Eats: What do you serve a pope? Menus included

Of all the Pope Francis stories, this one (and the one about all the souvenir schlock) caught my eye. No surprise; food involved.

With pretty straightforward menus even the flock can prepare, if you care to do some digging for the actual recipes or their approximations. Found “almond chocolate semifreddo” right away.

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Let’s Paws: Saying goodbye to my ancient dachshund on Yom Kippur

After days of deliberations about something we knew in our bones was the right thing to do, we euthanized our Old Girl Baby, Ginger, at the start of Yom Kippur.

I’ve been overwhelmed every time I sit down to write about it; but there’s a lot more I’d like to say about the timing, which wasn’t planned. And will. gingertoys

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Let’s Paws: Pilot probably saved one lucky dog

A pilot is credited with saving the life of a French bulldog on an Air Canada flight from Israel to Canada.

Which begs the question: What was Simba, a 7-year-old bulldog doing in the cargo hold to begin with? This breed —  one of those snub-nosed types — is notorious for breathing problems. And this one obviously wasn’t a youngster.

The Humane Society says it succinctly: Air travel is particularly dangerous for

My step-dog, done in by breathing issues.

My step-dog, done in by breathing issues.

animals with “pushed in” faces like bulldogs, pugs and Persian cats. The medical term is

“brachycephalic.”  These breeds are especially susceptible to oxygen deprivation and heat stroke.

Don’t do it.

But if  you’ve moving somewhere where the drive’s too long — it’s obviously advisable to try to get the pet in the passenger cabin with you.

There’s are companies out there like in NYC that will sit with your dog in the cabin. Or drive your pet anywhere they want to go in the continental U.S.

If you’re traveling for an extended vacation or moving across the ocean or around the world and the cargo hold is really the only option, there are companies that can ease the pain. But as you can imagine, they’re not cheap.

One well-known one is, based in Austin. They handle travel door-to-door. They say they deal only with “pet-friendly” airlines. They work with the pet’s vet and push owners to get their pets used to crates and the cargo experience well before the move. The price: $1,200 and up.

Sure wish I could start an airline just for pets. There was one that I wrote about a few years ago, but it went out of business.

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Let’s Paws: It’s National Woof Day!



On this National Dog Day, Pawsing to give a shout out to my Old Girl Baby, Ginger. Going on her 19th year. Happy to give her a lift when her ancient legs can’t keep up with that puppy soul. You and me, Gin. Forever.


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When living on a train means your life’s off the rails

At first glance, this sounded like a cool idea: A German student, Leonie Müller, had a falling out with her landlord. So she decided to live on high-speed trains.

She considers herself a free spirit. I like that part.

Thing is, she’s not actually living on the rails. She bathes on the trains and doesn’t carry much. OK, that’s somewhat adventurous. But the trains are a means to shuttle between her college, and her mom’s and boyfriend’s houses. That’s where she actually sleeps.

She thought the lifestyle would save her lots of money. But by my calculations, she’s saving about $70 a month.

I can somewhat identify. I’ve never owned a house; I’ve been an Amtrak commuter for so long, I shift into a different rhythm as soon as the train pulls into New York City; and have lived out of a carry-on bag for quite some time, often weathering several climates in one trip.

And having recently divided my time between my home in Pennsylvania and Airbnbs in New York City for a photography course, I did start to feel like I was living on Amtrak. And I got really familiar with the grub at various train stations.

It was a novelty at first, but got old real quick.

I predict Leonie will put the brakes on her big adventure pretty soon. For a monthly saving of $70, it hardly seems worth it. Especially since she’s not really living on or off the train. She’s merely off the rails.

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Let’s Paws: Wisdom shines in old dogs’ eyes

No doubt about it: When everything else starts to go in a dog (and a human), the eyes still have it, as demonstrated by excerpts from this touching book. And will ’til the end.

Old don’t need to learn new tricks. They know everything there is to know about life.


Right, my old girl baby Ginger? Who’s now heading toward … 19?

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70 years after Hiroshima, ‘secret’ survivor in unlikely place

Apparently there’s a survivor of the world’s first atomic attack — the bombing of Hiroshima, Japan, living in, of all places, Washington, DC.

It withstood the U.S. attack that led to the end of World War II 70 years ago. And it had been around for hundreds of years before that.

No one knew its secret until relatively recently. But if you believe a pretty incredible story, a tree miraculously unscathed by war is now a symbol of peace.

As for Hiroshima, it seems like just another place on the outside. But the searing scars will never go away. Here’s what it looks like now.



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