Pay It Forward

About four months ago, I received an email from my daughter Alex:
The son of a friend of a friend is a third-year medical student who has a one month rotation at our local Los Alamitos Hospital. Do you know of a place where he could rent a room for a month?
As I pondered the email, I thought to myself—I live by myself in a multi-bedroom home. I’ve had interns stay with me before. Should I open up my home to a complete stranger? After all, if my child were a third-year medical student and needed a place to stay, I would think it was awesome if a friendly family offered a rent-free home to stay in. It took me just a few minutes to decide to offer that Nathan stay at my house. We texted a couple Continue Reading

Ooo-la-la!

Have you ever met someone (in business) who was just so nice that you wanted to work with them? Well, that’s how we got into the “ready-to-eat” crepe business. You know, those delicate, very thin, slightly sweet “pancakes” that are just perfect with sliced strawberries and fresh whipped cream? (Yum, I’m getting hungry just writing those words.) Well, back in 1986, this French guy, Herve LeBayon was introduced to us by another supplier. Herve (pronounced “air-vay”) was from Brittany, France, and moved to the United States because he wanted to … Continue reading

Living Life

My mother Frieda Caplan with my uncle Paul Steffen and cousin Michael Silver “What a big, big life he had. And how he loved life, loved living, loved people. Never have I seen anyone come close to his excitement about being alive.” This is what was written about my Uncle Paul. My “Crazy Uncle Paul” (as we lovingly referred to him) passed away this week at the ripe age of 88. My mother’s brother has lived in Rome, Italy, since the 1960s. Over the years, many of us in our … Continue reading

The Horseradish Holiday

I jokingly refer to the Jewish holiday of Passover as the “horseradish holiday.” (As a wholesale distributor of fresh produce, it has always been an easy way to inform our retail clients that this is the time of year to stock up on this knobby root.) That is, of course, because horseradish is one of the symbolic “bitter herbs” served as part of the traditional Passover Seder dinner. This year, the first night of Passover starts at sundown on Monday, March 29, and Jews all over the world will be … Continue reading

Asparagus for Spring

Last week, someone asked me why so many people eat fresh asparagus for Easter. That made me think… Is it because asparagus is a spring vegetable, and Easter usually comes in early spring? Is it because it’s a ritual food, related to the Last Supper (the original Passover/Easter dinner)? Is it because supermarkets always seem to advertise and promote it at Easter, which makes consumers buy it? Interestingly, asparagus has a long history that goes back to the third century. Its popularity is probably due to its delicate flavor and … Continue reading