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Food for Health

The sound of food as a meditation

My daughter, who is too skinny, asked me to make her a Jewish Passover dinner last Friday night, April 19, as the week of holiday observances was beginning. 
I was happy to comply, not only to honor this most holy holiday but also because Passover meals are fairly rich in calories and this provided an opportunity to fatten her up a bit (not like the idolatrous calf; just like a beloved but skinny child).
The sound of simmering oil

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Yes, the berries actually are getting bigger this year

It’s not your imagination, berries this year at the grocery store have in fact been fatter, sweeter and more abundant. 
The big berry growers (notably Driscoll but also a giant Spanish company called Planas) have developed some new varieties of raspberries, blackberries and blueberries. It’s very important to these companies, by the way, that you know that none of these varieties was developed through genetic modification (where a gene from another organism is introduced into the berry) but rather through old-fashioned cross-breeding. 

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’Tis the season for plain toast and tea

Like a bad house guest, the flu season arrived in the Northwest Corner in December and still  has not left. 
I personally feel its presence acutely because I was sick all day Wednesday; but I’m one of the lucky few who is up and out of bed after only one day of misery.

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Warming winter foods and your yin and yang balance

Hang on, we’re about to get a little woo-woo here. This column is about Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and the idea of eating special seasonal foods to counteract the effects of the weather (in this case: winter weather). 
Last month was the beginning of the Chinese Lunar Year, of course (happy year of the pig!). But I’ve just been thinking generally about the TCM recommendation that, when it’s very cold, you should eat foods that are warming and that heat up your body, especially your kidneys.

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Walnuts, the anti-Alzheimer’s food

I guess by now we all know that nuts are good for our bodies. Here’s some extra information on the weird and wonderful ways that walnuts are healthy.
Most memorable: An article about walnuts online at www.medicalnewstoday.com (which seems like a mostly legitimate website) claims that men who eat walnuts see a significant  increase in the vitality of their sperm. Anyone interested in starting a family might want to keep that in mind. 

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Dangerous vegetables, part 2: Brussels sprouts

It’s amazing how many ways we have found to make Brussels sprouts not just unhealthy but downright dangerous. 
Take one popular Brussels sprouts recipe from the internet: it features shaved sprouts cooked with bacon. Just use a mandoline to shred those little green balls of cruciferous goodness!

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Going nuts over pecans

There is a debate raging with great heat in The Lakeville Journal newsroom at this moment about how to pronounce the word “pecan.”
But something about which there seems to be no debate: Pecans are really good for you. 
The Georgia pecan growers’ association does not shy from hyperbole when speaking of these mighty little bites, calling them “nutrition in a nutshell.”

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A truly, astoundingly magnificent pulled pork recipe

As I’ve said before, I grew up in the 1970s in a somewhat Jewish household so I didn’t eat much pork when I was a youngster. 
Since moving here to the Northwest Corner, I seem to be constantly being offered pork at dinner parties; and I’ve recently begun to cook and enjoy it on my own. 
My latest favorite dish is an 8-hour slow-cooked pork roast that is magnificent and very easy to make.

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The limits of the large zucchini

Vitamin C is found in unexpected places, such as in zucchini. Who knew, but one medium zucchini has 58 percent of your daily recommended dose of the essential cancer-fighting antioxidant that we normally associate with citrus fruits (and with fighting the common cold). 

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Plum delicious (or do you say ‘plumb’?)

Etymology websites have taught me (just this morning) that the expression is not “plum delicious” but “plumb delicious.” The origin is the French word for lead, plombe.
Meanwhile, the extraordinary French plums called Long Johns have arrived at Paley’s Farm Market in Sharon. I feel very special: Farmer Charlie Paley actually emailed me to announce the plums were arriving late last Friday, Sept. 7. He knows that I am a Long John plum enthusiast of the highest degree.

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