Archive for November, 2011

Remembering Andy Rooney and Favorite Autumn Dishes

It’s difficult, with the gift of glimmering fall days stretching well into November this year, to get seriously grumpy about all those things, large and small, that drive a person crazy if you let ’em.  

Things like people being too lazy to push their shopping carts into the cart corral or drivers speeding across parking lots – diagonally while dialing their cell phones; like oblivious patrons using gross profanity in a jam-packed Taco Bell or screeching little girls who issue a piercing scream every twelve seconds during their entire recess period – God forbid they should ever be in actual distress and require assistance; like the business owner who can’t wait to star in his own television commercials, heedless of the wincing pain his amateur performance causes viewers.

Well; it’s not that difficult to get grumpy, I guess.  But then I have always identified in certain respects with the nation’s Curmudgeon Laureate, the late Andy Rooney, and his desire to comment on those elements of existence that drove him mad with frustration, or even those that simply rankled a bit.  I respected his admission of liberal bias and chuckled over some of his verbal dissections of life’s more trivial irritations. 

But I also worried about him.  In his eighties, Andy Rooney publicly expressed a bitterness about death that, although understandable in light of his professed atheism, was troubling in someone of his age.  I saw in him a man who clung to life on earth as one who is certain that letting loose his grasp on the rope will plunge him in dark nothingness, and it made me sad.  Remembering my own early decades of angry disdain for religion, I ached for him, helplessly.  One of the not-so-small frustrations. 

As Thanksgiving 2011 approaches, I have a stronger sense of purpose than I ever thought possible, and can name at least as many earthly delights as I can examples of the deplorable.  This sense of well-being and confidence is rooted in the firm and fertile ground of faith; I have the blessed reassurance that, if I got hit by a truck tomorrow, I would not have been cheated out of anything, but rather ushered into a glorious new realm of perfected existence – according to God’s timing, if not my own.  Such a simple concept:  ungraspable by ego-driven human logic, yet knowable by the moved heart and essential to one’s peace and the ability to cope with the bad stuff. 

Today, I can virtually hear the holiday season clambering up my front steps, and what a wealth of joy-inspiring opportunities it tows along behind it.  With special occasions opening the door for giving Special Thanks, socializing, and sharing good food and good cheer, I get more than a little bit excited over the chance to create memorable experiences for my guests and family, and to share the same with fellow foodies. 

I’ve been inspired most recently by the discovery of a wonderful recipe for Squash and Apple Casserole adapted from Amy Traverso’s The Apple Lover’s Cookbook; a general introduction to the spicy, Tex-Mex dish called Carne Guisada, constructed from several basic formulas found online; and a lovely idea incorporating two of my favorite flavors, regardless of the season, Pumpkin Gingerbread, from the award-winning recipe blog, simplyrecipes.com.

I’ve lightened and tweaked and added and subtracted to and from the above, but kudos  to the clever cooks who sparked my interest.  Now, I think I’ll immerse myself in cooking and baking, and let somebody else mutter and grouse about the many challenges to cheerfulness that lay in wait “out there.”  At least until I emerge, groundhog like, from my kitchen cave in January, ready to step back into Any Rooney’s shadow. (more…)

November 18, 2011 at 6:06 pm Leave a comment


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Recipe. According to Encarta, "a list of ingredients and instructions for making something." The thesaurus offers the alternate terms, "formula, guidelines, directions, steps, technique."

And what is the "something" we are aiming for here? Simply a life of robust good health in every important area - spiritual, physical, cognitive, and emotional.

To that end we offer inspirational real-life stories about PEOPLE OF FAITH AND COURAGE; menus and cooking directions meant to fuel your creative inclinations and your healthy body in the form of MUSINGS OF A MIDWESTERN FOODIE; and ADVICE FOR LIFE from the perspective of those who have lived it to maturity. (Click on the green category tabs at the top of this page to learn more about each section.)

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