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Let’s Cook: Be not a slave to boredom

Numerous changes have happened to lives due to the impact of COVID-19. This virus has made our routine hectic — stores at that we usually shop are closed or have limited hours, restaurants are closed for dining in, professional business places have limited hours or window service only. We also must practice social distancing, and should a group need to gather, it must be 10 or less people. Wow!

Just as all these rules come into place, so does the shortage of toilet paper, hand sanitizer and in some places, beans of all things! When was the last time you had countless hours at home with family? When was the last time your child’s classroom learning was done via computer and all from home? When was the last time that you can recall both Class A and B Boys Basketball Tournaments being postponed — plus a boat load of other high school activities? When was the last time that you were unable to worship at church?

Perhaps some of you will answer the Flood of 2011, and yes, that certainly was a time of many closures and chaos. The difference between that time and now is that with the outbreak of the coronavirus, we have much idle time on our hands. With the pressures and concerns of the 2011 flood, people were busy moving, sand bagging, packing and unpacking. Yet they still found time to encourage, help one another and grapple with the hand they had been dealt.

In the past couple of weeks, I have seen several Facebook posts of spice cupboards that look like they are from a Martha Stewart photo shoot, or quilts and more quilts that are stunning with detail, texture and creative colorful designs. One woman posted a picture of her junk drawer in her kitchen recleaned and the new arrangement done with thin boxes of various sizes would have had Frank Lloyd Wright smiling. These are gestures to deal with extra time.

In a sense, some are pioneers because their generation has never had to look far to be entertained. I smile when I see people posting about the knitting, crocheting and even tatting they are doing. The other day I heard on the radio biologist Greg Gullickson from the North Dakota Game and Fish Department talking about using this idle time to clean out the tackle box and sharpen those hooks! He along with many others are helping us to reel worthwhile projects to pass our time. Doing crafts, projects and even cleaning, bring an inspiring sense of contentment.

How many of you can recall a magazine entitled “The Workbasket?” It was a small monthly magazine that promoted home and needlecraft for pleasure and profit. This compact journal featured things to make such a crochet, knitting, tatting. The miscellaneous department featured items such as felt book markers with attractive designs. Who would not enjoy making a useful and beautiful book marker? They can be made while social distancing!

These magazines were popular for several years, and recently a young woman who is excellent at all of these needlecrafts was telling me that she has a collection of 300 magazines. She and her friends are now dodging boredom as they create and discover. Who knows, maybe their sewing will lead to making much need masks?

I need not worry about having an adrenaline rush over folks wanting to crochet potholders in the lovely rose pattern. I do believe, however, that folks will once again learn that life is what we make it with what we have and with whom we are close. For many of us this is what our grandparents and parents taught us, and it can be magnified if we are willing.

As we pace through these uncharted complexities, let us not be slaves to boredom. Daily I see families out walking, folks riding bike, people taking time to call their neighbors, and writing letters to loved ones and folks who are confined to nursing homes and assisted living. These are approaches that will brightly illuminate the days ahead. There is strength in entertaining one’s self and boundless pleasure and comfort in reaching out to friends and others. This and so much more are worth the awakening in each of us as spare time has parked at doorsteps.

I pray that you and your loved ones will remain well and that you are practicing safety measures to help avoid the spread of the coronavirus. I also hope that you are seeing the many blessing that are bestowed upon each of us daily, including the ability to master the design of a rose and pineapple doily, to admire a neat tackle box, and to hear the beauty of the wind as is whispers in the pine trees.

In our home, Lydia when not tending to her studies, entertains us with music from her bass or viola, plus she reads and reads and reads — especially cozy mysteries. She from time to time will step into the kitchen to bake. Featured below are cookies that she had entered in the 4-H last summer. She decided to try them recently in the monster size! They did turn out, had excellent taste; however, their shape was not as flattering as when they were fashioned in a smaller size. I love that she has the spirit to boldly push the limit of cookie dough!

Lemon Nut White Chip Cookies

This recipe comes from Nestle Toll House cookbook entitled “Very Best Baking”

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 large egg

1 tablespoon lemon juice

2 cups (12-ounce package) Nestle Toll House Premier White Morsels

1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts or cashew nuts

1 teaspoon grated lemon peel

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar in large mixer bowl until creamy. Beat in egg and lemon juice; gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in morsels, nuts and lemon peel. Drop by rounded tablespoons onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake for 7 to 10 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Cook on baking sheet for 3 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely. Makes about 3 dozen cookies.

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