THE CONSUMER VISION
Address: 359 Coggeshall St., New Bedford, MA 02746
Publisher: Bob Branco
Editing and Proofreading: David and Leonore Dvorkin
Formatting: David Dvorkin
TABLE OF CONTENTS
In this Table of Contents, three asterisks *** are used to separate the title of each article from its author. In the same way, three asterisks *** will be used to separate articles to make using your browser’s search feature easier. If any of you have screen readers that make searching difficult or undoable with asterisks, please let us know not only that, but also if three number signs ### would be easier. If you are a screen reader user for whom neither symbol works, please let us know what works best, and we’ll do our best to accommodate.
In columns like Special Notices, Readers’ Forum, and Recipes from Karen Crowder, letters of the alphabet—A, B, C, etc.—are used to separate items.
- HEALTH MATTERS: Healthy Eating Tips from Around the World, Protein Drinks, and More *** by Leonore H. Dvorkin
- CAN NOBODY SAVE US? *** by Stephen Théberge
- COMMENTARY AFTERMATH: Panic in the USA *** by James R. Campbell
- A WORD ABOUT SPORTS: From No Baseball to Ruined Weddings *** by Don Wardlow
- WEATHER OR NOT: Climate Change: Not a Cyclical Process *** by Steve Roberts
- HALF-TITLE AND FULL-TITLE PAGES IN PRINTED BOOKS *** by Leonore Dvorkin
- THE HANDLER’S CORNER: Living and Working with Guide Dogs *** by Ann Chiappetta, M.S.
- AUTHORS’ CORNER
- RECIPE COLUMN *** by Karen Crowder
- MARCY’S SCHMOOZE TINNIH *** by Marcy J. Segelman
- CONSUMER VISION TRIVIA CONTEST
- HEALTH MATTERS: Healthy Eating Tips from Around the World, Protein Drinks, and More
by Leonore H. Dvorkin
Leonore welcomes comments on any of her articles.
Hello, everyone. With all the disruption, nervousness, and just plain strangeness out there right now due to the COVID-19 pandemic and all the stay-at-home orders, thanks for being here to read this article and the newsletter. Never fear; I’m not going to write an article about the virus, how people are reacting to it, how to help keep yourself from getting it, or my own political opinions. For good, sound advice, please consult the CDC website. You will not find anything clearer or better than what is there. Their COVID-19 information is here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html
What I will do today is summarize some of the excellent advice in the April 2020 Consumer Reports On Health newsletter. I have added a few personal comments.
- Healthy Eating Tips from Around the World
– From Okinawa: Go for 80% full. Pay attention to how much you’re eating, eat fairly slowly, and recognize your fullness cues. Stop eating when you feel satisfied, not stuffed.
– From India: Add plant proteins. Lentils, chickpeas (garbanzos), dried peas, and beans are high in protein, fiber, potassium, and folate. They are low in calories and have almost no fat. Diets rich in lentils and other legumes are linked to lower rates of diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Just one-half cup a day can impart significant health benefits and aid weight loss.
– From Italy: Slow your pace. Relax and enjoy your time at the table with friends and family (that is, if you have anyone to eat with). If you eat fast, you override your natural fullness triggers and overeat. Those who eat meals more slowly tend to feel full longer and not snack as much later.
– From Greece: Eat healthy fats. Those are in olive oil, avocados, fatty fish, and nuts. (A personal note: In a large glass bottle, David and I keep a mixture of equal parts of extra virgin olive oil, light olive oil, and avocado oil. It’s tasty and works well for cooking.) The Mediterranean diet has been shown over and over to be one of the most healthful ways of eating.
– From Mexico: Have a bigger lunch. That is, if one of your meals during the day is larger than the others, have that be lunch, and make your dinner more of an evening snack. Eating a big meal late in the day leads to higher cholesterol, higher triglycerides, and weight gain. A large meal at night can also trigger heartburn and interfere with sleep.
A personal note: Every day, my husband and I have a kind of brunch as our main meal. It includes lots of fresh fruits and raw vegetables, as well as assorted nuts, some cheese, small amounts of chicken or maybe sardines, and small servings of bread with nut butter and jam. Sometimes we skip the bread. My own light dinner is usually a bowl of soup, while David prefers a large bowl of more fresh fruits and raw vegetables.
– From Vietnam: Start with soup. Pho is a mixture of broth, rice noodles, vegetables, and sometimes meat or seafood. It’s a breakfast staple in Vietnam. Most soups are low in sugars and saturated fats. A bowl of soup tends to provide a high volume of food but be low in calories. The mixture of liquids and solids in some soups make them filling and hunger-suppressing.
– From Brazil: Stick to whole foods. Rather than aiming to eat specific amounts of nutrients, aim to eat fewer processed foods and more whole foods. That is, eat more the way people did before fast-food restaurants and pre-packaged meals came to dominate our diets. If you eat mainly whole foods, you will automatically reduce calories, as processed foods tend to pack a lot of calories into a small amount of food. Eat more whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.
– From France: Treat yourself. That is, do not deprive yourself entirely of sweets. Just eat them in small portions. For example, enjoy a small amount of fine dark chocolate rather than mindlessly munching on half a box of cookies or devouring a pint of ice cream. The bottom line: If you are really craving something, have a small amount of it. Depriving yourself of it may make you eat a lot of something even less desirable.
A personal note: I am diabetic, so I do need to avoid sweets. But I have trained myself to be satisfied with one or two very small, 20-calorie cookies at a time. Yes, it can be done!
- Be Safe on Your Smartphone
Using a smartphone while walking may pose risks for seniors. Between 1998 and 2017, some 13% of cell phone-related injuries were to seniors. The injuries included cuts, bruises, sprains, broken bones, and concussions, sustained when the seniors were walking while using a smartphone.
A personal note: I’ve seen many younger people be guilty of dangerous inattention while walking and using their phones. On more than one occasion, the person nearly collided with me. They could surely take a terrific fall if they were to encounter an obstacle on the sidewalk or walking path or an unevenness in the pavement. Please, folks, pay attention to more than just your phone! Stop and move off to the side of the walkway if you need to pay close attention or text.
- Protein Drinks
An illustrated list of five popular protein drinks, made from yogurt, kefir, almond milk, or soy milk, gave surprisingly high calorie counts and total sugars. Only the Silk Organic Unsweet Vanilla Soymilk was low in calories (80 calories per 8 ounces) and sugars (1 gram total), while providing 7 grams of protein.
A personal note: I myself never buy ready-made protein drinks. Instead, I mix one scoop of stevia-sweetened whey protein powder, vanilla or chocolate, with 8 ounces of lowfat milk. That saves me calories and money and does not leave a plastic bottle to be discarded.
About the Author
Leonore Dvorkin and her husband, the author David Dvorkin, live in Denver, Colorado. David is the author of 29 published books, and Leonore is the author of four published books. Both David and Leonore write fiction and nonfiction, and both have numerous articles to their credit. Leonore also teaches exercise classes and tutors German and Spanish.
Since 2009, the Dvorkins have been editing books of many types for other authors and assisting them with getting the books self-published in e-book and print formats: paperback or hardcover or both. The large majority of their 80-plus clients are blind or visually impaired. Their comprehensive services include editing, formatting, cover design, and more. Their most basic aim is to provide high-quality service at very reasonable prices.
They invite you to visit any of their websites for more information.
Leonore H. Dvorkin: http://www.leonoredvorkin.com/
David Dvorkin: http://www.dvorkin.com/
DLD Books Editing and Self-Publishing Services: http://www.dldbooks.com/
- CAN NOBODY SAVE US?
by Stephen Théberge
On August 27, 2019, a rather serious but non-life-threatening medical issue came up that drastically changed my life. That is why I have not been contributing articles. I want to thank my family and friends for their support in these times.
In my fiction writing, I regularly mix actual real-life events into my work. What has occurred in the past seven months could not be properly summarized in an article here. Certainly, in the upcoming third book in my series, there will be many chapters based on those recent happenings.
People often say, “Nobody could have written a fiction book describing what we are going through with this virus.” I will grant that this exact scenario may not have been written about, but there are many works of fiction that speculated about worldwide virus pandemics. My favorites at this time would be the movies Virus (from 1980), The Andromeda Strain (1971), and The Masque of the Red Death, which was released in 1964. I’ll grant that the latter movie wasn’t about what was necessarily a worldwide pandemic, and we don’t really know that the red death plague was a virus, but I like to plug old authors like Edgar Allan Poe and that movie, especially as I am partial to Vincent Price. Since I’m plugging and talking horror, I’d also recommend H. P. Lovecraft.
Just when you thought I was doing an article on my life or grim literature, I’m going to discuss the pros and cons of technology at this time, when we are practically prisoners in our own homes. The challenge is that we did not choose these events and are not in control. We never really were completely the masters of our own destinies, but this situation is certainly an extreme example of that.
The biggest change I’ve noticed is that Internet connections, especially over Wi-Fi, can crawl at times. I think the Internet can handle the extra traffic. Let’s not have a horror movie about the World Wide Web crashing. I’ll take my disasters one at a time, thank you.
Besides extra traffic online, I’ve not really seen a major change in people’s behavior. I see the predictable posts on Facebook about unity. I hope the pleas are genuine. Depending on how long all of this lasts, I wonder if we’ll see the rosy posts of positivity that seem to be blossoming online.
There is also the predictable misinformation, which is driven by fear. I can certainly sympathize with the feeling of fear. Not knowing the future is not an easy thing. Did we ever really know what was going to happen tomorrow? What scares me more than not knowing what will happen is the way some people confuse emotions, especially bad ones, with facts. The emotions exist, but your opinion is as valid as anybody else’s. Many people also view arguing over differences of view as a valid debate. These behaviors are not really surprising. The online world lends itself to this.
I see similarities between what we are going through now and pandemics of the past. What makes this situation truly unique is that now the world is connected through cyberspace. It has both good and bad results. We can choose to saturate our lives 24/7 with news of the virus, panic when a talk-show host predicts gloom and doom and elect to call his opining science, constantly joke about our situation, or maybe find other ways to cope.
In the early stages of the pandemic, I shared many posts about the humor that we can derive from this situation. However, at this point, I am kind of sick of bathroom humor, specifically joking around about toilet paper shortages. I’ve actually maintained a great sense of humor in all I’ve been going through in the last seven months, but like anything else in life, moderation is probably a good mantra.
A real plus in this situation is that I friended instructors and colleagues from the Carroll Center for the Blind. Taking classes online is challenging and interesting. The biggest test we all face is being self-motivated. Having a schedule, albeit shorter than if I were physically at the center, is keeping me more a creature of habit. I feel bad for people who have nothing and have to structure their own lives. This will be an extreme case of how we deal with boredom. As grateful and blessed as I am to have some structure in my remote instruction, I still have a lot of downtime.
Originally, I was going to start writing the third book in my science fiction series after I left the Carroll Center. After I had surgery that kept me home for a month, I did some writing when I came back to the center for a week, only to be interrupted by an invisible enemy. A good lesson for procrastinating writers and everybody else is that you must always move forward. The future is always unknown, so do whatever you can to control what you can and accept the things you can’t manipulate. Whether you have faith or not, I think the words of the serenity prayer are more valid now than they have ever been before.
Follow me on Twitter at @speechfb
Read and post on my writer’s blog: http://blinderwriterweb.wordpress.com
Check out the Web page for my coming of age science fiction book The MetSche Message and its sequel, The MetSche Maelstrom: http://www.dldbooks.com/stephentheberge/
Watch my YouTube channel. Many blindness related issues, and the latest Branco Broadcasts.
- COMMENTARY AFTERMATH: Panic in the USA
by James R. Campbell
The worldwide pandemic of the coronavirus has replaced the nonstop coverage of the impeachment hearings against President Trump in recent weeks. Meanwhile, life goes on in other countries. There are other news stories that are not getting the coverage they deserve. Big media has saturated the airwaves and the Internet with exposure that has created a state of panic in America, and the economy has been affected accordingly.
For the facts about the coronavirus, check out the CDC website, https://www.cdc.gov/. Here is a summary of what is known about COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus responsible for the current pandemic.
The symptoms are: shortness of breath, fatigue, dry cough, and fever. In healthy individuals, the symptoms, if they appear, last for a few days, and the person recovers. The problem arises in populations that are high risk: seniors with pre-existing conditions and people with diabetes, COPD, or hypertension. These increase vulnerability. In such cases, the disease can progress into pneumonia that may cause death.
As of March 13, approximately 1,000 cases have been reported in the U.S., with 41 deaths. By contrast, the H1N1 epidemic of 2009-10 left 13,000 dead in its wake.
Yet, as far as I can recall, the news media didn’t go into the frenzy that we see with the coronavirus. It seems that the leftwing media and other entities have politicized the pandemic for their own purpose, which is nothing less than the defeat of President Trump in 2020. Let it not be forgotten that President Trump has been working hand in hand with Big Pharma, the medical establishment, the private sector, and major corporations all along in an effort to reassure the American people. The state of emergency that he declared on March 13 frees $50,000,000,000 to assist national, state, and local health providers in order to provide testing, emergency care, and rapid development of medications and vaccines to stem the tide of the pathogen’s spread.
The constant bombardment of news and disinformation about the disease has drastically affected the stock market. The DOW suffered its worst day since the crash of 1987 on March 12, but rose 2000 points when President Trump took to the airwaves to reassure the public on March 13.
It’s noteworthy that a complete collapse of the economy is precisely what the Democrats are counting on in order to retake the White House. Every other avenue they have tried has failed. Now that we have a global pandemic that threatens the U.S., they believe that they have a chance, if they can make it appear that our president has been slow to react. When the first cases were reported in China in November, the media was paralyzed due to the impeachment hearings. Whose fault was that?
One more step that has been taken deals with price gouging. The state of emergency has provisions for the prosecution of those who take advantage of the situation for their own benefit. For example, a box of Clorox wipes normally sells for $3.00. Online, it may sell for as much as $3,000. In anticipation of isolation due to illness, people have been hoarding groceries, toilet paper, hand sanitizer, and other essentials. The situation is so bad that some retailers are placing limits on how many items people are allowed to buy.
All of this is the result of overexposure to news coverage concerning the outbreak. Panic isn’t the answer. All we need to do is take precautions. Wash your hands frequently. Stay home if you are sick. Keep a reasonable distance from others. Get adequate rest and a proper diet. Keep stress to a minimum. Managing stress and keeping a healthy mindset may be the most important thing anyone can do to help us get through the current crisis. We have weathered worse storms than this; we will make it through this time.
(Editor’s update, March 31, 2020: The present figures are far worse than those cited here. There are presently over 186,000 cases of COVID-19 in the U.S., and there have been almost 4,000 deaths. Worldwide, there are 781,830 cases and 37,502 deaths. — Leonore Dvorkin)
As always, thanks for your time.
With loving kindness,
James R. Campbell
- A WORD ABOUT SPORTS: From No Baseball to Ruined Weddings
by Don Wardlow
This isn’t a real sports column. I can’t write one with no sports happening.
Baseball had the least excuse to close its doors. Since it has, every other part of our society has given itself over to mindless terror. People are hoarding toilet paper, of all things, making it one of the necessities which are now hard for the handicapped to get. It gets worse. In New Jersey, my native state, guns and ammo are disappearing from the shelves.
It gets worse yet. According to a story in the Asbury Park Press, a prominent newspaper in central New Jersey within an hour of where I live, two weddings were recently raided by the police because of the coronavirus panic. Nobody in the weddings was known to have the disease, but out of nameless, unjustified fear, the cops landed in force at both weddings, which were in the small town of Lakewood. We’ve heard the term “shotgun wedding,” which meant a gun might be needed to keep the groom from disappearing. While the police didn’t carry shotguns, they were packing heat while two brides and grooms were left out in the cold.
Like the stoppage of baseball, has any disease, no matter how deadly, broken up a wedding in progress? I can imagine certain diseases breaking up a marriage, but not the wedding itself. Has a wedding been busted up by the police since Prohibition? Somehow, the expression “You have the right to remain silent” goes jarringly with the wedding vows. Instead of “The Wedding March,” did the band have to play “We Gotta Get Out of This Place?” If either bride was as terrified as mine was beforehand (and ours was a normal wedding in normal times), how did she react to her husband after the raid? I can hear her crying, “That isn’t how a wedding night is supposed to end.” She’ll lord that over her hapless groom forever.
My needlessly trembling bride had enough of her wits about her to notice every little glitch and remind me of them until the divorce. In the case of the two weddings broken up by Officer Unfriendly, I guarantee the couples slept in separate rooms, if not separate states. I give the marriages a year before the brides do what mine did and give their men the gate.
What is our society coming to? I don’t have to ask where we’re going. I can guess the answer to that one.
(Editor’s note as of March 31, 2020: As we all know, gatherings of more than 10 people are now being not only discouraged but wisely forbidden in most parts of the U.S. There are many documented instances of participants in larger gatherings, such as weddings, funerals, and church services, having come down with COVID-19. Sensible social distancing is the only hope we have of defeating this pandemic. — Leonore Dvorkin)
- WEATHER OR NOT: Climate Change: Not a Cyclical Process
by Steve Roberts
The Ice Age Scare of the ’70s
I am writing this article in commemoration of the first Earth Day in 1970, 50 years ago! I want to show you how the forecast of climate has changed, and yet we have come full circle.
From 1940 to about 1970, the Northern Hemisphere underwent a significant cooling. In the 1960s and 1970s, that cooling began to have notable impacts on the weather of Europe, Asia, and North America. The winters were getting colder and snowier. The winters of the late ’70s were particularly cold and snowy.
Scientists and science writers alike were warning us of an oncoming ice age. The climatology seemed to fit nicely with the geology. Ice ages last roughly 90,000 years. Then there are warm periods between ice ages, called interglacials, that last roughly 10,000 years. Our current interglacial is 10,000 years old. This led scientists to believe that the climate was changing right on cue. In the mid- to late ’70s, there were a whole host of books and articles laying out the cold, hard facts about the ice age.
A Future of Fire or Ice
Though the weather of the late ’70s was pointing to a new ice age, the scientific community was beginning to change its mind. There were some people who actually thought that we were going to warm up. This divergence in scientific thinking got the science press to produce articles that portrayed two completely opposite futures.
Would we plunge into the frigid abyss, or would we heat up and cook? This question would be the inspiration for such books as Future Weather and the Greenhouse Effect, by John G. Gribbon.
The Warming of the 1980s
The decade of the ’80s started off on a truly hot note. The summer of 1980 was among the warmest of the 20th century. The year was the hottest on record globally. Then came the really hot year of 1983. That year featured incredible heat and drought in the eastern half of the United States.
Then came the very hot year of 1987. The summer of 1987 was really warm across the United States. Greece fried in a 10-day, triple-digit heat wave that killed thousands of people. 1987 was earth’s hottest year until 1988.
The summer of 1988 brought us massive heat waves, drought, wildfires, and Hurricanes Gilbert, Joan, and Helene. The hot summer of 1988 catalyzed the conversation about global warming and climate change.
The Counter-Modification of Climate
The decade of the 1980s was the warmest decade on record for Planet Earth. The ’90s were hotter still. Even with the global warming slowdown, the decade of the 1990s was the warmest on record. The decade of the 2000s was even hotter. The last five years were the hottest five years on record.
One of the greatest misconceptions about climate change, in my personal opinion, is the idea that the climate changes in cycles. We just happen to be in a warming cycle right now. The fact is, climate is not changing through cyclical means. Were the climate changing due to cyclical processes, the world would be cooling, not warming.
We are warming the planet at a time when the planet should be cooling itself down. We are overriding a naturally caused cooling process with an artificially induced warming process. We are not just changing the climate; we are counter-modifying the climate. That means the process of climate change is more abnormal and unnatural than we have been led to believe. Climate change is more profound and more disturbing than most think.
In the ’70s, we were cooling down and heading toward a new ice age. In the ’80s, we were heating up. The forecast of warming continues into the 21st century. With the counter-modification of climate, warming overriding cooling, we have come full circle.
- HALF-TITLE AND FULL-TITLE PAGES IN PRINTED BOOKS
by Leonore Dvorkin, Editor, DLD Books Editing and Self-Publishing Services
When the books from DLD Books are printed, they now include what are called a half-title page and a full-title page. (I should note that we format them that way. It is not automatic. However,
it is standard in the publishing industry.)
What this means: When you open the book, the very first page, which is right-facing, has only the main title on it—for example, A String of Stories. That is slightly above the middle of the page. The next printed page, also right-facing, has the title and then the subtitle below it and the author’s name below the subtitle. Those are nicely spaced out over most of the page.
The next printed page, which is on the back of the full-title page and thus left-facing, is the copyright page. That includes several pieces of information, including the ISBN.
That very first right-facing page, the half-title page, is useful for when you have book signings. That is, there is plenty of room there for you to sign your name on the bottom half of the page. Also, for any author who wishes to do so, it provides room to add a handwritten, personal note to the buyer. We believe this is an attractive and very practical way of printing the books.
Note: I wrote most of the above on March 5, 2020, for our client Ann Chiappetta. We very recently put out her fourth book, her most diverse collection to date. The title is A String of Stories: From the Heart to the Future. Her website, with full details of all four of her books (poetry, essays, and now short stories) is https://www.dldbooks.com/annchiappetta/. She has a novel and another book of poetry planned for 2021.
- THE HANDLER’S CORNER: Living and Working with Guide Dogs
by Ann Chiappetta, M.S.
The coronavirus has triggered the need for social distancing. I wanted to address how to keep both you and your guide dog active during this time. I thought I’d share how to keep our guide dogs active despite lowered activity. Granted, Bailey is a little older now and doesn’t require as much exercise, but he does need to keep his guiding skills in good shape. So here is how we have faced coping with a pandemic. For example, some of the school visits Bailey and I take part in have been canceled or postponed. Social functions and a weekend trip planned to the lake have also been canceled.
Bailey will have to adjust to the quieter and less demanding schedule. To keep him from canine boredom, we still attend doctor’s visits, take outdoor walks, and have 20-30 minutes of play per day with our other dog. I also keep a flexible obedience routine with Bailey and the new dog, May.
As for facing the uncertainty of a worldwide health crisis, the worst is not knowing what is in store for us individually as well as a nation. The best thing we can do is make commonsense preparations for ourselves and our loved ones, including our pets and service dogs. Take the time to gather more than just toilet paper, and don’t allow panic to distract you. More than anything else, don’t allow social distancing to distance us from supporting one another.
Making meaningful connections with others through writing.
- AUTHORS’ CORNER
- IN MY FEELINGS: A BOOK OF POETRY
by Butterfly Thomas / C 2020 / 117 pages in print
In e-book and print from Amazon, Smashwords, and other online sellers.
Visit the author’s website for full details (cover, buying links, author bio, and more):
About the book:
Love and passion. Conflict and regret. Pride and defiance. Rage at equality denied. Deep compassion for friends and boundless love for one’s children. These are just a few of the subjects touched upon by these 49 brief, powerful poems.
Some will fill you with shared sorrow. Many of them express anger at racial injustice and the exploitation of the disabled. Still others delight the reader with their images of strength and beauty or their clever arrangement of words.
Never pretentious or deliberately opaque, all of them are sure to make you think.
About the author:
Butterfly Thomas was born in Germany but was raised in Virginia, where she still lives.
She is the author of the novel Head Held High (2018), an urban thriller. Details of that book are also on her website, linked to above.
- THE CAVARADOSSI KILLINGS
A mystery novel by David Dvorkin
Originally published in 2000 by Wildside Press. Reissued in 2016.
307 pages in print.
In e-book and paperback from Amazon, Smashwords, and other online sellers.
Full details, cover, and buying links: http://www.dvorkin.com/tomham/cavkills.htm
Tom Hamilton has a long memory. He remembers the poverty and insults of his childhood in small-town Colorado. He remembers the secrets of the deadly organization he worked for in Chicago. Most of all, he remembers the central tragedy of his boyhood, his mother’s disappearance. Now he’s back in Colorado, safe from his Chicago associates—and in possession of a large quantity of their money. When a singer is murdered during a local opera performance, Tom decides to try his hand at finding the killer. He doesn’t foresee that this will draw him back into the passions and hatreds of earlier years or that it will put his own life in danger.
- FIVE KEYS TO SURVIVING LIFE’S STORMS
by Jena Fellers, C 2020
In e-book only from Amazon and Smashwords / $0.99
Cover, longer synopsis, author bio, and buying links: https://www.dldbooks.com/jenafellers/
Have circumstances in your life overwhelmed you to the point you feel you’ve been knocked off a horse mid-stride and can’t breathe? Life’s storms can hit hard and fast. They can blow out quickly, hammer long and hard, or strike in multiples, leaving you in a state of despair. Regardless of the type, size, or duration of the storm, hope remains. There are steps you can take to keep calmer, prevent damage, and keep your sanity during the storm. I call these steps “keys.” First identify the type of storm, then implement the keys.
Jena Fellers is the author of the 2019 book From Mishaps to Mission. Details are on her website, linked to above. E-book: $0.99 / Paperback: $6.50. Jena plans more such short, inspirational works for the near future.
- RECIPE COLUMN
by Karen Crowder
As April 2020 arrives, we look forward to longer days and shorter nights. With rising temperatures, there is the welcome sound of chirping birds. By mid- to late April, forsythias and tulips are in bloom across New England. In supermarkets, asparagus, strawberries, and ears of corn are available.
April 2020 fits the old saying, “April is the cruelest month.” Because of COVID-19, there have been drastic changes to our lives. However, there are four special days to anticipate. The Jewish celebration of Passover begins Monday, April 6, ending Wednesday, April 14. In Catholic churches, Palm Sunday is April 5. It is the beginning of Holy Week. Good Friday is on April 10. The celebration of Easter is on Sunday, April 12. The Easter season lasts until Pentecost Sunday in mid-May.
This month, I have three recipes appropriate for the season.
Sweet Potato-Black Bean Nachos
Easy Blueberry Coffee Cake
- Maple-Baked Ham
When I was married to my husband, Marshall, ham was part of our Easter dinner. It was in the mid- to late ‘90s that I decided to add maple syrup to the marinade. Everyone liked this addition. I used packaged topping.
One seven-pound spiral ham
Three-fourths cup orange juice
One-half cup real Vermont maple syrup
Dashes of Worcestershire sauce
Dashes of mustard
A packet or one-fourth cup light brown sugar
Dashes of clove powder and cinnamon. Most times, these spices are in the packet with the brown sugar.
- Thaw ham in the refrigerator the day before you prepare it.
- Ninety minutes before baking it, marinate ham in a 13” x 9” pan with the mixture of orange juice, maple syrup, Worcestershire sauce, and mustard. Every half hour, turn the ham over so that side can be marinated.
- Fifteen minutes before baking the ham, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Spread the topping over the top and sides of the ham.
- Place the ham on the bottom rack of the oven. Bake the ham for 55 minutes.
Serve ham with creamy mashed potatoes, broccoli, and asparagus. Creamed onions and hot rolls make the dinner memorable.
- Sweet Potato-Black Bean Nachos
This recipe was given to me by Marcy Segelman. She says, “These nachos make a lovely side dish at Passover celebrations. The recipe is from Allergy-Friendly Recipes for Passover Meals.
Note: I make the hot peppers and tomatillos optional. I also reworded some of the recipe to make it easier for blind cooks.
One 11-ounce can black beans
One small head cauliflower
One-half cup fresh cilantro
Two cloves garlic
One jalapeño pepper, optional
Juice of one lime
Three medium sweet potatoes cut into wedges
Eight tomatillos, optional
Baking and spice ingredients:
Two tablespoons El Paso taco seasoning
One teaspoon salt
Oil and vinegar ingredients:
Two tablespoons olive oil
One and one-half cups sharp cheddar cheese
One container Greek yogurt
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- Place sweet potatoes and cauliflower florettes in a large stainless steel mixing bowl. Drizzle vegetables with olive oil and add taco seasoning. Gently toss vegetables with hands or two spatulas.
- Spread vegetables evenly on one or two baking sheets. Bake vegetables for 15-20 minutes. Flip over with spatula and bake for another 20 minutes.
- The sweet potatoes should be tender-crisp. Remove vegetables in pans or cookie sheets from oven and top with black beans, leaving out one-half cup. Add remaining beans at the end.
- Add cheddar cheese in even layers over vegetables. Return pans or cookie sheets to oven and bake for 5-10 minutes until cheese is bubbly.
Recipe for guacamole or chili salsa:
- Preheat broiler to high.
- Place optional tomatillos, optional jalapeño peppers, and cloves of garlic on a sheet or pan. Broil for 5 minutes until vegetables are charred all over.
- Remove and let vegetables cool. When cool enough to handle, remove skins from tomatillos and garlic. Discard skins. Remove seeds from peppers, if using them. Perhaps you can substitute sweet onions for peppers and tomatillos. Add garlic and onions or peppers. Add juice from one lime, cilantro, and one teaspoon salt to blender container. Blend mixture until smooth.
- Pour into bowl and place in refrigerator for one hour, letting flavors blend. Taste, adding more salt if desired.
5. Assemble nachos, placing Greek yogurt on top of salsa. Enjoy.
- Easy Blueberry Coffee Cake
I have made this coffeecake on several Easter Sundays. It’s easy to prepare.
One cup all-purpose or cake flour
One cup Bisquick
One half teaspoon baking soda
One-half teaspoon baking powder
Two tablespoons sugar
Two teaspoons cinnamon
Two tablespoons melted butter
One and one-fourth cup milk
Three-fourths cup light brown sugar
One stick butter
Two teaspoons cinnamon
One-fourth cup flour
One and one-half cups either fresh or frozen blueberries
- In a medium mixing bowl, measure flour, Bisquick, baking soda, baking powder, sugar, and cinnamon. Whisk ingredients for one minute. Add milk, beaten eggs, and cooled melted butter.
- Mix ingredients for two minutes until smooth. Add floured blueberries and mix for one minute.
- Put butter into a smaller glass bowl. Let it soften, adding flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Blend with clean hands.
- Grease square or round Pyrex cake pan lightly with butter and dust with flour.
- Scoop one-half of cake batter into pan. Place part of streusel mixture on batter. Top with remaining cake batter and sprinkle remaining streusel topping over top of batter.
- With a sandwich spreader or spatula, smooth cake batter over entire pan. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake coffee cake for 45-50 minutes.
- Let cake cool and invert it onto a dinner plate. Cover cake with parchment paper and plastic wrap. Refrigerate cake until serving time.
This makes a delicious breakfast treat or light dessert.
Despite this unprecedented pandemic, I hope everyone has a happy, blessed Easter and Passover.
Let us all pray for a swift resolution to this virus.
- MARCY’S SCHMOOZE TINNIH
by Marcy J. Segelman
I try to tell you some things about my faith that you might not know. However, in this article, I’d like to talk about my feelings about what we, the people of the world, are all facing, and not about just one group.
Within the last six months, we Jews suffered two synagogue shootings. We came together to help each other, showing kindness and giving. But I don’t understand why it takes a tragedy to bring people together. After a while, we just slowly go back to whatever we were doing, as if nothing had happened.
I think we’re too preoccupied to help our fellow human beings. Modern lives are very busy. We don’t take the time to stop and relax and see what is around us. Our parents and grandparents were different. How many of us remember when Sunday was family day and there were no stores open except for drugstores? A lot of you who are very close to me know that when I say I’m going to Jewville or Little Jewville, I’m either going to Newton Center or Harvard Street in Brookline, Massachusetts. These are the two places you can go on Christmas and find something to do other than go to the moves and eat Chinese food. I go there with my friend Lisa, or sometimes with a group. We walk the streets and talk about the old days when our folks did things with us. Today we live as if no one else matters. We Americans must take care of one another, because no one else will. No matter who we are, Muslim, Black, Universalist, Catholic, Protestant, Arab, German, French, Jewish — in the end, we’re all the same.
There is so much bloodshed and waste of life. If only we could live in peace and in a world where we helped one another. Maybe in the future we’ll achieve this ideal and children won’t grow up so full of hate. Let us pray for peace and healing. Let us say, “Shalom (Peace).”
- CONSUMER VISION TRIVIA CONTEST
Here is the answer to the trivia question submitted in the March Consumer Vision. The person who assassinated Abraham Lincoln was John Wilkes Booth. Congratulations to the following winners:
Roanna Bacchus of Oviedo, Florida
Amy Branco of New Bedford, Massachusetts
Jan Colby of Brockton, Massachusetts
Nancy Hays of Oakville, Connecticut
Trish Hubschman of Easton, Pennsylvania
Jo Smith of West Dennis, Massachusetts
Brian Sackrider of Port Huron, Michigan
Steve Théberge of Attleboro, Massachusetts
And now, here is your trivia question for the April Consumer Vision. What was the name of the virus that swept the world in the early 20th century, interrupting the National Hockey League Championship series before it was over? If you know the answer, please email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 508-994-4972.