The Expression “Trailer Trash” is Unfair

For years I’ve been hearing the expression, “trailer trash.” It’s absolutely, positively unfair to the millions of good, honest, hard-working people who make a home out of a mobile home. One family I know of, runs a thriving business and sent their son to Stanford. His success at college had a lot to do with the money they saved by living in a mobile home. Buying a standard home has become expensive and out of reach for many families. Especially young families. Living in a mobile home can be a financially wise choice. My husband and I lived in a converted school bus for two-and-a-half years while we built a little house. We wouldn’t have been able to do it without the money we saved living in that bus. It was a fun time.

Mobile homes range from deluxe to modest and people in every state live in them. It is a pity, if their children are made to feel ashamed, because someone coined the phrase, “trailer trash.” Most people probably laugh it off. Their homes are nice and they know it. It does not make someone “trashy” just because they live in a mobile home. The next time you hear someone use that expression, remind them it’s misleading and offensive. We should all be so lucky.

Suellen Ocean is the author of many books on diverse topics. Her books are available here:  http://www.amazon.com/Suellen-Ocean/e/B001KC7Z78

Making Gravy Out of Acorns

My father taught me how to make gravy. Growing up in New Orleans, he worked as a chef around a lot of French cooking. He had plenty of praise for “browning flour.” He called browned flour “roux.” Browning flour takes a little skill because it burns easily. The best skillet to use is cast iron, along with a metal spatula to scrape the flour so it doesn’t burn. A quarter cup of flour is all you need. More finesse is needed to add liquid to the flour but hang in there. You can get the lumps out. Add the liquid slowly and make sure it’s not hot. Cold is best. It will become a paste and with more liquid, it will become the desired gravy consistency. The liquid should be flavorful. Soup stock is preferable, the tastier the better. You can either make your own or purchase it. To turn it into acorn gravy, you only need to add a quarter cup of acorns that has gone through the leaching process I explain in my book.

Suellen Ocean is the author of Acorns and Eat’em, a how-to vegetarian cookbook and field guide for eating acorns. Find it here: http://www.amazon.com/Acorns-Eatem-How–Vegetarian-Cookbook/dp/1491288973

Allergies… Why Do We Say Gesundheit When Someone Sneezes?

It’s easy to forget that oak trees are like a big broccoli floret. This year in California, we’ve had so much rain, the trees are not just bursting forth their greenery, many are bursting with pollen. The timing of the rains, interspersed with intervals of beautiful weather, have enabled pollen and flowers on the trees to remain intact, bringing better assurance that the trees will bear fruit. Whether it’s fig, apricot, almond or oak, the trees in my neck of the woods are the healthiest I’ve ever seen them. Let’s hope there will be an abundance of acorns. I’m hungry for some acorn chocolate cake and there are several squirrels with big bushy tails that are probably eyeing them too. Don’t worry little fellas, I will only take a few.

Beware of the beauty of oak trees in full pollen mode. Even if you don’t regularly have allergies, this year might be different. After several years of drought, mother nature is making up for lost time. Gesundheit!

Why do we say that after someone sneezes? Gesundheit is a German word that means health.  Auf ihre gesundheit means, “to your health.” A sneeze might be a reaction to dust or pollen but it can also be a sign that someone is coming down with a cold. In office environments, it has become almost an obsession to say, “bless you” or “gesundheit” after someone sneezes.

Suellen Ocean is the author of Acorns and Eat’em, a how-to vegetarian cookbook and field guide for eating acorns. Find it here: http://www.amazon.com/Acorns-Eatem-How–Vegetarian-Cookbook/dp/1491288973

Fashion: Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter… What a Doll

The birth of fashion magazines may have begun in 1321, when a small doll dressed in the latest fashion was sent to the English queen. The dolls became more frequent and those on the receiving end were the nobility. Like our seasonal fashion changes today, the dolls came at the beginning of the spring, summer, autumn and winter seasons. The dolls originated in London, Berlin, Rome, Lisbon, St. Petersburg and of course… Paris. These dolls paved the way for the fashion industry as we know it today. When the doll custom evolved into pictures, they did not originate in Paris. They were created by a German painter, Jost Amman and published in Frankfort.

Suellen Ocean is the author of many books on diverse topics. Her books are available here: http://www.amazon.com/Suellen-Ocean/e/B001KC7Z78

What is a Deciduous Tree?

What is a deciduous tree? It’s a tree that loses its leaves in the fall. In the autumn, it loses all its leaves and becomes a wintry looking thing, one of the skeletons of winter along the landscape. It isn’t the frost that kills the leaves, it’s a natural process that the tree goes through while it makes chemical conversions through the winter, to return in the spring with a blast of bright green shoots that turn into the fresh greenery of the new season. The oak is a perfect example of a deciduous tree. However, the California Live Oak is an exception, keeping most of its leaves all winter long, leaving nesting and hiding places for birds and squirrels.  Suellen Ocean is the author of Acorns and Eat’em, a how-to vegetarian cookbook and field guide for eating acorns. Find it here: http://www.amazon.com/Acorns-Eatem-How–Vegetarian-Cookbook/dp/1491288973

The Link Between Depression and Inflammation

I get this dark aura over my head sometimes, when I am about to take a second helping of food. Sometimes it’s another bowl of whole wheat pasta or another handful of nuts. It doesn’t happen all the time but throughout the years it has happened enough times to make me curious. The curiosity ended when I went ahead and had that second helping and the next day, that dark aura surrounded me. I was a little “down.” So, I took note and sure enough, the cause and effect happened again and again. Now, I may know the answer to my body’s warning. Dr. Marlynn Wei was on the radio today, talking about people with depression and how they have 30-40% more markers for inflammation. White flour, white sugar, fried foods, etc. cause inflammation. Just like another bowl of ice cream might lead to chubby cheeks, a second helping of some foods and a first helping of many others just might lead to a gloomy day.

Suellen Ocean is the author of many books on diverse topics. Her books are available here:  http://www.amazon.com/Suellen-Ocean/e/B001KC7Z78

On a Cold Day, It’s Easy to Make Soup and Dumplings

Take a couple of bags of mixed frozen vegetables and throw them into a large pot. Throw in a handful of dried barley and a handful of dried black-eyed peas. Chop an onion and several stalks of celery and a handful of your favorite greens and throw them in. Pour enough water in to keep it from getting thick. ( The beans and barley will swell tremendously.) Pour a little olive oil in for flavor and shake some soy sauce into the pot too. Add your favorite soup seasoning. I used the following dried spices: paprika, parsley, marjoram, thyme, rosemary, cayenne, black pepper and sweet basil. Get the soup boiling moderately for five minutes and then turn it down. Once the vegetables have cooked, turn it way down. The heat will merge the spices with the ingredients and a simmer is enough to cook the black eyed peas and barley. Once that’s accomplished, let the pot sit on the stove on the lowest setting. Just keep it warm. Four hours later, warm it back up again and drop teaspoons of dumplings into the soup. Here’s the dumpling recipe:
In a small bowl, sift 1 cup of whole wheat flour with 3/4 teaspoon baking powder. Set aside.
In another small bowl, combine 2 slightly beaten eggs with 1/4 cup of water, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon paprika, 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of soy sauce.

Slowly mix the flour mixture with the egg, water and spices.CreatespaceAcornsAndEat'emFRONTCOVER

Add teaspoons of this mixture into your hot soup. Cover and simmer for ten minutes.

Before serving the soup, do a taste check to see if it needs more soy sauce. Enjoy!

Suellen Ocean is the author of the vegetarian cookbook, Poor Jonny’s Cookbook and Acorns and Eat’em, a how-to vegetarian cookbook and field guide for eating acornsAvailable here:

http://www.amazon.com/Poor-Jonnys-Cookbook-Suellen-Ocean/dp/0965114031

http://www.amazon.com/Acorns-Eatem-How–Vegetarian-Cookbook/dp/1491288973

No Wonder We’re So Stressed

Secret Genealogy IV CoverYes, I know, this election season is enough to bring the strongest of us to toss and turn at night. Throw in the wars and rumors of wars and keep the media on and well… it gets unpleasant. But if you’re like me, you enjoy keeping abreast of what’s going on. What makes it worse is the style of media advertising these days. Loud, obnoxious and way too fast. Modern technology is enabling the techs to speed up the ads. You get some guy on there, touting a product, already talking too fast, and then the tech speeds it up? Do ya think? OMG, get me some ice for my head. Now I’m wondering if technicians tinker with the speed of talk show hosts too. Are they speeding the voices up? Just a little? Geesh. All we need now are the irritating sounds of drones buzzing overhead. That would make it complete.

What we don’t need is faster, faster. We need time to take deep breaths and collect our thoughts. Time to reverence our children, ponder nature, eat slowly and enjoy our books and movies at a leisurely pace. Life is a beautiful thing. Time to fine-tune nirvana.

Suellen Ocean is the author of many books on diverse topics. Her books are available here:  http://www.amazon.com/Suellen-Ocean/e/B001KC7Z78

Acorns And Eat’em…

CreatespaceAcornsAndEat'emFRONTCOVERIt is slim pickings in my neck of the woods this year. There are no acorns coming from the Blue Oak or the California Live Oaks on my property. And I see very few California Valley Oak acorns along the stream where they were prolific last year. I’m sure I will find acorns. My son lives in the California Coastal Mountain Range and I have a variety of elevations and ecosystems available to me here in the Sierra Foothills and further up into the mountains. I feel bad when I see the squirrels and the wild turkeys looking for them and not finding them.

I am pleased to note that the “Acorns And Eat’em” book will be available in ebook form on November 15th. You can order it here:

http://www.amazon.com/Acorns-Eatem-How–Vegetarian-Cookbook/dp/1491288973

Let me know how the acorn harvest is this year in your neck of the woods.

Thanks!

Suellen Ocean

Eating Acorns and Sharing with Woodpeckers

CreatespaceAcornsAndEat'emFRONTCOVERNature never ceases to amaze me. Did you know that a woodpecker has a tongue that is twice the length of its beak? It is so long, when not in use, it wraps up inside the bird’s head cavity. When it is in use, it drills down ant hills and scoops out the prey. Here’s the sad part. When there aren’t enough acorns, woodpeckers die. And you know the dead trees that are full of holes that are full of acorns? Those are called granaries and they take years to build up and support woodpecker communities.

As more and more people learn to enjoy cooking with acorns, I hope they will not forget the myriad of woodland animals who depend on them for food. It’s that time of year. Let’s gather acorns. But let’s leave an abundance for the birds.Secret Genealogy IV Cover

Suellen Ocean is the author of Acorns and Eat’em, a how-to vegetarian cookbook and field guide for eating acorns, http://www.amazon.com/Acorns-Eatem-How–Vegetarian-Cookbook/dp/1491288973 and Secret Genealogy IV – Native Americans Hidden in Our Family Trees. http://www.amazon.com/Secret-Genealogy-IV-Native-Americans/dp/1500756105