POTATOES AND POINT


How much thought or credit do we give the humble potato? Boiled, baked, fried, mashed, scalloped, put into a salad or pancake, it remains true to itself, satisfying hunger throughout the world.
Nearly every country on earth pays tribute to the potato each day. Before the advent of “healthy eating”, most dinner plates contained the requisite meat, potatoes and gravy.

A Norwegian friend uses an apocryphal story to illustrate how poor they were. Each child was given one potato, and told to point to the light fixture above where a herring was hanging. Thus the meal of “potatoes and point was born”.

The Potato Famine caused the migration of a million Irish during the 1840’s. This sculpture of Annie Moore and her brother stands at the quayside in Cove, Ireland. She was the first Irish girl to go through Ellis Island.

We have mashed potato clouds, Mr. Potato Head, even Marilyn Monroe once posed in a potato sack which didn’t do her any harm, and Dan Quayle didn’t know how to spell potato when he was Vice-President.
The potato farmers moved away from Long Island, New York in the 1940’s due to the same fungus that blighted Ireland’s potato crop a century earlier.

Willian Levitt and other developers like him moved in and built Levittown, one of the first planned neighborhoods of copycat homes, and the American suburb was born on a bed of forgotten potatoes.
Today every market, super or Farmer’s, bursts with tuberous exuberance, red, white, yellow, sweet and even blue.

POTATO PANCAKES

2 cups grated potato
1 cup chopped onion
2 garlic cloves chopped
2 large eggs
2 Tbs. potato starch or flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp salt 1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 cup minced scallions

Fry in about 3 Tbs. vegetable oil till nicely browned. Dr. Advice likes applesauce alongside his. A dollop of sour Cream is nice too

I sometimes put all the ingredients except the scallions into the processor about 30 seconds . The texture will be grainy. The pancakes will be quite thin (called criques). Cool on a rack. They can be reheated to crisp up.

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PEANUT BUTTER AND ITS UNLIKELY BEST FRIEND


Peanut butter and pickles, PB&P. It is an unlikely pairing which shouldn’t work, but it does. The vinegary snap of chilled pickle cuts like a dash of irony, against the stoic unctuousness of peanut butter. It is a thrifty and unacknowledged American classic. I’m sure a lot of people’s grandmothers ate them. Peanut butter has no cholesterol, and is a great source of protein if you eat enough of it. How can that be all bad?

They go along with all the other things people like to marry with peanut butter and place between two slices of bread, such as bananas, raisins, mayonnaise, olives, bacon, onion slices Hemingway’s favorite! (I shudder to think what that did to his breath!) Elvis preferred bananas and bacon on his peanut butter. However, remember what that did to his waistline?

One friend grimaced and said it was ‘sort of scary, but the bread and butter pickles weren’t too bad’. I have never tried dill, but who knows? As my late father-in-law used to say when I sneered as he put sugar on his scrambled eggs, ‘Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it’. And when you think of it, egg souffles have sugar, don’t they?

PEANUT BUTTER COOKIES (Without pickles, please!)
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup salted butter
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
1 cup crunchy peanut butter
2 large eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup roasted salted peanuts ground to resemble bread crumbs

Heat oven to 350 degrees, parchment covered cookie sheet
Mix first 4 ingredients and set aside
Cream sugars and butter just until light and fluffy (about 2 minutes). Add peanut butter and mix until fully incorporated.
Add eggs one at a time and vanilla and mix until combined. Add dry ingredients.
Mix in ground nuts until incorporated.

Drop by 1 Tbs. balls onto cookie sheet and press each ball 2 times with a fork dipped in cold water. (The familiar criss-cross is traditional)
Bake 10-12 minutes.
Cool on cookie sheet 5 min. then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.

ATTAINING BALANCE THROUGH MEDITATION


Meditation doesn’t have to involve sitting cross-legged on the floor trying to clear your mind. The pleasure of losing oneself in something beautiful or meaningful such as art or music answer this need abundantly.

Elizabeth Gilbert’s memoir, “Eat, Pray, Love” tells about her four month visit to Italy where she grew several sizes larger, while exploring the joys of spaghetti in all its meltingly delicious forms. The next four months were spent in India learning to meditate while sitting in a dark cave clearing her mind. I prefer to look at something beautiful or thought-provoking.


Meditation” Bronze by kayti sweetland rasmussen

This quiet bronze is very peaceful to me. It invites stroking, and it encourages me to close my eyes and breathe deeply, much as one would while in the practice of yoga.


Oil Painting by Brad Young”

This large oil painting hangs in my friend’s home and I would go to her home just to stand and study the painting. It is by her son, Brad Young, and I don’t know the title, or even if it has a title, but it is thought-provoking. I’m sure everyone sees a different image from mine, and I too, can see something different each time I see it. When I photographed it, I was able to turn the image into various directions, and found that it was intriguing, however it was viewed.

This is what art should be; a visual feast to enjoy forever. Something to give balance to our lives.

LOVE’S PHILOSOPHY


With a nod to Percy Shelley:

The fountains mingle with the river
And the rivers with the ocean;
The winds of heaven mix forever
With a sweet emotion;

Nothing in the world is single;
All things by a law divine
In one another’s being mingle—
Why not I with thine?

See the mountains kiss high heaven,
And the waves clasp one another;
No sister-flower would be forgiven
If it disdain’d its brother:
And the sunlight clasps the earth,
And the moonbeams kiss the sea—
What are all those kissings worth
If thou kiss not me?

IT’S ALL FERBLUNJIT


You, me, the weather, the garden, Dr. Advice, even Charliedog, we’re all confused. Mainly the weather and the garden today. I went outside and picked a few figs and some oranges for juice, and a flight of geese flew by on their way south or wherever they go. The weatherman says it’s too early to depart, as more hot weather is coming up this week. (They obviously don’t read the weather report.

I’m confused because I don’t know what to wear anymore. I wore a sweater for two days and today I am back in whatever. I like Fall and winter clothes the best, because I don’t like investing in summer stuff I probably won’t wear anyway, and besides I have a drawer full of sweaters dating back to college days.

Some of the trees are beginning to change into their Fall colors or drop a few leaves to rake up, yet the fig tree threatens to join us in the family room. Branches seem to reach out further each day trying to see what we do in there. Other plants like the pelargonium get bigger and bigger and will need cutting back again soon. The summer annuals are finished and look dismal and bare. A dichotomy of seasons right in the back yard.


Spring/Summer Garden w/c kayti Sweetland Rasmussen

I have to give it to the weathermen though. Not too long ago their predictions stretched over a mere 2-3 days, while today they run on into the following week. Not long ago a local weatherman was fired for refusing to cast a prediction further than 3 days.

Dr. Advice reminded me that back in 1944 when the Allies planned the invasion of Normandy, it was actually planned for June 5, and men were loaded onto the landing craft ready to go. However, a storm came up and the Channel was a washing machine, so it did not come about until the following day, June 6. Another reason to be thankful for modern science.

Dr. Advice really isn’t confused. he arises early each morning knowing exactly what he will be doing the entire day, and goes about haphazardly getting it done. While I dibble and dabble around and finally zero in on what absolutely cannot be postponed.

Charlie is a Jack Russell Terrier, so we know automatically that he is confused. What about you, are you confused enough by now?

I like to think I come from a determined gene pool.

WHAT IS ART?


What is art? Like a poem that pushes the boundaries of language to say what is somehow beyond saying, art can both express an esthetic vision and articulate previously silent or unheard voices. It can profoundly change the way we view and think about our world and reflect afresh what we have seen too often or too closely to be aware of.

As Keith Hering said “Art lives through the imagination of the people who are seeing it. Without that contact, there is no art.


Renascence—-w/c by kayti sweetland rasmussen


Fly Me To The Moon—-w/c by kayti sweetland rasmussen

I have done many portraits, and a portrait is a just a picture of a person. Not necessarily art, but perhaps now and then there may be a stroke of genius in execution.

A famous artist was asked when introduced to someone “Are you an artist?” He answered “Sometimes.” And sometimes with luck, we all are.