“Do not confine your children to your own learning, for they were born in another time.” —Chinese Proverb
Adopting new technology can help us fit into—and benefit from—an ever-changing world. Consider the millions of people who, every day, order books online. It makes good sense and there are some practical advantages: There is no need to get in your car and drive to a bookstore or library. With just the touch of a finger, you can jump right in and escape to whatever world you are seeking. Reading romance, history, or about how to do just about anything on an eBook can fuel our imagination, fill our soul, and leave us wanting more.
But I prefer the feel of smooth pulp to the swipe of an eBook. I enjoy turning the page. There’s something magical about the touch of a book page corner. In those few seconds—as I physically turn the page—it’s as if I’ve put an open hand behind my ear and the writer has my full attention. The tactile
pause draws me further into the story. I received one of my life’s most inspirational gifts upon graduating college, a print of Homer Winslow’s A New Novel. I have carried that print with me and hung it in my office at every job since. The painting speaks for itself. For me, it’s not about the artist’s style or technique, but the depiction of pure joy lying in the grass on a warm summer’s day, resting on a pillow, and reading a book. I am not averse to reading eBooks. I sell my work on Amazon in digital and print form. And like most people, I am inundated with technology. Gadgets rule my life, and given the option I’m not sure I could BY JILL MODELL-DION live without them. It’s a predicament. So, what’s my problem? It’s hard to explain to a Zoomer since they were born into a digital world. I’ve read experts recommend waiting until children are 2 before giving them digital devices, yet parents get seduced into buying such gadgets for convenience and accessibility. I was both amazed and dismayed watching my three-year-old granddaughter operate her mother’s iPad—astounded by her ability to maneuver the back button to retrieve her video choice, and saddened by her absorption in a virtual world. In a time when everything moves so fast, to keep up we need to get on board. It doesn’t mean we have to update our phones every time a new one comes out, or stop how we have always done things. It suggests we must continue to adapt and try out new things and ways that make our lives easier and more efficient. And for those of us who wish to keep our old-style ways, we can do just that. It's okay. As for technology I love, I will choose my new air fryer over utilizing a pan any day. I’ll ask Alexa to “find my phone,” instead of worrying about where I left it. Using GPS maps to find my way around is a godsend. And I use an electronic calendar in place of a day planner. But when it comes to reading, the soft pulp of a page will always outshine the flat screen. This gal will always turn the page.
Jill Modell-Dion started writing after a long career in senior therapeutic recreation. She’s written several workbooks for caregivers on creative activities. Her first novel, The Laundromat General, was published in April and her next book, The Vacant Piano, will be released soon. Visit her website agingcreative.com to read her story/blog, which always offers an aging perspective.
Wrap it Up
For the Holidays!
BY REBECCA CRICHTON
Roll it up, wrap it up, what could be neater?
Add a spread, forget the bread, be a healthy eater!
When in doubt, lay it all out, no need for precision.
Bite by bite, day or night, you’ve made the right decision!
Oh, the contradictions of winter food! Many of us are still in the throes of committing to the proven behaviors for healthy living—eating better, exercising more, getting to the projects that were suspended at the first pre-Halloween pumpkin spice latte.
The comfort foods of winter tempt— stews and soups, creamy baked dishes, rich desserts, often preceded by words like “hearty” and “deeply satisfying.” My word of choice during the holiday season: “slather”—as applied to butter, melted cheese, and whipped cream.
For the New Year, I’ve adopted a new concept to replace that of excess: wraps. Not the familiar flour tortilla wraps where there is more wrap than filling, providing safe cover but tasting more like cardboard than food. The world of wraps is far more diverse and appealing.
A quick review brings to mind dumplings and wontons, blinis and blintzes, samosas, Ethiopian injera, and Thai Betel leaves. Vietnamese fresh rolls and Chinese spring rolls. Crepes, pasties, knishes. Pita and lavash. Tortillas, both flour and corn wrap around fajitas and other grilled or sauteed fillings. The more I think of wraps, the more I see them everywhere.
And now that even fast-food chains offer low carb or carb-free alternatives for their burgers and patties, there are many reasons to feel rhapsodic about wraps.
Trader Joe’s and other grocery stores offer an array of wraps that invite exploration and creativity. The newest choices at Trader Joe’s illustrates: Fresh Jicama wraps add crunch and coolness to their filling; egg white wraps are delicate, crepe-like circles that invite heating as well as room temperature pleasure; parmesan cheese wraps can be wrapped or draped over fillings.
“Why not just make a sandwich?” I hear you mutter.
Instead of approaching this crucial question as either/or, this is definitely a both/and issue. Sandwiches will never go away. Heck, anything can be slapped between two slices of bread or tucked into a hoagie roll.
Wraps and their pocket partners take a bit more finesse, given tendencies to tear or not yield a big enough space for stuffing.
The challenge is to find the wraps that work for your particular use: casual lunch, appetizers, main course, or desserts. Carb or non-carb, proteinbased, or mainly water. Gluten-free? Vegan? The world of wraps is all about options. For me, that means fun and creativity.
What you wrap around depends on the wrap or wraps you have chosen. My refrigerator and pantry are always stocked with ingredients that allow me to be flexible and match the need.
I stick by my advice about assembling a spread for a casual gathering. Make sure that among the items chosen are foods that are “dippy, pickly and cheesy.”
Those would be:
Spreads and dips
Hummuses and other Middle Eastern spreads. My current favorites: Trader Joe’s tomato-basil hummus, olive tapenade, and vegan tzatziki.
Pickles and olives
I crave almost anything pickled. Bread and butter pickles. Garlic spears. Capers. Olives and tapenades. Mama Lil’s peppers. Pickled asparagus, artichoke hearts, bottled red peppers. sauerkraut, kimchi. Fermentation has taken over many deli counters.
Vegetables and herbs
Cucumber spears, shredded carrots, sliced radishes, tomatoes, shredded cabbage, fennel, lettuce. Basil, cilantro, mint, and dill all add a shot of flavor to whatever you are assembling.
Turkey, ham, salami. Egg salad, tuna salad and the like.
Endless possibilities. My favorite Trader Joe’s cheese, Unexpected Cheddar, proved itself so popular that it is now sold shredded with a cheese spread version added to the lineage.
Mustards—the many choices give different outcomes. Be brave and try some that are new to you. Ketchups and chutneys. Mayos and other bottled sauces for spikes of flavor and heat.
Putting it all together
First, don’t be a Dagwood! For those of you old enough to remember the comic character Dagwood and his multiple foot-high sandwiches, we are thinking horizontal, not vertical.
Open your chosen wrap and spread the whole surface with the condiment or spread of your choice. Next add whatever proteins you are using. Finish with vegetables, pickles, and top with any cheese or sauce. Roll or wrap like a burrito. If you are heating the wrap, start with 30 seconds and check for the level of heat and melting you desire. It can be hot, so check before taking a bite!
Rebecca Crichton is executive director of Northwest Center for Creative Aging and presents programs on that topic in the Seattle area.
Mediterranean Tuna Salad
• 3 tbsp. Capers • 3 tbsp. Kalamata olives • 3-4 green onions or ¼ sweet onion • 1 tsp. Anchovy paste or 2-3 anchovies • 1 tbsp. Dijon or stoneground mustard • Fresh herbs (basil, mint, or dill) • 1-3 tbsp. mayonnaise • Juice of half lemon • 1 can tuna (use whatever level salt and/or oil you like.) In bowl of food processor, pulse all ingredients except tuna.
Once ingredients are coarsely chopped and well mixed, add tuna (use oil if you choose or drain if in water.) Pulse until chunky and everything is incorporated. Taste for seasoning. Add more lemon, salt, or mayo if you feel it needs it.
Drained Yogurt Spread or Dip
Among my favorite tools is a small triangular strainer for yogurt. I use low-fat or nonfat yogurt and by the time it has drained for a day, I have a healthy version of Labneh or thick Greek yogurt. Of course, you can just start with either of those.
• 1 cup drained yogurt of labneh, or thick Greek yogurt • 2 cloves garlic, crushed • Juice of 1 lemon • 1/3 to 1/2 cup chopped herbs (cilantro, dill, parsley, basil, mint, chives) • 1-2 tbsp. good olive oil • Salt and pepper Mix ingredients together and add salt or lemon as needed.