Government bans home-made fried foods from daycares, limits factory made fried foods to once a week


The government just made these illegal for children in daycares.

The government just made these illegal for children in daycares.

Oh, this burns me.  This is a perfect illustration of why the government totally fails at controlling our lives and should not be given more control.

New federal “guidelines” are restricting fats in daycares now, specifically by banning frying food on site.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is proposing strict new dietary guidelines for day cares that would prohibit them from frying food that is served to children.

Child care providers would also be formally required to provide children with water upon request, though they would face restrictions on how much apple juice and orange juice they serve.

One of the more notable provisions would restrict day cares from frying food on site and discourage them from serving pre-packaged fried food, such as chicken fingers, from the grocery store.

“While facilities would not be permitted under this proposed rule to prepare foods on site by frying them,” the USDA wrote in the Federal Register, “store-bought, catered, or pre-fried foods can still contribute large amounts of calories and saturated fat to a meal. Therefore, facilities are encouraged to limit all fried and pre-fried foods to no more than once per week.”

I really don’t have a quarrel with requiring water be provided upon request- other than the restriction on any exercise of common sense here. REal human beings who deal with real children know that sometimes they ask for water as a way of avoiding nap-time or bed-time. I don’t have a huge quarrel with the limitations on apple and orange juice, except that for some kids with low blood sugar those juices are a good boost, and for kids who are sick, depriving them of o.j. seems cruel and unnecessary.

Neither of those things are properly the place of government, of course.

The fried foods restriction is just appallingly ignorant. It’s based on outdated information that was bad science to begin with (and itself another example of what happens when government meddles in places it has no business- they end up subsidizing scientific fraud). IT’s also backward- prefried foods are likely worse than home-fried, and those are still permitted (albeit once a week).  I hate to sound like a crazy conspiracy theorist, but I have to wonder why the healthier, from scratch fried foods (no more home-made hash-browns?  No stir-fried rice, no omelettes?) are totally banned while it’s still permissable under these regulations to buy and serve prepackaged, corporate produced foods and fry them once a week?

good fat bad fat

Do these idiots even understand what foods are fried? Pancakes, french toast, eggs, hamburgers, stir-fries, fritters, tempeh, hash browns from scratch, fried rice, and they even specifically ban the frying of tofu. One might argue that probably most daycares receiving federal funds wouldn’t be serving the healthiest versions of these foods, but are there exceptions for those that are?

Government is just too big for common sense. All pancakes are not created equal- one might argue that white flour and white sugar pancakes are not worth fighting over. But my pancakes are either whole wheat, or they are coconut, almond, eggs and coconut milk based.

Government also spent decades killing its citizens with this bad dietary advice- that butter is bad, margarine is better, low-fat sour cream is a good thing, never mind transfats

And don’t tell the government, but mother’s milk is high in fat because….

children need a lot of fat in their diet. Mother’s milk is 55% fat and it is mostly saturated fat. It is extremely high in cholesterol, and it has a special enzyme that helps the baby absorb the cholesterol. That is how important cholesterol is for the growing child. Studies of children put on this low fat, low cholesterol diet show failure to thrive. They do not grow the way they are supposed to on this low fat diet. Children need more fat than adults right through their growing years, right up to the age of 18 or 20 because fat and cholesterol are very important for the development of the brain and nervous system.

But the government has a long, long history of supporting really horrific nutritional advice based on weak and even fraudulent science.

Posted in food, government | 1 Comment

Government Meddling Creates Crony Capitalism

I posted this a couple years ago, but I was thinking about it again recently.  Eric Schlosser of Food, Inc and Fast Food Nation has an article on why being a Foodie isn’t elitist here.
Then he had a live chat here.  It’s finished now, but you can still read the questions and answers.

I have very mixed feelings about Schlosser’s work, claims, and the elitism of so called ‘foodies.’  In general, I agree with him- organic food is healthier, and I wish I could afford to never, ever eat any kind of beef but grass fed beef again.  But over and over Schlosser and others like him make such dismissive, out of touch with the real world comments about how affordable it really is to eat his way, if consumers were just smarter (he tactfully talks about educating themselves) that of course, they are seen as elitist because they are remarks made in total ignorance of what the hoi polloi actually face in real world economics on a daily basis .   More about that here, where I previously wrote about this.

My other beef (haha) is his dependency on government to fix the problem.  It’s the CPSIA thing all over again. Yes, it is a serious problem that we subsidize the corn industry, the likes of Monsanto, and use corn for ethanol instead of for food. Factory farms are successfully lobbying for the government to make it illegal to take pictures of their operations, even from the public road!  We should definitely stop all that.  But he doesn’t just want to stop subsidizing the big factory farms and monoculture, which I agree with,  he wants to have more government subsidies and regulation, just in other areas, the ones he likes.

Government regulations and involvement in areas it has no business created crony capitalism in the first place. Without the government enabling rent seeking, crony capitalism would wither on the vine in very short order.  The government just should not be in the business of picking winners and losers in the world of business (and farming is also a business).  The Free Market hasn’t failed us, it hasn’t been done in over a hundred years.  We need less subsidies and regulations, not more.  It’s very interesting to me that in explaining how cities like New York could feed more people using sustainable agricultural methods, he actually refers back to how things were done in Brooklyn a hundred years ago.

Government meddling just taints things.  As I wrote in February of 2013; Wanting to get on the biofuel gravy train, farmers are replacing grasslands with biofuel crops which are more intensive, harder on the land, and we could be looking at another dust bowl if things go wrong.  The practice is further incentivized by the Federal government’s subsidies for crop insurance.

I agree with the left on the incestuous connection between the corporate world and government. Where I disagree, vehemently, is on the solution. The left only wants to change the players from the corporations they don’t like to the ones that they do- still maintaining the incentive for businesses to lobby government for favors, and thus still keeping government’s hand in the pockets of the working citizens, and the government foot on the backs of our necks.

They argue for a frying pan to fire strategy, while I want to remove the heat.

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Free4Kindle: Books

we love books bookshelf vintage



Yes, we love free books. We hope you do, too.


Books are free at the time I found the links and pasted them here. This changes sometimes, so be sure to note the price before you add it to your cart.
Sometimes, for some reason, the links get stuck while loading. Just refresh the Amazon page and that should help.
You don’t need a Kindle to read these.

Swagbucks remains my favorite source for free Amazon gift cards. And if you haven’t joined, please click on the link and join so that I can keep getting free Amazon gift cards because I am still shameless.  Of course, if you regularly shop on line, you can also sign up for ebates, and then always check ebates first, before you do your regular shopping. You can get quite a tidy sum back on the purchases you were going to make anyway, which is not a bad deal.  And then you can use the money for books- or for other things.=)

Don’t have a Kindle? : You don’t have to have Kindle to take advantage of these offers. You can read them on various free reading apps. I often read mine on my laptop if they are short enough books, even though I have two kindles.  That’s because my kids keep taking off with the Kindles to read their school books and they don’t remember to recharge them before returning.  I wouldn’t say I’m bitter about it, but I might be a little disgruntled. If you’re curious, this is the Kindle I have, and I have used others and mine remains my favorite. Mine has Keyboard 3G, Free 3G + Wi-Fi and I don’t have commercial screensavers.  The second Kindle is actually one I was given in exchange for some writing work, and I gave it to my two teens.  It does not have 3G, which is why it’s their Kindle.  Personally,  I don’t like Kindle Fires because I am a crank like that.

If you like these free listings, you should also like my Facebook page, because I list other free titles there several times each week.

Yes, my Kindle gets slow because I stuff it too full since I have no sense of proportion when it comes to owning books, both real and virtual.

book and candle


The History of Sir Richard Calmady A Romance

First two paragraphs: “In that fortunate hour of English history, when the cruel sights and haunting insecurities of the Middle Ages had passed away, and while, as yet, the fanatic zeal of Puritanism had not cast its blighting shadow over all merry and pleasant things, it seemed good to one Denzil Calmady, esquire, to build himself a stately red-brick and freestone house upon the southern verge of the great plateau of moorland which ranges northward to the confines of Windsor Forest and eastward to the Surrey Hills. And this he did in no vainglorious spirit, with purpose of exalting himself above the county gentlemen, his neighbours, and showing how far better lined his pockets were than theirs. Rather did he do it from an honest love of all that is ingenious and comely, and as the natural outgrowth of an inquiring and philosophic mind. For Denzil Calmady, like so many another son of that happy age, was something more than a mere wealthy country squire, breeder of beef and brewer of ale. He was a courtier and traveler; and, if tradition speaks truly, a poet who could praise his mistress’s many charms, or wittily resent her caprices, in well-turned verse. He was a patron of art, having brought back ivories and bronzes from Italy, pictures and china from the Low Countries, and enamels from France. He was a student, and collected the many rare and handsome leather-bound volumes telling of curious arts, obscure speculations, half-fabulous histories, voyages, and adventures, which still constitute the almost unique value of the Brockhurst library. He might claim to be a man of science, moreover—of that delectable old-world science which has no narrow-minded quarrel with miracle or prodigy, wherein angel and demon mingle freely, lending a hand unchallenged to complicate the operations both of nature and of grace—a science which, even yet, in perfect good faith, busied itself with the mysteries of the Rosy Cross, mixed strange ingredients into a possible Elixir of Life, ran far afield in search for the Philosopher’s Stone, gathered herbs for the confection of simples during auspicious phases of the moon, and beheld in comet and meteor awful forewarnings of public calamity or of Divine Wrath.
From all of which it may be premised that when, like the wise king, of old, in Jerusalem, Denzil Calmady “builded him houses, made him gardens and orchards, and planted trees in them of all kind of fruits”; when he “made him pools of water to water therewith the wood that bringeth forth trees”; when he “gathered silver and gold and the treasure of provinces,” and got him singers, and players of musical instruments, and “the delights of the sons of men,”—he did so that, having tried and sifted all these things, he might, by the exercise of a ripe and untrammeled judgment, decide what amongst them is illusory and but as a passing show, and what—be it never so small a remnant—has in it the promise of eternal subsistence, and therefore of vital worth; and that, having so decided and thus gained an even mind, he might prepare serenely to take leave of the life he had dared so largely to live.”

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Civil Government in the United States Considered with Some Reference to Its Origins

Random excerpt: [Sidenote: Taxation and eminent domain.] From this illustration it would appear that taxes are private property taken for public purposes; and in making this statement we come very near the truth. Taxes are portions of private property which a government takes for its public purposes. Before going farther, let us pause to observe that there is one other way, besides taxation, in which government sometimes takes private property for public purposes. Roads and streets are of great importance to the general public; and the government of the town or city in which you live may see fit, in opening a new street, to run it across your garden, or to make you move your house or shop out of the way for it. In so doing, the government either takes away or damages some of your property. It exercises rights over your property without asking your permission. This power of government over private property is called “the right of eminent domain.” It means that a man’s private interests must not be allowed to obstruct the interests of the whole community in which he lives. But in two ways the exercise of eminent domain is unlike taxation. In the first place, it is only occasional, and affects only certain persons here or there, whereas taxation goes on perpetually and affects all persons who own property. In the second place, when the government takes away a piece of your land to make a road, it pays you money in return for it; perhaps not quite so much as you believe the piece of land was worth in the market; the average human nature is doubtless such that men seldom give fair measure for measure unless they feel compelled to, and it is not easy to put a government under compulsion. Still it gives you something; it does not ask you to part with your property for nothing. Now in the case of taxation, the government takes your money and seems to make no return to you individually; but it is supposed to return to you the value of it in the shape of well-paved streets, good schools, efficient protection against criminals, and so forth.

[Sidenote: What is government?] In giving this brief preliminary definition of taxes and taxation, we have already begun to speak of “the government” of the town or city in which you live. We shall presently have to speak of other “governments,”—as the government of your state and the government of the United States; and we shall now and then have occasion to allude to the governments of other countries in which the people are free, as, for example, England; and of some countries in which the people are not free, as, for example, Russia. It is desirable, therefore, that we should here at the start make sure what we mean by “government,” in order that we may have a clear idea of what we are talking about.

books black and white

A Century of Science and Other Essays

The author died in 1901. HEre’s the toc:
I. A Century of Science 1

II. The Doctrine of Evolution: its Scope and Purport 39

III. Edward Livingston Youmans 64

IV. The Part played by Infancy in the Evolution of Man 100

V. The Origins of Liberal Thought in America 122

VI. Sir Harry Vane 154

VII. The Arbitration Treaty 166

VIII. Francis Parkman 194

IX. Edward Augustus Freeman 265

X. Cambridge as Village and City 286

XI. A Harvest of Irish Folk-Lore 319

XII. Guessing at Half and Multiplying by Two 333

XIII. Forty Years of Bacon-Shakespeare Folly 350

XIV. Some Cranks and their Crotchets 405

Note 461


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The Captain of the Janizaries A story of the times of Scanderberg and the fall of Constantinople

Opening paragraphs:
From the centre of the old town of Brousa, in Asia Minor—old even at the time of our story, about the middle of the fifteenth century—rises an immense plateau of rock, crowned with the fortress whose battlements and towers cut their clear outlines high against the sky. An officer of noble rank in the Ottoman service stood leaning upon the parapet, apparently regaling himself with the marvellous panorama of natural beauty and historic interest which lay before him. The vast plain, undulating down to the distant sea of Marmora, was mottled with fields of grain, gardens enclosed in hedges of cactus, orchards in which the light green of the fig-trees blended with the duskier hues of the olive, and dense forests of oak plumed with the light yellow blooms of the chestnut. Here and there writhed the heavy vapors of the hot sulphurous streams springing out of the base of the Phrygian Olympus, which reared its snow-clad peak seven thousand feet above. The lower stones of the fortress of Brousa were the mementoes of twenty centuries which had drifted by them since they were laid by the old Phrygian kings. The 2 flags of many empires had floated from those walls, not the least significant of which was that of the Ottoman, who, a hundred years before, had consecrated Brousa as his capital by burying in yonder mausoleum the body of Othman, the founder of the Ottoman dynasty of the Sultans.

But the Turkish officer was thinking of neither the beauty of the scene nor the historic impressiveness of the place. His face, shaded by the folds of his enormous turban, wore deeper shadows which were flung upon it from within. He was talking to himself.

“The Padishah[1] has a nobler capital now than this,—across the sea there in Christian Europe. But by whose hands was it conquered? By Christian hands! by Janizaries! renegades! Ay, this hand!”—he stripped his arm bare to the shoulder and looked upon its gnarled muscles as he hissed the words through his teeth—”this hand has cut a wider swathe through the enemies of the Ottoman than any other man’s; a swathe down which the Padishah can walk without tripping his feet. And this was a Christian’s hand once! Well may I believe the story my old nurse so often told me,—that, when the priest was dropping the water of baptism upon my baby brow, this hand seized the sacred vessel, and it fell shattered upon the pavement. Ah, well have I fulfilled that omen!”
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Deephaven and Selected Stories & Sketches

by Sarah Orne Jewett

Preface: This book is not wholly new, several of the chapters having already been published in the “Atlantic Monthly.” It has so often been asked if Deephaven may not be found on the map of New England under another name, that, to prevent any misunderstanding, I wish to say, while there is a likeness to be traced, few of the sketches are drawn from that town itself, and the characters will in almost every case be looked for there in vain.

I dedicate this story of out-of-door life and country people first to my father and mother, my two best friends, and also to all my other friends, whose names I say to myself lovingly, though I do not write them here.

Excerpt: The morning after we reached Deephaven we were busy up stairs, and there was a determined blow at the knocker of the front door. I went down to see who was there, and had the pleasure of receiving our first caller. She was a prim little old woman who looked pleased and expectant, who wore a neat cap and front, and whose eyes were as bright as black beads. She wore no bonnet, and had thrown a little three-cornered shawl, with palm-leaf figures, over her shoulders; and it was evident that she was a near neighbor. She was very short and straight and thin, and so quick that she darted like a pickerel when she moved about. It occurred to me at once that she was a very capable person, and had “faculty,” and, dear me, how fast she talked! She hesitated a moment when she saw me, and dropped a fragment of a courtesy. “Miss Lan’k’ster?” said she, doubtfully.

“No,” said I, “I’m Miss Denis: Miss Lancaster is at home, though: come in, won’t you?”

“O Mrs. Patton!” said Kate, who came down just then. “How very kind of you to come over so soon! I should have gone to see you to-day. I was asking Mrs. Kew last night if you were here.”

“Land o’ compassion!” said Mrs. Patton, as she shook Kate’s hand delightedly. “Where’d ye s’pose I’d be, dear? I ain’t like to move away from Deephaven now, after I’ve held by the place so long, I’ve got as many roots as the big ellum. Well, I should know you were a Brandon, no matter where I see you. You’ve got a real Brandon look; tall and straight, ain’t you? It’s four or five years since I saw you, except once at church, and once you went by, down to the shore, I suppose. It was a windy day in the spring of the year.”

“I remember it very well,” said Kate. “Those were both visits of only a day or two, and I was here at Aunt Katharine’s funeral, and went away that same evening. Do you remember once I was here in the summer for a longer visit, five or six years ago, and I helped you pick currants in the garden? You had a very old mug.”

“Now, whoever would ha’ thought o’ your rec’lecting that?” said Mrs. Patton. “Yes. I had that mug because it was handy to carry about among the bushes, and then I’d empt’ it into the basket as fast as I got it full. Your aunt always told me to pick all I wanted; she couldn’t use ‘em, but they used to make sights o’ currant wine in old times. I s’pose that mug would be considerable of a curiosity to anybody that wasn’t used to seeing it round. My grand’ther Joseph Toggerson—my mother was a Toggerson—picked it up on the long sands in a wad of sea-weed: strange it wasn’t broke, but it’s tough; I’ve dropped it on the floor, many’s the time, and it ain’t even chipped. There’s some Dutch reading on it and it’s marked 1732. Now I shouldn’t ha’ thought you’d remembered that old mug, I declare. Your aunt she had a monstrous sight of chiny. She’s told me where ‘most all of it come from, but I expect I’ve forgot. My memory fails me a good deal by spells. If you hadn’t come down I suppose your mother would have had the chiny packed up this spring,—what she didn’t take with her after your aunt died. S’pose she hasn’t made up her mind what to do with the house?”

books black and white

Clare Avery A Story of the Spanish Armada

Historical fiction. Here’s an excerpt:

About the cold there was no question. The ground, which had been white with snow for many days, was now a mixture of black and white, under the influence of a thaw; while a bitterly cold wind, which made everybody shiver, rose now and then to a wild whirl, slammed the doors, and groaned through the wood-work. A fragment of cloud, rather less dim and gloomy than the rest of the heavy grey sky, was as much as could be seen of the sun.

Nor was the political atmosphere much more cheerful than the physical. All over England,—and it might be said, all over Europe,—men’s hearts were failing them for fear,—by no means for the first time in that century. In Holland the Spaniards, vanquished not by men, but by winds and waves from God, had abandoned the siege of Leyden; and the sovereignty of the Netherlands had been offered to Elizabeth of England, but after some consideration was refused. In France, the Massacre of Saint Bartholomew, nearly three years before, had been followed by the siege of La Rochelle, the death of the miserable Charles the Ninth, and the alliance in favour of Popery, which styled itself the Holy League. At home, gardeners were busy introducing the wallflower, the hollyhock, basil, and sweet marjoram; the first licence for public plays was granted to Burbage and his company, among whom was a young man from Warwickshire, a butcher’s son, with a turn for making verses, whose name was William Shakspere; the Queen had issued a decree forbidding costly apparel (not including her own); and the last trace of feudal serfdom had just disappeared, by the abolition of “villenage” upon the Crown manors. As concerned other countries, except when active hostilities were going on, Englishmen were not generally much interested, unless it were in that far-off New World which Columbus had discovered not a hundred years before,—or in that unknown land, far away also, beyond the white North Cape, whither adventurers every now and then set out with the hope of discovering a north-west passage to China,—the north-west passage which, though sought now with a different object, no one has discovered yet.

It may be as well to recall the state of knowledge in English society at this period. The time had gone by when the burning of coal was prohibited, as prejudicial to health; but the limits of London, beyond which building might not extend, were soon after this fixed at three miles from the city gates; the introduction of private carriages was long opposed, lest it should lead to luxury; (Note 1) and sumptuary laws, regulating, according to rank, the materials for dress and the details of trimmings, were issued every few years. Needles were treasures beyond reach of the poor; yeast, starch, glass bottles, woven stockings, fans, muffs, tulips, marigolds,—had all been invented or introduced within thirty years: the peach and the potato were alike luxuries known to few: forks, sedan or Bath chairs, coffee, tea, gas, telescopes, newspapers, shawls, muslin,—not to include railways and telegraphs,—were ideas that had not yet occurred to any one. Nobody had ever heard of the circulation of the blood. A doctor was a rara avis: medical advice was mainly given in the towns by apothecaries, and in the country by herbalists and “wise women.” There were no Dissenters—except the few who remained Romanists; and perhaps there were not likely to be many, when the fine for non-attendance at the parish church was twenty pounds per month. Parochial relief was unknown, and any old woman obnoxious to her neighbours was likely to be drowned as a witch. Lastly, by the Bull of excommunication of Pope Pius the Fifth, issued in April, 1569, Queen Elizabeth had been solemnly “cut off from the unity of Christ’s Body,” and “deprived of her pretended right to the Crown of England,” while all who obeyed or upheld her were placed under a terrible curse. (Note 2.)

Nineteen years had passed since that triumphant 17th of November which had seen all England in a frenzy of joy on the accession of Elizabeth Tudor. They were at most very young men and women who could not remember the terrible days of Mary, and the glad welcome given to her sister. Still warm at the heart of England lay the memory of the Marian martyrs; still deep and strong in her was hatred of every shadow of Popery. The petition had not yet been erased from the Litany—why should it ever have been?—“From the Bishop of Rome and all his enormities, good Lord, deliver us!”

On the particular afternoon whereon the story opens, one of the dreariest points of the landscape was the house towards which Hal Dockett’s steps were bent. It was of moderate size, and might have been very comfortable if somebody had taken pains to make it so. But it looked as if the pains had not been taken. Half the windows were covered by shutters; the wainscot was sadly in want of a fresh coat of paint; the woodbine, which should have been trained up beside the porch, hung wearily down, as if it were tired of trying to climb when nobody helped it; the very ivy was ragged and dusty. The doors shut with that hollow sound peculiar to empty uncurtained rooms, and groaned, as they opened, over the scarcity of oil. And if the spectator had passed inside, he would have seen that out of the whole house, only four rooms were inhabited beside the kitchen and its dependencies. In all the rest, the dusty furniture was falling to pieces from long neglect, and the spiders carried on their factories at their own pleasure.

One of these four rooms, a long, narrow chamber, on the upper floor, gave signs of having been inhabited very recently. On the square table lay a quantity of coarse needlework, which somebody seemed to have bundled together and left hastily; and on one of the hard, straight-backed chairs was a sorely-disabled wooden doll, of the earliest Dutch order, with mere rudiments, of arms and legs, and deprived by accidents of a great portion of these. The needlework said plainly that there must be a woman in the dreary house, and the doll, staring at the ceiling with black expressionless eyes, spoke as distinctly for the existence of a child.

Suddenly the door of this room opened with a plaintive creak, and a little woman, on the elderly side of middle life, put in her head.

A bright, energetic, active little woman she seemed,—not the sort of person who might be expected to put up meekly with dim windows and dusty floors.

“Marry La’kin!” (a corruption of “Mary, little Lady!”) she said aloud. “Of a truth, what a charge be these childre!”

The cause of this remark was hardly apparent, since no child was to be seen; but the little woman came further into the room, her gestures soon showing that she was looking for a child who ought to have been visible.

“Well! I’ve searched every chamber in this house save the Master’s closet. Where can yon little popinjay (parrot) have hid her? Marry La’kin!”

books black and white

books black and white

by Emily Sarah Holt:
It Might Have Been The Story of the Gunpowder Plot


“There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” That is one of the main lessons to be learned from the strange story of the Gunpowder Plot.

The narrative here given, so far as its historical portion is concerned, is taken chiefly from original and contemporaneous documents. It has been carefully kept to facts—in themselves more interesting than any fiction—and scarcely a speech or an incident has been admitted, however small, for which authority could not be adduced.

Those of my Readers who have made the acquaintance of Lettice Eden, and Joyce Morrell’s Harvest, will meet some old friends in this tale.

Chapter One.

The last Night in the Old Home.

“Which speaks the truth – fair Hope or ghastly Fear?
God knoweth, and not I.
Only, o’er both, Love holds her torch aloft,
And will, until I die.”

“Fiddle-de-dee! Do give over snuffing and snivelling and sobbing, and tell me if you want your warm petticoat in the saddle-bag. You’d make a saint for to swear!” More sobs, and one or two disjointed words, were all that came in answer. The sobbing sister, who was the younger of the pair, wore widow’s mourning, and was seated in a rocking-chair near the window of a small, but very comfortable parlour. Her complexion was pale and sallow, her person rather slightly formed, and her whole appearance that of a frail, weak little woman, who required perpetual care and shielding. The word require has two senses, and it is here used in both. She needed it, and she exacted it.

The elder sister, who stood at the parlour door, was about as unlike the younger as could well be. She was quite a head taller, rosy-cheeked, sturdily-built, and very brisk in her motions. Disjointed though her sister’s words were, she took them up at once.

“You’ll have your thrum hat, did you say? (Note 1.) Where’s the good of crying over it? You’ve got ne’er a thing to cry for.”

Another little rush of sobs replied, amid which a quick ear could detect the words “unfeeling” and “me a poor widow.”

“Unfeeling, marry!” said the elder sister. “I’m feeling a whole warm petticoat for you. And tears won’t ward off either cramp or rheumatism, my dear—don’t think it; but a warm petticoat may. Will you have it, or no?”

“Oh, as you please!” was the answer, in a tone which might have suited arrangements for the speaker’s funeral.

“Then I please to put it in the saddle-bag,” cheerily responded the elder. “Lettice, come with me, maid. I can find thee work above in the chamber.”

A slight sound behind the screen, at the farther end of the parlour, which sheltered the widow from any draught proceeding from the window, was followed by the appearance of a young girl not hitherto visible. She was just eighteen years of age, and resembled neither of the elder ladies, being handsomer than either of them had ever been, yet not sufficiently so to be termed beautiful. A clear complexion, rosy but not florid, golden-brown hair and plenty of it, dark grey eyes shaded by dark lashes, and a pleasing, good-humoured, not self-conscious expression—this was Lettice, who said in a clear musical voice, “Yes, Aunt,” and stood ready for further orders.

As the door shut upon the aunt and niece, the former said, as if to the sister left behind in the parlour—

“A poor widow! Ay, forsooth, poor soul, that you are! for you have made of your widowhood so black a pall that you cannot see God’s blue sky through it. Dear heart, but why ever they called her Faith, and me Temperance! I’ve well-nigh as little temperance as she has faith, and neither of them would break a cat’s back.”

By this time they were up in the bedchamber; and Lettice was kept busy folding, pinning, tying up, and smoothing out one garment after another, until at last her aunt said—

“Now, Lettice, bring thine own gear, such as thou wilt need till we light at Minster Lovel, for there can we shift our baggage. Thy black beaver hat thou wert best to journey in, for though it be good, ’tis well worn; and thy grey kirtle and red gown. Bring the blue gown, and the tawny kirtle with the silver aglets (tags, spangles) pendant, and thy lawn rebatoes, (turn-over collar) and a couple of kerchiefs, and thy satin hat Thou wert best leave out a warm kerchief for the journey.”

“And my velvet hood, Aunt, and the green kirtle?”

“Nay, I have packed them, not to be fetched out till we reach London. Thou mayest have thy crimson sleeves withal, an’ it list thee.”

Lettice fetched the things, and her aunt packed them in one of the great leather trunks, with beautiful neatness. As she smoothed out the blue kirtle, she asked—“Lettice, art thou sorry to be gone?”

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By the same author as above:

One Snowy Night Long ago at Oxford


The story of the following pages is one of the least known yet saddest episodes in English history—the first persecution of Christians by Christians in this land. When Boniface went forth from England to evangelise Germany, he was received with welcome, and regarded as a saint: when Gerhardt came from Germany to restore the pure Gospel to England, he was cast out of the vineyard and slain.

The spirit of her who is drunk with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus is the same now that it was then. She does not ask if a man agree with the Word of God, but whether he agree with her. “When the Church has spoken”—this has been said by exalted ecclesiastical lips quite recently—“we cannot appeal to Scripture against her!”

But we Protestants can—we must—we will. The Church is not God, but man. The Bible is not the word of man, but the Word of God (One Thessalonians, two, verse 13; Ephesians, six, verse 17): therefore it must be paramount and unerring. Let us hold fast this our profession, not being moved away from the hope of the Gospel, nor entangled again with the yoke of bondage, but stablished in the faith, grounded and settled. “For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end.”

Chapter One.

Saint Maudlin’s Well.

“For men must work, and women must weep,
And the sooner ’tis over, the sooner to sleep.”

Reverend Charles Kingsley.

“Yes, Mother.”

It was not a cross voice that called, but it sounded like a very tired one. The voice which answered was much more fresh and cheerful.

“Is Romund come in yet?”

“No, Mother.”

“Nor Haimet either?”

“I have not seen him, Mother.”

“Oh dear, those boys! They are never in the way when they are wanted.”

The speaker came forward and showed herself. She was a woman of some forty years or more, looking older than she was, and evidently very weary. She wore a plain untrimmed skirt of dark woollen stuff, short to the ankles, a long linen apron, and a blue hood over her head and shoulders. Resting her worn hands on the half-door, she looked drearily up and down the street, as if in languid hope of catching a glimpse of the boys who should have been there, and were not.

“Well, there’s no help for it!” she said at last, “Flemild, child, you must go for the water to-night.”

“I? O Mother!” The girl’s tone was one of manifest reluctance.

“It can’t be helped, child. Take Derette with you, and be back as quick as you can, before the dusk comes on. The lads should have been here to spare you, but they only think of their own pleasure. I don’t know what the world’s coming to, for my part.”

“Father Dolfin says it’s going to be burnt up,” said a third voice—that of a child—from the interior of the house.

“Time it was!” replied the mother bluntly. “There’s nought but trouble and sorrow in it—leastwise I’ve never seen much else. It’s just work, work, work, from morning to night, and often no rest to speak of from night to morning. You get up tireder than you went to bed, and you may just hold your tongue for all that any body cares, as the saints know. Well, well!—Come, make haste, child, or there’ll be a crowd round Saint Martin’s Well.” (Note 1.)

“O Mother! mayn’t I go to Plato’s Well?”

“What, and carry your budget four times as far? Nonsense, Flemild!”

“But, Mother, please hear me a minute! It’s a quiet enough way, when you are once past the Bayly, and I can step into the lodge and see if Cousin Stephen be at home. If he be, he’ll go with me, I know.”

“You may go your own way,” said the mother, not quite pleasantly. “Young folks are that headstrong! I can’t look for my children to be better than other folks’. If they are as good, it’s as much as one need expect in this world.”

Flemild had been busily tying on a red hood while her mother spoke, and signing to her little sister to do the same. Then the elder girl took from a corner, where it hung on a hook, a budget or pail of boiled leather, a material then much used for many household vessels now made of wood or metal: and the girls went out into the narrow street.

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Speedy House Cleaning: How to Clean, Organize, and Declutter your Home in Half the Time

Reader Review: GREAT book about getting your space organized and cleaned. One big thing that I took away from the book was to stop the clutter from advancing, this tends to be a problem in my house. It gave great tips on doing a quick clean up when you dont have notice that someone is coming over, and then goes into detailed cleaning of each living space. I mean detailed like what to clean in each room and how often. Great advice.

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Transgression: A Time-Travel Suspense Novel (City of God Book 1)

Reader review (there are a couple hundred positive reader reviews: I love hard science fiction (NOT fantasy) and time travel is my favorite theme–when it’s done well. Transgression is truly a remarkable mix of science, adventure, history, religion, and even romance. The balance is perfect. This is the first book I’ve read by Ingermanson, but now I’ll read the others for certain. I do highly recommend Transgression–reading it is like taking a vacation into the past. As a Catholic, I enjoyed the Christian slant to it. I really can think of no criticism–definitely 5 stars!

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Confessions of a Prayer Slacker (Second Edition)

Reader Review: One of the very best books on prayer I’ve ever read. I’m reading it to my family. The author writes in an entertaining style, but doesn’t pull punches when it comes to pointing out areas of difficulty. Do you really want to have a satisfying prayer life, or do you want things to continue as usual? If you want to go beyond mumbling the Our Father and get into true fellowship under the wings of the Almighty, this book points the way.

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Messages (The David Chance Series Book 1)

Reader Review (there are 700 plus, mostly positive): Messages was a very enjoyable book. The writing was what I would call an easy read. Smooth and easy to follow, which made reading very nice. Although the storyline was message-driven it was very entertaining and had enough of the unexpected to keep me wanting to read more. Although marketed to adults I think this could easily be enjoyed by teenagers and young adults since the violence is not graphic. The Kindle version is a good price so for the value I give it a good rating.

Good things said, if you are looking for a book that will go down as a classic this is not it. The story needed to be tightened up and fine-tuned.The plot-line has some things in it that should have been corrected by the proof-readers. (Maybe John needs a new editor.) For instance – why would a ten year old boy be allowed play outside alone when terrorists are looking to kill him? Why, when one finds out their family is in mortal danger, would he not call them immediately to warm them? Why when your cell phone is your lifeline do you leave it in the car? Why did the news crew have to give obvious GPS coordinates to a “geek” to find out what the numbers meant? Why did the FBI and Homeland Security disappear from the storyline? What intelligent person thinks the President of the USA is the one responsible for starting wars and sending troops over seas? Are they not aware on how our government works? But even with the story problems the book was enjoyable.

Overall I enjoyed the book. The biblical worldview was obvious to the reader and the conversations between David and Frank were interesting. There’s a fine line sometimes between a contrived message and the message being part of the story. This book was walking that line. I would have liked the ending of the book to not stop so suddenly.

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Fatal Judgment (Guardians of Justice Book #1): A Novel

Blurbs: “Extraordinary writing . . . a not-to-be-missed reading experience.”–RT Book Reviews on Against All Odds (4½ stars, Top Pick)

U.S. Marshal Jake Taylor has seen plenty of action during his years in law enforcement. But he’d rather go back to Iraq than face his next assignment: protection detail for federal judge Liz Michaels. His feelings toward the coldhearted workaholic haven’t warmed in the five years since she drove her husband–and Jake’s best friend–to despair . . . and possible suicide.

As the danger mounts and Jake gets to know Liz better, he’s forced to revise his opinion of her. And when it becomes clear that an unknown enemy may want her dead, the stakes are raised. Because now both her life–and his heart–are in danger.

Full of suspense and romance, Fatal Judgment launches a thrilling series featuring three siblings bound by blood and a passion for justice.

Praise for the books of Irene Hannon

“Fast-paced crime drama with an aside of romance . . . [and] an ever-climactic mystery. Hannon’s tale is engagingly sure-footed.”–Publishers Weekly

“Hannon is a master at character development.”–Library Journal

“Superbly written.”–Booklist

RITA®-award-winner (and four-time finalist) Irene Hannon is the bestselling author of more than thirty-five novels, including Against All Odds, An Eye for an Eye, and In Harm’s Way. A former corporate communications executive with a Fortune 500 company, Irene now writes full time from her home in Missouri.
About the Author
Irene Hannon is the author of more than 35 novels, including the bestselling Heroes of Quantico and Guardians of Justice series. Her books have been honored with two coveted RITA awards from Romance Writers of America, a Carol Award, HOLT Medallion, a Daphne du Maurier Award, and two Reviewers’ Choice Awards from RT Book Reviews magazine. Booklist also included one of her novels in its “Top 10 Inspirational Fiction” list for 2011. She lives in Missouri.

For more information about her and her books, Irene invites you to visit her web site at

Reader Review: (5 star) Summary: Jake Taylor, a U.S. Marshal, is assigned to protect federal judge Liz Michaels, who just happens to be the widow of his college best friends. Liz’s sister was murdered at Liz’s house, and the police believe Liz may have been the target. Jake dreads protecting Liz based on his friend’s description of her cold ruthlessness and focus on her career above all else. Liz surprises Jake by being warm and caring, the total opposite of what he expected.

As he guards Liz, he realizes his friend’s personal demons and struggle with alcohol may have been to blame for the failing marriage and his death, not Liz. Jake must decide if protecting his heart is as important as protecting Liz.

My thought: Irene Hannon is quickly becoming one of my favorite Christian authors. This book is a great combination of suspense with the murder investigation and romance with the feelings between Jake and Liz. the murder details aren’t too graphic, and the romance isn’t too mushy. The element of faith is not preachy, and overall, it’s a great book.

Reader Review (1 star): When offered this book to review, the big endorsement by Dee Henderson caught my eye (you can see it on the cover) and influenced me to read it, as she is an author that I have enjoyed reading. I completed this book this week and got to the end of it still looking for what made it classified “Christian fiction.” Church is mentioned, and God is mentioned, but more as a topic to be avoided in conversation than someone to turn to.
I enjoy a good mystery, but this wasn’t what I expected. If you want a mystery with light romance, this book offers it. But if you are looking for a book where the characters turn to God even in their biggest time of need, this isn’t the one.
Disclaimer: I was provided with a copy of this book for the purpose of this review.

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Dying to Read (The Cate Kinkaid Files Book #1): A Novel

Reader Review (2 stars, the book has over a hundred 5 star): The tagline and the initial description for “Dying To Read” caught my eye.

“All she wanted was a paycheck. What she got was a murder.”

I thought. Cool. It’s a book that might be a “clean” Stephanie Plumb-like novel.

A fun to read, novel about a young woman who decides to work for her uncle as a PI.

While I like Stephanie Plumb’s premise (a female bounty hunter), I wanted a, ok cleaner version to recommend to some of the younger (teen) readers who cross my path.

I thought Dying to Read, the new series by Lorena McCourtney might do the trick.

I was slightly disappointed.

Here’s what I like: McCourtney is a good writer – in that she can craft a story that has an interesting premise. I mean, a book club full of mystery readers and a dead body, on the surface again, it caught my attention.

Unfortunately, it didn’t keep my attention.

To use a fishing analogy, I was “hooked” on the bait (description and premise), but the novel failed to “reel” me in. (I just didn’t stay interested – in fact I didn’t finish it.)

Without realizing it at the start, this is the second novel I’ve read by McCourtney. I stumbled across one of her earlier works – the first book in the Ivy Malone series. Another good series, that also failed to “hook” me into a) wanting to finish the book and b) leave me wanting more.

I hate giving less than “glowing” reviews, but in an effort to keep things honest. Here’s what I think.

If you are looking for a fun (albeit slow paced), light and easy to read novel, then McCourtney’s writing style just might trip your trigger. If you are wanting something more “Stephanie Plumb-like” you can probably find it elsewhere. (In fact, the PJ Sugar novels by Susan May Warren come to mind.)

On my scale of one to five, I give this novel a two. Not my favorite read, but one that I could pass along to fellow mystery readers without qualms – to at least give a try.

Note: As a freelance journalist, I was provided a copy of this book by Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group. This review was not influenced by a free book – just in case you (or the FTC) were worried about this detail.

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Principles for the Gathering of Believers Under the Headship of Jesus Christ

3 star review: Some great testimonies, but do take this book with a grain of salt. I don’t think it is right to encourage people to come out of churches and fellowship in the home instead. What if you are in a solid Bible preaching, gospel centered church? Also, theology does matter. Truth does matter, I disagree with forsaking truth for unity.

5 star review: As the Lord’s people, we need to know what He is speaking to His church TODAY. We need to know what He desires from us and for us NOW. I was convinced that this was a very special book even before I had gotten through the preface and the introduction, and as I continued reading that feeling was confirmed. This book is not for those who are content with modern-day Christianity, but will be devoured by those who recognize that the Lord’s church needs to repent of many things and needs to subject itself to the Headship of Christ; that it needs to begin to fulfill its vocation of being a holy people who demonstrate to the world who Jesus truly is by the way that we live our lives and by the way we love one another.
The authors believe that the day will soon come when we will see world-wide persecution of the church and many of the principles set forth by them are to help prepare the church not only to endure this coming persecution but to thrive in the midst of it.
If you love Jesus and desire to see Him have the church He deserves, I highly recommend reading this book!

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The Bible: Reliable or Fallible?

Bible teacher Keith Dorricott tackles one of the most important questions that can be asked – is the Bible a reliable guide for life?


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2.99: Sgt. York: His Life, Legend & Legacy: The Remarkable Untold Story of Sgt. Alvin C. York

LOVED this. Loved it.

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2.99: Moonshine: A Cultural History of America’s Infamous Liquor

Hooch. White lightning. White whiskey. Mountain dew. Moonshine goes by many names. So what is it, really? Technically speaking, “moonshine” refers to untaxed liquor made in an unlicensed still. In the United States, it’s typically corn that’s used to make the clear, unaged beverage, and it’s the mountain people of the American South who are most closely associated with the image of making and selling backwoods booze at night—by the light of the moon—to avoid detection by law enforcement.

Blurb: In Moonshine: A Cultural History of America’s Infamous Liquor, writer Jaime Joyce explores America’s centuries-old relationship with moonshine through fact, folklore, and fiction. From the country’s early adoption of Scottish and Irish home distilling techniques and traditions to the Whiskey Rebellion of the late 1700s to a comparison of the moonshine industry pre- and post-Prohibition, plus a look at modern-day craft distilling, Joyce examines the historical context that gave rise to moonshining in America and explores its continued appeal. But even more fascinating is Joyce’s entertaining and eye-opening analysis of moonshine’s widespread effect on U.S. pop culture: she illuminates the fact that moonshine runners were NASCAR’s first marquee drivers; explores the status of white whiskey as the unspoken star of countless Hollywood film and television productions, including The Dukes of Hazzard, Thunder Road, and Gator; and the numerous songs inspired by making ’shine from such folk and country artists as Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, Alan Jackson, and Dolly Parton. So while we can’t condone making your own illegal liquor, reading Moonshine will give you a new perspective on the profound implications that underground moonshine-making has had on life in America.

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2.99Planting Missional Churches

We aren’t in a plant, but trying to revitalize an existing church. But Stetzer’s work, commentary, encouragement and knowledge are invaluable, and I wouldn’t consider starting a church without my whole team going through this. Well worth it!

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All links are affiliate links, although Amazon doesn’t pay out on books that are free for obvious reasons. But should you buy something while at Amazon, the Equuschick or I will get a little something (anywhere from 4% to 7.5%, depending on various factors and the light of the silvery moon at the time of purchase from what I can tell)
We appreciate your support.=)

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Thai Soup, My New Go-To Replacement for Chicken Noodle

2015-01-15 14.35.44A friend of mine taught me how to make soup broth this earlier this fall.  Her version has chicken chunks and vegetables in it and it’s delicious.  But I find I really love this when I am feeling sick and run down- it’s comfort food.  It helps me get over sore throats, colds, flu, and general low-grade infections.  If it doesn’t help me get over them, it makes me feel like I am getting over them.  Also, unlike chicken noodle soup, this is whole 30 compliant, paleo, even.


Equal parts broth and coconut milk

Garlic to taste (I like a lot, but try about a teaspoon per cup of liquid)

ginger to taste (I like a lot, try making it a teensy bit less than the garlic))

lime juice to taste (this is not optional and lemon juice just won’t do)

red pepper to taste (the sicker I am, the more I want. You may want none)

lemon grass to taste (I find this optional)

Fish sauce to taste (about half a teaspoon per cup, I think)

Combine, heat.  Sip.

Additions: chopped onion, chopped chicken or other cooked meat

Serve it hot.

2015-01-15 14.49.05

I have used bone broth that I made; broth from the store, the liquid left in the pan when I fried frozen shrimp and seafood blend from Trader Joe’s; the liquid left in the roaster when I roasted a turkey; the liquid left in a pan when I cooked chicken parts.  I like them all.

My soup of choice for sick children has mostly not been chicken noodle, it’s been egg drop, or egg flower, soup.  Except Jenny doesn’t like that, so she got chicken noodle and then so did the youngest two because they saw Jenny.  But anyway- I had made this once and told Jenny about it and she was willing to try it.  I hadn’t told her that for me, it felt and tasted like the egg drop soup I want when I am sick.  She tasted it, savoured it a moment, and then wrinkled her nose and said, “You know what this reminds me of?  That egg soup you and the older girls like when you are sick.”

It does.  It tastes totally different, excepting both have a chicken broth base (or can), but it totally has that ‘get well soup’ feeling.

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Dissertation Upon Roast Pig

In view of Oxford University Press  warning its writers not to mention pork, bacon, or anything that smacks of pig, I offer you this classic essay  (which vegetarians will not enjoy at all):

Charles_Lamb_by_William_Hazlitt“A DISSERTATION UPON ROAST PIG

Mankind, says a Chinese manuscript, which my friend M. was obliging enough to read and explain to me, for the first seventy thousand ages ate their meat raw, clawing or biting it from the living animal, just as they do in Abyssinia to this day. This period is not obscurely hinted at by their great Confucius in the second chapter of his Mundane Mutations, where he designates a kind of golden age by the term Cho-fang, literally the Cooks’ holiday. The manuscript goes on to say, that the art of roasting, or rather broiling (which I take to be the elder brother) was accidentally discovered in the manner following. The swine-herd, Ho-ti, having gone out into the woods one morning, as his manner was, to collect mast for his hogs, left his cottage in the care of his eldest son Bo-bo, a great lubberly boy, who being fond of playing with fire, as younkers of his age commonly are, let some sparks escape into a bundle of straw, which kindling quickly, spread the conflagration over every part of their poor mansion, till it was reduced to ashes. Together with the cottage (a sorry antediluvian make-shift of a building, you may think it), what was of much more importance, a fine litter of new-farrowed pigs, no less than nine in number, perished. China pigs have been esteemed a luxury all over the East from the remotest periods that we read of. Bo-bo was in the utmost consternation, as you may think, not so much for the sake of the tenement, which his father and he could easily build up again with a few dry branches, and the labour of an hour or two, at any time, as for the loss of the pigs. While he was thinking what he should say to his father, and wringing his hands over the smoking remnants of one of those untimely sufferers, an odour assailed his nostrils, unlike any scent which he had before experienced. What could it proceed from?—not from the burnt cottage—he had smelt that smell before—indeed this was by no means the first accident of the kind which had occurred through the negligence of this unlucky young fire-brand. Much less did it resemble that of any known herb, weed, or flower. A premonitory moistening at the same time overflowed his nether lip. He knew not what to think. He next stooped down to feel the pig, if there were any signs of life in it. He burnt his fingers, and to cool them he applied them in his booby fashion to his mouth. Some of the crums of the scorched skin had come away with his fingers, and for the first time in his life (in the world’s life indeed, for before him no man had known it) he tasted—crackling! Again he felt and fumbled at the pig. It did not burn him so much now, still he licked his fingers from a sort of habit. The truth at length broke into his slow understanding, that it was the pig that smelt so, and the pig that tasted so delicious; and, surrendering himself up to the newborn pleasure, he fell to tearing up whole handfuls of the scorched skin with the flesh next it, and was cramming it down his throat in his beastly fashion, when his sire entered amid the smoking rafters, armed with retributory cudgel, and finding how affairs stood, began to rain blows upon the young rogue’s shoulders, as thick as hail-stones, which Bo-bo heeded not any more than if they had been flies. The tickling pleasure, which he experienced in his lower regions, had rendered him quite callous to any inconveniences he might feel in those remote quarters. His father might lay on, but he could not beat him from his pig, till he had fairly made an end of it, when, becoming a little more sensible of his situation, something like the following dialogue ensued.

“You graceless whelp, what have you got there devouring? Is it not enough that you have burnt me down three houses with your dog’s tricks, and be hanged to you, but you must be eating fire, and I know not what—what have you got there, I say?”

“O father, the pig, the pig, do come and taste how nice the burnt pig eats.”

The ears of Ho-ti tingled with horror. He cursed his son, and he cursed himself that ever he should beget a son that should eat burnt pig.

Bo-bo, whose scent was wonderfully sharpened since moming, soon raked out another pig, and fairly rending it asunder, thrust the lesser half by main force into the fists of Ho-ti, still shouting out “Eat, eat, eat the burnt pig, father, only taste—O Lord,”—with such like barbarous ejaculations, cramming all the while as if he would choke.

Ho-ti trembled every joint while he grasped the abominable thing, wavering whether he should not put his son to death for an unnatural young monster, when the crackling scorching his fingers, as it had done his son’s, and applying the same remedy to them, he in his turn tasted some of its flavour, which, make what sour mouths he would for a pretence, proved not altogether displeasing to him. In conclusion (for the manuscript here is a little tedious) both father and son fairly sat down to the mess, and never left off till they had despatched all that remained of the litter.

Bo-bo was strictly enjoined not to let the secret escape, for the neighbours would certainly have stoned them for a couple of abominable wretches, who could think of improving upon the good meat which God had sent them. Nevertheless, strange stories got about. It was observed that Ho-ti’s cottage was burnt down now more frequently than ever. Nothing but fires from this time forward. Some would break out in broad day, others in the night-time. As often as the sow farrowed, so sure was the house of Ho-ti to be in a blaze; and Ho-ti himself, which was the more remarkable, instead of chastising his son, seemed to grow more indulgent to him than ever. At length they were watched, the terrible mystery discovered, and father and son summoned to take their trial at Pekin, then an inconsiderable assize town. Evidence was given, the obnoxious food itself produced in court, and verdict about to be pronounced, when the foreman of the jury begged that some of the burnt pig, of which the culprits stood accused, might be handed into the box. He handled it, and they all handled it, and burning their fingers, as Bo-bo and his father had done before them, and nature prompting to each of them the same remedy, against the face of all the facts, and the clearest charge which judge had ever given,—to the surprise of the whole court, townsfolk, strangers, reporters, and all present—without leaving the box, or any manner of consultation whatever, they brought in a simultaneous verdict of Not Guilty.

The judge, who was a shrewd fellow, winked at the manifest iniquity of the decision: and, when the court was dismissed, went privily, and bought up all the pigs that could be had for love or money. In a few days his Lordship’s town house was observed to be on fire. The thing took wing, and now there was nothing to be seen but fires in every direction. Fuel and pigs grew enormously dear all over the district. The insurance offices one and all shut up shop. People built slighter and slighter every day, until it was feared that the very science of architecture would in no long time be lost to the world. Thus this custom of firing houses continued, till in process of time, says my manuscript, a sage arose, like our Locke, who made a discovery, that the flesh of swine, or indeed of any other animal, might be cooked (burnt, as they called it) without the necessity of consuming a whole house to dress it. Then first began the rude form of a gridiron. Roasting by the string, or spit, came in a century or two later, I forget in whose dynasty. By such slow degrees, concludes the manuscript, do the most useful, and seemingly the most obvious arts, make their way among mankind.—

Without placing too implicit faith in the account above given, it must be agreed, that if a worthy pretext for so dangerous an experiment as setting houses on fire (especially in these days) could be assigned in favour of any culinary object, that pretext and excuse might be found in ROAST PIG.

Of all the delicacies in the whole mundus edibilis, I will maintain it to be the most delicate—princeps obsoniorum.

I speak not of your grown porkers—things between pig and pork—those hobbydehoys—but a young and tender suckling—under a moon old—guiltless as yet of the sty—with no original speck of the amor immunditiæ, the hereditary failing of the first parent, yet manifest—his voice as yet not broken, but something between a childish treble, and a grumble—the mild forerunner, or præludium, of a grunt.

He must be roasted. I am not ignorant that our ancestors ate them seethed, or boiled—but what a sacrifice of the exterior tegument!

There is no flavour comparable, I will contend, to that of the crisp, tawny, well-watched, not over-roasted, crackling, as it is well called—the very teeth are invited to their share of the pleasure at this banquet in overcoming the coy, brittle resistance—with the adhesive oleaginous—O call it not fat—but an indefinable sweetness growing up to it—the tender blossoming of fat—fat cropped in the bud—taken in the shoot—in the first innocence—the cream and quintessence of the child-pig’s yet pure food—the lean, no lean, but a kind of animal manna—or, rather, fat and lean (if it must be so) so blended and running into each other, that both together make but one ambrosian result, or common substance.

Behold him, while he is doing—it seemeth rather a refreshing warmth, than a scorching heat, that he is so passive to. How equably he twirleth round the string!—Now he is just done. To see the extreme sensibility of that tender age, he hath wept out his pretty eyes—radiant jellies—shooting stars—

See him in the dish, his second cradle, how meek he lieth!—wouldst thou have had this innocent grow up to the grossness and indocility which too often accompany maturer swinehood? Ten to one he would have proved a glutton, a sloven, an obstinate, disagreeable animal—wallowing in all manner of filthy conversation—from these sins he is happily snatched away—

  Ere sin could blight, or sorrow fade,
Death came with timely care—

his memory is odoriferous—no clown curseth, while his stomach half rejecteth, the rank bacon—no coalheaver bolteth him in reeking sausages—he hath a fair sepulchre in the grateful stomach of the judicious epicure—and for such a tomb might be content to die.

He is the best of Sapors. Pine-apple is great. She is indeed almost too transcendent—a delight, if not sinful, yet so like to sinning, that really a tender-conscienced person would do well to pause—too ravishing for mortal taste, she woundeth and excoriateth the lips that approach her—like lovers’ kisses, she biteth—she is a pleasure bordering on pain from the fierceness and insanity of her relish—but she stoppeth at the palate—she meddleth not with the appetite—and the coarsest hunger might barter her consistently for a mutton chop.

Pig—let me speak his praise—is no less provocative of the appetite, than he is satisfactory to the criticalness of the censorious palate. The strong man may batten on him, and the weakling refuseth not his mild juices.

Unlike to mankind’s mixed characters, a bundle of virtues and vices, inexplicably intertwisted, and not to be unravelled without hazard, he is—good throughout. No part of him is better or worse than another. He helpeth, as far as his little means extend, all around. He is the least envious of banquets. He is all neighbours’ fare.

I am one of those, who freely and ungrudgingly impart a share of the good things of this life which fall to their lot (few as mine are in this kind) to a friend. I protest I take as great an interest in my friend’s pleasures, his relishes, and proper satisfactions, as in mine own. “Presents,” I often say, “endear Absents.” Hares, pheasants, partridges, snipes, barn-door chicken (those “tame villatic fowl”), capons, plovers, brawn, barrels of oysters, I dispense as freely as I receive them. I love to taste them, as it were, upon the tongue of my friend. But a stop must be put somewhere. One would not, like Lear, “give every thing.” I make my stand upon pig. Methinks it is an ingratitude to the Giver of all good flavours, to extra-domiciliate, or send out of the house, slightingly, (under pretext of friendship, or I know not what) a blessing so particularly adapted, predestined, I may say, to my individual palate—It argues an insensibility.

I remember a touch of conscience in this kind at school. My good old aunt, who never parted from me at the end of a holiday without stuffing a sweet-meat, or some nice thing, into my pocket, had dismissed me one evening with a smoking plum-cake, fresh from the oven. In my way to school (it was over London bridge) a grey-headed old beggar saluted me (I have no doubt at this time of day that he was a counterfeit). I had no pence to console him with, and in the vanity of self-denial, and the very coxcombry of charity, school-boy-like, I made him a present of—the whole cake! I walked on a little, buoyed up, as one is on such occasions, with a sweet soothing of self-satisfaction; but before I had got to the end of the bridge, my better feelings returned, and I burst into tears, thinking how ungrateful I had been to my good aunt, to go and give her good gift away to a stranger, that I had never seen before, and who might be a bad man for aught I knew; and then I thought of the pleasure my aunt would be taking in thinking that I—I myself, and not another—would eat her nice cake—and what should I say to her the next time I saw her—how naughty I was to part with her pretty present—and the odour of that spicy cake came back upon my recollection, and the pleasure and the curiosity I had taken in seeing her make it, and her joy when she sent it to the oven, and how disappointed she would feel that I had never had a bit of it in my mouth at last—and I blamed my impertinent spirit of alms-giving, and out-of-place hypocrisy of goodness, and above all I wished never to see the face again of that insidious, good-for-nothing, old grey impostor.

Our ancestors were nice in their method of sacrificing these tender victims. We read of pigs whipt to death with something of a shock, as we hear of any other obsolete custom. The age of discipline is gone by, or it would be curious to inquire (in a philosophical light merely) what effect this process might have towards intenerating and dulcifying a substance, naturally so mild and dulcet as the flesh of young, pigs. It looks like refining a violet. Yet we should be cautious, while we condemn the inhumanity, how we censure the wisdom of the practice. It might impart a gusto—

I remember an hypothesis, argued upon by the young students, when I was at St. Omer’s, and maintained with much learning and pleasantry on both sides, “Whether, supposing that the flavour of a pig who obtained his death by whipping (per flagellationem extremam) superadded a pleasure upon the palate of a man more intense than any possible suffering we can conceive in the animal, is man justified in using that method of putting the animal to death?” I forget the decision.

His sauce should be considered. Decidedly, a few bread crums, done up with his liver and brains, and a dash of mild sage. But, banish, dear Mrs. Cook, I beseech you, the whole onion tribe. Barbecue your whole hogs to your palate, steep them in shalots, stuff them out with plantations of the rank and guilty garlic; you cannot poison them, or make them stronger than they are—but consider, he is a weakling—a flower.”

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News and Views- Grumpy Edition

I’m feeling a little churlish about this, but I don’t see what this kid did that was so extraordinary.  Kid was in jail being booked for various crimes.  The officer with him collapsed of a heart attack.  Kid walked over, looked at the down officer, looked around, then walked back to the door and kicked it and called for attention.  If he had sat in his chair and pretended not to notice, officer likely would have died, so I’m glad the kid (not being disrespectful, he’s a juvenile) did the normal human thing.  But that’s the point- this *is* the normal human thing. It’s barely the minimum- which, handcuffed as he was, is all the boy could do, but still.  It’s the least of what I would expect any human being to do in similar circumstances.


Look, Ron Paul, Charlie Hebdo was indeed a direct attack on the exercise of free speech. And American media is increasingly craven about that.  So is the Catholic pope.   MSNBC, of course, will show ‘piss Christ’ but not the latest Charlie Hebdo cover. The ‘journalists’ in the UK are not much better.  Meanwhile, Oxford University Press warns its writers not to write about pork or bacon because it could offend Muslims (they throw in Jews as a sop, but we all know they mean Muslims and only Muslims).

I guess Charles Lamb’s classic essay Dissertation on a Roast Pig will be censored from any Oxford reprints?


Yep: “The best way to reduce and eliminate fraud in government programs is to reduce and eliminate the number and size of government programs in the first place.”


The online vigilantes.  So easy to pretend you care this way.


Parents of a 10 and 6 year old let them walk a mile- at the halfway point, police picked them up. CPS is now threatening the parents.  This is outrageous, and it continues to be outrageous as CPS operates with near unchecked power, and is less interested in protecting children from real abuse than in bullying parents over basic parenting decisions.


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The Key To Slicing Home-made bread

Start with home-made bread:

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I have experimented with lots of different recipes because I sometimes like to play around with different bread doughs.  However, when I just want a basic whole wheat bread, this is the recipe I tend to come back to.

I like my bread sliced on the thin side so that it doesn’t overpower whatever it is you have with your bread.  I want the flavors evenly matched.  And thanks to both years of practice and a little tip I learned from my 8th grade sewing teacher, I can cut thin, fairly even slices of bread from my loaves somewhat consistently.

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In western culture, bread has long been called the staff of life, and that’s interesting, because the things you need to know for slicing thin, even slices of bread are also useful tips for getting through life, as well.

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1. Have the right tool.  No amount of wisdom and other useful tips and hacks will help you slice thin bread if you are using a dull knife.  You need a serrated edge and a long blade, one long enough to go through the entire loaf at once.

We have sometimes used an electric knife.

In life as well as with bread slicing, it helps to have the right tools.   If you want to hammer a nail, a rock will do, but a hammer is better.  If you want to teach your children good character, a relationship is more effective than a workbook.

2.  The bread must be in the right condition- you don’t get nice, evenly thin slices if you’re working with raw dough, or bread that is too fresh out of the oven.  Steaming hot bread is better sliced in thicker slabs.

In life, too, you succeed better if you’re patient, waiting for the right moment, the right conditions.

There are things you can do to make the right conditions come a little sooner- on occasion I have frozen a loaf of bread, just long enough to get a little hard, and then I slice it.  For me, this is easiest to do with the electric knife.

3. I rotate the loaf as I slice it to help make up for human error.  My own tendency, however careful I am, is to slice just a slight bit slanted out, so that if I cut an entire loaf, within a few slices, they are markedly thicker at the top than the bottom and I kind of run out of loaf in the bottom half of my slices and have to fix it by making one giant, fat, uneven slice.

Instead, I make one slice of bread, turn the loaf over once and start from the side to make the next slice, then rotate it again, slice, rotate, slice, etc.

This rotation keeps my slices balanced.  Balance in life is also achieved by looking at all sides of a question.

3. Finally- this is the most important tip, the one I learned from my eighth grade sewing teacher: don’t look at where the knife has been- look at where it’s going.

The life applications of that one are pretty obvious.  For my part, all I can say is I’m pretty good at the bread application, still working on life.
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White Hot ‘Chocolate’ Drink and Wedding Photos

Wedding white hot cocoaWe had a hot white chocolate drink at the cocoa bar, because we knew a couple of our guests were allergic to chocolate, and it turned out a few others prefer white chocolate.  I had a couple requests for the recipe.  Here’s the recipe I was using, although I didn’t really measure:

2 cups whipping cream
6 cups milk
1 teaspoon vanilla (optional, I left it out because I forgot to bring it)
1 (12 ounce) package white chocolate
Garnishes to choose:
Whipped cream
Candy canes

Cinnamon sticks

peppermint sticks or bon-bons

butterscotch chips
1.  Put all the ingredients together in the crockpot.
2. Cover and turn the crockpot to low for at least 2 hours or until mixture is hot and chocolate chips are melted.  Stir from time to time, making sure you stir all the way down to the bottom, because the chips sink.

3.  Stir again before serving.

A few random wedding pics:

wedding parachutes and lights

wedding parachutes


Sleeping grandbaby:

wedding baby sleeping


Prancing grandbabies:

wedding grandbabies


Young gallants in the wedding party (my son is the tall one in vest and shirt sleeves, the other lad in a vest is also wearing a kilt. He’s my son’s best friend from church and is off to join the Navy the day before the Boy’s 17th birthday:

wedding gallants




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This is some of the stuff we have to get back to its owners. My 18 year old is in charge of that because only she knows where everything belongs and to whom.

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The weather today.=)

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Pinnable New Year’s Note: the supply of time

arnold bennett have only the time there is not more nor less

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January Colouring Page; Critters

Click to enlarge. Set page orientation to landscape. I put three to a page with this one. I’d print and then cut out the three, obviously very different, illustrations:

three january pictures

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