Posted by Jeanne Adams Dec 8 2009, 5:38 am in Cassondra Murray, Ham, Jeanne Adams, Turkey
by Jeanne Adams and Cassondra Murray
Ahhhhhh, the Merry Holiday Season! What doth it mean to thee?
To me, it means a lot of wonderful COOKING!!! Yeah!
Everthing loading the table from stuffing to mashed potatoes, to sweet potoato casserole, to corn pudding, to yeast rolls and gravy and fixin’s. Then there’s all the desserts and side dishes. Ohhhh and the china and silver that make their gorgeous, shiny presence on the table as well.
Then there’s the magnificent smells emantating from the stove and oven and broiler and grill…ahhhhhh!
But there’s a big debate around our house, and evidently around the Lair. Yes, yes, it’s true, you guessed it its….
(Drum roll please!)
Ham or Turkey?
My dear evil twin Cassondra and I were having this discussion recently. And oddly enough, on opposite sides of the table, so to speak. So we thought we’d present the debate to you, our dear readers, and get your take on the matter.
As for me, I fall on the oink-oink-oink HAM side. While I adore turkey and love it for Thanksgiving, there’s just nothing like a pineapple-and-clove-laden ham for the Holidays.
Cassondra: Oh, c’mon. Honestly? There’s nothing like a giant TURKEY coming out of the oven.
Jeanne: Well, yeah, at Thanksgiving. But for Christmas, you need Ham.
Cassondra: Right. It must be my country upbringing. I can’t help it. We got turkey only twice a year at my house. And watching mom fix that turkey and smelling it cooking? OH MY! I’m sorry, but at heart, even at Christmas I am a Turkey Girl.
Jeanne: Turkey Girl. Snork. Guess that makes me Ham Girl. Hahahahah!
Cassondra: If the apple fits….
Jeanne: Or the stuffing. Grins.
Cassondra: Well, here’s another question. White or dark meat? I like dark meat. Everyone around me likes white meat. And that’s just fine. MORE DARK MEAT FOR ME! Bwahhhahahaha!
Jeanne: Okay, we DO agree on that. Dark meat, alll the way! Yum! So what else did you have with your turkey, at Christmas?
Cassondra: Oh, we had a traditional meal every year. It never varied. Turkey, with an amazing and simple stuffing made from light bread and celery and onion and lots of sage. Green beans, corn, mashed potatoes with homemade gravy, and cranberry sauce, plus my mom’s homemade biscuits. Okay, I’m salivating.
Jeanne: Oooooh, yummmy! Sounds fabulous. For me, it’s ham, covered with pineapple and cloves, sweet potato casserole (no marshmallows, eeeew!), corn, mashed potatoes, stuffing, green beans – you know, Cassondra, good old shelley beans! – asparagus casserole, and spiced apples too. Hmmmm, lets see what else? Oh, by the way, we skip the cranberry sauce. For some reason, I’m the only one who eats it and I always hate to see it go to waste.
Now, I like turkey too, but I have to ask, why turkey instead of ham?
Cassondra: The cool thing that tips the scale in favor of turkey at both holidays, for me, is that my mom made these awesome little treats we call “dressing balls.” She took the light bread stuffing mixture, added a bit more moisture so it would cling together a little, then she’d roll it up inot little balls about the size of a truly satisfying meatball. Then she’d bake them in the oven at the end of the turkey’s roasting. They came out brown and crispy on the outside, soft and steamy and sagey on the inside. ONLY at the holidays. And once at Thanksgiving was never enough. Still isn’t. So, despite my getting tired of turkey leftovers by about a week after Thanksgiving, I’m ready again at Christmas. You just can’t go wrong cooking a turkey.
Jeanne: Now, for me, those endless leftovers are one of the things that tips the scale for me in favor of ham. I love dressing, and gravy, but apples and cinnamon and ham just make my mouth water. I’m not a huge fan of dressing, but those meatball sized helpings actually sound good. (Anybody ever made a Yule log, like the one at the right? Tell all!)
Cassondra: Yeah, the leftovers thing is a pain, but for me, I fall firmly on the side of fowl. Fow’s that for falliteration?
Jeanne: SNORK! Well, I guess that leaves me happily parading on the party-side of pork!
What about you, dear Banditas and Bandita Buddies?
Are you on Team Gobble or Team Oink?
Ever do both?
C’mon, it’s an all out battle between bird and beast! Let the GAMES BEGIN!!!
Posted by crocodesigns Mar 18 2009, 6:09 am in Aunty Cindy explains it all for you, travel, Turkey
posted by Aunty Cindy aka Loucinda McGary
Since we are all recovering from our Irish blow out that lasted the past few days, Aunty thought she’d relax and share a few last pictures of her jaunt to Turkey.
One of the areas that we found the most fascinating was the region in central Turkey called Cappadocia. I’ve already talked a bit about this area between two long extinct volcanoes in my post about the underground cities.
But another really unique aspect of Cappadocia is something they call “Fairy Chimneys.” The soft layers of rock called tufa, were covered by much harder layers of stone.
Through the process of erosion (mostly by the wind) unique formations resulted. Columns of the softer, lighter colored rock were topped by darker layers of harder rock. These gigantic formations sometimes look like mushrooms.
Sometimes, as you can see happening in this photo on the right, the column under the harder layer of rock disolves completely, and the top falls off!
Sometimes, like with the underground cities, people carve out storage rooms or dove cotes in the columns of softer rock.
At one location where several of the rock columns were close together like this, the carved rooms were actually used as a police station!
This was such a fascinating place and went on for many many miles! It took our guided tour the better part of two days to drive through Cappadocia, and that was only because we didn’t stop for photos the second day.
Everyone in the Lair knows how much yer olde Aunty loves to travel. And I have been to some very wonderful places and seen some amazing sights. But the Fairy Chimneys in Cappadocia were truly unique! I almost felt like I was on another planet. I wouldn’t have been a bit surprised to go into one of those hollowed out columns and find myself in an interplanetary bar like the one in Star Wars!
What about you? Have you ever been someplace that felt like it could have been on another planet? Or what kind of creatures do you envision living in these Fairy Chimneys? Does Aunty need to trade in her crop for a blaster?
Maybe you have some tamer travel suggestions for yer olde Aunty. Please share!
Posted by crocodesigns Jan 18 2009, 5:32 am in Aunty Cindy explains it all for you, libraries, travel, Turkey
posted by Aunty Cindy aka Loucinda McGary
My maternal grandmother taught me to read when I was five years old, and ever since then, one of my favorite places in the world is the library.
We didn’t have much money to buy books when I was growing up. But every other week in the summer or during other school holidays, my mother would take me, my sister and my brother to the local branch of the public library. My sister and brother liked to slide down the smooth concrete banister out front, but not me! I loved to roam among those shelves and shelves of books, looking for treasures.
The library was heaven on earth for me, and I’m definitely not the only one. Even in ancient times, libraries were special places. That was never more apparent to me than on my recent trip to Turkey when I got to visit the ruins of the Library of Celsius (or Celsus) which was in the Roman city of Ephesus. In its heyday, over 12,000 scrolls were stored in it.
For the history buffs (like ME) in the Lair, here’s a bit of information from the Turkish Tourism site…
“According to inscriptions in Latin and Greek on the wings of the front steps, the Library was erected in ad 110 by the Consul Gaius Julius Aquila for his father, Julius Celsius Polemaeanus, formerly Roman Consul and governor of the Asian province. The library was completed in ad 135 by his heirs. Its façade was two-tiered; the interior consisted of a single large hall, measuring 10 × 16 m, comprising the Celsius library itself. The burial chamber under the floor contains the marble sarcophagus of Celsius in an excellent state of preservation.
The reading room destroyed in a fire in the second half of the 3rd century, but the façade did not suffer damage. For a time, the library was left filled with the resulting debris. About ad 400, the area in front of the building was converted into a pool. The façade served a decorative purpose, with its beautiful silhouette mirrored in the water.” (Guess my siblings weren’t the only ones who liked to play in front of the library!)
An article in Wikipedia states that Julius Celsus was a wealthy and popular citizen of Ephesus. It was unusual to be buried within a library or even within city limits, so this was a special honor.
Quite an honor from the looks of this place! I would have loved to be there in 135 AD…
What about you? Are you more a borrower or a buyer? Or maybe a bit of both? Do you have a favorite library story you can share?
Posted by crocodesigns Dec 18 2008, 5:45 am in Aunty Cindy explains it all for you, travel, Turkey
posted by Aunty Cindy aka Loucinda McGary
Ten days ago, I wrapped up my two week tour of Turkey, a fascinating place brimming with history and culture. I can’t recommend a visit there highly enough.
One of the places I looked forward to seeing most was the Cappadocia region. This area is a wide expanse between two now extinct volcanoes with highly unusual rock formations called “fairy chimneys.” These were created by a hard layer of rock which did not erode at the same rate as the softer layer of rock (called tufa) underneath.
I knew that the inhabitants of this region carved caves out of the soft tufa stone and sometimes lived in them. What I didn’t know until I got there, was that entire cities (the largest with an estimated population of 16,000) were carved underground! Some of the cities date back to prehistoric times, and some of them were inhabited up until the 1950s when the Turkish government decided they were historic treasures and great tourist attractions and moved everyone out.
The real heyday of these underground cities, and the part that fascinated me the most was from around the 2nd to the 5th centuries AD. Christians fleeing persecution from first the Romans, then the Arabs, moved into the region and expanded the underground cities into a network of over 100 different locations.
Cities went down 10 or more levels and were interconnected with an elaborate system of tunnels. Entrances were camouflaged into hillsides, and top levels were usually stables since the tunnels were too narrow to accommodate livestock. Though the inhabitants lived above ground most of the time, during times of attack or war, the cities could easily sustain themselves for months at a time and were pretty much impenetrable.
This big rock that looks like a millstone was rolled into place at the entrance to each level. The hole in the center was for shooting arrows at the enemy, who pretty much had to approach in single file due to the narrow tunnels. Since the cities were interconnected, runners would let a neighboring city know they were under attack and a counter attack could be launched. The early Christians were able to live and thrive here for several centuries.
We visited the underground city of Kaymakil, which had eight levels and an estimated population of 3,000. Four of the levels are now open for tourists, but yer olde Aunty (whose head almost scraped the ceilings in the largest rooms) only went down two. My DH (who could not stand straight except in the stable) went to all four, though he had to crawl on hands and knees through the connecting tunnels. Definitely no place for anyone with claustrophobia!
Today is day 7 of our Banditas’ 12 Days of Christmas. In the traditional Christmas carol, this would be the day “my true love” sent 7 Swans a Swimming. Just like the underground cities of Cappadocia, this song was about more than meets the eye. It was written by Catholics during the time when they could not openly practice their religion in England, and the words had a double meaning. According to Aunty’s sources, the 7 Swans a Swimming represent the sevenfold gifts of the Holy Spirit — prophecy, serving, teaching, exhortation, contribution, leadership, and mercy.
Have you ever been surprised by something that turned out to be more than it seemed? Do you think you could live 7 or 8 stories underground?
Did you know that the GR has a Turkish cousin living near the ruins of the city of Troy?
Posted by Donna MacMeans Nov 23 2007, 5:01 am in Donna's posts, Scents, Turkey, writing craft
by Donna MacMeans
As I’m writing this, there’s a butter slathered turkey roasting to a delectable crispness in my oven. Can you smell it? I think the whole nation must. House after house, filled from the rafters to the basement with that mouth-watering scent, open their doors to welcome friends and relatives, and, in turn, release some of the roast turkey scent out to the world.
When the house fills with that familiar smell, I can almost hear a football game playing on the television (of course, it doesn’t hurt that there IS a football game currently playing on the TV – but I’m going for association here). I can almost envision pumpkin pie and all the must-have casseroles that accompany the bird. I once read that more than all the other senses, a smell can trigger deep subconscious memories both good and bad. Turkey roasting is a good one, connected with fond memories for me.
As a writer, we can use this. We can set a scene with a familiar scent and thus draw the reader into the story. My characters all tend to be coffee drinkers – just so I can evoke that wonderful scent of coffee first thing in the morning for my story.
We can associate a character with a unique scent. I decided I wanted Emma in The Education of Mrs. Brimley to smell like winter apples as that spoke of a wholesome quality to me. I gave the hero, Nicholas, basic manly scents, but with a slight trace of turpentine to identify him as an artist.
To help keep myself in the story, I burned a Macintosh apple candle that surrounded me in Emma’s scent. Soon, I began to associate the scent with writing and formed a desire to write whenever I smelled apples. Not a bad association to form for a procrastinator like me!
What scents, good and bad, evoke strong memories for you? Is there a memorable character that you associate with a scent? For the writers, do you, like me, tie an overall scent to a book, and then hunt for a candle to “cast a spell”? (Hey, I’ll do anything if it keeps me at the keyboard.) One commenter will win a copy of The Education of Mrs. Brimley.