Pass the Cranberries, Please

For some reason earlier today NewMexiKen got to thinking about his very first day of work. It was Thanksgiving 1960. The place was the Cliff House restaurant in Tucson. At the time, the Cliff House was considered one of the best restaurants in town — great menu plus a wonderful view of the city from its foothill location on Oracle Road. The chef was known simply by his first name, Otto.

Thanksgiving was a very busy day at the Cliff House. I started at noon and got off sometime around 10:30. I was the dishwasher’s second assistant. The dishwasher, who on a regular shift worked just by himself, needed all the help he could get on Thanksgiving. He sprayed the loose residue off the plates and out of the cups and glasses and loaded the racks to go into the machine. The first assistant took the clean dishes out of the machine and got them back into circulation. My job was to clear the trays as the busboys brought them in, scraping the uneaten turkey and dressing and mashed potatoes off the plates into the garbage pail. For more than 10 hours. For $1 an hour.

I did well for my first day of work, being reprimanded only once — by Otto himself, no less. I was throwing out the uneaten dinner rolls instead of returning them to the bread warmer. In chefly like fashion he blew his top, but calmed down when he realized no one had told me differently (and I was a nice deferential kid whose mom was a waitress).

As the day went on into evening, however, this fine restaurant developed a mini-crisis. The Cliff House ran out of cranberries. Now there is one thing a restaurant must have on Thanksgiving and that is turkey. And there is one thing a restaurant must serve with turkey and that is cranberries (or cranberry sauce). And someone had miscalculated and none was left.

It was the dishwasher’s second assistant who saved the day. As the dirty dishes came in from the dining room I not only rescued the dinner rolls, I now also recycled the cranberries. From each plate I corralled the dark red glob and scraped it into a bowl. Periodically Otto would come over and switch out my trove with an empty new bowl. He’d take the cranberries I had reclaimed and scoop them (not so generously as earlier) onto some eager gourmand’s plate.

Amazingly I still love cranberries (especially cranberry relish).

First published seven years ago.

Redux Post of the Day

From two years ago.

First medical marijuana

And now this. Is life great or what?

According to Dr. Karen Weatherby, a gerontologist and author of the study, gawking at women’s breasts is a healthy practice, almost at par with an intense exercise regime, that prolongs the lifespan of a man by five years.


Hooters should institute an early-bird special.

Line of the day

“[A] growing body of research suggests that foods sweetened with sugar or high-fructose corn syrup can be as addictive as nicotine or cocaine.”

Opinionator: The Problem With Breakfast for Children

There are at least 44 cereals that contain more sugar in a cup than three Chips Ahoy cookies. A cup of the most sugary cereal, Kellogg’s Honey Smacks — they were called Sugar Smacks when I was a kid, but “Honey” is so much healthier-sounding, don’t you think? — contains more sugar than a Hostess Twinkie.

Too many headers ‘can damage the brain’

Frequently heading a football can lead to brain injury, warn doctors who say they have found proof on brain scans.

Imaging of 32 keen amateur players revealed patterns of damage similar to that seen in patients with concussion.

There appears to be a safe cut off level of 1,000 or fewer headers a year below which no harm will be done, but the US investigators say more work is needed to confirm this.

Heading is believed to have killed the English footballer Jeff Astle.

BBC News

An Open Letter to Climate Change Deniers and Skeptics

At Forbes, Peter Gleick writes a letter. He begins:

To the few of you left,

OK, you have fought hard to deny or challenge the realities of climate change, perhaps because you are afraid of the policies that might have to be put in place; or are afraid of the possibilities of increased government intervention; or you don’t think it will be that bad; or you think it will be too expensive to do anything about; or you don’t understand the science; or you don’t trust scientists, including, by the way, every national academy of sciences and every professional scientific organization in the geosciences (see the list attached to this Congressional testimony); or whatever.

You may not think the expected consequences of climate change are bad enough to do anything, despite what researchers have been telling us for years about higher temperatures, worsening frequency and intensity of storms and droughts, rising sea levels, altered water quality and availability, growing health risks from pests and heat, and much more.

Fine. But you are dragging the rest of us, who still believe in science and think that things can and should be done quickly, down into what increasingly seems like a future hell. You need to get on board. Why? Here is the final straw.

Now click here to read about the FINAL STRAW