Cultural New York, Uncategorized

My review of Springsteen’s autobiography: “Born to Run”

From left to right: Patti & Bruce with Evan and Jessie at the fair in NJ

Patti and Bruce with Evan and Jessie in the concorde lounge at JFK on the way to Sweden to begin the 1992 tour.

Evan’s birthday at the house in Rumson 1992.

All photos taken by me.


Bruce Springsteen’s autobiography, Born to Run, is an honest depiction of his life, and his written tone is exactly how he is in person. I am impressed that he kept his style and didn’t have the book edited, but having known Bruce, this is hardly surprising, due to his need for control.

I enjoyed the book on many levels, having worked and lived in his home for a year, I got to know Bruce really well, as you can see, he is a friendly, introspective, cautious and an extremely sensitive man, who struggles like many of us, with his own demons.

The book begins with a cultural look at growing up poor in Freehold, New Jersey in the 50’s and 60’s.   The class divides are stronger than the multi-cultural divides when you grow up on the streets. He also describes the start of the musical revolution, where musicians were allowed to be more sexually provocative, Bruce describes himself as a misfit who suddenly comes alive when he sees Elvis, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones etc. performing on the television for the first time, “it lights a fire in” his “belly.”

The reader understands from Bruce the struggle to make a buck and be prepared to live and breath music in order to succeed at your craft. He explains how he understood the importance to be his own entity and have the band work for him. His honesty about all the different personalities and his personal intimate relationship with each member of the band is honest and interesting. For a musician trying to keep his own identity, and believing in what he is producing, and his intuitiveness that goes into the formation of his songs are all described in detail in the book. Everything Bruce does comes from his gut and he isn’t afraid to talk about it and stand by his convictions.

Family is a large part of his story, his place within his family, the parents before him and then being a parent. His feet are firmly on the ground in the rightful place of passage. At his age now he has finally come to terms with his past and has worked really hard to remain sane within the loving arms of his family and workers.

The fact that he returned to his place of origin – the state of New Jersey, and raised his kids on familiar territory has certainly paid off. They are one famous family that remains completely normal in regards to having a semi-private life.

I loved the epilogue where he rides of into the sunset on his Harley, that is such a Bruce thing to do.


Cultural New York, Recipe, Uncategorized

The Boss, The End of Summer, Stone Barns & Spiralized Zucchini with Pesto

The kids go back to school today, the daylight is getting shorter – no more walks at sunset after work, and the rental of water sports equipment on the Long Island Sound are being removed on Monday. Time to get into fall mode. I love the East coast summers, everyone goes out on the water and gets out their convertibles, the wealthy coastal areas come alive. There is an underlying sexiness to the balmy evenings and summer clothes. Men are flexing their muscles and women are showing their assets. But fall is around the corner, I love that even more, a sense of calm settles in and the red hues are breathtakingly beautiful, almost surreal. The cooler days and nights inspire us to anticipate the winter months of blue hues and white grounds. I love the different seasonal colors.

My summer highlight was seeing Bruce perform in New Jersey. The photo above was taken by me in 1992. Those 2 children are now in their twenties. I follow Jessie on instagram, she is an amazingly, happy, driven young lady. I can see she has a sparkle of fun like her mother. She is an avid horse jumper and is respected by her peers. The Springsteens are a great example of a family who balances fame with private life. Bruce kept his children away from the spotlight because he believed it was his choice to be famous, not theirs. Now Jessica and Patti show us glimpses of their private lives through social media. I enjoy seeing their unglamorous, family life. When I worked and lived in Beverly Hills with them, Bruce always said he would raise his kids in New Jersey, he knew they would be better watched over in the area than in LA. He said the local police and schools would be more aware if there were issues and he could keep control of them better. I definitely see this has paid off tenfold. There is a sense of unrestricted attention and care with rich kids in LA, the lack of boundaries and regulations can be unnerving at times. Prince, Michael Jackson’s son told me that he was the only boy in the class that didn’t smoke pot, and that there was tremendous peer pressure to do so. He was 15 at the time.


For the last day before school starts, I took the boys to Stone Barns, for those of you who have never been there it is a farm which was once a Rockefeller estate.  The farm and the Rockefeller State Park are located beside the Hudson River, 15 minutes from my home. The top restaurant in New York – Dan Barber’s Blue Hill Restaurant is located on the farm and all the produce and animals are grown at the farm for the patrons.  As most haute dining experiences these days, the restaurant has a vast tasting menu for $300.  Whilst wondering around today we found these eggplants being charred outside, ready for that night’s feast, I was salivating at the prospect of eating them that night. Alongside this fire pit the staff were making their own charcoal.  I am not sure what that entails.


For my recipe this week let’s discuss spiralising, the new trendy alternative to eating pasta using a spiralizer with either sweet potatoes or zucchini.  A healthy non carb option for a delicious base.  Here I suggest making spiralised zuchini and home made pesto.  An adaptable recipe for pesto:

3 handfuls basil leaves

2 tablespoons almonds

1 lemon juiced

2 garlic cloves

4 tablespoons olive oil

Add all these ingredients to a blender and blend on high

Remove and place in a bowl.  Add 1 tablespoon of nutritional yeast, mix well and add to zucchini “spaghetti”.  Eat immediately or it will soften.




Cultural New York, Recipe

Bruce, Bowls and Intellect

Moving to New York nearly 4 years ago was a drastic shift in lifestyle for me. Leaving behind a big circle of British friends whom I had known for many years was the hardest decision. Having loved Los Angeles for 28 years, I had embraced the culture, the friends, the self nurturing environment, the weather, the creativity, and the laid-backness to life, however, I decided I was ready for a change of scene. Not fully understanding why I was making this decision, I took the action and left the thinking and desire to a later date. Discovering 2 1/2 years later why I made such a drastic, life changing decision in my 50’s, I now realize I didn’t feel grounded in Los Angeles, I loved the glamor and artificialness but never felt that I fully fitted in with that world.

My time spent studying English at UCLA changed my perception on life and what I wanted to grow into for the latter part of my life. I longed for an environment with greater cultural interests, more nurturing, people living a simpler, family existence, closer to Europe, seasonal climate changes and the intellectual stimulation of New York City on my doorstep. My ultimate goal was to go to NYU and obtain a PhD in Post colonial Literature, but this dream is not financially feasible. Saying this though, living in Westchester does afford me the ability to study later on in life at East coast universities. This is a huge draw for me, to this area. I am somebody who continually takes classes and loves broadening my learning skills. For example this year I am learning nutrition and wellness via a health coach training program. Which I am thoroughly enjoying and looking forward to implementing in the future.

The last time I lived on the East coast was the summer of 1992. I was employed by Patti and Bruce Springsteen to take care of their children, and travel on tour with them, supervising and managing the well-being of 2 small children, enriching their lives on a physical, emotional, creative and intellectual level. On Tuesday night, I was back in New Jersey, watching Bruce perform in his home territory. The memories of people, places and things flooded my psyche, reminding me what a huge imprint on my life that year meant to me. Although my job with them was based out of Beverly Hills, we often headed East. Bruce was the first boss who didn’t ever talk with a tone of knowing more than others and genuinely listened and thought about what he discussed. A man with limited education, but a vast amount of knowledge and life experiences meant that he is extremely wise and introspective. I remember at first thinking he wasn’t very bright because he didn’t talk eloquently, but I soon learned that talking a lot doesn’t mean you are smarter than others. It is what is said that provides the best wisdom. My greatest problem with East coasters is the continual banter and the insecure need to have others believe they know everything. There is an incredible insecurity to feel stupid. Whereas West coasters generally respond only when they have knowledge and expertise in a topic, they are keen observers of other people’s experiences. I am much more an observer than a talker. And often find myself being talked to in a haughty tone for not being versed in a topic of which I have little interest.

This week I am writing the bowls chapter of my book. I have procrastinated on writing this chapter because I need to keep it simple but also understandable for my readers. Bowls are my favorite way of eating, especially when I am in one of my vegan moods. The beauty of eating several different food groups in a bowl means lots of different flavors and plenty of nutrition. Also the ability to eat 1/2 uncooked and 1/2 cooked food at one sitting proves desirable to me. My bowls usually contain:

a protein – prepared meat, fish or protein
a cooked veggie – for example brussel sprouts, spinach, green beans,
salad – arugula, tomatoes, onion, avocado etc.
sauerkraut or pickled vegetable of some type
a grain – sprouted mungbeans, green lentils, rice, barley etc
a topping – ground nuts, nutritional yeast and garlic mix
a sauce – for example a light tahini mix with water, tamari, fresh orange
and a sprinkle of fresh herbs

Bowls are nutritious, healthy and fun. Preparing several different veggies,salads, etc and leaving in the fridge makes meal times simpler.

Photography by Caroline Gray. Food prepared by myself.