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Archive for April 2008

Bossy Visits Naptown

Last Thursday, Bossy partied with Bossyites in Indianapolis Fishers. It was karaoke and dancing.

Like much of life on the blogosphere, I first learned about Bossy at

Bossy’s post about the Vera Wang collection at Kohl’s won my undying loyalty. Her fling with John Cusack is every 40-something woman’s obsession.


Bossy is Georgia  Getz, a Philadelphia housewife. Nancy Nall Derringer, former columnist for the Fort Wayne News-Sentiniel and current free-lance writer and blogger, refers to Bossy as a far, far hipper great-grandniece thrice removed from Erma Bombeck.

Bossy’s on a five-week auto tour, sponsored by Saturn, zigzagging across the country to party with us.

I worked last Thursday night, and couldn’t meet her or my fellow bloggers. If you want to find out what the night was like, read:

Blogging’s changing the face of writing, graphics and televised realty. Bossy and her band of merry women are in the vanguard.

Who knew the most creative bloggers would end up being 20-40 something women? The group with no time for themselves, who were supposed to be afraid of computers?


Written by Susan Gillie

April 28, 2008 at 3:12 pm

Posted in bloggage

Obama, Awright!

This weekend, Obama hit one of Indy’s culiinary jewels, Country Kitchen at the corner of College and 18rh.

Written by Susan Gillie

April 28, 2008 at 1:25 pm

Posted in food as power

Martha Is My New Best Friend

I watched Martha this week, and she had the best idea for cleaning stainless steel.

I know some of you have problems with Martha. Yes, she’s veracity challenged and she has way too much stuff. You might think she got off easy at Camp Cupcake, but that guy who prosecuted her? Eliot Spitzer? He’s scary.

Whatever your verdict, the woman knows how to clean. Have you ever seen her with windows? She’s the Michelangelo of window cleaning.

A viewer asked her about cleaning stainless steel kitchen appliances, and she whipped out her Windex. She proceeded to spray every square inch of stainless steel on the set.

I’ve been wrestling with the stainless steel problem at work and suspected glass cleaner was the solution, but when Martha said it, that was it. This weekend at work, I cleaned about 40 miles of commercial kitchen surface with glass cleaner. That kitchen sparkles.

Now I have to follow Martha’s other idea. All I need is one pound of soybeans and some nigari and I’ll have fresh tofu.

Written by Susan Gillie

April 28, 2008 at 3:22 am

Posted in bloggage

The New Face of Hunger

Everyone’s suffering. Plummeting housing prices threaten our lifelong investment. Job cuts inch nearer and leave fewer options if we lose a job.

For others in the world, the economic crisis hits deeper, a world hunger crisis.

Written by Susan Gillie

April 27, 2008 at 8:06 pm

Posted in bloggage


Bob Sumney Jr. was born January 18, 1956.

Oldest child and only son of Alyce and Bob Sumney, Sr., he had two sisters, Robyn and Shelley. Bob’s parents moved their children to a bi-level in Crestview on the northside of Ft. Wayne.

Young Bob claimed the neighbohood as his own.

Across town, red-haired Janet was born February 16, 1958. The youngest of Bob and Barb Gillie’s four children, her family moved into a tri-level in Westmore Park.

Janet conquered the neighborhood and surrounding Times Corners.

Bob graduated from Northrop, married, had two children, Shawn and Kelley. Janet graduated from Elmhurst, went to college for a couple years, then flirted with a dead-end job, spending all her money on make-up, jewelry and T-shirts. Fed up, she decided to grow up. She crafted a career, learned finances and bought a dollhouse-sized bungalow on Pleasant Avenue.

Things weren’t going well in Bob’s marriage and he and his first wife divorced. Janet dated a series of men-from-hell.

Bob’s sister Robyn arranged a blind date.

That date was Friday, January 23. 1988. The following Tuesday, Bob asked Janet to marry him. She accepted, on condition he provide proof he was divorced.

Janet, a girley-girl when it comes to make-up, expensive jewelry and high heels, has no patience with fluffery. She intended a traditional wedding, but the expense, the trivia and hassle was too much. Instead, she found a dress on clearance, my mon crafted a veil for a vintage hat from the Salvation Army.

The wedding took place April 8, 1988. Money saved went toward a downpayment on a bigger house she and Bob needed.

The courtship happened so fast, my sister Dana and I didn’t meet Bob until after the wedding service. We walked into Westminster Presbyterian Church on State Street with a cynical attitude.

A man recently divorced, with two young children, a work history driving a beer truck followed by selling chewing tobacco, did not bode well for a stable, loving marriage. Besides, Janet didn’t have the best track record.

My parents sat in the front pew of the church; we sat in the last. During the vows, Dana leaned over and whispered to me, “has anyone checked his credit history.”

Our concerns vanished at the reception. Even though the couple had known each other less than three months, the two families knew each other for decades.

Grandma Sumney was a friend of Grandma Gillie. Bob’s parents went to high school with my dad. My aunt and uncle socialized with Bob’s family since he was a small child.

The reception was a wonderful, warm party with delicious food. Fancy appetizers, comfort food, shrimp cocktail, wedding cake you wanted to eat, it had the right amount of alcohol and cheer. Bob and his buddies planned it.

Bob fixed up Janet’s little house. They sold it, moved to Pepperwood and had their youngest child, Jessica, December, 1990.

Bob loved his children, his home and he loved Janet.

Friends say Bob “breathed her.” He not only loved her, he got her. He valued her bossiness, stubborness, energy, and perseverence. He cherished the joy, the comfort and good fortune she brought to his life.

As with any marriage, not all was wonderful. Bob’s kids had a hard time incorporating a stepmother into their family equation. Toddler Jessica was high maintenance. One time, Janet packed Bob’s bags for a business trip to Muncie; problem was Bob had just returned from the trip.

Work stalled as Lincoln Life shifted operations out of Ft. Wayne. Bank of America offered Janet a position, they packed up and moved to Charlotte, NC. Bob quit his job to become a househusband.

Last year, Bob had a sore throat. Doctors diagnosed cancer, and thought they’d caught it early. The surgeon couldn’t remove the entire tumor without Bob losing his voice, so Bob had radiation. Radiation didn’t work, the surgeon removed the tumor and Bob’s larynx.

Bob spoke with a vocalizer. Treatment seemed to work for a while, but suddenly cancer spread to Bob’s lungs. Bob signed “no recessitation” paperwork and went home.

He was fifty-one years, nine months and six days old when he passed, October 23, 2007. He died at home, Janet and Jessica were with him. Kelley and Shawn came to see him the week before.

Janet held a memorial service in North Carolina. Two weeks later, with Jessica, Bob’s niece Lindsay and family, Janet flew to Indianapolis. Kelley and her fiance, Shawn and his family, and Bob and Janet’s friends drove down from Ft. Wayne.

On a quiet, Sunday afternoon, we honored Bob and celebrated his life with a dinner at the Rathskeller. Sauerbraten, Hot Wurst Plattes, Kassler Ripchen, Schnitzel, braised red cabbage and German beers were our memorial.

It’s never easy to lose a loved one, and Bob died too young and too soon.

Bob didn’t get to walk Kelley down the aisle when she married in December. He didn’t get to plan Janet’s 50th birthday party. He didn’t get to celebrate his 20th wedding anniversary with his wife

Before he died, Bob had difficulty speaking, but he scribbled a note to Janet:

Cremate me, keep me near you, do not forget me.”

We do not and cannot forget Bob Sumney. He lives in his children and he lives in Janet.

That night twenty years ago, when my sister married Bob, we not only gained a brother-in-law, but a gracious host who knew how to entertain and make his guests feel wanted and comfortable. He gave the best parties, dinners and buffets we’ve ever known.

He wasn’t an accomplished cook. A picky eater who refused to touch a green vegetable, he served what his guests liked. When someone overindulged themselves at his bar, he’d steer them to a bedroom to sleep it off, then drove them home after the party ended.

He was organized and could set up tables and chairs for 50 in his basement. He collected people and brought them together.

One Easter dinner, Janet brought out a heaping platter of Jello Jiggler eggs. We took one look at it and an egg fight broke out on the deck–Mandarin Orange vs. Blueberry.

Afterward, Bob quietly pulled out the hose and rinsed down the sugary mess, never complaining that the stains wouldn’t come out of the deck he’d built with his own hards.

Written by Susan Gillie

April 21, 2008 at 12:58 am

Posted in food as love

Whiskey A Go-Go

I swore off the “what do politicians eat” kick I’ve been on lately, then winecanine reports that Hilary’s up in “da’ region” slugging CR’s. 

Hmm, hummus and Crown Royal?

That leads to the next question, What Does Obama Drink?

To be fair, we should ask this question of all three candidates, but Republicans love red meat, gin and Rob Roy’s, so we don’t have to worry about what McCain’s drinking.

Written by Susan Gillie

April 19, 2008 at 11:21 pm

Posted in bloggage

Coffee love

I was in Sahara Mart, looking for harissa, when I found a coffee maker I’ve wanted for a long time.The CM-8A Chemex Coffee Maker.

Although it looks Swiss or Scandanavian, and the rawhide string screams macrame/70’s, the Chemex is American and designed in 1941.

Long before Harold McGee studied science to confirm or debunk cooking lore, chemist Peter J. Schlumbodm “employed all of the chemically correct methods for brewing”  perfect coffee.

Today’s Star reviews coffee makers. While Chemex makes the lineup, manual coffee makers are clearly “old school” and dated.

Better to spend $900 on an expresso machine that takes up half your counter space.

Better yet, stop by Target and pick up a $129.99 single-serve coffee maker . Of course you can’t use just any coffee with this $129.99 machine, you have to use pods. Those will run you an additional $18.99 for four packs.

The 6-cup Chemex at Hubbards and Cravens costs $39; mine (the 8-cup version) from Sahara is $31.99.

Those dated manual cone coffee filters that everyone knows are out-out-out?

Melitta’s new line of Ready, Set, Joe non-electric coffee makers targets the 20-something college set. You can pick up a cone at Marsh for $2.99.

The Melitta works with any kind of coffee.

Written by Susan Gillie

April 18, 2008 at 2:52 pm

Posted in bloggage

Election Cycle

What you eat matters. Especially to politicians.

While Obama and Hillary duke it out, McCain’s flying below the radar. Not anymore, his campaign is embroiled in FarafalleGate.

And these suggestions, for those of you celebrating Passover.

Written by Susan Gillie

April 16, 2008 at 2:28 pm

Posted in food as power


The MSM giveth; the blogworld taketh away.

And that’s what’s happening to FARMBloomington. Lifestyle mags and our local  newspaper couldn’t heap enough praise on the new restaurant.

Indy Star crowed:

Though undeniably a great college sports town, Bloomington has a reputation that reaches well beyond basketball these days. Food has become a major player, and some of the city’s stars can be found not on the court, but in the kitchen.

The biggest of them is Columbus native Daniel Orr, a culinary hot shot who earned a coveted three out of four stars from The New York Times in 1997 while chef at New York’s iconic French restaurant La Grenouille. A big-thinking entrepreneur, whom Food and Wine magazine in 2004 called “a former farm boy turned world-class chef,” Orr recently returned to Indiana to be closer to family and open an ambitious, culinary complex in downtown Bloomington.

Jolene Ketzenberger, “A College Town and Culinary Mecca”, Indianapolis Star, January 15, 2008.

While the main-stream media hails it as the Next New Thing, word on the internet is the restaurant’s a clunker.

With Chef Orr’s reputation and the media build up to FARM’s opening, food lovers expected to see this, a cross between the French Laundry and Chez Panisse, in a midwestern setting

Foodies couldn’t wait to try it. They made reservations and headed down to Bloomington. Destination dining.

When they got there what they saw was Cracker Barrel. Bloggers were disillusioned with the restaurant’s decor, service and food.

I’m not adventuresome when it comes to new restaurants. I find the ones I like and stick with them. I wasn’t really interested in dining at FARM.

But this kind of disconnect. I had to see for myself.

 This is what I saw.

If it looks familiar, it’s because you’ve probably dined there.

Located in Nashville, Indiana, The Hobnob Corner is a successful restaurant favored by locals and tourists.

It’s known for great bread pudding.

The owners are Columbites, and in the late 80’s and early 90’s, they had a Hobnob in Columbus. That eatery was more upscale, with a classical pianist, exposed brick walls, a big spread in Gourmet Magazine.

Chef Orr graduated from Johnson and Wales in the mid-80’s. Before that, he worked in food service in the Columbus area.

Maybe at the Hobnob?

Food lovers were especially excited about FARMStore. Media coverage gave us the impression that we’d be treated to a midwestern version of Dean and DeLucca. Regional specialties and local food products were the focus of this end of Chef Orr’s new business.

This is what FARMStore looked like to me.

It’s filled with stuffed animals and gumball machines, Brown County tchotchkes.

The bloggers are right, FARMBloomington is awful. But the bloggers are wrong, it’s not that awful.

If Chef Orr gets rid of the antiques, the ducks along the western wall and scraps the quilt curtains/room dividers, he’ll have an attractive restaurant. If he dumps the souvenirs and stocks artisan foods, the front shop has a chance.

I didn’t eat at the FARM. Looking through all that stuff gave me vertigo. I’ll go back in a few weeks and let you know what I think of the food and service.

On a sadder note, mild-mannered Indianapolis was a tough town last week.

My friend Tyrion is suffering with a bad case of mono. While down-and-out, the blogosphere came back to bite him in the ass teeth.

Click on his website and wish him get well and good health.

Written by Susan Gillie

April 14, 2008 at 9:35 am

Posted in bloggage

Ramos Gin Fizz

A hot dog tastes best with a baseball game in front of it.

This always happens.

I’m on my way to Asia Mart to pick up Three Crabs Fish Sauce and the car takes over. I try to steer, but lose control. Suddenly I’m in the parking lot of Half Price Books. I promise myself $15 is the limit but usually end up spending $30-$40. 

On cookbooks. Which I really need.

Last time wasn’t so bad. I spent less than $20 and ended up with two hardback Marcia Adam’s, one an autographed copy.

I bought a book I’d never heard of by an editor I did not know. I bought it because of the title.

Death by Pad Thai and Other Unforgettable Meals.

Douglas Bauer, the editor, was a 24-year old, naive Midwesterner working for Playboy Magazine. They sent him to New Orleans for a week to eat at the city’s finest and best-known restaurants.

With MFK Fisher!

They started each day with a Ramas Gin Fizz. I’m not much of a cocktail drinker, especially gin, but this sounded good. Besides, NOLA’s been on my mind lately, and what better way to honor her.

Ramos Gin Fizz

  • 1 1/2 oz gin
  • 2 tablespoons of cream
  • 1/2 oz of fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz of fresh lime juice
  • 1 fresh egg white
  • 1 tablespoon of powdered sugar
  • 3-4 drops of orange-flower water

In a chilled cocktail mixer, combine ingredients and shake for at least a minute. Strain into a goblet glass and top with 1/4 oz of chilled club soda.

Written by Susan Gillie

April 13, 2008 at 7:43 pm

Posted in cookbooks