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According to the American novelist and short-story writer, Eudora Welty.


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Fred Casey, owner of Natick, Massachusetts diner passes away

Originally posted on Diner Hotline Weblog:

Casey’s Diner, Natick, Massachusetts September 5, 2009 photo by Larry Cultrera

I got a message yesterday (Saturday the 7th of February) from Facebook friend Timothy Wood with a link to an obituary for Fred Casey, the long-time owner of Casey’s Diner in Natick, Massachusetts. Fred was only 63 years of age (a year older than me). I had not heard if he had been sick, in fact I have not seen Fred for quite a while as every time I have been to the diner in recent years, his son Patrick was running things. Fred was the third generation of the Casey family operating the current 1922 vintage Worcester Lunch Car. His grandfather (also Fred Casey) opened it in 1927, buying it as a used diner from from where it had operated in nearby Framingham. Fred’s late father Joe had been running the diner since 1952 and Fred took over…

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Yuki Gomi – miso soup

miso soup
An inviting bowl of miso soup. Photograph: Alamy

In Japan, a bowl of miso soup is what makes everything better. “It’s mummy food,” says Gomi. “Every time I have miso soup it feels like home. Whether in Japan or away, even the smell of miso soup reminds Japanese people of their mummy.” Miso is a core Japanese ingredient, made from fermented beans and then mixed, depending on the region, with rice, wheat or beans. “Where I’m from in Yamanashi prefecture, near Mount Fuji, our miso is made from a mix of rice and wheat and is quite pale. We use the paste to make hōtō noodle miso soup with thick, handmade wheat noodles, mushrooms and pumpkin, slow-cooked for a long time. You eat it in a big bowl and it’s really good.”

Like lots of fermented foods, miso is rich in amino acids and complex proteins. The fermentation process also means miso contains lots of probiotics, making it easy to digest. “My grandmother’s generation had miso all the time, as much as we drink tea in Britain. I learned how to make it from her and from my mother, but once you’ve got the basics you can use different miso soups as a base and add in whatever you feel like: pork belly for energy and extra-rich flavour; root vegetables for the comfort of carbohydrates. There are no rules.”


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A customer buys a bottle of mineral water at the Bin Laden's cave bar in Niteroi, 25 kms northern of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Several years back, Francisco Elder Braga Fernandes was tending his bar in downtown São Paulo when he noticed something strange going on in the motorcycle parking lot next door. “All of sudden, the bikers were snapping pictures of me,” he recalls.

When he asked what was up, they laughed and pointed to his flowing, salt-and-pepper beard. “They said I looked just like him, Osama bin Laden.”

Fernandes had little use for politics or world affairs, but the self-made club owner who left the hardscrabble northeastern backcountry to make a new life in Brazil’s toughest city knew a thing or two about marketing. This was mid-September 2001. He didn’t think twice. He changed the name of his place from Barbas (Whiskers) to Bar do Bin Laden.

“I am a man of goodwill. I can’t stand violence,” says Fernandes, 54. “But this was great for business. No one calls me Francisco anymore. It’s Osama or bin Laden.”

That might seem cynical, but then again, this is Brazil, the country that handed carnival over to professionals and holds nothing so sacred that it can’t be parlayed into a punch line. And Fernandes is no exception.

A brief Google search turned up nearly a dozen Brazilian establishments named after Al Qaeda’s former terrorist-in-chief, including bars, luncheonettes and one sit-down restaurant called Bin Laden and Family. There’s even a listing for an automobile parts dealer, Bin Laden Bombas, though the telephone apparently has been disconnected. Which may be a good thing, since in Portuguesebombas means “pumps” but also “bombs.”

All are variations on the theme. Bin Laden’s Cave, a popular nightspot in Niteroi, across the bay from Rio, bills itself as “the place where the Taliban gather.” Hélio’s Bar, in the southern Brazilian capital of Porto Alegre, claimed its happy hour of fame with a visit by a bin Laden lookalike, duly captured on YouTube.

Others arise by popular demand. Therezinha Álvaro de Paula Texeira and her husband, Hélio, couldn’t settle on a name for the beer hall they’d opened back in mid-2001 in Juiz de Fora, an industrial city in Minas Gerais state in eastern Brazil. But when college kids started showing up and took one look at her husband, with his bushy beard and unfriend-me look, the problem was solved. “The students said we had to call it Bin Laden’s Bar, and that they wouldn’t come around if we didn’t,” Texeira says. “The day bin Laden died, the whole university dropped in. The kids even made up some bin Laden T-shirts.”

But no one has taken the trope as far as Francisco Fernandes. The São Paulo barkeeper is now something of a celebrity and a tourist attraction. “Al Jazeera came by twice to shoot a story on the bar,” he says. Though he favoUrs jeans and T-shirts, he dutifully dons a skullcap and camouflage when visitors want to cozy up for selfies.


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The  Knox gelatin recipe for Fruit Cocktail Egg Nog Pie.

  • 1 (1 lb. 14 oz.) can of fruit cocktail
  • 1 envelope Knox gelatin
  • 1 1/2 cups commercially prepared eggnog
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond flavoring
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1 9-inch baked pie shell


Drain fruit cocktail thoroughly; measure 1/2 cup of the syrup. Stir gelatin into syrup; place over boiling water and stir until gelatine is dissolved. Remove from heat; stir into eggnog. Add salt and flavorings. Chill until mixture mounds when dropped from spoon. Whip cream; fold into gelatin mixture along with 1 1/2 cups well drained fruit cocktail. Chill again 5 to 10 minutes, until mixture mounds. Heap into baked and cooled pie shell. Chill 2 to 4 hours. Decorate with remaining fruit cocktail.

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