Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Steve Kwedar

Some recent notes from Steve Kwedar brought this fine picture of his bountiful family, consisting of Steve and his wife, Becky (center), their four daughters Gwen, Julie, Amy, and Katrina, their four husbands, and ten grandchildren. (Click on picture to enlarge.)

For many years Steve practiced ophthalmology in Springfield, specializing in cataract surgery. He retired in 1994 and moved to Naples, Florida. The picture above was taken in his backyard on Thanksgiving, 2006.

He keeps busy with outdoor sports, says the day is not long enough, and advises us all to take care of our health. He also sent a link to a jukebox site called Take Me Back to the Fifties. They won't come back, but the music still sounds great. Thanks, Steve, and many happy days ahead.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Lands of the Buddah

Laurel Loibl McKee has just returned from a journey to Cambodia, Malaysia, and Java. On a tour sponsored by the Center for Khmer Studies, she visited Angor Wat, Phnom Penh, Singapore, and Borobudur. She has a brief account and selection of pictures on her web site.

Laurel earned her B. A. and J. D. from the University of Chicago. She spent her career as an attorney for IBM and later its spin-off company, LexMark. She lives in Manhattan, enjoys its museums and operas, and makes frequent journeys to visit and photograph exotic places.

Sunday, March 11, 2007


A year ago, we had a spirited discussion of "chilli" and now I'll tell you about another Midwest comfort food: burgoo, a spicy meat stew that takes three days to prepare and a week to digest.

Burgoo possibly arose from French or Irish pioneers, known to favor "beef burgundy" or "Mulligan stew" in cold weather.

The recipe:
  • roast all available meat (pork, beef, squirrel, rabbit, road kill)
  • add baskets of vegetables (corn, carrots, taters, peas, okra)
  • mix in savory spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, garlic, onion, pepper)
  • stew the mess in giant kettles, stirring slowly and constantly
Toward the end, add a thickening agent (wheat, cornmeal, ground beans) until the mixture holds a spoon upright in a bowl.

I attended burgoo dinners with my Dad, during his campaigns. The folks at those gatherings were mostly from Kentucky and Missouri. Owensboro, Kentucky, puts on a big Burgoo Days Festival in September, but so does Arenzville, Illinois, only 45 miles west of Springfield.

OK, let's hear from you: did you ever eat burgoo? Where and when?