Sunday, July 23, 2006

Pass the Ketchup, Please...

...but not the Heinz! I have found a ketchup that tastes like the ketchup I remember as a child. The other day I bought a bottle of Trader Joe's organic ketchup, and I will never buy Heinz again! I have a half-full bottle of the stuff in my fridge, but I doubt I'll use it up...

First of all, although I know this doesn't always guarantee a better product, Trader Joe's ketchup is organic. Secondly, just compare the ingredients:

Trader Joes:
Organic tomato puree, organic sugar, salt, organic white vinegar, organic onion powder, organic spices.

Tomato concentrate made from red ripe tomatoes, distilled vinegar, high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup*, salt, spice, onion powder, natural flavoring.

*Not JUST high fructose corn syrup, but more corn syrup as well!

Third, looking at the appearance of each ketchup:

Trader Joe's is thick, and dark red like vine-ripened tomatoes, while Heinz' is watery and thin, and a lighter more orangey red color like the tomatoes that go to the store green and then ripen on the shelf.

Fourth is the most important comparison, and that's taste:

Heinz is sharp, sweet, and a tad metallic even. The vinegar bites, and the texture is just like it looks...bland and smooth.

The first thing I taste with the Trader Joe's ketchup is...tomato! It's tangy, spicey and tomatoey. There's actually a pureed tomatoes. When I pour it out on the spoon, it doesn't spread out in a weak watery puddle. It pours out in a thick dark red blob.

So there you have it - my first taste comparison. I'm happy to have found one more way to eliminate high fructose corn syrup from my diet, and it's nice to be able to do so in such a tasty pass the fries, please!

Monday, July 17, 2006

Drowsing in the Afternoon...

I still have not shaken this virus from hell. Yesterday I got some antibiotics, so everyone cross your fingers that they do the trick and shake this thing loose! I would not wish my last week on my worst enemy, I swear.

So anyway...that's how come this next part is happening...I am lying here on my couch, in the middle of the day, and I have slowly become aware of the wonderful quiet drowsy feeling I used to have in the middle of a sick afternoon as a kid. You know the one...there's no one talking, the TV isn't on, and there aren't any cars flying by. All I can hear is my ears buzzing a little bit, and (right now, anyway), the click of my laptop keyboard. Every once in awhile a two-seater drones overhead, bound for the local municipal airport, just like they did when I was young. There's nothing but this...peace, settling all around me like a warm blanket drawn up by my mother's cool hand. If I close my eyes, I can smell the yellow forsythia blooming outside my bedroom window...

I realize how very rare this quiet is for me. I live in a busy city, riding the rattling screeching bus every day to work. More often than not, when cars do roll by, the passenger is blaring his megawatt SuperGhettoBlaster stereo system. (I must admit, they're all very quiet right now though!) The little boy upstairs is running and jumping and DROPPING things above me. The maintenance crew is out blowing that one last stubborn leaf of this past fall all over the parking lot...

Oops, sorry - I didn't mean to disturb all this drowsy and comforting peace...Now all I need is a warm kitty curled up next to me...last I heard from her, she was gently snoring by the front door!

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Down...But Not Out

I'm sure all two of my blog visitors are wondering where I am, so I thought I'd at least let you know I'm alive. Not well, though. I am fighting the vilest virus I've ever come across! It's a huge sinus infection that's invaded my eyes so they look like they're melting. This thing is just nasty! It all started on Sunday when I was out on a garden walk in the hot sun.

So - I do have more interesting and fun things to post, but it won't be for a few days I'm afraid. My head has to stop spinning, and my ear has to stop buzzing first! Right now it's hard for me to tell which end is up...

More coming later, I promise!

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Laughter the Best...You Know!

A true English cottage garden I'm so amazed at and grateful to my mum for the way she has dealt with the medical crises in her life. She always manages to find the humor in the situation, and to handle things with grace and deportment. I know that the laughter she brought to my father's bedside helped his healing process immensely. Through the prostate and heart surgeries, mum always had my father, the staff, and me smiling. Even when the cancer took over my father's life, she helped us smile through our tears. We even had the funeral director laughing when we went to make those final arrangements!

Now my father is gone, and Mum is facing a health crisis of her own. Last week she had to have a laser treatment in her eye. The dye they inject makes a person extremely photosensitive and subject to severe sunburn, so the doctor advised my mum to cover herself up completely against any ultriviolet rays. She called me when the procedure was finished, and I picked her up at the doctor's office. We left the building with my Mum dressed in a long-sleeved white cotton blouse, a batik sarong wrapped around her head, white cotton gloves, and Ray-Ban sunglasses a la Tom Cruise in "Top Gun." I was wearing the wide-brimmed straw hat I had brought for her, with my new big crystal-studded sunglasses.

Dressed in our skirts and sandles, we must have made quite a pair. I know Mum was feeling rather self-conscious, considering it was well over 80 degrees outside! She started laughing, and I couldn't help but join in. All the way to the parking garage, we made jokes about her being the "Mad woman of Shiloh," and how it looked like I was helping her escape from an embassy somewhere! Too funny!

I know my mother is scared. The prognosis for her eyesight doesn't appear to be very good, but she is maintaining her sense of humor. For me, that's extremely reassuring, because I know as long as she can laugh about things and see the funny side of a situation, she's going to be all right. The two of us will muddle through this ever-changing dynamic of an elder parent and daughter and changing health, and we'll be able to do it with grace and dignity.


Reading and commenting on blogs and watching Gilmore Girls at the same time is an exercise in confusion and lots of words floating around in my head!

Still loving "So You Think You Can Dance," but that Jaymz (what guy really spells his name like that?) has really got to go! Benji and Donyelle, on the other hand, just keep getting better and better!