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Milli Gilbaugh

Springtime treats and tricks

Food for Thought

However you pronounce it (mor-els or mor-els), they’re a flavorful treasure to be found only in spring and only under specific conditions. Whatever those conditions are (and the expert hunters don’t all agree) once you’re discovered them, the next step is to figure out just how to get the most from them. Having enjoyed them as a child and nearly every year since, I’ve learned a few things about finding them, cleaning them, storing them, and the best ways to cook them for the most flavor.

Morels, morals, and asparagus

Food for Thought

At this time of year, we often see people patrolling the ditches along highways and county roads. They are not picking up trash or searching for returnable aluminum cans. They are hunting for mushrooms and asparagus, but they prefer that you think they’re just taking a pleasant stroll in the country. As your car approaches, they look up and surreptitiously drop that plastic bag into the grass at their feet– often pretending to watch a meadowlark on a nearby fence post, or count the new calves in a pasture.

The inevitable has happened

Food for Thought

I knew that, sooner or later, I’d have to consider myself a member of that group known as “little old ladies.” Somehow, I had convinced myself that that time lay well in the future. No matter what my age or condition, I always felt there was still plenty of time before I had to consider myself part of that category. It just wasn’t going to happen– not while I still felt pretty much the same as I did last year, and the year before that, and...

Just wondering

Food for Thought

It’s been 10 or more years since I heard anything about the results of a discovery involving the gene responsible for speech in humans. It seems that gene involved the fine control of the organs and muscles that made it possible for humans to develop, in a period involving about 100 generations, a workable spoken language. At the time this discovery was announced, scientists were anticipating some experiments that seemed rather far out to me. For one thing, they were hoping to implant the gene in laboratory mice.

Friendship is no big thing

Food for Thought

Mari Jo, one of my high school classmates, added that little thought at the end of a recent letter. She’s known for sounding like a Hallmark card from time to time, and I don’t know where she gets all her little gems of wisdom. She’s an educator (owns and operates a private education center in Texas) so maybe it’s just one of those teacher things– meaningful mottoes to help kids remember stuff they’ll probably forget anyway.
What she wrote was, “friendship is no big thing; it’s a million little things.”

Paying forward; paying back

Food for Thought

Not long ago, anchorwoman Diane Sawyer described a program in a small southern town where people of all ages can “pay forward” with three hours of their services and later receive three hours of free help from someone else. This sounds like a sort of barter system similar to one that operated in the Iowa City area 15 or 20-some years ago.

Define ‘elderly’

Food for Thought

Elderly; past middle age, (and middle age is defined as between the ages of 40 and 60). My dictionary informs me that the term elderly is sometimes considered offensive. Just sometimes? I’ve news for them. In my book the term is definitely and always offensive– as is nearly every label that groups people into rigid categories and attributes the same characteristics to all of them.

Mailboxes and pink snow

Food for Thought

You know how things seem to come in threes? Things like good luck, minor catastrophes, disappointments, and unexpected visitors? Well, I am presently waiting for the third thing to happen regarding mailboxes. I’m hoping this isn’t a three-part run of bad luck involving mailboxes– just something to do with mailboxes in general.

Bullying and dissing

Food for Thought

Ask your children or grandchildren for a definition of “dissing” and, chances are, the answer you get will include words like rudeness and insults. Ask what the word “respect” means and the reply will probably be vague or abstract and have more to do with love (or fear) than with high regard. They may claim to respect their parents but feel they are old-fashioned and don’t understand how things are for kids these days.

An obtuse winter

Food for Thought

When I was in college in Iowa City, I had several art classes each week, from the usual 50-minute length to two-hour studio classes. Some perverse member of the art staff had decided that 7:30 a.m. was a good time for art history lectures. These were mostly slide shows of art works illustrating whatever topic our professor chose to lecture on that day. The lecture room was in the basement of the art building, windowless, dimly lit only by the slide projector, overheated, and stuffy.

Cooking for one

Food for Thought

When things progressed to the state where I found myself cooking for one most of the time, I had to learn, all over again, some pretty basic strategies. First of all, I had to remind myself that I don’t like eating the same thing for dinner three or four days in a row. Then I had to relearn some basics about freezing leftovers for later.
One; freezing doesn’t improve anything, so don’t expect it to taste better than it did the first time around. It’ll most likely taste worse.

Cold winter memories

Food for Thought

Last month’s unusually cold weather reminded me of a winter in the early 1940s when I was in first or second grade. We lived only about five or six blocks from school and we always walked there and back, twice a day, as we went home for lunch. Our school system didn’t have a hot lunch program then, though a few kids brought sack lunches, especially in the winter time. At our house, the noon meal was the main meal of the day and Mother wanted to make sure we got a good, hot meal, so we always ate at home.