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2.8.14

Great Coffee Moments, A Texas Sheriff's Tale


The possibly true story of Juan Valdez


Romancing the Bean 
A Series Of Short Stories

By J. B. Blocker

the Caffeine Cowboy
 In a little over 1000 years, coffee has been elevated to the second most traded commodity after oil and the most prepared beverage in the world. 
  From Kaldi the goat herder who is credited to have discovered coffees kick, to the French Lieutenant who brought it to the New World, stories abound.
   I’ve got a long list of these stories if you’re interested. Most of them are true! At least parts of them are!
   The story I am about to share may or may not be true. No matter, it is close to my heart and carries a modern day lesson somewhere inside.

31.7.14

Coffee, Politics, News, and Fine Foods

Romancing the Bean Series
by Caffeine Cowboy

Tales from the Old County

Coffee Cantata by Johan Sebastian Bach


  “No daughter of mine will drink coffee!” declares Schlendrian. (Stuffy in German)  “­­But father, if I don’t have at least three small cups a day, I’ll soon be as dried-out as an un-basted roast!”

  Cleverly, Schlendrian proposes, “Fine, then make your choice, a husband or coffee!”  His willful daughter seemingly demurs to her fathers restriction but with a stage-whisper tells the audience, “Any man who wishes to win my hand must first promise to supply all of the coffee I want!”

  Amused by the Parisian fad for coffee, Bach asked the famed poet and satirist Picador to write a libretto with coffee as its theme.  The story mirrored the attitude of the German elite toward women and the middle-class. Coffee was too special for the commoner and coffeehouses were no place for a lady!


  Before public music halls existed in Germany, caf├ęs attracted music lovers by sponsoring performances by collegia musica (the association of private musicians).

  From 1720 to1740, Bach performed for the public and experimented with new pieces at Zimmerman’s Kaffeehaus in Leipzig.  The Coffee Cantata was first performed there in 1734.  It was a musical and community success.

The most famous coffee snob:


30.7.14

It is time for a great Gazpacho!



Gazpacho w/Shrimp
By J.B. Blocker

  I have been craving fresh veggies. Guess my constant pushups when I want a cigarette has something to do with it. Maybe it’s my eat healthy gene that is kicking in. I have a tendency to go on auto-pilot when I grocery shop around the produce and then the gene  takes over.   
  This happened to me recently. There I was, looking at my cart filled with asparagus, avocados, cucumbers, peppers, celery, romaine, red onions, and tomatoes without realizing I had spent a half hour or more in the fresh produce section. The problem is, I only went for eggs, milk, and coffee.
  Back at home, I am looking at my sink filled with veggies and I am thinking of what I am going to do with them.
  That’s when the spirit of my recently passed chef mentor, the great French Master Chef Jean La Font spoke to me.
  “Gazpacho”, he whispered!

29.7.14

Great Chefs and Coffee


Romancing the Bean Series
by Caffeine Cowboy

 
Tales from the Old County, 2
  I count among my friends and mentors some venerable and highly respected chefs and hospitality specialist.  These gentlemen are revered in the Dallas culinary community. They are iconic.
  Many learned their craft in the shadows of WWII. Swiss, Austrian, French, and German influences ignited their love of exquisite dining that they eventually brought to a booming Dallas of the 70’s. It was time of great hotels and the explosion of fine dining in downtown Dallas that brought these adventurous young chefs that changed the image of dining and brought European luxury and elegance to the table.
  I always felt that they liked me, but after the research for this story I realized that my charm my have been secondary to my devotion and accessibility to great coffees! 
Chefs Karl Hass and Klaus Curley 
  Many thanks to Chef Karl Hass and to the late great men Chef Werner Vogeli and the consummate G.M. Helmut Frenzen who as a team, made the 69th floor City Club in Dallas a legendary experience. 
  My 1st Dallas account as the Caffeine Cowboy was the City Club. I would tell people, "the closest coffee to heaven in Dallas was mine!"
  They shared pieces of their personal memories of coffee in their post war youth with me.  jb

15.7.14

Sgt. James Stratton, 94 years well lived!

A Cowboy for Life
by J.B. Blocker
James Carter Stratton was born May 22, 1920 to J.C. and Hattie Stratton in Clovis, New Mexico. He grew up near Tucumcari where his family raised cattle and grew wheat. 
After serving in WWII, he met Miss Lila Miller at an Army dance in Lusk, Wyoming. They began their lives together on Oct. 20, 1945 in Lance Creek where they raised cattle for 60 years.
He is survived by his wife Lila of 68 years, son Ted of Lafayette, Ga., daughter Nona of McKinney, grandsons Dale, Sam, and Logan, granddaughters Sarah, Regina, Jennifer, Amy, Cara and 10 great grandchildren.
James Stratton is my friend. The 94 year old cowboy lived a couple of blocks from me in McKinney. I first met him at a Veterans Day celebration where he came dressed in his full WWII uniform. He was a devoted American who was still holding hands with his Lila in his last days. He was a historian of the era of cowboys and the military. His legacy is carried on by his devoted children and all who saw the sparkle in his eyes that drew you in and captured your heart.
Over the past 6 years, I tried to drop by as often as possible for an afternoon taste of Glenlivet and to hear cowboying stories going back to the 1930's. 
  
  Since James has been an avid historian and collector of Cavalry memorabilia most of his life, his mind and his house are historical museums just waiting for me to tour.
  It has been an awesome honor and responsibility for me to be one of the last personal friends and confidants of a man who has traveled the world and made so many friends all along the way.          I have many of his stories bouncing around now like friendly ghost. God blessed us all with men like James Stratton.




Somewhere outside Clovis, New Mexico 1936. McGregor Cattle Company chuck wagon ready to feed.  “We would pick out the fattest calves and butcher them next to the supply wagon. Cowboys would ride in, cut off a favorite cut, and eat all the beef and beans you could hold.” Photo by James Stratton.