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Articles in "Island Epicure"

My son Steven, home from years of teaching in Chinese Universities,when asked what  he would like for dinner, replied, “Not another stir-fry. That’s all we get in Zhengzhou.”

Don’t tell me there’s no global warming, Mr. Trump. We’ve already had some pretty hot days, and there are more to come. Our first winter in Washington after arriving  from Okinawa where the temp never goes below 50 degrees, here it snowed two feet.

Do you ever walk into a room and not remember why you went there? Open your refrigerator and find only that you can’t remember what you meant to get from it? Struggle to introduce a newcomer to someone you’ve known for years and suddenly come up blank on your old friend’s name?  Or be introduced to someone and within five minutes forget that person’s name?

Hurried day, too-full days, or lazy days call for ideas for quick, satisfying meals. Yet we want to give our families, and ourselves, healthy foods. Here are some ideas that work for us.

The colors and scents of spring and summer flowers cheer us, but not their pollen. Some us must cope with continual runny noses, bouts of sneezing , and sinus congestions when we combat those effects with antihistamine. I thank the good Lord and the highway department for eliminating most of the Island’s Scotch broom, but there’s still grass pollen, alder pollen, ragweed and many others.

Everybody I know seems to like chicken: the thrifty, because it’s a less expensive meat than most; the novice cook because the recipes range from simple to more complex as skill increases; the hurried because a skinless breast or boned thigh

I sort of remember last time saying something about a partial report from Arizona in need of completion. As it is, sort of remembering is kind of how it is these days, which I believe can at least partly be attributed to creeping old fartism, combined with a certain lack of urgency in many of my filing systems.

This week’s column features an Italian recipe for vegetarians and vegans, but anyone can enjoy it, even those who normally shun beans for fear of flatulence. The trick is to start a couple of days before you want to serve the delicious  dish. You start from scratch with dried beans that you soak overnight, drain,

For some reason we find ourselves this week somewhere outside of Phoenix, dodging wildfires and driving around looking at all the development, the already oversized freeways waiting to be clogged with newcomers, and wondering,

Some time ago I wrote a series of columns on which foods and herbs help people combat which ills. Now some readers have inquired what they can to remedy for their problems.  One of them asked what to do for fatigue. Besides recommending that she turn off TV and computer after supper, and to reduce the evening light level in her house, I suggested a little extra Vitamin Bl.

It will be a small family gathering that assembles at our house this Easter. The Oregon group of five is preoccupied with waiting for the newest member to be born, due the day after Easter, but not expected to have to wait quite that long.    

Long, long ago when Basque fishermen of Escadia, a province of northern Spain  first discovered the codfish-thronged undersea banks in the northwest Atlantic Ocean, they came home with their ships laden to the gunwales. Word soon spread to the fishermen of Genoa in northern Italy.

For the weeks until Easter, which will be Sunday, April 12 this  year, good Christians will be following a medieval pope’s command that everybody abstain from eating animal foods and stick to fish. “Fish” to me includes all seafoods. For the sake of variety, the French made  the escargot (snail) an honorary fish.

You can pretty much rely on salads to be low in carbohydrates unless like, my sister diabetic sister Gail used to, you think a fruit salad is not complete without a handful of mini-marshmallows. Note that marshmallows and other candies contain lots of sugar, the ingredient that the Glycemic Index puts at the top of their list of baddies, with its carbohydrate rated 100 percent. In other words, that’s all it contains. Eat sugar and any pains you’ve been having  feel  worse.

Diabetes recently surged to the top of nutrition writer Brad Lemley’s list of his readers’ main health concerns. It’s no news that overweight, the “standard American diet” and even the American Diabetes Association’s diet, ostensibly designed to prevent or remedy diabetes, pre-diabetes, and/or an overweight problem--well, it does not.  It makes no mention of reducing carbohydrates.

Though I’m writing this in January, You’ll be reading it in the sweetheart month, February. Everything’s already coming hearts. My grandson, James, did the grocery shopping for me, and brought home something not on the list I gave him. It was half a beef heart, just under eight ounces of super-lean meat, once I’d trimmed off the hard fat on the outside.

Garlic and shiitake mushrooms are reputed to be the champs at warding off the flu and at  relieving flu symptoms if you’ve already got them. (Mash garlic and sliver soaked shiitaki caps; add to chicken soup.) Also antiviral are basil, oregano,  elderberry, lemon balm, ginger and peppermint. Cinnamon and cloves are antibacterial and antiviral.

People these winter days are either fighting off a cold or the flu, shopping for cold remedies, turning up the heat, or looking back at all those not very healthy Christmas goodies and vowing to restrain themselves in the future as they gargle sore throats and blow their noses. It’s time for grandma’s cold remedy: warming, energizing, flavorful chicken soup!

On Christmas morning seven of the of the eleven people who came for dinner and gift giving on Christmas Eve will be here for breakfast. What could I serve them with the least effort, yet achieve the expected gourmet touch?

Nobody wants to have to cope with pain in December with all there is to do to get ready for Christmas, or at any other time, really. Two herbal remedies will take the edge off it:  ginger and devil’s claw. Just stir ½ teaspoon of powdered ginger into a cup of herb tea or green tea and sip it

Cooking the traditional centerpiece of a Thanksgiving meal is easy; the directions come with the bird. But what do you do with the leftover carcass? There’s a lot of good meat on it, well worth the time to cut off that meat and transform it into a big pot pie, or a casserole.

A chilly, gray drizzly, depressing day cheers right up with a cup of hot chocolate. It gets even better when you stir it with a cinnamon stick. Chocolate chips are great snack food. I keep a ramekin filled with assorted nuts and chocolate chips on the kitchen counter.

It is said that people who eat fish at least once a week lose their memories 10% more slowly than people who avoid fish, and that people who eat seafood twice a week lose their memories 13% more slowly than people who never eat seafood.

A lean chunk of pasture-raised beef not so much roasted but larded with garlic slivers and rubbed with herbs of your choice, then given fever therapy in slow oven produces a true beef eater’s delight.