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Food for Health

Keeping an eye on cucumbers (and vice versa)

I’ve always wondered why people put cucumbers on their eyes.
I think of cucumbers as a way to perk up a green salad. I also like them doused in salt brine and transformed into pickles.
But I never realized that cucumbers were good for your skin, too.
I’ve seen a few movies where women spread a green and gunky substance on their faces and then covered each eye with a cucumber slice. I had to question whether the cucumbers were actually serving a purpose or were simply there for decoration.

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Learning to love marshmallows just as they are

Chances are that if you’ve sat around a summer campfire, you’ve also enjoyed a tasty s’more.

S’mores are among life’s simplest pleasures. Making one is as easy as taking a graham cracker, putting on chocolate squares, roasting the marshmallow, smooshing and scarfing. However, for those among us who are vegetarians, roasting the marshmallow isn’t quite as easy.

This summer I went on a search for marshmallows that I could eat and found that most are made with gelatin.

Rice as centerpiece or side dish

I used to blame my “freshman 15” on rice. My friends and I, who lived on sticky rice during freshman year at Kent School, seemed to have gained extra weight, compared to the non-rice-eaters. As a solution, many of my friends went on a gluten-free diet, suffering through the withdrawals from cake, pasta and, yes, rice.

Tomatoes? Ketchup? I say it’s all spinach …

Tomatoes are like a Hamlet thing for me. On the one hand, I don’t like them. On the other hand, ketchup is one of my favorite condiments.

Tomatoes themselves are full of contrasts. What are they really? A vegetable? A fruit? Botanically, they’re considered to be a fruit, but for culinary purposes they are usually treated like a vegetable.  

Watermelons: a cool and surprising treat

I think of watermelon as a late summer food, something to be eaten when it’s so hot even I begin to wilt. 

But for some reason watermelon is appearing at grocery stores and on the blogs of my teen daughter’s friends. 

It’s not a joke — you can eat dandelion greens

cythiah@lakevillejournal.com

I’m exhausted from the past few weeks of hunting around in the woods for elusive forage-foods such as morels and ramps. I’m ready to eat something a little easier to get my hands on. 

Dandelion greens, for example. 

Pickle juice: Take a sip. It’s the salt.

I thought it was only my father who did this but apparently other people do it, too. That is, they sip juice from the pickle jar. 

For those of us for whom pickle sipping isn’t a secret passion, it’s hard to understand what the attraction could be. But a report from Vanderbilt University sheds some light on this curious but apparently compelling beverage choice.

Foraging for ramps, and being foraged by ticks

There are lots of fun reasons to go out in the woods at this time of year. There are salamanders to track, peepers to listen to and of course wild foods to pick and take home for dinner.
But there’s also a good reason for wanting to avoid the woods at this time of year: ticks. They’re back in abundance already. A few people theorized over our long hard winter that the cold and snow would kill the ticks, but it turns out they were wrong.

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What’s new in the culinary world of eggs

From a culinary point of view I associate Easter with ham and lamb, but apparently that’s wrong; Easter is supposed to be about eating eggs. Not just, “Oh, we might as well eat the eggs we used for the egg hunt,” but egg eating in a more intentional way. I think I heard this on the radio or something last week, or read it in a newspaper article, so it must be correct.
Easter is now over so this column is a little late but this week’s featured food is what used to be called, in my youth, The Incredible Edible Egg.

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Some thoughts to chew on when eating alone …

I’d always thought that I’d hate cooking for just myself, that I’d become one of those people who eats ramen every night.
In fact, I’ve discovered that I just love cooking for myself and only myself. I’m so much less fussy than everyone else I cook for (haha). Well, what that actually means is that I’m cooking exactly what I want to eat, exactly the way I want to eat it. And that’s a wonderful thing.
There is the question of portions (usually once you start to cook, it’s easier and more efficient to make a larger portion).

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