A holy trinity for diet foods
by "Our Senior Staff Writer"
small number three has large significance everywhere in life--in
the arts, science and the humanities. Suspense in literature
and films juggles time, hope and fear; triptychs are significant
forms of pictorial art; and three is a frequently a holy number
in many religions. Of more interest, perhaps, the world of
nourishment traditionally suggests three meals a day in most
cuisines. With the trend running to fewer ingredients in
recipes, three comes up again. Gramercy Tavern’s Chef Tom
Colicchio calls his three main ingredient recipes “trilogies.”
For instance, he prepares a ragout of asparagus, wild leeks and
morels. Also, in ”free-form” ravioli that he bakes, he uses the
same three ingredients to make an entirely different dish.
cooks tend to overlook a trinity of versatile foods: celery,
parsley and the recently popular cilantro. The three fight
weight gain on several fronts. They are low calorie themselves
and they add terrific piquancy to dishes. Further, they are
easy to use. Toss some chopped celery in the salad, stir fry or
pot, or simply serve celery sticks as a vegetable and put them
in brown bag lunches.
is at home in gourmet recipes, too. Its ribbed stalks are
classic, and its tender leaves curled up deep in the hearts are
a culinary treasure. Home cooks too often ignore the pale
leaves, and they have marvelous flavor and texture and
interesting possibilities in recipes. Happily celery is
available year round for a taste of spring, in summer vegetable
salads, for tailgate picnics before football games and for hot
winter soups, traditional like Cock-a-Leekie or modern in
creme fraiche soups.
might be one of the reasons Europeans eat well, but stay slim.
Wild celery, called “smallage,” is popular in Europe. In Italy
and France the smaller stems and leaves of wild celery are
considered a delicacy, eaten with olive oil and pepper. The
inner leaves of American celery can be served the same way.
Voila! A new and intriguing first course! Versatile celery is
one of three ingredients in mirepoix, a famed French base
for many, many recipes.
Mirepoix (mihr-PHAW) is a trio of chopped
vegetables--carrots, onions and celery-- a good example of three
ingredients working together to form something special. In the
case of mirepoix, the low calorie mixture is sautéed and
then used to season soups, stews and casseroles and also to
serve as a bed for meat, poultry or fish that is being braised,
a smart method of cooking for health. While Julia Child’s
French cooking has been going in and out of fashion (All that
cream!), mirepoix still hangs in faithfully, and for good
reason—made with butter substitutes like olive oil spreads, it
adds a true, but subtle, flavor to dishes.
second underrated ingredient is parsley. While we recall the
curly, tough parsley leaves of our childhoods, Italian flat
parsley is now the standard in fine cooking, leaving curly
parsley to garnish plates. The flat leaves of Italian parsley
are larger, and although attractive, they are usually used
chopped. Parsley is so popular in the Middle East that it is
simply considered another vegetable. Parsley and celery are
botanically related; and, historically, their names, in several
languages, were interchangeable. Now there are several types of
flat parsley, including the giant Italian type, Neapolitan,
which is often found in gourmet Italian-American dishes. Parsley
holds its place in the overlooked trinity since it is a superb
health food, versatile, handy and easy to use. It is an easy
trick in the challenge of dieting.
Cilantro, once considered a poor man’s herb, entered American
cuisine with the popularity of Mexican food. Today, cilantro
shows up everywhere on menus--in salads, entrees, and sauces and
especially in salsas. Cilantro is the young leaves of a plant
that becomes coriander when it matures and goes to seed. One of
mother nature’s tricks on us is that the taste of cilantro in no
way tastes like coriander seed. Unlike cilantro leaves,
coriander seed was used in Oriental and Mediterranean cuisines
long ago. Celery, parsley and cilantro are elements of a dish’s
content. The form is up to the cook. He or she might decide to
create a Mexican dip, a delicate broth or cilantro-marinated
pork roast. Wontons, lettuce or chard wraps are also a popular
option. Edible containers, sweet peppers or tomatoes, are great
healthy entrees or sides, and their fillings are rich with
celery, parsley or cilantro (or all three), along with roasted
peppers, rice noodles, pasta, peas, sprouts or other fresh
is a final trinity to keep in mind when cutting calories: The
three elements are healthy eating, regular exercise and food for
How one family keeps in touch
by "Our Senior Staff Writer"
A memorial service for a beloved cousin was the
reason for a mini-family reunion, in fact, an exciting meeting of
some never-met female relatives. The many ladies of the family
found that they not only had much in common, but that also they
were intrigued by their various differences.
These women, from the 10-year-old soccer player
who adores anchovies, to the preschool expert, the new mother, the
archeologist who worked with Leaky, two authors, an enlightened
computer wiz and retired professor of English engaged my highest
interest. As the group split in the light rain at the motel
parking lot, I knew I would miss them.
Indeed, although these relatives were new
friends, I knew I would be missing the very special relationship
as we all returned to our respective homes in many different
states. The next few day, questions (insignificant to profound)
ran through my head. Wonder what Emily would think of this salad?
What kinds of trees does Meg like down there in Texas? What does
Susannah think of the future of the institution of marriage?
I thought that we could create a substitute for
the intense, late-night chats we so enjoyed in the motel, and came
up with the idea of "The Ladies of the Family's Notebooks."
They're five ordinary spiral notebooks labeled with different
colors, like Grimm's fairy tales -- the red book, the blue book,
etc. Inside the cover of each, I copied the names and addresses of
each female relative in the family, including the few who were
unable to make the reunion.
Next I prepared an explanation of the project
and a simple set of rules to begin:
• Answer the question put to you
when you receive a book.
• Copy your answer and send it to
the questioner. Carbon or photo copies are fine.
• Ask another question and send it
to any woman on the list.
• No time limits, but keep things
The results of the notebooks are delightful.
Women of the family feel in touch. At middle age, I love to hear
from the patrician matriarch of the family, from young Emily (the
anchovian and only girl on the boys' soccer team), ever energetic
Marilyn (she shares my interest in education) and Susannah, the
ornithologist who elucidates the activity on my bird feeder and
the talented sculptor, Blake, who just happens to be my daughter.
In a Sunday phone call, Jean (the Shakespearean
scholar) said she has two notebooks on her desk (and I knew a
third was coming to her). She asked if she could start a new one.
Of course! By now there were seven or eight notebooks going back
and forth, and Jean will have to think of some new colors for
titles. The chartreuse book? The periwinkle book? I can't wait to
see what is in fashion.
Spring has finally come, summer is close, and
things go around: feelings, thoughts, inquiries, personal
questions -- and those fascinating colored notebooks of the Ladies
of the Family.
Certified Nutritional Counselor
amount of food that you consume. Eat several smaller meals during
the day instead of having a major meal near the end of the day.
Snack on healthy foods to keep your body burning fuel and prevent
sugar spikes that encourage diabetic complications.
Laughter has been said to release chemicals in your body which
promote good health. Work up to a good belly laugh whenever you can.
(If it doesn't make you live longer, it does make the time that you
do live a lot more fun.)
If you are
not already using them, give some of those vitamins and supplements
a trial run and see if they make a difference. Monitor yourself. Get
advice from a medical professional. You just might be surprised by
some positive results.
attitude of gratitude. Attitude is everything, and gratitude is one
of the best attitudes to cultivate. It makes relationships work with
family, friends and even strangers. People who know their efforts
are appreciated feel good about themselves and getting along with
them is much easier. Appreciating what you have is a great way to
relieve stress and that can contribute to a longer, happier life.
intake of sugar and white flour. Diabetes is on the rise and can
really be detrimental to your health in ways that can make you age
faster, experience slow healing and pain, and die sooner. Monitor
your eating habits and cut back on those foods (especially sugar and
white flour) that contribute to the problem.
Studies show that, on the whole, people who have a religious
foundation and who attend services tend to have a longer life
by this author, click here:
SURE-FIRE WEIGHT REDUCTION & LONGEVITY PROGRAM
Tea Party with Grandma
doubt, some of my fondest childhood memories are of tea parties with
my grandmother. They weren't extravagant in any way, but I always
got to choose my favorite tea cup and I had grandma's attention
while she poured tea from one of her China teapots and we talked
about whatever came to mind. I'm sure we had some sort of cookies or
finger foods, but that's not the part that sticks in my memory. Tea
parties were special times for the two of us (and after my
sister got a little older, for the three of us). My memories are
the tradition, I have tea parties with my granddaughters. As a
special treat, I take them, individually, to a fancy afternoon tea
at a local tea room. It's a memory maker for each of us.
Have a tea
party with grandma. You can make it special or simple as far as the
table setting, dishes and food; but make sure that it is a time to
relax and be together. Have conversations that involve both talking
tea together. Choose the flavor of tea. Make the finger foods,
scones, or sandwiches together. Set the table as a team and make it
look pretty. Treasure your time with one another.
If you want
ideas for having an afternoon tea in style, Brenda Williams, The
First Lady of Tea, has a page on this website that features her
book on afternoon teas as well as other "tea things" including scone
mix, special tea bags and more. To learn the details of an afternoon
tea, click here: A Spot of Tea.
opportunities: recycle those old pictures
"The Family Writer"
"The camera doesn't lie." Oh, how we
rune that old saw. However, that's not the end of camera misery.
Much worse, especially to packrats (and matriarch and patriarchs of
families) who seem to serve as the natural repository of family
pictures, are all those irresistible family photographs stuffed into
thick and sturdy family albums, various Grandma's Brag Books,
smartly wallpapered photo file boxes and the odd shoebox.
In extreme cases, large cartons of ancient
pictures of unidentified relatives are not only lost "somewhere in
time," but also somewhere in the basement. The abomination of this
dumping came to me not too long ago when I found pictures of great,
great grandmother (from the rear) with her cow (full side view).
There were also such gems as "Abner's goat." and "father's big pig."
What to do? As my husband said while looking through stacks of
family pictures, "How can I throw out Great Aunt Maud?" Well, of
course, he couldn't.
But true to the spirit of the '90's there is an
While recycling family photographs might take
time, the effort is well worth it since it results in a wonderful
spirit of productive gifting, a tremendous creative satisfaction and
best of all, euphoria in the knowledge that you have emptied shelves
and shed boxes.
Here are some possibilities:
Surprise Gifts. Seat yourself comfortably
at a table where you have placed the troublesome box, album, stack,
etc. to be sorted. Around the perimeter of the table, place a number
of manila envelopes, each marked with the name of a soon-to-be
grateful recipient of your efforts. LOOK and DECIDE, tossing each
photo onto the pile on a envelope. Who best deserves this charming
pose of great grandma's wedding? Who will benefit receiving the
picture of Elvira's 15th child? Sort the box. Then mail as soon as
The Family History Calendar. Many stores,
insurance agencies, brokers, etc. supply free calendars. Collect
these. Rent a mindless but entertaining video and spend a night with
popcorn, drinks and rubber cement, making kindergarten-type collages
from the old snapshots over the top pages of the free calendars.
Distribute during the holidays.
Tubal solutions. Make a list of folks to
whom you usually give small gifts for birthdays or other occasions.
What are their interests? Do they draw or do needlework: Do they
deal with maps, charts, blueprints or large pieces of materials?
Then look over the supply of mailing tubes available at the post
office or mail convenience center.
Buy suitable cardboard mailing tubes and save
those that arrive in your mail. Rubber cement the photographs to to
recycled, ziz-zag, free form or patchwork fashion, overlapping
pictures, over the entire surface of the tube. Mix and match.
When dry, carefully place long strips of clean
plastic wrapping tape (wide-width) vertically down tubes to seal
For Aunt Nellie, it's a knitting needle
container. For Uncle Jed, a map holder. For rolled lace tablecloths
to birdseed, those containers become family treasures.
Support history. Some old photographs have
true value, either aesthetically or historically. I've mailed
several of this type to historical societies of towns mentioned on
the photographers' stamp on the picture. Perhaps someone over in
Yuba or Beulah knows who that carpenter is, building the new barn.
Old photographs? No problem. Give them up, in one
great way of another.
Just wondering, have you had your picture taken
GIFTS for MOM
BOOKS for Women
Gifts for Women
Grandma’s Toy Stove:
gift for generations
by Kas Winters
When my grandmother
was young, her piano teacher gave her a model cast iron stove that
came with the new stove of the same design that she had purchased. My
grandmother played with it as a child. (Later in life she also played
piano as the background for silent movies.)
My mother played
with the same toy stove with her friend Millie. Together they prepared
imaginary dinners under the apple tree at Millie’s house, which was
next door to my mom’s home.
I have fond
memories of making mud meatballs and “cooking’ them on that stove when
I played house with my friends on grandma’s front porch. It provided
many hours of playtime and delightful memories as well.
Over time, the
little pots that had come with the stove were lost. One Christmas, I
found some in a catalog and gave them to grandma as a gift for her
stove. She found a couple of others that were really little ash trays,
but small and cast iron and those worked just fine.
Years later, my own
daughter enjoyed the same toy and now I watch with a special awe as my
granddaughters play with my grandmother’s stove. It’s now an antique,
but to me the value will always be in sharing it with the generations
of girls in my family!
Mom's Night Off
"Mom's" All Purpose Apron
A gift basket for a woman
Sally D. Ketchum's Book,
Super Student/Happy Kid
article of Interest to Seniors
by Sally, the Garden Guru
Grandma's Goodie Bag
The Monster Button
Small Space Gardening
by Sally the
by Luanne Torblaa
A Woman for All
Plain Talk about Husband-Wife Conversation
by Sally D. Ketchum
for All Ages
by Eileen Birin
While still living
in Chicago, I attended a writing seminar conducted by Dr. Dennis
Hensley, author of seven books and more than fifteen hundred
articles. The meeting focused on how to be a successful
freelancer, and Dr. Hensley made it a point to tell us that he
always carried a notebook, camera and recorder with him wherever
he went, even on vacations, sometimes to the dismay of his wife
and family. He knew there were, and possible even looked for,
One story in
particular, I have never forgotten can be summed up as follows.
While on a
mini-trip driving the scenic back roads of the mid-west, the
Hensleys came across a small town, enhanced with charm and
character. They stopped. With camera and notebook ready, Dr.
Hensley set out to explore the town's historic treasures.
He was fascinated
by what was once a decorative opera house, art deco architectural
style, now in various stages of deterioration, which stood in the
town's center. Therein laid a story.
about the old building, Dr. Hensley was delighted to learn there
was a senior resident who had recently taken it upon herself to
record the history of this turn-of-the-century town, its notable
buildings which included the opera house, as well as, some
celebrated happenings. She was hoping her memoirs and research
would provide younger generations, caught up in fast-paced
progress, an American small town experience.
Dr. Hensley was
even more impressed with the woman herself and once back in his
motel room made a quick long-distance call with a "hold the press"
edict. This woman's article needed to be published in the next
"Now Dennis, wait a
minute," the editor responded. "Why such a rush? Let's wait and
see what the lady comes up with and see if we can actually use the
"But you don't
understand," Dennis exclaimed, "the woman is 101 years old!"
This 101 year old
aspiring writer lived to be 104 and had seven magazine articles
published in the second century of her life. She believed that you
live the first 100 years and then write about your life the second
century. Mark Twain held a similar belief, but his was a 50/50
split - maybe a bit more realistic
I don't recall Dr.
Hensley ever mentioning the woman's name or the name of the town,
but that's not important. What matters is that a centenarian was
able to invest her time and years of experience so wisely.
Wouldn't it be great if we were all so privileged?
With the start of
each new year, this woman for all ages inspired me to start today
fulfilling my own writing dreams and goals. There's no guarantee
I'll be granted a second century of life, but one thing's for
certain, I'm not waiting. TODAY I start the rest of my life,
writing and otherwise.
Author, Eileen Birin
For Books by Eileen click on the
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