Monday, November 28, 2016

Boycott AARP

Hell, no, I won’t go.
 AARP has been harassing me. I once had a membership in the organization, thought it rather amusing when I was a mere 50 years old. But a number of years ago, I got fed up with them. (“Them” being those organizational wonks at AARP. Is it possible that the staff at AARP consists of a bunch of 20- year-old aggressive recent college graduates? You know the type—they live in group apartments on Capitol Hill and create instant crowds at all the trendy local restaurants. They are one paycheck away from moving back in with their parents.)
I quit AARP and never regretted the decision. I don’t want an AARP card that I can flash for a 10 percent discount at the Motel 6 in Coral Springs, Florida. I don’t want a free ice cream sundae on my birthday or a whopping 15 percent discount at Denny’s. Imagine how reasonable it would be if I moved into a Motel 6 in Coral Springs and ate all my meals at Denny’s! Let me calculate that—10 percent + 15 percent = I save 25 percent on meals and lodgings every day. (Yes, my math concepts are a bit unusual.) I really don’t like Florida and I can’t recall ever eating at Denny’s but it sounds like one of the rings of hell.
But AARP doesn’t take no for an answer from me. They keep writing, sending birthday cards and little reminders of what I’m missing. I don’t miss the stupid magazine with a picture of Harrison Ford on the cover and large-print Sudoku puzzles. They aren’t luring me to rejoin with offers of tote bags or an inflatable travel pillow embellished with a bright red AARP logo. I’ve noticed that the cost of membership renewal keeps going down. Next time I fully expect them to send me a check for more than the price of renewal, if I’ll only come back.
In the early days, I was in the amusement phase—when I thought it was rather fun to be a member of an organization for seniors. That was when I would flash the card for 10 percent off the rental car and the smiling clerk would say, “Aw heck, ma'am, you’re kidding me. You can’t be old enough for AARP. My grandma belongs to AARP.” They don’t say that anymore. They automatically give me a senior discount without my asking. Damn. I hate that.
Now I’m in the rebellious phase—I don’t want to be pigeonholed into a category. I’m a child of the 60s. I might have a Che Guevera poster somewhere. I still flash peace signs at people and might participate in a sit-in somewhere. Sometime. If it’s not too hot or too cold and it’s in a nice location. I don’t want to demand a discount just because I’m old(ish).
Global warming is melting the polar ice. I once imagined that when I got old enough and unproductive, I would be put on an iceberg and would float away into non-existence. I’d better hurry before there are no icebergs.
And I do not, under any circumstance, want an AARP card. Leave me alone.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Chesapeake Oyster Stuffing

Oyster stuffing

Direct from the source . . . I've made oyster stuffing, haven't tried this recipe yet, but I will. It's supposed to be the best and you can show your gratitude by making a contribution to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.

Chesapeake Oyster Stuffing

CBF's Director of Fisheries Bill Goldsborough swears by this tried-and-true oyster stuffing recipe inspired by Gourmet magazine. Enjoy! 
  • 2 loaves Italian or French bread (1 lb total), cut into 3/4-inch cubes (12 cups)
  • 1/2 lb sliced bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil (if needed)
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped (2 cups)
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped celery
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme or 1 tablespoon dried thyme, crumbled
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh sage or 2 teaspoons dried sage, crumbled
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2/3 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, melted
  • 24 oysters, shucked, drained, and chopped (3/4 cup)
  • 2 cups turkey giblet stock or low-sodium chicken broth
Preheat oven to 325°F. Spread bread cubes in two shallow baking pans and bake in upper and lower thirds of oven, switching position of pans halfway through baking, until golden, 25 to 30 minutes total. Cool bread in pans on racks, then transfer to a large bowl.
Meanwhile, cook bacon in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until crisp, about 10 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain, reserving fat in skillet.
If bacon renders less than 1/4 cup fat, add enough oil to skillet to total 1/4 cup fat. Cook onions, celery, thyme, sage, garlic, salt, and pepper in fat in skillet over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to bowl with bread cubes, then stir in bacon, parsley, butter, and oysters. Drizzle with stock, then season with salt and pepper and toss well.
Transfer stuffing to a buttered 3- to 3 1/2-quart shallow baking dish. Bake, covered, in middle of oven 30 minutes, then uncover and bake until browned, about 30 minutes more. Allow two hours all together to prepare and cook.

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