Sound Advice on Surviving 2017 Scourges, and a Nasty Blast from the Recent Past
|Posted on April 10, 2014 at 12:05 PM|
Since 2006, I have been writing about the benefits of wearing gloves. Now, there is more justification than ever for my admonitions and recommendations on the topic. Currently plaguing Americans and the rest of the world are norovirus and MRSA; the deadly ebola virus is rampant in Africa, and other antibiotic-resistant diseases are proliferating. Most of these viruses are spread by surface-contact. Wearing gloves while out in public, especially while shopping, and disinfecting them when you get home can save your life. And hospital-acquired diseases are now common, so do your best to avoid hospitals and other heath-clinics.
Hospital-acquired infections can be caused by viruses, bacteria, fungi or parasites; they are spread by touching contaminated surfaces, clothing and implements, or skin-contact with infected people. Viruses may be contracted from surgical procedures, catheters, or by inhaling airborne…
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Day-old bread is sliced and moistened in milk and/or cream, then sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon before being slowly baked in a low-temperature oven. This is the simple formula; every Scandinavian who makes this traditional toast or “cinnamon rusks” has his or her own technique. Cinnamon toast is a popular accompaniment to coffee. Scandinavian coffee is typically brewed “strong” using light-to-medium roasted beans. My Swedish grandparents had this traditional combination of cinnamon toast (kanelskorpor) and coffee every morning, though they did not make it themselves as I do. I sometimes use home-made brioche loaf for this purpose, as it produces a very light cinnamon toast or kanelskorpor.
©M-J de Mesterton
One of my favourite perfumes, White Shoulders was created in the 1943 by Hartnell, which by 1945 had become Evyan. I had an acquaintance in Manhattan long ago, who often sang at the famous Michael’s Pub, and only wore White Shoulders. I cannot remember her name, but the ambrosial floral perfume is unforgettable. My two other favourite scents are Givenchy III, which is no longer available, and Quartz by Molyneux, a fresh but evanescent perfume, perfect for morning and daytime, which I discovered at Bergdorf Goodman in Manhattan circa 1985 when they were out of Givenchy III. Look at the following advert for White Shoulders. The featured drawing is of a glamorous woman who resembles actress Loretta Young.
When I was five, my generous, chic uncle gave me a little grey fur stole, a string of pearls, and a bottle of White Shoulders by Evyan Perfume. Its sweet, classic scent always reminds me of Christmas, 1960.
- White Shoulders Top Notes (The Following Material is from Basenotes.net)
- White Shoulders Heart Notes
- Base Notes of White Shoulders
I have published, since 2006, lists of foods to stock in case of emergencies or shortages. Usually, the crackers or biscuits called “soda crackers” or “saltines” were included. After purchasing several large boxes of Premium Saltines–“improved” with sea salt, which sounded mighty appealing, I’ve concluded that saltines ought NOT to be included! Having stored these new “family sized” cartons for two or three months at normal room-temperature, unopened, and then hauling them out to use, on two separate occasions and with two different lots and dated boxes, the traditional saltine crackers had gone “off” and tasted abominable. This lack of longevity had happened with other brands before the Premium saltines, and I didn’t expect it from that vaunted source.
The same storage-and-use process was observed with Ritz at my American house. These simple, buttery-tasting crackers had not a tinge of staleness after many moons of being stored in a low cupboard unopened in their box. Even those that had been opened and subsequently sealed showed NO hint of old age after as many as six months. Ritz crackers have many applications, for example they’re used in Mock Apple Pie, a decades-old North American austerity dish.
I’ll never even consider buying saltines or soda crackers in future from any manufacturer. Instead, I’ll be loyal to one sort of cracker and only one U.S. brand, because all this experimentation is for the birds! Oh, those little darlings would love to have any little bits of crackly carbohydrate when they’re no longer palatable to humans, so if you live in the country, do consider smashing those slightly rancid crackers and feeding them to wild birds. Here at Elegant Survival, we are averse to wasting comestibles, and believe in conservation. I’m aware that, just as feeding animals at the zoo is prohibited for good reason, there are those who believe it’s disrupting the balance of nature to feed birds, but considering the scores of dead owls bobbing up on Northwest U.S. roads, and the scourge of dying bees that seems to come and go mysteriously, perhaps a benign treat for our wild critters–as long as they’re not destructive rodents–is a good thing.
©M-J de Mesterton 2017
Gyoza skins were filled with health-promoting ingredients: purple cabbage, cooked adzuki beans, celery, carrot, red onion, cooked brown rice, chopped umeboshi plums and miso; I sealed them with an egg-wash and then the gyoza dumplings were deep-fried in peanut oil and drained on paper towels. I served half of these and froze the rest (it’s the only way to keep them; storing these deep-fried pockets of finely minced vegetables, legumes and rice in the fridge will make them too soft). The frozen “gyozas” will be spread in a single layer and reheated in a hot oven. @M-J de Mesterton 2017
My gyoza (Japanese dumpling) fillings, which vary week-to-week according to what I have in the refrigerator and pantry, always include some fresh vegetables. This week’s mixture, pictured below, contains fresh carrots, raw celery, red onion, fresh ginger, dried parsley, mung beans boiled in green tea, cooked brown rice and a little miso. It’s a great way to disguise health-promoting ingredients that men and children usually won’t consume, even in one’s most cleverly-concocted smoothies. My sauce for the gyoza dish is composed of orange juice, soy sauce and a little home-made red chile oil. A bowl of filling like this one is enough for a whole packet of 47 gyoza skins, and after they are cooked, these dumplings can be frozen and easily re-heated. ©M-J de Mesterton, January 19th, 2017
One large egg typically contains six grams of high-quality protein, the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin (a substance in egg yolks), as well as significant amounts of the important vitamins E, D, and A.
Vitamin E has been proven to reduce the risk of coronary attacks in people with heart disease, while lutein helps to protect against clogging of the arteries.
A study concluded at EpidStat Institute in November, 2016 found that consuming just one egg a day reduces risk of stroke by 12 percent. The study’s principal investigator, Epidemiologist Dr. Dominik Alexander, said: “Eggs do have many positive nutritional attributes, including antioxidants, which have been shown to reduce oxidative stress and inflammation. They are also an excellent source of protein, which has been related to lower blood pressure.”
U.S. scientists have found that, contrary to traditional perceptions acquired from decades of less rigorous research, consuming eggs had no association with coronary heart disease, which is on record as the leading cause of death worldwide.
©M-J de Mesterton 2017
M-J’s Article about Eggs, Published in 2010
Eggs don’t cause heart disease, as the medical industry previously believed. And here is more good news: a research team at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge determined that women on a weight-loss regimen who ate an egg with toast and jelly each morning lost twice as many pounds as those who had a bagel breakfast with the same number of calories without the accompanying egg.
Eggs are nutritious, convenient, useful in thousands of recipes, and are a relatively inexpensive source of high-quality protein.
One large egg, which represents less than 4 percent of the total daily calorie intake of a person who consumes 2000 calories per day, provides 10 percent of the Daily Value for protein, 15 percent of the Daily Value for riboflavin, and 4 percent or more of the Daily Value for several other nutrients, including vitamins A, B6 and B12; folate; iron; phosphorus; and zinc. Eggs also provide choline, which is essential in the human diet, and is credited for helping to create healthy babies during pregnancy. Because the percentage of the recommended daily amount for many nutrients provided by an egg is greater than the proportion of total calorie intake that the egg represents, the egg more than pulls its weight nutritionally. Most of the vitamins and minerals in eggs are found in the yolk; protein, however, is found in both the yolk and the white.
Recent research indicates that egg eaters are more likely than non-egg eaters to have diets that provide adequate amounts of essential nutrients. This seems to be partly due to the nutritional contribution of the eggs themselves and partly due to the fact that the inclusion of eggs in the diet is an indicator of a desirable eating pattern that includes breakfast.
Eggs can be prepared easily, in a variety of ways. They keep well in the refrigerator for about three weeks, and therefore an individual can easily use up the dozen eggs in a carton before they spoil. Because most egg recipes involve short cooking times, eggs are convenient for the person with little time to prepare meals.
Eggs have several important physical and chemical properties that help make recipes work. They thicken custards, puddings and sauces; emulsify and stabilize mixtures such as mayonnaise and salad dressings; coat or glaze breads and cookies; bind ingredients together in dishes such as meat loaf and lasagne; eggs are used to clarify coffee and soups; retard crystallization in boiled candies and frostings; and leaven some types of baked goods such as cakes, cookies, soufflés, buns and sponge cakes.
Eggs are economical, especially when compared to other high-protein foods. For people who are trying to balance their budgets as well as their diets, serving eggs occasionally instead of meat, poultry, or fish is very economical.
One other benefit of eggs is that they are a functional food—that is, a food which provides health benefits that go beyond basic nutrition. Eggs contain the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, two components which are believed to have health benefits.
Stocking up on dehydrated eggs would be a wise move right now. There are many sources of dried or powdered eggs on ebay and the internet. I prefer to dessicate and process them at home. Here is my procedure:
Emergency Powdered Eggs
Cook the desired amount of eggs in a non-stick pan until they are scrambled dry. On a a large baking-sheet, place your scrambled eggs in a thin layer. Use a French chef’s knife or a pastry cutter to break them into smaller pieces. In a low oven around 130 degrees Fahrenheit, bake this tray of eggs for eight hours or until it is devoid of moisture. Using a hand-mill, meat-grinder, food-mill or a blender, process the eggs until they turn to powder. Store the dried egg powder in an air-tight, food-grade container.
©M-J de Mesterton 2010
Reversal of Long-Held Beliefs on Dietary Fats
Additional Information on Foods Containing Cholesterol
A heart specialist from the University of Ireland, Professor Sherif Sultan, notes:
- Current dietary guidelines are outmoded and desperately need to be revised.
- Despite decades-old recommendations, high carbohydrate diets should be avoided.
- Diets consisting largely of foods high in good-quality fats are the healthiest.
- This essential changeover will stem the epidemic of Type 2 diabetes and weight-related heart problems.
A simple Christmas Day luncheon for two included home-made waffles, strawberries cooked with cane sugar into an elegant sauce, heavy cream whipped with powdered sugar and vanilla, crispy bacon, chopped walnuts, maple syrup and butter. A percolator of Eight O’Clock Columbian Peaks coffee* stood ready to serve.©M-J de Mesterton, Christmas 2016
*Eight O’Clock coffee, the whole-bean Columbian Peaks, medium-roasted variety, is my standard, as long as it’s available. I keep the opened, clipped bag in an air-tight red container as shown. Company instructions say to keep the beans or ground coffee at room-temperature, not in the freezer or refrigerator.
©M-Jeanne de Mesterton
Above: a proper evening gown, full-length and low-cut at the bodice; this dress is more appropriate for an evening with dinner and dancing than for cocktail parties. (See below.)
Below: “Your Editor”, Painter M-J de Mesterton wears a lacy, cotton-lined dress that can be worn at afternoon tea, or at cocktails/drinks parties year-round. Also, it is suitable for less formal dinners and nightclubs. Long sleeves that leave space for bracelets make this knee-length gown very elegant, and the round neckline accommodates big pearls. Amazon.com has similar dresses for as little as 39.00. Blue suede shoes with comfortable three-inch wedge-heels are by Clarks.
This batch of gyoza was made with a filling consisting of finely chopped carrots, celery, ginger, parsley, dill, matcha (dry green tea), miso, turmeric, cooked brown rice and adzuki beans. I used gyoza skins from Japan Foods, Inc., and sealed them with an egg-wash~~M-J
Below: a Salad of Beneficial Daikon Radish and Romaine Lettuce, Dressed with a Simple Vinaigrette @M-J de Mesterton
If one cannot see immediately what is wrong with this lamentable suit, then the clothing industry has accomplished its apparent mission of brainwashing an unwitting, mysteriously willing public into believing that the swill they’re pumping out is anything but poison. I really miss Roger Moore and Sean Connery as James Bond. No misanthropic designer was making their legs look short while their torsos look too long, and giving their feet the appearance of wearing over-sized clown shoes. O tempora, o mores….
Today’s tailors have totally lost the plot. When the actor playing James Bond is not “suited” properly, what hope is there for the rest of us?~~M-J
And now a breath of fresh air, because after years of the same old hip-huggers or “low-pants”, billowing shirt-waists that cannot be tucked-into them, neckties that end at the nether-region, skin-tight, truncated trousers that end above the shoes, lateral wrinkles from cloth being pulled to the sides, a man’s suit of clothing that doesn’t make a monkey out of him seems downright innovative:
My Christmas Cakes, 2010 and 2016–Always White with Royal Icing
M-J’s Classic Christmas Cookies
I have been enjoying these festive shortbread biscuits since I was a child.
One half-pound of butter
Two and a half cups of flour
One cup of powdered sugar
One tablespoon of milk (full-fat, of course)
One teaspoon of vanilla (imitation vanilla is just as good as the real thing)
One egg yolk mixed with two tablespoons of cream (to brush on top, as a base for sprinkles–adds nice flavour, believe it or not)
If you are going to use icing and a piping bag to decorate these Christmas cookies, skip this.
The ingredients, except for the egg yolk and cream, are mixed together and rolled out to a quarter (1/4) inch thickness. Then cookie-cutters are employed; the things are brushed with egg yolk/cream and sprinkled with coloured sugar. Sometimes I prefer to decorate the cookies with Swedish pärlsokker, or white pearl sugar. Transfer the cut-out cookies to an upside-down cookie-sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.
M-J de Mesterton
Wye Valley Specialities for Christmastide from Our Dear Friend Peter King
Ideals Christmas Magazine, 1947
Above: M-J de Mesterton in a Tibbett Duffel Coat of Elysian Wool, Insulated Aigle Boots from France; a Mongolian Cashmere Scarf by Johnstons of Elgin, Scotland; a White Fox Hat Made in Helsinki; a Plaid Tweed Skirt, Black Leather Cashmere-Lined Gloves from Italy, and a Walking Stick Made of Scotch Broom
Wear warm clothes when it’s cold outside and inside. The days of women showing their bare arms year-round just because an occupant of the White House does it to show off her biceps are coming to a close in about three weeks. The current president has, since 2009, kept the oval office at a balmy 85° year-round, as though he were in Hawai’i, while instructing the citizenry to “tighten your belts”. The rest of us, if we have heat at all, keep our places at 68° or even cooler, thanks to the punitive cost of fuel.
Above: on Christmas Day, I’m wearing a turtleneck under a round-necked dress, nylon stockings, a silk & cashmere pashmina, and faux-fur-lined tall leather boots. Most winter days, I’d be wearing tweed and sweaters.
Rugged, traditional, and elegant tweed made from Scottish wool is the best material for fall and winter dressing. Easily covered with a trench-coat or embellished with a pashmina or long wool scarves, tweed will keep you warm and dry. Tweed suits, skirts, trousers and jackets are always fashionable.
My husband and I found it odd, if not historically-incorrect, to see the inhabitants of Downton Abbey wearing sleeveless flapper dresses all over the huge, inevitably cold and difficult-to-heat house, at all hours, without wraps or sweaters. Those dresses were made to be worn at nightclubs while dancing the Charleston, where hyper-activity and body-heat of the crowd made it possible to stay warm while baring arms.
Dining at Downton: thanks to cocktails, aperitifs and wines, scantily-clad ladies there could abide the evening without shivering. Or maybe not; Ralph Lauren designed wardrobes for the series, and may have just assumed that women dressed like flappers in most situations because it was the Roaring Twenties. I doubt that 1920s women were so silly, but there have always been nonsensical followers of fashion, like the ones who are now wearing peep-toed shoes without stockings all winter long in cold climates. My grandmother, who was born in the Victorian Age, told me that to be beautiful, one must suffer–I know that freezing’s not what she meant. Even body-heat from large groups at table does not take the chill off England’s grand country houses for most months of the year; shoulders are usually covered with something at dinner, such as a little fur garment or shawl that could be removed later in the evening for dancing. And no self-respecting woman would be standing about the house during winter in just a sleeveless gown.
Speaking of winter dressing and silly followers of fashion, here is a post that I made here at Elegant Survival News in December, 2011:
Why is the anchorwoman wearing a sleeveless summer dress in cold NYC on December 6th? Are biceps something that female talking heads suddenly find a crying need to bare, even in freezing temperatures? Are they using too much energy, in an effort to keep tropically warm indoors? Is it seasonally appropriate to wear bare-toed shoes on wintry days, as the woman in red is doing, or sandals (the first lady wore sandals at a Kennedy Center gala last weekend) in December? I don’t think so. These women are on a national television show, displaying their irresponsible, energy-inefficient lifestyles before the public, as if to say that a size XXX carbon-footprint is desirable. The rest of us are wearing wool and tweed, living in homes with little-or-no heat most of the time.
In an Alpine Climate, January: Dressing in Furry Boots, a Scottish Hand-Made Fair Isle Sweater, and an Austrian Wool Skirt