Columns

Mon
02
Oct

You’ve got a friend in me

What would our lives be without a best friend?  During my life, I've had many best friends, starting with Brenda in third grade.  Our mothers and teachers decided we should not be in the same classroom for the fourth grade.  My high school best friend was Kathy, who had the most beautiful blue eyes I had ever seen, up until the time I met my son's girlfriend (now my daughter-in-law).  She could give Kathy a run for her money in the blue eyes department.  Kathy and I were inseparable. One of my current best friends lives in Nashville, Tenn., and we rarely see each other, but we can pick up the conversation like we were never apart. 

Mon
02
Oct

Editor’s Corner

I like to think I have a good sense of humor. Some of my favorites include watching cat videos, laughing at people attempting tongue twisters, corny jokes and clever conundrums. Here are a few of my favorites:

Try this tongue twister by saying it five times fast: “Irish Wristwatch.” I have a personal record of correctly saying the phrase twice, but cannot get further.

Did you know…

Intentionally losing at a game of rock, paper, scissors is just as hard as trying to win.

The word “swims” read upside-down is still “swims.”

 If you rip a net, there are a fewer holes than there was before.

If you replace the “W” with a “T” in “What, Where and When,” you get the answer to each of them. (That, There and Then.)

Corny joke of the week:

Q: How much did the pirate pay to get his ears pierced?

A: Two buccaneers.

 

Mon
25
Sep

The Inspired Cook

Digging potatoes

                I dig potatoes! Well, not literally, of course. But, Charles, my better half, actually does. He grows them every year in one of his two gardens, along with a variety of other produce.

Not only are his thumbs green but also his other eight digits as well. He must have inherited this fertile gardening gene from his late mother, a prolific gardener in her own right.

I, on the other hand, kill every plant unlucky enough to fall into my possession. In fact, I have admitted publicly many times that even my silk flowers contract root rot.

Anyway, the insatiable student in me yearned to learn more about these tasty tubers, so I performed a quick online search. My results proved quite interesting.

Did you know that potatoes rank fourth as the world’s biggest food crop? Well, they do. Only rice, wheat, and maize, respectively, outrank them.

Sun
10
Sep

Remembering favorite vegetables

                Recently, I began thinking about foods that my late dad, Homer Kirkwood, particularly liked to eat. Having been a finicky eater for 80 years, his list of edible vegetables was very short.

                Although he loved fresh green salads and coleslaw, he also enjoyed eating a variety of raw vegetables—sliced tomatoes, onions, banana and hot peppers—with his meals. As for cooked vegetables, I believe that he ate more green beans and potatoes than any other.

                As a child, I followed in my dad’s footsteps along that narrow road of picky eaters. In fact, green beans and potatoes were and still are among my favorite vegetables. Luckily for me, I outgrew my persnickety ways regarding food. In my adulthood, I learned to step out of my comfort zone and try new foods. Sadly, he never did.

Sat
02
Sep

The Inspired Cook

Marinara or spaghetti sauce—it’s more than a name

What do you call the red-colored sauce that you serve over spaghetti? While my family called it spaghetti sauce, I’ve heard others refer to it as marinara. Although Americans use the terms interchangeably, the two are not the same.

When served over spaghetti, marinara sauce can be called spaghetti sauce, but not all sauce served over spaghetti can be called marinara sauce. Because both are tomato-based, some Americans call them tomato sauce.

In order to prepare marinara sauce, one must use specific ingredients: tomato juice, tomatoes, basil, garlic, oregano, and olive oil. If so desired, one may add peppers or red pepper flakes. If one adds any other ingredient whatsoever, then the sauce can no longer be called marinara.

Sat
02
Sep

Dealing with Insect Bites

Recently I went with a church group to help clean up after Canton’s tornado. Part of the cleanup was removing pieces of a house from a pasture. Would you believe it, several of us got chigger bites?

The question was: “What do I do for chigger bites?

One answer was to rub Listerine on them several times a day. That’s necessary because it rubs off. Supposedly Listerine makes chigger bites stop itching.

Another answer was to paint them with nail polish. Colorless nail polish was suggested, but guys could use their feminine companions’ red nail polish in a pinch. This puts a nice air-proof crust on top of the chigger bite. Supposedly this suffocates the chigger.

If you put nail polish on a chigger bite, don’t use nail polish remover to take it off. It hurts.

Wed
30
Aug

Journeying into the land of slender

Well, dear readers, I promised I would keep you up to date on my health status.  I know you're all impatient for my report, shifting from one foot to another.  And here it is! 

In March, I decided to stop drinking soft drinks.  Our friend, Bob Moore (who writes the column 'Walking With Bob'), has the right idea.  Since March, I've lost 30 pounds.  Drinking more water, being a little more careful at the buffet line, stuff like that.  I could stand to lose more, and slowly but surely it's happening.  That, coupled with a colonoscopy, has helped.  Speaking of colonoscopies, have you ever had one?  When you have gone through both childbirth and a colonoscopy, you have no dignity left.  At least after childbirth you have a child to show for your efforts.

To read the full article, subscribe to the Van Zandt News or pick up a copy from one of our vendors. 

Sun
13
Aug

The Inspired Cook

Column 22 of The Inspired Cook for the Van Zandt News

Squashing our garden’s bounty

Most gardens produce an overabundance of vegetables each year, leaving gardeners wondering what to do with it all. Many people freeze or can their harvests while others eat what they can and give away the rest. In addition, some sell their bounties at roadside stands or farmer’s markets. 

                Last year, Charles, my better half, created a garden that exploded with squash, yellow crookneck and zucchini, forcing me to delve deeper into my cookbook collection for new recipes.

                Today I’m sharing two newly formulated recipes inspired by my need to reduce our squash supply. I discovered the original recipes in an old church-compilation cookbook but have tweaked them to fit our particular tastes. Maybe they will suit yours, too.

Doubly Cheesy Squash Casserole

Ingredients:

Thu
10
Aug

To Canton City Council:

My name is Mark Morganfield and my wife Barbara and I are residents of Van Zandt County.

We have been tax-paying residents of Van Zandt County for almost 10 years, and we oppose the creation of the Saline Creek Lake for personal reasons.  Specifically, we oppose the City of Canton’s application to acquire the water rights to Saline Creek.  The impacted area would immediately place a cloud over the effected properties and prohibit, or at a minimum, greatly diminish their value and marketability.   This will have a deleterious effect on our friends and neighbors, many of whose families have earned their living off these properties for generations.

To read the full article, subscribe to the Van Zandt News or pick up a copy from one of our vendors. 

Wed
09
Aug

Something is wrong

By nature, I’m not really a reactionary kind of guy.  My ability to “knee-jerk” as a go-to response has pretty well passed me up.  I usually take a moment to explore the possibilities of any given situation, and do my best to make an educated, mature decision.  It saves me a lot of the proverbial “egg on my face.”  That said, there is something decidedly wrong.  I know it.  I’m pretty sure you know it, as well.

The question is, what do I do about it?

Logic teaches us that the best way to develop a solution to a problem is to find the cause.  What’s happened?  What was the grain of sand that started the first irritation?  More importantly, how do I take that irritating grain of sand and transform it into a pearl?  You would think that if something as bizarre as an oyster can find that answer, surely I can, too.

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