I have a very unwelcome harbinger of spring again this year. My crazy robin is back.
He is slamming into my tall glass bedroom door from daylight 'til dark. I have come to believe that birds do not feel pain! There's all kinds of gunk on the glass and droppings on the pergola floor but he perseveres. I hung a sheet over the door, now he's body-slamming the windows. I guess I wait for him to kill himself.
Daughter Sarah and her family got here for Easter. It was lots of fun and livened up the old homestead briefly. They brought me a beautiful sugar-free Easter basket filled with candies I've never seen in the store. They even had the little yellow marshmallow Peeps, and all the things that children get, only sugar-free. That is so great that now the diabetic children can have the same things their siblings get, not some waxy chocolate that tastes like Ex-lax. They also tucked in a wonderful bar of lavender soap which my tiny great-granddaughter Sissy sampled with her shiny new teeth! She thought one bite was plenty. She is so much fun.
Thank you for your e-mails and questions about the plastics in April's column. I should explain that the reason it was hard to follow is that a connecting paragraph was inadvertently omitted.
That column was explaining why the United Methodist Church is boycotting the Nestle Corp.'s (a Swiss company) bottled water industry in Mecosta County that leads to the production of the plastic bottles, along with serious environmental damage to the water table there. They extract 720,000 gallons of water daily, causing the surface water to drop by two inches. The wetlands have lost 75 percent of open water and Osprey and Thompson lakes have dropped by six inches.
Now here's where the bottles come in. To bottle water requires the production of 2.7 million tons of plastic globally per year. In the U.S. this requires using 1.5 million barrels of oil to produce enough to run 100,000 cars for a year. Is our convenience worth this environmental impact? Personally, I don't think so, as one Congolese elder said on "Bill Moyers Journal," "Water belongs to God, No man has a right to sell it." Period.
Some new words (among other things) are creeping into the food vocabulary. Being as the food marketing industry is a $36 billion business, it has to constantly struggle to stay fresh and moving forward. You probably already know what a "locavore" is? In simple terms, it's one who "thinks globally, but eats locally." Thank goodness that's easy for us where we live with local produce all summer, and we freeze and can for winter.
Then there's the "orthorexia" which identifies those who are afraid that everything they eat will kill them. Food has become their religion. Nightmare? (Orthorexia nervosa?) Have you ever wondered what your grandma would think about all of our different approaches to food? If mine came back, she probably wouldn't recognize half of the products in the market, let alone the ingredients listed on the package. With all the health claims, she'd probably wonder if she had wound up in a drugstore.
Are you dragging out all of your light and lively recipes for spring and summer? I'm ready to pounce on the first sprout of asparagus or rhubarb that breaks through the ground! Yesterday while shopping I bought a little cornbread mix on sale, and I'm wondering if you might like to try my meatloaf recipe with the cornbread crust. This would be great with a crispy green salad and a baked potato. You might like to double it. I do.
Enchilada Meat Loaf
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 medium onion, diced small
1/4 c. bottled salsa
2 T. chili power, or to taste
3 cloves minced garlic
1/2 t. salt
1 lb. lean ground beef
1 8.5-oz. package corn muffin mix
2 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, shredded or sliced
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine egg, onion, salsa, chili powder, garlic and salt. Add ground beef and mix well. Shape in a ball and place in an oiled nine-inch pie plate. Flatten to a six-inch circle. Set aside.
Prepare corn muffin mix according to package directions. Spread the batter over the meat in the pie plate. Bake about 50 to 60 minutes, or until meat and crust look done. Remove from oven and sprinkle cheese over the cornbread crust, allow to set in a warm place until the cheese melts. Can be served with salsa alongside. Serves six.
Parting shot: "So live that you wouldn't be afraid to sell the family parrot to the town gossip." -- Will Rogers
Edna Shaffer is a local mother, grandmother and great-grandmother who writes about cooking from the perspective of an older adult. She can be reached via the Record-Eagle at 120 W. Front, Traverse City, Mi 49685; or by sending e-mail to: email@example.com