Both Sides of the Fence

A Tosa resident since 1991, Christine walks the dog, cooks but avoids housework, writes and reads, and enjoys the company of friends and strangers. Her job takes her around the state, learning about people's health. A Quaker (no, they don't wear blue hats or sell oatmeal or motor oil), she has been known to stand on both sides of the political and philosophic fence at the same time, which is very uncomfortable when you think about it. She writes about pretty much whatever stops in to visit her busy mind at the moment. One reader described her as "incredibly opinionated but not judgmental." That sounds like a good thing to strive for!

Good eats at the Cosmos Cafe

Food, Cosmos Cafe

Tonight, son George and I decided to go out to celebrate his acceptance at the UW-Madison Business School. Feeling both carnivorous and thrifty, we headed to the Cosmos Cafe at 72nd and North Avenue. Geo had already eaten there and declared it the only place he'd bother to go to for gyros anymore.

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Food for the winter soul

Food, Winter

The first snow shoveling yesterday was a delight. The snow was light and swiftly dispensed with. But the second one, starting around 11:30, was a different matter.

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Zucchini cupcakes at the crossroads

Food, Mom, job hunt

As one unhappy reader noted, I seem to be at a crossroads. Lots of company here, where people are trying to figure out which way to head as we move from the steadier lives we thought we had into an unpredictable future.

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Trying stuff


The farmer's market on Locust Street mid-day Sundays has the cheapest prices around. For $1 each, I picked up bunches of basil, chard, a box of sugar snap peas, and something called "Chinese spinach" the seller assured me I would love.

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Simple pleasures


The Fourth of July is almost upon us. So I thought I'd share a family (and friends) favorite dessert. We make it year round, usually with frozen raspberries, but it's even more magical on a hot summer day. If we get another one of those, and I'm pretty sure we will.

Frozen Raspberry (or Strawberry) Meringue Torte


1c gingersnap crumbs
3 Tbsp sugar
1/4 c melted butter
1/2 c chopped pecans

Combine ingredients. Press into bottom of 10 inch spring form pan. Bake 325 degrees for 10 minutes. Cool.


3 cups raspberries or strawberries or combination, fresh or frozen
1 c sugar
2 egg whites
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla
pinch salt
1 c whipping cream

Slice strawberries (raspberries are fine as they are). Combine with sugar, egg whites, lemon juice, vanilla, and salt in large bowl of electric mixer. Beat on low speed to blend, then high speed until peaks form when beaters are removed--about 15 minutes (I think a little less if you are using frozen fruit). In another bowl, beat cream until soft peaks form, then fold into berry meringue. Pour into cooled crust. Cover and freeze until very firm (12 hours).

If desired, pass bowl of more fruit to spoon over slices. Blueberries would be festive for the Fourth!

Stalking the wild asparagus

County Grounds, Food, UWM engineering school

 I know where the biggest stand of wild asparagus in Wauwatosa is. The spears haven't started peeking up yet, but when they do they will look like this:

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Grandma's spaghetti

Food, Mom

I grew up in a neighborhood rich with Sicilian families, which meant I grew up eating very well. Mom was a fabulous cook too, but inclined more toward baking. Still, when it comes time to make spaghetti, it's Mom's recipe I use.

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Turning away business on a Friday night

Food, village, Wauwatosa

Friend Susan and I were ravenous and looking forward to trying the Firefly tonight. So we were glad when we walked in and saw at least six empty tables. The couple before us, also without reservations, was seated right away, so things looked promising.

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Bacon's back

Food, Health, Oprah

Yesterday, while deconstructing the terrible diet habits of alarmingly obese teenagers, Oprah blessed bacon.

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What a crock!


 I came late to the joys of crockpot cookery, but I'm a complete convert. Did you know you can make a passable carrot cake in one? Yep.

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Food frugality


Tosan Nancy Stohs, food editor at the Journal Sentinel, recently published food shopping tips from a financial counselor. And a good idea, now that food is going the way of gasoline, price-wise.

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Dinner at the Mekong Cafe


Friends Susan, Steph and I decided to skip McBob's fish fry during our latest Friday Night on North venture. McBob 's has been shaky in the fish quality control department since they expanded. Besides, we now have the chance to dine on "one magical river (with) three enchanted cuisines." The Mekong Cafe at 5930 W. North Avenue features food from Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam. Food maven Willard Romantini always tells me not to eat at a restaurant during the first three months, but in this location, if you wait that long the business might have vanished.

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Deja rhubarb

County Grounds, Food

 Last weekend I hiked a couple miles through the county grounds, stalking the rhubarb that still grows, despite all odds, behind the Eschweiler buildings. It's a lot more difficult than it was when I wrote about it here in my first blog entry in June 2006:

I pick bouquets of rhubarb from the abandoned garden plots . . . Pies, cakes, breads and muffins ensue. The world is good when there is rhubarb pie in it.

And that’s how I discovered the disappearance of the tennis courts and emergence of silt fence markers across from Hansen Golf Course.

Bottom line, in case you don’t know, is that a huge retention pond shaped like a reproducing amoeba will cover the old county nursery--one of the prettiest places in the county—behind the tennis court area. You may not have seen it because walking there has been perhaps a tad illegal. . . 

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You MUST be in harmony!!!

Food, It's not easy


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