Janice Hall Heck

Finding hope in a chaotic world…

Archive for the tag “Janice Kroelinger”

WANAFriday for 9-20-13. Dandelion Dreaming

Ellen Gregory posted the #WANAFriday (last Friday’s) blog prompt for September 20, 2013:

Share your favourite (or interesting) WORD — what does it mean for you? (Note that Australian spelling there!)
I love words like serendipity, scintillating, effervescent, splendiferous, grandiloquent, sibilant, and supercilious.  All these multisyllable words sound pleasing to me. Some of them have somewhat haughty meanings, but they still sound interesting, sweet, and maybe a bit humorous.
My husband likes the word magnanimous and money. Yes, money does have a nice ring to it, doesn’t it.
#MyWANA Favorite Word
Siri Paulson already wrote about serendipity, so I had to choose another word for this prompt challenge.
A recent Facebook posting reminded me of another word I like: Dandelion.

Yes, folks, dan-de-li-on. Some folks consider it a weed, but where I come from, we know better.

photo: fcpsdotedu

photo: fcpsdotedu

Not that dandelion has always been a lovely word for me.
When I was a kid, those egg-yolk-yellow dandelions blanketed our football-sized front and side lawns, squeezing out the more desired green-velvet grass. Mom, always looking out for what the neighbors thought, decided that a dandelion infested lawn in our nice neighborhood was not socially acceptable, so she decreed that we kids had to get out there on perfectly good icy-cold-Maurice-River-swimming days to dig out these perverse lawn inhabitants and dispose of them.
dandelions in lawns
Mom didn’t like it when the flowers turned from yellow to white puffy balls, and the feathered seeds starting flying through the air on the light summer breezes, seeking new rooting grounds (notably our neighbors’ lawns) to infest. (What would the neighbors say then?) And, beware, if any one of us kids ever, ever, ever blew on those fluffy seed balls, trouble would surely follow. Back then, there were no taboos about spanking children!
photo: legallysocialbledotcom

photo: legallysocialbledotcom

No. Mom wanted those dandelions out of her lawn. Pronto!
So, day after day, on the hottest of days, my Little Brother Bobby and I sat out on the lawn persistently digging out dandelions, not always with the best attitude, I might add. (A few dandelion flower fights made it a little more interesting, but only when Mom wasn’t looking.)
We thought this whole dandelion destruction debacle was a losing battle, but Mom had different ideas. She was determined to have a lawn as nice as Mrs. Cervini’s down the street.
Well, Mom won. After that summer, our lawn did look as nice as Mrs. Cervini’s. Green, nicely trimmed, and dandelion free. We kids felt pretty proud about that, too.
What? Dandelions Can Be Eaten? Who Knew?
DAndelion salad
Now, here’s the thing. Dandelions are a cash-crop delicacy in my hometown, Vineland, NJ. In fact, Vineland holds bragging rights to being the “Dandelion Capital of the World.”  (Not far away, in Hammonton, NJ, is the “Blueberry Capital of the World.”)
We didn’t know that dandelions were valuable when we were digging up and disposing those dastardly weeds to make Mom happy.
Yes, dandelion is a valuable food crop in early spring. You can use dandelions in soups, salads, fritters, muffins, breads, and even tasty wine. I haven’t heard of a dandelion dessert, but who knows, some creative chef out there may have dreamed up a sweet, melt-in-your-mouth dandelion dish. Vinelanders hold dandelions in high esteem in a special spring festival each year. A dandelion dinner at Merighi’s Inn on East Landis Avenue is the real deal.
Dandelion Salad Fit for Royalty
We had simpler fare at home. Each spring, Mom made dandelion salads, decorated with hard-boiled eggs sprinkled with paprika, to accompany our evening meals. “Dandelions are loaded with vitamins A and C, iron, and beta-carotene,” she claimed. “Eat!”
“The secret to good dandelion salad,” she said, “is to pick the tender leaves before the plant forms its flowers. (Once the flowers bloom, the leaves taste bitter.) Add a little vinegar-oil-garlic dressing, and there you have it: a delicious, healthy spring salad. Decorate the salad with hard-boiled eggs sprinkled with paprika and enjoy. Simple, but delicious.”
Today’s WANA favorite prompt brought back a lovely childhood memory. Check the following posts for other #WANAFriday Participants’ favorite words:

Di Bell digs deep and finds some wonderful lost words.
Ellen Gregory shares her love of kitties with the word ailurophile. 
Julie Farrar uses her word as a jumping-off point. (Look for a kitty in here, too.)
Kim Griffin goes nostalgic with a Mary Poppins’ word.
Siri Paulson beats me to the punch with serendipity.

The Last Meow

Favorite Word? For a cat? That’s easy. Eat-play-sleep. That reminds me. I think it’s nap time now. Maybe I’ll head out to the dandelion patch and take a snooze.

photo: flickrdotcom

photo: flickrdotcom

Meow for now.  =<^;^>=

Five Recipes for Dandelion Wine

A “Little Bobby” Story from My Childhood in Vineland, NJ

BlogEverday[1]Blog Every Day in May. Prompt Number 18: Tell a story from your childhood.

I posted about Mom, Ellen Mason Carlton Kroelinger, and our life in our big chaotic household with ten kids and two adults for Mother’s Day. We also had one or two dogs, a dozen cats, and a wacky duck to add to the confusion. You can read that background to this story here in “Missing My Mom.”

We kiddos all have funny memories of growing up on Brewster Road in Vineland, New Jersey. One story in particular surfaces at almost every family reunion: The Ten Siblings and The Incredible Disappearing-Sticky-Cinnamon-Bun Story.

With ten children and two adults eating at every meal, Mom had to spend a lot of time in the kitchen. Though the kids helped in turn, she still prepared the bulk of the meals. For dinner, Mom had to cook a dozen of everything: twelve ears of corn, twelve potatoes, twelve pork chops, twelve big meatballs, or twelve whatever happened to be on the menu that night.

Mom didn’t have to bake bread though, because our old reliable Palmonari Bakery delivery truck came by every afternoon to dropsticky-buns-lg off giant loaves of crusty Italian bread. We all loved to go out and check out the goodies that Joe, the driver, had tucked in a long pull-out drawer in the back of the Palmonari truck. Sometimes he had crumb buns (yum), and sometimes he had sticky cinnamon buns (double yum).

Joe was always full of news of the neighborhood, and since we were near the end of his run, he often had a few minutes to chat. The problem was that sometimes his goody drawer was empty when he came to our house.

On our luckiest days we got cinnamon buns.

How many cinnamon buns are in a dozen? Twelve?

Nope. Thirteen. Palmonari’s sold a “Baker’s Dozen” which has thirteen delectable sticky cinnamon buns.

Little Bobby, the darling of the family.

Little Bobby, the darling of the family.

Do you get the picture? Twelve family members eat their allotted cinnamon bun, sitting around the twelve-person dining room table. One cinnamon bun remains on Mom’s big, white porcelain platter in the center of the table. Ten children with bottomless pits for stomachs stare at this incredible, delectable bun, their childish minds whirring at the speed of lightning, calculating how best to claim that last mouth-watering, caramelized-brown-sugar-pecan-nut-and-raisin-topped cinnamon bun before anyone else could get it.

There are conflicting reports on how this all came about, but everyone seems to agree that sweet little Bobby, the youngest sibling, Mom’s little darling, grabbed the bun and shoved it in his mouth before anyone could think of a more democratic way to handle the situation. And being the youngest, he was the most capable of getting away with this kind of self-centered assertiveness. First off, he was little, and second, he sat in the coveted, protected spot next to Mom at the end of the big table. Little Bobby could do no wrong in Mom’s eyes. Of course, Bobby was special in our eyes, too. And he was so clever that we all had to laugh at his high jinks. Oh well, who needed that cinnamon bun anyway?

The Last Meow

CAt Swag  cat and cat food bagIs it time to eat yet?   What? All I wanted was a little snack to tide me over until dinner time. No big deal. I can still eat my dinner.

I promise!

Meow for now.  =<^:^>=

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