The Dream House: Ramaki

In the 1930s and 40s, owning a home was part of the emerging American Dream. WW II veterans took advantage of the FHA and the GI Bill and bought into housing developments, trailer parks, and city brownstones. Somewhere between the sixties and today, the American Dream escalated into possessing the “Dream House” with a “must-have” list including granite kitchen counters, stainless steel appliances, three to four bedrooms, three to four bathrooms, a large master bedroom with a two-sink, (We could never share a sink!) “en suite” (don’t know when we all started using French so freely), an “open concept” living area for “entertaining friends and family”, a “man cave”, room for wine storage, an outdoor space for “entertaining friends and family”, and of course, room for the kids to play (The childless need a yard for the dog).

I know I’m flashing my curmudgeon badge again, but when did having stainless steel appliances become a right? Reality shows like Flip or Flop, House Hunters, etc. feature an entitled duo (mostly it’s the woman) who reject perfectly good Formica counters—”Well those would have to go”, pink, green, or even white ceramic tiles—”Who in the world could live with that!”—a kitchen that is separate from the rest of the house—”How could we entertain friends and family?” And the budget for meeting all of these demands? $125,000. In the unavoidable demo segment, the couple of the week rolls up their sleeves and rips out offensive counters, crowbars unfashionable cabinets, jack hammers old ceramic tiles, and carts away outdated appliances. Everything goes into the dumpster. What happened to making do?

Not only did I walk four miles to school and clean my plate as a child, but as an adult, I endured a Pepto Bismol-pink/lime green bathroom, gold shag carpeting, white metal kitchen cupboards, cracked linoleum floors, mismatched appliances, and even an apartment where the only toilet was hidden ever so discretely behind a curtain in the kitchen. Now that’s making do.

Hmm, maybe I should rethink my point of view, that bath mat has to go.


Now, who could take a crowbar to those Minnesota Provincial cabinets and grey Formica countertops?


Someone managed to include both avocado and gold—straight out of The Shining.


Definitely keep the valances.


Will be remodeled By 2045—perhaps in gold and avocado.

In the sixties, only sophisticated entertainers served Ramaki to friends and family.


  • 1 cup teriyaki sauce
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • 2 tsp. minced fresh ginger
  • 1 Tbs. sherry vinegar
  • 12 ounces chicken livers, cut in half
  • 1 (4 ounce) can water chestnuts, drained and sliced
  • 12 slices bacon, cut in half
In a medium bowl, mix together teriyaki sauce, garlic, ginger, and sherry vinegar. Place chicken livers and water chestnuts in the mixture. Marinate in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Wrap each half slice of bacon around one chicken liver half and a slice of water chestnut. Secure by skewering with small skewers or toothpicks.
Bake the appetizers in a 375° oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or place the Ramaki on a broiler pan and broil, 5-6 inches from the heat for 10-15 minutes until the bacon is crisp. Or you can deep fry the Ramaki 3-4 minutes until the bacon is crisp.
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2 Responses to The Dream House: Ramaki

  1. Lara says:

    THANK YOU for saying that out loud!

  2. Jenni says:

    I LOVE this! How about his and hers walk-in closets that are each the size of post-war master bedrooms?! Keep flashing you curmudgeon badge, and where can I get one?

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