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28 September, 2010

EAT WITH LOVE AND AVOID INDIGESTION

I hadn't paid a visit to my alter ego, Old Humphrey, in quite some time.  Oddly enough, it was a bout of indigestion the other day that prompted me to seek him out.


"Hey Humph", I shouted, nudging my old friend out of a deep slumber.  "I've got this indigestion and nothing seems to be helping to relieve it.  Not even the old reliable baking soda remedy you gave me a while back.  Must have been something I ate, but I don't know...Any suggestions?"


"Ah huh!" came the old timer's reply.  "You've obviously forgotten what I once told you  -- look less to the food you eat, and more to the temper and frame of mind in which you eat it." 


"Well, you may be right as usual," I allowed.  "Was in a bit of a hurry when I tied on the feed bag at supper time.  Had a lot of things to do outside before dark and my wife was agitating about a couple of inside chores that I'd been neglecting as well...It all got me kind of stressed."


As Humphrey shifted his weight and leaned forward on his front porch swing, I knew there would be more sage advice forthcoming and I was not to be denied.  "So long as you are in a hurry, pressured, or in a bad mood, you may dine in vain on the finest roast of beef, the thighs of woodcocks and the breasts of partridges.  Nothing will suit your indigestion; the tender will become tough and the light will lie heavy on your stomach.  Understand what I'm saying?"


I understood and waited for the best yet to come.


"Let love, joy, peace and goodness abound in your heart as you are eating and take my word for it young fella, you will ere long be able to eat toasted cheese and barm dumplings with impunity."


"Thanks for that, Humphrey.  I was with you right up to the toasted cheese and barm dumplings.  Do you have a recipe for that too?" I added.
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As it turns out, I think I will be passing on Humphrey's toasted cheese and barm dumplings suggestion.  I have a feeling that this traditional British culinary delight would not agree with me no matter how relaxed and loving I might be.

Toasted cheese (one of Queen Victoria's favourites, incidentally) generally consists of grated cheese mixed with beer or ale and served on toast that has been buttered on both sides.

Barm is the foam, or scum, formed on the top of liquor (i.e. fermented alcoholic beverages such as beer or wine, or feedstock for hard liquor or industrial ethanol distillation) when fermenting. It was used to leaven bread, or set up fermentation in a new batch of liquor. Barm, as a leaven, has also been made from ground millet combined with must out of wine-tubs and is sometimes used in English baking, i.e. Humphrey's dumplings.

I'll simply take my old friend's word for it.

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