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Saturday, May 28, 2016

TAPHOPHILE

At lunch yesterday, the group was discussing Memorial Day preparations.

One woman said, "EWWW, I don't like to go to cemeteries."   I found that comment to be rather off-putting, but not surprising, as I have heard similar excuses from numerous people for their not going to cemeteries.

I responded, "How many people do you know who LIKE to go to cemeteries?"  Nearly everyone proclaimed a dislike of cemeteries.

Another person asked me, "Do YOU like to go to cemeteries?"

I responded, "I'm not exactly a taphophile, just more of a respecter."  Another person there, a long-time friend, asked, "TAP-OH-WHAT?"  I answered, "A taphophile is a lover of cemeteries;  it's from the Greek; taph meaning tomb, and phile meaning a fondness of;  thus taphophile."   She said, "Of course you would know the word for it!"

I continued, "Of course I don't like to go when I'm burying someone I love, but I do when I am seeing interesting tombstones and I believe it's our moral obligation to take care of cemeteries."  A person commented that that sounded "rather preachy" of me.





Another person asked, "Have you been to her house?  She has a tombstone rubbing framed on her wall!"

Friday, May 27, 2016

MERELY TRASHY

My friend Mona Lisa sent this Facebook message to me in response to an article about my having bumper stickers.  I am constantly razzed about my bumper stickers.  My niece calls my car "The Sticker-mobile".  My brother said there are two kinds of people in the world:  those who put bumper stickers on their cars and those who do not.  

When I bought a new car there were bets among family and friends about how long it would take me to have bumper stickers on the new car.  The winner chose:  "Less than a week."  One quipped, "Are you going to peel ones from the old cars?"


The only car I have not adorned with bumper stickers is the Corvette.    I was tempted to have a sticker made proclaiming, "I'd rather be driving my Maserati", which would be a gibe at those vainglorious Corvette owners who place stickers on their other vehicles proclaiming, "I'd rather be driving my Corvette."   See the actual license plate holder which I have but refuse to use on the Corvette.  

My brother said that it was bad enough that I had  bumper stickers on my cars, but that it would be "immoral" to put a bumper sticker on the Corvette.  I shrieked, "Immoral? Perhaps exhibitionist!"  My other brother just chimed in, "No, merely trashy!"




Wednesday, May 25, 2016

POLENTA


Years ago, I was making an Italian dish which used polenta as its base.

As I assembled the mix, I let out a shriek, "This is just MUSH!"

My brother, ever the wit, said, "Ah, but you must admit that polenta sounds much more appetizing than saying MUSH!"

I laughed and sang out, "Peas polenta hot, peas polenta cold, peas polenta in the pot, nine days old!"

He asked, "Hunh?"  I said, "PORRIDGE is just HOT MUSH!"


RECIPE FOR POLENTA:

1 cup medium or fine corn meal
4-5 cups water
1 teaspoon salt

For soft polenta, use 4 cups water;  for hard polenta, use 5 cups water.  In a saucepan, bring water to a boil.  Add 1 teaspoon salt.  Pour corn meal slowly into boiling water and stir until thickened; turn heat on low, cook at least 45", stirring every 10 minutes.

RECIPE FOR CORN MEAL MUSH:

4 cups water
1 cup Quaker Corn Meal
1 teaspoon salt

Bring 3 cups water to a boil;  combine remaining 1 cup water, corn meal, and salt and mix thoroughly;  slowly pour mixture into the boiling water, stirring constantly.  Cook until thickened, stirring frequently.  Cover; continue cooking over low heat for 5 minutes;  stir.  Serve hot with butter, milk, sugar, syrup, salt, and pepper, or whatever you like.

For FRIED MUSH, pour completed mush into a buttered dish, refrigerate until solid, slice and fry.


The recipe above, which I have used all of my cooking life, is from the back of the box of Quaker Corn Meal, and I'm certain that my mother used the same recipe before me, and it was probably also used by my grandmothers.

I have often wondered why the company still markets the product in the round box;  surely a square box would be easier to produce and stock on shelves, but I never hesitate to grab the round box, rather than other brands, although other corn meal is usually cheaper.

Oh, by the way, the recipe for MUSH is much easier than the recipe for POLENTA because of less cooking time, and mixing the corn meal with water prior to adding it to the boiling water reduces the problem with lumps!

I can't imagine putting PEAS in my mush/porridge or eating it after nine days!
.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

POINT-COUNTER-POINT



Recently, in conversation with a young friend, I used a quote from a movie and I was surprised that he did not "get" the reference.  I asked, "You've never seen that movie?"  He said that he hadn't and that he didn't even like movies.  

I was in disbelief and thought,  "HOW could anyone NOT like movies?", but rather than asking that, I asked, "So you don't like ANY movies?" He answered,, "No, I don't understand why people are so gung-ho about movies."  I asked, "Are you just generalizing or is it that you don't like certain genres?"   Knowing that he had an interest in politics, crime, mysteries, and that he enjoyed seeing plays, I couldn't help myself and asked, "Even documentaries or Broadway adaptations?"  He reiterated that he didn't like ANY movies.  

Knowing that he liked to see musical plays, I asked, "Do you like music?" He answered that he did and seemed bewildered that I would ask.

I said, "I was fearful you also suffered from ANHEDONIA!" He asked, "What's that?" I told him that was the term for people who do not like music.  I said, "I don't know if there's a word for people who don't like movies;  maybe anti-cineaste would be apt."


He asked, incredulously, "How could anybody not like music?" 

I screaked, "POINT-COUNTERPOINT!"

He said, "I don't get it."  I answered, "You know that "point-counterpoint" is a term used in debates and counterpoint is  musical term and since I made a point comparing not liking movies and music......."  I discontinued my thought when I saw that he wasn't understanding my humor and I said, "Oh, Hell, if I must explain the witticism, then it is futile!"

Monday, May 23, 2016

FROZEN MIREPOIX


In 2012 I wrote a BLOG article MIREPOIX (see below) about learning about the word used in Cajun cooking to describe the finely diced combination of sauteed onions, celery, and carrots. It is also known as "The Holy Trinity"in cooking.  

Now, the word "mirepoix" easily rolls off our tongues as if we've used it all of our lives.



Today, at Kroger, as I was looking for Lima beans in the frozen vegetables section, I spotted a package of frozen MIREPOIX!  When I came home, I said to Les, "Look what I found at Kroger!"

He said, "Well, that certainly shows the influence of cooking shows;  Hell, we used to just say frozen mixed vegetables!"  Later, he said, "P.T. Barnum was right;  you probably paid more because it was labeled MIREPOIX!"




                                                                        MIREPOIX

When hearing a word for the first time, it's interesting how many times one hears the word used after that. One has probably heard the word before but it did not register until one makes a connection. Two of my friends told me that they had never heard the word SCHADENFREUDE until they read it in my Blog posting (see Sue's News, February 2, 2010, "SCHADENFREUDE") but after that they heard it a number of times. Both would either call or e-mail me and it became "OUR" word and now they both use the word themselves.

Two days ago Les asked, "Do you know the word MIREPOIX?" I answered that I did not and he told me that he'd heard it on several cooking shows. We looked it up and it means: "A combination of finely diced, sauteed onions, carrots and celery used to add flavor and aroma to stocks, sauses, soups and other foods." Yesterday, watching an old Dr. Oz tape, the guest, Andrew Zimmern, said, "Make a simple mirepoix." Simple mirepoix! Excitedly, I yelled for Les to come to listen.

I told Les, "This will be our new "refrigerator game!"

Les asked, "How about CHIFFONADE?"

Julia Child would be proud of me because I actually knew that one!

But just tell me how I'm going to throw those two words into casual conversation. I'm reminded of when I used MACERATE and Ziggy thought I'd used another word (see Sue's News, January 22, 2010, "ZIGGY").

Sunday, May 22, 2016

PARTS OF SPEECH POEM



Last year I published a BLOG article I DON'T FEEL BAD ABOUT DISLIKING DONALD TRUMP (see below) where I referenced his misuse of the phrase "I feel badly";  today my friend Mona Lisa sent a note referencing that article:  "Let's send this to Donald Trump for whom we do not feel bad!" and sent this poem:






                              I DON'T FEEL BAD ABOUT DISLIKING DONALD TRUMP
My brother just reminded me of another reason to dislike Donald Trump (as if I needed one). He recalled that when Cyndi Lauper appeared on Celebrity Apprentice, the boorish Trump cavalierly corrected her when she said "I feel bad" when he interrupted her and said, "I feel badly.";  unfortunately, she allowed him to get by with that bullying.  Perhaps Trump wasn't taught grammar when he attended school in the Bronx. 
F.Y.I.,  Donald, BAD is an ADJECTIVE and BADLY is an ADVERB.  Adjectives describe nouns or pronouns, thus, "I" (the pronoun) feel BAD  Adverbs modify VERBS;  e.g.:  "He was BADLY injured."It's difficult to imagine anyone being able to tolerate Trump long enough to watch that show, but like that incident,  I have actually had people--not very subtly--try to correct my usage of "I feel bad" by uttering "I feel badly" shortly thereafter.  It just provided me with an opportunity to tell about Miss Digman, my favorite grammarian, grabbing the hand of a classmate who had said the unpardonable phrase "I feel badly", and her scolding, "You feel BAD unless your fingers aren't working properly."  My brother says that people probably think that saying "badly" sounds better than saying "bad".  Do they also say  or write "I FEEL GLADLY", "I FEEL MADLY", "I FEEL SADLY", OR "I FEEL HAPPILY"?