THE YEAR THE MOUSE ATE THE GINGERBREAD HOUSE


watch cat
The resident Watch Cat by KSR

The Christmas cakes and cookies have been baked, and the cards were made and sent on time for a change, the presents bought and wrapped. I’m feeling pretty good about Christmas this year instead of having a near panic attack as is usually the case. But one thing I’m not making this year, or maybe ever, is another Christmas gingerbread house.

We made some “pretty limp attempts” when our children were small, but one year when the grandchildren arrived, I went all out and built the world’s biggest, most fabulous three-story gingerbread Victorian mansion ever imagined by man or child.

It stood about 18 inches high, and the gingerbread was totally covered with either frosting or candy. It was beautiful beyond belief and everything a gingerbread house should be.

At the annual Christmas party it was the hit of the evening, and as its architect and builder, I glowed with pride. It stood on its own separate table in the place of honor, but unfortunately, I have lost the photos I took of it from every angle, so you will just have to take my word for it.

When the season was over, we carefully lifted this enormous confection and lovingly packed it away till the following year. We protected it with tissue paper, and carefully sealed the cardboard container against dust and dirt in the attic.

The following Christmas, while taking down the collection of holiday decorations, I opened the large cardboard box, to find——nothing.

Going down stairs, I asked my husband what he had done with gingerbread house box. Just as puzzled as I, we looked inside the box, and found one or two pieces of candy. Nothing else. Just two pieces of candy.

As we all know, it gets pretty cold and lonely outside for a small mouse, and our mouse obviously has a sweet tooth as well, so who can blame him for seeking shelter in a warm box containing a feast fit for a king, and even inviting some friends over for a snack or two? Not I.

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.

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.