Blogiversary: 10/2/2013

Monday, August 19, 2019

Cuisine Art

My husband, Trevor Dillard, and I love to cook with and for each other.  This is a past time we have in common.  He loves to cook Asian and Polynesian food, and I love all of his cooking.  He's introduced me to flavors that took me almost 40 years to try for the first time or acquire a taste for.

He has varying chopping skills, having been to culinary school as well as an obsession with the Cooking Channel when he chooses to watch television. I don't know how to chop the way he does not as fast, but he's taught me a lot.

My favorite foods he cooks for me is when he caramelizes onions and garlic, and stir fries a delicious meal in our wok.

I remember the day we bought the wok.  He came to my job to pick me up, and was roaming around.  He loves to browse the kitchen department in any store that sells cooking, baking, or serveware.  He loves new cooking knives, wisks, cutting boards, cast iron pans and skillets, etc.  He discovered a wok, and I delivered.

That wok has created joyful moments at our diningroom table from stirfried breakfast mash to wonderful vegan Asian cuisine.

At the grocery store or farmer's market, it's always an adventure picking out fresh fruit and vegetables for our meal preparations.

My cooking style is more Westsrn.  A few of the foods Trevor likes that I have made for him, and he's fairly blunt if he doesn't like something, are meatloaf, dill pickle pasta salad, and my homemade baked macaroni and cheese. 

He also loves the desserts I make such as apple and pear crisps, fresh preserves for toast and bagels, blueberry pie, pear streusel, peanut butter cookies, and banana bread.

I love his dessert baking, too.  A few of my favorites are his strawberry cream cheese scones, cherry and chocolate chip brownies, and raspberry brownies.

Lest, I forget, I recently won a wood cheese cutting board, shaped like a cheese.  Inside are various spreaders and slicers.  Trevor is currently in Hawai‘i, and we plan to visit Tillamook Dairy Farm and purchase some cheeses to try. 

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Back to School


The story of my father Thomas James Arcala Sr was that he was a very intelligent child.  He attended Catholic school and as young as kindergarten, he had a snarky comment about his school teacher.  He came home, complaining he hated school.  When my grandmother Lenore Arcala (Barron) asked him why, his response was, "My teacher asks too many questions.  She's the teacher.  She should know the answers," to which he put my grandmother in a roaring laugh.

My father was best with numbers, so I could only imagine mathematics was his best subject.  He could add, multiply, subtract, and divide in his head.  He always knew exactly how much change he should get back as well as budget his expenses.

However, my father would talk about his coloring and drawing skills, which I had never seen.  He did not draw or color when I was a kid, but he claimed he won a coloring contest and would give me advice on how to make my drawings and coloring better.

My mother Cha Kyong-Ja attended an all-girls school and told me she hated school and began ditching at a very young age.  My mother's fond memories of school was when she was involved in marathons in Track and Field.  She said she and her siblings were all runners and they all won awards for their school.

Like my mother, I hated school.  I did excel in English and literature, comprehension and vocabulary.  I enjoyed reading and began reading at three years old.  It was always a treat to go to the library and check out books.  In my younger years of elementary school, I enjoyed reading books about "Amelia Bedelia" and "Mrs. Piggle Wiggle." Toward my later years in elementary school, I enjoyed biographies and read about Johnny Appleseed, Cleopatra, Helen Keller, and Laura Ingalls Wilder.

In intermediate school, I still enjoyed literature, and disliked school.  I still enjoyed biographies and stories about kids around my age, such as Anne of Green Gables, The Diary of Anne Frank, Huckleberry Finn, and The Outsiders.

It was around that age, I began writing poetry.  I wrote lots of poetry the summer before eighth grade.  I would write novels of teen romance that I would eventually cut up and throw away.

In high school, I excelled in arts as well as  English.  Art was my calling, all kinds of art.  I still loved English and found myself consumed in biographies about serial killers and pop culture celebrities.

As a 40-something year old woman, who still dislikes school, I have an obsession with history.  I especially love learning about different cultures and, of course, surnames.

Arizona Vacation, 1989

In 1989, my cousin Angélique and I were penpals.  We met when we were five and in the summer of 1989, she was 12 and I was still eleven.  We decided I should visit Tucson, Arizona where she lived with her parents Barry and Cynthia, and younger sister, Lee.

My uncle Barry wrote my dad Tom a lengthy letter.  If I came to Arizona alone, my uncle said it would be best I joined the girl scouts and attend a summer camp with Angélique that year.  I didn't want to join girl scouts.  The other option was my uncle would pick me up in Westminster, California, and would also drive me back, but my parents would have to pay for the expenses.  Or, I could fly, but would still need to leave for the girl scouts.  He also knew of my motion sickness problem and told my dad options on feeling better: ginger pills, ginger snaps, and ginger ale.

My dad said if he drove me, then we could leave if we wanted, I wouldn't have to join girl scouts, and all expenses would be my dad's own.  We decided my dad would drive me to Arizona and he could see his brother and I could visit with my cousins.

When we got to their home, which was about a 7 hour drive, in my dad's non-air-consitioned Jeep, they were just getting ready to leave to the Filipino-American club my aunt was a member of.  There would be many different Filipino foods to try, shows such as Filipino dancing and pageant for Miss Teen Filipino-American.

We stayed in Tucson for about a week, which fell during my cousin Lee's 7th birthday.  My dad bought her a bicycle for her birthday.

WeMy cousin Angélique my father to take us for frozen yogurt, and he thought that sounded absolutely disgusting.  My father did not eat yogurt because the thought of live culture bacteria disgusted him.  Growing up, I was always told to try food just one time, because you can't say it's disgusting if you've never had it before.  My cousin told him that, and he didn't want to be a hypocrite, so he tasted frozen yogurt for the first time and he enjoyed it.

Other things we did was attend the Desert Museum where we saw animals and plants and the Gaslight Theater where we saw skits.  We went to see a movie, though the name of the movie slips my mind.

When we left Tucson, my dad and I went to Sedona, Arizona where we stayed at a Best Western hotel.  We drove a little ways to Jerome, Arizona, a small mining ghost town with a home open as a museum.

The following day, we went to the Grand Canyon for a few hours, had breakfast there, and he bought me souvenir rocks to take home.  It was the only vacation my father and I ever had.