Raw Onion Sandwich | A Trip Back In Time

My grandpa is easily one of my favorite people on the planet. The man is 83-years-old, and he’s lived a good, full life. I honestly learned more about him recently than I’ve ever known before. He’s visiting from out-of-town, and my brother, sister and I fired question after question toward him about his past. He didn’t hold anything back when he answered; the stories just flowed out of him. I could have listened to him tell stories for days.

Born in 1929, my grandpa lived through the Great Depression. The funny thing is — he didn’t even realize there was a depression at the time. His family was poor, but he honestly didn’t know the difference. He was just a kid growing up like he thought everyone else did. We asked him more and more questions about the Great Depression, and it was very clear that one of the things he remembered most was the food they ate back then.

Raw Onion Sandwich Recipe

Raw onion sandwich

Even though they were poor, my grandpa says he never went hungry. He told us that his family would walk three-miles to the welfare office every week to get food. They were usually given potatoes, cabbage and onions. That means most of their meals were very simple. One of his favorite treats was a raw onion sandwich. His mom would simply take two pieces of rye bread, lather on some lard, add a thick cut of raw onion and turn it all into a sandwich. He says that’s why he still loves onions today.

I’m a fan of onions too, so the idea of a raw onion sandwich peaked my interest. Not only would it be good to try, it would also give me a quick glimpse into my grandpa’s past. It would allow me to taste something similar to what he tasted more than 70 years ago as a little boy in during the Great Depression. So, I decided to give a raw onion sandwich a shot.

This is what you need…

Great Depression Raw Onion Sandwich Recipe

Raw onion sandwich

Raw Onion Sandwich Recipe

Two slices of rye bread
Butter or mayonnaise (I’m not sure lard is readily available anymore)
One sliced onion

Like I mentioned, coat the rye bread with butter or mayonnaise, throw the sliced onion between the two slices of bread and consume. That’s the simplest form of raw onion sandwiches, and the way my grandpa ate them as a kid. You can easily get more creative than that. I’ve seen other recipes call for salt and pepper, and one recipe that uses peanut butter instead of mayonnaise or regular butter. I might need to give that a shot sometime.

As you can imagine, my grandpa’s raw onion sandwich recipe tastes like raw onions, butter and rye bread. It’s pretty darn simple, but it tasted much better than I thought it would. I liked it enough that I made another raw onion sandwich after I finished the first one. With that said, I probably won’t be making one again anytime soon. There are too many options nowadays with much more flavor, and I don’t really eat much bread. Not to mention, I’m still trying to get the onion taste out of my mouth.

Tim Lewis | Raw Onion Sandwich

Me biting into a raw onion sandwich

I’m so thankful my grandpa was willing to take us back in time with his stories of the Great Depression. You could see the light on his face as he reflected back to his younger days, speaking of his parents and the community he grew up in near Chicago. His stories encouraged me to step out of my box to try something different, and it might sound weird, but a raw onion sandwich allowed me to connect with my grandpa on a different level. And although I didn’t share the experience with him personally, it’s a moment I can hold on to forever (and relive again and again in the future).

Have you ever tried a raw onion sandwich? What did you think? Have your parents or grandparents shared their stories from the Great Depression? I’d love to hear from you. Please leave a comment below or connect with me on Twitter, Facebook and Google+. Don’t forget to also check out http://allaroundtim.com for more fun recipes!

P.S. I want to tell you a few other stories that my grandpa shared about food during the Great Depression.

He told us about how his mother would go to the creek every Sunday. She would stand in the water, dig her hands under the rocks and pull up crawfish after crawfish. He said she would do it for hours; so long that her fingers were bleeding by the end of the day. They would take the crawfish home, boil them up (he can remember the sound of them fighting to stay alive in the hot water) and eat them once they turned red.

My grandpa also shared a story of how the men in the community would put large nets in the trees. They would then sprinkle bird seed in the trees to lure in the sparrows. Once there were enough birds over the net, the men would pull a string and capture all the sparrows. They’d take them home, pluck the feathers and boil the birds for dinner.

There was one other memory my grandpa shared. He can remember people digging through the dirt to find dandelion stems. Instead of lettuce, they would use dandelion stems for salad. I’ve never tasted a dandelion stem, so that might be next on my list.

It’s amazing to hear what a hunting and gathering society it was during the Great Depression. I should have assumed that (you need to do whatever you can to stay alive), but I never really thought about it. My grandpa says after everyone collected their food, they would have community dinners. If you worked to get the food, then you and your family got to eat that night.

My grandpa’s stories make me feel fortunate that I’ve never had to go hungry. I’ve always been able to afford a snack when I want one. I’m also thankful I had an opportunity to hear my grandpa’s stories about the Great Depression. It helped me learn about him and a period of history I’ve always been interested in. I hope you enjoyed the stories, too.

Raw Onion Sandwich

Raw onion sandwich

A Dream Come True | Working On The Desk With My Dad

You know him as KOMO 4 News anchor Dan Lewis, but I know him as dad. Not only is he my pops (one of the several nicknames I have for the guy); he’s also one of my best friends — and now he’s also one of my coworkers.

Tim Lewis KOMO Sports

I don’t even know who this guy is…

For as long as I can remember, I wanted to be a sportscaster in Seattle. After paying my dues in smaller markets, my dream finally came true when I was recently hired as the new weekend sports anchor/sports reporter at KOMO. That means I wasn’t just going to be working in Seattle — I was going to work at the same station as my dad.

I work on the weekends, so my dad and I only crossover three days a week. We work together indirectly most of the time, because I only do sports on the desk on Saturdays and Sundays (my dad anchors Monday-Friday). During the week, I cover practices and games, and report live from the scene of sporting events. It’s the coolest job in the world, but that means working on the desk with my dad (something we’ve talked about for years) will be a rare occurrence.

One of those moments actually happened last night. For the first time in my life I worked side by side with my dad on television. It was an incredible experience, unlike any other day I’ve had a work before. Our station’s social media managers came in to take pictures of the two of us and live tweet the entire newscast. I even took part in a news tease (a quick promotion you see on TV before the news) with my dad — something sports guys are never included in. All of that happened leading up to my sportscast.

Tim Lewis Dan Lewis KOMO

My dad and me on the KOMO set together

NOTE: A friend of mine took this picture of the news tease when it ran on television. He sent it to me on Twitter, and it literally knocked the wind out of me for a second. I recorded the tease with my dad, but it was the first time I’d seen the two of us together – with our names and everything — on the set.

Then came the moment of truth…the actual show. Since I don’t hit until a little later in the newscast, I don’t stroll to the set until right before sports. I’ve thought for years what it would be like to walk into the studio and see my dad sitting on the desk. Well, I finally had that moment. I took a deep breath, opened the door and walked in. To my left was Steve Pool doing the weather, and my dad and Mary Nam were right in front of me. I have no idea what my face looked like at the time — all I know is that I couldn’t stop smiling.

I sat down with them, and two minutes later we were on the air. My dad tossed to sports over a picture of me as a little boy. I was honestly so caught up in the moment that I didn’t really hear much of what he was saying. When it was finally my turn to talk I was just really thankful that I made sense. At the same time, it was amazing how comfortable I felt. There were obviously some nerves, but these were all familiar faces — people I’ve known for much of my life – so that made the situation much easier. Not that I ever doubted it, but it felt like I belonged up there with them. That helped the show go off without a hitch. You can actually watch our first moments on TV (and check out some of the fun pictures they took of us) together by clicking here.

Steve Pool, Dan Lewis, Mary Nam, Tim Lewis KOMO

Steve Pool, my dad, Mary Nam and me

Following the show, I received an outpouring of congratulations. I honestly think that’s been the most fun thing about this whole experience. I’ve received congratulations/compliments from people I don’t even know, my best friends and people I haven’t heard from in years. It really means a lot to me that so many people care.

I honestly don’t know if this post makes any sense. I’ve said to several people over the last two weeks that I can’t even begin to explain how cool it is to be working with my dad at KOMO. This was my best attempt at putting it into words. I hope it isn’t too jumbled. If you’ve made it this far, I guess it wasn’t too bad. :)

Like I’ve mentioned before, I want to hear from you. Please feel free to leave a comment, or you can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook and/or Google+. You can also find me on YouTube and Pinterest. In other words, you don’t have any excuse to not contact me.

Thanks for reading! Have an awesome day (or night)!

Frank Thomas | Meeting ‘The Big Hurt’

I feel like I’m a magnet for celebrity sightings, especially when I go to Las Vegas. I’ve rolled craps with MMA star Ryan Bader and singer/manager René Angélil (better known as Celine Dion’s husband — click here for the story), while also crossing paths with James Brown, Vince Vaughn, Floyd Mayweather and many others. While Vegas never disappoints (from a celebrity standpoint at least), Chicago usually leads to some celebrity sightings as well.

I’ve been to the Windy City five times over the last year and a half. Every time I go there; I see a celebrity or two — or even more. On my last trip to Chi-Town in June, we ran into baseball stars galore. My brother and dad spotted Boston Red Sox pitcher Josh Beckett and broadcaster Joe Buck at the Tavern On Rush (a haven for celebrity sightings), and then my brother and I bumped into former Major Leaguer/current ESPN baseball analyst Chris Singleton on the street. From there I met legendary closer Lee Smith before a Chicago Cubs game, and then came the best encounter of all…

While we were in Chicago we saw one game at Wrigley Field between the Red Sox and Cubs, and three games at U.S. Cellular Field between the Cubs and White Sox. Before the second game of the crosstown rivalry, my dad, brother, and I stopped into Bacardi at the Park for a few drinks. We’d all heard that former White Sox star Frank Thomas was making his own beer (no joke), and they were selling some there. So, all three of us grabbed a Big Hurt Beer (“The Big Hurt” is Thomas’ nickname) to try it out. After a few sips, we heard an announcement that Frank Thomas was actually in the building.

Tim Lewis Dan Lewis Frank Thomas

Me, my brother and “The Big Hurt” Frank Thomas

My brother and I decided to check out the situation. The line to meet him wasn’t very long, so we jumped into the fray. No more than three minutes later we were shaking hands with Frank Thomas himself. The dude was massive! He was listed as 6’5″ 240 pounds when he played, but he’s even bigger now – it wouldn’t even be fair to guess how much he weighs – but just look at him next to my brother in the picture. I think that says it all.

We showed Frank that we were drinking Big Hurt Beer and he told us we didn’t need more than one and half of those to be ready for the game (not much of a sales pitch if you ask me). Thomas was also drinking a BHB when we met him, so we all clanked cans for our picture. I later tweeted the picture of the three of us and Frank Thomas retweeted it on his account (don’t follow him if you don’t want to hear about Big Hurt Beer — that’s all he tweets about). I thought that was pretty cool.

It was a brief encounter, but one I won’t forget. I loved Frank Thomas. He not only shined for the Chicago White Sox, but he also played for the Oakland Athletics (twice). I was a huge Bash Brothers (Mark McGwire and Jose Canseco) fan as a kid, and my love for the A’s grew with me from there. If you play for my team — you’re one of my guys — so I became an even bigger fan when Thomas came to the Bay Area.

There’s no doubt Frank Thomas will be inducted into the Hall of Fame. He’s a career .301 hitter with 521 home runs (tied for 18th on the all-time list) and 1,704 RBI. The guy was a walk machine as well, getting 1,667 free passes in his career (10th all-time). Frank’s a two-time American League Most Valuable Player and a five-time All-Star. Simply put — he’s one of the best to ever play the game.

Have you ever met Frank Thomas? How about any other baseball stars? I would love to hear your stories! Leave a comment right here or connect with me on Twitter, Facebook and/or Google+. You can also connect with me on YouTube and Pinterest as well!

Starting My Dream Job In Seattle

Just like any other little boy, I wanted to be a professional athlete when I grew up. Luckily, I’m a realist, so once I noticed I didn’t have the skill, size, or athletic ability to make it to the pros — or even sniff college athletics for that matter — I decided to focus my dreams elsewhere. It didn’t take long for me to decide what I wanted to do; I wanted to become a sportscaster (because it’s the next best thing to being an athlete) — and I really wanted to be a sports guy in Seattle.

Dan Lewis | Tim Lewis

My dad and me at a Chicago Blackhawks game

Working on television in Seattle wasn’t just a random idea; I kind of stole it. My dad is longtime KOMO 4 News anchor Dan Lewis. I was always in awe of what he did (and honestly — I’m still in awe of what he does today). I actually remember sitting on the news desk at KOMO during an elementary school field trip, staring at the lights and cameras, and hearing voices blaring through the IFBs (aka earpieces) left behind by the anchors. It was incredible! That was the first time I thought to myself, “This is what I want to do when I get big.”

As I grew older, I held onto that goal. There was never a doubt in my mind that I wanted to become a sportscaster. That dream led me to Washington State University. Aside from the fact that I had terrible grades in high school, and my brother and sister both went to WSU, the nationally recognized Edward R. Murrow School of Communication seemed like the perfect fit for me. It was the best decision I’ve ever made. Washington State gave me everything I needed to start my career.

I’ve been very lucky to call several cities home along the way. I was most recently in Spokane, spending five years of my life there. I love Spokane. The people are incredible (they’re some of the most passionate sports fans I’ve ever met), the city and surrounding areas are beautiful, and my television station (KREM) was great to me. I honestly could have spent the rest of my life in Spokane, but that wasn’t my plan — it wasn’t my dream — Seattle was.

Tim Lewis & Cole Prill

My nephew and me at a fundraising event in Seattle

I love my family. They’re not only my blood, but they’re also my best friends. Over the 13 years I’ve lived away from home pursuing my dream, I missed my family like hell. It always ripped my heart out when I had to leave them, or when I couldn’t be with them for holidays (the news never rests), etc. I wanted more than anything to be close to them again. I also wanted to be near my friends. I built strong relationships when I was younger, and then I had to leave everyone behind. That was never easy for me.

The perfect storm came to a head a little more than a month ago. The weekend sports anchor/sports reporter position opened at KOMO. Everything that I ever wanted — working in Seattle, with my dad, near friends and family — was finally sitting in front of me. I quickly applied for the job opening, and not too long after that — I was hired! It was the most amazing feeling in the world. I’ve worked my tail off to get to this point, but every hour of overtime I worked (and didn’t put on my time card because I was “paying my dues”), every missed holiday, every second away from my family all finally paid off. I hate to sound clichéd, but dreams really do come true if you fight, scratch and claw for them.

The first day of my new job at KOMO is today. Just like an athlete, I feel like I made it to the big leagues. I get to cover the Seahawks, Mariners, Sounders, etc., for a living. It still feels surreal to me. I can’t believe I get to walk into work today and see my dad sitting in the office. At some point the two of us will be on the desk together. That’s something we’ve talked/dreamed about for years. That moment is now going to happen (yes, it’s actually going to happen — I still need to remind myself this isn’t a dream) sooner rather than later. It’s crazy to think about.

Tim Lewis KOMO

Getting comfortable with my new surroundings at KOMO

My drive, ambition and passion doesn’t end where this dream does. I’m going to walk into KOMO today rocking and rolling. I’ve had more than a month off (travelling to Europe and Chicago), so I’m itching to get back to work. I’d love for you to join me on this adventure. You can watch me every weekend on KOMO 4 News and/or you can follow me on Twitter, Facebook, YouTubeGoogle+, and now Pinterest as well.

I always try my best to be a glass-half-full kind of guy. There’s no effort needed right now. I’m as full as I’ve ever been. Life is good and only keeps getting better!

Affordable Health Care Act | What It Means To My Family

I’m going to start this by reminding you that I’m a sportscaster — not a political beat writer. I have my passions and politics are not one of them. That means I have a very (and I mean very) limited understanding of the Affordable Health Care Act which was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court. All I do know is that it helps my family.

Tim Lewis & Cole Prill

My nephew and me at a fundraising event for the Bleeding Disorder Foundation of Washington

My nine-year-old nephew Cole is a severe hemophiliac. That means his blood doesn’t clot correctly. He has to infuse himself (literally stick himself with a needle) with a blood clotting agent three times a week to live a “normal” life. Hemophilia is defined in medical terms as a ”pre-existing condition.” That means my nephew had no chance of ever getting health insurance or life insurance. No one wanted to touch him. It isn’t his fault — he was born this way. It isn’t my sister’s fault either. She didn’t knowingly spread hemophilia, because it doesn’t run in our family. A mutated gene is to blame, and that’s Mother Nature’s fault.

The way I understand it now, Cole can now get health care. That means my sister’s burden of paying the high costs for his treatment (up to $150,000 a year) can finally be eased. It also means that my nephew can gets the coverage he deserves, which hopefully results in long, healthy life for one of my favorite people on the planet (you’d fall in love with him too if you had the chance to meet him).

My nephew and my sister, who eventually became the president of the Bleeding Disorder Foundation of Washington, are the face of Affordable Health Care in Seattle today. They’re on the front page (print and online) of The Seattle Times, sharing their story with thousands of people.

I understand there are arguments on both sides of the Affordable Health Care Act, and I understand I’m opening a can of worms I don’t care to debate. All I know is the Supreme Court’s ruling benefits my family and that’s more than enough for me.