DUCQUE’S EYE VIEW
How to Be Your Own Best Valentine
(By A, BB, the Krab, the Ducque, Etti, PB, SH, and TL)
February 11, 2004
Is Anything Truly Safe To Eat?
The Poem and the Prose
February 5, 2004
No longer feeding my id
Food groups into a pyramid
Sour, bitter, crunchy and sweet,
Is anything really safe to eat?
Dairy causes phlegm and fat
Yet calcium is where it’s at.
Veggies, milk, bread and meat
Is anything really safe to eat?
Low fat is the way to go
Red meat is a big no-no
Eat beef; protein feels great
Nightly steaks help you lose weight.
We’ve got low carb, high pro chow
Don’t ask, “what about mad cow?”
Follow diets and then you cheat
Is anything really safe to eat?
Fruit and veggies are good for you
Unless chemicals got them too
Were your apples sprayed with alar?
Preservatives in your pickle jar?
Fertilizer and pesticide
You must know when you decide
Before you buy corn by the ear
Was there a genetic engineer?
Good and bad cholesterol
Poison and palliative alcohol
Veggies, milk, bread and meat
Is anything really safe to eat?
Let the Sun Shine In
Don’t Let S.A.D.
Bring You Down
Jan 27, 2004
Jan 27, 2004
Rain IS nice weather for ducques. Like most Oregonians I pride myself on my ability to embrace gray skies and stand up to the wind. I actually scorn umbrellas and take walks in the rain. I adore big waves and wild weather. When the first coastal storm of the year blows in, I head to the ocean where I feel 100% alive. Then afterwards there is nothing like a roaring fire and the smell of soup simmering on the stove to make a house feel like home.
But did anyone else notice that when we had a few bright days in the last couple of weeks that other people were a little friendlier? Was it just me, or was there more activity? I know I saw a few more smiles and felt a less tension at work. After months of slumping around I summoned enough energy to play in the garden and clean house a little. As much as I hate to admit it, in January every year we have a mini epidemic as an estimated 25% - 50% of Oregonians’ holiday blues graduate into winter doldrums. A few of those have full blown cases of Seasonal Affective Disorder.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a very real depressive syndrome that affects between 10 and 11 million Americans and has its own paragraph in the DSM-IV (The American Psychiatric Association's diagnostic bible.) Symptoms of SAD include: 1) excessive eating and sleeping with weight gain during the fall or winter months 2) lack of energy that causes work and relationships to suffer 3) craving sugary and/or starchy foods 4) remission from depression during the spring and summer months and 5) these symptoms have occurred for at least the past two winters.
SAD is a debilitating kind of depression. It’s not that someone with SAD just feels a bit puny or out of sorts. Without treatment they can’t function anywhere near normally. If you think you might have SAD. I strongly encourage you to seek help from a medical professional. Treatments include light box therapy and antidepressant medication. 70% to 80% of SAD sufferers are women. The worst months are usually January and February. Higher latitudes have a higher incidence of SAD.
is not to say that all of our
neighbors have SAD. It is a matter of
degree and for every individual with a clinical case of SAD there are
more of us with some level of cyclic winter blues.
"While a person with winter doldrums may
have difficulty waking up or getting out of bed at times, someone with
affective disorder can't get
to work on time," says Michael Terman, PhD, director of the Winter
Depression Program at New York Psychiatric Institute and
We all have to adjust to differing circadian (sleep cycle) rhythms, more melatonin (hormone that tells us to sleep) and less serotonin (brain chemical triggered by sunlight that fights depression) in the winter. Humans are animals and even coastal dwellers need light. But, in this millennium society doesn’t slow down, so most of us have to keep going at the same frantic pace. It takes extra effort to seek the sun this time of year. We are not bears and if we try to hibernate we end up more depressed.
Our active response to decreased light will directly affect our mood and minimize the depresion. Here are some suggestions from the experts and me that might help you survive another dark winter:
1) Get outside. Artificial indoor lighting really doesn’t help. Natural light, including gray clouds and liquid sunshine, is even superior to a $500 light box. Try to be outside for at least an hour, that’s right - 60 minutes, every day.
2) Wake up early. Force yourself to set the alarm before the sun rises. Drag yourself out of bed before sunrise, so you will be caffeinated in time to welcome, or at least notice, the sun. You don’t want to sleep through a single second of the precious light.
3) Work around the light. Don’t expect that it will still be there when you have scheduled a break. I can’t count the number of times I was greeted by a dry morning and planned a lunch time walk only to have it begin raining at . View a glimpse of the sun as a window of opportunity. Drop what you’re doing right then and go outside, at least long enough to walk around the block.
4) If you can at all afford it, take a winter vacation or weekend trip, preferably to some place warm and sunny. Even if you end up at some other dark, coastal location the change in routine does wonders for your mental health.
5) Surround yourself with bright, sunny colors. If you’re not into native art, keep an orange on your desk for meditative purposes. Wear red shoes.
6) Eat lighter meals. This will help combat the weight gain and the heavy feeling that precludes you from getting out of bed.
Keep connected with
others. Avoid the tendency always to
retreat to your
snug cocoon. If you spend too much time
at home alone your house becomes a cage.
Rent South Pacific or Bali Hai
and invite friends over for a
movie night. One winter a group of us
combined several of these tips and had a tropical island potluck in the
room. We ate fruit, teriyaki, pupus and
pina coladas. A Hawaiian friend played
his ukulele. We couldn’t be in the
Look inside your
individual stash of feel-good tricks and
do what you known will lift your spirits: bubble bath, music,
acupuncture, massage, yoga, journaling, exercise, candles, photography,
whatever. Nurture yourself.
too shall pass. The Spring Equinox is less that eight weeks away.
For more information:
http://my.webmd.com/content/Article/79/96369.htm “Beating Winter’s Woe’s” by Sid Kirchheimer
http://www.mayoclinic.com/invoke.cfm?id=DS00195 “Seasonal Affective Disorder” by Mayo Clinic Staff
http://my.webmd.com/content/Article/79/96217.htm “Say Goodbye to the Winter Blues: Healthy Ways to Boost Your Spirits” by Carol Sorgen
Dreaming: A Tribute To Martin Luther King, Jr.
It was the hottest part of a sweltering summer day shortly after my eleventh birthday. I was home alone lying on the couch in our den, drinking a Coca Cola, dreaming about upcoming fifth grade and Elvis Presley, while re-reading a Madeline l’Engle book and listening to television. Even little girls know how to multi-task.
A Negro appeared
on the screen, maybe the first one I’d ever really noticed on TV. I wasn’t a big fan of the news, just had been
too lazy that particular afternoon to get up.
Something about his voice commanded my attention.
I sat up, put the book down, and was
enraptured. I vaguely understood the
context of Martin Luther King Jr.’s March on
I was moved then as I am today by Dr. King’s repetition of the phrase, “I have a dream….” “Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty we are free at last” is pounded into my brain. In retrospect I believe that was the year I began, sometimes at least, to think for myself and not always accept at face value the words of my father, my minister and my teachers. By the time I was fifteen, when Dr. King was assassinated, Daddy and I had had numerous heated discussions regarding the recent integration in our town’s junior high and high schools.
While I want to honor Martin Luther King Jr. on this holiday when we celebrate his birthday, freedom from racism is not all that this column is about. My take home lessons from that 1963 speech are about visualization, passion and actively living our lives.
To envision change, one must be able to dream about that change first. This truth applies personally to such matters as diet and health as well as politically in such issues as King’s dream of “that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands.” King was looking at 200,000 black and white women and men joined together as he delivered his speech on the steps of Lincoln Memorial. Likewise, one must have the image of a slimmer or cancer free body throughout the process of weight loss or chemotherapy.
To embrace change, one must be able to care passionately about that change. Whether this is talking to your friends about your individual goals or expressing your thoughts on line about Bandon cheese and the Chief, if you don’t care enough to communicate, you will not be a part of directing change. The more fervent of us will make a commitment and be action forces. Martin Luther King, Jr. was the most eloquent orator I have ever heard.
To enact change, one must be able to do something to make change happen. This is the hard part on both the personal and global levels. How many exercise programs start with gusto and lapse into oblivion? How many lively conversations have you heard over dinner that had no follow through the next day? That’s what makes Martin Luther King, Jr. such a role model for me. He lived, and died, for his dream.
My wish for you, and me, as we celebrate another obscure Monday holiday, is that we each find a way to live our own dreams just a little every day. Be it saying no to dessert, writing a letter to a public official or picketing the courthouse may we all find the inner fortitude to follow our dreams.
Delivered on the steps
the Lincoln Memorial in
years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of captivity. But one hundred years later, we must face the tragic fact that the Negro is still not free.
One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languishing in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land.
So we have come here today to dramatize an appalling condition. In a sense we have come to our nation's capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir.
note was a promise that all men would
be guaranteed the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit
happiness. It is obvious today that
have come to cash this check -- a
check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the
justice. We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind
would be fatal for the nation to
overlook the urgency of the moment and to underestimate the
the Negro. This sweltering summer of the Negro's legitimate discontent
pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality.
sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. Those who hope that the
needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude
the nation returns to business as usual. There will be neither rest nor
The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges. But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.
We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.
The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny and their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom.
cannot walk alone. And as we walk, we
must make the pledge that we shall march ahead. We cannot turn back.
those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, "When will you be
satisfied?" we can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with
the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the
the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro's
mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be
long as a Negro in
I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.
Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair. I say to you today, my friends, that in spite of the difficulties and frustrations of the moment, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.
a dream that one day this nation
will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these
truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal." I have a
that one day on the red hills of
I have a dream that one day the state of Alabama, whose governor's lips are presently dripping with the words of interposition and nullification, will be transformed into a situation where little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls and walk together as sisters and brothers. I have a dream today. I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together. This is our hope. This is the faith with which I return to the South. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.
will be the day when all of God's
children will be able to sing with a new meaning, "My country, 'tis of
thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers
of the pilgrim's pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring." And
When we let freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, "Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"
Commodities and the Lone Wolf Co-Op:
Cooking Creatively and Cheaply
When I was going to college in the early 1970’s I lived in a big sprawling house with four other paying tenants and a countless number of visitors. My roommates and I all came from working class families and, with a little help from student loans and work study, were paying our own way through school. We were the epitome of “starving students.”
This was before food stamps, but we all qualified for commodities. For those of you who haven’t had the pleasure, that is big blocks of cheese, sacks of rice and canned chicken that the government gave us. None of us had a car. A trip to the grocery store meant talking one of our wealthier friends into driving or caravanning to Safeway on our bicycles.
Our other chief food source was an organization called the Lone Wolf Co-op. Every week we pooled our pennies and paid $6 for two BIG boxes of produce for the house. The way the Co-op worked is buyers went to the Farmer’s Market, bought what was fresh and cheap, and divided the bounty amongst the members. We never knew what kind, or how many, fruits and veggies we would get.
Thus was born Rice, er, Stuff, the ubiquitous staple of my college years. We made a big pot of rice, steamed the veggies du jour, and experimented with sauces and spices to pull it all together. We threw in some meat if we could afford it and weren’t expecting any vegetarians to visit. Enough cheese on top, baked at 350 until melted made the more dubious of our casserole concoctions taste good. Making Rice S. taught us a lot of basics in food preparation. (Some of these lessons and non-recipes are in an appendix at the end of the column.)
It was under these conditions that my friends and I taught ourselves, and later our children, how to cook. We learned how to make large quantities of cheap, fairly healthy and usually tasty food. We prepared meals with what was on hand and/or on sale. No one had ever heard of “pasta” back then, but we designed the best dressed spaghetti and macaroni dishes our sleepy university town had ever seen. Our soups and chili were to die for. Salad or pizza was a meal in itself with each of the basic food groups represented. But best of all, was the daily feasting we shared at our large table. I think it was a door on orange crates. Food and friends were highlights of college for me.
The main thing we had going for us in our quest for cooking knowledge was none of us had ever heard of anorexia either. We loved to eat. None of us had many preconceived notions about how to cook “from scratch.” We read recipes, but mostly to get a sense of proportion and an idea of what kinds of ingredients went into which kinds of dishes. We shared what we learned, both the successes and the mistakes.
The following are some of the principles we developed. Thirty years later, cooking for one, they still work for me. I freeze the leftovers so I don’t have to cook as often. Plus I like having food on hand when people drop in. Food and friends are still the spice of my life. Food is always best when shared.
1) Recipes are guidelines, not rules.
2) Buy what’s on sale now; you can figure out how to fix it later.
3) When you have the money and the transportation pick up something new and interesting looking that you’ve never tried before.
4) Buy lots of different kinds spices in small quantities from the bulk food section of the store. Or better yet, plant your own herb garden.
5) Keep a supply of your favorite staples on hand so you can cook whenever the urge hits without a trip to the store.
6) When you’re making dinner for company always sauté onions and garlic, or bake something with apples and cinnamon. Your guests will love the meal based on smell alone before they even taste it.
7) Limit the number of ingredients you use, so you can pick out the individual flavors.
8) When wine isn’t drinkable, it will still taste good in spaghetti sauce (red) or soup (white.)
9) Freely use more seasoning than the recipe calls for, but don’t increase the alcohol. Taste as you go. (I had to repeat that lesson before I got it, once with rum frosting and then again with brandied pork chops). You can always add more, but you can’t take away.
10) Don’t worry about mistakes. Someone is probably hungry or polite enough to eat the evidence. If not, it was still cheaper than going out. Toss it. You will do better next time.
art of substitution of
ingredients deserves its own paragraph.
To imagine what will taste good in a particular dish, you must
listen to your tongue and set your imagination free.
Close your eyes and fantasize how different
flavors will mingle. As in love, some of
the most unlikely combinations are sensational.
No one believes me the first time I tell them, but the reason my
spaghetti sauce tastes so good is that I add a dollop of peanut butter
couple of apples. 19-year-old Elizabeth
Porter has revealed exclusively for bandon.tv: The secret ingredients
chili with which she’s been tantalizing her friends and family for the
years are mint and molasses©.
The one exception to my scorning of recipes is in baking. There is some chemistry involved in making things rise, so it’s a good idea to play it safe and use the same proportions of yeast, baking powder or soda, and egg whites to solids and liquids for which the recipe calls. With that in mind, you can then get creative. Milk instead of water makes bread richer. Fruit juice makes muffins sweeter. You can substitute different kinds of flours for part of the allotment of dried ingredients. Where would Krispy Kremes be if they didn’t use potato flour in their donuts? You can add nuts, flavored chips or fruit to cookies and muffins. When I bake bread I often add cheese, herbs and different kinds of spice.
Homemade pizza crust can be made from half of a bread dough recipe if you skip the second rising. Squoosh the crust down in the pan and bake it for a few minutes before you add anything. Spread tomato, white, or pesto sauce on the partially cooked crust. Decorate with your favorite toppings. Sprinkle a little cheese on top. Bake on a cookie sheet in a hot oven until it smells and looks right; and you will have the personalized pie of your dreams.
Salad is more than iceberg lettuce and sliced tomato. Experiment with different greens. Add pears, apples or dried cranberries. Nuts and sliced jicama give salads crunch. Avocado, artichokes and/or heart of palm provide salad with a touch of class. Sprinkle in herbs for character. Throw in some leftover meat or hard boiled egg for protein. Rice, bulgur and macaroni give it texture. There are a bazillion dressings out there to pull it all together. Try different flavored vinegars and use light oils if you’re making your own.
Another of our college lessons: Gravies, sauces and soups are all based upon the same idea. You start with a hot fat (one of a multitude of oils, butter or margarine); sauté some onions with seasoning and some other vegetables for flavor (garlic, ginger, peppers, mushrooms, celery); slowly stir in a thickening agent (flour, arrowroot, cornstarch or canned cream of soup.) If you’re making soup you add as much or as little liquid as you fancy. The basis of a good soup is a good stock. We didn’t know that then, so we made do with bouillon cubes, dried milk and canned tomatoes. Our repertoire has expanded greatly since then.
When I make “refrigerator soup” today, I have learned to save water from steaming veggies which I then use to boil chicken carcasses and/or vegetable scraps to make a rich stock. I add a spoonful of “Better Than Bouillon” to the hot stock, use up what veggies & meat I find in the frig, and it’s soup. Sometimes I add rice, noodles, beans or barley for texture.
I asked a friend who knows how to cook without recipes how she made carrot soup. She replied with this email: “I steamed carrots, parsnips & one small sweet potato. Sautéed some onion with tarragon & cilantro...then with soy milk gradually blended it all...also thru in some ginger, salt and a few other spices...yummmy. I don't put in a lot of liquid so it's nice and thick.”
translated her ideas into my own
personal Saturday night dinner. Tarragon
didn’t sound good to me and I don’t use salt so I omitted them. My blender is broken, so I left it
chunky. I used crushed garlic and dried
from the garden, substituted non-fat half and half for soy milk and
easy winter soup courtesy
adore ethnic foods but
Thai: lite coconut milk, fresh basil, chili paste, peanut butter, fish oil, lemon grass
Indian: garam masala, curry powder, chutney, raisins, fresh limes
Chinese: soy sauce, rice vinegar, hot chili sesame oil, green onions, water chestnuts, chow mein noodles, bok choy
Italian: sun dried tomatoes, garden herbs, wine, quality olives, fresh parmesan cheese and artichoke bottoms
Greek: calamata olives, feta cheese, eggplant, ground lamb
After living on the coast all these years, I have finally learned to cook seafood. The two rules for fish are 1) the fresher the better…make friends with a fisherman… and 2) less is more. Don’t cook seafood too long and use a minimum of additional flavoring. A little lemon pepper is all most fresh fish needs. However, if you eat a lot of seafood and want to vary the flavor or impress someone special feel free to add a little pizzazz. Some of my favorite special combinations include halibut baked with orange juice and sesame oil, salmon grilled with raspberry chipotle sauce, and striped bass breaded lightly in egg and Italian flavored bread crumbs. Every summer I buy a tuna from the docks as soon as the fishermen come in. Tuna tastes great with teriyaki sauce, or lemon and herbs, or in salad on sandwiches. Can some and you can have the real deal all year long.
The list goes on and on. If you can eat it, you can cook it. Food is sensual. Food is art. Food is nurturing. Mindful eating and cooking involve being aware of what we put in our bodies, and appreciating the quality of the source. Enjoy.
Ask not what your planet can do for you,
but what you can do for your planet…
to do the same
It’s almost obligatory that the first column of a new year acknowledge the passing of time in a philosophical and/or funny way. Being fairly new at this columnizing stuff, I believe I should respect that unwritten rule. Unfortunately I can’t share my typical New Year’s Resolutions because I’ve already broken them. Plus I used up most of my mental energy the past few days trying to stay warm while my house was without electricity.
for me I have wise friends to think up column
ideas and contribute material for them.
Thanks PB for the idea that I write a column about the ten
we wish others would make. Thanks PB,
But before we get to the resolutions, here is a note on my thoughts about global thinking: The longer I live, the more I must sadly acknowledge; it is not all about me. My actions, or non-actions, have an effect on others. My words have the capacity to influence, injure, encourage, promote, silence or stimulate others. And so do yours. Of course our power is more palpable in dealings with those who are emotionally and geographically closer to us than it is towards those on the other side of the planet. Nevertheless things have a way of snowballing in this universe. The kindness and/or abuse we demonstrate in the way we raise our children will trickle down through the generations. The respect and the dignity, or lack thereof, in the way we care for our elders will return to us someday. The more loving and thoughtful we are, the better our world is. Our greed and destruction also impacts in another direction.
Global thinking is about service towards others, our community and our world. I honestly believe that when we reduce, reuse and recycle our actions have a rippling global effect. Oregonians have long had global vision as evidenced by our bottle return and beach access laws. So, today as I personally resolve anew to try to think and act a bit more globally in 2004 I wish...
1) That when the Board of the Oregon Department of Public Safety and Training meets this month it will think globally and resolve to overturn the recommendation of the Police Policy Committee and allow Bandon Police Chief Bob McBride to keep his certification.
2) That Kathy Holstad, marketing director of Bandon Cheese Inc in Tillamook(???), would think globally and resolve to give back the name Bandon to the people and businesses of Bandon.
3) That the
Port of Coos Bay would
think globally, look to the
4) That the
Cities of North Bend and
6) That the USDA would think globally and resolve to act aggressively to follow all World Health Organization recommendations to protect our beef supply in order that ranchers could stop encouraging cannibalism among their herds.
7) That fashion designers would think globally and resolve to accept the real (global) shape of women-breasts AND hips and design accordingly.
8) That smokers would think globally and resolve not to smoke at the entrances of public buildings.
9) That people would think globally and resolve not to wear strong scents in confined or crowded places like elevators, restaurants and airplanes.
10) That President Bush would think globally and resolve to realize that American policy should honor differences among the many countries and cultures on this planet and to respect those peoples, governments and ideologies. Amen.
Whatever your resolutions or political beliefs may be, The Ducque and Friends wish you all Peace and Joy in 2004.
Happy New Year!