By the end of last week, I was mostly back to normal, but here are two things that perplex me:
- I have a massive sugar addiction.
- I think Lou Who has a peanut allergy.
Regarding the first thing, I have such bad withdrawal symptoms if I try to just completely stop eating sugar that I’ve yet to make concentrated efforts to completely stop. I can go all morning if I need to. But then I get kind of grouchy and cranky and stuff. So I have a cookie (or two, or ten).
The solution that has worked in the past is to just stop making sweets that go into the freezer, because it’s too easy for me to run out there and grab cookies. I need to make them, take them somewhere, and make sure they don’t come back home with me. And then I’m fine. If it’s not here, I stop feeling like I have to eat it, and the withdrawal symptoms are almost nil. Interesting.
So, that being said, this week’s church potluck is getting a lot of cookies from yours truly, because there are a lot of cookies in the freezer at the moment.
As for the second thing, I have to let the rash around her mouth clear up first and then eat some peanuts again just to make sure it is indeed the peanuts and not something else. I’m bummed because peanut butter-jam sandwiches are about the best thing in the world, and I really just don’t like almond butter. It’s like tasteless paste in my mouth. Bleh. I like the crunchy, chunky, salty flavour/texture of peanut butter. So, I have to keep reminding myself: it could be worse. It could be gluten. I’ll either have to start salting my almond butter or try some other alternatives.
At any rate, it’s time for another LITERARY POST. It should have gone up last week, but I was just too stressed and didn’t have time to prepare it, so here it is today instead.
I was a huge Boxcar Children fan as a child. I read all of the 19 books in the original series, but many of the later ones I only read once. The first 6 or so were my favourites; they seemed to start repeating themselves more and more as the series went on (burning question: did Henry ever make it through college?) My all-time favourites were easily the first book, Mike’s Mystery, The Woodshed Mystery, Mountain Top Mystery, and Snowbound Mystery. I had a stuffed dog I named Jessie and always thought, “What FUN it would be to live in a BOXCAR and have to be INGENIOUSLY CREATIVE.”
No, the irony has not been lost on me.
To me the illustrations in the first book are iconic. I’ve never seen this kind of art in any other book and always was a little sad that this (as I recall) anonymous illustrator did not continue doing the rest of the series. Does anyone know otherwise? Please correct me if I’m wrong.
At any rate, I decided to replicate the stew described in The Boxcar Children.
I didn’t use baby vegetables, although for authenticity you’re welcome to do so if you are lucky enough to have them available. For my “meat” I used some basic gluten steaks chopped up. It had been in the freezer and I just put it into the crockpot frozen, but you could thaw it first if you want to or use it fresh – or substitute whatever your preferred beef sub might be.
Note on crockpots: I used my smallish Rival crockpot that is about 10 cup capacity. If you use a larger one or smaller one, cooking times may vary, but this is what worked for that size.
1 lb faux meat, cut in pieces
2 large turnips, cut in chunks
4 medium carrots, cut in chunks
2-4 green onions – I used 2 because mine are huge
1 tsp salt
1 tsp beef-like seasoning of choice
1 T tapioca flour (or cornstarch)
2 1/2 c water
Layer the faux meat and veggies in your crockpot in the order given. Sprinkle salt, beaf seasoning, and tapioca flour on top. Pour water over all.
Turn the crockpot on high and cook 5 hours. (I stirred mine just once after 3 1/2 hours).
Some extra notes from a literary nerd:
mental_floss has a great article mentioning Gertrude Chandler Warner.
Said article caused me to go a-Googling and this university library site has the full text and all but one illustration from the original 1924 version of “The Box-car Children”.
I’ve read it. The differences I noticed were interesting to me. The change of the surname Cordyce to Alden is understandable (Cordyce sounds SO snobbish). There are definitely details I do not remember reading before, (the drunken dad in the opening, anyone? the children’s side business selling ginseng?) A side-by-side comparison read would be good, if I had my modern copy available, which I don’t. Sometime in the future though. Anyway, it was a fun little jaunt into the past. I recommend it!
Of particular note to this blog post, the original text said Jess used parsnips, not turnips. So…. have at them parsnips if you want!