Remember When: School Lunches

On Thursday I was in New Orleans. I had a meeting to attend in the morning and at lunch, I was whisked away to base camp, which is what we in “the business” call the place where everyone and all the equipment is hanging out between locations. Base camp yesterday was at the Lion’s club in Algiers – a neighborhood on the west bank (also referred to as “The Best Bank” or “The Wank” depending on which side of the river you’re from) of the Mississippi. I don’t usually go to set. In my capacity as the supervising sound editor of the show, my work happens after the scenes are shot – weeks or months after in some cases. But Thursday was special: it was our crew’s holiday lunch.

As nice as the grilled ahi tuna, short ribs, salad bar, fried chicken, mac and cheese, and Chinese fried rice were that day, the fact remains that it was served from steamer trays and we stood in lines with those brown trays, collecting our food. There aren’t too many things that can bring you back to your childhood as quickly as a cafeteria. Here’s what I remember about school lunches:

When I was a kid, we didn’t have soda machines in the cafeteria. It was milk or chocolate milk. And water came from the water fountain, not in bottles.

I always looked forward to pizza days and to this day still, if the pizza I am eating is cut into squares, I want to eat potato chips with it.

Or what about tuna surprise rolls? Who would have thought that a hot dog bun filled with tuna salad and cheese, toasted, could be good? Or was that just me? Did anyone else like tuna surprise? And was tuna surprise one of the Friday lunch options? I remember we always had fish on Fridays (for the Catholics…does that still happen?) and most of the time that meant macaroni and cheese (which was very white and mushy) and breaded fish sticks.

Cole Camplese told me his favorite lunch at BHS was a new offering that appeared on the menu with great anticipation:

“I think my sophomore year they added Chicken Nuggets and it instantly became my favorite item. Mike Fritz and I talked them into selling us a la carte extras so we would end up with something like twenty or so nuggets each.

“We did have a couple of vending machines and one in particular served as Kevin Primerano’s go to lunch option: ‘Scooter Crunch Lunch.’ His famous lunch consisted of nothing more than a couple chocolate Scooter Crunch ice cream bars. He ate them so often, who wouldn’t have loved to have been the one collecting the quarters from that machine?”

What about you? What are your school lunch memories? Were you one of the lucky ones that got to leave campus to eat? What were your favorite school day lunches?

[box type=”shadow”]Photo via flickr.[/box]

Remember When: The Sounds of Memory

What do sounds have to do with memory? Let’s explore!

For those of you that don’t know, aside from my status as migrant journalist for The Bloomsburg Daily, I am a professional sound editor. If you don’t know what a professional sound editor is exactly, don’t worry; most people don’t. It’s generally understood from seeing all the “behind the scenes” documentaries on TV and the DVD bonus materials that it takes a large crew to make what goes up on the screen in the finished product seem so, for lack of a better word, real. But it’s not just hair, makeup, lights, and set designers who create the illusion because movies are not just moving pictures. They are moving pictures with sound.

We all know when we are watching a movie that certain things have been played with to make the picture look the way it does: in addition to makeup artists and costume designers, there may be special effects (like computer generated graphics) or stunts (gun and fist fights, car chases). And we all know that when we watch a scene, it’s been constructed from a series of shots that, in some cases, are filmed over the course of not just hours but days or even weeks. A lot of attention gets paid to how things look on film. But even more things are changed in the sound than in the picture.

As a sound editor, I have changed the accents of characters and sometimes, swapped their voices out entirely for someone else’s. I have altered the dialog in other ways, too. I have changed a performance from sad to angry or flat to funny by swapping out the performance of the lines with that of a different take. Actors rarely say things the same way twice so when I find a new performance, I shave words or stretch them out to fit in new spaces, raise or lower the pitch of an actor’s voice to match the mood of the original performance, slow things down, or speed them up as needed.

Sometimes the actor says the wrong thing and I put different words in their mouth entirely and often I am called upon to bring actors back into the studio to re-record their lines for any or all of the above reasons. And that’s just what a sound editor does to dialog. Every foot step, punch, car horn, helicopter pass by, dog bark, bird tweet, door slam, gun shot and alien spacecraft lifting off has been created, recorded, or selected and then placed by a sound editor. Whereas movie audiences routinely admire the skills of the visual team – how good the actress’ hair or makeup looked, how cool the special effects were – when I do my job right, no one even knows that I’ve done it; sometimes, not even the director!

In thinking about the importance of sound (and hopefully, making it a little more important to you, too), I have come across a couple of interesting articles on the internet lately. One, from last year, is about emotional memories.

The gist of that article is that scientists have found that the same part of the brain which processes what our senses percieve is geographically the same part of the brain that stores emotional memories. While this revelation in itself may not be terribly interesting to most non-neuroscientists, it leads to an interesting question:

Is the reason why the sound of a dentist’s drill can put many people into a state of instant anxiety because where the brain processes what it hears and what it remembers about other times it heard that sound is, in essence, filed in the same place?

And then there’s this article, which reminds me of an experience my friend Aaron Hurley had recently. It occurred to him that his kids all grew up with call waiting and voicemail and he wondered, will they even know what a busy signal is? Aaron did some research to find the answer:

“I individually asked six kids aged 8 to 15 (8, 9, 11, 13, 14, 15). Even I was surprised that the older kids were just as clueless as the younger ones. In fact, even after explaining the whys and hows, only the 9-year-old seemed to have any vague sense of what I was talking about.

You see, she’s a pretty dark kid and it was her exposure to age-inappropriate cinema that allowed her to remark, ‘Oh! Like in a scary movie when the phone won’t work?'”

Isn’t it amazing how, in just the last decade, technology has changed our lives so much that not only do we not know how to wait for anything but we don’t even know what a busy signal sounds like anymore?

The ramifications for my career are one thing that these articles highlight for me: how people feel about something is linked to how it sounds and which sounds they have in their memory already. But think about it this way – there may be a person or event you haven’t thought of in years and then you hear a song and suddenly, you are right back where you were the first (or last) time you heard it. Of course the way all the senses work is linked to memory – not just hearing but also sight, touch, smell, and taste. But naturally, I’m more interested in emotional memories tied to sounds. So here’s my little sound experiment. Care to participate?

What do you think of when you hear this:

What about this:

Or finally this:

Share what memories these sounds brought back for you by adding your comment below.

Photo credit, The Power House Museum Collection.

Remember When: Thanksgiving

TurkeyThis week, “Remember When” is taking a trip to the dining room table in honor of (of course) Thanksgiving.

Growing up in Bloomsburg, Thanksgiving for me always meant dinner at my grandparents’ home with a roasted turkey (the only turkey dinner we had all year), mashed potatoes (my mother was in charge of them as there were never any lumps when she was at the hand-mixer), gravy, stuffing (Stove Top, because my uncle and I insisted on it), cranberry sauce (of course), the most sugary sweet corn casserole imaginable (because my grandmother has an unquenchable sweet tooth) and broccoli salad (because it sounded healthy, I guess).

My grandmother usually made a couple of pies for dessert and the first hint of what they would be was when you came in the back door and saw them cooling on the porch.


Every family has their own traditions but sometimes, the region or heritage of the family influences the menu. Here’s what our own Kristin Zeisloft Camplese remembers:

“I remember gathering around my grandparents’ table (and the kids’ table) with aunts and uncles and lots of cousins. I don’t remember much about the turkey — only the sides, which included a gigantic bowl of Mashed Potatoes, Creamed Corn out of my grandmother’s blue dish (it was almost exclusively reserved for that purpose) and Baked Oysters, which were a Zeisloft family tradition and a treat reserved only for the holidays. They were covered in crushed up crackers and lots of butter and most years, I only ate the cracker crust part. I learned to enjoy the oysters later on — but I always remember that my grandfather or someone in the family would have to make a trip to Baltimore to pick up, and then hand deliver, the fresh oysters.”


Having to travel to see family was an eye opening experience for Cole Camplese:

“My parents weren’t from Bloomsburg so each year when I was a kid the three of us would pile into the car and travel to either my Grandparents’ homes in either Elkins or Wheeling, WV. They were stark opposites of each other! My Father is the son of immigrants, my Grandfather was Italian and my Grandmother was very Portuguese. This created a radically different type of meal than what most everyone considers “traditional.” It was always amazing with turkey, homemade pasta, sauce, a giant salad, and the crown jewel, my Grandmother Camplese’s Portuguese Stuffing (I think we’ll share that recipe this week as well)! There were always so many people around the table laughing, talking, eating, and hugging. A great way to learn about family. Traveling to Elkins, WV to visit my Mother’s parents was very much in line with what the traditional American Thanksgiving looks like — a perfect turkey stuffed with dressing, amazingly creamy mashed potatoes with homemade gravy, and fresh frozen corn. What I loved about having those two experiences is that my Thanksgivings today borrow from both.”


The Bloomsburg Daily’s resident photographer, Bob Rush, has these Thanksgiving memories from across the Delaware in Phillipsburg, New Jersey:

“When I was a kid we lived on a farm. Every Thanksgiving we would wake up early and my fathers friends would come over and we would all go small game hunting. We would come back to a small lunch and go to our high schools football game. Phillipsburg, NJ versus Easton, PA. We would end the day at someone’s home for a BIG FEAST.”


More often than not these days, I’m somewhere other than Bloomsburg during the holidays. When I’m in Los Angeles, a friend’s family takes me in for holiday meals and their tradition is baked fish and an array of vegetable side dishes.

While in New Orleans, it seems to be law that you must deep fry your turkey – though recipes and methods vary from cook to cook. I had one patriarch explain to me that the trick is to go with many small birds, instead of one huge one, and to dry rub them first, then flash fry for no more than eight minutes before wrapping in foil and finishing on a grill for an hour.

Another family’s tried and true method was to take one large bird and sink it into the deep fryer until finished. Both methods, however, yielded almost identical results: a moist on the inside, golden crisp on the outside Thanksgiving bird.

What are your  family Thanksgiving traditions? Add to the conversation by commenting below.

Sunday Slowdown: How Many of These Things Do You Say?

Bloomsburg FountainI’ve seen this video crop up a few times and while I find it amusing, I wonder just how accurate it is for all of NEPA. For example, I know the waitress at the Texas always used to ask “Are youse together,” but I don’t ever recall hearing anyone around our parts saying “Heyna.” Instead they would use “Hain’t” or, my Grandmother sometimes even says “Henna or no.”

So sit back, put your feet up on da davenport, make sure youse got fresh batt-trees in da remote control, pop open a couple two tree yuenglings, and enjoy enjoy!

Remember When: You Realized What Being From Bloomsburg Meant

MonumentThis week, I’d like to try something a little different in this column. Rather than focus on a particular topic, I want to find out what everybody’s memories are of first being made to understand that not every town looks like, thinks like, eats like, or maybe just sounds like Bloomsburg.

For example:

I remember my first trip to New York City. It was by bus and we entered the Lincoln Tunnel, which you approach via an off-ramp that spirals into it from above, affording you an almost 360-degree view before bringing you down to the toll booths. As the bus was making that turn, I could see a large parking structure and I realized – there were probably more cars in that garage than there were people in my hometown!

And aside from the obvious differences in size, height, and population between Bloomsburg and New York, while I was a freshman in college there, I remember rushing to get to the bank one Wednesday and a friend asking me what the hurry was. I told her it’s because banks close early on Wednesdays and she said “No they don’t. Why would they do that?” And then I realized; that’s a Bloomsburg thing! By the way – does anyone know why that happens? I think I’ve always assumed that it had to do with the farmer’s market (which used to be a much bigger deal and many businesses on Main Street would close early because of it) but I’m not sure if that’s really the case.

So how about it? What were your personal discoveries about the differences between Bloomsburg and any place else? Share your memories in the comments section below.

Second Mile: A Lesson To Be Learned

PhoneIn State College over the weekend, allegations came to light of the worst kind: repeated acts of sexual abuse against multiple children over the course of more than a decade by a respected member of the Penn State coaching community, Gerald Sandusky.

Sandusky has been accused of using The Second Mile, a charity he founded in 1977 to help children from troubled homes, as a source of alleged victims. As the Presentment states, “Through The Second Mile, Sandusky had access to hundreds of boys, many of whom were vulnerable due to their social situations.”

As disturbing as that detail may seem, according to Zabrina Finn, the Executive Director of The Women’s Center in Bloomsburg, it fits a common theme. Perpetrators of child sexual assault commonly know and have consistent access to and occupy a position of authority, power and trust in their victim’s life.

“Mr. Sandusky’s [alleged] activities do fit within the normative perpetrator profile,” she said. “It’s critically important to remember that children are often groomed by the perpetrator for the abuse… Since the perpetrators often already occupy positions of power in the child’s life, it becomes pretty easy to use that influence in the grooming process, then to perpetrate the abuse, and finally to ensure the victim’s silence.”

According to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry’s website (AACAP), “child sexual abuse has been reported up to 80,000 times a year, but the number of unreported instances is far greater, because the children are afraid to tell anyone what has happened, and the legal procedure for validating an episode is difficult.”

When asked what warning signs adults should be aware of if they suspect another adult of inappropriate behavior with a child, Finn said “some red flags could be over the top gift-giving or repeated requests for private time with the child. Other red flags would be insinuating themselves in other aspects of the child’s life where the perpetrator might not have had access or as free access to the child previously such as showing up at the child’s sports practice or visiting them at the house of the child’s friend.”

As for what warning signs to look for in a child’s behavior, children who are victims of prolonged sexual abuse usually develop self-esteem issues. According to the AACAP, “the child may become withdrawn and mistrustful of adults, and can become suicidal.” Other red flags may include sleep problems or nightmares, an unusual interest in or avoidance of all things of a sexual nature, conduct problems, secretiveness, unusual aggressiveness, or aspects of sexual molestation coming out in the child’s drawings, games, or fantasies.

“Parents, guardians, loved ones and care givers should already be attuned to the normal behavior of the child and when changes occur ask questions, get involved, state clearly that the child can trust them and that they are always there to help them,” advises Finn.

Perhaps the most disquieting revelation in the Grand Jury Presentment was just how many times Sandusky was allegedly witnessed in compromising positions with minors by other adults who either turned a blind eye (afraid to admit that they saw what they thought they saw or for fear of losing their jobs if they said anything), or who told someone they erroneously thought would “take care of it.”

“Anytime anyone is confronted with the suspicion of or direct knowledge of child abuse of any kind, uncertainty, embarrassment, and fear are all pretty understandable responses,” said Finn. Whatever the circumstances, however, she said the appropriate action is to notify the authorities:

“We tell children in all of our educational presentations, ‘Keep telling. If someone doesn’t believe you the first time, or second time keep telling until someone does take it seriously.’ Adults could benefit from taking that advice as well. If you’ve had reason to suspect that child abuse is occurring (whether you’ve witnessed it or had someone else disclose it to you), it is important to tell and keep telling until the report is taken seriously.”

Finn believes that PSU is at an important juncture and how they move forward is not just of consequence to the parties involved with this case. “It is not only critically important that the PSU community provide full support to…victims,” Finn said, “(they must also) make great efforts to educate themselves on all levels; administration, educators, athletic staff, athletes and the rest of the student body, about sexual assault; particularly the signs and symptoms and supportive strategies.”

Will the “Real” Chicken and Waffles Please Stand Up?

chicken and waffles“I know it sounds crazy, but trust me. You’re going to love this place,” Dominic said as we turned on to Colorado Boulevard.  Of course I trusted him; we’d been friends for over five years at that point and he had yet to steer me wrong when it came to music, movies, or food.

We passed a seemingly endless line of car dealerships, turned on to Lake Avenue, past a few taquerias, and a sad, empty Kentucky Fried Chicken and there it finally was — the restaurant that Dom thought would sound so crazy to me, he kept its name a surprise:

Roscoe’s House of Chicken and Waffles.

He turned off the car, nearly vibrating in anticipation of my protests:

“I told you it sounds crazy but chicken and waffles really taste great together!”

As surprised as he was to not hear a mumbling objection from me, that’s how surprised I was to find a restaurant devoted to one of my favorite comfort foods in — of all places — Pasadena, California. We bounded out of the car and nearly ran in to the restaurant with visions of waffles and chickens dancing in our heads… only not the same visions. Not at all

Before I continue this story, let me ask you a question on a different subject altogether: You know how it is when you really love a song and then someone informs you that there is another version – a better version (they say) – and you don’t even want to hear it because you feel so protective of the version that you know best?

Walking in to Roscoe’s House of Chicken and Waffles for the first time was like stumbling in to a restaurant full of people singing along to Guns N’ Roses’ version of “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” who hadn’t even heard of Bob Dylan.

It turns out that the vast majority of this nation — a nation which likes to consider itself cultured and educated and well-versed in how to eat both chicken-type things and waffle-style products — has no idea what chicken and waffles really are! Those poor fools think that the chicken is supposed to be fried and the waffle covered in syrup!

I’m no culinary historian, but I’m sure that our way is the original way. As a cooking method, stewing must be way older than frying, right? Right. So our way of doing chicken and waffles must be older, too. There you have it – unsubstantiated proof! And when I say “our way” I really do mean “Our Way,” by the way. Bloomsburg is the center of the known Pennsylvania-Dutch style chicken and waffle universe. Did you know that? Well I’m saying it’s true so I must believe it. But it’s not just my opinion that this is a fact: ask that nice lady from Chicago who runs the Molly Pitcher Waffle Shop down in Chambersburg.

Me and my buddy Sue were on a trip down the Lincoln Highway a few years back, looking for gravity hills, haunted taverns, and buildings shaped like what is sold within, when we happened upon the Molly Pitcher. We were hungry, it was open…it was like, meant to be, you know? We went in and opened up a pair of menus and there it was: proper, Pennsylvania-Dutch-style chicken and waffles only they called it “Chicken and Wha?!?”

The proprietress was in that fine day so we winkled the goods from her. She was from Chicago (like I already said) and used to work for the Buckhorn Family Restaurant chain. Eventually, being a good and diligent worker, she was rewarded with a promotion to The Buckhorn Truck Plaza (Exit 232) where, on her first day at work, there was a line outside the restaurant to get in.

“What’s going on,” she asked and someone explained to her that it was chicken and waffles day. Her response was, “Chicken and wha?!?” But she grew to love them so much that there she is now, in Chambersburg, proprietress of her very own chicken and waffle eatery. And there you are, Bloomsburg. Go ahead and be proud of your chicken and waffles and the vast sway they hold!

But while outside of Eastern Pennsylvania menus containing “Real” chicken and waffles are almost non-existent, the “Fake” chicken and waffles are having their fifteen moments in the sun these days. You can find them on menus in St. Petersburg and Chicago, Phoenix and New York City, Indianapolis and San Francisco. I believe the only reason why “Fake” chicken and waffles are more popular is because taking advantage of franchising opportunities is one thing the Pennsylvania Dutch are not known for. Still I gotta admit — even though it doesn’t resemble the original in the least, the “Fake” can be pretty tasty when done right.

Since my first visit to Roscoe’s House of Chicken and Waffles, I’ve had the wrong kind of chicken and waffles in several cities, including New York, where they call it “Harlem-style.” This makes sense to me since Roscoe (the man, the myth, the Los Angeles area chicken and waffle restaurant chain owner) is from Harlem. And he has done more to popularize that dish than anyone else I haven’t met.

Also, when I lived in New York City, I had more than one occasion to eat of the Harlem-style in Harlem and one place in particular, Londel’s Supper Club, had a whole section of their menu explaining the origin of chicken and waffles (the short version: “Harlem,” they said). And menus don’t lie, do they? Maybe so, because many people, including Chef, Author, and host of “No Reservations” Anthony Bourdain, believe that “Harlem-style” originated somewhere south of the Mason-Dixon line.

I know Anthony Bourdain harbors this popular illusion because I work on a series on HBO called “Tremé,” and we have a character on the show who’s a chef. And in one episode last season, there was a scene where she (southern girl that she is) made a southern-themed meal at the restaurant where she works. And the meal featured, of all things, fried chicken and waffles.

My hackles raised, I immediately went to the executive producers to explain the error of their ways: how could a southern-themed meal contain “Harlem-style” chicken and waffles? Their answer: “Anthony Bourdain wrote that scene. Take it up with him.”

To date, I have not taken it up with him. But that’s not to say that I won’t if ever given the chance. In the meantime, I will concede that the popular consensus is that “Harlem-style” chicken and waffles are from the south. In defense of my alternate, less-popular version of reality, however, I will add that in all my travels, I have never seen chicken and waffles on a menu together in the deep south — not anywhere that is known for its fried chicken, its waffles, its soul food or southern cuisine. And it’s not as though I haven’t been looking.

Just last week, I had sweet potato waffles and fried chicken at Gussie’s in San Francisco. My significant other has been a professional restaurant reviewer in that city for the last 17 years or so. She thought she was the reigning champ of all things chickeny and waffley because she once did six consecutive weekly reviews of chicken and waffle-themed restaurants. Her editor was not amused.

When I broke the news to her that she had been eating the wrong kind of chicken and waffles all these years, it blew her mind. Just as I would have never imagined doing what Roscoe and his ilk do to chickens and waffles on the same plate, so too could she not fathom the dish that I grew up with.

“Don’t worry,” I assured her. “We’ll go to Bloomsburg. Then you’ll understand.”

And though she did get to go to Bloomsburg this year, it ended up to be just in time for Tropical Storm Lee. So between the leftovers from the Labor Day BBQ we hosted and the lovely hamburg barbeque sandwiches we were fed at St. John’s in Espy while helping friends of friends gut their first floor, nary a chicken-stewed waffle was had. And while we had intended to stay the whole of Fair Week, once the fair was cancelled we got it in our heads that the best thing we could do was leave town earlier than planned and make our drive westward all the more leisurely.

I got the news of the food vendors going rogue on Route 11 while we were parked for the night in Grand Junction, Colorado. We may have both shed a tear to think of what we were missing but … next year …

Until then, we decided to have Kristin Camplese, proprietor of the cooking website Cuizoo, cook up a batch of chicken and waffles and share the recipe for our readers.  This version takes a savory, rosemary-infused Belgian Waffle and tops it with chicken stewed in marsala-laced and butter-rich gravy.  It’s a little fancier than some recipes, but the results are divine and elevate a dish — traditionally made with leftovers — to a company-worthy meal.  In the comments, let’s talk chicken and waffles.  What’s your favorite chicken and waffle recipe? Where’s the best restaurant version of it you’ve had? Have you ever had the “Fake” chicken and waffles and if so, where and what did you think of them?

Chicken with Marsala Gravy over Rosemary Belgian Waffles

Serves 4-6

Note:  These types of dishes are traditionally leftover-based.  Someone would take leftover chicken and mix it with leftover gravy and serve it over some freshly made waffles on day two after a roast chicken.  If you don’t do it that way, it is more labor intensive, but still generally worth it.  As with most cooking, it is best with homemade chicken stock, the freshest local chicken you can find, and freshly made waffles.  However, it can certainly be made easier by using convenience ingredients.  It just won’t be as good. 

For the chicken and gravy:

1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
1/2 cup flour
4 cups of chicken stock (homemade is best)
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 cup sweet marsala wine
5 cups of shredded chicken (white meat is best)
1 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped

For the waffles:

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 cups yogurt or thinned sour cream
1/4 cup milk
2 eggs, separated
4 tbsp butter, melted
2 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped

1.  Make the gravy by melting 1/2 cup of butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the 1/2 cup flour and cook for about three minutes, whisking constantly (this is called the “roux”).  Add in 4 cups of chicken stock, 1/2 cup of marsala, and salt and pepper.  Whisk well to make sure all of the roux mixture  is incorporated with the stock.  Use a spatula to make sure there is no roux left in the corners of the pan.  Bring to the boil so it begins to thicken and then reduce heat to medium low.  Stir in shredded chicken and simmer over medium low heat for at least 30 minutes, and more if needed.  If it becomes too thick, you can add a bit of broth or marsala.  Season to taste with additional salt and pepper and fresh rosemary.

2.  Make the waffle batter by combining the whole wheat pastry flour, all purpose flour, salt, and baking soda in a large bowl. Combine the yogurt, milk, melted butter, 2 egg yolks, and chopped rosemary in a small bowl.  In a medium bowl, take the remaining two egg whites and whisk them until stiff peaks form.  Stir the yogurt/milk mixture into the flour mixture. If it is very thick, add a bit more milk. Gently fold in the whipped egg whites into the waffle batter and stir just until combined, so you don’t deflate the egg whites.  Preheat a Belgian Waffle maker and brush it lightly with melted butter.  Ladle the appropriate amount of batter onto the waffle iron (according to manufacturer’s instructions) and cook until golden brown and crispy.  Repeat with remaining batter, keeping waffles warm in the oven.

3.  To serve, taste gravy for seasoning and add additional salt, pepper, rosemary, or Marsala if necessary.  Ladle a large scoop of the chicken and gravy over a hot waffle.  Garnish with additional chopped rosemary if desired.


Essay by Jen Ralston who is (in a very particular order) an eater, traveler, writer, and Emmy award-winning sound editor. She was born and raised in Bloomsburg.

Recipe by Kristin Camplese who is (in no particular order) an eater, writer, photographer, cook, mother, and wife.  Also raised in Bloomsburg.  No Emmy awards, although she did win a spelling bee in 7th grade.

Sunday Slowdown: The New York Harbor Boatlift

NYC ViewOn September 1st, 2001, I moved in to a beautiful brownstone in the Hamilton Park section of Jersey City, NJ. The landlords were a couple who lived on the bottom two floors. My partner and I lived on the top two floors. We, like most people in our neighborhood, were daily commuters into New York City on a subway system called the PATH (Port Authority Trans-Hudson) line.

On Tuesday, September 11th, I had the rare opportunity to sleep in and work from home for a few hours. Everyone else in the house left for the city at their usual rush-hour time.

Having just moved to our new place, we were still unpacking and still waiting for the phone, cable, and internet to be hooked up. Sometimes, Ignorance can truly be bliss:

Even though I was only a mile – literally just across the river – from the World Trade Center and could see the towers from the end of my block, I didn’t know what happened until it was already over.

One of my former landlords (and still great friend) from that beautiful brownstone sent me this link earlier in the week and it brought me right back to that day, sitting on the front stoop, waiting for someone – anyone – to come home. The tunnels were closed to non-emergency vehicles, the subways collapsed and flooded (it would be two years until the PATH service was fully restored). But all three of the other occupants of 216 8th Street made it back home that afternoon. Two of them were boatlifted from the 38th Street pier by a Waterways ferry and the third was boatlifted from Pier 11 down by Wall Street by a tug boat.

I wanted to share this video because, like the boat captains who had to do something to help when they saw people in need that day, we all have that instinct in us to reach out and rise to the occasion. And we’ve proven that this September, ten years after that fateful day.

– Jen Ralston

BOATLIFT – An Untold Tale of 9/11 Resilience

Remember When: At the Movies

Remember when Bloomsburg had a Drive-In Theater? How about when there were movie theaters on Main Street? Did you know that not only was there the Capitol and Columbia, but at one time there was also a Nickleodeon on the west end of Main Street? This week we share our memories of being At The Movies.

My earliest movie memories are all tied to the Capitol. Remember when it was all one theater with a balcony instead of two screens? The ceiling had the most beautiful and intricate medallion on it — probably a leftover base from a chandelier that was before my time. I always got to the theater early so I could get my favorite seat (the middle of that center row, the row that had no one in front of it so short people like me could never get stuck sitting behind a tall person). I must have spent hours over the years, staring up at that medallion, listening to that tape they played before the movie started. Do you remember it? “I’ve been to Paradise (But I’ve never been to me),” and “The Age of Aquarius” were on there. Does anyone remember any of the other songs they used to play before the movies at the Capitol?

And remember that side exit they would open when the movie was over? Remember the mask that hung in the alleyway?  

The first movie I ever saw was Star Wars at the Capitol. I was only five years old so I fell asleep before the Death Star blew up. But I went back to see it many many times after that and was so in love with movies because of it, I knew I wanted to work on them when I grew up. And now I do! What was the first movie you saw in town? Which theater was it in? And does anybody remember when the Capitol showed “The Molly Maguires” (see this column’s photo)?


I only have one memory of the Columbia Theater. By the time I was a movie-goer, that theater had fallen into quite a state of disrepair but they showed “Raiders of the Lost Ark” so I had to go there! About…14 times!


Dave Henrichs has these Bloomsburg movie memories:

“I remember waiting in line for the first Batman movie with Michael Keaton.  The line was down the street to get into the Capitol!!!  But the first movie I remember seeing there was the first Muppet Movie with my mom, sister and grandmother….


Cole Camplese has these Capitol memories to share:

“I remember when Kramer vs Kramer was there and the lines were around the corner. The same thing happened for ET, the Muppet Movie, and Jaws. All movies I saw at the Capitol!


And Jack Edwards learned a valuable life lesson at the movies in Bloomsburg:

“There was a movie I wanted to see at the Capitol, ‘Green Mansions’ I think it was. It was a beautiful summer afternoon so I emptied my piggy bank, and with my life’s savings in my pocket I walked out to Old Berwick Road and waited for the next North Branch to come by. I got off at the corner of East and Main and headed towards the Capitol theater, window shopping along the way. About three doors from the theater, there in a store window, were two new hot rod model car kits, “The Green Hornet” and “The Black Widow”. It was a tough decision, but I chose the Green Hornet, $1.49, and counted my money one more time. I had it made! But when she gave me the total, there was this thing called ‘sales tax’! Now I was a nickel short of the 25 cents it took to get into the movie!

I needed a loan, so I walked down Main Street to Grammy Edwards’ bake shop. Grammy wasn’t there! She was running an errand and Nola, the lady who worked for her, was taking care of the store. Now what?

Nervously, I explained my predicament to Nola and asked if she thought Grammy would mind loaning me a nickel. She laughed and said, “Of course not”, and handed me a dime from the cash register.

After the movie I walked down to my grandparents’ house on Railroad and Third where I was to meet my parents. I had to explain my financial obligations to my mother. She wasn’t too happy about it. She looked me in the face and said, ‘Don’t you ever again buy anything you can’t pay for!’”

What are your Bloomsburg movie memories? Add on to the conversation below.

(Photo Courtesy of Jack Edwards)