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Country Cousin

Bandanas...

Hi Folks!

Hopefully the deep freeze that ushered in 2014 is over, but Winter obviously is not. The snow “flurries” of Tuesday were a lot like the blizzards we were all accustomed to in days of yore.

Possible the warming trend that lent fuel to the Global warming apologists has ended, and we’re back into a cooling spell?

Personally, I’d like some of that Global Warming back, thank you! Where have Vice President Gore and his friends hidden it???

OF BANDANAS AND BABUSHKAS

The extended cold spell led some of us, Yours Truly specifically, to resort to some definitely unfashionable garb. Wore a fur coat with hunting boots to town without thinking about it one day, but am talking here about an old-fashioned head scarf.

A square piece of fabric, preferably warm and cuddly in winter, crisp and sprightly in summer, is folded in a triangle and then worn as a head wrap. They were essential half a century or so ago. Not quite sure when they went out of style, just as the plastic rain scarves did later.

If warmth wasn’t an issue, the pointy ends of the triangle could be tied under the hair at the back of your head, in which case you probably called it a bandana. It covered curlers and a multitude of bad hair days.

When warmth was needed, the ties went under the chin, drawn snugly around the face to keep chill breezes out. The other end of the triangle hung down to cover the coat collar, which provided protection from breezes approaching from the rear. Very effective head gear, and a lot more useful than the silly hats we also wore back then.

We girls called our head coverings head scarves back then, but the older ladies in our neighborhood, who generally were from Poland, called them babushkas, and they wore one most of the time.

Another nice thing about the head scarves was that they could be folded neatly and tucked into a coat pocket or purse along the gloves.

We also had “Stadium Boots” for a while, and they too were both fashionable and sensible. They also were a bit clumsy for all day use, so most of us in winter carried a shoe bag, which housed our indoor footwear.

The best stadium boots were heavy duty, and lined with fur, or at least fleece, to keep the toes toasty during long winter walks. They were essential for the M&M Game, among other things, including walks downtown to Lauerman’s on Friday nights in Marinette.

ON THE SOAP BOX

DOUBLE TALK


Am mystified that the intellectually elite types who generally espouse “green” causes can’t quite seem to make up their minds.

They pushed through a law that companies in this country could no longer manufacture our traditional incandescent light bulbs in specific wattages after certain dates, using the argument that the more costly (and possibly dangerous) CFL light bulbs use less electricity.

(Some sources cite fire hazards with these new bulbs, particularly when they are on the verge of burning out. The jury is out on that one, but wonder whose relatives owned stock in the companies that make them???)

Anyway, the conservationists insisted the rule had to be made because cutting down on energy used to make electricity was - and is - absolutely necessary to save our planet from self destructing.

That push came at about the same time they decided we needed to save trees, and therefore must not use so much paper.

Ergo, they pushed for heated air dryers to replace paper hand toweling in the rest rooms of commercial establishments.

And guess what those air dryers use to create their hot air? Electricity! Wonderful, burn electricity, annoy a woman who wants to clean a smear off her face, and all to save a tree when our nation’s forests are growing faster than we’re harvesting them

A large national retailer recently replaced the paper towels in their rest rooms with the hot air dryers (Is it possible that a political advisor invented them??)

Now, if they put in the air dryers to prevent the mess that the paper towels can cause, so be it. But be honest. They posted signs claiming they were doing it to save the environment.

Let’s see if we have this right...They think it’s a good idea to use more electricity to save some paper...paper that may have been manufactured here, from trees grown in multiple use forests that are also growing right here faster than they’re being harvested, providing tax incentives for the growers, income for the counties and municipalities, and livelihoods for people who shop in their store.

To live or do business here and then try to stop timber harvests or eliminate paper use is to be something of a traitor. We shouldn’t be trying to put our friends and neighbors out of work!

Anyone who agrees with this should convey the message to the business owner or local manager, and then perhaps reinforce the message by refusing to buy there until the towel dispensers are restored!

WANNA BE A BEAR

Came across this a couple of years ago and printed it then, but it’s so appropriate especially this year, that it deserves a reprint. The sentiments are right on!

An unidentified author, who may or may not really believe in reincarnation, wrote:

“In this life, I’m a woman. In my next life, I’d like to be a bear.

“When you’re a bear, you get to hibernate. Sleep all winter. I could deal with that.

“Before you hibernate, you’re supposed to eat yourself stupid. I could deal with that too.

“When you’re a girl bear, you birth your children (who are the size of walnuts) while you’re sleeping and wake to partially grown, cute, cuddly cubs. I could definitely deal with that.

“If you’re a mama bear, everyone knows you mean business. You swat anyone who bothers your cubs. If your cubs get out of line, you swat them too. I could deal with that.

“If you’re a bear, your mate expects you to wake up growling. He expects that you will have hairy legs and excess body fat.

“Yup! Gonna be a bear!”

Sounds good to me! Actually better than being a swallow, even if they do go back to Capistrano.

DOLL TALK

If your family circle includes a little girl who got a doll or dolls for Christmas, and if it also includes a brother or brothers, chances are that the doll eventually will come into harm’s way. To get ink from her face, try peanut butter. If her clothes are hard to get on or off, sprinkle the body parts with cornstarch. Incidentally, cornstarch also helps get clothes on and off yourself and your little one without the allergic reactions body powders sometimes cause.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TODAY?

Remember this old song, recorded in 1955 by Frank Sinatra and also by Patti Page:

“Love and marriage,

Love and marriage

Go together

Like a horse and carriage

This I tell you brother

You can’t have one without the other

Love and marriage, love and marriage

It’s an institute you can’t disparage

Ask the local gentry

And they will say it’s elementary

Try, try, try to separate them

It’s an illusion

Try, try, try, and you will only come

To this conclusion

Love and marriage, love and marriage

Go together like a horse and carriage

Dad was told by mother

You can’t have one without the other!”

Do kids today even know what those words mean?

Or how about the old jump rope ditty: “First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes (whoever you’re teasing) with a baby carriage.”

Do kids skip rope to this today? Do they have any idea that not so long ago, this was assumed to be the natural order of things?

LEMONGRASS SUBSTITUTES

Love to try new recipes, but every so often one includes an ingredient that isn’t in the cupboard, and sometimes isn’t at the grocery store...For example, lemongrass, which is also known as citronella or fevergrass.

Lemongrass is used extensively in Asian cuisine as a spice, herb and seasoning to create a citrus-like flavor in exotic dishes. If you need lemongrass for a recipe, but do not have access to it, you may be able to use any of several substitutes to impart a similar culinary effect.

The easiest to come by is lemon zest. While completely unrelated to lemongrass, the zest of a lemon can replace it in almost any recipe.

Simply shave the zest— the uppermost, yellowest layer of the rind— from one lemon to replace each two stalks of lemongrass the recipe calls for.

Lemon Zest could also substitute for Lemon Leaf, Lemon Balm (which also has medicinal properties that may help fight herpes-family viruses like cold sores), and Lemon Verbena, a shrub grown for its ornamental and aromatic qualities.

COOKIN’ TIME

Lots of folks are looking for low calorie right now, and at the same time we’re craving the warming comfort of hearty soups and casseroles. Here are some recipes that satisfy both requirements.

HOT AND SOUR SOUP

Serves 4 to 6, and it’s very low carb, and low cal if you make sure the ground pork is very lean. Grind lean pork yourself in the food processor if you must.

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 garlic clove, smashed and minced

1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger

4 scallions, white and green parts, minced, plus more for

garnish

8 ounces ground pork

4 cups store-bought or homemade chicken stock

1 pound soft or firm tofu (not silken and not extra firm), cut

into 1/2-inch cubes

4 or 5 medium button mushrooms, wiped clean and thinly

sliced (or substitute dried, rehydrated wood ear

mushrooms)

1 teaspoon granulated sugar

2/3 cup rice vinegar, or to taste

3 tablespoons soy sauce, or to taste

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste

1 tablespoon sesame oil, plus more for garnish

1 tablespoon Sriracha sauce, or to taste

2 large eggs

White or black pepper for garnish

In the saucepan, heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat until hot. Add the garlic, ginger, scallions, and pork and cook, stirring occasionally, for about a minute. You want to break up the pork into smaller pieces with a spoon, but don’t worry about breaking it down completely or cooking it through.

Add the stock and bring to a simmer. Add the tofu, mushrooms, sugar, vinegar, soy sauce, black pepper, sesame oil, and Sriracha sauce and bring the soup back to a simmer over medium-high heat. Taste the soup. If you want it hotter, add more Sriracha sauce; if you want it more sour, add more vinegar.

In a small bowl, whisk the eggs until blended. With the soup at a steady simmer, slowly whisk in the eggs so they form strands. Bring the soup back to a simmer. Divide the soup among 4 to 6 bowls and garnish each with a little sesame oil, scallion, and white or black pepper. Serve immediately. (Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. The soup may take on a slightly different appearance, but it will taste just the same.)

PIZZA SOUP

Not a diet food, but certainly very warming and sure to become a family favorite, especially if served with cheesy garlic bread.

2 pounds Italian hot sausage

1 clove garlic

1 medium onion

1 green pepper

4 cans (15 ounces each) whole tomatoes in juice (Italian

style)

1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce

1 large can mushrooms, juice and all

2 to 3 cups water

pasta, optional

olive oil

salt, pepper, basil, oregano, and dried hot peppers to taste

Parmesan Cheese, optional

Cut sausage into bite-sized pieces. Chop green pepper, garlic, and onion. Remove whole tomatoes from can; reserve juice. Cut tomatoes into bite-size pieces. Brown sausage in hot olive oil in skillet. Add garlic and onion; cook until brown. Add juice and tomatoes. Add tomato sauce. Add two to three cups water. Add green pepper. Simmer two to three hours.

If using pasta, add it now and cook until tender. Add salt, pepper, basil, oregano, and dried hot peppers to taste. Add a warm, crusty loaf of bread or better yet, some cheesy garlic bread and a cold drink - you’re all set! Even the leftovers are great!

VEGETABLE ORZO SOUP

Taken from the Northern Lights Master Gardener’s Web site, which says their version was modified from a recipe last year in “Simple and Delicious” magazine.

1 med. sweet pepper chopped (I used green from the

freezer)

1 med. onion chopped

2 tsp. olive oil

3 to 4 cloves garlic chopped fine

1 jar (24 ounces). garden style (chunky) spaghetti sauce

16 ounces of your choice frozen veggies (the author use

broccoli, carrots, and zucchini)

1 large can italian style tomatoes (your own canned ones

are good too )

1 can (15 ounces) cannellini or great northern beans

2 cups chicken or vegetable stock

1 cup water

1/3 cup uncooked orzo pasta

1 teaspoon or to taste, of your choice of dried italian

seasonings (She used oregano, basil and marjoram)

Saut pepper and onion in oil in a dutch oven until tender. Add garlic and cook a minute longer stirring constantly. Stir in all the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for about 15 minutes or until pasta is tender. Makes about 2 quarts.

This soup should be made ahead, as it is said to get better if you let the flavors marry for a day. When reheated the soup tends to get thick, but you can thin it out to your desired consistency with water, without sacrificing taste.

Thought for the Week: If you believe strongly in something, speak out. As Mahatma Ghandi once said, “Silence becomes cowardice when occasion demands speaking out the whole truth and acting accordingly.” He didn’t add that you should try to disagree pleasantly, lest you turn a potential convert into an enemy.

(This column is written by Shirley Prudhomme of Crivitz. Views expressed are her own and are in no way intended to be an official statement of the opinions of Peshtigo Times editors and publishers. She may be contacted by phone at 715-927-5034 or by e-mail to shirleyprudhommechickadee@yahoo. com.)

COUNTRY COUSIN


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