Friday, August 28, 2015


I went looking for a picture of a Carolina Rice bag, and found
this nice picture.  Looks like it was a postcard.

Do you remember the radio jingle for Carolina Rice? I do. You must sing this in your head with a sultry female's Southern drawl:

I come from Carolina so pardon my drawl.
I’m here to mention long grain rice to y’all.
It makes rice fancy eating – tasty and so nice.
For quality and nourishment it’s Carolina Rice

There’s three ways to boil rice to make it worthwhile:
Pressure cooked, Southern, and Oriental style.
Serve it in a dozen ways, take my advice.
Nothing’s economical as Carolina Rice.

The jingle has been running around in my mind for weeks. Radio programs in the 50’s had regular sponsors, and that ad was played every morning while I was on my way to school in the limo – yes, a limousine – that the school district had hired to transport kids from our new Long Island development.

I still dream about that walk home from that school when, later on in my time there, I’d missed the bus home. Why did I miss the bus? I don’t remember, but in my dreams the walk seems like a trek across the Gobi Desert. In those days getting to and from school was my responsibility. Mothers didn’t drop everything to ferry their children to and fro as they do today.

I googled the route from school home: just two miles, but seemed like forever, especially since I had to pass the cemetery. I wasn’t really too scary for me because my best friend’s grandfather was the gravedigger there, but still.

What brought all this up a while ago was an item on the list of possible topics for community magazine issue for September: National Rice Month. I did write several other articles for that issue, so I may do up a “normal” essay on rice, especially the rice grown here in South Carolina, for next year’s magazine.

Meanwhile, I hope I’ve gotten the jingle off my mind for a while. 

Friday, August 21, 2015


I remember how they picked me up, a spindly kid,
Pinching and poking my thin ribs
Till I lay in their laps, laughing,
Weak as a whiffet;
    From Frau Bauman, Frau Schmidt, and Frau Schwartze, by Theodore Roethke

Definition of WHIFFET  :  a small, young, or unimportant person

It seems to me that there are no longer any whiffets, any “small, young, or unimportant” persons – especially the unimportant ones. The adage from the 1400’s that “children should be seen and not heard” has fallen by the wayside.
As soon as they are able to chip in with their two-cents-worth of opinion, today’s children speak right up. Not only do they speak right up, they talk back too. None of this “but Mom!” No, they have fully conceived arguments that they proceed to voice, not whining, but in an assertive and insistent tone. I’d like to smack the little buggers.


Friday, August 14, 2015



A thought-provoking meme came my way this week: Ten Things that Will Disappear. It goes on to say that they’ll disappear “in our lifetimes”, but I think this one was originated by someone very, very young. It predicts the demise of, among other things, the post office, the check, the newspaper, and the land-line telephone. Well, that one went out years ago at our house.


Of the several things that really bear discussion, the one that concerns me most, in both senses of the word, is The Book. Fewer and fewer books are printed these days because ebooks are becoming more and more popular. This is what the meme says:
 “You say you will never give up the physical book that you hold in your hand and turn the literal pages. I said the same thing about downloading music from iTunes. I wanted my hard copy CD. But I quickly changed my mind when I discovered that I could get albums for half the price without ever leaving home to get the latest music. The same thing will happen with books. You can browse a bookstore online and even read a preview chapter before you buy. And the price is less than half that of a real book. And think of the convenience! Once you start flicking your fingers on the screen instead of the book, you find that you are lost in the story, can't wait to see what happens next, and you forget that you're holding a gadget instead of a book.”


Yes, this has to have been written by someone very, very young, and someone who, it seems to me, has had limited exposure to books and culture in general. Playing devil’s advocate here, I’d say the meme author was correct as far as most current fiction and other books that come out in paperback editions. The author was trying to condense the idea into a brief paragraph. To me, the paragraph misses something.


There will always be a market for the beautiful books: the coffee table books, the art, architecture and photography books, the luscious cook books, the oversized children’s books, the special editions and the specially bound books. So: I doubt the news of the demise of the book “within our lifetime”, as the meme declared. William Morris, founder of the Kelmscott Press, would be rolling in his grave. In the future, I’m fairly sure we’ll see many boutique book publishers join the ranks of boutique suppliers of items from craft beers to recreations of historical cuisines.


The people at Penguin Books, yes, those folks who gave us some of the first inexpensive paperbacks, have morphed a bit into printing some extraordinary books. Look at these: Penguin Drop Caps, Outside the Lines, and Deluxe Editions. This publisher, among several others, will insure that wonderful books will be printed.

Just before I was ready to post this piece to my blog, I came upon this article from the BBC “Did technology kill the book or give it new life” The article bears out my own ideas. See that?

If nothing else, books are beautiful and, even though their information can be digitized, they hold the wisdom and knowledge of our history in the forms contemporaneous with the writings: books handwritten or machine printed, scrolls, and tablets (from where did you think they borrowed that word for an e-book?). Books are part of what makes humans civilized. Books will always be – just be.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015


At the time I write this I have about five tabs open on line. I’ve got ideas, and the research into them, going for books of all kinds, tomato tartes, and now, doing some investigating of special books, I’ve come upon the fact that 2016 is the 100th anniversary of Robert Frost’s poem The Road Not Taken. Penguin Books is issuing a special edition of the poem. It will be issued on August 18th. You may want to pre-order it from Amazon – I just did.  

Early this morning I was worrying about my lack of inventory of written pieces for my blog. Weekly or otherwise, my next available post was the poem I want to feature on September 1st. I went to see which one it was – and yes, it was, and still will be, The Road Not Taken, the one I always name if someone asks me which poem is my favorite.

Who’d a thunk it? Two posts in one day. Rejoice!


Your want to know what to make for supper tonight? That wonderful blogger and chef extraordinaire, Sam Hoffer, up in North Carolina at My Carolina Kitchen, writes today about her visits to the weekly market at St.-Remy-de-Provence, and the wonderful classic Proven├žal Tomato Tarte to be made from luscious, fresh tomatoes.

I've been making a version of this tarte since I first read about it about twelve years ago on French-Word-a-Day, Kristin Espinasse's wonderful blog. My recipe has evolved over the years, to the point where I now make my own crust. Lately, later than my blog post about it in June, I've even left off the mustard, making the tarte using only sliced Swiss cheese, sliced tomatoes, salt, pepper and olive oil. It's a recipe in progress, and one you can do in any version to suit your own tastes and the ingredients you have on hand.

I was delighted to see all Sam Hoffer's pictures of the St. Remy market. I haven't been there in years. One picture to add to her album is this one I took years ago. After we had stopped in a restaurant for lunch, we came out to find the market over and the clean-up in progress.

Friday, August 7, 2015


To Fellow Connoisseurs of Fine Whines
I hear your whine and raise you one. I posted a whining blurb back in 2012. With a few updates for the changes over the years, we are still whining.

I do empathize! Whining is what Frank and I seem to do quite a bit of these days. If it isn’t the crazy weather all over the world - and aren’t we glad we don’t live in California! - it’s next year’s elections which are beginning to bug us. Already sixteen candidates for the Republican Party nomination? Good luck to them all. It will be a long, expensive process, and last night's debate was an exercise in futility. 

Seems like the TV ads have multiplied exponentially, while the quality of the TV fare has suffered. We’re also still whining about the increased cost of living, the unbelievable things our kids are doing or the dumb things other people do, and the lack of a good New York hard roll.

       What are they thinking?
              What are they thinking?
                      What are they thinking?
                             What are they thinking?

Not that we know all the answers – far from it! – but in our old age we do enjoy a commiserating whine. It keeps the conversation flowing.

Sunday, August 2, 2015


I don't know what constitutes "official" these days, buy last Friday I was emailed the word that today, August 2nd, has been proclaimed (proclaimed, no less!) as National Coloring Book Day. I read in the History of the day, that it was submitted by Dover Publications. They’d be the ones to submit the suggestion because they publish countless coloring books. Many, like their stickers and paper dolls, are designed just for them.

I love to color. I even have my own huge box of crayons. I wrote this in a blog I posted in June of 2011: 
My earliest, favorite, happiest association with color, and perhaps yours too, was with a box of crayons – Crayola, naturally.  Just the smell of a box of crayons today brings back all sorts of memories, especially the times when my first grade teacher chose me to help give out the crayons for art period. I am still the proud owner of my own 48 count box of Crayolas. I say “my own” because I keep another, well used box of crayons for my grandchildren.  Heaven forbid they touch my box!  

Every once in a while I find something to color, and I go right to it. Dover has some free coloring book samples here for National Coloring Book Day. Of course, you know, I’ve already downloaded and printed s few pages.

Dover, the purveyor (another good ‘p’ word) of marvelous, inexpensive, reprints. In fact, when I lived not far from their place in Mineola on Long Island, I could go there and browse to my heart’s content – but that was thirty years or so ago. They are the place to go to browse on line for great children’s gifts or great gifts for children. They have coloring and puzzle books, gift sets, stickers, craft books, and, of course, nicely reprinted classic books. Go to and see the great variety of publications, from Art to Women’s Studies, to be had there. Is this a plug for Dover? You bet it is!  Don’t just sit there – go color!

National Coloring Book Day is celebrated annually on August 2.  Coloring and coloring books have always been popular with children, but over the years adults have gotten more and more involved with coloring.  Adult coloring is now a huge trend and many are finding that it is not only fun but also a great way to reduce stress.  Founded in 1941, Dover Publications led the way, releasing their first coloring book for adults, Antique Automobiles Coloring Book, in 1970. Dover now publishes Creative Haven®, a popular line of coloring books specially designed for adult colorists.
Find a coloring party near you or participate online.  Spend some time coloring with your friends, children or grandchildren or by yourself. Enjoy the creativity of making a picture come to life. Download the official National Coloring Book Day 2015 color page. Post your pictures on social media using #NationalColoringBookDay to encourage others to find the enjoyment in coloring.
National Coloring Book Day was submitted by Dover Publications in May 2015. The Registrar at National Day Calendar declared National Coloring Book Day to be observed annually on August 2.

This just in on August 12th:

Outside the Lines

An Artists’ Coloring Book for Giant Imaginations

Saturday, August 1, 2015


Last year, starting in August, I gave you each month's stanza of Maurice Sendak's Chicken Soup with Rice. The year has passed, so I decided to trot out some of my other favorite poems for you. I've loved this one since I was very, very young. It was always silly to me, the thought of an owl and a pussy cat in a boat, and a piggy-wig in the wood. The lilt of the poem is a delight to read and hear in your mind. I suppose it was in the spirit of the silliness of last year's poem that I picked this one to give you first. 

     The Owl and the Pussy-Cat

The Owl and the Pussy-cat went to sea
   In a beautiful pea-green boat,
They took some honey, and plenty of money,
   Wrapped up in a five-pound note.
The Owl looked up to the stars above,
   And sang to a small guitar,
"O lovely Pussy! O Pussy, my love,
    What a beautiful Pussy you are,
         You are,
         You are!
What a beautiful Pussy you are!"

Pussy said to the Owl, "You elegant fowl!
   How charmingly sweet you sing!
O let us be married! too long we have tarried:
   But what shall we do for a ring?"
They sailed away, for a year and a day,
   To the land where the Bong-Tree grows
And there in a wood a Piggy-wig stood
   With a ring at the end of his nose,
             His nose,
             His nose,
   With a ring at the end of his nose.

"Dear Pig, are you willing to sell for one shilling
   Your ring?" Said the Piggy, "I will."
So they took it away, and were married next day
   By the Turkey who lives on the hill.
They dined on mince, and slices of quince,
   Which they ate with a runcible spoon;   
And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand,
   They danced by the light of the moon,
             The moon,
             The moon,
They danced by the light of the moon.