Sunday, November 28, 2010

Grown Up Kids Playing With Food

It is funny how our minds linger around food even two days after Thanksgiving. I remember the famous saying "too many cooks spoil the broth" wondering if it could be any farther from the truth. Both of our sons always playaround with the leftover turkey. I let them because they are being resourceful and also because that gives me a break. Their creations are usually hearty and healthy sandwiches or stir fry cubed turkey that we could eat with rice. Even to this day when our son comes home from Hawaii, he shops for ingredients and makes dishes from scratch. We discover new methods and enjoy the food even more. Last week he emailed me saying that he made "Palak Munir". He was being funny, but we do have a dish called"Palak Panir" that is made from spinach (Palak) and Ricotta cheese (Panir). I have always substituted Ricotta cheese with American cheese. He was not satisfied with the idea. He not only used Ricotta cheese, but made the Ricotta cheese at home, using cheese cloth and lemon to break milk. It was amazing how making Ricotta from scratch can make the dish taste even more delicate. So let them try new things. They may seem like a handful at five or six years of age but that is the only way they will be innovative and creative. After all Toll House Cookies were a result of an experiment.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Day After Thanksgiving Lip Smacking

Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving has become synonymous with slumber parties by the door fronts of stores and by craziness of early shoppers. Why not? A lot of good deals and a lot of presents taken care of. A lot of people forget that Friday is a working day for a lot of people. One such group of people is traffic and parking regulation officers. So a lot of big city shoppers end up paying in traffic tickets because they think that this is a weekend day or a holiday and parking regulations do not apply. Those of us who are careful in parking may end up getting a ticket because inspection date had passed. I personally do not care for Black Friday shopping. I rather spend the whole weekend catching up talking with my family. Our children would spend the weekend reminiscing with their school friends. Some people like to go for walks and some like to play games to burn the extra calories. Playing basketball at Fort McNair in Washington DC and ended up getting twelve stitches on his lip, the President reminded me of the time when our son got stitches by his eyebrow playing tennis on the fourth of July. We were suppose to join him at  family picnic that the college had arranged for summer scholars.

On The House

Looking back at the years when we had our all our children at home, I remember that goodies we made on Thanksgiving were delicious and delectable. Now that our boys are away, they may or may not come home, our menus have been trimmed to fewer items. It is not that I have cut my budget or time, but that we have been eating healthier. Yesterday I made my apple, pineapple, and raisin pie without the brand name graham cracker pie crust. The filling was exactly the one I have been making for years but without the special crust. It was not appealing to my husband. Although recently he has been throwing away the crust of any store bought pies. He says that he likes to see the firm crust (with hydrogenated or saturated fat mixed in the dough.) My argument is that why buy fattening food when you know that you will be throwing away parts of it? I think that it is a bad practice. We do not want to promote sales of unhealthy food and also it is a waste of money. So, I have decided that all healthy food is on the house. Any unhealthy food is not coming from our food budget.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Coming Home

Kids grow up. They move out to be independent. They need to prove to themselves and others that they are self sufficient and self reliant. They may or may not come home very often but Thanksgiving is one time everyone wants to go home. They want to go home to their rooms they had when they were growing up. Go in the attic and look at old toys. Be a kid again. What if they cannot come home? There could be a number of reasons. One reason could be working abroad. Today one of the radio station announcer accidentally mentioned Windsor England as she was reporting weather and temperature of our local towns in New York. She then promptly apologized and then they played the next song. Right after the song she announced the temperature of Windsor England. It so happened that one of our old time New York residents listens to this radio station in England on the internet and she called right away and gave the temperature. Now I think that is as cute as coming home for Thanksgiving. They then decided or suggested that they can have her as a correspondent for the Royal Wedding. I am not so sure if they were serious.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Giving Thanks

Yesterday our living room was full of chuckles and baby talk. I was chasing our eighteen months old grandson around the  kitchen wall and he would laugh teasing me when I said "You got me" or "Got you!" Meanwhile my five year old grandson was playing super mario bothers on his DS with our daughter and being poised and serious and having fun at the same time. I would not know who was winning but I know that that time was priceless. Watching my daughter come down to her nephew's level being a friend and an aunt at the same time. Cuter than the kids were their parents when they made sure that their kids would eat before they did. Driving three hours with two kids after a long week to see their parents tells me that the world is in good hands. I am not worried about what kind of adults today's kids will turn out to be, because my five year old grandson was holding the door for his grandfather for about ten minutes while he was taking his time to come. Yesterday was no less than a Holiday.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

America the beautiful, smoke free someday?

Tomorrow is my sisterin-law's birthday. I suggested that my brother give her a gift of a promise, a promise to quit smoking. A long time ago he started smoking. I regret not being there in my parents' house when he got this nasty habit. A good looking young man, got a job as a model and a distributor of handing cigarette samples to young people. What a horrible job. Yet he took it and nobody stopped him? I was already in England at that time. I came to know about his smoking when he was well into the habit for about four or  five years. Still he could have quit, but he did not. This made me realize what a bad addiction it has been. Today he is retired. His kids are devastated because they know that smoking has claimed so many lives.
Today is the Great Smoke Out of 2010. Let us make it a point not only to help people stop smoking but also to deter people from starting. May be it will take another century or even over a century, before there will be no smokers at around, because the tobacco industry is a business and businesses do not give in. It may seem like an uphill climb, a losing battle but if there is enough education and willpower and less peer pressure we can achieve our goal of helping everyone quit. This is a beautiful world and people should not have to die if they can help.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Turning in their graves ?

"It is what we do that makes us what we are." I heard this line a lot of times as I was growing up. In one of her lectures, our political science professor copied the same tone of voice as of our elders and said, "It is who we elect that make our government."  I love the concept of Democracy and it's promises. Before India became a Democracy there were small and big kingdoms. Most of the times princes and princesses who succeeded kings and queens were qualified in every way for the positions they inherited. A few times (as history recalls) certain princes were not qualified because of their indulgences. At such situations it was said that the king must be turning with discomfort in his grave.
Young people dance all the time. They find solace specially after being in trouble and getting hurt. I wonder why people do not give people a break. I think that there is no need for violence even if the target is a television. However seeing political candidates on television reality shows make me wonder about where this country is going.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Too Much Food Food or Too Little Water

"It is not as simple as that " said my husband when I asked him why people's kidneys give up.My daughter informed me that yesterday was the sixtieth (60th) anniversary of the kidney foundation. It is not a surprise that people donate money to do research on a disease when they lose their loved ones to that disease. The research helps to discover cures and treatments and helps improve on them. In India whenever we heard of some one dying from a kidney problem they would be often some one from labour sectors like rickshaw drivers or construction crew. They would just pass out and if lucky they will have time to go to the hospital and they would get saved. Sometimes rich people suffer from kidney problems and it is said that they eat too much protein and don't drink enough water. In America people are lucky in the sense that they have a system to work out match's information and people just wait for a donor. Then there is dialysis.
Natalie Cole who looks fabulous at sixty is lucky enough to get her match in kidney transplant. I hope that she is generous to the family of her donor, a mother who died in childbirth.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Space Stations and Helping Hands

Thanks to the television, we hear a lot of news about our skies, as well as the rest of the world. Last night, as we were watching the weather report, we came to know that the International Space Station was visible in New Windsor, NY, as well as some other parts of New York. The time for New Windsor was 6:29 PM. My daughter and I went outside quickly to look at the sky from the parking lot. Sure, it was visible. A semi-circular bright aircraft moving towards the moon, just like the weather man had said. It reminded me of the citrus candy that was divided in three sections. My husband laughed, because the Space Station usually looks silver and is not semi-circular. My daughter just saw a big bright flashing light.
As I was feeling low because of my aging and deteriorating eyes, I was wondering if Geoff Tabin would be noticed from the Space Station above. Whether he made to the seventh summit or not the Himalayan Cataract Project curing the blind he has worked with is no less than any Space Station or its projects both literally and/or metaphorically.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Celebrities, Money, and Helping Hands

It would be fair to say that Operation Smile brings out the best in people including celebrities. It would be an understatement to say that Operation Smile gives plastic surgeons an opportunity to work in precision with the art and science they have practised. Plastic surgeons who help kids through Operation Smile must be very generous. Why else would they work so hard to change lives at such a small cost when they could be minting money?
This is America. People have a right to be happy. As long as they are not doing anything illegal or hurting anyone, they can pay for whatever makes them happy. Born with natural beauty but unsatisfied with their own image some celebrities go for plastic surgery and pay an exuberant amount. When do they stop? Five six or even up to ten plastic surgeries? Sometimes the before picture is so much better than the after picture that you wonder if they have a low self-esteem or are they narcissist. Money can be spent on ones self in the pursuit of happiness but overlooking parents who are broke?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Kids, Celebrities and Smiles

In high school, as well as in college, we were told that there is always a balancing force in this world. Disasters happen so construction and maintenance sector gets jobs, accidents happen so auto body repair shops get work and some people even go on to say that sickness happens so medical and nursing professions can make a living. We were told that there is always a competition between good and bad. However my father always said that if we keep on doing good deeds, bad people will not have a chance. "Well, we will need a lot of super humans now won't we?" I used to ask.
"No, it is us humans who have to take the responsibilities of doing good. Those of us who are fortunate enough to spare money, time and energy should do our best and offer to share the bounties we have been given," he would say without a blink.
This past weekend, in Los Angeles, some young people, a few older people and the members of the cast of the TV show "Chuck" proved to be no less than super human,by having a fundraiser for Operation Smile,which helps change the lives of kids born with cleft palates. In exchange for donations for Operation Smile fans got to hang out with the cast. Everyone there was a perfect example of those who will keep trying to make others happy.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Tomorrow's Leaders, Today's Kids - - - - - - -Stereo typed ?

It has been over a week, my husband and I are still talking about the little goblins and ghosts that came to our door for candy. My husband thinks that it will take another thirty to forty years before today's kindergartners get to be tomorrow's leaders. I think that he is right. Meanwhile it would be a good idea to cultivate their creativity, their people's skills and their tolerance of everyone. Let them live their lives to their fullest, the lives they love,try and stretch their mind, step by step build their confidence,give feed backs promptly and if they fail in something tell them it is OK.
 So you are doing your best, what if some one else happens to be, umm -- prejudiced and smart face and hurts your kid's feelings ? The fact that some grown-up people make fun of a little boy for dressing up as a female cartoon character makes my fears very real.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Our Richest Citizens - - - - - - -in Costumes

One after another, groups of kids dressed up as different characters, baby animals, and even skeletons, ghosts, and goblins ringing our doorbell. Do they even realize at this stage in their lives how rich and powerful they are? As far as I am concerned, they are the richest people on this Earth. If they have a sense of courage that they can do anything and everything they want to, do not discourage them. Just tell them that as long as they are not hurting anyone or themselves, they are free to try almost everything and any line of work. I would think that these kids will make great leaders if we tell them that the most important requirement is honesty and not popularity.
Election day has come and gone. Hopefully in twenty years from now, it will not be so lifeless.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Grand Kids, Halloween, Candy and Sharing - - - - - - - - - -

It was like going back twenty some years, yesterday . One after an other, groups of kids coming and ringing our door bell. My daughter would not get a chance to even sit down for a minute. Every time she would call me to look at some of the kids my mind would start searching for familiar faces behind the masks. Then I would simply smile and tell the parents how cute their kids looked. I felt like telling them to enjoy their kids to the fullest, but who had the time. Everyone just wanted to go to as many doors as possible. As much as I find kids to be darlings, I cannot help thinking that their parents are just as cute. They thank you for giving their kids candy. Also when I give my grandkids toys, I notice that the parents are equally happy. They sit down and play with them like classmates. I almost feel guilty for not buying the same things for my kid. To that my grandson says that he will share his things with his Daddy!!!