"Mom, now my hands will smell like onions!" my older daughter said as she chopped a particularly fragrant onion we had grown this summer. She has been my long-term vegetable chopper, even when we have gadgets that will do the work for us. We had onions, bell peppers and potatoes to chop as we tried this week's recipe on a cool afternoon. I was rinsing and chopping home-grown potatoes. Yes, I chose the easy vegetable to prepare. Next time, I think my daughter will be handing me an onion.
Do you ever taste cookie dough? Licking the mixing spoon or pinching a chunk of batter from the bowl can be tempting. If you said "Yes, I taste raw cookie dough," give yourself a pat on the back for your honesty. Now I need to tell you to avoid the temptation of tasting raw doughs and batters and take some extra precautions when baking.
"What would you think about writing a weekly column?" a couple of editors from the North Dakota State University Extension Service asked me. "What if no papers run it?" I responded. "Oh, they will," they replied in unison. "Writing something new every week can get to be a grind, though," one of them added. "And what if the papers run it and no one reads it?" I thought to myself. I had a toddler son who didn't always sleep all night, I was fairly new to my career, and I was adjusting to the recent loss of my mother. I wasn't sure about adding something to my plate.
Do you recall your first experience with pizza? The first time I tried pizza, at about age 5, I was not sold on it. In fact, I couldn't imagine why anyone wanted to eat it on a regular basis. I was enticed by TV ads that said pizza made from the kit being advertised was "scrumptious." I wasn't exactly sure what that word meant, but I figured that meant it was pretty good.
"We live an exciting life," my husband commented as he flipped a butternut squash on its side. We were at a grocery store on a Saturday evening. An attractive display of colorful squash and pumpkins caught my eye, and I pulled my phone out of my purse to take a photo. I stepped back to survey the appearance of the squash display. I began rearranging some squash because I didn't want the price tags to show. I asked my husband to help. He was a good sport, although I think he was worried that we'd get in trouble for "tampering with a produce display."
Oh, no, I thought to myself. My stomach was going to growl loudly enough to interrupt a meeting. This is more than a little embarrassing, especially among casual acquaintances. I usually grab a small snack before I go to a 10 a.m. meeting, but I answered a phone call. I grabbed a water bottle and dashed to the meeting with about a minute to spare. I took a big gulp of water, but my stomach knows when I am trying to trick it with noncaloric beverages. It wanted food. Now, incessant gurgling was forthcoming.
"We didn't get any apples on our apple tree this year," my 19-year old daughter lamented. "Not even one." My neighbors cut down their aging apple tree last year, so that probably had something to do with our fruitless tree. According to North Dakota State University Extension information written by our horticulture specialists, "many tree fruit cultivars cannot set fruit with their own pollen, so you must select and plant two different cultivars to ensure fertilization."
Please reminisce with me for a couple of minutes — think of some of the best times you had with your family around a dinner table. Maybe it was with your grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles or cousins. Perhaps the occasions you recall are with your children or grandchildren. What did you have to eat? Was it a simple meal or a multicourse holiday meal? Maybe you don't remember the exact menu, but instead you remember the laughter and fun times.
"Please enjoy these fresh pickles. Your food will be out shortly," the server said as she placed a plate of cucumber slices in front of us. They were sprinkled with dill weed and had a nice crunch. I was in a restaurant in another state, and the somewhat sweet yet vinegary flavor and crisp texture made me nostalgic for home. The pickles were very tasty and soon the serving plate was empty.
In the past few weeks, I fielded questions for some of our North Dakota Extension agents while they took well-earned annual leave. I learned a lot about what people do as they harvest their bountiful garden produce. As the questions reached my office, I also began exploring the internet to see what was being shared by blogs, Pinterest, Facebook and websites. Some of the questions and information I found online surprised me. Some frightened me. Some of my callers had found their information on questionable sites.