The Colonial Theatre Tea Garden

The beauty spot of downtown Richmond was, in 1921, the Tea Garden of the brand-new Colonial Theatre. Herein, we recreate the essence of elegance, joy and hauteur that was once found in Virginia's first real picture palace. Bathtub gin is available at the top of the grand ramps.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

I have taken to walking even more strenuously, of late. As you know, I prefer walking to driving. Driving gets on my nerves. As far as I am concerned, city streets were meant to be traversed by walkers, occasional horses and gigantic Packard limousines. I like horses very much when they are running in circles at Pimlico, but when they are walking up Charles street they just turn into big poop machines. And, I do like gigantic Packards, but I like them much better when I am riding in them, preferably chaufeurred by a very large German, and since this has not happened in recent memory, I am perfectly happy to do without the Packards, as well.
Also, I need to lose a lot of weight, and how! It's one thing to have a few extra pounds in your twenties or thirties, but I am going to hit forty in a few months, and do not wish to do so looking like the stunt double for Jabba. At least Jabba got to have Princess Leia in weird bondage gear; at this point I'll be lucky if Darlene from Highlandtown lets me buy her a Clover Club cocktail. (No offense, Darlene, I'll take ya over to Eichenkranz next week. Bring Jeff, huh?)
Well, anyway, I've been doing more walking than usual, and it's nice to see that even rootbound Baltimore is going in big for recycling. Now, you see, I thought that we always did, but not in so many words.
Baltimore people, as you know by now if you've read my blatt before, are really really cheap. I have been known to rinse off tinfoil to reuse it. Even though tea, hot or iced, is a major part of our culture, we re-use the teabags. This is how I can get away with looking like I'm 35, because I drink and smoke and SHOULD look like I'm 60, but am actally 39. Tea leaves smeared on the face do more than the masseurs of Bedford and Berkeley can ever hope to do.
As I've wandered through the alleys of Proper North Baltimore, I've observed a number of things. I'm happy to see that even the most prosperous citizens of the Maryland Metropolis are now putting out special recycling bins. I was, however, even more pleased to see that many people show evidence of doing things that I considered normal, but had long since gone to seed.
--a guy in Calvert street sifting cat poop out of litter, to add to compost
--a couple further up Calvert stretching a Persian rug out on a line to beat it clean, instead of sending it out
--several gardens bereft of their usual flowers (though, damnit, those are always pretty gardens) in favor of vegetables
--a lady in Guilford--yes, Guilford! and a lady, not her maid-- hanging wash out to dry
--another lady in St. Paul street hauling long-forgotten Mason jars out of the garage.

This last made me stop, because I like canning things. I had to ask her if she planned to throw them out, but no: she told me that she was going to use them again. Her mother had stored them forty years ago and they'd been long forgotten--until now, and the daughter intended to use them and put up food for winter.
Ooops. This unleashed an hour long conversation. We discussed the best Maryland produce and the best times to put it up; the preferred methods (I don't care what anyone says, oven-canning is fine, but the old kettle method is the best, and the best ways to keep canned goods. We also agreed that though the farmers' Market in Waverly is very nice, there are some things that simply must be bought downtown, at our City's great Lexington Market. There are times when even a Baltimorean cannot scrimp. Then, of course, our true colors came out, when we discussed preserves. You know, you don't really need to use the pectin stuff that you get at the drugstore.... it costs more. If you cook your preserve down long enough, and have the right sugar measure, it will be just fine, and taste better too.
Now, the problem for me is that I have a kitchen full of fresh peaches(for preserves), fermenting peaches (for peach pickle) and brining cucumbers (for cucumber pickle). The other table space is devoted to sanitized and drying jars and lids (and an ashtray).
Isn't it nice to think that, for all of the gangland murders we have, there are still people making peach pickles and debating canning processes in the city's alleyways?