Picture of the Week

30 August 2014

Week 33: Pasteles, Erie County Fair, Chicago

Filed under: — Administrator @ 15:53

We spent most of the week with our son in Orchard Park, just being there with him and doing mostly mundane things, one of which was that my wife prepared some of our favourite Puerto Rican dishes, including pasteles, empanadas, and rice and beans. We also visited the Erie County Fair and towards the end of the week, we drove to Chicago to spend a weekend there.

But first the preparation of the pasteles, a traditional Puerto Rican dish. My wife was inspired to make it when she saw all the ingredients at the supermarket in the Allentown neighbourhood where we lived 30 years ago.

33_1
The starting point is this bowl of minced yautilla and green plantains, a very labour intensive process. At home we use a food processor but Moses does not have one, so it was done on a grater. I offered my wife moral support by photographing the finished bowl of ground veg:
DSF7939

33_2
You then cook some finely chopped meat, chick peas and other goodies for the filling:
DSF7940

33_3
A dollop of the ground yautilla and plantain is placed on a banana leaf, and the cooked meat is then put on top:
DSF7942

33_4
The pastel is then wrapped in the banana leaf and cooking paper:
DSF7944

33_5
DSF7946

33_6
Finally, each pastel is tied with string, and they are boiled for about 45 minutes:
DSF7949

33_7
DSF7953

33_8
The finished product is yummy:
DSF7954

Western New York has a rich agricultural tradition, and the Erie Country Fair is a fairly big event, although nowadays it is more about entertainment than farming. We visited during the week.

33_9
The midway:
DSF7987

33_10
Colorful booths and unhealthy foods are both fair traditions:
DSF7969

33_11
Cardiologist specials:
DSF7972

33_12
Probably made in China, but still fun:
DSF7966

33_13
Lucky (?) winner:
DSF7967

33_14
One of the few booths actually showing agriculture-related stuff:
DSF7965

33_15
The concept is not bad, but most of the merchandise in this store was right-wing, NRA-type t-shirts, mugs and such:
DSF7978

33_16
There was a large display of campers; having just toured Denmark in July with a tent and sleeping bag, I took a look:
DSF7961

33_17
The fisheye lens came in handy. This has nothing to do with Lars’s and mine little tent:
DSF7962

33_18
DSF7963

33_19
Screaming baby:
DSF7988

33_20
Guidance:
DSF7991

33_21
The Wizard of Wood travels around the country to fairs like this one, showing off his skills making wood sculpture with a chain saw:
DSF7983

33_22
Finally, we reached the animals. Given that I consider Budweiser horse piss, this image was quite fitting:
DSF7959

33_23
Cow with a newborn calf:
DSF7992

33_24
These cows have won prizes at various cow beauty contests:
DSF7998

33_25
DSF8001

33_26
Much of the agricultural part of a county fair is about the farm children and adolescents doing their work and showing off their animals:
DSF7995

33_27
Haircut:
DSF8002

33_28
Back at my son’s apartment, another Puerto Rican feast–empanadas, rice & beans, and fried plantains:
R000058

The remaining pictures are from our visit to Chicago, the first one ever for all of us. We drove the 530 miles from Orchard Park to Chicago on Thursday night (after Moses got home from work) and Friday morning, spending the night in South Bend, IN. There is a full Chicago gallery here, but in this blog I have selected a few that give a feel for our two days there.

33_29
We started our Chicago visit by walking down to Millennium Park where people were enjoying the glorious weather:
DSF8116

33_30
One of the most photographed places in Chicago is the sculpture in the park known as “the Bean”, and it is not hard to see why:
DSF8090

33_31
One thing that really struck us about Chicago is that art is everywhere, including on the streets:
DSF8143

33_32
Looking at photos:
DSF8118

33_33
The city of Chicago really wants its citizens to quit smoking:
DSF8138

33_34
Another witty and appealing sign:
DSF8141

33_35
Flower power:
DSF8177

33_36
We saw this slogan painted on walls in several places around Chicago:
DSF8178

33_37
These signs were also on many doors. It is sad and disgusting that a cultural institution even needs to tell people not to bring deadly weapons inside:
DSF8269

33_38
This was one of the most enjoyable evenings of our 3-week visit to the US–listening to a free concert in Millennium park while munching goodies from Whole Foods and drinking wine on the Great Lawn:
DSF8170

33_39
Another great pleasure was meeting fellow LUGger Greb Rubenstein. We met last year when Greg was visiting Barcelona, but now I got to meet him on his home turf. He took me on a pleasant walkabout, the highlight of which was a visit to Tamarkin, one of this world’s Leica temples. Here is Greg making a point while we took a break:
DSF8147

33_40
And here is Dan Tamarkin, inspecting some old Leica:
DSF8148

33_41
On Saturday afternoon we enjoyed the Chicago Air and Water Show from the best viewpoint imaginable, Greg’s 13th floor apartment overlooking the lake:
DSF8226

33_42
The Blue Angels doing their thing:
DSF8216

33_43
Later on Saturday, my children and I went to Pilsen, a neighbourhood which once housed immigrants from Eastern Europe (hence its name, after the town in the Czech Republic where pilsner beer was first brewed). Today it is a mainly Hispanic neighbourhood, and not exactly posh:
DSF8251

33_44
The reason we went to Pilsen was to see the many murals that were mentioned in the Lonely Planet guide:
DSF8260

33_45
Inspired by the gritty urban setting, I posed Moses and Monica for this “cool” portrait on a Pilsen street corner:
DSF8258

We really loved Chicago and I hope to come back sooner rather than later. As mentioned above, more pictures from Chicago are here. I also have a gallery of images from Buffalo, here.

1 Comment »

  1. Chicago’s apparently changed since my time there: 1942-1951 and 1958-1964. It was no way as endearing then.

    Comment by Herbert Kanner — 30 August 2014 @ 17:02

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Leave a comment

Powered by WordPress