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Democratic Party voters should know about Hillary Clinton’s career.

It dumbfounds millions that this woman can even countenance running for the presidency. However, as one of the videos below explains, this has been the plan since 1986, when Bill was the governor of Arkansas.

It is interesting that Hillary considers Donald Trump her opponent in the general election. A few days ago, her campaign launched an ad against the billionaire attacking his ‘extreme makeover’ recently announced by convention manager Paul Manafort to the GOPe in Hollywood, Florida. Meanwhile, Trump is unsure whether he will even be the Republican nominee without Manafort and his team going on a PR offensive with delegates.

In other Hillary news, one of her supporters, David Brock, is heading a new Super PAC called Correct The Record (CTR), which will employ online trolls at the cost of $1m to ‘correct’ Bernie Sanders’s supporters in social media comments. Obama’s 2008 campaign team were the first to use this bullying technique. Oh, my. Who can forget how down and dirty they were?

Clinton voters point to Bill’s stellar presidency and how wonderful it was having a first lady who was a lawyer. Millions of other Americans did not share their enthusiasm, but having Bob Dole as the lacklustre Republican candidate in 1996 effectively swept Bill into office for a second term.

After they left office — and ‘they’ is no mistake — warm, fuzzy memories lived on in voters’ minds. So, when Hillary became a New York senator, her fans cheered. However, when she lost to Obama in 2008, they fractured. Some went to Obama, but the rest broke off to support either John McCain (and, later, Mitt Romney) or the Green Party. As they left the Democratic Party and became unaffiliated, they started researching their former heroine’s background. What they discovered wasn’t pretty.

A Bernie Sanders supporter has an interesting site called Won’t Vote Hillary which lists a number of reasons — greater and lesser — as to why not.

Unless I missed it, one hasn’t made the list: her smoothing over New York mayor Bill de Blasio’s racist joke at an event on April 10. The New York Daily News reported:

Their big moment became a big blunder when a tasteless joke — built off the stereotype that black people are chronically late — fell flat.

“Thanks for the endorsement. Took you long enough,” Clinton deadpanned.  

“Sorry, Hillary. I was running on C.P. Time,” de Blasio replied, riffing on the phrase “colored people time,” meaning always late.

When the event’s compère, black actor Leslie Odom Jr, objected, Clinton said:

“’Cautious Politician Time.’ I’ve been there.”

The New York Post has the video clip with subtitles.

Can you imagine if Donald Trump had been involved in a tasteless skit like that? The media would still be talking about it.

There are serious questions Hillary’s current supporters need to ask themselves about her candidacy. Why have questionable ethics been at the forefront throughout her career? What is her end game?

The compelling videos below provide those questions — and answers — against Hillary.

White House questions

The ‘Anonymous’ video below is 25 minutes long. In a simple and straightforward manner, it covers the many Clinton scandals from Bill’s time in the White House to Hillary’s time as Obama’s Secretary of State through to the present day. Benghazi (‘What does it matter?’) starts at the 16:00 mark:

Hillary’s 2016 campaign and the Clinton Foundation are also discussed. This is well worth watching, because seeing all these scandals and unethical activity bundled together makes the case against Hillary all the more powerful.

Arkansas questions

Two other videos raise ethical and criminal issues concerning the Clintons from their Arkansas days through to the campaign for the presidency in 1992.

Both feature interviews with a one-time Clinton insider, Larry Nichols, who eventually disassociated himself from the couple.

The Clinton Chronicles is nearly 90 minutes long and explores the couple’s shaky ethics at the Rose Law Firm in Little Rock and later when Bill was Arkansas governor:

It’s shocking and, as the notice says at the beginning of the film, is intended for mature audiences only.

The next film is 33 minutes long and was made last year. In it, Nichols discusses the past and present. He says that, 30 years ago, the Clintons devised their 1986 Plan, which ultimately involves Bill becoming the Secretary General of the United Nations. If he achieved that power and if Hillary were President of the United States at the same time, they would accomplish their goal of being the most powerful couple in the world:

Nichols cautions against voters being taken in by Hillary’s attempt to position herself as the underdog in her campaign. She is anything but. He also says that the New York Times — knowingly or unknowingly — serves as a PR machine for her.

Nichols, who is battling cancer, thinks there is a very real possibility that the 2016 election could be the last one that Americans recognise. He says that if Hillary Clinton wins, the nation may be irrevocably changed — and not for the better.

He said that Hillary has always been the power behind the throne. It was she who directed Bill’s career. He explained that Bill is much more laid back, but Hillary’s mind is focussed on power.

Nichols sees only one viable option for reversing America’s travails and restoring the Great Republic: Donald Trump in the White House.

The Washington Post has an illuminating report on the amount of money presidential candidates have spent in February and March 2016 per vote.

There is an excellent graphic a quarter of the way down the page which shows the breakdown. This is before outside money, e.g. PAC funding, is factored in.

Strangely, Jeb Bush was omitted from the list, although his failed campaign cost $130m.

On the Republican side, overall, Ben Carson spent well beyond what the other remaining GOP candidates did. His campaign’s profligate spending made the news earlier this year. Unfortunately, in an attempt to speculate to accumulate, most of that money went on fundraising to generate more contributions: $85.64 per vote! That is more than four times’ Bernie Sanders’s equivalent spend of $21.27.

Carson aside, the Republicans have spent much less per vote than the Democrats. In February, Hillary Clinton spent $77.25 and Bernie Sanders an eye-watering $126.42. In March, Clinton spent $3.73 and Sanders $7.29.

Contrast those figures with Rafael ‘Ted’ Cruz’s spend of $65.64 in February and Donald Trump’s $22.44 that same month. In March, Cruz spent $2.12 per vote and Trump $1.85.

Trump got excellent value for money, although that figure is about to change somewhat as he injects $20 million into his campaign for targeted aggressive advertising and GOTV (get out the vote) strategies.

The big picture shows us how Democrats spend far more money than Republicans do. If this is only a presidential primary campaign, imagine how much in hard-earned taxpayer dollars they would spend once in office. Food for thought.

The first US election cycle I remember was 1964’s.

Since then, I have kept track of the rest, but, like many other political animals, only from the Republican and Democratic conventions through to November.

This year, however, primary season has got me hooked. It has millions of Americans paying attention. Even better, the rest of the world is watching with rapt interest.

A case in point is a warning from Kim Beazley, the former Australian ambassador to the US who is pro-TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership), against Donald Trump who opposes it. The Guardian published the report on April 20. The comments from anti-globalists were illuminating: maybe a Trump presidency wouldn’t be such a bad thing, after all.

Bernie Sanders has also attracted much interest. Guardian readers ask why Hillary Clinton gets more coverage than the Vermont senator.

Normally, no one would care.

However, 2016’s primary season will go down in history, not only because of the candidates but also for the awareness it has sparked. The US will never be the same. The rest of the world will also understand arcane aspects, e.g. delegate selection, they never thought they’d be interested in.

The US is fortunate that, this year, they have two anti-establishment candidates: Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders. Although they are on opposite sides of the political spectrum, they share some commonalities — delegate problems, for one — and attract anti-globalists. Both are disturbing the elites. Anti-globalists watching and reading on the sidelines hope both win their party nominations this summer.

We’re learning how complicated the delegate process is in both the Republican and Democratic parties. We see how jealously party panjandrums are guarding their corrupt Uniparty system. A Sanders supporter will agree with Trump when he says the system is ‘rigged’ and works against Bernie as well as himself.

We’re watching every primary result and assessing state delegate procedures. We understand that superdelegates can work against Sanders and that Trump’s victories do not lock in his delegates. We wonder to what extent the popular primary vote counts if party elites ultimately go against it.

We think it’s great that people like Trump and Sanders are shining light on the electoral process. We’re cheering as party leaders, comfortable in their corruption, are unsettled to find out that the average citizen is cottoning on to how the game is played.

Can we do anything about it? Probably not immediately. However, one thing is sure: the US presidential election has set off a strong demand for true transparency, a notion politicians often speak of but rarely deliver.

The words of Justice Louis D Brandeis are just as relevant today as when he wrote them in 1914 (emphasis in the original):

Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants; electric light the most efficient policeman.

Those words appeared in his article entitled Other People’s Money—and How Bankers Use It. (The more things change, the more they stay the same.) Thanks to the election, perhaps 2016 will result in a leader of the free world who can affect real change instead of using it as a mere campaign slogan.

The 2016 presidential primary season in the United States is unprecedented. We’ve never seen anything like it in living memory.

Every day brings intrigue and drama, especially on the Republican side. You could not make it up.

A few years from now, someone should make a television series of it in documentary form with news clips and objective narration.

What follows are viewpoints on two candidates and one upcoming concern.

Ted Cruz

City dwellers and suburbanites in southern Wisconsin chose Ted Cruz over Donald Trump in their primary on April 5, 2016. This demographic handed the win to Cruz. (Bernie Sanders beat Hillary Clinton.)

They voted for the GOPe(stablishment) man ‘showing America the face of God’, as his wife Heidi puts it.

Nearly one month ago I wrote a piece on Cruz and Donald Trump. It discussed Cruz’s dominionist religiosity and the globalist connections through his wife. I concluded:

I’ll take an honest sinner any day.

One of my readers, chrystalia99 of Fortune’s Thoughts, recently posted several more reasons not to vote for Cruz. Everyone who thinks he is a true outsider and upstanding man should read her post. I was particularly intrigued by the reasoning behind his desire to possibly abolish the IRS. It’s not necessarily an altruistic one.

Here’s Cruz trying to kiss his elder daughter in February:

This video shows Cruz coaching his family on doing campaign ads for him:

Some might find that convincing or heartwarming. Others will cringe.

GOP Convention

We’re still a few months away from the Republican convention in Cleveland.

Trump supporters are rightly worried that their man will be deprived of the Republican nomination. The GOPe are doing nothing to dispel that concern. In fact, they are stoking it.

Some people want to go and protest. Riots are rumoured. However, Fortune’s Thoughts explains the narrative of notional ‘delegate stealing’ and advises caution to those wanting to protest at the convention in July (highlights and caps in the original):

THE DELEGATES ARE NOT BEING STOLEN. Delegates aren’t magic beings–they are ordinary people from Main street. Anyone who is a republican can be elected a state delegate, and get to the National convention as well. What is happening is very simple. Cruz is playing the game, making sure that those who vote for HIM go the extra step and go for a delegate slot. And the GOPers are busily helping him, by making sure that their PRECINCT PEOPLE, OR THOSE WHO VOTE ON DELEGATES, ARE EITHER CRUZ SUPPORTERS OR ARE VOTING FOR PEOPLE WHO ARE. This is how the delegate system works. It is NOT the GOP’s “job” to make sure a candidate’s delegates actually support them.


I really shouldn’t have to spell this out, but I will anyway. THE GOPers KNOW CRUZ IS NEARLY COOKED. They also know that Trump IS our choice, which scares the Bejeevers out of them, for good reason. If Trump gets 1237+ the ONLY thing they can do to stop him is change the rules at the convention (which they do have the right to do BTW, yet ANOTHER reason we need to take back the GOP). They also know if they do that, we’ll likely go write in, or revolt. To prevent Trump REACHING 1237+, they have to demoralize the voting base. They have to convince people Trump is losing (look at the news and nonsense over WI, for instance), or that Trump HAS ALREADY LOST PLEDGED DELEGATES WHEN HE HASN’T.

As for the MSM:

  • The media is deliberately trying to create panic and civil unrest, by allowing people to think we’re “doomed”, WHEN THIS IS NOT THE CASE.
  • The media is also making sure that they don’t tell you the whole story, because if they told you what I wrote above, you’d do 2 things–you’d say “oh, OK, so I’ll LEARN HOW TO PLAY THE GAME SO MY VOTE COUNTS”, and you’d stop worrying about delegates in states where they have already been chosen, and start worrying about states going forward, and lock in THOSE delegates.
  • They are NOT telling you the whole story, or telling what they ARE telling you accurately, because they are hoping either Trump or the voters do something stupid that violates some arcane RNC by-law, so they can nullify the binding pledge, making ALL THE DELEGATES UNBOUND AT THE CONVENTION. They are doing this at the behest of the GOPers.

Here are excellent reasons not to march on Cleveland during the convention (purple highlights mine):

But, and this is far more important at this point: The media and the uniparty, both GOPers, AND Dems, are trying to get the people angry enough to fall for idiocy like Roger Stone’s “Days of Rage”, and march on Cleveland “just to be sure the people are listened to”. 


Under the RNC rules, if the convention isn’t “safe”, they can suspend it. Technically, as the rules expire THE NIGHT BEFORE THE CONVENTION, They can just change them anyway.

The RNC also has rules in place that allow them to nominate who they choose, if the binding of delegates is nullified by some action on the part of the candidate. Do you think they couldn’t make a case that Roger Stone is employed by Trump? Or that Roger Stone is trying to create civil unrest because Trump told him to? THINK AGAIN.

Chrystalia99 goes on to explain that the Left are bringing out their own people to protest Trump’s nomination. Cleveland Police are gearing up for riots. The National Guard will be on alert. As this concerns the presidency, anyone arrested for disrupting proceedings or protesting could be charged with a felony. With things being as they are today, charges of terrorism could also apply.

Cleveland has a population of only half a million people. The city will find the convention challenging enough without the added chaos from protesters, left-wing or conservative.

Roger Stone, who, as chrystalia99 says, does talk about this a lot with Alex Jones, really should stop. Although he is no longer working directly for the Trump campaign, he is investigating cases of alleged voting fraud for them.

Trump supporters should stay at home and let him do the ‘art of the deal’ with the GOPe at the convention. The media would be only happy to portray any peaceful protests from the his supporters as ‘angry’, ‘unhinged’ displays that they told us we could expect from them. This is a no-win proposition.

Bernie Sanders

Wouldn’t it be great if it were Donald Trump v Bernie Sanders in the general election?

Two renegades from New York battling it out for the presidency!

Every day of the campaign would engage the American public and the world, just as the primary season has.

Sanders has a one-minute campaign ad called ‘Bringing People Together’:

It hasn’t gone down well with everyone. Veteran blogger Dave Hitt is one of them. In his post on the advert, he says:

… it’s a reason so many of us are deeply afraid of a Bernie presidency.

I don’t want the government to bring me together with anyone. I, and I alone, should get to pick who I get together with. They, and they alone, get to decide if they want to get together with me. Choosing your own associations is one of the most basic of all human rights.

You want to get us together, Bernie? Then get out of the damn way. Let us peacefully decide what we want to do and who we want to do it with. Let us start a business doing whatever we want, without thousands of dollars worth of permits and three-inch-thick books of regulations. Let us decide for ourselves how we want to live our lives, and keep the resources we need to do it.

Hitt then reminisces about the brilliant cigar evenings he used to enjoy in a brew pub, where he and his friends were a microcosm of what Sanders wants to see:

There were about twenty of us. It would be hard to imagine a more diverse group. We were different races, had different educational backgrounds and were on different rungs of the socioeconomic ladder. Our politics and religious beliefs were all over the place. We had different jobs and different interests. The only thing we all had in common was the love of fine cigars …

Everything was good, but the conversations – the conversations were great. We’d joke and discuss and debate and explain and argue and be charming and offensive and everything in between, and never once, in all the years we did it, was a voice ever raised in anger. Nothing brings out good conversation better than fine cigars.

Then the smoking ban in his state took effect, which broke the group up. Hitt rightly observes:

Your tribes took that from us, Bernie. Your Government Tribe and your Nanny Tribe reached in with their diseased claws and ripped it from our lives. They intentionally destroyed something wonderful that brought people together.

Just so!

But, is Sanders himself an anti-smoker? The incomparable Frank Davis did some investigating and found that, indeed, he is. From ‘Tearing People Apart’:

This may clarify:

The Senate health committee took up anti-smoking legislation that would authorize the Food and Drug Administration to regulate the marketing, advertising and product standards of cigarettes and other tobacco products. “I support this long-overdue legislation. If anything, I don’t think this bill goes far enough,” Sanders said. He suggested doubling the current level of resources for programs to help smokers quit. He also compared tobacco company executives to heroin dealers. “The only difference is they wear three-piece suits and hang out at country clubs.”

I think it’s pretty clear where Bernie Sanders is coming from.

Me, too. Thanks, Frank. No different to Hillary Clinton, then — at least on that score.


2016 will see the beginning of ‘yuge’, as Trump would say, change in the United States. It will be real change, too, starting at the ballot box in early November.

We will not see another election cycle like this for at least a generation, probably longer. It will go down in history as being one of the most memorable, especially during the primaries. Millions of us have never paid any attention to them. Millions of Americans who have never voted in their lives have registered to vote in the primaries!

The votes Americans cast this year will, as Trump says, be the most important ones of their lives, regardless of whom they vote for.

America may never be the same again. Let us pray that the Great Republic is transformed rather than destroyed.

Mother Angelica.jpegOn Easter Sunday — March 27, 2016 — Mother Mary Angelica, foundress of EWTN, breathed her last. She was in excruciating pain on Good Friday.

Her soul is now with the Lord. She is at peace after coping with a stroke in late 2001 and subsequent illnesses that kept her out of the limelight since then.

Traditional Catholics are grateful for her legacy, that of the EWTN television channel, which she founded in 1981.

Early life

Mother Mary Angelica’s early life will surprise many who think that nuns were ‘born that way’.

Born on April 20, 1923, in Canton, Ohio, Rita Antoinette Rizzo was the only child of John and Mae Helen Rizzo (née Gianfrancesco). Industry in Canton at that time was booming. Consequently, the small city attracted many Italian immigrants.

Rizzo’s father worked as a tailor and left the family home when his daughter was very young. He and Mrs Rizzo divorced in 1929. Mother Mary Angelica later recalled that she and her mother lived:

like a pair of refugees. We were poor, hungry, and barely surviving on odd jobs before Mother learned the dry cleaning business as an apprentice to a Jewish tailor in our area. Even then, we pinched pennies just to keep food on the table.[7]

At the age of 16, Rizzo helped her mother change jobs, which brought some financial relief.

Rizzo attended Canton McKinley High School, where she was one of the school’s first drum majorettes.

During her teenage years, she was stricken with an abdominal ailment which was not cured until shortly before her 20th birthday. Although she had been receiving extensive medical treatment, nothing worked. On the morning of January 18, 1943, she awoke to find she had no more pain. She attributed the cure to a healing ‘miracle’ performed by a Catholic faith healer. Deeply moved, she became a devout Catholic from that moment.

Called to the convent

In 1944, months after her cure, Rizzo went to a church to pray. As she prayed, she felt a calling to become a nun.

She spoke to a local Catholic priest who advised her to visit different convents to help her make a more informed decision about which order to join. She travelled some distance to Buffalo, New York, where she visited the Sisters of St Joseph. The sisters decided that Rizzo was better suited to the contemplative life.

On August 15, 1944, Rizzo, aged 21, entered the contemplative cloistered community of Saint Paul’s Shrine of Perpetual Adoration in Cleveland, part of the Poor Clare of Perpetual Adoration order. (Note in the photo below the small monstrance they wear.)  She had felt at home on her visit there and accepted the sisters’ invitation to be a postulant.

Rizzo’s mother was most unhappy at this turn of events.

A year later, Rizzo was vested as a Poor Clare. The congregation gave her a new name, Mary Angelica of the Annunciation. A short time later, the Poor Clares opened a new monastery in Canton, and she was able to return to her home town.

In 1946, Sister Angelica had an accident with an industrial waxing machine. She fell, injuring her spine, which required her to wear leg braces for many years.

Feisty and innovative

She made her final vows as a Poor Clare on January 2, 1953. At that time, the civil rights movement was in its infancy; nonetheless, it captured Sister Angelica’s imagination. If she were cured of her chronic pain following the waxing machine accident, she silently vowed to open a new monastery. Her prayers were answered and she duly asked for her superior’s permission to establish a new monastery in Alabama in the hope that a community of religious could help to convert Protestant blacks to Roman Catholicism.

Permission granted, Sister Angelica began writing to various dioceses in the South to explain her project and request consent for building a new monastery. In 1957, the Archbishop of Mobile, the Most Revd Thomas Toolen, encouraged her to open a Franciscan one in Birmingham, Alabama. The Poor Clares are an order of Franciscan nuns.

The photo on the right, courtesy of Encyclopedia of Alabama, shows Sister Angelica, Archbishop Toolen and another Poor Clare discussing the project.

Amazingly, Sister Angelica and four other interested Poor Clares began making and selling fishing lures to pay for the monastery. The funding initiative, called St. Peter’s Fishing Lures, began in 1959. It was so successful that, by 1961, the nuns had made $13,000, which they used to purchase a two-bedroom house and 15 acres of land in the town of Irondale, Alabama, a suburb of Birmingham and, later, the location of the book Fried Green Tomatoes.

From there, financial contributions from individual donors and companies began rolling in.

Archbishop Toolen formally dedicated Our Lady of the Angels Monastery on May 20, 1962.

In 1999, the monastery relocated several miles away to Hanceville, to a new site, the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament.

Media savvy

In 1962, at Our Lady of the Angels, the now-Mother Angelica gave parlour talks on Catholicism to the general public. Those who attended remembered a gifted communicator and down-to-earth teacher.

Local Catholics thought her message deserved a wider audience. She began recording and selling 45-rpm records which contained lessons on Christian living. She also wrote booklets and later sold audio cassettes.

In the early 1970s, Bishop Joseph Vath of Birmingham urged Mother Angelica to begin lecturing outside the cloister. She started recording tapes of her teaching which were then broadcast on local radio. The Sunday morning broadcast was called Journey into Scripture.

Whilst it is unclear how many black Alabamians converted to Catholicism because of her efforts, with existing Catholics, Mother Angelica was a runaway success.

A local television station gave her a half-hour of airtime. By the end of the 1970s, Pat Robertson was airing her show on his satellite Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN).

Birth of EWTN

At the turn of the next decade, Mother Angelica visited a Chicago television studio and learned about its capabilities.

In 1981, she founded the non-profit Eternal Word Television Network, which initially broadcast out of a converted garage at the monastery.

Until 2002, Mother Angelica was Chairman and CEO of the corporation. She also had her own programme, Mother Angelica Live.

EWTN gradually grew to attract a global audience. It is unlikely that any adult Catholics today have not heard either of her or her network.

Raymond Arroyo, EWTN News’s Managing Editor and Mother Angelica’s biographer, said on Easter Sunday, following her death:

she was the only woman in television history to found and lead a cable network for 20 years.

The Vatican has long approved of EWTN and network executives say that they try to adhere to Vatican teachings.

However, that did not always mean Mother Angelica agreed with what was happening in the Catholic Church. She was not a fan of certain innovations during the 1980s and 1990s:

Mother Angelica’s outspokenness on church issues — her pet peeves were gender-neutral language in the liturgy and a change allowing girls to become altar servers — made her both friends and enemies among the Catholic faithful.

Battling the bishops

Mother Angelica’s traditionalist stances brought her into conflict with some American bishops.

In 1993, she strongly objected to a woman playing the role of Jesus in a Passion play during the World Youth Days that year. She deemed it ‘blasphemous’ and added:

I am so tired of you, liberal church in America. I resent you pushing your anti-Catholic, ungodly ways upon the masses of this country.

The controversial, ‘progressive’ Archbishop Rembert Weakland of Milwaukee deemed her words ‘anti-Christian’ and ‘divisive’. The National Conference of Catholic Bishops took action, requesting that that particular segment of her programme not be rebroadcast. Mother Angelica flat out refused.

In 1997, she locked horns with Cardinal Roger Mahony of Los Angeles, about whom I wrote in 2009. He proposed changes to Holy Communion which she considered undoctrinal:

I’m afraid my obedience in that diocese would be absolutely zero. And I hope everybody else’s in that diocese is zero.

The cardinal accused her of disobedience and requested not only an apology but also a retraction.

Although Mother Angelica gave him a grudging apology, she overlaid that with a long televised explanation of her objections to his proposal.

The cardinal asked the Vatican to start looking into her teachings and EWTN programmes. They did. No disciplinary action was taken.

Meanwhile, EWTN’s audience further increased, as did donations from traditionalist Catholics. In 1994, The National Catholic Reporter estimated her annual donations were $25 million.

In 2009, Pope Benedict XVI awarded her the Cross of Honor for distinguished service:

It is the highest award a pope can give to a member of the laity, the term by which the church defines everyone except ordained priests.

I would think that Mother Angelica will eventually be canonised.

What she went through from Good Friday to Easter indicates that she was a very holy and godly woman. That she died on Easter further reinforces her specialness to our Lord.

Women in the Church

It is so discouraging to know that many men, especially American conservative Christians, say that there is no place for women in positions of leadership in the Church.

Mother Angelica’s life and example proves them wrong.

I hope that young women, whether Catholic or Protestant, see her as a role model for leadership in and faithfulness to the Church.

Whether they agree with her theologically has no bearing on how her example can be used to teach and accomplish the impossible. Who would have thought that making and selling fishing lures would have led to a multi-million dollar non-profit Christian broadcasting empire?

The Church belongs to women, too. Ladies, use your God-given talents and faith to make a difference to your fellow Christians.

A few days ago I read a news item from Paris about food truck owners who have opened their own bricks and mortar restaurants.

It seemed odd. Surely a food truck is less of a headache than a restaurant. Not really.

Four food truck owners in Paris — Le Camion qui fume (‘The truck that smokes’), Le Réfectoire, Cantine California and Leoni’s Daily — now have fixed locations in addition to continuing with their mobile businesses.

Valentine Davase started Le Réfectoire in 2012 and says that the ability to have a restaurant saves money. She told Agence France Presse:

Having a fixed restaurant means having a big kitchen, storage space, a garage to park and clean the truck, to do all the production in one place …

We optimise charges [and] costs which really helps our day-to-day organisation enormously.

Davase’s career pattern is ideal for a food truck owner. She started out in communications, then worked in events before becoming an apprentice at the Ritz. She has what it takes to be a successful food truck owner: enjoying people, knowing how to market products and being a great cook.

She pointed out that running a food truck can cost between €80,000 to €120,000 in repairs if one has to have them done professionally. Other problems include working:

in the wind, in the rain, sometimes with power cuts. It’s hardly the ideal restaurant format.

Since she opened her restaurant in September 2015, she has noticed that not only do people appreciate eating indoors but they also spend more. Average spend at the truck is €10. In the restaurant it’s €14 to €15.

Former Los Angelena Kristin Frederick is the pioneer of food trucks in France. She started Le Camion qui fume in 2011. Parisians loved the concept. Although she invested €2m for a fixed location, Frederick says that owning a restaurant has helped her reduce costs. She points out that location is also essential. Hers is in Montmartre. She hopes to open another two locations in Paris by this time in 2017.

Frederick’s four trucks still operate in Paris. Altogether, she employs 50 people.

She is also the president of the association Street Food en Mouvement. She told AFP that half of food truck owners go under because of lack of customers. Bernard Boutboul, a restaurant consultant, said that, while Paris has expanded parking locations for food trucks, he expects the capital to reclaim those places as more food trucks go out of business in the coming years.

It’s hardly a promising prospect.

The trend of food truck owners moving into fixed locations is well known in the United States. It makes sense for newcomers to the food business to start small and establish their brand before moving into the restaurant scene. This is why I was surprised to read about the French experience above. Presumably, those food truck owners have made enough money to finance their restaurants. Yet, they made it in such a short time period.

Mobile-Cuisine has an interesting rationale for starting with food trucks before opening a restaurant. Their six reasons in support of a food truck for newbies includes cost comparison:

The costs involved in opening a restaurant vary based on the concept you develop. Opening a high end dining establishment can start at 500K and can run into the millions. Opening a food truck using the same style (only smaller) of menu can cost as little as $50,000. By starting small, you will learn many of the same lessons in a truck as you would in a restaurant. Operating any food service business is risky, but if your idea fails, would you rather have a smaller investment to lose than a much larger one?

Even then, food truck owners have a lot to do in order to make their businesses viable. Food Truckr asked readers to write in about ‘What I Wish I’d Known Before Starting My Food Truck’. Fifty owners shared their experiences. It’s an excellent article.

The biggest bugbears are regulations and permits, including the requirement to be parked near a public restroom, truck maintenance, starting out without a proper business plan or budget and the realisation that owning a food truck will take up nearly all of one’s time.

The food truck contributors recommended:

  • Knowing what is involved before starting up: legal issues, city ordinances, trucks, menu;
  • Putting together a serious and thorough business plan;
  • Being a people person who can be nice to customers and promote the business;
  • Making sure you are on every type of social media;
  • Knowing what events to go to.

One of the contributors wrote (emphasis in the original):

Catering for a food truck is where the big bucks are.


Although we see food trucks as being individualistic and maverick, ultimately, they are a business just like any other. And the idea that a number of food truck owners are going into the restaurant business indicates that owning a mobile business is not as easy or carefree as it looks.

Anyone with food truck or restaurant experience is especially welcome to comment below.

Over the past few days, illuminating articles have appeared about Nancy Reagan, who died on Sunday, March 6, 2016.

Before addressing these, however, Mitt Romney’s Facebook tribute to her would have been better received by his fellow Republicans had he not given a speech in Utah a few days before to banjax Donald Trump’s candidacy. And what about the secret meeting in South Carolina which followed at the weekend whilst Nancy Reagan was dying? The airwaves in Florida during that time were bombarded with various Republican PAC-financed negative advertising, the tone of which astonished even the irrepressible Trump himself. Many of Mitt’s Facebook commenters were angry that he violated Ronald Reagan’s first principle of conservatism: don’t criticise other conservatives, even if you disagree with them. I’ve read that Mitt has lost thousands of Facebook ‘friends’ with his hypocrisy.

Two of the articles cited below — one from Real Clear Politics and the other from the New York Times — were written by Lou Cannon, a journalist that Nancy held at arm’s length at first. He soon became a close confidant of hers. They knew each other for 50 years. Their longstanding friendship shows that Nancy was willing to change her mind and adapt to circumstances — wisely.

Whatever one thinks of Nancy Reagan, one cannot fault her as First Lady or as the devoted wife to one of America’s most popular presidents in living memory.

First Lady of California

Ronald Wilson Reagan began his first term as Governor in January 1967.

This involved moving his family from Pacific Palisades in southern California to the state capital of Sacramento. The Governor’s Mansion was in a dire state. In fact, it was a firetrap. Nancy and two of the Reagan children spent much of their time there initially.

As if that weren’t bad enough, Nancy was suspicious of the press, which was not surprising, as she knew how awful reporters could be, having been part of the Hollywood set.

Years before, in 1949, as Nancy Davis, she was at risk of losing her career, having been named as one of the actors who signed a brief to have the convictions of two screenwriters deemed to be Communist overturned. Fortunately, her friend, director Mervyn LeRoy, was able to establish that another actress of the same name signed the brief. As dark as those days must have been for her at the time, that was how she met Ronald Reagan, who was president of the Screen Actors Guild at the time. LeRoy arranged a meeting between the two because Nancy wanted to clear her name in person. It was love at first sight. They began dating in earnest in 1950 and got married on March 4, 1952, at the Little Brown Church in Studio City. Actor William Holden and his wife Ardis were the couple’s witnesses.

Years later in Sacramento, Nancy was astonished at the fulsome press coverage her husband’s adversaries received.

Lou Cannon remembers that she also loathed the hypocrisy of politicians:

She wondered how they could say terrible things about her husband on the floor of the legislature during the day and then socialize with them at night as if nothing had happened.

Personally, I wonder about that, too, when I read that the Bushes and the Clintons are really close. One can imagine that Jeb and Hillary vying in this year’s election would have been a desirable outcome for both families.

Cannon writes that Nancy decided to adapt to her new circumstances by not only memorising the names of every California legislator but also learning something about them. She turned a negative situation into a positive one.

By the time Ronald Reagan began his second term as governor, contributors had financed a more comfortable house for him and his family. The contributors owned the house and leased it to him.

At a reception there for freshman legislators in 1973, Nancy introduced herself to Democrat Lou Papan and his wife. Their son was seriously ill. Nancy told them that her (adoptive) father — Loyal Davis — was a doctor. She spent some time talking with them about their son. Whilst there was nothing she could do about the Papans’ son’s illness, by knowing something about them, she was able to comfort them during a difficult time. Cannon remembers:

They later lost their son but never forgot how empathetic Mrs. Reagan had been.

During those years, Nancy learned to cope with the press and socialise with the wives of men who had insulted her husband in the course of politics.

Negative press began early and went national. In 1968, author Joan Didion and her husband John Gregory Dunne wrote a hit piece for the Saturday Evening Post, now defunct but a popular magazine of its time. My grandparents subscribed to it. Cannon recalls:

The article described Mrs. Reagan’s famous smile as a study in frozen insecurity.

However, Cannon points out that Nancy received positive press, too. A few months after the Saturday Evening Post article, the Los Angeles Times published an article, ‘Nancy Reagan: A Model First Lady’. Other media coverage praised her welcoming home recently released prisoners of war from Vietnam and her Foster Grandparents Program for mentally disabled children.

Ronald Reagan’s first attempt at presidential nomination

Watergate exploded in 1974. Ronald Reagan did not seek re-election. Jerry ‘Governor Moonbeam’ Brown, son of Reagan’s predecessor, won the gubernatorial election that year and assumed office in January 1975.

It was during this time, back home in Pacific Palisades, that Nancy began to play a greater part in influencing her husband’s political career.

In May 1974, Reagan was already planning to run as a candidate in the 1976 presidential election. The Reagans held a meeting of supporters. Among them was John P Sears, a well-established Washington lawyer who had worked on Richard Nixon’s campaign in 1960. He told the Reagans that Nixon would stand down, which he did on August 9.

Nancy never forgot Sears’s prediction, so when it came time for her husband to begin putting his bid together for the 1976 election, she urged him to hire Sears to direct the campaign. Reagan lost the Republican nomination narrowly to Gerald Ford, who then lost the election to the Democrat, Jimmy Carter.

It makes me wonder whether we will see a rerun this year of close delegate totals. Reagan was very popular in 1976 and Ford was thought to be a bit of a wimp. However, Reagan was seen to be very conservative at the time, a view which changed four years later after the Carter debacle — the Iran hostage crisis.

By 1980, Sears was back on the scene. However, Nancy had second thoughts. Deeming him ‘disruptive’, according to Cannon, she recommended that he be fired and replaced by William J Casey, who later headed the CIA in the Reagan administration. Yet, during the campaign, Nancy didn’t think Casey was the right man, either. Cannon tells us (emphases mine):

Mrs. Reagan became critical of Mr. Casey and urged her husband to bring in Mr. Spencer, who had run Mr. Reagan’s first campaign for governor. Mr. Spencer was persona non grata in the Reagan camp because he had managed Mr. Ford’s campaign in 1976. But Mr. Reagan followed his wife’s advice. Mr. Spencer joined the campaign and ran it smoothly.

She might have been correct in that matter, but Cannon points out that Nancy’s advice was not always on target:

For instance, she opposed Mr. Spencer’s proposal that her husband debate President Carter. Mr. Reagan decided to debate and did so well that he surged ahead in the polls and won convincingly a week later.

Assassination attempt 1981

Ronald Reagan had barely begun his presidency — incidentally, Iran released the American hostages on Inauguration Day — when John Hinckley Jr attempted to assassinate him on March 30, 1981.

Dan Friedman’s article for The Atlantic explains how this potentially tragic event altered Nancy’s views on guns:

The former actress and wife of GOP standard-bearer Ronald Reagan sometimes kept a pistol in her nightstand when her husband was out of town. But after a personal brush with gun violence, she began to change her mind.

Minutes after John Hinckley Jr. fired a handgun six times at her husband, a Secret Service agent incorrectly told Nancy Reagan that all the shots had missed the president. When she found out that her husband was in critical condition—a bullet fragment had entered his left lung, barely missing his heart—she was shocked.

“He was so white. I have never seen anybody so white,” she later recalled. “And he had that thing over his face to help him breathe, and there was blood.”

She never forgot that horrible day. In a 1994 interview, she said:

There is nothing that can describe your husband being shot and the emotions that you go through. It’s something that never leaves you.

Although Reagan maintained that guns were not the problem, people were, Nancy continued to persuade him that gun control was the way forward. In 1991, by which time George H W Bush was in office, Reagan gave a speech emphasising the responsibility people had in bearing firearms. He came out in support of the 1993 Brady Bill under the Clinton administration. Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer says today that the former president’s advocacy greatly helped the bill to be voted into law.

I have been thinking a lot recently about this assassination attempt on Ronald Reagan’s life. Mitt made his anti-Trump address last week at the Hinckley Institute in Utah. The name started me free associating, even though there might not be any sort of family relationship there.

When it happened — and even today — it appeared to be a random act. That said, John Hinckley Jr’s Wikipedia Talk page has recurring references to the Bush family. George H W Bush was Reagan’s VP. He was also one of Reagan’s opponents in the 1980 GOP primary race.

One prays that any connection between Hinckley Jr’s crimes and Hinckley family relationships with the Bushes are entirely coincidental. has an excerpt of a longer article by Tom Flocco, which states:

Curiously, only one time was it announced on the news about the connections between the Bush and Hinckley families: An almost bewildered John Chancellor on NBC Nightly News reported “the bizarre coincidence” that Vice President Bush’s son, Neil, and Scott Hinckley had dinner plans for March 31, 1981 — now cancelled, of course.

That was to talk about oil pricing issues, by the way. Scott Hinckley is John Jr’s brother.

Incidentally, in 2016, Neil Bush has been working on Rafael ‘Ted’ Cruz’s finance team.

Let us pray such a thing never happens again. I remember the shock we all felt, as we also remembered the Kennedy assassination in November 1963.

First Lady of the United States

By the time Ronald Reagan was sworn into office, Nancy Reagan understood how the political world worked.

She crossed the aisle to make friends among the Democrats.

Those who were alive at the time will recall the political sparring between Speaker of the House Thomas P ‘Tip’ O’Neill and President Reagan. Yet, as they were friends after hours, so too was Nancy with Millie O’Neill.

Nancy took her duties as First Lady seriously. Whilst she had many critics and negative stories often appeared in the press, she carried herself with grace, poise and elegance. Never once did she look anything less than well dressed. Whilst she was demanding with her husband’s staff, she adhered to White House protocol and was a perfect hostess to fellow American and foreign dignitaries alike.

The most negative thing I remember about her in the White House was redecorating part of it and buying new china during a time of recession. Lou Cannon explains that these improvements were privately funded, which many of us (myself included) did not know:

After one look at the White House living quarters, Mrs. Reagan decided to redo them. She then raised $822,000 from private contributors to accomplish this. Another contributor put up more than $200,000 to buy a set of presidential china, enough for 220 place settings; it was the first new set in the White House since the Johnson administration.

In 1987, during her husband’s second term in office, Nancy had to have a mastectomy of her left breast. She gave interviews about the experience and urged women to have regular mammograms.

Devoted wife until the end

Nancy and Ronald Reagan had a very close, loyal relationship with each other.

In 1994, the former president was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. He and Nancy composed a letter to make his condition public to the American people.

Nancy then organised ongoing lunches and get-togethers with friends so that they could all reminisce together. Cannon says Nancy described the next decade as a ‘long goodbye’.

She also became a staunch advocate for research into cures for Alzheimer’s.

She was at her husband’s side throughout his ten-year illness. She loved him deeply.

Lou Cannon describes June 11, 2004, the day of the former president’s funeral:

At Mr. Reagan’s funeral, at the National Cathedral in Washington, she remained in tight control of her emotions. Then she flew west with the coffin for a burial service at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif., where Mrs. Reagan will also be buried. At the conclusion of the ceremony, at sunset, soldiers and sailors handed Mrs. Reagan a folded American flag. She held it close to her heart, put it down on the coffin, and at last began to cry.


Before her burial on March 10, people travelled far and wide to line the route to pay their final respects to the wife of America’s 40th president.

Nancy and Ronald Reagan served their country proudly and responsibly.

They also served — and loved — each other in marriage, through adversity, sickness and health.

May we, in our own circumstances, do likewise.

ben carsonIt was disappointing that Dr Ben Carson, 64, had to drop out of the Republican (GOP) presidential race at the weekend.

(Photo credit: Blue Nation Review)

Carson’s campaign

In October, despite his being a Seventh Day Adventist (sect), I was hopeful for his campaign. Polls showed that only he had a chance of beating Hillary Clinton: early in December, he was ahead by one point and early in February 2016, she was ahead by just 1.3 points.

However, the endless focus on race in the West, particularly in the United States, makes it difficult for a black to declare himself (or herself) as a conservative. An offended Left — including the MSM — would have to take Carson down.

Before that happened, however, Carson revealed vulnerability in the GOP (Grand Old Party) debates, particularly on foreign policy.

Another thing people remember from his participation in the debates was his statement that the pyramids were grain silos. Before I go into that, however, leftists commenting online seized on it and called him all sorts of names, including ‘stupid’, ‘idiot’ and ‘fool’. They were frothing at the mouth. These comments continued until Carson dropped out of the race.

Early in November, Politico tried to make Carson out to be a liar. Mollie Hemingway, writing for The Federalist, explains the story and subsequent retraction. In short, Politico‘s Kyle Cheney accused Carson of fabricating receiving a West Point scholarship. Cheney had to retract this shortly afterwards.

Hemingway says:

Ben Carson’s campaign did not “admit” that a central point in his story “was fabricated.” Quite the opposite. The central point of the story is falsely described by Cheney/Politico as being that he applied and was accepted at West Point. Carson, in fact, has repeatedly claimed not to have applied. So any claim regarding the absence of West Point records of such an application would not debunk Carson’s point. And, again, Carson’s campaign never “conceded” the story was false at least in part because the story, as characterized by Politico, is not one he told. Further, Cheney is unable to substantiate his claim that Carson told this story. Nowhere in the article does he even explain, with facts, where he came up with the idea that Carson has ever made this claim.

What happened was that, in 1969, as a 17-year-old, Carson had the exceptional opportunity to meet General William Westmoreland, recently retired from service in Vietnam, for dinner. Westmoreland offered him a full scholarship to West Point, but Carson politely declined. Politico said there was no record of Carson’s application to West Point. Again, he never applied.

Politico changed the headline of their story to:

Exclusive: Carson claimed West Point ‘scholarship’ but never applied

Hardly an improvement.

Carson had been in the cadets in high school in Detroit. Furthermore, as one would expect of a future brain surgeon, his academic performance was excellent. It’s no wonder the general asked him to apply to West Point, offering a full scholarship.

By December 19, GOP polls had changed. Fox News reported:

Donald Trump, a candidate even Republicans once considered a side show, increases his lead yet again in the nomination race, according to the latest Fox News national poll. 

The poll also finds Ted Cruz ticking up, Marco Rubio slipping, and Ben Carson dropping.

At that point, he was in fourth place on

9 percent. He was at 18 percent last month and had a high of 23 percent support earlier this fall.

Yet, he still had more approval points than Jeb Bush, who had 3%!

On December 26, Real Clear Politics had a go at Carson about his paid speaking engagements and book tour during his candidacy. This ‘concern’ piece wondered if there was enough separation between his revenue generating interests and his campaign. Carson’s campaign spokesman Doug Watts said:

We segregate as much as feasible.

The Atlantic had similar ‘concerns’.

Most of this would have gone under the radar of Republican voters. However, as with the grain silos, Carson’s book tour became a running theme of online leftists. That also continued until he dropped out at the weekend.

Rafael ‘Ted’ Cruz’s cheating at the Iowa caucus — saying Carson had dropped out of the race — cost the good doctor dearly. Donald Trump still talks about it, and rightly so, because Cruz’s team’s intimidation of Carson voters created a win for the Christian constitutional expert from Texas, pushing Trump into second place — and leaving Carson in fourth with 9% of the vote.

Cruz and his team seized their opportunity when Carson said that he was going home to Florida the weekend before the Iowa caucus for a change of clothes. Cruz’s people said they got the information from CNN.

I feel badly for Carson. He assumed Cruz was a nice guy and that the media would play fair ball. At a press conference held after the Iowa caucus, Carson rightly took issue with both.

However, I wonder why Carson didn’t just say that he was going home to regroup before going to Washington DC for the annual National Prayer Breakfast, after which he would go on to campaign in New Hampshire. Donald Trump is always clear about where he is going next, probably to avoid similar speculation.

So, as much as the Left wanted Carson to fail because, in their eyes, blacks have no business being conservatives, the true kisses of death came from two of his fellow candidates — avowed Christians, let’s remember — and their people. In addition to Cruz’s was Marco Rubio’s team. The Politistick has the full story about a tweet from a Rubio supporter, since deleted, which said that Rubio’s campaign was spreading the narrative that Carson was dropping out of the race.

Whilst there were also internal issues in Carson’s campaign, such as spending, the Iowa rumours dogged him in New Hampshire. His party after the primary there was a damp squib, sadly.

In mid-February, he said he would be open to discussing running with Trump as the Vice Presidential nominee and would stay on through the South Carolina primary to help the billionaire. Having a lot of primary candidates is good; they help split the vote, thereby preventing an immediate overall dominant front-runner.

Super Tuesday — March 1 — was the decider. The next day, Fox News reported that it was ‘game over’ for Cruz, Rubio, Kasich  — and Carson. (Since then Cruz is proving to be Trump’s main rival.)

He suspended his campaign on March 4, which also made the news in France.

How Carson’s campaign came about

The Washington Post (WaPo) report was the only one I saw that actually explained how Carson came to run for president in the first place.

In 2013, he addressed the National Prayer Breakfast where:

he spoke about the dangers of political correctness, put forward the idea of a flat tax and criticized President Obama’s health-care law. What stood out was that he did so right beside a steely-faced Obama.


The Wall St Journal thought so, too, and they carried an editorial to that effect days later, entitled:

“Ben Carson for President.” By August of that year, there was a “National Draft Ben Carson for President Committee.” Before he launched his presidential bid last May, the group had raised close to $16 million, gotten a half-million signatures encouraging Carson to run and had 30,000 active volunteers across the country, according to organizers.

WaPo‘s article goes on to say that, at age 33, Carson was the youngest major division director in the history of Johns Hopkins Hospital and:

he was the first pediatric neurosurgeon to successfully separate twins conjoined at the head. He wrote a best-selling book, “Gifted Hands,” about his life, which later became a television movie.

He got a lot of flak for his blunt opposition to Obamacare, his comparison of the United States to Nazi Germany and his denunciation of same-sex marriage.

It was hard for him to not speak about morality in uncertain terms and, paradoxically, be more assertive against other GOP candidates, such as Trump. If he knew something to be immoral, he would say so. Yet, he did not want to be seen to go on the attack against a candidate just for a show of strength.

Of politics, WaPo quotes him as saying:

“Many people told me that this business is corrupt, that it’s evil, that it’s how it’ll always be,” Carson said in a phone interview Monday. “But I don’t believe that we have to accept that. We should rail against that, fight against it, and get something that’s decent and inspirational.”

I couldn’t agree more. This is one of the reasons I read a lot about politics. I continue to look for the ‘decent and inspirational’. Hmm. Like digging for gold.

One thing Dr Ben Carson can be proud of in his campaign: he outlasted Jeb!

Tomorrow: Ben Carson and the grain silo theory

Following on from yesterday’s post on cuts of beef, today’s looks at cuts of pork.

It occurred to me that one response to these diagrams might well be, ‘So what?’ The dominance of supermarkets and closure of so many butcher shops over the past 30 to 40 years means that we are given a certain number of packaged cuts and that’s it. It’s a no-brainer.

However, the pig is an animal that can be eaten from head to tail. Knowing about the different cuts and their cooking methods will give you more confidence to ask for new cuts if you have a butcher or an ethnic market nearby.

What follows are links to diagrams and cuts for three different countries: Britain, the United States and France.


It seems to me that the British use more of the pig around the shoulder than the Americans do (see US diagram below).

P J and J Moore Butchers have a good diagram (scroll to the bottom of the page). One of my favourite cuts of meat is the collar, which, when boiled, gives an unctuous ham result. The British would call collar a bacon joint, but it tastes just like the boiled ham my grandmother used to prepare many years ago. The collar stock is worth keeping because it turns into aspic. Absolutely lovely. Any Americans living in Britain would enjoy it. And it’s very inexpensive. It should come with a good rim of fat. Cook it with the fat (to get the aspic) and trim it after cooking. also has an excellent diagram with good descriptions and recipe ideas. The Ginger Pig has outstanding descriptions of pork cuts and cooking instructions.

Cook’s Info has a very good page with alternative names for parts of the pig that will be useful when visiting the butcher. I say that, because when I last went to buy ham hocks, ours asked me if I wanted the foreleg or the hindleg. ‘Uhhh,’ was my uneducated response! I walked out with two of both, although the hindleg definitely has more meat as you can see in the diagram. I would have taken more hindleg, but the Chinese families had already bought them. Our butcher said, ‘You have to get here early on Thursdays for hocks.’ Duly noted.

Speaking of butchers, if you want a professional perspective on all things pork, Pork for Butchers has what looks like a basic diagram until you click on one of the pork sections and drill down into the various cuts. You’ll then see a complete description of how they cut that piece of meat for the customer.

United States

The National Pork Board, which markets The Other White Meat® brand, has a helpful diagram. Run your cursor over the pictures to see what part of the pig the meat comes from and a brief description of the cut. Click on the picture and you will be transferred to a new page with more information on that cut of meat.

I shall now illustrate the importance of diagrams. My mother used to make the best country-style ribs. The British don’t have that type of cut. A butcher will have to prepare that for you. A couple of years ago, I was desperate for country-style ribs because they are so tender and meaty. I hadn’t seen these diagrams at that point and hadn’t a clue as to where the meat came from. I found a photo of what I wanted on a meat forum and took it into our butcher. He said, ‘These come from the loin, near the shoulder. The usual ribs come from the side.’ The side is the area around the belly.

Country-style ribs are really inexpensive and filling. I would highly recommend them to my British readers who have access to a butcher. If I remember rightly, six thick ribs cost £10 in 2014. I gave them a spicy rub, sliced an onion and put both into a Le Creuset pot with a lid, baking them for an hour at 170° C. I took them out, drained the fat and poured barbecue sauce over them, returning them to the oven — uncovered — for another 30 – 40 minutes at 160° C. Absolutely lovely and melt-in-the-mouth tender.

Clove Garden has an excellent page on every pork cut you can imagine, complete with photos and helpful descriptions. The text for country-style ribs says:

These are made from the rib section at the shoulder end of the whole loin. The spine is removed but leaving the feather bones above and the ribs below. The meaty part above the ribs is cut leaving half with the ribs and half with the feather bones. The two sections sliced crosswise about 1 to 1-1/2 inches thick and packed together. It is a meaty and economical cut for the budget conscious.  

It should be noted that Modern Farmer‘s Pork 101 says differently:

“Basically, it’s from the brisket area of the pig, if pigs had brisket — it’s basically a bone-in brisket,” says [Tom] Mylan [a butcher]. “You get the front part of the spareribs with a lot of meat.” The country-style spareribs contain a combination of dark and light meat.

Interesting. I think I would stick with the shoulder meat.

The Clove Garden page is extremely useful if one wants to step out of one’s comfort zone. It discusses where one can buy these cuts in Southern California.

One useful item for ballotines of pork loin is caul, a lacy, thin, fatty membrane. The British and French often wrap pork loin or rabbit ballotines in caul. The caul not only leaves the meat intact but also adds necessary fat to keep it moist. Clove Garden says:

It is held highly desirable for a number of European recipes as a wrapper that will automatically baste what it is wrapped around. The photo specimen, laid out, not stretched, on a 12 x 18 inch cutting board, weighed 4-3/8 ounces. It was purchased from the freezer cases of a large Asian market in Los Angeles.

I remember the days when pigs’ feet (trotters), either fresh or pickled, were available in virtually every US supermarket. They began disappearing in the 1980s. A good chef can cook them, remove the bone, stuff them with a pork or rabbit farce, braise them and serve with an unctuous sauce. I had them in London 15 years ago — one of my most memorable dinners ever. My American readers might appreciate this British recipe for stuffed trotters, which I’ll have to try. You can substitute other stuffings for the black pudding and chestnut.

Pigs’ trotters are difficult to work with, so I normally just boil them for a delicious aspic-like stock. I highly recommend them. They are also very reasonably priced. Our butcher gave them to me free once.


As with beef, the French also have different cuts of pork.

Clove Garden has an excellent page with four illustrations — North America, British, English and French — of pork cuts. This requires a lot of study and one will learn a lot.

Le Porc, which represents French pork producers, makes understanding French cuts easier, because whilst there are no translations, you can see photographs of what the end products look like when you click on a section.

Pork roasts in France look very different to British ones. They are neat, tidy, small and round — without crackling. They have just enough fat on them to keep the meat moist in the oven. This is very disappointing for the average Briton. What fun is a joint of pork without a thick rim of fat for crackling? That’s the best part!

The perfect crackling – recipe

It seems the only place one can get decent crackling is in Britain, and, even then, you won’t get it from most supermarket joints. Industrialised processing methods don’t produce pigs with enough fat.

If you want perfect crackling, you really need to specially order your pork joint from a butcher or buy it from an independent free range producer. Ideally, the rim of fat should be an inch thick. We ask our butcher to order ours from Orchard Farm Pork.

I use the Gary Rhodes method which he explained in his television show for the BBC back in the 1990s.

1/ Carefully cut off the crackling fat from the roasting joint, leaving just a thin rim of fat for the joint.

2/ Put the joint in a roasting pan and put the crackling fat in a separate, smaller roasting pan with sides.

3/ Sprinkle the crackling with a lot of salt on both sides, ensuring that it gets in between the cuts on the skin side. Rub the salt in so that it penetrates the fat whilst cooking.

4/ Put the crackling in five to 10 minutes before the roast, as it will need extra time to render and become crispy.

5/ Have an old teacup on hand when you drain rendered fat off the crackling. You will probably need to do this two or three times. A teacup is better than a bowl because it has a handle. Reserve some of the fat for roast potatoes to accompany your roast. Leave the rest of fat to cool. You can put it in a container later, preferably with a lid, and refrigerate for future use.

6/ Check the crackling when you take the roast out to rest. It might need more time. If so, leave it in the oven with the heat on at roasting temperature.

7/ Remove the crackling before you carve the meat. It will need time to cool. Make sure it is set aside from humid parts of the kitchen.

8/ High-quality crackling generally needs prodding with a knife to split into strips. If that does not work, use sturdy kitchen scissors with curved edges to cut it into pieces.

9/ When serving, place crackling portions away from gravy so that they do not get soggy.

10/ To reheat any leftover crackling, place the strips or pieces uncovered on a piece of aluminium foil or baking tray. Make sure either has sides (fold up foil to create edges) to collect any excess fat. Warm up in an oven heated to 150° C for 10 – 15 minutes. Let cool for five minutes before serving.

Even though I have been cooking meat for many a year, I still need to refer to diagrams of the animal to see where certain cuts come from.

This gets a bit complicated when we go out to eat in France on holiday. Ditto when we’re watching an American show on the Food Network and don’t know where to place one of their cuts, e.g. tri-tip, which was not around when I lived there.

If you are of similar mind and would like to clear up the confusion, featured below are links to diagrams of cuts of beef in Britain, the United States and France.


The Telegraph has an excellent diagram, sponsored by Scotch Beef, of British cuts.

Click on one of the numbers to see photos of a particular cut, what comes from it, how to cook it and a suggested recipe.

Clicking on No. 8 — Rump — reveals that the old cut popeseye comes from this part. Pavé, too, is taken from the rump.

United States

In the US, Certified Angus Beef® has a similarly helpful site which provides diagrams and photographs on one page and recipes on another.

I have learned that tri-tip steak and roast are types of sirloin cuts. The Delmonico is a boneless rib-eye steak.


France has an incredible array of cuts of beef. Unfortunately, the otherwise laudable Le Boeuf Français site has no diagram.

Seasoned Advice has two to study: English beef and French beef. Whoa! It would take me weeks to get my head around the French cuts.

This is why I never order steak in France unless it comes as part of a tasting menu. The cut of beef served with steak and chips can differ greatly from one restaurant to another. You can see this from a page of diagrams on Wikipedia. Don’t worry — it has English and French text.

Look at the two cuts of bavette in the top row. They come from two different sections of the animal.

As The Reluctant Gourmet explains:

After doing just a little research, there is no simple answer because there are two different cuts in France called “bavette”. One is Bavette d’aloyau “of the sirloin” also called a skirt steak and the other is Bavette de flanchet or what we call flank steak. Both these cuts are sometimes sold as hanger steak but according to the article I read, that would be wrong.

Just to confuse matters a bit more, I read another article in the San Francisco Chronicle describing this bavette as “flap” meat. It also added, “Because bavette means bib in French, sometimes the word is used as a catch-all phrase for thin steak.”

If you look at Bruce Aidell’s new book, The Great Meat Cookbook, he describes flap meat (bavette) as coming from the bottom sirloin or the “underside of the hip”.  It looks like the above mentioned flank steak but is larger. Ok, now I’m starting to get confused even more.


In any event, all of the diagrams are very helpful and excellent resources for the home cook. However, they will take some time to study.

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