Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Secret Rooms, Blogger Problem
Obviously because of Hallow e'en, there is a series on Good Morning America called Secret Rooms. Yesterday, they talked about The Winchester House in San Jose, California, which belonged to the Winchester Rifle Heiress who, apparently, believed she was being haunted by all the people killed by the rifles. To deal with the haunts, she was told to build confusing rooms and corridors in her home. She held a regular séance and was guided by that as to what room she should build next. The spirits even gave her blueprints. Over some 38 years she changed an 8 room farm house into a 160 room mansion with stairs that go nowhere and doors that do the same or you can walk through one and fall a couple of storeys. There are dozens of doors and stairways in the house. She kept a gang of builders in work for the whole of that time, if you didn't work to her satisfaction one day, you would be paid off and that was it. The report was that she spent $5,000,000 on the house. That is a lot of money today, when this all happened, it was a lot more money, Wikipedia says it is equivalent to $20 million in today's money. The odd thing is it contained up to date sewerage and the gas lighting operated at the touch of a button. You should go to Wikipedia and read the entry, it is absolutely fascinating. The pictured stairs only go to the ceiling, nowhere else at all. This morning it was the 21 Club in Manhattan, New York. This club was started during the days of Prohibition as a speakeasy. Although today it has fancy doors, in those days it had plain doors which were locked so that not everyone, like the feds, could get in easily. They had buttons to let people know when there was a raid and to drink up fast, another button tipped the booze in the bar down into the sewers. But, downstairs, through the kitchen, there was a secret room. It was a double door, which looked like a brick wall and only unlocked with a skewer in a hidden hole. It opened into the brownstone next door and was a complete wine cellar and a room where people could sit and drink. They told the story that one time there was a raid by the feds and the Mayor of New York was sitting there so he phoned his cops and told them to remove the feds' cars from the front of the building. They were never raided again. The story by ABC News is worth reading. All kinds of famous people used the club, Sinatra and Hemingway to name a couple. Today it is a famous and well patronised restaurant. Their secret cellar contains $1.5 million dollars worth of wine, some of which is owned by famous people, past and present. By the way, several readers have reported a problem with using the comment section of this blog. Marilyn, of French Marilyn's Blog did some research and it appears Google/Blogger have a problem, but they are aware of it so hopefully it will be fixed any time soon. Here's a seasonal recipe which is from my book "The Essential Vegetarian Cookbook". Even if you are not a vegetarian, there are some very enjoyable dishes which don't include meat and are worth looking into. This recipe looks absolutely delicious and I will see if I can find some small pumpkins to use. Stuffed Pumpkins 4 medium golden nugget pumpkins 1/4 c water 1/2 cup cooked rice 2 tsp curry paste 1 Tbs finely chopped fresh coriander 1 green apple, finely chopped 1 small zucchini (courgette), finely chopped 1 small carrot, finely chopped 2 oz. button mushrooms, finely sliced 5 oz asparagus spears, chopped 2 tsp currants 1/4 tsp garam masala 2 oz butter, melted. Preheat oven to hot 210°C. Cut top of each pumpkin; set aside. Scoop out seeds and discard. (Unless you want to roast them for snacks). Arrange pumpkins in medium ovenproof dish.Replace tops. Add water to dish and cover firmly with foil; bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven; remove pumpkins; drain water and brush dish with melted butter or oil. Combine rice, curry paste, coriander, apple, zucchini, carrot, mushrooms, asparagus, currants, garam masala and butter in a medium bowl; mix well. Spoon this mixture into the pumpkin cavities. Top with lids. Return to the prepared dish and cover with foil. Bake pumpkins for 20 minutes or until just cooked. Have a great day.