultation with you and get maybe $80 an hour for the time during which I recommend you have some kind of treatment - some surgical and some non-surgical. Remember that if it's surgical I'll get $20,000 an hour for doing the surgery and furthermore for us neurosurgeons, it's FUN. What am I inclined to recommend?" Wow, I've never heard a surgeon admit publicly to this kind of mercenary personal bias existing in the system but of course it's there - our whole medical system thrives on it  and also suffers from it. Dr. Chen doesn't have an answer for the ideal system, but he does recognize the adverse effect this motive can have on medical care and warned us about it.
I had one recent experience with a neurosurgeon who was pushing the BAHA hearing system on me...the surgery to implant a bone anchor is worth a cool $30,000 for the surgeon and it's really, for them, easy. Just a little drilling into the skull - a minor anesthesia experience, kind of like for colonoscopy.  I didn't like the guy's attitude and I could almost hear the cash register ringing in his brain. Passed on that one.
I learn something valuable at every meeting. 

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Vince's Spaghetti Express

Whenever I'm in the Temecula area and it's getting close to dinner and I'm getting really hungry and out of time, I head for Vince's Spaghetti Express, one of my favorite "fast food" options and order the spaghetti dinner for two to go. For $15.75 they offer a salad (just greens - good to add to when you get home), soup (a plain Jane minestrone), choice of cheese or garlic bread and plenty of the superb American style spaghetti and meat sauce. We can never eat it all. They also sell the sauce separately and I keep a couple of containers in the freezer for emergency meals. The salad, the soup and the bread are all unremarkable but part of this kind of American spaghetti dinner, so we enjoy it in the context of background for the very delicious spaghetti and meat sauce.

Vince's has been in business for over 67 years with the original store in Ontario and the second in Rancho Cucamonga. It's been owned and operated by the same family for the duration. The outlet in Temecula has been there for 8 years.

The first location opened in September 1945 as a 6 stool French Dip sandwich and orange juice stand. The spaghetti part of the business began by accident. According to Vince's website, one of the Uncles in the family was sitting there eating a plate of his mother's spaghetti and meatballs. A customer asked if the dish was on the menu. Well, no it wasn't but they started bringing it from "mama's" home kitchen and the business grew rapidly. They sold a plate of spaghetti and meatballs for 65 cents. Today they sell over 15,000 miles of spaghetti a year.

The meat sauce is excellent - rich and meaty with a caramelized flavor you achieve only by simmering the sauce for a long, long time.  Vince's uses steam jacketed kettles - they look like 50 gallon size to me. They pre-mix the spaghetti with a little sauce so the spaghetti strands are coated and don't clump up when you get it home and plop it on the plate. When you remove it from the container, it slides out in separate strands.

Most of their business in Temecula is to-go..they have a drive thru window and the experience at packaging the items so nothing leaks. All the hot things go into one bag stuffed together tightly so that they don't jostle around and leak. The cool things - the salad and dressing, napkins, cutlery and little packages of parmesan (we always ask them to leave them out but get them anyway) go into another bag. We're frequently disappointed with take-out food because of the stupidity of the packing..the food may be okay but when you get it home, somethings leaked. It's not rocket science and if you're in the to-go business, it should be done correctly. Vince's never leaks.

You can eat in and the service is efficient and friendly. This is not a glamorous place - a converted Taco Bell, but it's comfortable, relaxed and unpretentious.

Fast, filling, cheap, friendly!