Writing, Writing Prompts

#A to Z Challenge 04-29-21 Zucchini

Z=Zucchini The Premeditated Zucchini Switcheroo

Well, we have reached the end of the A to Z Challenge and what a fun month it has been, learning about all kinds of foods from around the world and/or the history of said foods!

Today I guess I could have talked about Zoodles, or my delicious Zucchini chips, but in keeping with this month’s theme, I decided to tell this funny little story about a stolen zucchini in the city of Stamford, Connecticut. The “ahem” crime occurred at the Weed Memorial and Hollander Branch of one of the town’s libraries, which is housed in a 19th-century farmhouse.

Courtesy of Marissa Bucci for Atlas Obscura-Library produce in happier days

On the sunny outdoor patio where Youth Services Librarian Marissa Bucci had been tending to a raised garden for a year, an intruder struck and this disaster happened: as she went to water her single, promising zucchini, she noticed a much lighter zucchini-shaped object in it’s place. Some thief had taken her precious zucchini and replaced it with a cucumber!!

Via Twitter by Marissa Bucci for Atlas Obscura

The zucchini was days away from being large enough to pick, and now it had mysteriously disappeared! The branch supervisor had been worried that with no fence or cameras, someone could easily get onto the patio and steal what was growing there, yet had decided to take the risk. They never considered a crime like this would shake them to the marrow.

Luckily, they have kept their sense of humor about the whole caper, even though they have no leads on the “suspect” and realize more produce could get “replaced” like their sad little zucchini. If it were to happen again, they said with a grin, “We’d probably find it quite funny.”

What big hearts they have!

I do hope you have enjoyed this month-long challenge as much as I have, and you can look forward to me sharing more foods and or interesting places around the world courtesy of Gastro Obscura and Atlas Obscura! Stay tuned for more in the future!

#A to Z Challenge
Writing, Writing Prompts

WOD Challenge 04-28-21 Enable

I am so guilty of this one! Should we, as parents, enable our children? Of course not…however, that is easier said than done!

Take the case of a child with an addiction to say, alcohol.

When he gets irritable, refuses to cooperate, or even to threaten harm to himself, wouldn’t it be easy for you to enable him to get that drink?

I sound like a terrible parent, I know, but me and my husband are guilty of enabling our children when we didn’t know how to deal with their problems in a more effective manner.

Has this happened to you?

“Mom, can you please just lone me a couple of dollars? I’ll walk to the store, I’ll mow the grass, whatever you want, I just need a beer!”

Now, in hindsight, I know what I should have done. But, of course, I didn’t. No parent wants to see their child suffering, and alcoholism is a disease. He was suffering (in his mind) and I was suckered into his ploy, more times than I want to admit.

And it wasn’t always beer. Sometimes it was cigarettes.

Eventually, I went to a support group that taught me that to enable him was hurting him more in the long run, that his alcoholism was not MY problem, and he needed to find a group to help him manage it himself. He is nearly 40 years old, and still working on it. In fact, all three of my boys have their demons, but somehow two of them manage to work and feed their habits with their own money.

Sadly, one of my boys has not, and it puts added pressure and drama on all of us who love him.

I wish we had been stronger when he was young. We did so many things right, yet somehow, I feel like we and the system in general, failed him. We took him to all kinds of doctors (he has way more issues than just alcohol addiction), put him on medication, sought counseling for him and ourselves.

In the end, he chose the path he wanted to travel, and I had to let go and let God when it came to him and his problems. Still, it’s impossible to turn your back on your children. He had to come spend a year with us and just recently moved out. We could not let him suffer the fate of living under a bridge somewhere.

Maybe we should have. There are many who agree that if he does not hit “rock bottom”, he will never learn to fend for himself. Maybe they are right. But because of the kindness of his friends, he always seems to land on his feet. Well, he finds food and shelter and someone to pay for his habits. Sure, he will work…for a little while. But for some reason, it never sticks.

I pray someday he “gets it”, but until that day, all I can do is hope and pray God protects him and keeps him safe.

Word of the Day Challenge
Writing, Writing Prompts

#A to Z Challenge 04-28-21 Yorkshire Parkin

Y=Yorkshire Parkin

Lavender and Lovage for Gastro Obscura

I really need to stop writing posts about sweets! I’m having enough trouble sticking to my diet as it is. Ah, but I digress. Let’s dive in, shall we?

No one knows the exact date that Yorkshire parkin became a key staple of England’s Guy Fawkes Night, however, the moist, dense, intensely-flavored bread is now as necessary to the November 5th holiday as a fabulous bonfire.

This cake-like bread gets it’s dark color for treacle (British for dark molasses) and ginger, yet the dense structure is due to flour and oats. First out of the oven, it might be crumbly, but left in a covered tin for days or weeks, the treacle preserves, making it moist, and sticky treat.

Cozy.Rosy for Gastro Obscura

Otherwise known as Bonfire Day, November 5th is the day when British gather to celebrate the thwarting of an attempt to assassinate King James the 1st and members of his Parliament. In addition to the bonfires, locals also burn effigies of Fawkes (who was found by authorities on Nov 5th,1605 guarding 36 barrels of gunpowder) and honor the day with an array of tasty treats, Yorkshire parkin topping the list.

The spiced loaves reach the perfect consistency if home cooks and bakeries light their ovens beginning around the end of October. It is then enjoyed with, of course, a cup of tea!

Writing, Writing Prompts

WOD Challenge 04-27-21 Abstemious

Too Kind-A Limerick

Jon Tyson for Unsplash

There once was a gal so abstemious

Her generosity was most famous

She shared all she had

Making everyone glad

Only keeping one for herself; so magnanimous!

This silly little limerick was brought to you by myself and the Word of the Day Challenge!

Word of the Day Challenge

Writing, Writing Prompts

#A to Z Challenge 04-27-21 Xuixo

X = Xuixo “shoo-shoo”

Fatieboomboom for Gastro Obscura

Locals in Girona, Spain enjoyed a decadent, custard-filled version of a cronut way before it first became a sensation. In this Catalonian city, bakers would fill the croissant like dough with crema catalana — Spanish style crème brûlée — deep fry and sugarcoat the pastry and the resulting breakfast treat is called a Xuixo or “shoo shoo.”

Aletxas for Gastro Obscura

As the town legend goes, an acrobat that performed for sick citizens named el Tarla had fallen in love with the pastry chef’s daughter. As the baker discovered their romance, he heard a sneeze which sounded something like “Shoo!” which led him straight to where the acrobat was hiding. Tarla promised to marry the baker’s daughter, bestowing upon him the special pastry recipe, which he named for the sneeze that gave him away.

Now, the annual practice in Girona is to make a small donation to help cancer patients, then march through the streets. The celebration is called Marxa del Xuixo, which is hosted by the local oncology department. As they march, they enjoy the xuixos provided by the local pastry association. These pastries-for-a-cause are one cream-filled, deep-fried, sugar-encrusted treat you can feel great about eating!