Date Night at the Sharks

People are swigging beer, waiting in line for hot dogs and pizza, partying as if they didn’t have work tomorrow.  In search of healthy food, we follow the big foam finger pointing upstairs as a Japanese man calls out, “Bento Box, Sushi Here!”  The cashier recognizes my husband.  She knows a lot of the season ticket holders, as does the foam finger man.  Regulars nod to familiar faces, a community drawn together by fervor for hockey.  Or is it something else?

The San Jose Sharks vs. the Colorado Avalanche.  Number twenty-eight out of forty home games.  Hockey has three periods, each lasting twenty minutes.  Between each period is a seventeen-minute intermission.  If teams tie in regulation, they go into five-minute “sudden death,” where the first team to score wins.  If no one scores, they go to shootouts, three shots per team.  The whole thing takes about two and a half hours.  Not that I’m counting.  I’m married to a man who enjoys spectator sports, especially baseball and hockey.  Well, maybe basketball and a little football.  He loves sports, and I love him. You get the picture.

The temperature drops as we descend towards our seats.  Having learned that my jeans aren’t warm enough, I dress as for skiing.  Except in black and teal, of course.  One sees more black and teal in the Shark Tank than out in real life — adults wearing hats like shark heads, fuzzy teal scarves and jerseys everywhere, emblazoned with names of players past and present.  The gal in front of me still has the tags on a Sharks tee she’s wearing.  Does she plan to return it if we lose?  Then there’s the size of the fan base: not only is HP Pavilion always sold out, but REAL hockey fans come in three sizes only: Large, XL and XXL.  Despite the wide seats, there are spillovers everywhere.  A woman to my left texts faster than I type, but from the look of her, she exercises only fingers and thumbs.  Guys without necks chum with their seat mates, and in most cases, letting someone slip past you means getting up and stepping out of their way. [Read more…]

My grandmother’s bread pail

Every so often I pull out this bread pail that was my grandmother’s.  She mixed bread in it for her family of six children, plus two of her husband’s younger siblings who lived with them during the Depression.  I think at one time she owned several of these, but this one is the only one I know about that’s still left in the family.  I continue to use it, but obviously I don’t make as much bread as she did.

The bread pail’s official name is the Number 4 Universal Bread Maker by Landers, Frary & Clark of New Britain, Connecticut.  It won a gold medal in the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition, also known as the St. Louis World’s Fair.  Winning a gold medal at the World’s Fair was a big deal — Landers, Frary actually put it on the front of the bread pail itself.  This particular World’s Fair celebrated the centennial anniversary of the Louisiana Purchase (1803), one year late.  You can read lots more about it here if you’re interested.

Anyway, the bread “machine” was one of many products that came out around the turn of the twentieth century, all of which were designed to make women’s home-making jobs easier.  According to the National Housewares Manufacturers Association (see this reprint), the company who manufactured my bread pail produced goods under the trademark “Universal” from the 1890s until GE’s Housewares division acquired it in 1965.  In addition to the Universal bread maker, they produced a new type of food chopper that chopped vegetables as well as ground meat, and even more significant for us caffeine lovers, they designed the “Universal” coffee percolator.  Remember, electricity was just becoming available to the masses at that time: the first percolators were designed for the stove, and they made coffee that tasted better than people had ever made at home before.  [Read more…]