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Milli Gilbaugh

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.

How true! How true!

Food for Thought

Every so often, some ad agency genius comes up with an idea that rings the bell of authenticity for me. Rings it loud and true and clear as a... well, a bell. I’ve no idea what product or service the ad was promoting, I was too caught up in the truth of the premise, and my brain started racing to all the incidents in my life that prove the axiom.

The cure for writer’s block is to write

Food for Thought

“Writer’s block,” he groaned. “I just can’t finish that article. The words won’t come.”
I say baloney. There’s no such thing as writer’s block. It’s just a myth invented by some writer who didn’t bother to organize his thoughts before he picked up his pen.
“Poor man,” they sympathized. And he was granted another week, month, year to finish what had started out as a good idea that then got lost while he stumbled around trying to figure out where the good idea had been heading, and how he was going to get some isolated flashes organized into cohesive form.

Ghosts of Christmases past

Food for Thought

A little over a year ago, I was fortunate to be able to attend a reenactment of a traditional Amana Christmas at the Heritage Museum in Amana. Since my dad had grown up in a home with a German mother and a Norwegian father, his notions of how Christmas was to be celebrated were quite different from my mother’s childhood experiences– a combination of English, Irish and Spanish, some of whom had been here before the Revolution and absorbed traditions from other cultures as well.

Dear Santa, I want…

Food for Thought

There were a few old standard Christmas songs when I was a little girl, long before such ditties as “Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer” or “Frosty the Snowman” came along. We were stuck in a Clement Moore vision of Santa, where Mama wore a kerchief on her head at night and Dad wore a nightcap. I refer to these as Christmas songs rather than Christmas carols (those more directly depicting the joy and wonder of the birth of Jesus) that we learned and sang in church and Sunday school.

Hey, baby!

Food for Thought

It seemed to be an evening devoted to babies. Well, not entirely, but they kept popping up on the radar– or rather the television screen. There was a rerun of a once popular detective program, with the classy, lollypop-addicted detective Kojak, played by Telly Savalas. It wasn’t about babies, but if you remember, he often used the expression, “Hey, baby!” The baby theme continued with a baby lotion commercial wherein we were treated to watching a mother lovingly smooth lotion over the plump tummy of a gurgling baby.

Worth repeating

Food for Thought

During the coming month, we can expect to be enticed, cajoled, implored, dared and practically ordered to spend as much money on as many things as our bank accounts and credit cards will tolerate. There are stores staying open past midnight, sales beginning at four in the morning, and early-bird discounts for those willing to stand in line in the wee hours waiting for the doors to be unlocked. Some stores even offer to give you a wake-up call so you can be there on time.

Kids and pancakes

It might have been columnist Peg Bracken, or perhaps Erma Bombeck, who wrote that kids should be like pancakes; that we should be allowed to throw away the first one after we’d messed up and ended up with a burned flapjack (i.e. spoiled brat).

The hit list grows

Food for Thought

Since the new cars first came on the market in late summer, there’s been one new car commercial that has become increasingly annoying. It concerns a car with sensors that will cause an automatic braking system to kick in if an obstacle is too close, thus avoiding, or at least minimizing, an accident. While I admire the technology, I abhor the grammar. To be specific; a voice asks, “Imagine you could predict an accident before it happens?”

A thousand and one uses for pumpkins

Food for Thought

Don’t worry, I’m not going to actually list that many ways to use pumpkins. There may not be that many– on the other hand, there may be considerably more, but I fall asleep about time my list gets up into the late teens. This time of year, when supermarket parking lots are overflowing with those big orange orbs and all their pink, white, green, red and brown cousins, and every farmers’ market and farmer’s child has a sign out front advertising bargain prices for them, I wonder just what happens to all of them, once Halloween and Thanksgiving are over and forgotten.

The last place you look

Food for Thought

When asked if I had any photos of my old friend Norma who died, I thought, with dismay, about the jumble of snapshots that clutter up my desk, the bottom drawer of my dresser, a box under my bed, that small wooden chest on the bookshelf, and an old suitcase in the furnace room. There are a few more places that might yield something, too, that tin box on the top shelf of the linen closet, and a fat envelope of assorted precious junk I once slipped under the place mats and tablecloths in the dining room hutch. It’d take me weeks to go through all that.