Wednesday, April 24, 2013

U is for Umami and the USS Hodgepodge

If you're here from the A-Z Challenge and want to know what my letter "U" post is, it's abbreviated today in #8 below .  Call me a slacker; I have no food or drink memories associated with this letter and my theme.  (Well, I have one; I almost called this post "Underwear Joe," but --in the wise words of  The Lion King's  Timon--"best to keep the past behind ya!")

If you're here From the Other Side of Pond, welcome aboard,  where I sometimes give dinghy answers as long as a yacht. Thanks, Joyce, for putting wind in our proverbial sails with this fun little meme called the Wednesday Hodgepodge.

1. April showers bring May flowers...what have you been showered with this month?

Extraordinary expenditures. Car payment (unusual for us--we've been four years without one), wedding rehearsal deposit, queen mattress for guest room, and a microwave for my son and his bride-to-be.

2. What is the nature of compassion? Is it learned or innate? Can compassion be learned? If you're a parent is this something you've purposely sought to instill in your children, and if so how?

The best definition of compassion that I heard about 15 years ago:

"Compassion is not warm fuzzy feelings. Compassion is seeing a need and doing something about it."

Some personalities are more sensitive to other people, more observant, and more prone to do act on their senses and observations.  But I definitely know that when compassion is modeled, it is more likely to be emulated.  And there is no substitute for becoming compassionate than by being someone in need who has received kindness and "pays it forward."  I don't believe that someone who has grown up in the lap of luxury can ever really feel what it's like to be in want for very long unless he or she is forced to be in want for an extended period.

I have experienced both poverty and prosperity. My favorite line from "Fiddler on the Roof" sums it up: "It's no shame to be poor. On the other hand, it's no great honor, either!"

We have tried to instill compassion in our four children by having them be part of  what we're doing when possible and appropriate. Obviously I never took one to the crisis pregnancy center where I counseled, but we have brougth them alongside us in other ways.  I have watched my older sons give up their Saturdays to work on a Habitat for Humanity house in the inner city. One son is now part of an outreach to people diagnosed with HIV AIDS.   I have admired two of my kids who worked at a summer camp in a remote Pennsylvania town for a stipend that amounted to a dollar an hour. Our daughter was happy to be hired as a teacher in a  Title I school (low income) because she is more rewarded by seeing kids succeed who don't have means and support at home.  Our youngest gave his second Capri Sun drink to a friend on the field trip yesterday when the boy said he was still thirsty.

3. Do you prefer to watch romantic comedy or romantic drama...or are you rolling your eyes saying bring on the action flicks?

In a male-dominated house, I seldom get to watch anything romantic.   Over the years, I  have adapted to  the likes of the guys--action flicks--and actually those types of movies tend to leave me satisfied.  Best not to even  try to let romance films entertain me-- or I start to do the old sinful-comparison thing.  It's neither good for me nor fair to him. 

My man shows his love best by acts of service, like painting "my" craft room a shade of yellow I chose, over a shade of green he painted for our girl many years ago.  My man might not be a smooth talker nor able to "cut a rug," but he is smooth in the paint-rolling kind of way and keeps splatters OFF the rug!  Teehee. And those socks are just sizzling hot, aren't they, ladies?

The short answer now? Give me the Bourne series any day and keep your Jane Austen. 

4. It's April , which means baseball season is officially upon us here in the US of A. Humphrey Bogart is quoted as saying "A hot dog at the ballgame beats roast beef at the Ritz." Agree or Disagree?

Hmmm. That's a great quote I've never heard.  And I wish I had a fast and easy answer.  I have to really be in the mood for a hot dog, even at the ballpark. On the other hand, I don't think I could be comfortable eating roast beef at the Ritz, either. Both are wasteful--what's a pack of hot dogs cost? Less that one single hot dog at Camden Yards.  What's a  serving of roast beef at the Ritz cost? More than some families make in a month in certain parts of the world.  I guess I could probably live with myself better by splurging on a hot dog at the ballgame than by eating hoity-toity food elsewhere.  And that's coming from someone who loves fine dining.

5. What's something in your community or city that needs fixing or improving?

The mayor. Most Marylanders would say that Mayor OweMalley (O'Malley) needs his sense of right and wrong fixed when it comes to taxing us.  More than a few middle-agers approaching retirement are talking about (and actually) moving out of this state for that very reason. Just this weekend Paul said we ought to move to Delaware. Of course my first reaction? "Not if the kids and future grandkids stay here!"

6. Share a song you enjoy that mentions flowers or a specific flower in its title.


Edelweiss Edelweiss
Every morning you greet me
Small and white
Clean and bright
You look happy to meet me
Blossom of snow may you bloom and grow
Bloom and grow forever
Edelweiss Edelweiss
Bless my homeland forever

This song takes me back to childhood when my dad would sometimes have us all hold hands around the table and sing grace to the tune.

 We would sing, "Praise the Lord, praise the Lord,
praise the Lord, hallelujah.
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, praise the Lord, hallelujah!"

By the way, did you know that the edelweiss is of the sunflower family?

7. April 22nd is Earth you believe there's life on other planets? That wasn't the question you were expecting, was it?

Earth day, birthday. April 22nd is my daughter's birthday. Had to throw that in. (See yesterday's post if you want.)

Life on other planets? I don't think so. Everything I've read about earth says that life is possible here only because we are the ideal distance from the sun. Any closer, we'd burn up; any farther away, we'd freeze to death.  I tend to think that when the Bible says God created heaven and earth and all the people and animals and plants therein, it means literally this planet Earth. Period. No life as we know it elsewhere. Then again, we know so little and maybe God is enjoying the lives of angels and other creatures on a different planet. Hey, He's God and anything's possible with Him!

8. Insert your own random thought here.

Umami   is a word I just learned about two weeks and tucked into the back of my little bloggy mind for today.  It refers to that quality of yummy goodness in food that is hard to describe. Let me borrow from Wikipedia for a bit of help.  Basically, now that I know what it means, I think I'll start saying it with a Mae West accent. "Oooh, Mah-mee!"  Last thing I had that made me say "umami" were these little raspberry-filled cream pastries, made my Earth Day birthday girl.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Umami /ˈmɑːmi/, a savory taste,[1][2][3] is one of the five basic tastes, together with sweet, sour, bitter and salty. A loanword from the Japanese (うま味?), umami can be translated "pleasant savory taste".[4] This particular writing was chosen by Professor Kikunae Ikeda from umai (うまい) "delicious" and mi (味) "taste". The kanji 旨味 are used for a more general meaning to describe a food as delicious.
The human tongue has receptors for L-glutamate, which is the source of umami flavor. For that reason, scientists consider umami to be distinct from saltiness.[5]


Susan Kane said...

I saw some Japanese desserts called Umami, but didn't know the definition. I should have purchased them, out of curiosity. Expensive, though.

Life in a Small Town said...

EXCELLENT flower song! That song makes me tear up every time I hear it!
Love the compassion quote!

Lea Culp said...

Yes, excellent flower song! The Sound of Music was the first movie I ever saw in a movie theater. All other movies had been at the drive in. Oh, me, what memories!

Another great post!

mare ball said...

I worked for a crisis pregnancy center for 12 years. I was the educational outreach director. We went into the schools and talked about saving sex for marriage. Students responded very well. I love the Bourne series too. That Matt Damon is a cutie-patootie. :-)
Nice to find you!
from The Dugout

The Henry Crew! said...

Your blog always makes me smile! :-) Your story of what compassion is was fantastic, and I absolutely loved what you said about why you don't watch romantic movies - oh, so, SO true...

Joyce said...

Eidelweiss is special in our house too. Hubs used to sing it to my oldest when she was a baby. I always thought it would make a lovely father-daughter wedding dance song one day