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“Perennials” Anybody?


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Echinacea purpurea ‘Julia’

This time of year echinaceas are on my mind.  They’re not only a great perennial (my current favorite is ‘Julia’) but they’re part of our keep-sickness-at-bay routine.  Andy and I should own stock in Quick Defense after trying to get through this year’s flu season unscathed.  A main ingredient in Quick Defense is echinacea purpurea.  And – as a silly aside – I have to share this tweet I just saw:

“When I told my parents over the phone that my husband has the flu, my dad said “Have you tried euthanasia?” and in the background my mom yelled “For the last time, it’s echinacea!”  OMG. 🙂

Though I have little interest in planting annuals and lots of interest in perennials, I bristled when someone suggested recently that older people should be thought of as, yes, “perennials.”

Laura Carstensen, the head of the Stanford Center on Longevity recently wrote in The Washington Post:  “Language matters: We need a term that aging people can embrace.”  In the same article, Carstensen suggests the term “perennials” may be just right.  She continues:  

Upon first hearing this term, I was startled. The symbolism it connotes is perfect. For one, “perennials” makes clear that we’re still here, blossoming again and again. It also suggests a new model of life in which people engage and take breaks, making new starts repeatedly. Perennials aren’t guaranteed to blossom year after year, but given proper conditions, good soil and nutrients, they can go on for decades. It’s aspirational.

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Maybe I have a perennial problem, as in “they’re perennially late” or “the politicians’ perennial whining” or – especially this time of year – “his perennial allergies.”   Even negative connotations aside, I don’t particularly aspire to a Blossom-DieBack-Blossom-DieBack kind of life experience.  Andy used to be in limbo about this issue but has found a solution.

If not “perennial” or – god forbid – “elderly,” that brings up the question as to what a better choice of words might be when referring to someone……well, my age.  My suggestion? “Go-To.”  The “Go-To Generation.”  Or just think of yourself – when you achieve that certain age – as  “Grandpa Go-To” or “Auntie Go-To”  or “Nana Go-To.”  Don’t you think it has a nice ring? And an even nicer meaning?  Go to them for wisdom.  Go to them for advice.  Or encouragement.  Or tons of love.  They’ve been there, done that.

I have a bunch of old cookbooks that are my Go-To’s in the world of cooking.  Dog-earred, ripped, stained, faded – but still prominent on my bookshelf, consulted often, and loved.

I’m sharing special recipes – all apple-oriented since an apple a day keeps the doctor away – from three of them:  the Moosewood Cookbook from 1992,  Bayou Cook Book from 1974, and the Congressional Club Cook Book from 1955.  The list of contributors to the Congressional Club Cook Book reads like a “Who’s Who” from the world of politics past:  Mrs. Albert Gore, Mrs. Barry Goldwater, Mrs. Everett Dirksen, Mrs. Hale Boggs, Mrs. Prescott Bush, Mrs. Margaret Chase Smith, Mrs. Strom Thurmond, Mrs. Richard Nixon, Mrs. Mike Mansfield, Mrs. Gerald Ford, Mrs. Sam Irvin, to name a few.  And do note: I don’t find one male contributor.  Time changes all things….and sometimes for the better.

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A few of my Go-To cookbooks


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The original recipes – which I’ve tweeked

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