1918 was a year when there were PLENTY of Salmon in Fort Bragg, CA.

How do I know this? well, there was a snippet in the local – the Advocate – that told me so:

The salmon mild cured at Noyo last winter were recently put on the New York market and sold at a top-notch figure, being pronounced an exceptionally high grade.”  So sayeth the February 13th, 1918 Fort Bragg Advocate.

Noyo was a community and a mill located mostly on the flat of the Noyo River. In 1858 Henry Weatherby and Alexander MacPherson, the owners and builders of the Albion mill built a mill on the flat of the Noyo River. In the winter of 1858 the mill site was flooded making an almost new start necessary in the spring of 1859. The machinery came in by sailing vessel and was landed onto a barge from the ship. The barge had to wait for a high tide to get the machinery to the mill site.  The mill built one of the earliest railroads which hauled logs from Pudding Creek to the Noyo River. The railroad ran along what is now Harrison Street in Fort Bragg.

BSS (Bacon Sanny Saturdays) at our Layout

Pretty much every Saturday the crew who are working at the layout have lunch together. The fare is bacon sannys – white bread (untoasted), local bacon, tomato with EXTRA, EXTRA mayo. These are ordered from the Deli Cafe behind the CWR Depot around 12:40 when the crowd from the 12 noon Skunk train has dissipated and consumed with GREAT relish around 1:10 pm. These are extra special in that they have nothing in them that clogs the arteries leading to the heart!!!!!!

Bacon sanny deluxe

Bacon sanny deluxe

Visiting the Benbow Inn for Tea on the way home (Fort Bragg) from the Avenue of the Giants

I love redwoods. The best redwoods are those in the Avenue of the Giants just north of Garberville on Highway 101. The Avenue of the Giants is about two and a half hours from our home in Fort Bragg. We stop at Garberville on the way to the redwoods for brunch and then enjoy the redwoods till about 3.30 pm. Then we head south to the Benbow Inn. Where is it – here’s the map supplied by the Inn:

Map showing location of the Benbow Inn

Map showing location of the Benbow Inn

This is what you are looking for on the right hand side of the road just south of Garberville:

The Benbow Inn

The Benbow Inn

We aim to arrive at 4 pm. Why? They serve scones to die for and tea at 4 pm. Oh, those scones! For many, many years the recipe was a secret. Recently we found the recipe on the ‘Net and made some at home. Momma Mia!!!!!! Here’s what the Benbow Inn has posted about the scones:

“The Benbow Historic Inn is known far and wide for many things – It’s beautiful, remote location…It’s views of the towering Redwood tree’s and turqoise Eel River…And let’s not forget, the traditional ‘Benbow Scones’ that our guests have adored since the Benbow Inn was open to the public in 1926!

Due to popular demand, we have decided to make our ‘Secret Scone recipe’ not so secret. Now you can take this small piece of the Benbow Inn to your home whenever that hinkling arises!

Benbow Traditional Scone Recipe

This special recipe requires the following ingredients:

  • 1 3/4 Cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 Cup of sugar
  • 1 Teaspoon of salt
  • 2 Teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1/2 Teaspoon of baking soda
  • 5 Tablespoons of un-salted butter
  • Approx. 1/2 Cup of cream
  • 1/4 Cup of orange juice
  • 3/4 Cup of orange zest (Grated)
  • 1/4 Cup of currants

Baking Directions:

  • Pre-heat oven to 350 Degrees
  • Combine flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and baking soda in a large bowl and mix well.
  • Cut in butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  • Add just enough cream and orange juice to form a soft dough.
  • Add currants and mix well until combined.
  • Turn out onto a floured board and roll out to 1 inch thickness.
  • Cut into heart and place on ungreased baking sheet.
  • Brush lightly with beaten egg white.
  • Bake for 15 – 20 minutes or until golden brown.
  • ENJOY! “

As the recipe says the Inn opened in 1926. Here’s a very brief history……

Benbow Inn brief history

Benbow Inn brief history

Alas, the history doesn’t mention wife Sarah and Sister K who accompanied me on our last trip as among its famous visitors.


Pie-eyed and all that!!!

Every March, St Mary’s church in the Leicestershire (England) town of Melton Mowbray becomes a cathedral of pies: it fills with tables bearing more than 800 pastries.

Melton Mowbray Pie Festival

Melton Mowbray Pie Festival

Pies have been adding rich flavour to the English language for centuries. Take, for example, the Bedfordshire Clanger Pie: a British classic which cleverly combines main course and dessert, with savoury ingredients like pork at one end and sweet ingredients like pear at the other. The name comes from a local slang word, ‘clang’, which means to eat voraciously. However, cramming two courses into a pie makes a clanger rather unwieldy – and all too easy to drop, inspiring the English phrase ‘dropping a clanger’ for a careless mistake.

Ready for another one?  The description of a drunken state as ‘pie-eyed’ likely takes its cue from someone who, thanks to having over-imbibed, has eyes as wide and blank as the top of a pie.

One more? ‘Eating humble pie’, meanwhile, comes from medieval deer hunting, when meat from a successful hunt was shared out on the basis of social status. While the finest cuts of venison went to the rich and powerful, the lower orders made do with the ‘nombles’: a Norman French word for deer offal. Anglicisation saw ‘nombles’ pie become ‘humble’ pie.

Last one:

Sardine pie

Britain’s most eye-catching pie, this sardine-packed pastry dates back to the 17th Century

Cornwall’s eye-catching Stargazy Pie might be the most distinctive pie of all. Cooked with sardines gazing up from the crust, this distinctive pie has roots in a 17th-Century tale from the fishing village of Mousehole. The story goes that a fisherman named Tom Bawcock braved December storms to land a huge haul of fish that saved the village from starvation. To celebrate, his catch was baked into a giant celebratory pie – with fish heads left poking out as proof that the fish famine was over. Today, Stargazy Pie is traditionally baked with seven kinds of fish, boiled potatoes, boiled eggs and white sauce. The fish serve a practical purpose, not just a symbolic one: oil from the heads enriches the pastry and moistens the pie.

So, now you know!

Easter Eggs – Then and Now

When I was young my Grandma Bates used to buy me a Rowntrees Easter Egg. My parents would buy me a Cadbury’s Egg. And my other grandma, Grannie Phillips would buy me a Black Magic Egg. These eggs were nothing like what is sold over here. The egg weighed 4 to 6 ounces. It was in two halves and the centre was packed with chocolates. The Black Magic egg was dark chocolate and ‘cos I liked it the best I would save it to last. For reasons I can’t quite figure out these type of eggs have never been sold, or sold widely here in the States.

This is my 47th Easter in North America and my 47th lot of Cadbury’s Creme Eggs. Now, I admit, they are not bad – looking at this pic certainly makes my mouth water ……

Cadbury's Creme Egg being broken

Cadbury’s Creme Egg being broken

but rather than buy me 2 doz of them how about being a little inventive and make me some of these:

Cheesecake filled Chocolate Egg

Cheesecake filled Chocolate Egg

This creme egg does not use Cadbury Creme Eggs as an ingredient; it only served as the inspiration behind this chocolate-covered cheesecake. I’ll take three of these. The recipe is here.

Cadbury Creme Egg Pull Apart Sweet Rolls

Cadbury Creme Egg Pull Apart Sweet Rolls

The Cadbury Creme Egg Pull Apart Sweet Rolls recipe is by Chocolate Moosey. I’ll take 3 of those. Oh, please add one extra for Club Pres Chuck Whitlock – he loves sweet rolls.

My address is 33701 Simpson Road, Fort Bragg, CA, 95437. Please make sure they arrive before Easter Sunday.

Ultimate Portion Control

I love food. In case you haven’t noticed I added a new Category, “Food”. Wife Sarah says that the key to dieting is portion control. Which means you get THE glare when one helps oneself to seconds. So, suppose the portion was really, really tiny ………. Check out these pics:

I’ve ordered 712 pizzas just to make sure I don’t hungry!!!!

Tel Aviv-based artist Shay Aaron constructs these incredible miniaturized food sculptures at 1:12 scale   They look almost completely edible.

Black (Blood) Pudding is a Superfood

Blood pudden per Wiki is, “a type of blood sausage …….. generally made from porkfat or beef suet, porkblood and a relatively high proportion of oatmeal.Black pudding pre-sliced may still have a plastic wrap around the circumference that must be removed before cooking.”

Look at those lovelies

Look at those lovelies

Most Americans avoid ’em like the plague. I love ’em. I had two last year. The first at Coventry market and the second just before Christmas from the butcher in the Oxbow in Napa. I confess I had never seen them as a health food but, MuscleFood claims “black pudding – low in carbohydrates, high in protein – has become a ‘buzzword in clean eating.” Bloody ‘ell.

Bruvva Sean in UCK gave me a heads up on the material for this blog by referring me to a piece in the Guardian.

The Black Pudding Mecca of the world is Chadwicks in Bury Market (Bury is close to Manchester):

The Mecca of Black Pudding

The Mecca of Black Pudding

“Some smart-arse scientist has just realised what we’ve known for god knows how many years,” Tony Chadwick told a customer. “Lancastrian Viagra, I call it.” “I always knew black pudding was healthy,” said one customer, as she asked Chadwick to pick her a “good one” – a request which draw the response: “We don’t do good. Only very good or flippin’ excellent.”

Fifty coach-loads descend on Bury’s  market each day during the summer months to stock up on the £1.05 puddings, with other devotees travelling far and wide to sink their teeth into a Chadwick original. Trevor Hodgkinson, 64, had brought his wife Elaine up from Norfolk to taste the pudding he loved growing up in Hulme, Manchester. “You can get black pudding in Norwich, of course,” said Elaine, dousing her hot pud with vinegar and mustard, “but Trevor always says it’s not the same, and he’s right. The texture is very different – processed ones are often very dry. This breaks up nicely. It’s delicious.”

She washed it down with a smoothie she’d bought from another stall. “Cucumber, celery apple and lime – I was trying to be healthy,” she said, saying that she was pleased to hear that the black pudding wasn’t perhaps the health disaster she had feared.

“It’s funny, isn’t it? You think of superfoods and you think of berries. You wouldn’t think of black pudding.”

Chadwick believes he is already one step ahead of the diet gurus. “I tell you what’s going to be the next superfood,” he said, pointing to a counter containing white blankets of animal stomach. “Zero calories there. Mark my words, the next big superfood will be tripe.”

Tripe is alright if served with fried onions.

Grinners breakfast

Grinners breakfast

Or you can have it for high tea:

Baked beans with black pudding

Baked beans with black pudding

Cor them pics make me drool!!!