Ginger: fun to plant, easy to cook

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Posted by Lydia (The Perfect Pantry)


What lies beneath?



Yes, it's a "hand" of ginger -- from the supermarket -- that my friend Julia planted in her back yard. 

For all the ginger root I've cooked with over the years (and, by the way, we call it a root, though it's really a rhizome), I'd never thought to plant it. Leave it to Julia -- a chef by training, and a gardener by choice -- to think of this.

Buy an unwrinkled ginger rhizome at your local market; if you can find an organic one, that's best, but it's not necessary. Stick the whole thing into your garden, covered by a couple of inches of soil. Whenever you need ginger for a recipe, dig up the root, break off a piece, and replant.

Soon you'll see that your ginger has developed roots, and after that, green shoots (see the top photo) will emerge from the ground. As you can see in the bottom photo, the shoots will get quite tall, and indicate that there's a new knob, or "finger", of ginger forming.

Not only is this great fun, but you will have your choice of using the new ginger "finger" which is quite mild, or part of the original root, which is often more strong in flavor.

Be sure to dig up your root before the ground freezes. Next spring, buy a new "hand" of ginger, and start again!


WEST AFRICAN PEANUT SOUP

Adapted from Sundays at Moosewood Restaurant. Serves 8.

2 cups chopped onions
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp cayenne, or more to taste
1 tsp grated peeled fresh ginger
1 cup chopped peeled carrots
4 cups chopped sweet potatoes
4 cups chicken stock
2 cups V8 juice (or 1-1/2 cups tomato juice plus 1/2 cup water)
1 cup smooth peanut butter
1 Tbsp agave nectar
1/2 cup chopped scallions, chives or flat-leaf parsley

Saute the onions in the oil until just translucent. Stir in the cayenne and fresh ginger. Add the carrots and sauté a few more minutes. Mix in the potatoes and stock or water, bring the soup to a boil, and then simmer for about 15 minutes, until the vegetables are tender. With an immersion blender, if you have one, purée the vegetables with the cooking liquid and tomato juice. Return the purée to a soup pot. Stir in the peanut butter until smooth. Taste the soup. Its sweetness will depend on the sweetness of the carrots and sweet potatoes. If it’s not there naturally, add just a tiny bit of sugar to enhance the other flavors. Reheat the soup gently, using a heat diffuser if needed to prevent scorching. Add more water, stock or tomato juice for a thinner soup. Serve topped with plenty of chopped scallions or chives.


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This Post was written by Lydia from The Perfect Pantry


Don't Let the Bed Bugs bite

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Posted by Manisha Pandit

Good night!
Sleep tight!
Don't let the bed bugs bite!

How many times have you said that without really thinking about it? Or heard it said to you? Do you know what a bed bug is? Do you know what a bed bug bite feels like? Do you know what it means for you?

I do.

And once you have been through what I went through, you won't find that bedtime rhyme cute anymore.

My next article was supposed to focus on pure strategy board games but I had to take an unscheduled digression to discuss this awful epidemic that is spreading across the travel and tourism industry and in urban housing complexes across the United States.

Yes, bed bugs.

Bed bugs were as good as eliminated by the 1970s through indiscriminate use of the pesticide known as DDT. As the world became smaller and international travel cheaper, the rest of the temperate world took its revenge on the United States for sharing the roach with them - according to me, that is - and gave the bed bug in return. Changes in pest control practices such as the banning of DDT have possibly also contributed to the problem. But I like the first reason more!

Adult bedbugs are a reddish brown, flattened, oval, and wingless, with microscopic hairs that give them a banded appearance. A common misconception is that they are not visible to the naked eye. Adults grow to 4 to 5 mm (one-eighth to three-sixteenths of an inch) in length and do not move quickly enough to escape the notice of an attentive observer. Newly hatched nymphs are translucent, lighter in color and continue to become browner and moult as they reach maturity. When it comes to size, they are often compared to lentils or appleseeds.


Bed bugs are nocturnal, becoming active just before dawn. They are wingless and therefore do not fly. They scamper quickly over floors, walls, and even ceilings. They are known to jump from one surface to another below it, like for instance from the bunk bed on the top to the one below it. Their tiny flattened bodies make it possible for them to hide in crevices and cracks. They hide near the seams of mattresses and box springs, in cracks on the wooden trims along a floor, underneath the edge of carpets, and even under nightstands.

They are attracted by the warmth of our bodies and by the carbon dioxide that we breathe out. Typically, they feed once every 3-5 days. They have two 'tubes or 'beaks'; they use one to anesthetize the area they will feed on and they use the other to suck the blood of ...well, you and me. They can live as long as 18 months without feeding and the lifespan of a well-fed bed bug is, on an average, 8-9 months.

The female bedbug can lay up to five eggs a day, and several hundred over its lifetime. At room temperature, the sticky clumps of eggs hatch in 7 to 14 days into tiny nymphs no bigger than a speck of dust. The nymphs go through five life stages, taking a blood meal each time, before molting one last time into adulthood.


There is no pesticide that you or I can buy in the market that can kill bed bugs although they say pyrethroids, if properly used, can do the job. In the event of an infestation, they can only be commercially removed. Interestingly enough, dogs can smell bed bugs and are used by pest control companies and exterminators to sniff for bed bugs!

The cabin
We almost called in the exterminators ourselves. You see, we had camped in the cutest log cabin in Mesa Verde, Colorado on our summer vacation and we loved it so much that we stayed an extra day. I was being bitten from the first night itself but I brushed it off as mosquito bites. It only got worse the next night by which time I was sure it was something in the wood. The third night was sheer torture. Next, we camped out in the open in the Sand Dunes and my bites worsened. Yes, we had carried them with us in our sleeping bags. Bed bugs bites are usually linear and in groups of three bites: breakfast, lunch and dinner.

168/366: Bitten

When we returned home, I had bites on my scalp, my face, my neck, my belly, my back, my arms and my legs. Everywhere. The itch was sheer torture. It is good to know that bed bugs are not carriers of any disease but if you scratch the bites and draw blood, the open wounds could get infected. Our body releases histamines in response to insect bites and there is often an allergic reaction to the bites that looks very much like a bite itself! It's a good idea to start on over-the-counter anti-histamines or get a prescription as soon as possible. Cold compress or ice wrapped in soft cotton is the best topical antidote. Mild steroidal hydrocortisone also helps reduce the itch but remember that I am not a doctor, so always seek advice from a professional in these matters.

I washed every single thing that could be washed, in very hot water. That which could not be washed was bundled up and loaded back into the van. Luckily for us, it was the dog days in Colorado. A heat wave and for once, I was really very happy about it. The van stood in the sun and if there were any bed bugs, they were cooked as temperatures inside the van soared to 110F-120F. Yes, cook them! And then vacuum, vacuum, vacuum your house and then do it all over again, especially the crevices, cracks and areas that could potentially serve as good hiding places.

Sleeping at night became a pipe dream, a thing of the past. We were not being bitten anymore but we started imagining that we were. Yes, serious mental anguish and paranoia ensued! We read that if you think you are being bitten, then it is best not to turn on the lights as the bed bugs will simply move back to their hiding places very quickly. Instead, keep a flashlight by your side and use that to look for them. We had flashing lights in our bedroom for many many sleepless nights.

So what does kill them? I guess there are commercial pesticides that can be used only after evacuating the home. There is one more thing that is said to work: diatomeceous earth (DE). It is finely ground shells that feels almost like talcum powder to us but has jagged edges for those monsters bugs. If the bugs walk across a sprinkling of DE, their outer waxy coating is sliced or cut in places, leading to dehydration and death over a period of 4-5 days. DE could take up to 10 days to work. But it is organic and does not contain pesticides.

We found DE at the local hardware store and nursery and sprinkled it liberally all over the house, including our mattresses. In the van, too. After a few more days of paranoia, we were able to finally get some rest at night again and focus on our work and lives during the day.

Bed bugs are the worst nightmare anyone could have. And you literally sleep through their bites. Some precautions you could take when you travel include:
- removing all bedding from the mattress and inspecting the mattress for dark tell-tale stains of their feces. You should look for molted skin, eggs, eggshells, dead bugs and live bugs, too. If you see anything like this, ask for another room immediately. The hotel industry is currently in denial and will strongly refute the existence of bugs on their property.
- do not place your bags on the beds. Instead use the luggage racks and move them away from the walls.
- do not keep your clothes on the beds. Put them up on hangers instead.
- keep your bags closed at all times so that bed bugs do not crawl into them and hitch a ride home.

Other precautions include:
- avoid picking up mattresses left on the curbside
- if you buy anything secondhand - even a desk - inspect it for tell-tale signs of bed bugs

I know most of you will be grossed out by this information and my story. If it makes you more aware of the problem, I think it is well worth the nausea that you might be experiencing just now.




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This Post was written by Manisha of Indian Food Rocks


Superfoods: Avocados - A High Calorie Fruit Good for You!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Posted by Mansi

A toasted Veggie Delight at Subway is part of my staple diet, and most of the times I get tempted to add some avocado onto it, but I hold myself back thinking its a very high-calorie food! But some time back, I was engaged in a pleasantly surprising discussion about the health benefits of avocado with a colleague at work which set me thinking that perhaps there's more good than bad in this under-rated fruit. So I set out to find a few "facts" rather than just thoughts & myths about Avocados, and here's what I found about their health benefits(img credit: wikimedia commons)

Avocado is known as "avocado pear" or "alligator pear" and traditionally comes from Mexico, but is now a very popular fruit consumed in several countries, including US. The Haas Avocados in California are especially famous, and though most people enjoy eating them in a delicious Gaucamole or as a spread on their sandwiches, few of them really know how beneficial Avocados really are! Here's a short compilation that will help you understand what makes this fruit so special.

The Good
Avocado is one of the most recommended fruits as well as a food for bodybuilding and medicine for cholesterol-related heart disease.

Its rich nutrient contents such as vitamin K, dietary fiber, potassium, folic acid, vitamin B6, vitamin C, copper make it a strong contender for world's healthiest fruit.

Avocado is a good source of potassium, a mineral that helps regulate blood pressure. Adequate intake of potassium can help guard against circulatory diseases, like high blood pressure, heart disease or stroke.

It has been traditionally used to treat osteo-arthritis, and its oils have been used topically to treat wounds, infections, arthritis, and to stimulate hair growth.

It is a rich source of monounsaturated fatty acids including "oleic acid", which has recently been shown to offer significant protection against breast cancer; however, avocado is also a very concentrated dietary source of the "carotenoid lutein"; it also contains measurable amounts of related carotenoids plus significant quantities of vitamin E.

It is a recommended produce that acts as an anti-oxidant, and has a improved ratio of good vs bad cholesterol. it is also low in sodium and improves our body's ability to absorb carotenoids.

The Monounsaturated fat contained in Avocados speeds up the metabolic rate when comparing it to saturated fats, and the high fat content leaves you feeling full, which helps reduce overeating, thereby complementing weight-loss plans!

Last, but not the least, it has a rich and creamy texture that can be easily used to replace high-calorie foods like mayonnaise, cheese and ketchup!

The Bad

Avocados are pretty high in calories. In fact, one medium-sized avocado contains a little more than 300 calories, most of them coming from Fats (77% Fat, 19% Carbs, 4% Proteins). However, it is mostly mono-saturated fats, which means the "good fat"; so its just the calories that you need to worry about!

It is believed that toxic chemical called persin, which can destroy breast tissue and may damage the heart, is found in the leaves, bark, pits and skin of the avocado tree. Ingesting avocado bark, leaves, roots, or any part of the avocado other than its fruits is strongly discouraged (source)

Individuals who are allergic to latex or to other tropical fruits, such as bananas or kiwi, may also be allergic to avocado. Large doses of avocado or avocado oil may have mild laxative effects

Avocado may decrease the effects of blood-thinning drugs such as warfarin and aspirin, as the oil in it may interfere with the absorption of drugs or some nutrients from food. So one should avoid eating these when using similar prescribed drugs.

I'm not a food specialist, nor a nutritionist, and my findings are based on the power of the web that we all tend to rely on. However, from what I could find, it looks like the Good outweighs the Bad by far. Majority of nutritionists agree that "Avocados add great variety to a well balanced, low-fat diet, but you have to eat them in moderation." Overall, avocado is considered a complete food, with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, calories and fiber, no cholesterol and no sodium.

There's always pros & cons for anything, and so is the case for Avocados. However, it is safe to consider that it has way more health benefits than people have come to believe in, so try to incorporate these fruits as part of your balanced diet, and your body will thank you for it!

Similar Articles:
Food That is Good for your Brain
Avoid Using Artificial Sweeteners
3 Golden Rules to Burn fat & Lose Weight



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This Post was written by Mansi Desai from Fun and Food

Tiffin Tuesday - Let them eat cake

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Posted by Petra Hildebrandt

This is a lunchbox I packed recently.



The meatballs (you could use falafel or other veg patties) were made the night before. I saved the heart of a bibb lettuce, planning to use it in the salad bowl part of this lunch. Prep time: 5 minutes - fill leftover dressing in small bottle, quarter the salad heart, a tomato and chop a radih, add a few scallion greens.

After packing so much health food I have added one of my favorite lunchbox treats: a yogurt semolina cake, drizzled with lemon syrup. he beauty of this cake is that it keeps moist, doesn't crumble and can be cut into whatever space you have left in your lunchbox. Now all you need for a perfect break is a mug of coffee or hot chocolate on the side :-)



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This Post was written by Petra from FoodFreak

Spices - Corner Stones of a Cuisine

Monday, July 21, 2008

Posted by Dee

Pungent and hot , sweet and fragrant, and sometimes mellow. Spices are the cornerstones of any cuisine. I couldn't dream of having an pantry devoid of, or with a meager amount of spices. Men have traveled thousands of miles in search of lands known for their rich spices. Countries have opened doors for one another, trading these wonderful nature's gifts to mankind. Each spice is unique it in its appearance, smell, taste, culinary and medicinal use. They are one of mother nature's best gifts bestowed upon us.


As we have grown beyond one pot cooking, spices have become indispensable.They are used to enhance the existing flavors while at the same time aiding in digestion. They complement almost any dish such as salads, soups, casseroles, desserts, cakes, drinks and pickles.

When I decided to write an article such as this, my comprehensive list had about 50 spices both common and lesser known. I intend to publish the list in an alphabetical order so one is not swarmed with too much information.

Some tips to buy -

Check the date of manufacturing, packaging etc. They are best bought in small quantities as their flavors diminish fast and always need to be stored in airtight containers. Avoid buying replacements in glass containers as they are more expensive and less environment friendly. Grind spices in small quantities for blends and make sure they last only a week or two as their flavours diminish fast. A heavy mortar and pestle is great for grinding spices than a lighter one. After you have been bitten by the "spice bug" you might want to look at a spice grinder. Spices are more than culinary delights , they are commonly used for home remedies for treatments you might want to cure at home. Also, we need to keep in mind , that seeing a doctor for treatments that cannot be cured by ourselves is important. Here is a comprehensive spice directory which will tell you about the medicinal uses, culinary benefits etc.

spices
Clockwise : Cayenne pepper , cardamom, amchoor,chilli , cinnamon ,asafoetida (spoon) , cloves, ajwain.

Ajwain - A cousin of Caraway and Cumin, commonly called as lovage or carom and a native of southern India . It is similar to thyme or lovage and can be used instead. Only note that Ajwain is stronger in taste. Boiling crushed ajwain in a water and drinking relieves one of indigestion.

Allspice - A dried fruit of the tea, native to central and south America, can be a great substitute for the wood in the jerk seasoning. It adds a spicy flavor to curries, lamb and shellfish. This can be used the same way as nutmeg, cloves or cinnamon. It is great in pickles, vanilla pies, drinks and mulled wine. Try adding some berries to your pepper mill to add that zest, its flowers can be infused in tea and the leaves are used to make bay rum. Allspice helps in aiding digestion and gas.

Amchoor - Native to India, commonly used in north indian cooking instead of tamarind to inject a sharp , acidic and tart taste. It is made by drying the unripe mango fruit. Unlike vinegar and citrus juice, it is gently acidic .

Anise Seed - Cultivated by the egyptians, used by the romans first, the anise seed has a distinct hint of licorice and is slightly sweet. This piquant spice is used to flavor cakes and confectionary. The oil is used to flavor various liquers and the seeds being mild and sweet can be chewed after a meal to sweeten the breath. This is different from Star Anise

Asafoetida - Little known outside India, commonly used in southern and western indian cuisines and probably one of the most foul smelling plants. This is a resin from the stems of the plant and the sulfurous odor disappears on cooking and it becomes milder and pleasant. It is said be aiding digestion and lessening flatulence like garlic and is commonly used in vegetarian and lentil dishes.

Bell Peppers - Yes they are a spice , it surprised me as well! They have a clearly tangy tasted and hail from tropical america. They are known to have revitalizing and antiseptic qualities and are used to stimulate the digestive system. Their sweet flavor and cheery color make them a "feelgood " food.

Capers - A Mediterranean shrub commonly grown in France, Spain and Italy. They grow wild . The flowers buds and also the fruit borne by the plant can be pickled. Capers are available pickled in vinegar or brine. They need to be stored in a non corrosive jar or in a layer of salt lest they become dry. They are used commonly in North African cooking and medicinally they aid digestion, to increase the appetite, induce a general feeling of well being and vitality, The flower buds can be infused in tea to ease coughs.

Caraway - It has a pungent aroma with a warm, almost citrusy flavor. The seeds help in aiding digestion and stomach cramps, used in making the northern European popular liqueur, kummel, the caraway seeds are common in Jewish, Scandinavian and German cooking.

Cardamom - Now grown mostly in South east Asia and central America, cardamom seed has a mellow fragrant, lemon/camphor smell. It is used to relieve respiratory disorders and settle upset stomachs. Great in coffee, tea, desserts and pies. The pods are best when hard and green and the seeds need to be crushed just before used as once the seeds are powdered , the flavor quickly diminishes.

Cassia - Probably one of the first spices to be used as medicine, Cassia and cinnamon are similar the former is considered to be a poor substitute of the latter and many prefer to use it in mulled wine instead of cinnamon because of the sweet and stronger flavor. In the west, its used to spice cakes and confectionery while in Asia, it is used to season curries and meat. One of the ingredients in the chinese 5 spice mix, it is used in cold remedies and aids in digestion.

Cayenne Pepper - Used all over the world anmade by ginding dry red chilli, it is known to spice up any bland dish and warm up a cold winter day. Cayenne is known to be used in ointments for treatments of lumbago, chilblains and neuralgia.

Celery Seed - cultivated from the wild celery "smallage" celery seeds were used by romans for flavoring their food. They taste bitter and when eaten raw are said to lower blood pressure, rheumatism and stimulate digestion. They are also used to make celery salt used for cocktails etc. The seeds sold for cultivation should not be consumed for medicinal purposes as they are treated with fungicides.

Chili- They seem to come with a warning " beware of the heat" but there are many milder varieties and some are fruity too. They have a strong stimulant effect and they make a warming treatment for colds and have good antibacterial properties. Taking them in excess quantities may result in damaging the mucous membrane and cause in digestive and renal problems. They were first grown in South America and the spanish took them to Europe.

Cinnamon - Most Cinnamon comes from Sri Lanka , this ancient, fragrant inner bark has been a valued spice and has a strong sweet flavor. Medicinally , cinnamon is known to be a strong stimulant for the glandular system and helps relieve symptoms of cold and flu. The best cinnamon is made from the thinnest bark and has the best taste and fragrance. It is best when bought as bark rather than ground.

Cloves - They are dried flower buds of a tree. Cloves were used by the the Chinese in herbal remedies. Traditionally cloves are stuck in an orange and hung as a pomander. An old remedy for toothache is to clamp a clove between your teeth or rub clove oil on the tooth.They are commonly grown in West Indies , Madagascar and Zanzibar.

Above is just the ABC's of spices. D through Z would probably take me another 2 more posts. Stay tuned for the A to Z of Spice.




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This Post was written by Dee from Ammalu's Kitchen

Branching Out...or Just Getting Started in the Kitchen

Friday, July 04, 2008

Posted by Mike of Mike's Table

By the time I was in college, I wasn't what I would call competent in the kitchen. However, I lived off campus and with a twenty minute walk to the nearest dining hall, often times, the cafeteria food wasn't worth the trek through cold and dismal weather. And so out of necessity and the quell my growling stomach, I started to cook. Not so much cook though really, as put some haphazard assortment of ingredients on a George Foreman Grill and hope for the best.

At the time, I was nervous and hadn't the slightest idea as to where you even begin in the kitchen. Side dishes (e.g. rice, potatoes) came out of a box, sauce came out of a bottle, and my meat options were either chicken breast or ground beef. Cooking was a lot of black magic and I knew no spells. But I kept trying new things, started reading cook books, and every now and then, somehow, a shockingly good dinner would come out of it. Some times, it didn't even call for the George Foreman (imagine that!).



Being as obsessed about food and cooking as I am today, I find it funny to look back and see that this is how I started. However, as my confidence has grown and I talk about my cooking endeavors to friends and family, I've come to appreciate that my humble beginnings aren't unique and fear of the mysteries of the kitchen seems to be a surprisingly common thing. We either don't own appliances some recipe calls for (and haven't the foggiest idea what it even is) or we have a pile of things that we know we're supposed to have, but haven't any notion as to what half of them are for. The fact that I owned a Dutch oven, for instance, was news to me after at least three years of having it in my kitchen (I used to think it was just a different kind of oven).

But so what to make of all this? Cooking is a field full of speciallized tools and an intimidatingly large lexicon of terms, both of which are misused to the point that the odds are stacked against somebody new to cooking who is just trying to make sense of things. I've been surprised to discover how many of the people I've talked to in the past year are not only a little apprehensive about cooking, but genuinely afraid of it. Where does one even begin? How does one encourage somebody to start cooking at home rather than eating out?

I can't say I took the most direct path there, but I almost feel that my bumbling around was the best way for me. I've had both successes and failures, but I've learned a lot from all of them, and ultimately, I'm better off for it. Whether or not you're doing things "by the book," it doesn't really matter as dinner needn't be an exercise in achieving technical perfection. I see it more as a task where you have to push yourself out of your comfort zome just a little at first, and after that, you develop the confidence that will keep you coming back to do it again and again. The worst that can happen is the food winds up in the trash and you order in a pizza to take its place. Whether its a matter of roasting a whole chicken at home rather than buying a pre-cooked one from the grocer, churning your own ice cream, or trying a sauce besides tomato to go with pasta, there's a lot of little things that can go a long way to helping us all branch out whether we're beginngers or obsessed hobbyists. The rewards are many: eating healthier, eating cheaper, the pride of creating something, appreciating the taste, having an activity to share with someone else in your family, etc.

But nonetheless, I've found this is often a tough sell. Its one thing for me to cook and talk about it, but translating that into the courage for someone else to try cooking in their own kitchen still seems to a surprisingly elusive goal. When did cooking become as threatening a subject for some as sky diving? I'd like to have some great insight to bring these thoughts together, but this has been an issue I've had bouncing around in my head for a while and I'm still a bit vexed by it. Are you or is someone you know afraid of the kitchen? Do you have any suggestions for encouraging beginners to experiment and become more comfortable in their own kitchen? I'd love to hear your thoughts on the matter in the comments section.



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This Post was written by Mike from Mike's Table

Fathers Day and the best gift ever!

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Posted by Dharm



Father’s Day was recently celebrated, in most parts of the world, on the 15th June – as it was in Malaysia. I’m not a great observer of these commercially oriented days and so when my kids asked me what I wanted to do for Father’s Day, I told them that we needn’t have to do anything as to me, it was just a silly day created to celebrate father’s and that there was no need to wait for a special day if they wanted to celebrate Father’s Day.



Yeah, probably all a bit too much for them to digest but I think they got the idea. Usually, since Father's Day always falls on a Sunday, we go to Church and then drop in at my parents and the in-laws to wish our respective fathers. We might then go out for an early lunch to beat the crowd or maybe have lunch at my parents with all of us bringing a dish. We'd then just spend the rest of the day relaxing at home. No real fuss and nothing fancy.

My son took ill with a lung infection on the Wednesday prior to Father’s Day and he spent two nights in the hospital for observation. He had been having a bad cough for a week which just got progressively worse. We thus decided, with even more determination, that Father’s Day would not be celebrated at all and at the very most we would pop round to my own Father’s house. He kind of likes the family to get together on Father’s Day.

The kids and the Lovely Wife had other ideas, unbeknownst to me of course! The Lovely Wife decided to cook a lovely lunch on Saturday that we all enjoyed tremendously. Later that day, as I mentioned on my own blog, I took a nap while the kids were supposed to be resting. In actual fact, they were making me a batch of cookies for Father’s Day. My little princess, who supplied the recipe that she had learnt from Kindergarten, reminded me that the cookies were also for Tata and Appu (maternal and paternal grandfather, respectively)- so I was not to finish them!
Very thoughtful children indeed!

However, that is only half the story. Some years ago, my son made a comment that went something like this:

“For Mummy’s birthday, Daddy makes the cake. For my birthday, Daddy also makes the cake. For Sarah’s Birthday, Daddy again makes the cake. Who makes Daddy’s birthday cake then??!!!”

He said this with his trademark waving of his hands in the air for emphasis! For the record, the Lovely Wife normally buys me an ice-cream cake or a ‘high-end gourmet’ cake for my birthday!

However, since that day, I often kid around with my children and tease them by ‘complaining’ that Mummy gets the better deal – especially as far as presents go. On Sunday night, as Father’s Day drew to a close, I teased the children again by asking them how come Mummy got a lovely pendant for Mother’s Day but Daddy didn’t get anything. My son then piped up:

“I told Mummy to get you the long lens Daddy!”

My wife then went on to explain that my son was adamant that they should buy me a new lens for my camera but she explained to him that she didn’t enough about cameras to know which lens I wanted.

“Then we should have got him a watch Mummy.”

My wife then had to explain to him that Daddy is quite particular about what watch he wear as watches can sometimes be very personal.

“But I told you he wanted a Seiko watch Mummy!”

I was very touched at how my son knows exactly what I like. He had seen me checking out a few lenses at a camera shop once and had obviously also been listening when I asked about a watch once in another shop.

I may not have got any physical presents but it didn't matter at all. This was by far more precious. It’s really true what they say. It’s the thought that counts and each time I think about this, I’m almost moved to tears at how thoughtful my son is! Happy Father’s Day, belated though it may be!





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This Post was written by Dharm from Dad ~ Baker & Chef



Tiffin Tuesday - Midsummer picknick

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Posted by jokergirl@wererabbits



The 21st of June is celebrated as midsummer here in Sweden* and I packed bentoboxes to bring on a celebratory picknick.


Most of the food is Swedish food that's somewhat typical to have at parties like midsummer. The upper box contains brussel sprouts, a hardboiled egg, locally grown ripe and luscious strawberries (drooool!), chili cheese bits on picks instead of meatballs for me, and baked red beets (typically it should be salad but I don't like them in a salad).
The lower layer is filled mostly with tiny new potatoes baked in the shell - they're not bigger than the cheese bits! Then there are some more brussel sprouts and a silicone muffin cup of pickled herring sill with cream and caviar sauce and a blue pick for easier eating.

There were a lot of potatoes, prepared to share with the BF.



His box contains the same stuff, except for the sill, which he doesn't like. It's replaced with red beet salad, which I in turn am not too fond of :)
Although I have to pat my own shoulder here and say that since I made it myself, it's actually not that bad - for red beet salad...

Have a happy summer, everyone!


*) It's summer solstice everywhere else as well, but it's not as hugely celebrated outside scandinavia, I think...




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This Post was written by jokergirl from WereRabbits.