by Georgia Warren
It’s all my brother Greg’s fault.
Greg would not play with me when his friends were visiting. When nobody was around we’d play cowboys. He taught me how to do a quick draw with a cap gun. He pushed me in the tire swing that hung from a big old Elm tree in our front yard.
My other brother Freddy, however, would drink tea with me and my dolls, even if there were no treats, and even if there were no cups. Greg would only do that if there was real cake or cookies.
He was fourteen, I was four and a half. When his friends were around I was “just a baby,” "the kid" or “crybaby.”
Greg was a champion at the game of marbles and had some beautiful colored ones, some that looked like cat’s eyes, and a larger, white one called "the shooter." The boys would sit on our cement back-porch playing marbles for hours. Usually it would end when Greg owned all the marbles or my mother invited all of them in for lunch. Greg would give the other boys back enough marbles so they would come back to play again. It may have been my mother’s macaroni and cheese lunches that brought them to our house.
The game of marbles looked like a lot of fun to a precocious four and a half year old girl. The boys were all having fun, telling fourteen-year-old-boy jokes and laughing.
I still distinctly remember this short conversation I had with Greg on a particularly nice summer day, probably in 1950.
“I want to play with you guys.”
“No, go away!” he said. “You couldn’t play. There are rules to marbles and you’re stupid.”
“They’re all different colors. They’re pretty. Which one’s your favorite?
He pointed at the large white shooter marble.
“There, now get lost.”
“Can I just touch it? Please?” (I think I made a whiny sound, I did really good whiny sounds when I wanted my way.)
“You can touch it if you promise to go away.”
I picked it up and swallowed it.
“You little bitch” he said in his most grown-up fourteen-year-old voice
He ran off yelling - "The Kid swallowed my shooter."
Our mother was horrified that I might die from swallowing an over-sized marble. What if it didn’t “come through?” What if it blocked whatever marbles could block inside her “baby girl.”
For three days – – a whole life time
to her “little baby girl”– –
I had to do poo in a metal bucket
without a seat on it.
I took great gulps of Fletcher’s Castoria.
I can still taste it just by hearing, saying or remembering the name “Castoria”. I continued to be an annoyance to my siblings when I made up a song that went like this:
“I have a ring around my bummy
and it isn’t very funny,
if you want to see what I poo in
go right into the kitchen.”
My father thought the song was funny and encouraged me to sing it in front of his friend Tony (a co-worker we all called "Uncle Tony"). I suspect my brother Freddy helped me with the lyrics.
My poor, dear, loving, mother went diligently through my poo several times a day, looking for the large, white, marble. She was wonderful to me. I got great hugs. She told me how precious I was. She said "I don't know what I would do if something happens to you." I didn't understand "something happens" meant I died. She worried that if it didn’t come out soon, we would have to go to a hospital. That of course would be just another great adventure to a four and a half year old girl.
Day three came and so did the plop sound of the shooter marble in the metal bucket.
As soon as that marble hit the bucket my loving, sweet mother changed. I swear she grew to be ten feet tall and her voice louder and angrier than any monster in my fairytale books.
I was immediately transformed into a good little girl. I believed she would become a monster like that again if I ever put any little round thing in my mouth or disobeyed in any way.
From then on I never put any round things in my mouth. Never a marble, never any peas, cherry tomatoes, grapes, olives, or blueberries.
Not even sort of round food like beans and boiled eggs. Colored Easter eggs lost their magic at our house ever after.
No round food.
Nobody said anything about the fact that I would not eat round food. I am sure
they thought I would grow out of it.
I did not start eating peas until I was sixty-eight years old. I
still cut a cherry tomato in two pieces before it touches my mouth..
I haven’t quite made it to grapes or boiled eggs yet.
Wolfie and Georgia
I’d always had a sweet tooth, but about twenty-six years ago I suddenly developed absolutely insane cravings for desserts. I’d mix double batches of chocolate-chip cookie dough and eat half the batter raw. Then, I’d eat a bunch of mouth-singeing cookies minutes after taking them out of the oven. Harley was lucky if there were a few cookies left for him.
When I went grocery shopping in Wegmans, I’d fill a small bag with cookies and chocolates from the bulk food section, pay for my groceries and devour everything in the bag before I got home. Sometimes I managed to resist and didn’t buy any crap in Wegmans. But then, on the way home my cravings would overtake me and I’d stop at the little store where I usually bought gas. I’d buy myself horrible things like stale cookies, or cup cakes with gross icing on top and goopy-crap inside them, and eat all of it before I pulled into our driveway.
(go to story)
EatingWith the Ancestors
by Nancy Vieira Couto
Those milk bottles, with a generous amount of cream at the top, reminded me of the milk of my childhood, but I should say right from the start that milk and I have always had a difficult relationship. I remember that we had three kinds of milk in our tenement: chocolate milk, coffee milk, and plain milk. Chocolate milk had some sort of cocoa powder stirred into it, while coffee milk was made with Silmo Coffee Syrup, a long-gone product that was once a staple in the New Bedford area. Of the three, plain milk was the one I liked the least, although it was the simplest to prepare. My mother would remove the orange cellophane from the top of the milk bottle, rinse the top of the cardboard cap, and give the bottle a vigorous shake. Then she would remove the cap, pour some milk into a saucepan, and start warming it up. Of course when my mother poured the warm plain milk over my breakfast Cheerioats, they immediately turned to mush. Truth is, I didn't like Cheerioats much either, and changing the name to Cheerios didn't make them any less mushy. I didn't know then, and didn't learn until I was in college, that other people enjoyed their cereal with cold milk.
(go to rest of the story)
Where Food Goes
by David S. Warren
So we bought a fruit crusher and new, larger press to use on our pears when they ripened last summer: a mixture of sweet and tart, mostly Asian pears. Some of the cider was consumed when still fresh and sweet, and most is now in the later stages of fermentation.
Meanwhile we had realized that a cider press is about the same thing as a cheese press. Being big cheese eaters,we ordered the basic tools, the coagulants and the fermentation cultures to make most any cheese.
Of course cheese making doesn’t always require a press, or need to be a lot more complicated than letting raw milk go sour. I heard on the radio that in prison, where improvisation is necessary, determined cheese-addicts use Real Lemon concentrated juice to coagulate non-dairy creamer. And there it is: easy cheesy.
We have now read so many recipes for cheese making that we are dazed and confused or maybe confused and dazed. The biggest cheesiest site on the internet has hundreds a recipes - new ones all the time, including some for mozzarella, one of which claims to be an easy thirty minute mozzarella, perfect for kids.
Don’t be fooled. The thirty minute mozzarella took a day and a half; we nearly scalded our hands in the process and never got the stuff to be stretchy as pizza dough, like it is supposed to be. So we don’t suggest you make it your first cheese.
You might want to begin with the prison cheese version, or better than that: try making the simple Portuguese kitchen cheese that Nancy Vieira Couto writes about in this issue of the magazine.
(read the beginning of this article)
Dull Ny Thinger
by Gabreal Orgrease
“Hey, sonny doy, dull ny thinger.”
“I’m not yer Granda ya little tord. Now dull ny thinger.”
Aubergine Bawcutt, the talking eggplant, is the infamous Catskill ventriloquist Lorne Surlingham’s most famous dummy. Which is not saying a whole lot for dummies or back alley ventriloquists. A fat purple eggplant poked onto the top end of a broomstick, fastened with brass thumbtacks -- white eyes of radish slices with red peel rings, a petite carrot nose and a thin white-green slice for a mouth. The Chef’s Dummy they used to call her in the good old days on the underground circuit. A sort of Ubu Roi take-off in the vegetable and janitorial kingdom that never translated well to television but was a backstage hit at a thousand and twenty-three catered birthday parties.
“Oh man, grandpa, do you really have to do that? It isn’t funny any more.”
(read this story in its entirety)
by Sue-Ryn Burns
One Saturday shortly after July 4th, when it was fairly quiet and we had released most of the first-litter squirrels and had most of the waterfowl in outside pens, the phone rang. In what can only be considered a moment of temporary insanity, I agreed to take 11 baby Opossums, rescued from a very busy roadside after their mother was killed by a car.
I was of course immediately charmed by the cute little babies. They look like they're wearing opera gloves and their tails are like a fifth hand. Their big pink scalloped ears have black stripes. They each had a widow's peak! They seem to be always in some kind of physical contact with each other – piled up to sleep, sitting on each other, holding paws, or keeping their tails entwined.
(read this entire story here) _______________________
Sharing food with family and friends, while appreciating life’s blessings, can be a form of mindfulness that allows us to receive more energy from our food.
While enjoying food with Reiki practitioners, it’s not unusual to see people holding their hands above their food to fill it with Reiki before they eat. Most people seem to have the right attitude that this is a blessing and an enhancement of the food. But it’s clear that some are worried that the food might have negative energy within it.
When we experience fear, worry or anger, we cannot practice mindfulness. These feelings disconnect us and take us out of the Now. We feel unloved and unsupported. “Be Grateful,” the third Reiki Principle taught by Usui Sensei, serves as advice to help us become centered. Being grateful means nourishing gratitude in your heart, for no specific reason. It means being grateful for the gift of existence. Gratitude brings you here, into the present moment. When you are present, you are connected with all of life, with all of creation. And all is well.
All is as it should be.
(read this entire article here)
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