Recipe Books for Veggies


This is going to be a cross-over post!  It’s about books but the subject is generalised, so I’ve put it here.

I just spent several minutes writing a review of a very disappointing book that I thought was about food and cooking it.  You know the kind of book – I think they’re called recipe books.  This one was nothing but an exercise in yet more lecturing on what I should be eating – never mind what I want to eat!  Here we find a surfeit of information thrust at us, about Organic food and GM food and a bunch of other books that might, I guess, actually contain some recipes (each volume needing to be purchased to supplement this free tome).  Okay, so there’s then a fairly in-depth analysis of 81 foodstuffs – oh, sorry, that should be Superfoods!  Yes, indeed. In-depth.  But hold on a minute!  I don’t actually want any such detail.  All I want is a reasonable notion of what’s good with what and what’s not.  This smacks of sitting with your meal set before you, with each item on your plate carrying a little flag stuck into it with full nutritional information on it!  To be blunt:  I don’t care!  Seriously.  I’ve been Veggie for over 40 years.  That’s more years than some of these people have lived for.

Now let me address the question of actual Veggie recipe books.  They are simply stuffed full of every possible concoction that excludes meat, though hang on a minute!  Some are clearly not Veggie because they contain fish, poultry, seafood and various other dead animals.  Now, when I became a Veggie, it was to stop eating dead animals.  But some of these books are ‘Fad Veggie’ offerings.  They aren’t Veggie at all, they’re books that contain recipes which exclude certain foodstuffs.  That’s all.

Do you know what I’d really like to see?  A Veggie recipe book that’s genuinely Veggie and caters for all tastes.  For every recipe containing some ‘sophisticated’ foodstuff, there should be a good, plain recipe with basic staples.  Down through the decades, I’ve been told to expand my choices by embracing food items that have become very popular with Veggies and Vegans.  To be fair, I’ve tried some of them.  After being made to feel absolutely wretched as a result, I’m informed that they are ‘an acquired taste’.  So, I should persist with eating something I detest until I get used to the taste?  Why?  Some have absolutely vile textures, some it’s the taste.  Why would I abandon the foodstuffs I like for these?  And why can’t I ask for recipes that use good old things like potatoes, cheese, baked beans, canned tomatoes, canned peas, and so on?  Why must I accept sweet potatoes and aubergines (apparently the two Veggie staple ingredients) and a host of vegetables and fruits I can’t even pronounce the names of?  Why do I have to have exotic meals?  And why-oh-why does virtually every other recipe have to include some kind of pasta?  Potatoes are a great staple carbohydrate-based food.  They’re also very adaptable.  Even rice is a great staple.  Then there are pies and puddings.  If I wanted principally Italian cuisine, surely I’d look for it?  (Yes, I know other nations had pasta variants, such as some kinds of Oriental noodles.)  I can’t help but feel that writers of recipe books are just interested in repeating the same recipes, maybe adding a customising dash of something.  Where’s the tradition, or the invention?  What was wrong with that big, steaming pudding crammed with goodness that our forebears enjoyed with great relish?

Here, I deviate just a little.  Our food is being constantly adjusted to make it ‘healthy’.  Things are taken out, others are added, to stop us poisoning our bodies.  This is good, that’s bad.  Until tomorrow when that’s reversed.  Food like bread and canned items last for far less time, and are less pleasant to eat.  Why?  Because the very things that acted to keep them good to eat have been removed!  For instance, salt is removed at every opportunity – and we wonder when people suffer cramp –  so special, expensive drinks are made to help – drinks full of magical ‘electrolytes’, i.e. salts and sugar.  And sugar, which is converted by our bodies into glucose, is something that must, at all costs, be avoided – except that’s most powerfully enforced against children, despite the fact that the brain (a rather useful part of the body) needs glucose to stay healthy and effective!  So what do we do?  Why, we seek a ‘brain food’ and decide on things like fish oils, especially Omega 3.  Of course, it makes everything smell and taste of fish, but that’s a small price to pay, surely?  Assuming, of course, that it feeds the brain in exactly the same way as glucose does.  Given the wealth of information the experts have gathered on food, and the vast number of dangers associated with eating, it’s amazing that the Human Race even exists!  It is truly staggering that we didn’t eat ourselves into extinction.

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Imagine it, if you will:  “We can prove, statistically, that the humble olive was the indisputable cause of the downfall of the ancient Etruscans, who had made it a vital part of their diet.   What?  Well, yes, others have done the same, but there are doubtless unknown factors involved which negate the toxic properties of the olive.  No, we don’t accept the research by XYZ Inc.  Their research is definitely suspect, being based on purely chemical tests without any reference to strict statistical analyses.  Sample sizes?  Oh, yes, well our average sample size is some 1500 sets of Etruscan remains.  Pardon?  Of course we didn’t survey living Etruscans!  There are none.  That’s the whole point.  Well, yes, we did hear that the Government are backing the olive producers and suggesting that our research is questionable.  However, a strict statistical analysis of members of the Government reveals that they have a vested interest in the olive industry, with numerous relatives working directly or indirectly for that industry……” [18 months later…]  “The recent acquisition of FStatView by XYZ Inc has opened previously sealed files to public scrutiny.  It is now known that the ‘Olive Issue’ report, which has seen olive production reduced to just a few dozen plantations worldwide, was fatally flawed and that certain funding grants from General RapeSeed Pty reveal a bias against the olive, especially the oil produced from it.  It is the view of analysts within XYZ Inc that it will require enormous investment in land and planting to begin to put right what XYZ asserted from the beginning – that the olive is both desirable as a food item and actually necessary for the health of all citizens.  Many thousands of ancient plantations were lost in the aftermath of governmental decrees against the growing of olives.  Now, we would like to call your attention to our most recent research findings, demonstrating that rice is one of the greatest threats to public health ever known…”

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Respect


I experienced a flashback yesterday evening.  Weird, but there it is.  It happened. It set in train a period of thought.  When we were out and about a few years ago, I was very impressed with Youth.  Youth kindly opened doors, stepped aside, apologised when they didn’t need to but thought they may have been an obstacle.  Why?  Because I was in a wheelchair and, as I could more easily then, propelling myself.  During these numerous demonstrations of courtesy and compassion, I witnessed a pair of elderly women (I refuse to say ‘ladies’) push past two Youths, who were making way for me.  These women thrust between the Youths and one’s hefty bag banged heavily into my wheelchair (setting off a burst of pain – no apology was forthcoming!).  As they passed, I heard one say to the other: “These kids have got no respect for their elders!” and her companion agreed, so that they maintained their complaining conversation until they were out of earshot.  The two Youths were blushing furiously but said not one word.  I thanked them very sincerely.

I have grown up with people banging on about the need to “respect your elders”.  In childhood, and into early adulthood, I even accepted the concept without thought.  Now, I have to say that it is wrong.  Utterly wrong!  Age doesn’t earn any right to be respected – deeds and behaviour do!  I honestly believe this.  If you want respect, behave accordingly.  Be a role model.  Be courteous and considerate.  Be compassionate and understanding.  Demonstrate that you haven’t wasted decades of Life, learning nothing about how to behave with other people.  Most importantly of all, don’t ask for respect while you exhibit prejudice!  Too often, people who should know better make assumptions about others.  Youth is careless and troublesome.  Kids are noisy and far too prone to dashing about.  Anybody younger is rude and a nuisance that we have no choice but to suffer.  Really?  Those three concepts are so faulty, they barely need counterarguments!  Youth reacts instantly to the attitudes and behaviour encountered.  If you’re rude or suspicious of Youth – expect it to be returned – in spades!  Kids are just that!  Below a certain age they race about, they forget ‘please’ and ‘thank you’, every mission is urgent.  Yet you’ll find they can be polite, caring and, above all, loving.  But there world is moving so very fast – they have to run at full speed to keep up!  As for the more generalised third statement, that’s patently untrue.  People are people.  You’ll encounter good and bad, friendly and unfriendly – but in no greater diversity than in your own age group!

Am I feeling cruel for targeting the elderly?  No.  Why?  Because I don’t believe that respect is a right for anybody!  Wealth, power, celebrity or any other false ‘special’ status – none of these deserve any more respect than the guy who sleeps in a cardboard box in a public park and talks to himself and his invisible friends.  Many of those who demand or expect respect will walk by a hurt woman, or fail to help somebody being attacked, but the man in the box may well come to the rescue!  There’s no telling who will demonstrate true Worthiness!

You want respect?  Be respectful!  You want courtesy?  Be courteous.  Stop looking at people as items in a group – they are individuals and cannot be catalogued by age, gender, Race, or any other false label.

 

Beating The Evil Ones!


Hi all!

Those of you who follow me on Facebook (yes, I am involved with the Demon Portal!) may have seen an announcement I made there today, in the guise of a ‘status update’.  For those who didn’t, I shall repeat it, in a little bit more detail.

Those of you who know me fairly well will know that I am passionate about security on the internet.  I detest those characters who have made it their (very sad) life’s mission to make the internet not only unpleasant but potentially lethal to our computers.  Indeed, I consider it entirely feasible that these people could cause even more damage to individuals.  For example, denying a housebound person their one window on the world, forcing them into a downward spiral of depression culminating in an early demise.  In another possible scenario, a person of frail condition, discovering that the computer they don’t understand has been utterly trashed by a virus could, potentially, at the moment of discovery suffer a coronary, leading, again, to an early death.  Extreme?  Perhaps, but not beyond the bounds of possibility!  I don’t, therefore, care how mentally ill these people may be, there can never be any excuse for their behaviour!

I, along with the rest of the internet community, have been guilty of permitting these vile individuals the (dubious) honour of possessing special terms, denoting their own specialised sphere of activity.  The names ‘Spammer’, ‘Troll’, ‘Hacker’, ‘Black Hat’ and the like litter websites from here to the vanishing point.  Worse, these sick people actually glory in their designations, and form communities… on the internet!  This is an affront to us all.  But how have we handled it?  We continue to use the terms, or we fall back on ‘the bad guys’.  To me, ‘the bad guys’ includes those unhappy people who drag you down into their own sorry worlds of depression, bigotry, hate, and other purely unpleasant natures.

This morning, in  a moment of sheer inspiration, arising from a a comment that elicited a (then) joking remark from myself, I made a discovery.  I could use a totally new term.  A collective term for the worst of the worst, but excluding those people who are simply unlikeable.  It sums up the destructive nature of my target groups while denying them any specialisation acknowledgement.  I also happen to think it’s very descriptive of their nature, and worth.

So, what is this new term?  It is, quite simply: the termites of the internet!  If you feel so moved, please, feel free to use this term whenever you wish to mention any, or all, of the destructive element who plague our lives in this virtual world!

Bragging Rights!


Yep, you read that right!  I’m exercising a father’s right to brag – about my kids!  Again LOL!  Well, two of them, anyway.  I’ve had no real news from Damien, so I can’t mention anything for him, unfortunately.

Reuben 20min sketch - rearing horse Take a look at this incredible ‘sketch’ drawn by Reuben, in just 20 minutes!  His partner, Dawn, is so proud of him, too, that she posted this on Facebook.  In fact, she’s taken to posting his sketches quite often, lately, since his return to art.  Sorry it’s not a ‘cleaner’ image bur it’s a photo’ and not a scan.  You can click on the thumbnail to see a larger image.

Apart from these sketches, Reuben’s making excellent progress with my book cover!  He drew two sketches and I have chosen which one he’s to work up into a colour piece.  I’ve pointed out to him that, if he does as good a job as I believe him capable of, then he could well find that other authors may be interested in him creating book covers, or even illustrations, for them too.  From what I’ve seen online, it could be a very useful supplement to his income.  When the next book is ready, I will be conducting my first ever ‘Cover Reveal’ for one of my own works.

l-plate-printable-template

Meanwhile, in a small town some 25 miles away, Emma is taking driving lessons, and doing very well too!  Conscious of some of the contortions expected of drivers, many of which they’ll never employ in real driving, I’ve advised her to make sure that she tells driving instructors and, eventually, the examiner, that she suffers from Fibromyalgia and that restricts her flexibility significantly.  Hopefully, that will make driving a more comfortable experience for her.  It would be a huge boon to her whole family if she passed her test.  It would reduce the fatigue she suffers from walking and open up their options for family outings.

No family related post would be complete without mention of Jenny!  She has been busy crafting, making blackwork cross-stitch pieces, as well as lovely little colour pieces, for various people’s birthdays, along with ,making their birthday cards.  She’s also making other things, like cots and highchairs out of card, using templates.  It always sounds so easy, when you say that a template is used.  Believe me!  It’s not!  The templates are good, but getting the job done right and looking good demands considerable skill, including choosing the right materials and embellishments.

And, in the immortal words of Elmer Fudd…. “That’s all folks!”

Shamed and Delighted


Shamed

Well now, what a time I’ve been having!  First, I suffered shame!  I, who have often warned of the many perils of the internet, got caught out!  I’m on LinkedIn, where I have spent a great deal of effort increasing my network of fellow authors, and others involved in the book business.  When I received a message from a contact asking me to rate them on their ‘online business card’, I naturally obliged.  More, I participated in the scheme.  It was an apparently buggy site, but I thought nothing of that – there are, after all, plenty of those around!  Part of the process is for the site to send a message to all your LinkedIn contacts, which it did.  That was about eleven or twelve days ago.   It was with considerable surprise, therefore, that I was alerted to the fact that the whole thing was a Spam/Phishing site, through a friend.  It seems that she received an invitation to rate me – on 1st May!  That was well after the original day.  Naturally, I immediately changed my password and scanned my computer.  Fortunately, nothing nasty got through my security!  Still, I’m ashamed that I was not more careful, as I normally am.

Delighted

This morning, around noon, there was a considerable clatter at our letterbox, followed by an enormous thump of something hitting the floor.  Upon investigation, I discovered a brown card mailing package.  Sitting down, I opened the package with some anticipation.  In the process, I discovered that the sealant used is rather unpleasant – adhering to the fingers with tenacity, coated in thin layers of the card.  Well, once I had successfully penetrated this sticky seal and the card unfolded, I revealed one of those things I’ve been waiting for with excitement: a paperback copy of my novelette Shade of Evil.

It may be difficult for some to understand, but this was a very special moment in my life.  Here, after many decades of desiring it, was one of my very own books – in real life!  The glossy cover, the beautifully printed text, the texture of the cream coloured paper.  It was almost overwhelming!  I’ve got the ebook copies, of course, but this was entirely different.  I read a few passages and made a discovery: somehow, the words no longer seemed to belong to me!  It seemed, to me, as if I had cut the final binds between myself and my work.  This book represents the fact that it now belongs to the world!

I didn’t retain possession of it for long.  In fact, I was only able to fondle it for about an hour.  Jenny took it with her, back to work, to show her colleague!

Disgusted and Furious! Update


I am happy to say that Imagineer-ing is back!  I received the following from WordPress.com:

Hi there,

Thank you for getting in touch.

Your site was flagged by our automated anti-spam controls. We have reviewed your site and have removed the suspension notice.

We greatly apologize for this error and any inconvenience it may have caused.

No comment….

 

Disgusted and Furious!


I really thought that this month could only get better.  I was wrong!

I fired up my PC this morning to discover that my Imagineer-ing blog has been deactivated!  No warning, no questions.  Just switched off!  And for what reason?  You can be confident of one thing:

I have not violated any terms of service!

So, just as things on that score, i.e. writing and publishing, are looking good – the whole world just comes tumbling down!  Sure, I know – that’s over dramatic.  To be honest, it’s exactly how I feel, though.  Going through a change in meds, involving the withdrawal of some potent stuff and inadequate replacement with new potent stuff, and therefore meaning my pain levels have gone somewhere beyond Jupiter for today and the next two days, at least.   Like many these days, finances have dried up and that has one significant consequence – no cigarettes – and yes, I know many will think “Good!” but, I really don’t need the withdrawal symptoms from that too!  And, an admitted codeine addict – I was ‘cold turkey’ for over a day and a half because I ran out of tablets.  So yes.  I feel extremely put upon!

Now, I’m pretty certain that WordPress.com don’t have people checking every single one of their hundreds of thousands of blogs.  Conclusion?  Somebody reported mine.  For what, though?  I make no money through the blog!  Yes, there are links to places where people can buy books, but the majority are not my books, nor do I receive any consideration for advertising the works of others.  I have been meticulous about making it very clear that I do not want anything in return – not even reciprocal links!  Perhaps, on the surface, it might appear somewhat commercialised, but the fact is that until this week, it wasn’t even that!  And it has only been so this week because of my health issues – during which time I allowed scheduled posts to take over – posts in which I had little to do.

The only other possibility is that WordPress.com are going to come knocking on every blogger’s door.  Or rather, changing the locks while they’re not looking.  Why?  Could it be a drive to increase income?  “Go Pro” or “Get our experts to do a ‘guided data transfer’” – both fiendishly expensive!  I really hope that’s not the case.

I have, of course, appealed.  I was ungentle, I admit.  I’m afraid that, while generally not overly temperamental, when I do get angry, then “fury” is a severe understatement!

Now, in theory, I could do one of three things:

  1. Start from scratch, using a new blog host, like (shuddering uncontrollably) blogspot – and I really don’t have the energy for that.
  2. Purchase a domain and web hosting, install WordPress.org, and plough through, reconstructing the blog as best I can – see conclusion to 1.

     

  3. Same as 2. but also paying for WordPress.com for the privilege of recovering all my hard work!

The problem with both 2. and 3. is: cost!  Quite simply I can’t afford to take up either option!

Final conclusion?  I am being penalised for not having money in any significant quantity, and without any consideration for the years of loyalty I have shown to WordPress.com!  And there was also no consideration on their part as to the consequences of their extremely high-handed methods!

I wonder whether this post will lead to further unhappy consequences?

What a mixed month!


April has turned into a really mixed month.  While the writing is generally going well, and a paperback edition of one of my novelettes almost here, other things have been less good.

A recurrence of pancreatitis to contend with at the end of March, early April, things on the health front were definitely not looking good at all.  The pancreatitis subsided again, but other things surfaced.  Most significant was the increasing level of chronic deep muscle pain in both thighs, making it impossible to get comfortable.  My doctor increased the dosage of one of my meds, which had a very limited benefit.  Within a few days, it was back to the same.  So, still no going out!  Well, no going out until today.  Time to see the doctor again.

Travelling across town is sheer torture, with all the damaged roads and road humps.  I also ran out of codeine more than a day ago, so no support from that.  I wasn’t in a very good state by the time we got there.  Still, the doctor made a quick decision.  He has changed my meds, which will mean 3-6 days of being very uncomfortable, but then we’re hoping for a significant improvement.  I’d keep my fingers crossed, but they’d probably get stuck like it!

The future of Jenny being able to cope with me, as my sole carer, has also been put in doubt.  The doctor suspects that she is developing arthritis.  It’s a big blow and now I worry about her, especially when she has to cope with getting my wheelchair in and out of the car, and things like that.  It can’t be helping her condition!

***

A remote control for the Sky+ satellite TV ser...Last night, I had cause to pause a movie on TV.  When I got back, the Sky box refused to play the movie!  More, it refused to do anything!!  Well, that’s to say, it refused to do anything expected of it.  Instead, it proceeded to alter settings on the TV display.  Now, the picture is entirely the wrong size and shape for the TV and we’re missing bits all around – not good when watching cricket and the current info’ is only half visible.  I’ve tried everything to restore things, to no avail, and I can’t find the TV remote, which has the controls I need.  In a word: frustration!

***

If I’m quiet over the next few days, here, on Imagineer-ing, and elsewhere, do remember that I’ll be trying to cope with the meds change.  Fortunately, I have two or three posts scheduled already for Imaginer-ing, so they’ll appear on cue.  I’m afraid I don’t have any advance posts set up here.

Have a good April and remember to make the most of every day!

Monday Mumblings


Another Monday – do they never end?  Every time I start to get into the swing of it being the weekend, I find out it’s Monday and I’ve missed the break!  I feel cheated every week.

Now, I know I’m fairly well housebound so it really shouldn’t matter what the day is, but the fact is that I like having Jenny home instead of working.  It’s not exactly helped that she has weird weekends.  One week she gets Saturday and Sunday off, but the next she only gets Sunday.  The fact that she also gets the Tuesday after the 2 day weekend off really doesn’t create what could be termed balance.

And this past weekend was a 1 day weekend.

There’s a feature of the 1 day weekend.  Normally, we go to visit our daughter, who lives around 25 miles away, using country roads.  That means we get to see her, the two granddaughters she’s given us and sometimes her partner, and maybe his eldest daughter.  It’s only fortnightly.  Unfortunately, the roads are so atrocious that when I’m at my worst (in health terms), I simply can’t take the punishment they inflict on me.  And that’s happened two times running, now.

Not that it would be any easier if she lived closer.  Both our sons live in the same town as us, and the roads in the town are either full of pot-holes or have road humps every few yards – some have both in abundance!  The rate at which my pain levels rise going even a short distance is ridiculous.  Jenny has dreamt of getting a local councillor in the car, with sharp rocks attached to their backs and thighs and taking them for a pleasant little tour of the town.  It would help them start to get the picture.

But there, Life’s like that and us mere mortals have no control over any of it.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch…

If you follow my other blog, Imagineer-ing, you’ll know that I’ve been very busy writing and blogging about reading and writing.  That’s why the knitting seized up.  Or, rather, the knitting seized up because I had hand problems and the writing surfaced instead.  Writing is also my first love, as an activity, together with reading.  I was writing novels when I was 13!  Life has blocked it at times, but the desire to write has never really gone away.  So, when I had to take a break from crafts, it was natural that writing take over.

Now, you may wonder that I can write but I can’t do crafts.  Both, after all, require a fair degree of finger use.  I can’t deny that, and yes, it really was finger problems that stopped the crafting.  Quite simply, writing using a computer has some major benefits!  There’s spell-check, for one thing.  My hands tremble anywhere from a subtle shiver up to major tremors that should register on the Richter Scale!  hitting the right keys on the keyboard can be challenging, to say the least.  But, unlike with physical crafts, a computer allows me to fix the errors!  Well, most of them, anyway.  And it’s a relatively painless process.  Then, too, all I need to write is the computer and my imagination.  I don’t need books, patterns, tons of materials.  It’s the most compact activity I can think of.

What’s really nice about writing is that you can share even more with others.  I started out publishing short story ebooks that could be downloaded free (and still can) and then recently progressed up to novelettes (longer than short stories but shorter than novellas – about the thickness of many small press poetry publications but usually with a lot more words!) that I sell at the lowest price I can – $0.99USD or the equivalent (excluding any local taxes like VAT).  And it’s truly gratifying that I have even had some sales!  Now I’m starting the process for publishing two of the novelettes as actual paperback books, which is exciting, though time consuming and much slower than publishing ebooks.  Of course, the paperbacks will cost more than the ebooks.  I’ve got no control over that.  Even so, it’s a thrilling time!

***

Well, I’ve bored you all for long enough, for now.  I’ll be back with more tedium for you to digest…

 

Wow! OMG and all that!


It’s been so long since I posted here!  I feel terribly guilty.  I have to admit that I’ve done no knitting and only a little cross-stitch.  I spent a fair while beading and making jewellery but have returned to my first love: writing!  I apologise to everybody for not being more active here, but I kept leaving it because I done nothing new and… well, time flies.

If you’re interested, I have a very active blog on various subjects around writing, called Imagineer-ing.  You would be very welcome to visit me there too!  It might even be fun.

I can’t promise that I’ll be busy with the needles again soon, I’m afraid.  I would love to be able to do everything I love, but it’s just not possible.

I do have a thought… I might turn this into a general blog, with all manner of subjects that reflect my life, such as it is.  I’ve no idea if anybody would find that interesting, of course.  I’d be delighted to hear your views on the idea!

All the best,

Steve