THE CONSUMER VISION
Address: 359 Coggeshall St., New Bedford, MA 02746
Publisher: Bob Branco
Editing and Proofreading: David and Leonore Dvorkin
Formatting: David Dvorkin
TABLE OF CONTENTS
In this Table of Contents, three asterisks *** are used to separate the title of each article from its author. In the same way, three asterisks *** will be used to separate articles to make using your browser’s search feature easier. If any of you have screen readers that make searching difficult or undoable with asterisks, please let us know not only that, but also if three number signs ### would be easier. If you are a screen reader user for whom neither symbol works, please let us know what works best, and we’ll do our best to accommodate.
In columns like Special Notices, Readers’ Forum, and Recipes from Karen Crowder, letters of the alphabet—A, B, C, etc.—are used to separate items.
1. HEALTH MATTERS: Benefits of Low-Fat Milk, Mushrooms, and Exercise *** by Leonore H. Dvorkin
2. COMMENTARY AFTERMATH: The Thin Yellow Line *** by James R. Campbell
3. A WORD ABOUT SPORTS: Baseball’s Blackest Week Since 1920 *** by Don Wardlow
4. WEATHER OR NOT: When Blockbuster Lows Get Blocked by Highs *** by Steve Roberts
5. READERS’ FORUM
6. THREE MISTAKES ON LEAVE IT TO BEAVER *** by Bob Branco
7. SPECIAL NOTICES
8. THE HANDLER’S CORNER: Living and Working with Guide Dogs *** by Ann Chiappetta, M.S.
9. RECIPE COLUMN *** by Karen Crowder
10. MARCY’S SCHMOOZE TINNIH
by Marcy Segelman
11. CONSUMER VISION TRIVIA CONTEST
1. HEALTH MATTERS: Benefits of Low-Fat Milk, Mushrooms, and Exercise
by Leonore H. Dvorkin
Leonore welcomes comments on any of her articles.
A. Drinking 1% rather than 2% milk accounts for 4.5 years of less aging in adults
(Source: EurekAlert, 1/15/20. From the University of California - Riverside)
Summary line: High-fat milk consumption is connected with significantly shorter telomeres.
A new study shows that drinking low-fat milk, both nonfat and 1% milk, is significantly associated with less aging in adults. The results were from a study on 5,834 U.S. adults by Brigham Young University exercise professor Larry Tucker, PhD.
Telomeres are the nucleotide endcaps of human chromosomes. They act like a biological clock. They are correlated with age; each time a cell replicates, a human loses a tiny bit of the endcaps. The older people get, the shorter their telomeres. It appears that the more high-fat milk people drink, the shorter their telomeres are. In the study, for every 1% increase in milk fat consumed (for example, drinking 2% vs. 1% milk), telomeres were 69 base pairs shorter in the adults studied, which translated into more than four years in additional biological aging. Those consuming whole milk had telomeres that were a striking 145 base pairs shorter than non-fat milk drinkers. Surprisingly, Dr. Tucker found that those who drank no milk also had shorter telomeres than adults who consumed low-fat milk.
The bottom line: Dr. Tucker says his findings support the current Dietary Guidelines for Adults (2015-2020), which encourage adults to consume low-fat milk, both nonfat milk and 1% milk, rather than whole milk.
A personal note: After reading this article, my husband and I switched from 2% to 1% milk. We buy organic milk from Costco.
B. Eating mushrooms may help lower prostate cancer risk
(Source: EurekAlert, 9/5/19)
A total of 36,499 Japanese men were followed for a median of 13.2 years. Of the participants, 3.3% developed prostate cancer. Compared with those who consumed mushrooms less than once a week, those who consumed mushrooms once or twice a week had an 8% lower risk of prostate cancer, and those who consumed them three or more times a week had a 17% lower risk. Information on mushroom species was not collected.
C. Numerous additional benefits of mushrooms
Search online for the benefits of mushrooms, and you’ll find multiple lists of them. I consulted a few such lists. According to them, mushrooms can do all of the following:
- Reduce inflammation, especially shitake mushrooms.
- Lower both cholesterol and blood pressure.
- Improve bone health and heart health.
- Boost the immune system.
- Provide vitamin D, which is not easy to get from food unless it is fortified.
- Aid in weight loss.
- Improve the health of skin and nails.
- Boost iron levels.
- There is some evidence, at least in rodent experiments, that mushrooms promote nerve growth in the brain. Thus the hope is that they might possibly help prevent Alzheimer’s.
- They are a good food choice for diabetics, as they are quite low in carbohydrates.
All types of mushrooms are good for you. My husband and I mainly eat the common white button mushrooms, both canned and fresh, with the latter lightly cooked. We enjoy more exotic types of mushrooms when we eat out at various Asian restaurants.
We are also enjoying dried and seasoned shitake mushrooms, which are crunchy and delicious, ready to be eaten right out of the bag. The company that produces the ones we buy at Costco is The Snak Yard (spelled S n a k). A one-third cup serving of these dried mushrooms provides 120 calories, just 8 grams of fat, and just 8 grams of carbohydrates. It also provides 7 grams of fiber. According to the diabetes management class I took, you can subtract the fiber grams from the carbohydrate grams in a given food, so that leaves only 1 gram of carbs per serving, making these a very good snack for diabetics.
D. Summary of a long article called “The New Science of Exercise,” TIME Magazine, September 12 and September 19, 2016 (a double issue).
While this article is not new, it is so comprehensive and impressive that I want to summarize parts of it for you here.
- Now there is proof that exercise works almost like a miracle drug. It can be used as medicine for even the sickest patients. It is the most effective way to improve the quality and duration of life.
- Proven benefits of exercise include slower aging at the cellular level, better mood and stress release, less chronic pain, stronger vision, more resistance to fatigue, stronger bones, and faster wound healing.
- Only 20% of Americans get the recommended 150 minutes of strength and cardiovascular physical activity per week. (You need both types of exercise.)
- People with low physical activity are at higher risk for cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and early death by any cause.
- Childhood obesity rates have climbed every year since 1999.
- Nearly half of U.S. high school students don’t have a weekly PE class, and only 15% of elementary schools require PE at least three times a week.
- For cardiovascular training: Walking has the lowest quit rate of any type of exercise. Cycling at any intensity improves mood. Running improves sleep and makes bones stronger. Even just 5-10 minutes of running per day is linked to a longer life.
- For strength training: Yoga improves strength and mindfulness and reduces stress. Weight training of any type builds muscle and strengthens bones; lifting lighter weights for high repetitions improves bone health in key parts of the body, which is good news for older people. Tai chi strengthens the back, abdominals, and lower body.
- Longer, less intense workouts and shorter, more intense ones seem to be equally beneficial.
- These things count, too: Heavy gardening, taking the stairs, fidgeting, singing, laughing, doing housework, standing more, and sitting less.
A personal note: My husband and I lift weights, walk, and use an exercise bike and a treadmill. We are delighted to know about all these benefits of exercise.
About the Author
Leonore Dvorkin and her husband, David Dvorkin, live in Denver, Colorado. They are the authors of a total of 33 published books, both fiction and nonfiction. Twenty-nine of the books are by David. His most recent book is a short, nonfiction account of his years at NASA, where he worked on Apollo 11 and four other Apollo missions. The title is When We Landed on the Moon: A Memoir. The book is for sale in e-book and print formats. Full details and buying links are here: http://www.dvorkin.com/moonland/
Leonore and David edit this newsletter, and Leonore regularly contributes to it. Besides writing, she teaches German and Spanish in her home. That’s where she also teaches exercise classes, mainly weight training. She’s been teaching those classes since 1976, and in 1977, she won a state-wide award from the YWCA for her program.
Since 2009, David and Leonore have been running DLD Books Editing and Self-Publishing Services. In that time, they have edited more than 80 books for more than 50 clients, most of whom are blind or visually impaired. The books are sold in e-book and print formats by Amazon and multiple other online booksellers.
The most recent book they edited is Insight Out: One Blind Woman’s View of Her Life, by Mary Hiland. This eloquent, informative book is mainly about the unusually active life the author has lived, but it also contains information on how (and how not) to interact with a person with a guide dog, new technology for the blind, and moving tributes to several strong women in the author’s life. The text includes several photos. Those are in black and white in the print book, but most are in color in the e-book. Go here for full information, including buying links: https://www.dldbooks.com/maryhiland/
David and Leonore invite you to visit any of their websites for more details.
David’s website: http://www.dvorkin.com/
Leonore’s website: http://www.leonoredvorkin.com/
DLD Books Editing and Self-Publishing Services: http://www.dldbooks.com/
Note: David and Leonore are currently accepting new editing projects for 2020. The books are edited on a first-come, first-served basis. They request that you kindly read the details on the DLD Books website before contacting them regarding an editing project, as the information there answers multiple common questions regarding their services and self-publishing in general.
2. COMMENTARY AFTERMATH: The Thin Yellow Line
by James R. Campbell
Thirty-four years ago, a national tragedy unfolded at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
On launch pad #39a, the space shuttle Challenger was preparing for takeoff with seven astronauts on board, including Christa McAuliffe of Concord, New Hampshire. She was the teacher picked by President Reagan to fulfill a pledge he made in 1984.
The world waited with great anticipation on that cold morning for what should have been a successful liftoff. It wasn’t to be. The shuttle exploded 73 seconds after launch. In an instant, a wave of collective grief swept the nation. That grief turned to anger when it was disclosed that NASA had been advised to postpone the launch due to ice on the O rings on the rocket boosters. The ice damaged the rings that were designed to seal the booster, causing the fatal cataclysm that was the end result.
After the disaster, news coverage was nonstop for days. From the time of the explosion until the funerals for the fallen souls aboard the ill-fated mission, the world was bombarded with a continual stream of reporting, which at times became repetitive. One of the worst mistakes made by reporters during this time was the pressure that was placed on McAuliffe’s students at Concord High. In the rush to get the scoop, the press subjected the students to more stress than they needed, especially at the time. One girl sobbed openly in front of 40 cameras that were present.
That was 1986. In the past 34 years, things haven’t improved—in fact, quite the contrary. Often, when a big name celebrity dies, their passing receives an undue degree of coverage. There are many others who don’t get the space they deserve.
In 2016, Sul Ross student ZuZu Verk disappeared from the campus in Alpine, Texas. Her story received a great deal of publicity. It was all anyone talked about and prayed about. A $200,000 reward was offered for information that led to her whereabouts. Her body was discovered on February 3, 2017.
At the same time, a nurse went missing in San Antonio. She had ties to Odessa, and many in the community wanted to know why she wasn’t making the front page. I called the reporter who was working the story and was informed that there wasn’t enough information available to present on the newscast. Did anybody raise money to help find the missing nurse? Not to my knowledge. I would have, more than gladly, if I had known how to go about it!
When used for good, the news can be of great benefit. In times of natural disaster, it spurs people to help those in need. In times of national emergency, it stokes the fires of patriotism and self-sacrifice for the greater good.
Many journalists have crossed the thin yellow line. The news today is filled with political posturing on behalf of widening the divisions in this nation rather than presenting the facts. A growing majority, including my chatline friends, wonder what we aren’t hearing that is of more importance than the impeachment trial. When the Iranians attacked our bases in Iraq recently, many, including me, cited this very incident as a prime example of what I just wrote about. It seems that the job of journalism today is to bombard us with extraneous information in order to distract us from the most vital stories of the day. This is how dictators control people in countries such as Iran and Venezuela. There are a few good networks –– Fox News, One America News Network, and Newsmax TV –– that try their best to uphold patriotism and the values that Aunt Sue’s family holds dear. I applaud those networks, and encourage other news outlets to follow in their hallowed footsteps.
As always, the opinions expressed are those of the author, James R. Campbell. I cannot speak for anyone else.
Thanks for your time.
With loving kindness,
James R. Campbell
3. A WORD ABOUT SPORTS: Baseball’s Blackest Week Since 1920
by Don Wardlow
The frozen month of January isn’t usually the time to talk about baseball. However, in the week of January 13–17, the sport garnered enough bad publicity for the phrase “Storm of the Century” to fit.
Following recent events, I’ve felt sicker with every revelation of corruption in the game to which I gave the best years of my life. When the eight Black Sox were exposed in late 1920, Babe Ruth wrote that he felt as if his church had sold out. While he considered himself a Catholic, baseball was the Bambino’s true religion, as it is for so many millions today. I’m one of them, and I feel the way the Babe did as I write this.
Former Astros’ pitcher Mike Fiers blew the lid off the scandal of the Astros’ cheating this past November. Fiers, a pitcher with two no-hitters under his belt, made it clear that the Astros had resorted to high-tech cheating as early as 2017, when he still pitched there.
Ironically, his first no-no came against the Astros back in 2015. His second was this past season with Oakland, his present employer. In this case, instead of Woodward and Bernstein of Watergate fame, the star journalists were Ken Rosenthal (best known for TV appearances on
Fox) and Evan Drelic. Their subscription-only website, “The Athletic,” told their subscribers how the Astros used a video camera in center field to steal signs. This happened to be the 2017 season when the Astros (by foul means, we know now) kept the Yankees out of the World Series and beat the Dodgers in seven. That was enough to get the snowball rolling downhill, no matter that the story didn’t come out of a national newspaper. A glorified blog actually broke a vital story. Soon enough, it became apparent that the Red Sox didn’t come by their 108 wins in 2018 entirely by honest means.
The investigation resulted in punishments we heard about earlier this week. As an organization, the Astros were fined $5 million and docked four draft picks—first and second rounders in 2020 and 2021. Two key figures with the Astros, A. J. Hinch (their manager) and their general manager, Jeff Luno, were first suspended for a year by MLB, then fired by Houston. Should they find work in baseball again, one more violation of this sort will get them barred from the game for life, à la Pete Rose and Shoeless Joe Jackson. Alex Cora, Boston’s 2018 manager, was the next casualty. He had been Hinch’s bench coach and right-hand man in 2017 before taking the Boston job. The slowest team to act was, predictably, the Mets. It took almost three days for them to rid themselves of their proposed manager, Carlos Beltran. While the bulk of his career had been spent with the Mets, Beltran had put in two stints in Houston, the last in 2017, where he was something of an elder statesman. As I see it, the Mets had to lose him because people in leadership positions have to be above suspicion, which Beltran couldn’t be now.
I have taken issue with the Astros going back to 2015, when one of the radio sponsors was a gun store. While that may still be acceptable in Texas, those ads went out around the world on the internet. As of this writing, the gun store is no longer a sponsor. Obviously, I had no clue about the sign stealing in 2017.
In 2018, the Astros committed a reprehensible act by employing Roberto Osuna. Women’s groups protested the hiring of a domestic abuser, and were not only ignored but made fun of by a Houston official. Assistant general manager Brandon Taubman, in the presence of several women reporters, had the gall to say “I’m so --- glad we got Osuna! Thank God we got
Osuna!” Taubman has since lost his job for an outburst that puts me in mind of the NFL. Football gladly embraces the likes of Ray Rice, who decked his wife in an elevator. They’re just glad he’s not another Aaron Hernandez, Ray Lewis Rey Carruth, or O.J. Simpson.
Nothing else the Astros did comes near being as bad as the high-tech sign stealing. Like the gambling that tempted eight White Sox a hundred years ago, this cuts right to the heart of the game, making fans wonder about the integrity of the sport. ESPN’s Jessica Mendoza had the nerve to say Fiers was wrong to let the world know about the sign stealing. She has tried to backpedal since the original statement came out, but like John Rocker, Curt Schilling, and others right up to President Trump who have spoken first and thought later, she’s finding out that you can’t unring the bell. She may get a longer leash because she’s far better looking than the others aforementioned, but the bottom line is she said entirely the wrong thing.
Woodward and Bernstein did what needed doing in order to bring down a president almost 50 years ago. With the help of Mike Fiers, reporters Rosenthal and Drelic set the wheels in motion that hopefully will bring the world a more honest game in 2020.
On an even darker, unrelated issue, R.I.P Kobe Bryant, the Lakers’ basketball star who was killed in a helicopter crash on January 26. One of his daughters was also lost in the catastrophe.
4. WEATHER OR NOT: When Blockbuster Lows Get Blocked by Highs
by Steve Roberts
Blocking Highs and Blockbuster Lows
Most nor’easters are fast-moving storms. A typical nor’easter will take 6-12 hours to move through any given point along its path. A nor’easter that hangs around for 15 hours is either a slow-moving storm or a storm of great size. A storm that hangs around for 24 hours or longer has stalled out, in all likelihood.
A nor’easter will stall when it has been blocked by high pressure to its north. When a storm stalls due to blocking high pressure, that low can hang around for hours or days. This period of stall-out can add greatly to the amount of snow a given nor’easter can produce.
Let’s say that a progressively moving nor’easter was going to deposit 12-20” of snow in the places along its path. If that storm stalled for just 12 hours’ time, it could deposit 20-30” of snow in the areas hardest hit. Should that storm stall for 24-30 hours, then its deposit of snow could be on the order of 30” or more. Such circumstances have resulted in the production of 30-50” of snow in the past.
This circumstance is called high over low blocking. Another outgrowth of high over low blocking is high winds. A fierce nor’easter can produce winds of 50-60 mph simply as a function of its internal dynamics. If that nor’easter gets blocked by high pressure, its winds can easily increase to hurricane force. This is due to the fact that there is a strong pressure gradient (a contrast) between the blocking high and the stationary low.
If it’s too warm to support snow, then the storm that’s being blocked will produce a wind-swept, soaking rain. If it’s cold enough to support snow, then our stationary storm will produce a raging blizzard with lots of wind and snow.
Future Standoffs in the Atmosphere
Over the last decade or so, there has been a great increase in high-latitude ridging. These ridges are becoming bigger, stronger, and more blocking. These high-latitude ridges are causing Atlantic hurricanes to move more slowly.
One of the outgrowths of high-latitude ridging is high over low blocking. Scientists say we’re seeing more high over low blocking around the Northern Hemisphere. The Weather Channel’s Carl Parker says, “We are seeing a lot more storms being blocked by anomalously strong high pressure areas.” As these highs become bigger and stronger, they will block storms for longer periods of time.
Over the last 10 years, the waters of the western North Atlantic have warmed to a truly great extent. These warmer waters will infuse the nor’easters that form out over them with more heat and moisture. The infusion of heat and moisture will cause these storms to have lower pressure, higher winds, and greater precipitation productivity. There are many studies that conclude that climate change will result in stronger nor’easters.
These diametrically opposed circumstances of climate change may be set on a dangerous collision course. Over the next couple of decades, we will see increasingly powerful storms getting blocked by increasingly strong areas of high pressure. With the abutment of increasingly intense highs and lows come increasingly violent winds. During the next 20 years, the northeastern United States will see a string of severe blizzards that stall due to persistent blocking high pressure. These storms will produce lots of snow that gets blown into massive drifts. If you think the Superstorm of ‘93 was bad, wait until you see what is coming in the next 20 years.
About the Author
Steven P. Roberts is the author of the nonfiction book The Whys and Whats of Weather, C 2014, which is available in e-book and print. The e-book is text-to-speech enabled. For full details, see https://www.dldbooks.com/stevenproberts/
5. READERS’ FORUM
A. Most magazines for the blind have discontinued or never included a penpal ads section, so I am writing to suggest that one be added to your magazine. Back in the old days, during the time of The Matilda Ziegler Magazine, many people made great, long-lasting friendships through becoming penpals with other magazine subscribers.
There is more than one benefit of finding a penpal through a magazine, because the chances are that, unlike social media, it is much safer, easier, and less complicated to look to write to someone who enjoys it as much, with the same intentions of being penpals.
Many people also choose to write in alternative formats, and that can help someone practice or help someone with their braille, learn other things, or even meet the penpal at some point.
This can serve as a great example to the younger generation. It’s important for them to realize that braille brings more than one benefit and is also used for fun.
B. What influences people to buy certain e-books?
Submitted by Leonore Dvorkin, Editor, DLD Books Editing and Self-Publishing Services
This is logical but still fascinating. Research reveals that consumers don't simply rely on other peoples' opinions in book reviews, but use a combination of reviews and previews when purchasing e-books. The purchase likelihood escalates to 31% when consumers have easy access to both reviews of a book and a preview of the text. By contrast, when exposed to either previews only or online reviews only, purchase likelihood is between 7 and 17%.
Here is the link to the original article.
On its book-buying site, Amazon provides both readers’ reviews (if there are any) and a “Look inside” feature for reading a short portion of the text.
Good news for clients of DLD Books: We provide all our authors with book-related Web pages (which we call websites for simplicity). On those pages, there are handy buying links to all the places where the authors’ books are being sold: Amazon, Smashwords, and several other sites. There is also a “Preview” link that will take the reader right to a good-sized text sample of the book in which the reader is interested.
We are happy to know there is research that supports what we had long assumed to be true: that the more information one can quickly obtain about a prospective book purchase, the better.
6. THREE MISTAKES ON LEAVE IT TO BEAVER
by Bob Branco
I am probably one of the biggest Leave it to Beaver fans in the world. I have listened to every episode many times. Amy and I still watch it today. If you watch Leave it to Beaver nearly as much as I do, then you may have discovered three mistakes that the writers made.
First, Gilbert had three last names. In the first episode that Gilbert was in, he was introduced as Gilbert Gates. In following episodes, he was known as Gilbert Bates. When Beaver and Gilbert were in middle school, their male teacher called Gilbert Mr. Harrison.
The second mistake was about Beaver’s tonsils. In the episode in Season 3 when Beaver had a pet monkey, he said that his tonsils were taken out. In Season 4, there was an episode where Beaver was disappointed that the doctor didn’t want to take out his tonsils.
Finally, the writers made a mistake with Fred Rutherford’s wife. In Season 1, her name was Geraldine. During the rest of the series, her name was Gwendolyn.
Did any of you catch these mistakes?
A note from Leonore Dvorkin: Such mistakes are called continuity errors. They are made with embarrassing frequency in both TV programs and movies. They can be visual as well as in the dialog. Examples are having the props or an actor’s hair or clothing be different in some way in two parts of what is supposed to be the same scene. Some such errors can be very amusing. We once saw a movie in which the actor’s clothes were dirty in one moment, then miraculously clean in the next, all while he was supposed to be running from the people chasing him. Wow, talk about a speedy dry cleaning service that he somehow accessed! :-)
7. SPECIAL NOTICES
If you use a Perkins brailler or maintain them and want to join a Facebook support group for that, you can look it up as “Perkins braillers support” or click the link below and open the “join group” button.
8. THE HANDLER’S CORNER: Living and Working with Guide Dogs
by Ann Chiappetta, M.S.
Winter is here, and with the cold comes a doggie-infused behavior that I will describe. I hope it will also bring a smile.
The subject is zoomies, specifically snow zoomies. Yes, readers, dogs naturally do many silly things, and from what I’ve read, a burst of zoomies is both fun to watch and purposeful. One canine behavioral specialist commented that a zoomie burst can be caused by pent-up energy combined with excitement and even expressions of happiness and joy. In fact, it is not associated with negative feelings. Perhaps this is the reason why the feeling rubs off on us, making us feel playful, too.
Zoomies in the snow transcend regular ones, though, as is apparent by the extra twinkle in the eye, the jump to catch snowflakes, and digging. There is snorfling, a combination of inserting the snout and face into the snow hole, sniffing and then blowing the air out to produce a puff of snow, and rolling like a pig in a wallow. Then there is the zoomie burst itself, the open mouth, lolling tongue, and the scoot-like turning, what I call pivoting, quick and sometimes resulting in multiple 360s and 180s performed so fast it makes it hard to keep track. I think of this as a dog’s equivalent of triple toe loops in figure skating. The Hamill Camel has nothing on a dog when it’s time for zooming.
Here’s to the joy and positive energy given to us by our devoted canines. See you on the pages.
Ann Chiappetta lives in New Rochelle, N.Y. with her husband and animals. For more about Ann, go to www.annchiappetta.com or follow her blog: www.thought-wheel.com
Ann’s nonfiction is available in print and e-book from multiple online sellers, including Amazon, Smashwords, and Barnes and Noble. The e-books are text-to-speech enabled. Two of her books, Upwelling: Poems and Follow Your Dog: A Story of Love and Trust, are available on audible.com.
Her book-related website, with full details of all her books, is https://www.dldbooks.com/annchiappetta/ .
Note: Her fourth book, a collection of short stories, will be released sometime this month (February 2020). Details about it will appear in the March issue of The Consumer Vision.
9. RECIPE COLUMN
by Karen Crowder
February arrives with longer days and shorter nights. However, in the Northeast and Midwest, it is often the stormiest month of the winter. People flock to the Caribbean, Florida, or the Bahamas by cruise ship or plane. Summer-like days and nights are a wonderful break from cold, stormy weather. In stores, online, and in catalogs, spring apparel has shoppers anticipating warmer days.
There are three special days in February: Valentine’s Day on Friday, February 14; President’s Day on Monday, February 17; and Ash Wednesday on February 26.
I have three delicious recipes for you this month.
A. Homemade Clam Chowder
B. Super Bowl Veggie Dip
C. Easy Shortbread Cookies
A. Homemade Clam Chowder
On Sunday evening, December 29, 2019, my friend Jenny and I decided to make clam chowder from scratch. Due to the addition of heavy cream, this chowder was delicious.
Six tablespoons butter
Four tablespoons all-purpose flour
One and three-fourths cup whole milk
One-half cup heavy cream
Pinches of curry powder, salt, and chives
Two Maine or Yukon Gold potatoes
Two or three pearl onions or one-half medium onion
One or two six-ounce cans minced clams.
1. Melt butter in a three-quart saucepan or double boiler. After five minutes, add flour. Blend with a wire whisk for 60 seconds on low heat. Add milk and stir with whisk until lumps of flour and butter disappear.
2. Stir sauce infrequently for 25-30 minutes.
3. While sauce is cooking, put two tablespoons butter in a smaller saucepan. After two minutes, add already peeled and minced onions. Cook onions on low heat for 10 minutes. Cut potatoes into small pieces and put into glass bowl. Add them to onion-butter mixture. Let vegetables sauté on low heat for 15 minutes.
4. Add one and one-fourth cup water to vegetables and let them cook for 25 minutes, adding clam juice.
5. Immediately after sauce has thickened, add heavy cream and clams. Stir ingredients and simmer for 10 minutes and add vegetable mixture. Stir chowder with a plastic or metal stirring spoon. Let chowder simmer until serving time.
Serve hot chowder with Ritz or oyster crackers. Accompany chowder with hot rolls, cornbread, or corn muffins. The addition of heavy cream accents the seafood, vegetables, and spices.
B. Super Bowl Veggie Dip
This recipe is easy to prepare any time of year. It takes only minutes to make, and I promise it will disappear during a Super Bowl party. You can also serve it if you are having guests for President’s Day weekend. It has been a hit at cookouts and holiday gatherings.
One container Cabot or other brand vegetarian dip
Two 16-ounce containers full-fat sour cream
Pinches of garlic powder and curry powder
Handfuls of dried chives and optional dried minced onion
A little Worcestershire sauce.
In a large mixing bowl, stir vegetarian dip, sour cream, spices, optional onion, and Worcestershire sauce for two minutes. Put dip in a large, airtight container and refrigerate for an hour or longer.
Serve dip with crackers, Fritos, chips, or vegetables. If you are having a large crowd, double the recipe.
I made this dip on Christmas Eve day. It was delicious.
C. Easy Shortbread Cookies
A friend gave me this recipe during the holidays. I tried it twice, and the cookies were a hit with everyone.
Two sticks butter, no substitution
One-half cup sugar
One and two-thirds cup flour,
A pinch of salt
One-fourth teaspoon vanilla.
1. Soften butter in large mixing bowl for 30 minutes. Add sugar and blend with clean hands.
2. Add flour, salt, and vanilla. Blend with hands until there is no flour on the bottom or sides of the bowl.
3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
4. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper. Shape small balls of dough and put each one on a cookie sheet. Flatten them and prick each cookie with a fork.
5. Bake cookies for 24 minutes. After twelve minutes, put the top cookie sheet on the door of the oven. Put the bottom cookie sheet on the top rack. Put the other cookie sheet on the bottom rack.
6. After 11 minutes, when the time is up, turn off the oven. Immediately take cookie sheets from the oven and put them on the counter. Sprinkle them lightly with powdered sugar and turn them over. Store them in an airtight container. Makes approximately 50-60 cookies.
These are simply delicious, and the buttery taste really stands out. This makes a simple dessert paired with any flavor ice cream on Valentine’s Day.
I hope all Consumer Vision readers have enjoyed the beginning of 2020. Although life seems difficult with all the controversies, God blesses us with kind people and unexpected surprises.
Let us hope and pray for a united and happier America.
10. MARCY’S SCHMOOZE TINNIH
by Marcy Segelman
I hope the start of the New Year is going well for you. A lot of you know that I lost my dog, Molly. She passed on December 14. It is a big adjustment. I do plan on getting another dog, but I’m not sure when. It’s been a month as I’m writing this, and it seems like yesterday.
My niece Tovah and her husband had me come to see their new home. So off to New Jersey I went. It was the middle of Chanukah. It was really fun to go be with family and Tovah’s in-laws.
Tovah picked me up from the airport. She loaded my luggage in the car, and then we went for a small bite and food and shopping for the Shabbat (Sabbath) dinner. On Shabbat we let go of work, school, and other stress, and then we start the new week.
We made dinner together. They had friends over for dinner as well. It was a typical Friday night Shabbat dinner: chicken with vegetables. We did the Sabbath tradition of lighting the candles, cutting the challah, and saying the blessings over the wine.
After dinner, we went to Friday night services at the Temple that Tovah and Carl belong to, and I met many of their friends and their cantor. I was very taken by the warmth and by the sanctuary. I was impressed by there being a ramp to the bimah (the elevated platform at the front) as well as guard rails. After the service, we were invited to a Kiddush, a kind of coffee and food hour after the church service. I was introduced to many people. I will say that when you go from your Temple to one in a different state, it’s like home. I felt very at ease.
We picked up Carl’s niece and nephew for the day in New York City. We went to see the Rockefeller Christmas tree. We walked along the all streets. The store fronts were so pretty and lively. In Boston years ago it was like this, when we had Jordan Marsh, Filene’s Basement, and Raymond’s department stores. It had been a long time since I was in New York City.
After looking at the tree, we went to Greenwich Village to skate. Rather, Carl, Rocky, and Claire did. Tovah and I watched and walked around all the different tents. It was great. We also had hot drinks. The kids had hot chocolate. The guy torched Rocky’s hot chocolate; that was cool.
We went to a Japanese restaurant called the Ninja Restaurant. It made me think of the school in Harry Potter or the old courtyard of lower school at Perkins. This place was set up like a dungeon. We got in an elevator and went down to the bottom. When we got out, we had to walk a bit down some steps; I had my cane, so I felt confident that I wouldn’t trip or fall. It was like walking through a haunted house. I think the adults had just as much fun as the kids. There was a magic show. A magician came around to all the tables, and we had a grand time with the magician.
The food was great. Each of us ordered something different, and we shared. I ordered a hot and spicy dish that was excellent. All the food came on fire. The drinks were also on fire and gave off white steam. It was like being in science lab again. It was the most fun I’ve had in years.
We all went for a walk, and Carl found an old-time toy store. We looked around. Tovah and Carl bought a game that we played when we got home. It was crazy but fun.
Unfortunately, New York City is not very blind-friendly. There are no sound effects of any kind for you to cross a street. I was crossing with Tovah and people just bumped into me; a biker almost crashed into us. Yes, you can get this in Boston, but it’s not as rough. I did walk the crowded streets with ease. I guess that’s due to my experience with the crowds at Fenway Park and all the other crowded places I go.
The next day, we had a slow morning. We did some things but mostly just hung out till later, when we want to Carl’s sister’s house for the party. Rocky and Clair got settled, and we got ready for the party. I was told it was going to be a big crowd; some people I might know, and others I might not. I met more people and relatives. There was a present swap among the families. They are a big family that likes to talk. You almost need a card to figure out who is who and what is what. That’s the beauty of this kind of thing. Either a large party or a small one can be good, but I say big is more fun.
The food was super good as well. They say that in New York on Christmas, Jews eat Chinese food. That’s what we did. It was kosher. There was no pork or anything like that, but there was a lot of variety.
11. CONSUMER VISION TRIVIA CONTEST
Here is the answer to the trivia question submitted in the January Consumer Vision. The comedian who did a routine about introducing tobacco to civilization was Bob Newhart. Congratulations to the following winners:
Roanna Bacchus of Oviedo, Florida
Jan Colby of Brockton, Massachusetts
And now, here is your trivia question for the February Consumer Vision. Name the four remaining soap operas on daytime network television. If you know the answer, please email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 508-994-4972.