Past Forward

Jan 2, 2013 by

The past year had a variety of big and little events that created shifts in how I see the world. On the surface they covered the range from surprising and hopeful, to difficult to scary. On the plus side: I gained increasing comfort with my new role as Executive Director of an organization whose mission is to help people age positively and creatively; I taught 3 new courses made several new friends, and have a stronger sense of myself as both a Leader and an Elder. The more difficult events included a surgery to remove a basal cell carcinoma from my chin that was more invasive and more noticeable than I anticipated and my sweet 2006 Honda being totaled by a distracted person who ran a red light. The cancer is gone and I...

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Saucy Approach for Feeding a Crowd...

Dec 14, 2012 by

Last year I wrote about my go-to Chanukah main dish for the annual party I used to throw. It’s a version of the Greek Spanakopita without Phyllo on the top and bottom. It’s what I’m taking to my daughter’s party this year. She has taken on the role of Chanukah Party Provider and I get to contribute but not do it all. Let’s hear it for generational traditions! You can check it out. This year I have a different strategy. I am hosting smaller gatherings with just the people who can sit around my table and share stories. My first gathering set a new approach to feeding a crowd that is worth sharing. I made a Moroccan style fish stew and realized the sauce could easily be used for other proteins ranging from lamb...

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Beach Fare: Oysters

Aug 10, 2012 by

I grew up in the Northeast where we followed the “R” rule for eating oysters: You must only consume oysters in months with an ‘R’ in them. From May thru August, fresh shucked oysters were not an option. Not so in the Northwest where oysters are available year round – many varieties in many preparations. Why? Colder waters, more varieties to choose from, better farming techniques and more knowledge on the part of oyster purveyors and patrons. Seattle is home to fabulous Happy Hours and qualifies as an oyster-eater’s paradise. Several popular restaurants start serving oysters at 4:00 PM for a $1.00 each. By 4:30 you can’t get a seat. But you can always find fresh shucked oysters in jars or containers at reputable seafood sellers and quality markets to transform in cooked preparations....

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Lessons on Life from Sir Noel Coward...

Jul 2, 2012 by

You ever know when a good quote will come in handy. I was asked to appear on the local Fox News channel last week to respond to a newly published study showing that loneliness can be fatal to seniors. The study confirms what many people in the aging field know: loneliness is bad for your health and people who feel isolated are at high risk for a range of unhealthy results, death being the ultimate bad result. I am not sure how the host of the show found my organization, but I assume he did a quick search of the word Aging and found us. (My unofficial ‘mission’ is that whenever anybody puts the word ‘Creative’ in front of the word ‘Aging’, they think of us: Northwest Center for Creative Aging.  So whatever the...

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Fennel – Everything You Could Want In A Vegetable!...

May 11, 2012 by

I ask you:  don’t you sometimes want a vegetable that you can do almost anything with? Use it raw, roast, sauté, fry, shave, slice, chop, puree or freeze? And be assured it plays well with others? Fennel would be your choice. And although the white, bulbous plant topped with stalks ending in frilly fronds looks downright ‘alien,’- according to one food blogger – it is definitely worth taking to home and befriending. The flavor is sweet and mildly licorice. That characteristic is most notable when fennel is used raw but mellows appreciably when it is cooked.  This staple of Mediterranean cuisine shows up regularly in restaurants, cookbooks and food blogs. Look for firm, unblemished bulbs and plan to use the white part for dishes featuring the fennel but make sure to save the stalks...

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Quinoa Rhapsody

Apr 6, 2012 by

There may be some of you out there who don’t want one more healthy idea from me, but honestly, you’ll thank me for this! I assume you have had quinoa – pronounced ‘keen-wa’ – sometime in the past or recent past. It seems to be turning up everywhere Foodies congregate: salad bars, delis, restaurants. It is one of those magic foods that can appear in all parts of a meal and at all meals from breakfast to a satisfying comfort-dessert. That is provided you treat it well and cook it with enough flavor to make it sing. It is fabulously healthy. It is not only high in protein, it is actually a complete protein, meaning that it includes all nine essential amino acids and is especially well-endowed with the amino acid lysine, essential for...

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The Beet Goes On

Feb 24, 2012 by

I asked the members of my food class called A Matter of Taste-Food and its Many Attractions – what they loved to eat and what they hated. It’s amazing how much energy people have for the foods they don’t like! At the top of the list was liver. A few people came to its defense, including me, but I wasn’t about to convince anybody to give it another chance. (I grew up eating fabulous Jewish chopped liver made with real schmaltz and I still adore Pate of any kind.) Next on the list were beets, followed by Brussels sprouts. That proved to be a rallying call and I pledged to bring in at least one dish from each ingredient to see if we could have a few conversion experiences. I felt a bit messianic...

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Encore!

Feb 9, 2012 by

Now that the New Year is over a month old I am finally getting myself grounded enough to share what’s happening in my life again. I have started what some call an ‘Encore Career.’ Check out the website that supports the concept. I am the Executive Director of the Northwest Center for Creative Aging (NWCCA).  As our intro says, “We help adults find their purpose and live into their potential as they age. We enrich lives by creating conversations, fostering connections and serving as an educational resource. Our philosophy addresses the whole person – mind, body and spirit – with a range of programs committed to creative aging. We welcome people of all ages and stages.” I wasn’t looking for a new job and it happened in the same way that other jobs and experiences have happened...

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Eat Your Greens

Jan 27, 2012 by

I’m sitting at my desk in Seattle, cat on my lap, watching the snow pile up outside and feeling the old childlike pleasure of a ‘Snow Day.’ We don’t get this kind of weather very often – every few years to be honest – so it feels good to have a day when I can do what I choose and not have to leave the premises for any reason except pleasure. I taught the first session of the second quarter of the food-related class I teach at the Lifetime Learning Center, a school that has a wide variety of classes for older adults. The class description reads: A Matter of Taste – Getting to Know Ingredients This semester we will continue to explore the fascinations of food and the gifts of our Seattle food...

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All-Purpose Celebratory: Festive without Symbols...

Dec 23, 2011 by

Growing up Jewish I never had a Christmas tree and did my share of  begging for the beautiful ornaments and sparkly lights. My parents rigorously opposed the ‘Chanukah Bush’ concept, countering my insistence that I would have one of my own when I left home with smug assurance that I wouldn’t do that.  They were wrong for decades: I spent the fall semester of my senior year in college making hand-beaded ornaments to hang on the tree in my boyfriend’s apartment. We still lit Chanukah candles, and I justified it because his roommates weren’t Jewish. Half a decade later, when I lived in San Diego, I had a tree of my own with ornaments collected from trips to Mexico. I continued collecting and amassed a beautiful international array of ornaments. And then, right around...

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The Dead Celebrity Cookbook – Dead but Not Gone: Recipes to die for…...

Nov 18, 2011 by

It’s hard to avoid punning when describing the new Dead Celebrity Cookbook – A Resurrection of Recipes from More than 145 Stars of Stage and Screen by Frank DeCaro. DeCaro is a celebrity in his own right: he was the flamboyant movie critic on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and now hosts his own weekday morning national call-in program “The Frank DeCaro Show” on Sirius XM Satellite Radio. He wrote the memoir A Boy Named Phyllis and wrote the “Style Over Substance” column for the New York Times. DeCaro indulges in plenty of tongue-in-cheek comments, but despite the playful tone of the book, he is serious student of pop culture and truly loves the guys and gals whose recipes he has rounded up. “I’ve been interested in celebrities dead and alive for a...

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Have Food, Will Travel

Nov 4, 2011 by

You know how you can do something for a long time- we’re talking decades here – and never really look at the behavior and recognize it for what it is? I finally realized I am Food Transporter. I’ve been packing up food and driving it to other places where I prepare it or share it or demonstrate it since I was in my teens. In high school I took whole meals: vast quantities of chili and cornbread, or chicken casseroles and dessert to my boyfriend’s home where his siblings would greet me with delight. His mother’s cooking was both uninspired and unknowledgeable: she once boiled a prime cut of beef until it truly resembled leather.  As an adult, I realized she might not have really appreciated my feeding her family, since they raved about...

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