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Report: 2008 Heartland Gathering in Chicago

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#61 CaliPoutine

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Posted 13 August 2008 - 05:15 PM

That's cool! What other things did folks learn at the Gathering?

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I learned that you dont need a microplane to grate lemon zest. All these years, I always avoided the small holes on the box grater because I never saw the zest. Little did I know, that It does come out underneath the grater. Kerry told me to put some plastic wrap on the side where the small holes were, but I never saw the zest. I turned it over and voila, it was all there. Wow, that was a total revelation to me.

Btw, I just got home from MI. Kerry and I showed up for our train on Tuesday afternoon and we were told there were NO trains running as all the tracks in MI were being worked on. They put us on a charter bus for the ride back. We spent the night in Port Huron today, did some shopping and now we're home.

I'm going to work on my pics on Friday as I have to work tomorrow.

#62 Fat Guy

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Posted 13 August 2008 - 05:17 PM

Some other things I learned:

Quail eggs are really hard to crack without breaking or getting shell chips into the egg. Cracking four dozen is a real hassle. So crack them into little ramekins before cooking. Better, get two pretty girls to do it for you.

Goose just doesn't taste all that great, even when you smoke the heck out of it and slice it thinly.

The Vita-Mix is one of the greatest kitchen tools imaginable and truly can pulverize anything.

Randi's Nicoise-esque salad really redefined the Nicoise possibilities for me. I'm hoping someone posts a photo because it was such a spectacular dish.

Leah and Dick distributed some informative literature about the shrimp dish they prepared. Maybe they'll post it. They also distributed a ton of literature to accompany the Niles tour.

Dave Hammond was a veritable font of information regarding the Maxwell Street Market. I'd love to get some links to work he's done on that topic and post them here.

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#63 edsel

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Posted 13 August 2008 - 05:29 PM

I posted a picture of Randi's salad way back on the first page. :rolleyes:

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The Vita-Mix is a champ. I've brought it along to the last three Heartland Gatherings, but this is the first time it really got noticed. It sped up Alex's gazpacho process considerably, and it saved me a lot of work making the aromatic paste for the coconut sauce.

#64 Chris Amirault

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Posted 13 August 2008 - 05:31 PM

Randi's Nicoise-esque salad really redefined the Nicoise possibilities for me.

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It looks very good, but how did it redefine Nicoise for you?
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#65 CaliPoutine

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Posted 13 August 2008 - 05:31 PM

Ok, well since you asked.....

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I took the picture before I realized I'd forgotten to add the olives. Once the platters hit the tables, I ran around with the olive container and added them.


I chose to make this because I knew the produce from the farmers market would be top notch( and expensive!!). I used baby arugula for the base. I saw those gorgeous french breakfast radishes and decided to use those instead of tomatoes ( cause I dont like raw tomatoes). I also bought heirloom fingerling potatoes( an assortment). There was this one stand that had great potatoes, I wish I'd taken a pic of the stand. I brought homeade tarragon vinegar( white wine) from home and used that along with a shallot( thanks Kerry), dijon vinegar and 365 brand EVOO from Whole Foods.

The biggest departure from a traditional nicoise was my use of swordfish. I dont care for raw tuna and I LOVE swordfish( and its pretty scarce where I live). I used McCormick's seafood spice( it came with its own grinder)( thanks to Hwa for bringing all those great spices) and some oil. I grilled it along with Fresser's help and let it sit at room temp until it was ready to plate.

I'm glad everyone enjoyed it. I'm not sure how I'll top that next year.

Edited by CaliPoutine, 13 August 2008 - 05:35 PM.


#66 maggiethecat

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Posted 13 August 2008 - 05:45 PM

While I was helping Randi prep for her dessert I realized I hadn't handled a clingstone peach for years -- those delightful little buggers were hell to section.

I further realized that I hadn't made Salade Nicoise for way too long -- thanks to Randi's inspiration we made it Monday night.

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#67 Kerry Beal

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Posted 13 August 2008 - 06:13 PM

I'll start with a couple of pictures from the chocolate workshop.


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Rona (prasantrin)making little piles of the spiced nuts that Beth (Marmish) served us. She then went on to put some dulce de leche on top and topped with tempered chocolate.

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Our little mess. We cruelly left most of the cleanup for Beth.

#68 CaliPoutine

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Posted 13 August 2008 - 06:39 PM

Here are a few pics to start.

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Kerry and Rona

We loved the Spice House. So much so that Kerry and I went a second time because we forgot a few things.

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CI's Peach Blueberry Crisp before baking.

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NYokie6's husband( Ron) fresser, lucky girl, nyokie6

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This was the best cheese plate I've ever eaten. We need to convince NyOkie6 to visit Paris again next year before the gathering. She also bought some amazing butter made with the whey leftover from making Parmesean Reggiano. I went to Fox and Obel so I could bring some back to Canada.

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Kris frying away, Gary, Fat Guy
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Pigs in the blanket made by Gary.

Edited by CaliPoutine, 13 August 2008 - 06:56 PM.


#69 maggiethecat

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Posted 13 August 2008 - 06:59 PM

This is not a "what I learned" thing, it was reinforcing something I've known forever: Pigs in Blankets get inhaled.Fie on fancy cocktail food: PIBs rule.

Margaret McArthur

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#70 Fresser

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Posted 13 August 2008 - 06:59 PM

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fresser, lucky girl, nyokie6

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This was the best cheese plate I've ever eaten.  We need to convince NyOkie6 to visit Paris again next year before the gathering.

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I'd never worked before with fromage that actually had crossed Customs. It reminded me of Fat Guy's piece entitled Cheesy Does It.

I met "Pierre" at a rest area near the Canadian border at midnight. I handed him a $100 bill and he handed me a brown paper bag. "Don't you want to count it?" I quipped. He folded the bill, put it in his pocket, backed away from me (never breaking eye contact and never speaking), slid into his Pontiac Bonneville and drove back north to Quebec. I drove south for seven hours, through Vermont, Massachusetts and Connecticut, to my home in New York City. I drove the speed limit. I didn't want to get stopped. I was transporting illegal cheese.


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#71 Chris Amirault

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Posted 13 August 2008 - 07:08 PM

This is not a "what I learned" thing, it was reinforcing something I've know forever: Pigs in Blankets get inhaled.Fie on fancy cocktail food: PIBs rule.

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In my neck of the woods, PIBs are fancy cocktail food. Sheesh!
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#72 Fresser

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Posted 13 August 2008 - 07:31 PM

This is not a "what I learned" thing, it was reinforcing something I've know forever: Pigs in Blankets get inhaled.Fie on fancy cocktail food: PIBs rule.

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In my neck of the woods, PIBs are fancy cocktail food. Sheesh!

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Damn uppity Heartlanders! :raz:

Given our luxe collection of fromages, I think a Stilton-filled puff pastry would be edible ecstasy.

Edited by Fresser, 14 August 2008 - 07:25 AM.

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#73 Kerry Beal

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Posted 13 August 2008 - 08:08 PM

So while I was doing a few things in the kitchen on Saturday I handed my camera to Stacy - a friend of santo grace - and asked her to take pictures while we prepped and cooked. I finally had a chance to look through them tonight - and picked out a few to post. She took some wonderful pictures.

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Early in the day - Calipoutine, prasantrin, Alex, Bob (spouse of NancyH), and Tino27 plotting.

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The 4 tables of revelers.


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Ratatouille.





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Tomato watermelon soup under construction.

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Tammylc and Alex dishing out his wonderful concoction.


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Struggles with quail eggs.

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FG frying the quail eggs.




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Tino27's friend laying out the bread. Edsel looking quite serious in the background.

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The gang presiding over the ribs.

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Ronnie's ribs.

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Connie (white lotus) and Hwa doing some prep work.

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Frying is serious business.

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The proper footwear must always been worn in the kitchen.

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Torakris and Fat Guy frying - never again to be repeated - until next time!


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Edsel applying his spice blend to the chicken.

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The wonderful collection of herbs brought by elfin.

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NancyH basting her peaches. Smiling much more than while she was waiting for the
ambulance the next day.

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Fresser with some of the cheese.

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Calipoutine learning her new trick for grating lemon rind - thank you Cook's Illustrated!

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Tino27's collection of breads. Aren't they gorgeous?

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That would be me washing the overabundance of raspberries from the farmers market.

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Had to have a couple of pictures of Rona - not to allow her to be upstaged by her mom Cecilia.

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One of my pictures from the river architectural tour (thank you Rona for telling us about this).

Edited by Kerry Beal, 13 August 2008 - 08:21 PM.


#74 Fat Guy

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Posted 13 August 2008 - 08:18 PM

Early in the day - Calipoutine, prasantrin, Alex, ?name not coming to me, and Tino27 plotting.


The unidentified individual is Bob, spouse of NancyH.

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#75 Kerry Beal

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Posted 13 August 2008 - 08:19 PM

Early in the day - Calipoutine, prasantrin, Alex, ?name not coming to me, and Tino27 plotting.


The unidentified individual is Bob, spouse of NancyH.

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Thanks for that - I was thinking Bob but didn't want to say in case I was wrong. I'll correct it.

#76 ronnie_suburban

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Posted 13 August 2008 - 08:19 PM

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The wonderful collection of herbs brought by ?

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The herbs were grown and brought by the honorable elfin.

Great pics, Stacey! Thanks for posting them, Kerry.

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#77 Fat Guy

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Posted 13 August 2008 - 08:27 PM

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I took the picture before I realized I'd forgotten to add the olives.  Once the platters hit the tables, I ran around with the olive container and added them.


Though the olives are missing, this photo best captures my memory of that Nicoise-ish salad. I confess I had low expectations. When I heard Randi was making a "composed salad" along the lines of a Nicoise I thought well, okay, that's a boring dish, but at least there will be some tuna. Then I heard she was using swordfish instead of tuna. I also never saw the prep for this item because I was preoccupied with being useless in various ways elsewhere. So I was totally unprepared for the sublime composition that came out to the tables.

The stars of the dish were the potatoes and radishes, though the beans and lettuces provided good support. In addition to being beautiful, everything came together with a restrained application of dressing. And the swordfish, which I believe came from Whole Foods, was juicy and an unexpectedly great complement to all the produce.

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#78 CaliPoutine

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Posted 14 August 2008 - 06:16 AM

A few more....



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shrimp

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creme brulee chocholates. I think these were my favorite dessert. I love them!!

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assorted desserts

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nxstasty's dessert(what was this called?)
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frying away
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stacy,( santo- grace's friend). Kerry beal
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Edited by CaliPoutine, 14 August 2008 - 06:22 AM.


#79 Shelby

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Posted 14 August 2008 - 06:30 AM

Incredible spread of food, everyone! You all are amazing!

Cali, the salad is almost too pretty to eat--notice I said almost :biggrin:



The rib people
--gorgeous ribs--makes me want to sink my teeth into one


OH and the chicken and waffles and the pigs in blankets and the desserts and the breads and and and....*drool*

#80 nsxtasy

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Posted 14 August 2008 - 06:46 AM

nxstasty's dessert(what was this called?)
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Chocolate Velvet, from the Four Seasons in New York.

Edited by nsxtasy, 14 August 2008 - 06:47 AM.


#81 santo_grace

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Posted 14 August 2008 - 08:00 AM

So while I was doing a few things in the kitchen on Saturday I handed my camera to Stacy - a friend of santo grace - and asked her to take pictures while we prepped and cooked.  I finally had a chance to look through them tonight - and picked out a few to post.  She took some wonderful pictures. 


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Ratatouille.


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One of my pictures from the river architectural tour (thank you Rona for telling us about this).

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Stacey was very happy to take pictures.

I think the ratatouille picture is my favorite - probably because it was my favorite dish. Too good for words.

I'm so glad you all did the boat cruise. It is a great way to see Chicago and very relaxing to cruise the river.
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#82 Fat Guy

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Posted 14 August 2008 - 08:03 AM

I thought it was a fine moment when I announced the arrival of the ratatouille and couldn't remember the name of the film in which confit bayaldi had been featured.

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#83 NancyH

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Posted 14 August 2008 - 09:18 AM

That's cool! What other things did folks learn at the Gathering?

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Take no backwards steps, and watch the sidewalk on maxwell street.

Good news - Cle Dr. says i'll be out of this sling in one week!
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#84 CaliPoutine

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Posted 14 August 2008 - 09:28 AM

That's cool! What other things did folks learn at the Gathering?

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Take no backwards steps, and watch the sidewalk on maxwell street.

Good news - Cle Dr. says i'll be out of this sling in one week!

View Post



I also learned its nice to be in a group with not 1, not 2, not 3, but 4 doctors. There wasnt too much they could do, but it was comforting ( to me anyway) to know they were there!!

Edited by CaliPoutine, 14 August 2008 - 09:29 AM.


#85 Kerry Beal

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Posted 14 August 2008 - 09:36 AM

That's cool! What other things did folks learn at the Gathering?

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Take no backwards steps, and watch the sidewalk on maxwell street.

Good news - Cle Dr. says i'll be out of this sling in one week!

View Post



I also learned its nice to be in a group with not 1, not 2, not 3, but 4 doctors. There wasnt too much they could do, but it was comforting ( to me anyway) to know they were there!!

View Post

I actually appreciated the firefighter who was with the LTH group - lifting someone off the pavement was better done by him than any one of us docs.

#86 elfin

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Posted 14 August 2008 - 09:38 AM

What a wonderful time. We were delighted to meet the faces behind the posts. Not only great noshing but we learned a great deal about fellow gulleteers recent travels. Pigs in the Blanket are also called "Poor Mans' Beef Wellington".
What disease did cured ham actually have?
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#87 racheld

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Posted 14 August 2008 - 09:49 AM

This is akin to looking at pictures at a Family Reunion, and you know how we feel about THOSE Down South. These are MY PEOPLE!!!

So, could someone---anyone, put some screen names AND real names to the first, second, once-removed and last cousins? It's such a treat to meet everyone, and I'm anxious to put face and name together.

Please---especially on the seated-at-the-family-tables pictures, with everyone looking into the lens.

And KUDOS, trumpets, flights of angelsong to everybody who worked and cooked and organized and washed dishes and deep-fried and brought all manner of manna to the proceedings.

PS---I'm delighted that Y'all are not of the anti-food-pics persuasion!!! I just LOVE this.
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#88 Chris Amirault

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Posted 14 August 2008 - 09:51 AM

Speaking of food photos...

Thanks to KarenM's great photo of her dish --

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-- we've just started a Ratatouille Cook-Off. I mean, we all gotta get us some of that!
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#89 nsxtasy

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Posted 14 August 2008 - 11:07 AM

This is akin to looking at pictures at a Family Reunion, and you know how we feel about THOSE Down South.   These are MY PEOPLE!!!

So, could someone---anyone, put some screen names AND real names to the first, second, once-removed and last cousins?   It's such a treat to meet everyone, and I'm anxious to put face and name together.

Please---especially on the seated-at-the-family-tables pictures, with everyone looking into the lens.

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I can do this for the table at which I was seated:

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Going around the table clockwise, starting with myself at the far end in the Princeton t-shirt:

Ken - nsxtasy
Beth - HOLLY_L
Hwa - einberliner
Richard - companion of LAZ
Leah - LAZ
Hillary - hsm
Tom - nr706
Sharon - companion of nr706
Kathy - companion of nsxtasy

Edited by nsxtasy, 14 August 2008 - 11:49 AM.


#90 ronnie_suburban

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Posted 14 August 2008 - 11:35 AM

I can do this for the table at which I was seated:

Posted Image

Going around the table clockwise, starting with myself at the far end in the Princeton t-shirt:

Ken - nsxtasy
Beth - HOLLY_L
Hwa - einberliner
Richard - companion of LAZ
Leah - LAZ
Hillary - hsm
Tom - nr706
Sharon - companion of nr706
Kathy - companion of nsxtasy

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