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People I Miss ~ Part 2

 

Charles Kuralt

Charles Kuralt was another kind and gentle man. He also oozed southern charm. He had a slow drawl and a grandfatherly demeanor. He sometimes sounded like a poet.

He was a TV journalist whose reports on human interest stories on the CBS News, On the Road, series highlighted ordinary Americans and places.

He traveled the highways and byways of America and avoided the interstates.  Thus he found quaint and out-of-the-way places overlooked by most other reporters.

He was a champion of just us plain ‘ole folks, the heroes of every day life in this big ‘ole country called America. The Academy of Achievement labeled Kuralt the Poet Laureate of the Common Man.

The depth and breath of his interviews cannot begin to be told in such a short space. A few of the people he showcased included: Violte Hensley a whittling fiddler, David Leopold the fastest New York City bike messenger; Larry Jolton a top selling shoe salesman; Jethro Mann who bought and repaired old bicycles so every impoverished kid in his neighborhood could have one; Joseph Charles a man who stood on a street corner and waved at people in Berkley, CA for 30 years.

Today any one waving to people from a street corner would be tased and arrested. Sadly a sign of the times.

A Glimpse of Our Humanity

In the prelude to her interview with Ralph Grizzle, who has devoted a lot of his life to researching and writing about Kuralt, Joyce Dixon wrote:

Charles Kuralt is unique because he captured a part of Americathat is often overlooked, and by doing so gave viewers a glimpse in our humanity.  In his heartwarming segments, Kuralt showed that even the most ordinary person offered a bit of wisdom. [Emphasis mine.]

BTW, the short interview of Grizzle is worth reading in its entirety.  See link in previous paragraph.

Sunday Morning

Kuralt also had an eclectic Sunday morning program too, appropriately called Sunday Morning, where news of the day, the arts, science, music, law, and the environment took center stage.

Every Sunday I traveled some place new for free: I canoed the swift waters of the Colorado River, I saw the wildflowers along the Appalachian Trail, I saw closes up Gauguin paintings so real I could feel the paint, I shadowed the footsteps of Darwin on the Galapagos Islands seeing the same animals he saw and drew as a  narrator read his diary/thoughts.

There has never been anything like Charles Kuralt’s Sunday Morning before or since.

Sometimes I wonder if we will ever have anything even close.

I will never forget being able to watch and listen in real time to a live concert held in Leningrad, Russia to celebrate the 150th anniversary of composer Tchaikovsky’s birth. It gave me goose bumps.

I also saw my first live glimpse of Nelson Mandela as he was released from a South African jail on February 11, 1990 after 27 years imprisonment. Before that I had only seen pictures of him from his youth.  There was no commentary. No talking heads. Just the live video feed.  I watched history in the making. It was powerful and moving. Today it would be interrupted with dozens of commercials and insipid talk between competing TV pretty-haired, caked-on-make-up, news readers.

On Being Human

I am not one of those people who are disappointed by the revelation after his death that Kuralt had a mistress for thirty years.

First of all, who am I to judge?  “Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you.” [Luke 6:37-42]

Secondly, human beings, each and every one of us, are complex beings. We are multi-faceted. I can understand that we like and can love more than one person at a time. Kuralt’s private life is none of my business. It is between him, his God, and the people he loved.

Last, we are all sinners. No one is perfect. If I seek perfection in this life I will be sorely disappointed. If I seek perfection I think I have to go to a different dimension. I am not ready for that yet.

Actually, the fact that Charles Kuralt was human makes me admire, love, and miss him all the more. Neither does it diminish in any way shape or form his humanity, love for the common person, nor journalistic legacy:

“That’s the best television journalism I’ve ever seen.”

Edward R. Murrow to CBS News President Fred Friendly after viewing Charles Kuralt’s segment on the relationship between England and the United States at the death of Winston Churchill. (Wallace Kuralt in 1998 interview with Ralph Grizzle)

Source: Remembering Charles Kuralt , An Interview with Ralph Grizzle, By Joyce Dixon.

Why I Miss Charles Kuralt

I miss Charles Kuralt because he focused on the good and the positive. There is no one like that on TV today with a national exposure and I think we are worse off for it. In the turbulent 60’s and 70’s Charles Kuralt helped to balance out the news. He let us know, see, and hear that there was still good in the world and that most people are good and decent. He gave me hope. We can all use a lot of that.

Charles Kuralt said:    “It does no harm just once in a while to acknowledge that the whole country isn’t in flames, that there are people in the country besides politicians, entertainers, and criminals. “

Here, Here!!!!
Featured Recipe    Roasted Mushroom and Potato Salad

 This is a Martha Stewart recipe from her magazine Everyday Food. I do not know which month or year. It is Martha at her very best. I just love this dish.

The first time I made it I followed the directions precisely. There were too many capers for my taste. And I love capers. How much do I love capers? Enough that I some times dig a teaspoon or so out of the jar and just eat them straight up.

The issue in this dish was they over powered the subtle flavor of the new potatoes and the mushrooms. Ms Stewart does say use of the capers is optional.

The next time I made the dish I used a scant tablespoon of the capers; just enough to jazz the dish up a bit.

It is difficult to find oyster mushrooms where I live. I have used both oyster mushrooms and the cremini mushrooms, and the dish is good with either of those. However, these days I tend to use an exotic blend of mushrooms that has both some oyster, some cremini, and lots of other mushrooms as well. One store I frequent carries this blend and it works well in this dish. It is labeled as stir-fry mushrooms. The best part of this blend is the mushrooms are pre cleaned and cut, saving me lots of time.

I have tried both the sherry and I have tried the red wine vinegar in this recipe just to see what the difference was. As regular readers of this blog may remember, I love sherry and use it a lot in my cooking. But for some reason I really like the red wine vinegar best in this dish. Don’t get me wrong. Both are good. But the vinegar is my fave.

As you can see from the picture above, I turn the dish into a meal sometimes by adding a soft-boiled egg to the salad.

This recipe is easily adapted to appeal to any and all tastes.

This is what you will need for 4 people:

1 10.5 ounce package ounces oyster or cremini mushrooms

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 pound new red potatoes

¼ cup fresh parsley leaves

2-3 teaspoons sherry or red wine vinegar

2 tablespoons capers, optional

Salt and pepper to taste

My addition: Optional 4 eggs

Here is what you do:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

If necessary, clean and trim the mushrooms. If using, cut cremini mushrooms in half. I just opened the packages of mushrooms.

Wash the potatoes and quarter them.

On a rimmed baking sheet, toss the mushrooms with 1 tablespoon olive oil and salt and pepper.

On another rimmed baking sheet, toss the potatoes with the other tablespoon of olive oil and salt and pepper.

Roast until the mushrooms are browned and potatoes are cooked through, about 20 minutes…….

…….tossing once and rotating the sheets half way through.

While the potatoes and mushrooms are roasting, wash the parsley leaves. The recipe does not call for it, but I also give the parsley a rough chop.

If you are using the eggs, put the water up to boil. After you toss and rotate the potatoes and mushrooms soft boil your eggs. If you are not sure how to soft boil eggs following is a link:  How To Soft Boil Eggs.

NOTE:  The mushrooms I used were thin, so after I rotated the baking sheets I watched them carefully so they would not burn. I had to remove them from the oven after 5 minutes. I set them on top of the hot oven and covered them with foil to keep them warm until the potatoes were cooked through.

Transfer mushrooms and potatoes to a bowl.  

Add the vinegar, and capers if using, and gently toss. I use my fingers to toss.

Divide the sald between four plates.  Toss on some of the parsley leaves. This salad is good with any meat  entrée. Pictured: Salad without soft-boiled egg.

 

Bon appétit!!!

Cost

1 package 10.5 ounces mushrooms               $6.48

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil                 $0.23 

1 pound new red potatoes                            $2.88

¼ cup fresh parsley leaves                           $0.17

2-3 teaspoons red wine vinegar                    $0.08

2 tablespoons capers, optional                      $0.76

Salt and pepper to taste

Optional 4 eggs                                            $0.40

Total cost = $11.00
Cost per person = $2.75

Quote of the Day

The everyday kindness of the back roads more than makes up for the acts of greed in the headlines.

Charles Kuralt

wwwwwwwww

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2 comments to People I Miss ~ Part 2

  • Roberta, what a beautiful salad! I have been “fluey” all week and I think if I’d had a bowl of this I would have felt much better.

    I liked both Kuralt shows. He showed a different America to what we saw on the nightly news and we felt good. The stories he presented were the sort of things that happened in our own lives.

    Frankly, if the woman made him happy and nobody was hurt, I don’t blame him for getting his needs met wherever he needed to. If he kept her for 31 years, he wasn’t a philanderer.. he was in love but “did the right thing” by staying with his family.

    • Roberta

      Oh dear, Maureen. I had same thing last week. If I didn’t know better I would think I gave you your “fluey” through the internets.

      We agree. Kuralt was not a philanderer in any way shape or form.

      And yes indeed, this is a wonderful salad ~ Comfort Food. 🙂