Mashed Potatoes

Mashed Potatoes

Wanting something new, I'm changing a recipe from a former co-worker - a work in progress

  • 1 kg Potatoes
  • 1/2 package Cream Cheese about 4 oz/100 grams
  • 1/2 container Sour Cream about 4 oz/100 ml
  • 1 cup Parmesan Cheese Grated
  • Heavy/whipping cream As needed
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsb ground pepper
  • 2 Tbs Chopped chives optional

Frank Hake and the Presidential Election of 1884

Politics.  From a young age my parents taught us it was one of two things not to discuss.   Religion we can save for another post….  But why?  Everyone says politics have become more and more a polarizing topic, but if it’s worse now like we think, how was it before?

To answer that question, we’ll look back to my Great Great Grandfather, Frank Hake.  Like most businessmen in those days, Frank had been a Democrat.  But in 1884, that was about to change – Frank had decided he now wanted to be a Republican.  But it wouldn’t be that easy.

...prompted by the party who already have so black a record that old Nick himself could not add one iota to the miserable list...

You see, Frank had never met my parents.  The saying “Don’t discuss politics or religion” obviously hadn’t become standard.  So Frank did, and in what seemingly was Frank’s style it was loud and he bet money on it – with 10-to-1 odds that the Republican presidential candidate would win.  Frank bet $1,000 on James G. Blaine, a sum that the newspaper said was the largest that “ever been wagered on a presidential candidate.”

unless he renounced Republicanism they would ruin his business

Now, the Democratic party didn’t really like this.  In true 2010s style, they threatened Frank and his beer distribution business with a boycott.  The leadership of the Democratic party very quickly got all of the saloon keepers and beer sellers to “volunteer” to boycott Frank’s business.  Frank was about to lose his business.  So Frank gave in, and to add insult to injury, he was forced to donate $100 to the upcoming parade to make it a success.

Now, before you condemn the Democratic (or Republican) party, remember that when these articles were written, the Democrats were pro-segregation (they supported slavery) and anti-women’s rights – the Republicans were the progressive and liberal party then. (My point being both parties have been “the bad guys” no matter where you are on the political spectrum.)

But the 1800’s – that was the age of Gentlemen, and surely the politicians reflected those more civil values, right?

Well, Blaine (R) was accused of selling his influence to businesses (in Arkansas) and Grover Cleveland (D) was accused of fathering a child out of wedlock and forcing the mother into some sort of asylum.  But Grover Cleveland had a defense – he did not think the child was his, but had taken responsibility to protect his businessmen friends who where married and also sleeping with the widow Halpin.

So the morals of the politicians were right down there with the morals of the politicians of 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, etc.  Sex, bribery, and generally not very nice behavior.

So Who Wins?

The “October screw-up” was someone in the Republican Party criticized Catholics. In addition, the Republicans attacked the prohibition party in New York, who made a big push there (they got 25,006 votes). The same happened with the Catholics – a heavily catholic New York came out to vote heavily and the Democrats won by 1,047 votes in a normally Republican New York.  This tipped the election and gave them the first victory since before the civil war. The popular vote was only about 100,000 votes in the Democratic favor (.6%) (Democrats were in the South (they were the confederate government) and the republicans being anti-Slavery had kept them in power since the civil war. )

So Grover Cleveland won, and Frank would have lost his bet. But his business was successful for many more years. I haven’t been able to find out what happened to it, but he became physically handicapped and retired quite wealthy. (Only an appreciation for good beer was passed down in inheritance to me.) 🙂

All of this was reported in The Fort Wayne, Indiana newspaper The Gazette in October of 1884.  But in true CNN/Fox News style, shortly after the articles above were written a competing newspaper claimed the Gazette had made up the story.

We've come nowhere, baby. Mike Henkenis


Traditional Spanish Paella
Nourishing, vibrant, and served without pretension, paella has held a place of honor and practicality in Spanish homes for centuries. If mussels aren't your favorite, you can easily substitute littleneck clams in their place--just be sure to thoroughly scrub the clams' shells in cold water before using. To round out the meal, choose a good Spanish red wine from the Rioja region, grab a crusty baguette, and serve with a light salad.
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Servings: 8 servings
Herb Blend:
  • 1 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 large garlic cloves minced
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon saffron threads
  • 3 16-ounce cans fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • 8 unpeeled jumbo shrimp about 1/2 pound
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 skinned boned chicken thighs, cut in half
  • 2 links Spanish chorizo sausage about 6 1/2 ounces or turkey kielbasa, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
  • 1 4-ounce slice prosciutto or ham, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 cups finely chopped onion
  • 1 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
  • 1 cup canned diced tomatoes undrained
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 3 large garlic cloves minced
  • 3 cups uncooked Arborio rice or other short-grain rice
  • 1 cup frozen green peas
  • 8 mussels scrubbed and debearded - can substitute with shrimp or prawns
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice Lemon wedges optional
  1. To prepare the herb blend, combine the first 4 ingredients, and set aside.

  2. To prepare paella, combine water, saffron, and broth in a large saucepan. Bring to a simmer (do not boil). Keep warm over low heat. Peel and devein shrimp, leaving tails intact; set aside.

  3. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large paella pan or large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken; saute 2 minutes on each side. Remove from pan. Add sausage and prosciutto; saute 2 minutes. Remove from pan. Add shrimp, and saute 2 minutes. Remove from pan. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add onion and bell pepper; saute 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add tomatoes, paprika, and 3 garlic cloves; cook 5 minutes. Add rice; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in herb blend, broth mixture, chicken, sausage mixture, and peas. Bring to a low boil; cook 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Add mussels to pan, nestling them into rice mixture. Cook 5 minutes or until shells open; discard any unopened shells. Arrange shrimp, heads down, in rice mixture, and cook 5 minutes or until shrimp are done. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup lemon juice. Remove from heat; cover with a towel, and let stand 10 minutes. Serve with lemon wedges, if desired.