Country CousinIssue Date: May 17, 2017
The weather man promised us some hot, sticky weather this week, but so far here in TIMESland, it has been beautiful instead, at least after the cold rains stopped. Are we done with frost for the year? Who knows? This is Northwoods Wisconsin, after all. Recall one year it snowed in July, but that was before Global Warming came along.
MIDDLE INLET MEMORIES
REUNION THURSDAY, MAY 25
Mea culpa! In this column two weeks ago, incorrectly said the annual Middle Inlet Reunion Pot Luck will be held on Saturday, May 27. Wrong! As it is every year, it will be on the Thursday before Memorial Day, this year Thursday, May 25. Deep apologies to Mary Lou Jacomet, who plans the event each year, and to anyone who was led astray by the wrong day and date.
Please help by passing the word along to anyone you know who might show up on Saturday and be disappointed! Everyone who lives in Middle Inlet or has a vacation home there, as well as anyone with ties to Middle Inlet, past or present, is invited to come and share the fun and view old time memorabilia on Thursday, May 25.
When we were kids, there really were no fast food restaurants. Restaurants were all pretty "slow," because food was cooked to order. Mostly though, we ate at home, at somewhat regular times. Because Dad worked shift work, our meal times moved around a bit. Friend said when her family sat down to eat, Mother put the food on their plates, and leaving the table was by permission only. "If I didn't like what she put there, I was allowed to sit at that table until I did like it," she recalls. She generally had to sit there until everyone else was done eating, even if her plate was clean.
After fast food places got started in more civilized areas Marinette finally got a drive-up restaurant. Food there actually was pretty fast. For perhaps one season, you ordered from your car with the help of servers on roller skates, and they skated back with the food when it was ready.
Next there were drive-up restaurants with microphones for ordering at each parking spot. Crivitz even had one. A server delivered the food to your car and collected your money. That didn't last long. The big fast food restaurants figured out they did better if you came to the window for the food than if the food came to you.
NEED TO KEEP BUSY
When we were juniors and seniors in high school, the movers and shakers were worried about the future of civilization, and the future of people in this country in particular. They wondered what we would find to do once robots took over all the hard work.
Ironically, they didn't worry about what we would do for a living, just how we would fill our spare time.
If only they only see us now!!!
ON THE SOAP BOX
WHO COINED "ENTITLEMENT"
In a recent Letter to the Editor, a reader from Salt Lake City, Utah, objected strongly to some of the semantics in the May 3 "On the Soap Box," which in turn objected to the word "entitlements" in regard to - let's be politically correct here - government social welfare programs.
The column asked,"What idiot came up with that trick of semantics anyway, and how did we fall for it?"
The writer asked why anyone "would feel the need to refer to others as idiots?" He then went on, "It was that "idiot liberal" Richard Nixon who changed the verbiage in 1974. How ironic then?" He said a bit of easy research could have discovered that, and he was right.
However, as to the words, if they are not profanities, that's my freedom of speech, and if he feels that makes me an idiot, he's free to go ahead and say it. Maybe he's right.
But, is it okay for him to use words like "hateful" in reference to another's use of "idiot" or "stupid"? Or is the difference whether the words express your opinion or theirs? We have the right to be different, and appreciate another's viewpoint, even if it differs from my own.
Research, which he suggested, did reveal some comments made by Nixon in regard to the entire "entitlement" concept. Nixon admittedly was no saint, but he had some good points no matter how much some deny it.
In the book, "Seize the Moment," which Google says was written by Nixon in 1992, the ex-president commented a few times about "entitlements." One of those comments stated: "Today, we are witnessing the rise of that new despotism under the cover of "entitlements." We hear claims that by virtue of living in the US, a person is "entitled" not only to subsistence amounts of food, clothing, and health care, but to more and more of the amenities of life as well. It is not just the poor who seek these entitlements. Retirees who demand Social Security payments far exceeding their contributions into a system, students who claim a right to subsidized loans"if entitlements continue to proliferate, we risk the demise of the virtues of self-reliance and individual responsibility and the triumph of the new despotism about which Tocqueville warned.
"It is healthy for all Americans to strive for the amenities of life, but dangerously destructive to foster the notion that they are entitled to them. Entitlement is one of the most ruinous concepts in the philosophical lexicon of the modern American liberal."
Disagreed with some, perhaps much, of what Nixon did, but do agree with that statement.
Everybody seems to fight the lovely little dandelion, working tirelessly to kill them off and keep them out of lawns.
Why pick on them? Pick them instead. Use the little yellow heads to make wine, or even omelets. Use the young greens in a salad, or cook them in bacon grease with onions, salt and pepper and serve with vinegar sprinkled on. Dig up the roots and roast them, and you have chicory, which makes a passable substitute for coffee.
Bet if we all took to eating those plentiful weeds they'd find somewhere to grow other than your front lawn. Maybe we should call them Dandy Lions.
As A. A. Milne once said, "Weeds are flowers too, once you get to know them. Ralph Waldo Emerson said weeds are plants whose virtues have never been discovered.
Maybe some people are like that, too.
If you're going to have a garden this year, it's time to get started. To maximize your garden space and minimize weeding, you might want to consider container gardening, containers where they get at least five to eight hours of sun a day, or in the garden, group quick-maturing plants, such as lettuce or radishes, with longer-growing ones, like tomatoes or broccoli. Also, group plants with similar needs for sun and water, such as pole beans, radishes, and lettuce; cucumber, bush beans, and beets; tomatoes, basil, and onions; and peas and carrots.
Like humans, some plants get along, and some do not. The first humans on the North American continent used a method of companion planting called the Three Sisters which groups pole beans, corn, and pumpkins or squash. Pole beans replace the nitrogen the corn consumes while using the cornstalks for support. Tall growing corn shades the squash or pumpkins whose prickly vines smother weeds and deter animal predators from feasting on the corn and beans. (Plant one or another of pumpkins, squash, melons or cucumbers close to corn and beans, but do not plant these relatives together or their flavors will mingle.)
Basil enhances the flavor of tomatoes while it repels insects and disease. It is nice to have them growing close together anyway for easy picking. Tomato slices sprinkled with minced basil form the base for some very nice salads. Basil is also good planted with peppers, oregano and asparagus, but it feuds with sage.
Beans and peas are good neighbors for many things. They replace nitrogen in the soil, help produce healthier brassicas (like cabbage, brussels sprouts and broccoli), carrots, corn, cucumbers, eggplant, lettuce, radishes and strawberries. Keep onions away from beans and peas and vice versa. They tend to stunt each other's growth.
Summer may actually be here! Asparagus and morels are popping up, and rhubarb won't be far behind. Once things get growing, they seem to come on full steam. Before long, we'll be feasting on garden lettuce, fresh radishes, green onions, and more, free or the picking if we've put even a little effort into it. Or take advantage of someone else's labor and buy low cost home grown produce at garden stands and flea markets.
THAI CHICKEN BASIL STIR FRY
It's morel and asparagus time! Enjoy! Don't overcook the chicken. It tends to get tough. Even though it isn't authentic, we prefer the Worcestershire to the fish sauce for this and just about any other recipe.
2 cups uncooked jasmine rice
1 quart water
3/4 cup coconut milk
3 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
11/2 tablespoons fish sauce (or Worcestershire Sauce)
3/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, sliced
2 cups asparagus, cut on the diagonal into about half-inch slices
2 tablespoons fresh ginger root, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts - cut into 1/2 inch strips
3 shiitake or morrel mushrooms, sliced
5 green onions, chopped
1 1/2 cups chopped fresh basil leaves
Bring rice and water to a boil in a pot. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer 20 minutes. In a bowl, mix the coconut milk, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, fish or Worcestershire sauce, and red pepper flakes. In a skillet or wok, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Stir in the onion, asparagus, ginger, and garlic, and cook until lightly browned. Mix in chicken strips and mushrooms and cook about 3 minutes, until browned. (I like to keep out the asparagus tips and add them just after adding the chicken.) Stir in the coconut milk sauce. Continue cooking until sauce is reduced by about 1/3. Mix in green onions, and basil, and cook until heated through. Serve over the cooked rice.
TOFFEE TOPPED OATMEAL CAKE
Mildly spicy, totally delicious, this recipe comes from a family cookbook assembled by cousin Linda (Wiedemeier) Alexis. With the oatmeal, you might be able to trick yourself into believing it's part of a healthy breakfast if served with a glass of milk. (Not true, but we won't tell!) Makes an easy, delicious and economical offering for pot luck gatherings. For the oatmeal use either quick cooking or old fashioned rolled oats. If you aren't crazy about coconut, use 1 cup chopped nuts instead of the quarter cup nuts and three quarters cup coconut.
1 1/4 cups boiling water
1 cup oatmeal
11/2 cups white flour
1 teaspoon soda
1/ teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup melted butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons cream
1/4 cup chopped nuts
3/4 cup coconut
Pour boiling water over oats and let sit for 20 minutes. While it sits, mix and sift flour, soda, salt and spices, butter a 9"X13" cake pan, and assemble the topping. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. When the 20 minutes are up, cream the butter, then add the suggests gradually and bet until fluffy after each addition. Add eggs, vanilla and the oatmeal mixture and mix until well blended. Stir in flour just until everything is mixed together and the batter gets smooth. (You'll still see the oatmeal texture.) Put batter into prepared pan and bake for about 35 minutes t 350 degrees. As soon as the cake is done give the topping mixture a stir and spread it over the hot cake. Slip the cake under the broiler and let the top broil for about three minutes, or until the topping is as brown as you want it. Do NOT go off to do something else and forget about it!!! Serve with ice cream or whipped topping if you like, but really gilding the lily is not necessary with this cake.
RASPBERRY SWIRL CHEESECAKE
For a patriotic twist on this impressive cake, scatter some fresh blueberries on top before baking, but let the raspberry swirl show. Then add a white ring of whipped topping and a sprinkling of fresh, uncrushed raspberries and blueberries at serving time and you'll have a Red, White and Blue cheesecake for Memorial Day. The cake can be made up to four days in advance, but if you're doing the whipped topping, add that shortly before serving.
15 graham crackers
3 tablespoons sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons butter, melted
6 ounces raspberries
3 tablespoons sugar
8 ounces white chocolate, melted
4 8-ounce packages cream cheese, at room temperature
1 1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
4 large eggs, at room temperature
3/4 cup sour cream
1/2 cup heavy cream
To make the crust, butter a 9" springform pan and wrap the bottom and sides of pan in a double layer of aluminum foil. Set rack in middle of oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees. In food processor or blender, grind graham crackers into fine crumbs. Add sugar and salt and pulse to combine. Transfer to medium bowl, add butter, and use fork or fingers to mix until crumbs are evenly moist. Press into bottom and about a third of the way up sides of the pan. Chill crust in freezer for about 10 minutes, then bake for 10 minutes in a 350 degree oven while you make the sauce and filling. When crust is done put it on a rack to cool, and turn oven down to 325 degrees. Make the sauce by putting berries and sugar in a food processor or blender and then pureeing until smooth, about 30 seconds. There will still be seeds. Pour into a fine-mesh strainer set over small bowl, pushing on berries to release any juices. Set aside while you make the cake batter. Leave the strainer on top so the juice finishes draining while you make the batter. When all is done you throw the seeds away. Put the chocolate in the top half of a double boiler, or use a makeshift one by setting a clean metal pan or bowl over a pan of boiling water. Stir the shite chocolate until it melts and is smooth. Remove from heat and set aside to cool. Meanwhile, in a large bowl beat cream cheese until completely smooth, 3 to 4 minutes. Add sugar,salt and vanilla and beat, scraping down bowl as necessary, until smooth and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating for one minute after each addition and scraping down bowl as necessary. Add the melted white chocolate, sour cream, and heavy cream and beat on low until the mixture is completely smooth, about one minute. Pour cheesecake batter into cooled crust and smooth top. Drop teaspoons of raspberry sauce all over top of cheesecake, and then use a wooden skewer or toothpick to swirl sauce into batter. You don't want to mix it, you want a swirled red and white top. Place cheesecake in deep roasting pan and set on middle rack of oven. Carefully pour enough boiling water into the roasting pan to come about halfway up sides of springform pan. Bake until the top is just starting to brown and crack, about 1 hour and 30 minutes. Turn off oven, prop door open with wooden spoon, and let cheesecake slowly cool in its water bath for an hour or so. Remove roasting pan from oven, carefully lift the springform pan out of water and remove foil. Set on a rack and let come to room temperature. Once completely cool, loosely cover cheesecake with plastic wrap and refrigerate, 4 hours, or preferably overnight. When ready to serve, carefully remove sides of the springform pan.
Thought of the week: Formal classes are nearly done for this school year but the season for teaching and learning never ends. An anonymous wise person once advised: "Do not educate your children to be rich, educate them to be happy, so they know the value of things, and not the price!" Very true indeed. And summer is the time to learn about the value of things. Kids need a chance to watch ants crawl, blow lady bugs away, make wishes on shooting stars, search for 4-leaf clovers, skin their knees, chase minnows, and play in the sprinkler, mud included. Don't make their summer so crowded with activities that there's no time for living!
(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 715-291-9002 or by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.)
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