Up to Snuff #67: Key Things to Think About When Writing

Up to Snuff #67: Key Things to Think About When Writing
By Afua Serwah Osei-Bonsu

What one aims for when writing is often the good perfected book that can go into schools. One must have all their ducks in a row, good education and degree’s lined up neatly to get the respect they deserve. A writer needs to have a good brain “tape” and hopefully wisdom. Maturity is also key and very often writer’s mature into writing and unfold as they grow older. A writer needs enough practice and should write regularly. It is also beneficial to cultivate a rich creativity, build something up and work from it. You can write from education and degrees. It helps to perfect writing and dialog in fiction if you use the right software. Writing non- stop with tablets can help to collect a setting, dialog or build up a fiction or a non-fiction book. One key some writers use is to always use a plan. Journalist’s with plans are often more successful. Another key idea for a writer is to do a little branding. Your book generally succeeds when it can be used to teach something.

Wise choices are good for a writer like collecting books and building a library and reading vs. TV. Wise choices can also promote preservation of your brain by avoiding ignorant TV programs and choosing a non-violent route for ultimately a healthier brain. Avoid crime or violence in music, choose programing and entertainment that aligns with your views. A good hobby to have is to research books. To propel yourself, what is crucial is to self- educate as much as possible by reading things in your field and building “ladders” for yourself to study. Education is generally not on a platter; you must have a rich self-education, experiential learning, to prepare you for and combine with your education. Set high bars and work towards mastership studies. Be a wise guide and look for good teachers, private teachers and align with smart people. While you are studying you can also be assembling notes for future writing, books or teaching. Buttress your books with classes and experiential learning to build a strong foundation for your books and writing career.

One key area for a writer to development is analysis. Analysis in the end impacts ones total and complete knowledge frame work. A good way to propel and acquire knowledge is via asking questions, just as in a PHD, one may start with a question or hypothesis to frame a greater study. Great books are something to use to build understanding of writing, vocabulary, analysis and very often romance or passion for your personality. A percentage of your reading and writing should be “KB” or knowledge based reading. Try to get up high enough in every subject that you can study independently and have it be meaningful. It is important to have high standards, bars and goals. You may feel “the power” to do something special in the world or for mankind-have something to offer.

Originality arrives from a variety of sources. It can arrive from bringing three disparate things or concepts together to make a new form via juxtaposition. Well- crafted questions can help you to arrive at original ideas as well as analysis. Research and inferential writing are some of the best ways to get at original evidence based thinking. Taking an aspect or a perspective where you slice off a piece of something or take a sampling can also be an essential way to look at subject matter. You can also write your thesis and later write associated variables as in an APA research proposal which can be developmental and a good path to original thinking. Observations and field work can be good to achieve original notes and writing with descriptions. You can use something you create like a microcosm, a catalyst or something like a “maquette,” to feed off and generate original ideas. Critique your writing to elevate it and get additional perspectives.

What is essential to a writer is to think about what is detrimental and available vs. what is responsibility and choice. Things that weigh heavy on the readers brain and could be avoided are things like: suicide, abortion, crime, killing, negative ideas and instigation, misogyny, low self-esteem, alcoholism, drug fame as opposed to health promoting, humanitarian, Paradisian and the world you want to live in.

One big challenge the writer has is to have a daily “digest” of enough words to adequately build their vocabulary. What is often recommended is to use a Thesaurus when searching for a word or something like “Soules Dictionary of English Synonyms.” A Thesaurus will build your vocabulary out sideways. It is good to read frequently and classics with better vocabulary choices. It is worthwhile, to read the classics with a dictionary and pen and paper. To advance rapidly, read every summer or regularly the dictionary itself. There are on Amazon.com a few books on building the vocabulary, the vocabulary from classic roots, vocabulary workshop, and vocabulary flash cards. You can sign up for new words delivered to your email box on M-W’s Word of the Day. Other good places for information on writing are the “Purdue Owl” website, the “Library of Congress” Database, “Wikipedia” and the “Poetry and Writers” website.

What can ultimately be good is to organize your reading so when you first wake up in the morning you have morning reading and before bedtime reading. It is good to catch your favorite current events in the morning along with your favorite online magazines and blogs.

A nice ways to round out a personality is to heavily read in subject areas. Try subscribing to better newspapers around the world like Chinese English Papers, “NY Times,” “Washington Post,” “The Guardian” in London, “BBC News,” and international English language papers to get a good cross section of news. You can watch Mexican news on TV’s “Telemundo” plus “CNN” or other respected TV news sources for weather and broadcast news stories etc.

Other things that are nice to subscribe to or view are sources like “MXDWN,” or “Pitchfork” or “Rolling Stone,” “Entertainment Weekly,” “Noisy,” “Stereogum,” “Alternative Press,” “Brooklyn Vegan,” “BBC” and “Tone Deaf,” as some of the online music magazines.

Art Magazines like “Art in America,” “Art Forum,” “Juxtapoz,” “Virtuogenix,” “American Art Collector,” “Hi Fructose,” “Fine Art,” “La Mode,” “Photo Play,” “Art Market,” “Art News,” “Cloth Paper Scissors,” “Aperture,” “Aesthetica,” “NKA,” “Fine Art Connoisseur,” “Daguerreian Society” or art websites that regularly send email news like “E-Flux” also make for good information about art. “Bio News” is an online science news source.

More than 1600 Literary Journals can be found on the “Poetry and Writers” website at pw.org. To read things like poetry, short stories and creative writing or essays try a variety of literary magazines like “The Paris Review,” “Ploughshares,” “The Kenyon Review,” “The American Poetry Review,” “The New Yorker,” “The Atlantic,” “Poetry,” “New England Review,” “The Missouri Review,” “The Gettysburg Review,” “Cimarron Review,” “Sewanee Review,” “Antaeus,” “Esquire,” “O’Henry Awards” or “Columbia Journalism Review” or “Michigan Quarterly Review.”

There are also a variety of culinary sources out there like the blog “Cooking without Limits,” or magazines like “Bon Appetit,” “Food and Wine,” “All Recipes,” “Marth Stewart Living,” “Better Homes and Gardens.”

Try reading in an area or subscribing to journals online or in print to spruce up, to stay on top of your field and improve your skills. Many magazines can be found by searching online or in magazine.com, magazinestore.com or discount mags.com. A good writer is well informed and well-read.

A good writer’s kit may be tablets to take notes, pens, tape recorders to record notes or dialog or interviews, a telephone recorder for interviews, camera’s, video cameras, a Wi-Fi device, a telephone, a watch, a sketch pad to make a sketch or a diagram of something and maybe a pocket dictionary or if you can carry it-a laptop and work in every café with Wi-Fi around town. It may also be nice at times to have an artist’s easel and capture in paint a rendition of a place or create a set. BN.com out of New York sells telephone recording devices. It is good to get started collecting all the basic tools of the trade.

Soulfino 2018 Updated From 2017, Enjoy!!

Serwah’s Standard “Soulfino Thanksgiving”-Good Every time!
By, Afua Serwah Osei-Bonsu

Frozen Canopies or Appetizers-Meijer’s or Trader Joes (eg. Pot stickers (with dipping sauce) or stuffed mushroom, chocolate eclairs, jalapeno poppers, wing dings, baby sandwiches with toothpicks and crusts cut off or mini breads, or research a canopy cook book or a veggie/fruit platter or celery logs that are filled with peanut butter or soft spicy cheese or cream cheese) choose a few, get into your curly tooth picks and swords, make a visit to a chef cook book or supply house etc. -~$24
Smoked Trout Dip with crackers
Put out bowls of chips (can add sprigs of rosemary to chips to be festive) & nuts
Alternatively place out croquettes and fritters for appetizers
Dellalo.com $100 Meat and Cheese Platter (add grapes, add strawberries, add extra blocks of your favorite cheeses, add extra assorted crackers, add a basket of bread slices like sliced country loaf or sliced baguettes and make little sandwiches, add sweet mustards, add a stack of meat eg. ham or roast beef etc., sandwiches like brie strawberries and ham etc., nice bowls on a cutting board with a knife, spoons and toothpicks)

Turkey Medieval platter spread with orange slices and sage around after cooked (stick orange peels in cavity for more flavor)(giblets removed, bay leaves, black pepper, allspice, kosher salt, sage, ½ cup brown sugar, red wine vinegar, ¼ cup soy sauce, 4 tbsp. unsalted butter, non- stick vegetable oil, rub ground spices over skin and sprinkle inside, then chill 8 hours, then rinse, bring vinegar, soy sauce and brown sugar to boil until thickened like molasses 5-8 min, preheat oven to 325, slide fingers between skin and breast to loosen skin and slide butter tabs underneath, coat turkey, brush with glaze and reglaze, temp thermometer should read 150 (adapted from 2016 November Bon Appetit) Should make a “Glazed and Lacquered Roast Turkey,” cook ~4-6 hours (they do suggest cooking it briefly before glazing upside down on a rack in a roaster for 30 min with foil sprayed with cooking spray on it. -~$50
Smoked Turkey Drumsticks are a nice addition for a medieval or glutton like feeling (nice for the day after)

Optional: Bucket of Chicken from Kentucky Fried Chicken-~$20
Optional addition: Fried okra & pan fried catfish (cook in oil after flouring w/salt and pepper, cayenne) (Meijer’s has some frozen fried okra and deli marinated in lemon and pepper catfish varieties)

Large Tin Cornbread Stuffing
(2 bags of stuffing mix, 2 boxes of jiffy cornbread made up, sauté mushroom, walnut, cranberry, onion, green pepper, apple, crumble cornbread into a tin, mix with other stuffing and fixings, add chicken broth, butter, bake 375, 40 minutes)-

Mash Potatoes (served in a nice bowl)
(Boiled and salted potatoes, garlic, sliced green onions, 2 cups sour cream, container of cottage cheese, butter, salt and black pepper, smoked paprika whip with mixer), mix all, remaining sour cream on top with green onion garnish in and out (Courtesy Bon Appetit circa 2016)-$14

Mash Potatoes are good with: scalded milk, buttermilk, goat cheese, swiss, gruyere, camembert, good cheese, good butter or melted butter, chives, some bake them and scoop them to heighten flavor, maple syrup, bacon fat, sour cream, cottage cheese, smoked paprika, some mix fish or smoked fish, or mix boiled potato /boiled egg yolks and mayo (look for a South American Indian recipe) or turn a mash into a croquette (see later recipe)

Adapt mashed potatoes to a Shepherd’s Pie and place on top of ground beef mixture of cabbage, carrots, onions, and raisins in a readymade crust and add a layer on top that is a mash potato mixture and bake at 400 for ~30 minutes.
Or a good breakfast with mash in a cast iron skillet with cracked eggs on top of eggs in wells with salt & cracked black pepper baked, then a vinegar tossed arugula on top when finished and paired with maple syrup pecan bacon and mimosa with fresh strawberries. (Better Homes and Gardens January 2016 photo)
Tin of Macaroni

(Macaroni pasta large, Velveeta, cream or whole milk, blue cheese, butter, little white wine, melt cheese and cream and all ingredients on stove, cook pasta, add melted bacon fat mix and place panko on top with parmesan (sliced bread, whole loaf, in blender into crumbs, sauté in oil with garlic and butter put crispy on top) bake at 375 40 minutes, -$28
Alternatively you may want a finer Mac and Cheese or a white Mac and Cheese, try making sauce with milk, fontina, Gruyere, white cheddar, parmesan, grated onion, grated clove of garlic and a removable sprig of thyme, 4 tbs. unsalted butter, kosher salt, 2 tbs. flour, English Mustard powder, cayenne, panko on top, see above for panko (Adapted from Bon Appetit’s Best Macaroni and Cheese recipe November 2017)

Candied Sweet Potatoes
(4 cans, canned candied sweet potatoes, brown sugar, butter, cinnamon, dash of salt, marshmallow on top, bake at 350, 40 min in a casserole dish, look on marshmallows for recipe)-~$24

Black Eyed Peas
(6 cans Black Eyed Peas Meijer brand, chicken broth or stock, onion, chopped bacon, salt and pepper, green pepper, finely chopped carrot, liquid smoke for smoked flavor available Whole Foods)-~$12 Let them thicken up.

Pot of Collard Greens
(4 bunches of collards, 3 ham hock,1 package of bacon scissor cut into pieces, 2 chopped onions, 1 cup apple cider vinegar to pickle, ½ stick of butter, 4 tbs. sugar, 3 tbs. salt, 1 tbs. cayenne pepper, 2 tsp. red pepper flakes, ½ tsp. black pepper in a stock pot of ~ 6 cups water, be sure to remove stems from greens by popping out harder stem trunk areas from behind and clean well each leaf and tear up, stew for 2 hours or longer if you like to get them really salty and pickled, they should break down a little and condense)-~$36
Creamed Kale, chopped onion, 1 ½ cups heavy cream, 1 tsp honey, ¼ cup olive oil, 2 tsp. unsalted butter, lemon, nutmeg, kosher salt and pepper, boil kale, then blender or food processor then bake.

Green Beans
(Green beans fresh snipped, sautéed with olive oil, sea salt and pepper)-$15
or a fancier green been with cherry tomatoes blistered w/ pesto, almonds, vinegar, paprika, and cayenne (Food and Wine November 2017),
Green Bean Casserole (Green beans, kosher salt, olive oil, cremini mushroom, unsalted butter, thyme, 2 tbs. flour, 1 ¼ whole milk, 1 cup heavy cream, 4 garlic cloves grated, ½ cup grated parmesan, pepper, ¾ cup French fried onions-boil green beans, cook mushroom in butter, whisk butter, flour, milk and cream to make a béchamel sauce add garlic and parmesan cook on stove, arrange green beans in casserole dish with mushroom, pour over sauce and cover with foil and bake 30 min, uncover bake 20 min, then spread French’s Fried Onions and bake 3 minutes to set then serve) (Extracted courtesy of Bon Appetit’s November 2017 online thanksgiving recipes)

Baked squash, Selection of squash brown sugar and butter, salt and pepper and a few cups of water in a casserole dish baked at 400 for 1 hour and 30 min: Acorn, spaghetti, butternut, kabocha, delicata-$19
Alternatively make a sticky sweet squash with olive oil, kosher salt, freshly ground pepper, 2 fresno chiles, ¾ cup red wine vinegar, ¼ honey, golden raisins, red pepper flakes, arrange squash on baking sheet drizzled with oil bake 40 min at 400, cook vinegar and honey sauce with all other ingredients and brush over or spoon over squash later (Adapted from Bon Appetit online November 2017)
A butternut squash can be split and peeled then rubbed with olive oil and salt then baked, then sliced thinly not all the way through and place bay leaves in slices, then pour over top a caramel sauce made and cooked out of maple syrup, butter, and vinegar and fresno chiles. Serve like two long logs with bay leaves and fresno chiles adorning butternut squash. (Adapted from a Bon Appetit Thanksgiving video November 2017)

Optional: Add a few casserole dishes or lasagna or a white lasagna even buy one frozen from Meijer’s if you oven gets over booked, veggie/ leeks with cream and pastry casseroles are good or make up easy chicken pot pies in ready-made crusts with chopped chicken, potatoes, peas, carrots, raisins, herbs, wine, bacon 3 tbs. flour, cream, broth or a sautéed pear w/bacon, white wine vinegar, whole grain mustard olive oil, walnuts, chives (Food and Wine 2017 November), extra ready-made pie shells can be bought to cut out leaves or flowers or braids with cookie cutters and make pot pies or other pies fine. Pies and tarts make the table pretty and are nice to have around. Shepherds pies are also good (Epicurus.com). A Mushroom-Barley Salad with mixed mushrooms sage barley and lemon, olive oil looks sexy. Good grains and canned pumpkin recipes, cool greens and scented biscuits recipes are in Food and Wine November 2015 like Pumpkin parfaits and pumpkin hummus and Cool Ranch Kale Dip and vanilla scented biscuits or Thai Coconut Minis etc.)

Optional: Corn fritters (search Epicurus.com), crab cakes (Search Epicurus.com), potato, smoked salmon and gruyere/Swiss croquettes (boil potatoes and make potato mash add smoked salmon and cheeses, sour cream, chives, cream and a little baking powder and egg, a little flour, place into festive muffin cups and bake at 350 45 minutes to make a potato muffin or croquette, if you add more flour to batter until batter is stiff and you can make a dough and form balls that you flatten to make a croquette, if you add less flour batter will be loose and placed into muffin cups to make a potato muffin.
(Jar of gravy from Meijer’s or with a brown gravy packet, mix on stove with drippings from turkey, add sautéed onion, place in a ladled or spouted serving dish) or drippings, stock, roux and white wine, or a “pan gravy” with mushroom and herbs and lemon zest plus drippings, flour or corn starch, broth etc. -$4

Can of cranberry or mix up a cranberry relish (check Food Wine November 2017)-$4
(Slice it up)

Rolls to taste
(Hawaiian, or dinner rolls or crescent rolls or brown bread or a fresh baked bread or popovers or biscuits or scented rolls etc., or a selection, serve warm with butter)-$5

Homemade “little girl apple pies”
(4 sliced apples leave peels on, boil in water with 3 tsp. apple cider vinegar and sugar briefly to pickle, then add apples to bowl mix with 3 heaping teaspoons flour, 1 cup brown sugar, 1 egg, 5 tabs of butter, and apple pie spice, ginger spice, pour into read made bottom and add top, bake 40 minutes and 350, serve warm with vanilla ice cream-$23 cut out of a second ready-made crust with a pizza cutter to make braids or stripes and dress apple pies or cookie cutter flowers. “Easy as pie!!”
A nice adaptation was a transition from a “Little Girls Apple Pie” recipe to a “Mountain Rose Apple Pie”-boil/ poach/ pickle 4 apples sliced in 5 cups of water with 3 tbs. apple cider vinegar and 3 tbs. sugar and a dash of salt, leave in boiling water until a little soft or al dente, make topping 1 ½ cups flour, 1 cup oats, 1 cups brown sugar and 2 sticks of butter and blend a crumb topping with a mixer a little smooth, remove apples from heat drain and pour into a bowl, add an egg, juice of one lemon, 3 tbs. flour, 3 tbs. sugar and 2 tbs. apple pie spice, lay apples on bottom of readymade crust, cover with topping and bake for about 20-25 minutes on 400. It makes a very pretty pie with an oatmeal topping and can stretch out your readymade crusts, topping makes 2 pies, 4 apples per pie. (Adapted from a Food and Wine November 2015 Mountain Rose Apple Pies-there’s has a nice crust recipe and is great)

Buy or make up in advance sweet potato (Epicurus.com) or pumpkin pies (Epicurus.com) or pecan pies (Bon Appetit November 2017 online or Epicurus or Betty Crocker) serve with whipped cream-$13 (Try pumpkin pie brullee recipes from Bon Appetit-torching granulated sugars on top two times or more or add toasted pumpkin seeds to spruce them)

Hot Peach Cobbler and Ice Cream (Try Epicurus.com)-$13
Clementine Spice Cakes with little sliced clementine’s on top (recipe Better Homes and Gardens circa Nov 2015) nice table decorator
Ice Cream (maybe caramel) with Warmed Maple Syrup and Toasted Pecans (See Food and Wine Circa November 2015 for a more detailed recipe or keep it simple)

Haughty Muffins-Savory cupcakes, with a lemon wedge, salmon, capers, cooked asparagus, dill and black pepper on top of a dollop of cream cheese on a vanilla cupcake or some kind of plain muffin (Taken from an Oscar Meyer ad in Better Homes and Gardens circa November 2015)

Windmill cookies to set out and quick breads (epicurus.com) and donuts-$17
Custards (get small box from Meijer’s or epicurus.com)-$6
Peanut Butter Pie with crushed peanut butter cups and peanut brittles on top (good recipe in November 2015 Food and wine)

Pumpkin Cheesecake (Bon Appetit online or epicurus.com)

Baked apples in liquor or Brandy with brown sugar and cream, slice in half and core, sugar inside, brandy and cream around in a casserole dish put dish out or serve out into bowls or cups, serve with caramel ice cream $25 (Epicurus.com)

Swisscolony.com Carrot Cake Cheesecake $40.00
Baklava Platter from Middle Eastern Stores, bakeries or Trader Joes or order from Swisscolony.com-$12-$30
Candy dish with caramels-$6

Little pots of tea and coffee-$12
A nice dessert coffee is from “Market and Main” Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Ground flavored Coffee (one of the best I have had for flavor)
Ice tea cooler, apple cider, white wine, white wine spritzers (with seltzer and a sprig of lemon), champagne, nonalcoholic wine for children, holiday beers, Vernos, sodas, in a cooler, and water station with lemon-$75 budget
Nice cocktails to have: Vodka gimlets (Absolut or Stoli), brandy snifters, shots of bourbon, white wine spritzers, spiked punch (Epicurus.com) (Get a bartenders manual or cocktail recipe books and good holiday liquor and shakers and ice buckets and tongs, plus all associated glasses and a nice punch bowl set)

Sierra Nevada Oktoberfest for a medium dark beer that is really delicious, or a nice Guinness dark beer if you are having the smoked turkey drumsticks, have nice big beer mugs with caps on them, good for the day after, and eat the left overs

Wine Clubs:
Join First Leaf Wine Club, https://www.firstleaf.club/login to stock up on wines-$79 per 2 months for 6 bottles of assorted wines

Join Wall Street Journal WSJ Wine Club for international wines wsjwine.com (case of 12 for $149.99 every 3 months)
Join National Geographic Wines of the World Wine Club natgeowine.com for a case of 12 for $149.99 every 3 months
Join Better Homes and Gardens Wine Club, bhgwine.com, 12 bottles every 3 months for $149.99
Extras on hand-1 boxes of crackers, 1 bag of chips, 1 jars of nuts-$14 budget or according to your numbers

Order Music- Folk & Crooners, to soul to jazz,
Folk and Crooners- Elvis, Patsy Cline, Dolly Parton, The Byrds, The Beatles (“Black Bird”), The Sundays, Joni Mitchell (“Jericho”), Stevie Nicks (Crystal Visions), Fleetwood Mac, Cat Stevens (“Moon Shadow”), John Denver, Karen Carpenter, Crosby Stills and Nash (“Déjà vu”), Joan Baez (Gracias a la vida), Edie Brickell (“Shooting Rubber Bands at the Sky”), Melanie, Kate Bush, Janice Joplin, Tracy Chapman (“Fastcar”), Eagles, Bob Seegar, Ted Nugent, Captain and Tenille (“Don’t go breaking my heart”), Elton John (“Tiny Dancer”), Hall and Oates, Chicago, Steely Dan, Santana (Festival)

Soul-Isaac Hayes, Angela Bofil (“Angie,” “Under the moon and over the sky,” “This time I’ll be sweeter,” “The Definitive Collection,” “I’m on your side”), Patrice Rushen (“Sending You Forget Me Nots”), Denice Williams (“Niecy”), Ashford and Simpson (“One and a Million”), Mtume (Juicy), Peaches and Herb (“Reunited”), Phyllis Hyman (“You know how to love me”), The Brothers Johnson (“Stomp,” “Light up the Night”), Stephanie Mills (“Feel the Fire”), Chaka Khan (“What Cha Gonna do for me,” “Epiphany the Best”) The Isley Brothers (“That Lady”), Commodores, Smokey Robinson, The Jacksons (“Lovely One,” “Triumph”),
James Brown, Freda Payne (“Band of Gold”), Slave (“Watching You,” “Stone Jam”), Parliament, George Clinton, Funkadelic (“One Nation Under a Grove”), Hank Ballard (“From the Love Side,” “The Kings of Funk”), Marvin Gaye (“Trouble Man,” “Cleo’s Apartment”), Gladys Knight and The Pips (“Midnight Train to Georgia,” “Soul Survivors Best of”), Al Green, George Benson (“Turn your love around,” “The George Benson Collection”), Kool and The Gang (“Summer Madness,” “Light of Worlds”), Sam Cooke, The Supremes (“You can’t hurry love,” “The Supremes”), Earth Wind and Fire (“The Best of Earth Wind and Fire,” “Serpentine Fire,” “That’s the way of the world”), Young and Company (“I like what you’re doing to me,” “Old School Volume 3”), Chi Lites (“Have you seen her,” “The Best of the Chi Lites”), Irene Cara (“Fame”), Quincy Jones (“Ai no corrida”), Gil Scott Heron
Billy Paul (“Me and Mrs. Jones,” “360 Degrees of Bill Paul”), Sly and The Family Stone (“Dance to the Music”), The Main Ingredient (“Everybody Plays The Fool,” “A Quiet Storm”), The Gap Band (“You dropped a bomb on me,” “Gap Band IV”), Patti Labelle (“What can I do for you,” “Night birds”), Lady Marmalade, Bobby Caldwell (“What you won’t do for love”), Michael Franks (“Popsicle Toes,”), Robert Palmer (Taxi), The Manhattans (“Shining Star,” “After Midnight”), The Ohio Players (“Skin Tight”), Orleans (“Love Takes time”), The Spinners (“Could it be I’m falling in love”), Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes (“If you don’t know me by now”), Orleans (“Dance with me”), Leo Sayer (“You make me feel like dancing”), Brian Connolly Sweet (“Fox on the Run”),Chic (Good Times), The O’Jays (“The Backstabbers”), Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes “I Miss You,” “If you don’t know me by now”), Al Green (“She-La-La makes me happy”), Sam and Dave (“Hold on I’m comin”, The Beginning of the End (“Funky Nassau, Part 1,” “Didn’t it blow your mind, Soul Vol 5”), Grover Washington Jr. (“Knucklehead,” “Feels so good”), The Stylistics (“Hurry up this way again”), Michael Jackson (“Ben”), The Pointer Sisters (“Yes we can can,” “The Pointer sisters), Sister Sledge (“We are a family”), Latimore (“Let’s straighten out, I’ll do anything for you”), Mary Wells (“My Guy”), Carl Carlton (“Everlasting Love,” “Didn’t it blow you mind, Soul”), Roy Ayers, James Brown (“Payback”), Bar Keys (“Holy Ghost”), Smokey Robinson (“That Back at cha” Motown Legends The Ballad Album), Gladys Knight and the Pips (“Landlord”), Kool and The Gang (“Jungle Boogie”), Instant Funk (“I got my mind made up”), Michael Jackson (Thriller, “PYT”), Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson (“Say, Say , Say”), New Birth (“Dream Merchant,” The Best of Dream Merchant), Con Funk Shun (“Love Train”), Fred Wesley and the JB’s (“Doing it to death”), Loose Ends (“Choose Me”), War (War and peace), Tower of Power (“You’re Still a Young Man”), Nathalie Cole (“This will be”, Love Songs), Maze featuring Frankie Beverly (“We are one”), The Stylistics (Heavy Fallen out), The Temptations (Just my imagination, “Running away with me”), Smokey Robinson (Going to a Go-Go), Cornelius Brothers and Sister Rose (“Treat her like a lady”), Quincy Jones and Patti Austen (“Betcha wouldn’t hurt me” Soul Bossa Nostra 2010”), Chi Lites (“Oh Girl”), Otis Redding (“Mr. Pititful,” The Best of Otis Redding), Candi Staton (Victim, “Young hearts run free”), Ojays (“Let me make love to you”), OJAY’S (“Let me make love toyou”), Teddy Pendergrass (Teddy), Fred Wesley and The JB’s (“Pass the Peas” Food for thought), Bill Withers/Grover Washington Jr. (Just the two of us), Kool and the Gang (“Open Sesame,” Spin their top hits), Rick James (“Super Freak,” Street Songs 1981), The Ohio Players (“Climax,” The Keys of Funk, RZA and Keb Darge), Zapp (Dance floor), The 8th Day (Didn’t it blow your mind), Rufus and Chaka (“Once you get started,”Rufusized”)
James Brown (“Soul Power”), Supremes (“Come see about me” The Supremes), The Ojays (“For the love of money”), Major Harris (“Love won’t let me want my way”), The Spinners (“Could it be I’m falling in love”), Average White Band (“A Love of your own”), Rose Royce (“Car Wash”), Kashir (“I just got to have you”), BT Express (“Do it”), War (“Slippin into darkness”), The Emotions (“Best of my love”), Funkadelic (“One nation under a groove”), Teddy Pendergrass (“Come on and go with me”), Womack and Womack (“Baby I’m scared of you”), The Dells (“Give your baby a standing ovation”), Sam and Dave (“Hold on I’m coming”), Klymax,
Stevie Wonder (“Hotter than July,” “Innervisions,” “Songs in the Key of Life”) Roberta flack (“Killing me softly”), Nina Simone (“I want a little Sugar in my Bowl”), Diana Ross (“My Old Piano” “Upside Down” Album), Fifth Dimension, Alicia Myers ( Gospel single-“I Want to Thank You”), “Scoobie Do” by Scoobie Do, Barry White, Sly and The Family Stone, Mark Anthony Thompson aka Chocolate Genius, Ska Bonanza (“Studio One Ska Years”), Jamiroquai (“Space Cowboy”), Lenny Kravitz (“Flowers for Zoe’), Jimmy Hendrix (Electric Lady Land),
Lisa Stansfield (“Been around the world”), Sheila E. (“Glamorous Life”), Ready for the World, Teena Marie (“Square Biz”), Morris Day (“Girl”), Prince (“Controversy” Album, “Dirty Mind,” “Erotic City,” “Purple Rain” and search for older),
Tom Tom Club (Genius of Love), Patti Austen & James Ingram (“Baby Come to me”), New Edition (“Candy Girl,” “Mr. Telephone Man”), Debarge (“Time Will Reveal,” “All this love” Album), Soul II Soul (“Back to Life’), Sade (“Sweetest Taboo”)
Jazz-John Coltrane (“Plays Living Space,” “Transition,” “New thing at Newport,” “Sun Ship,” “First Meditations,” “Ascension,” “Blue Train,” “My Favorite Things,” “Giant Steps,” “Love Supreme,” “The Best of Miles and Coltrane by John Coltrane,” “Ballads”), Charlie “Byrd,” Thelonious Monk (“Brilliant Corners,” “The Essential Thelonious Monk,” Monk’s Dream”), Mingus (“Ah Hum”), Brubeck Quartet, Charlie Parker (“The Best of Charlie Parker,” “Charlie Parker w/Strings Complete Master Takes,” “Bird: The Complete Charlie Parker on Verve,” “Yardbird Suite, The Ultimate Charlie Parker Collection,” “Town Hall New York City June 22, 1945: Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker,” “Early Bird Charlie Parker,” “ Bird at Saint Nicks Charlie Parker”) “The Quintet: Jazz at Massey Hall Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Bud Powell, Max Roach, Mingus,” “Unheard Bird, the unissued Takes), Lee Morgan (“Sidewinder,” Search for the New Land), Miles Davis (“Bitches Brew,” “Round About Midnight,” “Birth of Cool,” “Kind of Blue”), Stan Getz/Gilberto, Wayne Shorter (“Speak no Evil”), Jackie McClean, Cannonball Adderly, Bobby Benson, Stanley Turrentine, Max Roach (Bittersweet, “Black Saint and Soul Note,” “Featuring Hasan Ibn,” ‘Deeds not Words”) Dizzy Gillespie, Clifford Brown, Herbie Hancock (“Head Hunter,” “Empyrean Isles,” “Maiden Voyage”), Art Blakely (“Moanin”), Wes Montgomery (“Jazz Guitar”), Oliver Nelson (“The Blues and the Abstract Truth”), Kenny Burrell (“Midnight Blue”),Duke Ellington (“Ellington at Newport 1956”), Dave Brubeck (“Time Out”), Ornette Coleman (“The Shape of Jazz to Come”), Clifford Brown with Max Roach (“We Insist! Freedom Now Suite”), Clifford Brown and Max Roach (“Study in Brown”), Horace Silver (“Song for my Father”), Sonny Rollins (“Saxophone Collossus,” “The Bridge”), Bill Evans (“Waltz for Debby,” ”Portrait in Jazz”), Marvin Gaye (“What’s Going On”), Duke Ellington John Coltrane by Duke Ellington, Hank Mobley(“Soul Station”), Oscar Peterson (“Stan Getz and Oscar Peterson Trio,” “Night Train”), Louis Armstrong (“Ella and Louis remastered”), Billy Holiday (“Lady Sings the Blues”), Bill Evans (“The Complete Village Vanguard Recordings”), Lee Soloff (“Sketches of Spain”), Dizzy Gillespie (“The Quintet Jazz Massey Hall”), Elvin Jones (“Duke Ellington and Coltrane”), Dexter Gordon (“Go!”), Eric Dolphy (“Out to Lunch”), Grant Green (“Idle Moments”), The Complete Savoy, Savoy & Dial Master Takes, Christopher Raschka and Chris Rasschka (“Charlie Parker Played Bebop”), John Connolly (“A Game of Ghosts A Charlie Parker Thriller”), Bobo Brown and Oscar Brown Jr., Hank Mobley (“Soul Station”), Chet Baker (Baker/Evans)
Research on Wikipedia eg. “jazz” or on Amazon or on Pandora.com online radio or the classic soul TV Channels in Michigan on Channel 409 “Music Choice Classic R&B” for good music choices and research with a pad and paper
-Collect 4-6 for $54
5 CD disk changer or make a Thanksgiving play list for your IPod, music is critical…$125
4-6 ft. folding table or larger to suit your family for buffet or 4 buffet tables for drinks, deserts, main and appetizers-whatever you have room for -$50
Silver culinary tables for food prep or large mixing bowls, professional chef knives or sharpen knives, locally the vacuum cleaner shop sharpens them or yourself or buy new, you may even want to cut a hole in the wall and put in a walk in cooler or buy a second refrigerator and a freezer
Take cutting skills in advance in a culinary program
2 or more table clothes (don’t skimp on your table cloth you can get ruffles etc. and really set the tone-$20
Center piece (candles with pine cones, fall, harvest, sculpture, chat ski, topiary, fruits in a bowl or vase, pomegranates, dried flowers or fresh flowers, nude sculpture, a pumpkin or pumpkins and squash, with berry branches around faux or real, ceramic or real are both pretty, cotton plants in vases are nice, or flowers some little, some bud and pine cones)-$15
Outdoor leaf collecting use them for name place holders at the table for a country kitchen or make little leaf coronas for the kids gluing them to paper with ribbons or a branch of them in water (Better Homes and Gardens tip circa November 2015)
Serving dishes -$40
Serving spoons-$30
Carving Knives
Silverware (fine engraved silverware or horn handles knives)-$35
Holiday dishes-$45
Set of glasses, wine glasses, snifter glasses, highballs, shot glasses and champagne flutes, punch bowl and cups-$30
Coolers-$20 (or drink display cases for big families in big houses)
Dinner Napkins
Cleaning supplies
Foils, baggies and saran wrap
Several timers not to burn anything, oh no!
Thermometers for the Turkey
Trivets and hot pads
Cooking spoons

Lots of plastic containers and shopping bags for people to take things home-$40
Things for small children to do, toys, books, coloring, dolls, movies etc.
Simple breakfasts for overnight guests-pastries, cereals, crockpot of oatmeal with berries or peaches etc., bake muffins, baked eggs with bacon rimming a muffin tin, scones and coffee and fruit platter, made to order omelets, ham and eggs, bread puddings, research good breakfasts in cook books, meat pies
Think about what people will eat while food is cooking, the wait meal.

Nice outfits-$100
Nice makeup-$10
Outdoor fireplace, roast marshmallows
Go for a chilly bicycle ride or horseback ride or a walk
Call all your children, family and friends to say happy thanksgiving!
Take family photos
Get sheet music
Ribbons in little girls hair, or ribbons woven in, leaf headdress or feather headdress or long braids, or long braids with pieces of fabric braided in and bowed and tied long, piled high braids, or braided buns, braids set the tone nicely, or flowers in afros, or braid in hair pieces and bun, or a wig or a salon professional bun, or sticks, or leather, or pretty barrettes, or a bowed barrette(s), a little lipstick on the little girls lips and cheeks is cute and a splash of perfume, and Laura Ashley dresses, fur pieces on 40’s dresses, a little Indian, a little western (Square Dance, banjo, fiddle or mandolin, “Little House”-ish, long skirts with bone shirts and shawls) or Victorian and 3 tier skirts with petticoats etc., for men nice camel slacks and camel turtlenecks, camel sweater vests, plaid shirts, men’s floral in earthy tones or pinks or burgundy’s, tweeds, patched elbows, V-neck sweaters and shirts, sweater & leather pants for a more casual looks, bow ties, vests, a strip of fur around the neck for a finer punk look, or pin a piece of fur to your shirt, or baby stoles with a t-shirt or simple shirt, or a medallion look, or finer pins on shirts, or jewelry with lingerie later for men and women (maybe a little photoshoot earlier of the kids and later….)
Costume Closet
Rosemary Plants

Look in cook books, on Amazon.com, family recipes, online searches for recipes and in magazines like “Bon Appetit” or “Food and Wine” or “All Recipes,” or “Better Homes and Gardens.” November issues usually feature Thanksgiving recipes. Make a file or binder of recipes with sheet protectors that you can return to in future years and even pass down. Even make notes as you cook on the days before Thanksgiving for your binder. Your binder becomes your sacred and coveted Family Recipes. Save your receipts and shopping lists for future reference and budgeting. Family and friends can always chip in.
Start clean up well in advance. Get the house in order. Decorate the front door, place nice things for guests in bathrooms like potpourri, and think about sleeping arrangements.

It’s nice to have some live piano music or poetry recitation or guitar and singing and generally showcase a little talent in your family. When I was little the kids always put on a show. Way back when they called them “holidays” the ones that performed on Thanksgiving and Christmas. A nice thing to do is to pick up copies of actual plays, even Shakespeare, or write a play and maybe number lines for kids or play a video of a play or read from a memoir or family history or a book or book of poems. It can be nice to perform some duets (Baby come to me). Make a little schedule for when you’re together all day to organize picture taking and get people ready, for performances and dinner. It can be nice to go to the salon. It is important to have enough photo or film equipment and good photographers. It’s possible to make family films.
It may also be nice to research and write some nice Thanksgiving prayers and hold hands while praying.
Have some late night plans for when all is said and done…..after dinner smoke on the porch or in front of the fire, make an assorted smoke box (cigars, cigarettes, etc.), decorative ashtrays, buy films or videos from Amazon (Wizard of Oz, Charlie Chaplin’s, Buster Keaton’s, Old Prince Films, Casablanca, Tess, Gandhi, Elephant Man, Breakin, Flashdance, Gone with the Wind), Popcorn or appetizers or chips for film, late night music (jazz), sexy lingerie, whatever floats your boat etc.
The other thing to do that Food and Wine suggested circa 2015 is to get into your turkey carcass and make stocks and frozen bouillon cubes for later soups etc. The next best thing is to shampoo your carpets after Thanksgiving and before Christmas.

Holiday cheer!!!
Happy Thanksgiving from Revolving Stream!!!!
Xxx Lots of love to you and your family!
-Afua Serwah Osei-Bonsu
Thanksgiving 2018 (updated from 2017

A Simple Thanksgiving Menu

A Simple Thanksgiving Menu By Afua Serwah Osei-Bonsu

Small Baked Toasts with Tapenade Spread (“Ricotta Puffs”) (ricotta cheese, 1 egg, grated onion, salt, sprinkle w/ paprika, broil 1 min)

Cheese Plate & Grapes

Aperitif (White Wine w/Creme de Cassis 1 tbsp. Kir or Kir Royale sub. w/Champagne)


Spinach and Feta Muffins w/Arugula Salad

Bacon and Cheddar Muffins (Jiffy Corn Muffins or other mix, add bacon, bacon grease and cheddar)


Glazed Turkey Stuffed with Orange Peels (See Soulfino circa 2017)

Creamed Kale

Green Bean Casserole

Assorted Roasted Squash

Corn Pudding

Mashed Potatoes & Gravy


Cranberry & Mandarin Orange Sections

Loaf of Warm Bread (Flesh of Christ), w/Butter or Apple Butter or Marmalade

White Wine

Pitcher of Water w/Lemon and Orange Slices or a Cardamom Seed



Pumpkin Bread Trifle  (Make parfait)

Digestif (Nescafe Coffee or Tea, Cognac or Brandy)


Tablecloth and centerpiece or flowers



Hawaiian Rolls Tailgating Sandwiches

-See “Soulfino” under Thanksgiving tab for ideas

Practice “Gobble Wobble Ragtime” by Jennifer Eklund (PianoPronto.com)

Gari w/Sardines or Adapt to Husky Recipe

Gari w/Sardines or Adapt to Husky Recipe

1 box of Cream of Wheat with individual packages
1 can Titus Sardines, hot or regular
¼ cup chopped tomato
¼ cup chopped onion
1 Bottle Sriracha

In a small pot on the stove, measure out Cream of Wheat Farina packet with its specified water and a dash of salt. Normally each packet takes 2/3 cup of water. Let that form into a thin gruel on a high heat and cook completely, then slowly add a second packet without its water to the gruel to thicken or it until it’s stiff and manageable with the hands. Place on plate in a mound. Use two packets and 2/3 cup water to make one serving.
Open one can of Titus, carefully open each sardine at their slit and remove skeleton all at once in fish. Run your finger down fish body to make sure all bones are removed. Place on plate sardine broken into pieces.
Chop tomato, chop onion, and then place on plate. End with a few squirts of Sriracha Sauce a tomato based red pepper sauce also placed on the plate.
Place them so you go from Cream of Wheat, to fish, to onion, to tomato to Sriracha-in order of operations for a nice taste.
Gari is a simple dish that you pull with your hands (right) from each pile and consume from your hands.
You can recreate the same dish but “Husky” by changing Farina for corn meal masa like Mexican Masa used for tamales placed in corn husks tied then in a large pot place a steamer basket and water on bottom and then place Husky on top in husks and steam for 45 minutes.
Eat the same.
Gari can additionally be paired with corned beef cooked. Corned beef that in left over is also nice mixed into rice with onion and green pepper.

Recipe by Afua Serwah Osei-Bonsu

Mackerel in Tomato Sauce with Boiled Egg and Fried Plantain

Mackerel in Tomato Sauce with Boiled Egg and Fried Plantain

1 can Mackerel in Chili Sauce (From an African Grocery Geisha Brand)
1 can Crushed Tomatoes large
1 can Black eyed peas
1 large onion chopped
1 Green pepper chopped
3 tbsp. Palm Oil
3 tbsp. Vegetable Oil
1.5 Nina International Ground Hot Pepper Chiles
2 tbsp. Salt
½ tsp. Ginger minced
½ tsp. Garlic minced small

Rice (Valley Brand is good)
Boiled Egg, whole and peeled
Ripe Plantain
Vegetable oil

Remove fish from can onto a plate, open each piece and slide off the boney skeleton, remove all bones. Rub hand or finger over fish to make sure bones were removed for safety. Break fish into small pieces Put on a pot of rice (2 parts water to one part rice dash of salt and 1 tsp oil). Put on a small pot of water and boil an egg or eggs depending on # of people (1 per person) for later garnish. Chop all vegetables and assemble sauce. Sautee vegetables in palm oil & veg oil (onions, garlic, ginger, green pepper), add fish, add black eyed peas, add stewed tomato and add spices. Cook down. In a separate skillet heat veg. oil. Chop Plantain into wheels and fry, turning once. Cook all ~20 minutes. Rice finishes in about 15 minutes. Everything should start to wrap up in 15-20 min. Place rice on plate, spoon Mackerel over top. Place a boiled egg in center of mackerel and plantain around egg on top of Mackerel sauce and serve hot. Serves 4. By, Afua Serwah Osei-Bonsu passed on from Father (Kasoa Market)

Nkotombmre, A Basic “Wield” of Ghanaian and West African Culinary- Greens, Fish and Tomato


A Basic Wield of Ghanaian and West African Culinary: Greens, Fish and Tomato
By, Afua Serwah Osei-Bonsu

A basic “wield” of West African cooking may have the same simple ingredients in many different combinations: it may include greens, peanut sauce, tomato and chicken, or greens, fish and tomato, or peanut stew with mushroom and chicken, or black eyed peas, fish, and tomato.

Most are stewed with and cooked in palm oil or coconut oil or vegetable oil with African Red Pepper Chili (Nina International Brand) and include garlic and ginger, onion and green pepper and sometimes magi cubes or blended up and liquefied onions, or blended up garlic, ginger and tomato with plantain dipped inside to make “Kelewele” or sometimes coconut milk, broth, or okra, or fried okra, or add spoonful’s of peanut butter or as a side blended up eggplant or hummus-these are some basic West African (and around) or Ghanaian cooking.  You can get experimental with interesting chili peppers or a variety of mushrooms in stews or add plantains to stew to make it a little fancier or haughty.  Some cooks will thicken a stew with Tahina or coconut milk or the liquefied onions or broths.

A basic idea is to blend and liquefy vegetables etc., succulence, and dipping.  Also it’s flavored oils, tender meats and a little heat. Other common things are fresh fruit, fruit salads, fresh bread, kebabs and satays.  Also common are rice dishes or rice and vegetables like “Joloff Rice” that includes mixed vegetables or dill rice or little savory dishes or cabbage dishes.

Alot of Africans like tender and spicy jerk chicken or coconut shrimp or meat pies or fried chicken or chicken wings (even marmalade wings or teriyaki wings)or  curries or Ethiopian Berbere Stews or even Chinese Stir Fry’s or Spaghetti Bakes. Some African’s will go to a fish market or meat market and just want “a nice piece of meat” and some rice, plantain and salad etc.  Some even like gravy’s and sauces.  One African may like salads with boiled egg, sausage, tomato topped with Thousand Island Dressing.  Some Africans like other cultural dishes that include a peanut taste like Vietnamese dishes with crushed peanuts or Thai, Pad Thai noodles in peanut sauce.  Africans may also like “Bright Chicken,” which is a lemon based pan fried chicken and has marvelous flavor.  Some may also like grilling or popping a piece of fish into foils with herbs and lemon into the oven wrapped up in a packet. Some African cooking has alot of French or Francophone influences from common shared languages and cultural taste buds.  Dishes like Coq au vin or an aperitif or a cheese and fruit platter dessert may be popular.

Many meats can be tenderized and sautéed in coconut oil and eaten with rice and a salad or a vegetable or a pot of pickled greens. Many dishes can be topped with fried plantain and or a boiled egg on top or a boiled egg in bowls of stew to be sexy or macho. Most also include plantain fried, baked or boiled, yellow or green (green and unripe is often boiled) or cocoyam boiled, or yam tubers skinned and boiled.

Most also include some kind of doughy manioc like Fu Fu (pounded yam, often sold in flours), Gari (sometimes a Cream of Wheat or Farina stiffened with more of itself and less water), Kenkey or corn meal “Husky” (like Mexican masa cooked)(Kenkey without the Kenk or fermentation), rice or rice balls, or yam or plantain-as the starch accompaniment.

The other staple are stews or soups that go with starches. Stews are “cut meat” stews where large chunks or cubes are cut by a butcher on a band saw of either fish, chicken, goat or beef or lamb. There is an art to the cutting of the meat and the succulence of the stew later. Sometimes you can cut chicken with a cleaver. Try Kasoa Market in Ann Arbor, Michigan for good “cut meats,” for stews.

Kasoa Market also carries the staples of Titus Sardines which are good with a stiffened Cream of Wheat, Sriracha Sauce, chopped onions and diced tomatoes and sometimes also cooked corned beef-this is simply called “Gari.” Gari is served on a plate or platter all together in order of eating operations. Most dishes are eaten with the right hand, sometimes dipping into each item.  Ghanaian’s have that dipping quality je ne sais quoi, like in the game with seeds and bowls “Oware,” almost like the letter “U.” Husky can be eaten the same way as Gari.  The leftover corned beef can be mixed with cooked rice, onions and green pepper for another delicious dish.

Nkotombmre-is cooked down and blended chopped spinach or another green, broken up pieces of fish (mostly canned, marinated or pickled fish) Geisha Brand Mackerel in Chili Sauce or Titus Sardines and fresh or stewed tomatoes with African chili pepper and salt, cooked in palm oil. Let it all break down until it is one interesting blended green sauce that you eat over something or dip into with an accompaniment, even crackers or warmed or toasted bread.  Nkotombmre is really tasty with fried plantain logs or boiled green plantains for example.   It looks almost like Chimichurri which may have originated in Ethiopia and is around the world? It can be found in Mexico and Argentina via the Italians in Ethiopia that later immigrated to Argentina and it became their food, then from the Argentine’s presumably to Mexico etc. Chimichurri is ladled over meats, mostly beef, and is parsley, olive oil, red wine vinegar, cilantro, garlic, red pepper, cumin and salt all blended into a green sauce.

Many dishes could just be eaten with crackers like the Mackerel in Chili Sauce or the Nkotombmre, or Chimichurri can be ladled over meats and things.  Some dishes you can take a bowl of rice turn it upside down in another larger bowl and pour soup over then lift off bowl to leave a round mound or an island with stew around or have a Fu Fu island in stew bowl or just a boiled egg and meats in stew.  You can dress a stew in many ways.

Good drinks to have are ones like: Fanta, Bitter Lemon, Pampelmousse Grapefruit Drink, Palm Wine, Ting, Star Beer or African Guinness. With all the chili you may just want water!!! Fire! Fire! Fire!  West African’s also typically drink lemon grass tea.  They use fresh stalks of lemon grass and cut off pieces and steep them in hot water for a delicious and memorable tea.  Some Africans really enjoy mulled herb teas or Black tea’s or Gunpowder Green Tea. There are also excellent South African wines like Chamonix or Simeon and many others.  African’s also enjoy Peak Milk with Nescafe Coffee and even cakes iced with Nescafe icing.  You can also just mix condensed milks as often do the Thai with coffee, a few tablespoons, for a delicious hot drink.

Ghanaian’s love “tea and biscuits” and are somewhat influenced heavily by the English. Other dishes common in England like baked beans on toast one may find also in Ghana. A Ghanaian father in America may feed to his young children, baked beans with hotdogs cut up in them-“beans and franks.”  A plate of Gari may be shared by a father and his children as one plate.  A dessert for a child may be simply baked plantains with peanut butter.

Africa was designated a more rural locale due to the presence of large game animals and game reserves. Perhaps it was more savior faire that desired land and rural, mixed with animals and cities. This represents a more simple “rural African diet.”  As Africa advances and becomes more cosmopolitan, so will Africa’s culinary augment and grow with all the old favorites.

Then pop in some music like: Franco, or Thomas Mapfumo, or Ali Farka Toure or Amadou and Mariam, Orchestra Baobab, Miriam Makeba (Love Tastes Like Strawberries), Salif Keita, Baaba Maal, Babatunde, Fela Kuti, Buika, Caetano Veloso, Cesaria Evora, Dar es Salaam Jazz Band, Femi Kuti, Ibrahim Ferrer, Peru Negro, Sam Mangwana, Youssou N’Dour, Angleique Kidjo, Zap Mama, Soukous.



Cook Book, Book List

Cook Book, Book List
Assembled by Afua Serwah Osei-Bonsu

Nutella Cook Book
Cravings: Hungry For More Chrissy Teigen
Popcorn Cook Book
Rice, Noodle, Fish: Deep Travels Through Japans Food Culture
Food Crushie Bowls
Pasta, Pane, Vino about Italy
Grape, Olive, Pig
Out West Cook Book
Tex Mex Cook Book
Mexican Cook Book
Tailgating Cook Book
Jamaican Recipes
Nordic Cook Book Chef Magnus Nillsson
My Paris Kitchen David Leibovitz
Boil an Egg
Twelve Recipes Cook Book
French Food World

Around My French Table Dorie Greenspan

Life Changing Salad Dressings Grace Legere
Our Cuisinart Ice Cream Recipe Book 125 Ways Sweet Tooth
Ice Cream Cannabis Creations Frozen Rasta Fari

Casserole Cook Book –countrystorecatalog.com
Cooking With Elsa-countrystorecatalog.com
Country Woman
Groundnut Cook Book
All Nigerian Recipes Cook Book www.allnigerianrecipes.com

Bonne Femme Cook Book Mimi Moranville
Chezbonnefemme.com  (Aperitif Recipes)

The Braiser Cook Book
Baking Chez Moi
A Kitchen in France-a Year Cooking in my Farm House Mimi Thorrison

Finding Fountainbleu

Canape Cook Book
Hors d’oeuvres

Cocktail Party Hors d’oeuvres
Bartender Manual’s

Mastering the Art of French Cooking vol. 1 & vol. 2
Tasting Paris 100 recipes to eat like a local
The Art of French Pastry
French Country Cooking Meals & Moments From a Village
Around My Table
Voila Effortless French Cook Book
Aperitif Cook Book
Rodale’s Naturally Delicious Desserts and Snacks By Faye Martin (4 stars)
Better Homes and Gardens Cook Book 2018

Carla Hall’s Soul Food, Everyday and Celebration

Midwest Living Magazine

Happy Halloween 2018!!

Happy Halloween 2018!!
By, Afua Serwah Osei-Bonsu
It’s a time to get zombie and put on your black eyeliner. Form a subculture and write zombie thrillers, spectre, or ghouls and goblin style fiction. You can visit a dead relative in the cemetery. Go for a walk in the cemetery. In some cities old punkies would try to make love in the cemetery until a ghoul grabs their legs!
There is a lot of good fall culinary to try out like Halloween Peanut Butter Spider cookies where you make a peanut butter cookie and stick a peanut butter cup on top upside down and paint chocolate legs and put eyes on the peanut butter cup, also good are Caramel Apple Clafoutis and there is a good recipe on Bon Appetit.com-do a search, pumpkin cheesecake, caramel apples, peanut brittle, pumpkin and applesauce quick bread, apple pies and vanilla ice cream, sweet potato pies, lots of squash or sweet potatoes in general-orange-research fall desserts online. Grains and corn dishes like “Homalito” or “Tamales” are also nice. Another culinary delight that strangely really fits is a touch of Tex-Mex or Mexican dishes or a Mexican Fiesta for “Day of the Dead” celebrations or African foods if you’re going the way of Black Magic. Some great recipes for fall were found on “Food Networks 50 Best Halloween Recipes” and “Food Networks 50 Top Tailgating Recipes” ( has good chili recipes), Food and Wine.com also has nice gratins, baked stuffed acorn squash, casseroles, apple cider cakes and candies. Halloween with all homemade candies? You can do spooky snacks, Halloween cookies that are animated, cover a cake with candy, Jalapeno Poppers with smoked pepper cheese, feta and cream cheese inside, black salt rimmed glasses, or “Bite Night” a Vampire themed party with snacks or tapas.

It’s also a good time for women to gather and form witch covens or practice paganism or make a fire in or out or attend a bonfire outside and sing and tell stories or read from books with a flashlight. You can buy an outdoor fireplace if you are in a residential area. You can also go to a farm and go on a hay ride. Fall drives in the country or to the Cider Mill if you are in Michigan are also great fun. Pick up a gallon of apple cider (it’s a stool softener). Peanuty things are nice like Pad Thai. It’s also Oktoberfest and beers and brats fit in and so does tailgating and games. Chili’s for the first “chills” are also nice.
Make a Halloween video-lay dead on the steps with punk hair or a wig and a 40’s dress. Try writing a script and make a video, performance art piece, prosperous zero or write a play or story. Search online for Halloween Video Editing Tips. Perhaps you can have a screening party or maybe a piano recital or zombie violin recital.
Put a candy bowl in your home or business. Don’t forget to make your dentist appointment so he/she can break the bad news to you right after Halloween that you have all those cavities.
Maybe a bloody mary! Search high and low for Halloween cocktails. Beer is traditional for October, a classic beer month. Cheap drafts, anything ghouly or glowing, Mexican beers and liquors for Day of the Dead, Tequila shots, Guinness, hot toddy’s and warming drinks and whatever matches your costume.
Nice pumpkins, hay and outdoor decorations, wreaths on the door, corn cobs, altars, sugar cane, skeletons, calaberas, parties, candy parties for kids, costumes, sewing and patterns at Joann Fabrics features alot of interesting costumes to sew if you are searching for an idea or you want to dress up your insanely loved child.
Music can be moody classical, baroque, call your ancestors, soundtracks to thrillers, Michael Jackson, Velvet Underground, Sex Pistols, Punk Rock, Smiths, Pixies, Santana, and whatever you’re channeling with your costume and spooky stuff. Also spiritual African music like Ali Farka Toure “In the Heart of the Moon,” Fatou, Ry Cooder “A Meeting by the River,” Ry Cooder “Bop till you Drop,” Ry Cooder “Mambo Sinuendo,” Kate Bush, Grateful Dead “American Beauty,” Jan A.P. Kaczmarek “Unfaithful,” old Sinead O’Connor, 10,000 Maniacs, Annie Lennox, Babatunde, Queen “Rhapsody” or ABBA, Starwars Sound Track, Grover Washington, Herbie Hancock and Cassandra Wilson.
Don’t forget about the dead, set a place for them at the table. Decorate! Put a sign on the door if you are accepting Trick or Treater’s and organize it in your neighborhood. Make-up, costume, zombie styles, culinary, good Music, films and making films, photos or portraits in costume, parties, spiders, spirituality, children, women, writing, farms, countryside, fall, Oktoberfest, sports, games, college games.
DO NOT FORGET YOUR FUCK BOOTS for the adults. What is also nice is to make holiday libraries, see book list below and check goodreads.com for Best Halloween Books. Black cats, costumed dogs, black and orange, masks and papier mache!!! You can make very original costumes and designs with Papier mache. Parades. Candy, occult, metaphysical, herbs, even getting a cold, death, write your will or estate planning, Halloween graphics and good spooky graphic designs, song books and collect or write music see below suggestions for basic fireside songs. Drawing from a live model with charcoals and drawing pencils or painting is also nice or formal illustration by computer could also be exciting. What could be really fantastic is feeding off old folklore, legend, or magic to create dynamic paintings and use your holiday to paint. Make a Zine or a Zombie Zine. Anything metaphysical or voodoo or ju ju or Black Magic. Irish music and folklore. Tarot. Legends, myths, fables.
Halloween can drag out all your characterization fantasies. You can have a hand puppet recite poetry or wear a white owl papier mache mask or some kind of scary animal with little weird teeth out of papier mache. There are sometimes groups that form that make papier mache masks then host events, do plays or make parades.
It may be nice to play dress up and take photos. It may be nice to make herbal concoctions. What is really nice is to pay homage to the full moon. There used to be Full Moon Bazaar parties every full moon. A drumming circle may be nice. It may be nice to really just get into Halloween or fall culinary. You can always pop on a game on TV for an instant tailgating party. Maybe try a Zombie Dance Party or Gothic or Halloween Film Night or just curl up and read all month.
Happy Halloween from Revolving Stream!
Movie List
Alfred Hitchcock
Dumaurier Films (classics): “Jamaica Inn,” “Rebecca,” “Frenchman’s Creek,” “The Years Between,” “Hungry Hill,” “My Cousin Rachel,” “Kiss Me Again Stranger,” “Fraction of a Second,” “The Scapegoat,” “The Birds,” “Don’t Look Now,” “The Break Through,” “The Life Force Experiment,” “The Birds II, Lands End”
Michael Jackson Thriller Video and Album
The Exorcist
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
Hocus Pocus
The Picture of Dorian Gray By, Oscar Wilde
Rosemary’s Baby
The Adam’s Family
Rocky Horror Picture Show
Circus Video’s
American Werewolf in London
Blue Velvet
Performance Art (Goat Island Video’s)
Phantom of the Opera
Wizard of Oz
Barnum and Baily
Bob Flanagan
Snow White
Fritz the Cat
Naked Lunch
The Hobbit
Free to be You and Me
Freaks By Tod Browning 1932
American Carny: True Tales for the Circus Sideshow
Sideshow Alive in the Mind
RBG Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Black Orpheus
Lacto Drom
Want you to be my neighbor Morgan Neville (Mr. Rogers Neighborhood)
Charlie Chaplin
Buster Keaton
Akira Kurosawa
Film Noir
Ginger Rogers
Hedy Lamarr

Book List
Daphne Dumaurier (see Wikipedia Book list, also search for “Classics of the Macabre”)
Nathaniel Hawthorne
Truman Capote, In Cold Blood
Fyodor Dostoevsky (Crime & Punishment, The Idiot, The Brothers Karamozov)
Nikolai Gogol (Diary of a Madman)
Anton Chekov
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
Egon Schiller
Louise Bourgeois, An Unfolding Portrait
Friedrich Nietsche
Victor Hugo
Walter Scott
Homer Epics
Jean-Paul Satre
Ann Radcliffe
Diane Arbus
The Scarlet Letter
Edgar Allan Poe “Murder in the Rue Morgue”
Crime Fiction
Cambridge Companion to Crime Fiction
L.T. Meade’s “Stories from the Diary of a Doctor”
Naturalist works: Arnold Bennet, HG Wells, Arthur Morrison “Child of Jago”
American Gothic Tales By Joyce Carol Oates
The Pagan Book of Halloween: A Complete Guide to The Magick, Incantations, Recipes, Spells and Love By Gerina Dunwich
Halloween: Vintage Holiday Graphics
The Picture of Dorian Gray By Oscar Wilde
Trick or Treats: The Ultimate Halloween Book By Deborah Harding
The Book of The Occult By, Simon W. Clark
Aleister Crowley , The Book of Thoth (Tarot), Qabalistic Writings
Carlos Casteneda
Jude’s Home Herbal
I Tituba, Black Witch of Salem, By, Maryse Conde
Legends of Santeria, World Religion & Magic By, Gonzalez-Wippler
Magic From Brazil, Recipes, Spells & Rituals By, Caroline Dow
VOODOO Curses, Don’t Get Mad, Get Even, The Dark Art of Curses Vol . 1 By Prince Abdul-Hawl and A.B. Aames
Enchantments a Modern Witches Guide to Self Possession By, Mya Spalter
Fast Orisha Power: A Quick Tutorial to Urban Santeria by, Frater Azrael
Santeria: A Practical Guide to Afro-Caribbean Magic By, Luis Manuel Nunez
Santeria: African magic in Latin America By, Migene Gonzalez-Wippler
Urban Santeria: New World Magic for Urban & Suburban Populations by, Medicine Hawk Wilburn
The Magical Power of The Saints, Evocation & Candle Rituals By, Rev. Ray T. Malborough
Santeria: African Spirits in America by, Joseph M. Murphy
Santeria: African Magic in Latin America By, Migene Gonzalez-Wippler
Creative Ritual, El Obatala
Continuing Yoruba, Santeria & Western Magic Traditions By El Obatala
Santeria The Religion, The Religion: Faith, Rites, Magic, World Religion & Magic By, Migene Gonzalez-Wippler
Kali Mantra Magick, Summoning the Dark Powers of Kali Ma, Mantra Magick Series Book 2, By Baal Kadman
Robert B. Parkers Old Black Magic, (Spenser Book Art) By Ace Atkins
The Book of Black Magic by Arthur Edward Waite
Black Magic: Religion and the African Conjuring Tradition By, Yvonne P. Chireau
The Veritable magic Noire, True Black Magic By, Iroe Grego
Black Magic: Spells of Destruction By, Ashtara Mikovich
The book of the Forbidden Knowledge Black Magic, Superstition, Charms & Divination By, Johnson Smith and co Tarl Warwick
Magical Healing a Health Survival Gudie for Magicians & Healers by Josephine McCarty
The Unofficial harry Potter Spell Book Wizard Training By, Michael Gonzalez
Simple Self Healing=The Magic of Auto Suggestion By, Emile Coue
Creative Visualization By, Shakti Gowain
Tales From Dark Places the Halloween Collection By, D.C. Rogers
Zombie Apocalypse Trilogy book 1-3 By Chelsea Luna
Death Makes a Holiday a Cultural History of Halloween
The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane By Katherine Howe
The Phantom of the Opera, By, Gaston Leroux
H.P. Lovecraft’s Book of the Supernatural: Classic Tales of The Macabre By Stephen Jones
World War Z: An Oral History of The Zombie War By, Max Brooks
It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow By, Washington Irving
The Shining By, Stephen King
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde By, Robert Louis Stevenson
Alice in Wonderland
Greek Mythology (eg. Medusa)
Charlotte’s Web
The Witches By, Roald Dahl
Macbeth, By Shakespeare
The Halloween Tree, By Ray Bradbury
Dracula By, Bram Stoker
Frankenstein, By Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley
Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark By, Alvin Schwartz
The Complete Tales and Poems By, Edgar Allan Poe
The Graveyard Book By, Neil Gaiman
Anan Cara, A Book of Celtic Wisdom, By, John O’Donohue
Pagan Portals-Irish Paganism, reconstructing Irish Polytheism By Morgan Daimler
Gods & Goddesses of Ireland, A guide to Irish Deities, by Morgan Daimler
Celtic Flame: An Insider’s Guide to Irish Pagan Tradition By, Aedh Rua
Pagan Ireland (Epochs of Irish History Books) By, Eleanor Hull
Wild Irish Heart, The Mystic Cove Series Book 1, By, Tricia O’Malley
Wild Irish Witch, Mystic Cove Series Book 6, By, Tricia O’Malley
Wild Irish Roots, Margaret and Sean, The Mystic Cove Series Book 5, By, Tricia O’Malley
Wild Irish Rebel, A Mystic Cove Novel Book 4, By, Tricia O’Malley
Thicker Than Water, A Dermot O’hara Mystery Book 1, Michael McDonnell & Mial Pagan
Wild Irish Eyes, A Mystic Cove Novel Book 2, By Tricia O’Malley
Camera Obscura
How to Make Masks! Easy How to Make Masks, Masquerade, Halloween and Dress Up Fun By Jonni Good
Papier Mache Masks by Jane Yates
Great Paper Mache By, Gerry Copp
Paper Fantastic 50 Creative Projects to Fold and Weave
Hand Puppets How to Make and Use Them
Step Right UP! Memoirs of a Sword Swallower By, Daniel P Mannix
The Lives and Loves of Daisy and Violet Hilton A True Story of Conjoined Twins By Dean Jenson
Inside Peewee’s Playhouse the Unfolding Unauthorized Unpredictable Story of a Pop Phenomenon
Big top Pee Wee & Friends A color & Fun Book
Big Top Pee Wee and The Circus
Focus on: 100 Most Popular Comedy Film Characters: Lemony Snicket, Howard the Duck, Pee Herman, Goofy, Homer Wikipedia
Freaks of Side show and Film By Mary Brett & Steven Gould
Peter Hennen Hell’s Belles From Gorilla Girls to Freak Babies By, Kevin T. Gerone
My Life with Geeks, Freaks and Vagabonds in the Carny Trade By Howard Bone and Daniel Waldron
Electric Woman, A Memoir in Death-Defying Acts By, Tessa Fontaine
Carnival Freak, By Billie Sue Mosiman
The Giants of Seville By, Byron Scarbrough

Some Classic Fireside Fall Songs:
Weeping Willow
Sleepy Hollow
Weeping Willow
The valley goes on and on
The valley goes on and on

Sleepy Hollow
Weeping Willow
Sleepy Hollow
Love will follow

I walk the leaves so pale
I walk the leaves so pale
(a wail shriek thrill like an animal at night)
The sun has gone to bed
The sky is so dark
The stars are so bright
The animals start to sing
And I am falling in love

I toss my photo into the fire
I toss my photo into the fire
And go to God
I send this letter to the angels
To ask their plea
I send all my dark energy
to the fire
And out of me
I toss my photo into the fire
And go to God

Come by here
Come by here my lord, come by here
Come by here my lord, come by here
Come by here my lord, come by here
Oh lord, come by here

Someone needs you lord, come by here
Someone needs you lord, come by here
Someone needs you lord, come by here
Oh lord, come by here

Someone’s praying lord, come by here
Someone’s praying lord, come by here
Someone’s praying lord, come by here
Oh lord, come by here

Come by here my lord, come by here
Come by here my lord, come by here
Come by here my lord, come by here
Oh lord, come by here

Show me kindness
Show me kindness
Show me love
Improve my life
I’ll improve yours

Where is devasta-tion?
Where is deva-sta-tion?
Where is devasta-tion?
Where is deva-st-a-tion?

When you fall-out- of- love
With deva-staaaaaa-tion
Then I’ll be saved.

All songs were written by Afua Serwah Osei-Bonsu with the exception of “Come by Here” copied from Hymnary.org

Christmas Notes, A Golden Christmas 2017

Christmas Notes, A Golden Christmas 2017

By, Afua Serwah Osei-Bonsu


Christmas song books with music for caroling and live playing:

The Penny Whistle Christmas Party Book

The Reader’s Digest Merry Christmas

The Time-Life Christmas Songbook

Ultimate Christmas 100 Seasonal Favorites

The Family Christmas Song Book

The Best Christmas Songs Ever

The Ultimate Guitar Christmas Fake

The Big Book of Ragtime Piano Sheet Music Hall Leonard Corp

Ragtime The Musical, Piano, Vocal & Chords


A Selection of Christmas Cookbooks with Décor and Menu Ideas

Family Christmas Treasures (Christmas stories)

Our Best Christmas Recipes, Southern Living

A Very Merry Christmas Good Housekeeping

Family Circle Big Book of Christmas

From World Book (Christmas in Denmark, Christmas in Switzerland, Christmas in the Philippines, Christmas in Mexico)

British & Irish Cooking, Round the World Cooking (English Puddings, Trifle, Butterscotches)

The Everyday Bartender Book

The Little Pink Book of Cocktails

Bartenders Manual

Eastern Mediterranean Cooking, Round World Cookbook

Fabulous Food, The Costco Way (Annual Book)

Absolutely Appetizing Temptations, Add-A-Tech, Inc.


Christmas Decorations Suggestions or Ideas

Sleighs, Sleds, Snow Shoes (One Kings Lane), Chat skis, Stuffed Animals, Teddy Bears, Dolls, Barbie’s, toys, tartan pillows and throws, lights, tree with designed lights and bulbs, snowmen, ceramic trees with lights, train sets, angels, bulbs, wreaths, garland, poinsettia, family photos, Santa’s, Virgins, Jesus, Prayers, outdoor decorations, snowflakes, professional decorations, look in books for suggestions and match up, scented candles, bows, a post it bright paper wall Christmas tree with a red star (papers are green, orange, light orange, pinkish red), deer, woodland creatures, chalk board, paper links, all red German Trees with cut out hearts on top, or woodland creatures, or colored marshmallows on tree, bells, Elves, soldiers, drums, kitsch,  religious paraphernalia, nutty, pine cones, fire place, mantels, hearth, bring up all chat skis and virgins, bulbs and decorations from storage, nativity set, fruit bowls, vintage roller skates, white Christmas trees, stockings, branch strung up horizontally to hand gifts or stockings from, The lodge feeling, stuffed hearts on tree, red and white gingham and red and white country check, tied cinnamon sticks, potpourri, Christmas Sprites, hanging red ribbons, Christmas Duvet, flannel sheets, pillows, homemade stockings with embroidery or needlepoint

Gift Ideas

Dog biscuits, cheery stationary, monogrammed stationary, big things of tootsie rolls, large kisses, fruit baskets, Swisscolony.com, trays of baklava, movies, cakes, tins of cookies, tins of nuts, bags of candies, stocking stuffers, Christmas Cards and buy 10-$10 cards for $100 to send Amazon Gift Cards to people who may have been kind to you in some way or people on staff at your school or your children’s school and nice stamps, dellalo.com, cook books, song books, sheet music, books or book gift cards, sweaters, fairisle sweaters, fishing jackets, fishing poles, shawls, scarves, make up and perfume, lotions, ponchos, hat and scarf, gloves, a car gift or emergency kits flashlights/maps/GPS, trips, weekend getaways, tickets, magazine subscriptions, new dictionary, cool software, writing books, ask for their list, jams, pastries and breads, tech gifts may be things like flash drives, USB splitters, art work, teapots, dish sets, stemware, decanter sets, holiday glass or dish sets, paper, a how to book, teach a skill, journals, socks, underwear, pajama, robes, gym clothes, evening wear, gift certificates, poetry, almanacs, maps, guide books, things that transform your life in weird ways like a map, money, trusts, scholarships, office supplies, nice calculators, organizational items, Tupperware Set, stack of paper/ drawing paper and art supplies, gouache, inks and brushes, drawing easel, drawing horse, rolodex, music, baroque music, international music, textiles, jazz, classical music, money towards lessons and an instrument, pay for a camping trip, fire wood or scented wood, sports tickets, show tickets, tailgater supplies, lined paper, electronics, fitness watches, FITBIT, Gardening books, binders and sheet protectors for family recipes and special papers and school work, interesting tools rulers & scissors, sewing machines and sergers, monogrammers, needlepoint by the fire,  clothing, smart clothes,  Christmas portrait, fur, fur pillows, bed sheets, Christmas duvets, candles, tea, coffees, cocoas, alcohol, holiday pancake mixes, food stuffs, popcorn, horn rimmed knives, box of chocolates, hair ornamentation, jewelry, gardening tools gloves boots and outfits, cleaning outfits, vacuums, steam cleaners and agents, smoke boxes, printer inks, folk music, punk rock, donations on their behalf to charities or organizations or places they frequent, photo album with sticky pages, sexy/sensual gifts bubble baths or vibrators, snow boots, shovels, snow blowers, put together cookies in a tin or plastic container, chopsticks, pots and pans, serving dishes, high ball glasses, blankets, chat skis, cooking or chef equipment, One Kings Lane, decorations, wall rugs, fiber art, pillows, bedroom pillows, cake pans, bundt cake pans, specialty cooking, chef knives, butcher cleaver, metal Chinese teapots with small cups, a piece of furniture or a lamp, thank you cards, vintage projectors eg. slide projectors, cameras, embroidery floss, handmade clothing patterns, patterns, New “Chicago Manual Style,” Dissertation Books, apps, tea towels, debriefing books, bolts of fabric, irons, dressmakers irons, steamers, nice shampoos and conditioners, face masks, face cream, hand lotions and hand tissues for your bag and purse, magnifying glass, custom shoes, tailoring, gym shoes, boat or deck shoes, nautical, white shirts, smoking jackets, nail polishes, leisure or spa attire and espadrilles, caftans, spices/sauces/vinegars/oils/salts, eyeglasses or reading glasses or sun glasses,  books from a book list or your own book list, toys, bicycles, motorcycles, pool floaties, display cases, towels, soul music, pins, brooches, Home Depot Building Plans, framing, sleds, dogs, cats, birds, parrots, microphone, pianos, keyboards, organs, cockpit screens, stages, video editing software, cassette recorders, angora, cable sweaters, patch work sweaters, flannel shirts, corduroys, canopy books, BBQ and Party Cook book, flags, ju ju, bird houses, international or spiritual art works such as Ganesh or Kali or the Virgin, sculpture, wood dishes, vases, bicycle horn, tambourine, meat platters, punch bowls and cups, goblets, tapestries, jewelry boxes, costume closet, dress rack, ski jacket, neon coat, skis, umbrellas, bath mat, chinos, bulbs and seeds, plants, Christmas plants, Poinsettia, fresh flowers, cars, stereos, beach blankets beach lotions towels cooler picnic baskets and swim suits, restaurant guides like Zagats, bird cages, paintings, miniature paintings, potpourri, Indian dishes, Mexican Fiesta, taco stands, tortilla holders, basketry, fish fry baskets, pulled pork, beans and johnny cake plates and bowls, computer equipment, filing systems, snow boards, cloth napkins, tea party sets, blue print tools, plastic services, mani pedi, lithography equipment, silkscreen equipment, scale, hand bags, wallets, keychain, key holder, curling irons, hairbrush, hair dryers, make up bags, curlers, hair tonics, word press programming books, Kimono, clocks, Falun Dafa Video and books, dresses, earrings, necklaces, beads, luggage, TV, coats, shirts, pants, jackets, sexy lace up pants and floral jeans, vests, capes, Laura Ashley Dresses, Victorian clothes, vintage or antiques



Music and Genre Suggestions

The Nat King Cole Christmas Album

That Christmas Swing a Contemporary Holiday with The Dave Williamson Big Band and Singers

Barbara Streisand, A Christmas Album

Christmas for the 90’s

World Business Class Masterworks Classical Music

Christmas Guitar

Stokowski’s Symphonic Bach

Enya, A Day without Rain

Sinead O’Connor

Kate Bush

Jazz for Joy, a Verve Christmas Album

Andre Rieu, The Christmas I Love

A Christmas Festival with Arthur Fiedler and The Boston Pops

Christmas Blue, I’m Old Fashioned, By John Coltrane

Christmas Confession 6, Blue Train, John Coltrane

Jazz Themed Christmas Party, Moment’s Notice, John Coltrane

Christmas Trouble, Just Squeeze Me, John Coltrane

Jingle Jazz, Chronic Blues, John Coltrane

John Coltrane Blue Train Music

Green sleeves John Coltrane

Christmas Jazz

Jazz Christmas

Jazz Christmas Classics, John Coltrane

Cousin Mary, Fa-La-La, By John Coltrane

Joyful, Merry Christmas, John Coltrane, Pittsburgh Jazz Orchestra

Deck the Halls Christmas Jazz

Kiri Te Kanawa, Verdi & Puccini

Best of Vivaldi 5 CD Set (Italian Opera)

J.S. Bach, Concertos for 2 and 3 Harpsichords


Locatelli, Concerti Grossi


Concerto Barbirolli, John Pachelbel, Joseph Payne, Harpsichord

The Greatest Ragtime of the Century, Biograph Scott Joplin, Jelly Roll Morton

Three way a Trio of One Act Operas by Samuel Levine

Andrea Boccelli (Opera)


Mozart’s Best Operas

40 Most Beautiful Arias

100 Opera Must Have Highlights

CPE Bach & Symphonies The Academy of Ancient Music, Christopher Hogwood

Scheibe Sinfonias

Big Ragtime Piano Box

Leopold Hoffman Oboe and Harpsichord Concertos

Water Music

Carl Phillip Emanuel Bach, Berlin Symphonies

Billy Holiday

Jennifer Holiday

Josephine Baker

Jacques Brel (French)

Vienna Boys Choir

Stevie Wonder

Baby Stuff, Michael Jackson eg. ABC for children themed holiday

Little Christmas Tree with Spoken Intro, Michael Jackson

Ultimate Christmas Collection, Jackson 5

A Classic Motown Christmas, Michael Jackson

Season’s Greetings from Michael Jackson

100 Christmas Hits Most Requested Oldies Holiday Hits by Original Artists

Baking Christmas Cookies By Sugar and the Hi Lows and Darlene Love, The Best of Christmas Oldies

Joy to the World Aretha Franklin

A Very Special Christmas 1 & 2 o Christmas Tree Aretha Franklin

Christmas Here with you featuring Aretha Franklins & Four Tops

Ultimate Christmas 1998 Whitney Houston and Nat King Cole

Winter Wonderland Aretha Franklin 21 Classic Christmas Favorites

Classic R & B Christmas By Aretha Franklin and Otis Redding

Driving Home for Christmas The Long and Winding Road Aretha Franklin

Christmas Ain’t Christmas without the one you love, Aretha Franklin

Let it Snow Andrea Bocelli

J’ai deux amours, Christmas in Paris, Josephine Baker

The Very Best of Jazz 4 CD Set, Louis Armstrong and Quincy Jones

Bix Beiderbecke, Your Christmas Present, “My fate is in your hands,” Josephine Baker

La Petite Tonkinoise, Christmas in Paris, Josephine Baker

A Jolly Christmas from Frank Sinatra

Ultimate Christmas, Frank Sinatra

Christmas with Frank and Bing, By Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby

The Christmas Collection Frank Sinatra

20 Song Classic Christmas Movies, Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer, Reindeer Mambo

Christmas is the time to say I love you, Billy Squier

Classic Rock Christmas

Swinging Birdland Christmas, Billy Stritch, Klea Blackhurst & Jim Caraso

Swing Cats, A Rock a Billy Christmas, Hepcats Holiday, Night Before Christmas

Christmas with Billy Vaughn

Rudolph the Red nosed Reindeer Billy May, Christmas Kisses

Best of Christmas Cocktails, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, Billy May

The Southern Christmas Songbook and Hymnal

Essential Original Albums Billy Holiday

Diana Ross, The Supremes, Mahogany, Search for Christmas Albums

Betty Carter (scatting)

Ella Fitzgerald

Ethel Waters

Abbey Lincoln

Anita O’Day

Lil’ Hardin Armstrong

Billie Pierce

Jeanette Kimball

Mary Lou Williams

Sweet Emma Barret

Dorothy Fields

Livery Stable Blues

Frank Sinatra

B.B. King

Chuck Mangione, Children of Sanchez

Barry White Christmas

Macy’s Store Christmas CD

Search your favorite artists on Amazon, their name plus Christmas, to see if they have a Christmas Album, Search by plugging in a genre on Pandora.com and looking for similar albums

Basic genres:  ragtime, organ, blues, jazz, brass, big band, church, choir, female singers, male singers, percussion, all the “holidays,” samba, Latin, African, Bossa


Dr. Zhivago

Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer

Charlie Brown Christmas

Frosty The Snow Man


Lady Sings the Blues

Venus Hotentot

Minstrel Films

The Colored Museum

Imitation of Life

Porgy and Bess


Josephine Baker, Zou Zou, Revue Noir


Variety Shows

Goat Island Performance Art Group DVD/Film-A Last Quartet a collection of films by Lacy Cash and Goat Island

Dream Girls Musical Video

Vienna Boys Choir

Choir Videos and Boys Choir



Fritz the Cat

Grizzly Adams Episodes

Little Rascals

Shirley Temple

Planet of the Apes

Charlie Chaplin

Buster Keaton

Under the Cherry Moon

Purple Rain


Black Orpheus

An American in Paris

Blue Velvet

Blue Bird


Chinese Porn

Breakfast at Tiffany’s

Vintage Evita

Research classics

Classic Spike Lee


Ragtime the Musical

La Boheme



Games: such as vintage UNO, Mastermind, Cards, Scrabble, Upwards, Trivial Pursuits, Spades, Cribbage

Tree lightings

Sending Christmas Cards

Taking formal portraits

Barbie Weddings or playing with toys


Baking cookies and putting them in plastic to go containers

Professional gift wrapping (get books and match up)

Dinners with friends like (Mary Merry)


Ice Skating

Movies with Popcorn and tea

Prayers and blessings


Make a snowman

Make an angel

Make mini Christmas trees or wreathes or crafts

Cocktail hours

Make doll clothes for little girls

Play Christmas sheet music on instruments or piano

Buy gifts, wrap gifts, open gifts

Ice skating lessons

Unpack a million chat skis

“Mistletoe and Holly Berry:  An Old English Play in One Act” by Josephine Warren

Go to library to Christmas Section

Cut out snow flakes

Dress up in velvets and Christmas attire

Smoke box

Small rolling pins for children

Plays, get copies of books

Stash articles and books for kids coming home for Christmas

Shop for instruments and sheet music

Tune pianos, organs, harpsichords, clavichords

Buy a harp

Learn songs

Gather fire wood

Cut down a tree or go to a Christmas tree outlet or farm or bring up a tree from storage

Decorate house and tree

Buy Christmas lingerie

Get hair done

DJ Christmas music

Christmas Parties: work, family, friends, organizations, kids friends

Cocktail Parties

Horseback riding


Dessert Ideas

Jell-O Molds with fruit cocktail

Fruit cake soaked in alcohol

An English Pudding


Rum balls

Rice Krispy Treats

Pears in liquor


Peanut Butter Blondies


Little Debbie’s

Christmas Cookies

Mexican Wedding Cookies


Malted Balls


Box of Chocolates

Chocolate Covered Cherries with Brandy inside

Pudding Parfaits and custards


Vintage Candies in a tin

Fruit Bouquet

Cookie Tins

Starlight mints

Thumb Prints

Molasses Cookies

Candy Canes

Jam Donuts

Chocolate Mousse

Chocolate Cookies with M-n-M’s in plastic containers for family and friends

Cheese cakes

70’s Chocolate Cake

Lemon Bars

Gummy Bears

Bundt Cake

7-UP Pound Cake

Toffee Crunch Cake

Petit Fours

Candies in bright and shiny wrappers

Double Flourless Cake


Hershey’s Kisses

Thin Mints

Painted Sugar Cookies

Sour balls

Christmas Cake

Pistachio Ice Cream

Cookie Cutter and frosted and decorated and cookie press cookies

Praline cookies

Toasted Coconut and Chocolate Cookies

Linzer Cookies

Pecan Sandie’s

Coffee Ice Cream

Swiss Rolls

Jelly Rolls

Christmas Sundaes

Make up your own cookie tins

Strawberry Ice Cream

Mint Chocolate Chip

Home Made Ice Cream

Rose water puddings




Fortune Cookies

Sesame Chews

Christmas chews (Meijers)

Popcorn Balls

Clusters, homemade turtles


Gingerbread Cookies

Gingerbread Butterscotch Trifle

Gingerbread house

Peanut butter crunch balls

Cashew toffee

Peanut Sesame Brittle


Peanut Butter pie with peanut butter cups, peanut brittle and peanuts on top and chocolate oreo crust

Candy Cane Sugar Drop Cookies

Orange Butternut Logs

Peppermint Chocolate Sugar Cookies

Chocolate Peppermint Brownies

Jelly Beans and Jelly belly

Buche de Noel



Danish Salted Butter Cookies

Black and White Sesame Seed Cookies

Rainbow Cookies

German Chocolate Cake



Linzer Torte

Kiwi Tart

Lemon Poppy Seed Cake



Cardamom Walnut Pound Cake

Coconut Cake


Roasted Pecan Clusters

Chocolate Bourbon Balls

Caramel Corn

Champagne Oranges


Build a cookie world or baked world of Christmas

No bakes



Coffee Cake

Glazed Cinnamon Raisin Bread

Bacon and Cheese Muffins

Buttered Rum Nut Rolls

Russian Tea Cakes

Belgian Waffles with fruit


Bread and Butter Pudding with Salted Caramel Whiskey Butter Sauce

Caramelized Pear and Blue Cheese Quiche

Christmas Cinnamon Rolls

Poached eggs in a muffin tin or baked eggs with bacon

Oatmeal bar in a crock pot

Breakfast sandwiches open face ham and poached egg and herbs, lemon juice on buns




Nice Appetizers

Pigs in a blanket wreath with a dough bow

Shrimp cocktail


Meat Pies


Marmalade Chicken Wings

Teriyaki Chicken Wings

Chicken Satay

Homemade Egg Rolls

Cocktail Meat Balls or spicy cranberry barbeque meatballs


Deviled Eggs

Gari and Sardines or Corned Beef with Tomato, onion and chili sauce in a small ramekin (Traditional African available at Kasoa Market)

Asparagus wrapped with Bacon

Pinwheels with ham salad rolled

Innovative veggie platter


Spicy cheese in celery logs

Beautiful plate of hummus and crackers with pimento, olive oil and pine nuts in center

Pumpernickel Bread and Spinach Dip

Pistachios, Spanish peanuts, candied walnuts, cashews, shelled nut bowl, figs

Sandwich bar, mini sandwiches, meat and cheese platter, cheese log with nuts, stacks of meat, smoked hering salad and crackers, fruit, Baked brie, summer sausage, strawberries and grapes

Pot stickers, crab rangoons, scallion pancakes

Cocoa cups of peanut butter soup or a crock pot of stew and foo foo (Traditional African available at Kasoa Market)

Plate of BBQ ribs


Golden Dinner Ideas or Buffet Ideas, 4 courses

Fattoush Salad

Tangine with cous cous and vegetables and lamb, lemons and harissa

Meat Pie with raisin nuts and filo

Fish Pudding with marbled top

Pate Loaf

Spinach Pie

Silver foil packets with fish inside

Dutch oven of Chocolate Sauce chicken or pork loin



Sweet and Sour Pork

Wonton Soup

Hot and Sour Soup

Cabbage Salad

Bok Choy and Beef

Angry Pig Fried Rice

Pine Apple Ham


Pad Thai

Drunken Noodles

Sesame Peanut Noodles

Orange Blossom Pork


Prime Rib


Green Beans with almonds

Brussels with sauce

Broccoli Rabe

English Pudding


Waldorf Salad


Scallop Potatoes


Tamales and margaritas




Hot Toddy


Mexican Coffee

Mulled Wine

Holiday Wassail

Champagne Punch


Whisky Sours

Red wine




Dirty Martinis

Water Station

Cocoa with Marshmallows

White Russians

Brandy Snifters

Bourbon shots

Vodka Gimlets

Grey Goose

Holiday Beers

Spiked Punch

Maker’s Mark

Eggnog and coconut eggnog with rum

Margaritas to serve in a pitcher with 4th course tamales



Look in Bartender’s manual and drink books and on Epicurus for punch recipes, stock up a nice bar with mixers, shakers and ice, blender, pitchers made up



Flags, toothpicks, swords, sticks, curly toothpicks


Christmas dishes, appropriate glasses, decanter sets, mugs, middle eastern wine glasses with gold rims and designs, fine silverware, serving spoons, platters and serving dishes, table clothes, Christmas napkins

Outfits:  Velvet, plaid, fur, satin, evening, wool, tartan, ornate ethnic, fine jewelry, flannel, sweaters, angora, vests, long skirts, ribbons, reds, emeralds, greens, whites, bones, gold, silver, fantasy blue, magenta silk fantasy, blacks, wines, pearls, sequins, beading, diamonds, sapphires, rubies, opals, costume jewelry, 40’s dresses, Victorian, velvet smoking jackets, needle point jackets


Christmas is about lights, colors, smells, giving, creating long lasting memories and sharing.  It’s nice to ask good friends if they would like to exchange gifts, ask even family members if they would like to and start looking online, in shops and catalogues and making things early.  I love to give big shopping bags full of gifts that includes popcorn and cookie tins and plastic containers of homemade cookies, bubble baths and nail polishes.  I think the nicest thing is to get sweaters, socks, robes, underwear and t-shirts, flannels like sheets and pajamas.  It’s a cuddly time of year next to the fire reading or watching movies in a screening room.  Christmas is also about children and it’s nice to drag out all your dolls and teddy bears in their honor.  Companies like Bradford Exchange sell nice toy train sets.  It’s possible to go to Christmas villages like Frankenmuth and Meijer’s is all kitted out with nice things and classics.

On the days before Christmas it’s nice to reserve some of those for work friends or old roommates and have “Merry Mary” for example.  This year I plan to have a light menu of shrimp cocktail on ice, bloody mary’s, champagne, green olives with pimento, roasted cherry tomato capresse with mozzarella and olive oil served with warmed bread, mushroom bisque, smoked trout salad, and a pasta, for dessert lemon bars. Get out your smoke box and toast the year off nicely while you chat the night away.

Merry Christmas with best wishes to you and yours!

With Love from Revolving Stream!


-Afua Serwah Osei-Bonsu

Christmas 2017