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Milli Gilbaugh

The Food Wars: Honey, we’re not Italian

Food for Thought

For some reason, even though neither of us had a single drop of Italian blood in our veins, we have always eaten a lot of pasta and other Italian foods. The differences we had over that part of our food preferences seem to have been founded in his belief that all Italian foods should involve tomato sauce in some form or other.
My mother’s one and only Italian recipe produced a very basic spaghetti and meatballs, in a simple tomato sauce spiced up with onions, garlic, salt, pepper and (horror of horrors) chili powder.

More about cats and dogs

Food for Thought

Curiosity and research uncovered a number of interesting things about pet behavior. Some behavior is almost impossible to train out of your pet, even though it is ancestral and not necessarily relative to the lives of our family pets.

And don’t forget the pets

Food for Thought

We all know that it is not safe to leave a child in a car in hot weather, but many don’t realize that it is far more dangerous for a dog or a cat than for a human. A human can sweat, which helps cool the body. A dog has only a few sweat glands in the pads of his feet. He keeps cool in hot weather by panting. When your dog pants, he inhales fresh air through his nose. The nose contains a maze of moist surfaces that are cooled by evaporation. If the dog is in a hot car, the air he breathes in is not cool enough to do him much good.

Tragedy revisited

Food for Thought

This summer’s spate of child deaths resulting from being left in hot cars brings back memories of 2001, when a woman from Iowa left her young daughter in a hot car for several hours, forgetting that it had been her turn to drop her off at daycare before going to her job. The child died and Iowans were divided over the matter of blame. Should the woman be prosecuted for neglect, or should the event be deemed a tragic accident?

Nothing’s perfect

Food for Thought

Browsing through old cookbooks– really old cookbooks– I came across a recipe for chicken which began with these words, “Draw and singe the bird...” Today, I’d put that cookbook right back on the shelf and head for the supermarket.

The Abilene Principle

Food for Thought

The various proposals we’ve seen over the years for a new jail and an addition to the Johnson County Courthouse have been less than officials want and claim they need, yet more than voters and taxpayers want to support. That’s a good example of the Abilene Principle. We’ve all experienced the sort of compromise that ends in nobody getting what they wanted, but settling for what everybody could tolerate. Such compromise seems to be the essence of politics and the reason such undertakings, even when finally approved, are not sufficient to fill the need.

Misconstrued

Food for Thought

Many years ago, when my husband first opened an office in Iowa City, he furnished it as economically as possible with furnishings from a secondhand store. He found a nice wooden desk for his inner office, and some shelving. A set of heavy oak dining room chairs furnished the waiting room, and the walls had ample space for a number of my oil paintings– most of which were unframed but still looked better than bare walls.

Body parts

Food for Thought

For years, I’ve enjoyed reading and rereading my collection of Agatha Christie mystery stories. I’ve never bothered to count them, but they completely fill three 30-inch shelves in my bookcase, and it takes months to work my way through the entire collection. At the time they were written, mostly during the first half of the last century, they represented upper-class life in England fairly accurately. This was the world that Agatha Christie lived in and knew best. There were country manor houses with butlers, housemaids, valets and chauffeurs.

Gearing up for summer

Food for Thought

It was usually well past Memorial Day (and often after Independence Day) before I settled into the mind-set that nearly everybody else had enjoyed since the last day of school. By that, I mean that, as a child, it took me a while to change gears, to get out of my school-mode and into vacation-mode. I don’t know why I needed that transitional interval, but I still tend to pause, look around at my new circumstances and mentally switch gears before embarking on a new phase of my life.

No gifts, please

Food for Thought

By the time you reach age 75 or 80, you probably have enough fancy guest soaps, golf balls, pretty stationery, fishing lures, or useless what-nots to last for another decade at least. So, you’d really like to have that birthday party your kids and grandkids are planning for you, but the idea of receiving, acknowledging, and making use of so much additional stuff is discouraging, to say the least.

Lawn mowing

Food for Thought

I remember the lawns surrounding the houses where we lived when I was a child. The grass was sparse and interspersed with dandelions and assorted other non-grass things that, at least, were green for most of the summer. My dad mowed with a push mower with a whirling cylinder of curved blades that he kept razor sharp. As far as I could tell, everybody mowed their own lawns, even Dr. Stone who lived at the end of our block, and Henry Reem, who had the biggest insurance agency in town and could afford to take his family to mountain dude ranches and seaside resorts every year.

Unaccustomed as I am to public speaking...

Food For Thought

How many amateur orators have started out a nerve-wracked speech with those words. They warn the audience that they are not used to public speaking, but don’t quite explain why they agreed to do so in the first place. They seem to think that the disclaimer will earn forgiveness and sympathy should their words fail to live up to expectations– in fact, the opening statement itself automatically lowers expectations by about 50 percent and may, in some way, help to ease the pressure and discomfort for the speaker.