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Friday May 18th, 2007

No Grinding

'Some people shoot their careers in the foot
when their temper becomes a bigger liability
than their talent is worth.'
Joan Lloyd



Dear folks,

My daughter and I are doing a baking course this week with Loretta Satori, a wonderful pastry chef. I'm looking forward to humbling (there's that word again!) myself before a true maestro 'cause I need some work on my Crust (wink wink nudge nudge say no more). I first saw Loretta making a Wheat Tart from Naples on Stefano de Pieri's cooking show, Gondola on the Murray. I met Stefano's brother, Sergio, an acclaimed Italian organist and Professor of Organ at the Benedetto Marcello Conservatorium in Venice, at my show at Lucini's, in Hepburn Springs, last month.
So here is a link to Loretta's Tart Recipe.


I've been thinking a lot about ANGER this week. Unexpressed Anger. Repressed Anger. One of the requirements of civilization. But what happens to it? What kind of fruit does it bear? I've included a few links down below for anyone who has been spitting the dummy lately.




CLARKSDALE, MS - Ida Mae Dobbs, longtime woman of Willie "Skipbone" Jackson, called a press conference Tuesday to respond to charges levied against her by the legendary Delta blues singer.

"Despite what Mr. Jackson would have you believe, I am not an evil-hearted woman who will not let him be," Dobbs told reporters. "I repeat: I am not an evil-hearted woman who will not let him be. To the contrary, my lovin' is so sweet, it tastes just like the apple off the tree."

Dobbs, accused of causing Jackson pain and breaking his heart by calling out another man's name, categorically denied treating him in a low-down manner.

"He says he sends for his baby, but I don't come around," Dobbs, a brownskin woman, said. "He says he sends for his baby, but I don't come around. Well, the truth is, I do come, but he is out messing with every gal in town."

During the press conference, Dobbs also disputed an Aug. 27 statement made by Jackson, who compared her to a dresser because someone is always going through her drawers.

"My drawers have not been gone through by any man but Willie "Skipbone" Jackson," Dobbs said. "Neither Slim McGee nor Melvin Brown has ever been in my drawers. Nor has Sonny 'Spoonthumb' Perkins, nor any of those other no-good jokers down by the railroad tracks. My policy has always been to keep my drawers closed to everyone but Mr. Jackson, as I am his woman and would never treat him so unkind."

In addition to denying Jackson's drawer-opening allegations, Dobbs disputed charges of unrestricted sweet-potato-pie distribution, insisting that her pie is available only to Jackson.

"I do not give out my sweet potato pie arbitrarily, as I am not the sort of no-good honey who engages in such objectionable behavior," Dobbs told reporters. "Only one man can taste my sweet potato pie, and I believe I have made it perfectly clear who that man is." Dobbs noted that the same policy applies to her biscuits, which may be buttered only by Jackson.

While most of the accusations levied against Dobbs relate to her running around town with other men, she does face one far more serious charge, attempted homicide. On May 5, 1998, Jackson was rushed to the hospital and narrowly escaped death after ingesting nearly five ounces of gasoline. Jackson claimed that Dobbs tried to murder him, serving him a glass of the toxic fuel when he requested water. Dobbs dismissed the episode as "an accident."

Dobbs, a short-dress, big-legged woman from Coahoma County, said it is not she but Jackson who should be forced to defend himself. According to Dobbs, Jackson frequently has devilment on his mind, staying up until all hours of the night rolling dice and drinking smokestack lightning.

"Six nights out of seven, he goes off and gets his swerve on while I sit at home by myself. Then he comes knocking on my door at 4 a.m., expecting me to rock him until his back no longer has any bone," Dobbs said. "Is that any way for a man to treat his woman? I don't want to, but if he keeps doing me wrong like this, I am going to take my lovin' and give it to another man."

Added Dobbs: "Skipbone Jackson is going to be the death of me."

Dobbs said that until she receives an apology from Jackson and a full retraction of all accusations, he will not be given any grinding.

"Mr. Jackson says that I stay out all night and that I'm not talking right. He says he has rambling on his mind as a result of my treating him so unkind. He says I want every downtown man I meet and says they shouldn't even let me on the street," Dobbs said. "Well, I refuse to allow my name to be dragged through the mud like this any longer. Unless my man puts an end to these unfair attacks on my character, I will neither rock nor roll him to the break of dawn. I am through with his low-down ways."
(Thanks to Ramon Sender)


Tom G. Stevens PhD

"An insult is like an arrow shot at your heart but landing at your feet.
You can choose not to bend over, pick it up, and stab yourself with it."

. . Remember that anger stems from fear and a sense of helplessness. Some important value or goal is threatened and you feel that you are losing control of the situation. You may not want to admit feeling hurt or fear. (You may think such an admission is a sign of weakness.) Yet these are the underlying feelings that will help you identify which values and goals are being threatened.
The real threat may not be the surface issue (being late to the movie) as much as the underlying issue (not being important to someone you love or being mistreated). Identifying emotions of fear and hurt will open the door to these underlying issues. . . (article)


Seven Self Defeating Styles of Anger
by The "Stress Doc"
Mark Gorkin, LICSW

No 6. Silent or Tearful Impasse. This style can range from the pouting to the spouting. Stony silence or aggressive detachment can be a potent weapon. Let's use the popular example of a certain TV watching habit: men's and women's contrasting styles and power struggles over the remote control. Hey, it's not just the male species having an extra, latent ADD chromosome. Focus on the name of the weapon. Dysfunctional anger, as much as deficit of attention, may fuel the desire to be REMOTE and in CONTROL. (article)


Keeping Your Emotional Cool
by Janet R. Pedersen

Stressful Situation: "Interesting.  I think she just called me a liar." 
Creative Response: Emulate Mr Spock:  "Curious . . " "Fascinating."

Ask yourself this question: "Am I able to remain detached when somebody else is angry or argues with me?" If you're like most people, your answer is probably not only no, but HECK no.
When you're emotional, what are you listening to?  Where is your attention?  Is it on the other person?  Nope.  You're listening to the beast-brain screaming in your own head phrases like these:  "How DARE they say that to ME!" "They're calling me STUPID!"  "She's ATTACKING me!"  "I've GOT to defend myself."
When you're listening to the beast brain babble, you cannot hope to stay neutral.  You are literally giving your body a command to flood with adrenaline -- you're preparing your body to either rip their face off or run away.  You can't hope to think or speak your way out of the situation because all of the neurons are firing off in an ancient beast-like part of the brain -- and none of the neurons in the rational, higher brain are able to work.
A frequent question I get is "How do I get that little voice to shut up?"  My answer, marginally facetious is:  "You don't."  The best you can hope for is to turn down the volume and just notice that voice there in the background, and not let it determine the outcome.  So how do you do that?
Breathe.  I mean it.  From way down deep in your belly, consciously breathe in and fill your belly--then breathe out slowly through your mouth.  A few times.  Why?  Because the beast-brain adrenaline rush is causing you to breathe rapidly, high up in the chest, and flood your bigger muscles so you can fight or flee.  It is depriving your rational brain of oxygen. (article)



"Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned." The Buddha

Once upon a time there was a little boy with a bad temper. His father gave him a bag of nails and told him that every time he lost his temper, he should hammer a nail in the fence. The first day the boy had driven 37 nails into the fence. But gradually, the number of daily nails dwindled down. He discovered it was easier to hold his temper than to drive those nails into the fence.
Finally the first day came when the boy didn't lose his temper at all. He proudly told his father about it and the father suggested that the boy now pull out one nail for each day that he was able to hold his temper. The days passed and the young boy was finally able to tell his father that all the nails were gone. The father took his son by the hand and led him to the fence.
"You have done well, my son, but look at the holes in the fence. The fence will never be the same. When you say things in anger, they leave a scar just like this one. You can put a knife in a man and draw it out, it won't matter how many times you say 'I'm sorry', the wound is still there." (article)


Some Buddhist Antidotes for Anger

ANTIDOTE 11 - Watch Your Hands:


"All our hand postures are mudras in that they are associated with subtle or not-so-subtle energies. Take the energy of the fist, for instance. When we get angry, our hands tend to close into fists. Some people unknowingly practice this mudra a lot in their lives. It waters the seeds of anger and violence within you ever time you do it, and they respond by sprouting and growing stronger.
The next time you find yourself making fists out of anger, try to bring mindfulness to the inner attitude embodied in a fist. Feel the tension, the hatred, the anger, the aggression, and the fear which it contains. Then, in the midst of your anger, as an experiment, if the person you are angry at is present, try opening your fists and placing the palms together over your heart in the prayer position right in front of him. (Of course, he won't have the slightest idea what you are doing.) Notice what happens to the anger and hurt as you hold this position for even a few moments." (article)

Consuming Anger
by Mark Gorkin
" Do you try drinking or eating your anger away or is it so consuming it's eating away at you? Maybe you try controlling your hurt and rage through pseudo saintliness or by spouting artificial affirmations - fast food for thought - instead of compulsive eating?" (article)


Anger Work-Out
James J. Messina, Ph.D. & Constance M. Messina, Ph.D.


Anger Work-Out refers to a healthy and full expression of anger on inanimate objects; not on people. Each of the following techniques could be used alone or in any combination. 

* beating on pillows
* beating on a mattress
* stomping on floor
* beating a bed with tennis or racquetball racket
* beating a rug with a stick
* hitting a weight bag or punching bag
* physical exertion, i.e., playing racquetball, tennis, hand ball, etc.
* yelling in a car with windows closed
* yelling in a paper bag
* ripping up a telephone book or newspapers
* hammering nails in a board
* games in an amusement park that require pounding
* throwing soft objects
* beating a pillow or bed with a foam or plastic bat
* karate or judo practice
* beating drums
* loud yelling
* screaming at a concert or sports event
* screaming in a vacant field or park
* using a shovel to dig holes in the dirt
* hitting balls or stones with a baseball bat
* hitting a ball against a wall with racket or hand
* bowling to hit all the pins down
* writing a letter of anger, but ripping it up the next day-not mailing it.
* expressing feelings by writing in a journal
* wringing a wet towel
* using a hammer to smash glass in a bag
* kneading bread or play dough

(Note: Some of the unsuccessful above combinations that I have tried in the past are:
* Trying to rip up a telephone book - in a telephone booth.
* Karate practice on pets.
* Screaming at bowling balls in a bowling alley.
* Digging a hole with a shovel in a bowling alley.
* Loud yelling in a car with the windows closed (unfortunately, it was inside the car of the bastard who cut me off.)
* Pounding things with a hammer (ie. my thumb.)

Using Humor
American Psychological Association

" . . ."Silly humor" can help defuse rage in a number of ways. For one thing, it can help you get a more balanced perspective. When you get angry and call someone a name or refer to them in some imaginative phrase, stop and picture what that word would literally look like. If you're at work and you think of a co-worker as a "dirtbag" or a "single-cell life form," for example, picture a large bag full of dirt (or an amoeba) sitting at your colleague's desk, talking on the phone, going to meetings. Do this whenever a name comes into your head about another person. If you can, draw a picture of what the actual thing might look like. This will take a lot of the edge off your fury; and humor can always be relied on to help unknot a tense situation. . ." (article)



Recipes to Combat Anger

Aromatherapy Blend #1
* 1 drop Rose
* 3 drops Orange
* 1 drop Vetiver

Aromatherapy Blend #2
* 3 drops Bergamot
* 1 drop Ylang Ylang
* 1 drop Jasmine

Aromatherapy Blend #3
* 1 drop Roman Chamomile
* 2 drops Bergamot
* 2 drops Orange

Aromatherapy Blend #4
* 3 drops Orange
* 2 drops Patchouli

For further instructions on how to combine and use these recipes in Bath Oils, Bath Salts, Massage Oil and Air Fresheners, go here: further instructions


(Note: The following combination works as well. Don't forget the beer.)

Garlic and Chili Prawns with Chestnuts

I went up to a good friend's place in the mountains and did my annual chestnut gather a few weeks ago but haven't had much time to experiment this year as in past years. I have been making the dishes I love (I wait breathlessly for chestnut season), all on my recipe archive, but other than a chestnut, apple and pork pie I tried from a Vogue recipe, nothing worth mentioning. The pie didn't really tickle me that much. But today, I discovered something that opens the door to many more ideas. Combining chestnuts with seafood. The interesting thing is this: chestnuts have a very neutral and non-aggressive taste and they absorb the flavours somewhat of what you cook them with. In this case, the prawn, butter, chili and garlic. So you can use less prawns and the chestnuts will carry on the good news.

10 large green prawns
10 medium sized chestnuts
garlic, chopped
red chili flakes
some olive oil
salt & pepper

Cut a small slit in the side of the chestnuts so they don't burst - and boil in some water until tender. Cut one in half to test. Don't boil them too long as they have to cook more in the pan. Just until they're edible but still firm. Turn off the burner and leave them set in the water while you clean the prawns.
Pull off the legs and the outer shell of the prawns, leaving the tail. Carefully cut a slit down the rounded side and remove the long black vein. Wash carefully and set aside.

Peel the chestnuts, removing the brown outer skin and as much of the brown inner skin as you can. Cut in half and set aside.

Heat some olive oil in a pan, and toss the chestnuts for a few minutes until they start to colour. Add the prawns and stir-fry until almost pink. Add the garlic, chili flakes and a couple tbles of butter, some salt and black pepper and stir and continue to cook for a few more minutes until the prawns are cooked through, but not too long. Turn the prawns and chestnuts into a serving bowl and scrap the brown bits in the pan over the top. Salt to taste and serve hot - with a bottle of beer.

With the addition of a little more butter and maybe some beetgreens to the pan, this would make a nice spaghetti sauce, too. This dish opened up for me the potential of using chestnuts with other kinds of seafood: lobster, anchovies, calamari. That's why I like it. It taught me something.




Heaven on Earth

I saw Jesus at the bowling alley,
slinging nothing but gutter balls.
He said, "You've gotta love a hobby
that allows ugly shoes."
He lit a cigarette and bought me a beer.
So I invited him to dinner.
I knew the Lord couldn't see my house
in its current condition, so I gave it an out
of season spring cleaning. What to serve
for dinner? Fish - the logical
choice, but after 2000 years, he must grow weary
of everyone's favorite seafood dishes.
I thought of my Granny's ham with Coca Cola
glaze, but you can't serve that to a Jewish
boy. Likewise pizza - all my favorite
toppings involve pork.
In the end, I made us an all-dessert buffet.
We played Scrabble and Uno and Yahtzee
and listened to Bill Monroe.
Jesus has a healthy appetite for sweets,
I'm happy to report. He told strange
stories which I've puzzled over for days now.
We've got an appointment for golf on Wednesday.
Ordinarily I don't play, and certainly not in this humidity.
But the Lord says he knows a grand miniature
golf course with fiberglass mermaids and working windmills
and the best homemade ice cream you ever tasted.
Sounds like Heaven to me.

~ Kristin Berkey-Abbott ~
Whistling Past the Graveyard © Pudding House Publications.
(thanks to Dai Woosnam)








"Grant me the stubbornness to change what I can,
the laziness to accept what I cannot,
and enough beer to sit around and endlessly discuss the difference between the two."
Dick Dunn