Showing posts from November, 2013

Thankful Memories

The pot of horrors would be bubbling on the stove all morning, neck and giblets, looking like a witches' cauldron leftover from Halloween.  Giblets.  It was a comical, almost friendly name, no doubt invented to deceive us into thinking they might not be as terrible a concept for food.  That bubbling pot meant gravy would be eaten at your own risk, but it would be made as Grandma always had, and her mother before her, and before that, in the days when no food was wasted however unappetizing.

     There was a table full of vegetables to chop for stuffing, mashed potatoes, and other side dishes, not to mention a tray to snack on that we didn't bother to call crudité.  Thanksgiving was bigger than everyday, more special, but it was humble, too.  We always helped in the kitchen.  Before the meal preparation was more fun than dish washing after.  I suppose it always is, but when the holiday means more than the usual eight diners and all the specialty dishes brought out of the c…


I had my first chest x-ray recently.  Although they found none of the heart issues the doctor was screening for, they did discover mild signs of emphysema.  My doctor assumed the damage had been done before I quit smoking and seemed unconcerned that it would get any worse.

      Only, I have never smoked.
     Not even a puff...of anything.

     So, the conclusion is that I was affected by second hand smoke, assumedly because I grew up in a house with smokers.  It's a stunning fact, especially because I haven't really spent any significant time in a smoky environment since I was 18.  That I could still be damaged by it decades later puts some weight into the arguments against smoking in public places.

     I suppose I could be angry at my parents.  Given the availability of information, they probably knew smoking was bad for you when they started.  However, the news about potential harm in second hand smoke didn't start reaching people until they were both addicted.  …


In Autumn, the green chlorophyll in leaves fades away, revealing the yellow carotenoids underneath.  That's the scientific explanation of the colour change we see.  Another way of looking at it is that the gold was inside all along.

What's Cooking

I was going to be a baker.  That was my sensible, practical plan for keeping myself fed while I wrote.  I was well aware that authors who could support themselves with their craft were rarer than authors with talent, and if I was going to build a life where I could write all I wanted, then I would have to have another skill people would pay for.  Since I always liked cooking and baking, it seemed like an ideal solution.  It was all still art, but it was practical art, everyday art with immediate use.  People would always need to eat.

     Of course, I learned all I could in our own kitchen and read scores of cook books in our collection and the library's.  I would experiment whenever I could, took all the classes the school offered, and added two years of more focused vocational training.  The typical teenage jobs flipping burgers and making pizzas were serious business for me.

     Starting a family derailed me from that plan, but I still found myself returning to those culi…