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What I wrote yesterday reminded me that, when I was learning French, I listened to songs a lot. My ex expressed puzzlement about it because, according to him, they all listened mostly to American music with some stuff from the UK mixed in, so nearly everything was in English. The problem I was having, I explained to him, was transitioning from what I used to call “schoolgirl French” to being fluent, or at least something close to fluent. I had actually done reasonably well in French classes in school. I can memorize vocabulary easily and grammar comes easily to me as well, but normal, casual social interaction in French was very hard for me to master. Incomplete sentences, mumbled pronunciation and dropped syllables left me staring in puzzlement.

The other thing which was strange, and I may have mentioned this before, was the feeling that the world lacked color. In our own languages, words have texture, nuance, associations and feelings. We choose one expression over another when we speak or write, not only due to the literal meaning, but due the feelings it may convey. In class, a word or expression might be marked as “familiar” or “formal,” and while that can be helpful for a total novice, it misses the full range of tones. It was a strange sensation when I was first living in a francophone environment to realize that the emotional content of the language was invisible to me.

Since in songs the music also supplies feelings and usually works in tandem with the lyrics, listening to songs helped to add context and color to words. That happens also in dramatic media, like films, but the fact that a person might listen to a song many times helped to make that emotional connection. Eventually, I could come to understand how certain turns of phrase were effective.

Now, don’t ask me why I can’t just throw everything in a box and have done with it, but as it happens those cassettes I was packing also included some of the stuff I was listening to when I was trying to master French. When some Canadians realized I was listening to Kevin Parent, several of them insisted I shouldn’t because I would learn “bad French.” Kevin Parent is a bit of an outlier for my taste, being more in the singer/songwriter vein. I can’t quite put my finger on why he appeals to me, but why question a good thing, right?

Seeing that I’m moving – yet again – this song seems appropriate:

Have you ever gone through a period when you didn’t listen music for an extended period of time and suddenly you start listening again. In this case, I think moving and dredging up old things got me listening to some stuff I hadn’t listened to in a while. Nearly a year ago, I mentioned ripping my vinyl. As it happens, a lot of my favorite stuff, or at least the stuff with the most memories attached, is on cassette. I went off to college in the era of the boombox and for a time had a car with a cassette player. Consequently, during my late teens and early twenties, that period when a person’s taste in popular music tends to form, most of the music I purchased was in the form of cassettes. So, tonight, I was going through my old cassettes and my memory was jogged of a moment from another period of my life.

I was teaching English in Paris and had been highly encouraged to use songs in class. We were also told to avoid love songs to keep the vocabulary varied. So I desperately tried to go through all my cassettes looking for songs on which the words were articulated well enough to be easily understood, did not have any grammatical constructions that would be too difficult to explain, did not contain poor grammar and were not love songs. All that was a taller order than you’d think.

For those who don’t know, my taste tends towards pretty straight rock and roll, a bit of r-n-b, some glam rock, some of the less hardcore punk, new wave, funk. Loud, hard and fast might be a good summary of my taste. You know, the stuff with barely comprehensible lyrics.

So, imagine my surprise when I popped in a cassette and the Parisians started squealing like stuck pigs, “EEWWW, eeewww! Stop! We hate country!” Now, I don’t want to knock anyone’s taste and start a big argument on that account, but country music doesn’t figure heavily among anything I have. Sure, I have a couple of Johnny Cash records, but that wasn’t what I was playing. If you were to close your eyes and put your hand into my box of cassettes, you’re more likely to come up with early eighties pop than any country. I tried to tell them that what they were listening to was assuredly not “country music.” I looked at the two other Americans in the room who looked as surprised as I was and reassured the French people that we were not trying to make them listen to country. Even more odd, that we were trying to force country music on them seemed to be a unified feeling on their part. The reaction was such an extreme, you would have thought they were breaking out in rashes.

It was just one of those really weird little cultural differences that takes you by surprise.

Oh, yes, that terrible American country music band – The Pretenders, who were mostly English (I think.).

Well, I just followed up The Pretenders with The New York Dolls and then Bonnie Raitt. Thank heavens I didn’t try that. It could have been a diplomatic crisis.

I guess it’s self-evident, but we all like our own taste, don’t we.

And just because – here’s one of my favorite songs by some of New York City’s prettiest gentlemen:

I remember sitting up to watch Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert when I was a kid. (Happened to catch the sign in the background.)

I’m not going to say that I intend to write more because I’ve written it so many times it’s starting to sound ridiculous to me. However, this time I have a excuse!

Within the past year, my landlord has gone from bad to worse – or maybe I’ve just lost patience. In any case, I’ve become convinced that the building is so poorly maintained as to be a little bit hazardous. I’ve become extremely sensitive to building disasters in my neighborhood. They’re much more common than you’d think. If there isn’t a large loss of life, it barely makes it to the paper. On my way to get groceries the other day, I walked by a building going up in flames. A fire in an apartment on the third floor spread to the fourth and fifth and seriously threatened the neighboring buildings. I overheard a woman on the sidewalk say that her mother was trapped inside. She looked about my age, so I’m guessing her mother is not young. Fortunately, only one resident and six firefighters were injured and no one was killed. It barely registered on the news. (Article.)

Until recently, the landlord was storing items in the stairwells, which are the only exits in case of a fire. I called the city and the fire department was here the next day. Generally, the city has been good and responsive. The stairs were cleared and light bulbs were replaced. However, it’s only a couple of weeks later and some light bulbs are out again. Don’t ask me why. I’ve ceased trying to understand how my landlord messes things up so badly. Greed alone doesn’t explain it. It’s some unique combination of cupidity and incompetence. My intercom hasn’t worked since at least August. They’ve hired a locksmith to fix it. The locksmith has been here at least ten times, and that’s not including the several appointments that were never kept. It’s annoying that for over six months I’ve had to let people into my apartment at seemingly random intervals in a Sisyphean quest to fix the intercom. I presume that the landlord is paying the locksmith. Aren’t they at least annoyed that the locksmith appears to be utterly incapable of fixing the lock.

It’s like a comedy. They come, one person from the management company and one person from the locksmith. The guy from the locksmith company takes the intercom off the wall. He looks at the wires and shrugs. He turns to the guy from the management and says something in Spanish. The guy from management asks me what’s wrong. I say it doesn’t work at all. He, presumably, translates this into Spanish. The locksmith guy shrugs. He puts the phone back on the wall. The guy from management asks if I’m going to be home the rest of the day. I say yes. He says they’ll be back later that afternoon. They don’t come back. About half the building has intercoms that don’t work. They fix one, but then someone else’s stops working. Don’t waste your time speculating. I’ve been puzzling over this for six months and I don’t get it. I think I could have learned to install intercoms and put in an entire new system myself by now.

One of the people who works for the management company proudly showed me how they had put hardware cloth over the dryer vent to get rid of the rats after they discovered a happy family of them living in the vent. I smiled and nodded and said it was a good thing. I mean, what am I supposed to say? I imagine the management company doesn’t treat their workers any better than they do the tenants. Still, the rats had been living there for over a year. I bet they were only evicted because they weren’t paying rent.

Did I mention that this is an elevator building? Well, most of the time. The thing breaks down several times a week. They call someone who does something, I can’t imagine what, and it works again for a few days. I have an image of the working parts of the elevator, inside the shaft, as being held together with duct tape and bits of string. It’s a little bit scary. I’ve stopped taking the elevator except when I’m carrying something heavy. I live on the sixth floor. One of my neighbors who has an elderly dog complained to the management. They told her the elevator would cost over $100,000.00 to fix. I just learned this yesterday and now I’m terrified of the elevator, knowing that there is something seriously wrong with it and the landlord is not fixing it because they don’t want to spend the money. There’s an English bulldog whose legs are too short to handle the stairs. His owner has to carry him when the elevator breaks. He tells me the dog hates it. Fortunately, he’s a big guy. And to think that I toyed with the idea of getting a dog when I moved in here. (Note to self: Chihuahuas have their good points.)

In short, I think this building is an accident waiting to happen. I’ve contacted the city about some of these problems. It’s hard, however, to communicate an overall pattern of neglect. I’m going to write a letter to the city just to keep my conscience clear. If anything happened and someone got injured I’d regret not saying anything though I doubt anything will come of it. Then, self-preservation kicks in and I move myself out of here.

That’s the good news. I found a lovely new place not too far away. They probably thought I was a bit nuts because I insisted on taking a look at the basement and other places people normally don’t go. I looked on the city website to see if there were any complaints. Once burned, twice shy.

Hmmm… I was originally going to write about making drapes.

Yes! We’re making drapes again. Fun times.

Typically, when I write my memories, I try to write them in a novelistic fashion. It’s more a question of style than content. However, I want to write because I’m feeling a little emotional turmoil tonight and I think writing might do me some good, so I’m not going to pay as much mind to craft.

Middle school was rough, which might be the most common thought in the world. Back in the seventies, there wasn’t any concept such as “bullying.” Some kids were picked on in school. There was an awareness that picking on kids could be physical, yet somehow it always seemed to be something that happened in another town, in another state, with other kids. After all, many kids’ parents had consciously moved away from big bad cities to our tidy little suburban enclave in order to protect their children from the chaos there.

I had a little clique of friends in eighth grade. They were the not quite fast girls. In our school, for reasons I never understood, the girls were generally tougher than the boys, so we had more than our fair share of tough girls. My friends weren’t tough, but they were a little bit fast.

We had a falling out, which I began to document in another post and I’ll have to finish at another time. Just let it be said that I found myself socially isolated. I’ve heard people debate the circumstances that might contribute to bullying. From my own experience, social isolation is a very large contributing factor. I still had some friendly acquaintances, but suddenly finding myself without any close friends meant that there was no one that would take my side. I was the weak gazelle separated from the herd and it was only a matter of time before the girls who were beyond tough, the ones who were vicious, would take note.

If I understood then what I understand now about group dynamics, I would have tried harder to embed myself into another clique, or at least appear to. As I said, I still had friendly acquaintances, so it wouldn’t have been hard to put up a believable charade, especially since I was still on good terms with the late bloomers who didn’t associate with any of the tough girls. But I’m naturally independent and don’t mind eating alone sometimes or sitting in a corner reading.

Eventually, eighth grade turned into ninth.

The first time it happened, it was after science class. Everyday, I would exit the room and turn left. I don’t recall what my next class was, but since the science class was towards one end of the hall, almost all the rooms were to the left. A girl I didn’t know, and whose name I still don’t know until this day, bumped into me. It was a surprisingly forceful bump and I went flying into the lockers which lined both sides of the corridor. She didn’t say excuse me. In fact she didn’t even pause.

The next day, the exact same thing occurred. At this point it occurred to me that it might be intentional.

I’m not sure how many times in a row this happened, but I started leaving the classroom as early as possible and turning to the right, where there was a stairwell. I went up the stairs, taking a slightly longer route to my next class.

The tough girl had three friends, each one tougher than the next. The toughest was the shortest, and the meanest. She’s the only one whose name I remember. All the others joined in, but it was the short one who was always rougher than the others. Soon, whenever one of them would see me in the hallway, she would shove me up against the locker. As the shoving got harder, it went from jarring to painful. Then the short one started kicking me. In the hallway, as I passed by, she would kick at my shins as hard as she could. This was all done surreptitiously, when no one was looking. Since I was alone a lot of the time, this wasn’t that hard. I started feeling very afraid and leaving the school property as quickly as possible when the day ended.

I can’t remember if I told any adults, but I imagine I must have. I was the sort of kid who would. All I can imagine is that they gave me the sort of useless advice adults usually tell kids. Looking up some self-help psychology stuff online, I just read some tonight: “Ignore. Like dealing with a bully, if you ignore the harshness, it gives them no satisfaction and they will find someone else to pick on.”

(I followed the link in that and found this: “Bullies couldn’t exist without victims, and they don’t pick on just anyone; those singled out lack assertiveness and radiate fear long before they ever encounter a bully. No one likes a bully, but no one likes a victim either.” That’s from Psychology Today, believe it or not.)

Well, let’s just say that’s bullshit. I wasn’t “radiating fear” until I met up with the little sadist and her three side kicks. I tried ignoring them and the physical abuse only got worse. Bullying, I believe, comes out of complicated social dynamics. If I had to point to a proximate cause, although it is immodest to say, I was prettier than any of those four and boys liked me and ignored them.

I should probably add that they didn’t make fun of me, just physically abuse me. They themselves were not well liked in school and had no friends besides each other, so their behavior didn’t result in any kind of ostracism. I did, however, start to feel very powerless. I had no idea how to physically defend myself against four girls all of whom wanted to cause me physical pain.

Then the short one started threatening to “beat me up.” That’s what they said would happen one day soon.

It came to a head just before lunch one day. Lunches were arranged according to grade, so everyone in the same grade had lunch at the same time.

I don’t remember why, but I was late getting to lunch. I probably stayed after a class to ask a question. In any case, the hallway was entirely empty. It was straight and you could see from one end to the next and there was not a single person in sight. The hallway ended in a T shape with a shorter corridor. Straight ahead was the assembly room, which was almost never used. To the left was the office. To the right was the cafeteria. At the far and of the hall, from the right, the four girls emerged. They fanned out across the hallway and began walking towards me. My heart was pounding and I was panicking. This was it, I thought. They’re going to kill me. No one was around, no teachers, no students. There was only one thing between me and the gang, an exit. An exit to the outdoors. The biggest infraction any student could do was to leave the building. Nothing was worse than leaving the building. I panicked and ran through that door.

One of the teachers ran out of the door after me. She tackled me. My arms flailed. She would later say that I hit her and make a big deal out of the fact that she was pregnant, but she shouldn’t have tackled me like that.

Other teachers joined her and I was physically subdued and dragged to the office. Asked to explain myself, I told them about the physical abuse. They told me that it was not possible because shorty had never had a disciplinary problem, which I’m pretty sure wasn’t true. I do know that I had never had one. They were going to suspend me from school.

My mother told me that the school nurse told her that when I got “hysterical” she should slap me. That’s when the slapping started. It didn’t happen that often, only when I got very upset. Often, I felt as if I was being punished for things that weren’t my fault. For failing to have a Spock-like detachment no matter what bad things happen. Sometimes, I think it’s led to my Jekyll and Hyde reactions. I’m calm and cerebral until the moment I absolutely can’t take it anymore, then I scream like a maniac. To an observer, there appears to be no transition, although I can feel the transition inside. Moreover, I know people who have known me for years who never saw Mr. Hyde emerge because they had the good fortune to not be around when I was pushed over the brink.

Well, it’s getting late and I could go on about that for a while, but I can’t.

My mother, I should add, would not slap me in a calm and clinical way, although her claim is that she was trying to calm me down following the advice of a nurse. She would slap me multiple times, screaming, “What’s wrong with you. You’re crazy. I’m going to call the cops and they’re going to lock you up.” Rather than calming down, I would get even more hysterical which would result in more slapping and threats.

Frequently, it would end when my father would intervene.

Worst of all, it would always happen when I was most in trouble, when I most needed support and consolation. That was one thing I remember about my adolescence. My mother always says how much she’s done for me, how much she’s helped me, scrimped, saved, sacrificed. It’s all true. But she always gave me the most when I needed it least.

And I feel really guilty even saying this out loud. I’ve talked about it with my sister and she can mostly confirm my perceptions. Sometimes, I say, “Am I crazy?” My sister says she doesn’t think so.

I desperately need to have an exchange with someone who has been hit by a parent. It happened earlier today, many hours ago, but I still feel in turmoil about it. I don’t think I know anyone who has had a similar experience. Strangely, I feel guilty. It’s not that I didn’t do anything wrong, but I don’t feel like I deserved to be hit. However, this is really, really personal and I don’t know if I want to talk about it in public. There’s a contact form on my about page. Oh, right, this is an elderly parent and I’m middle aged.

I don’t make New Year resolutions, but if I did, one of them might be to write more. I spent the first couple of years cultivating this blog. One thing that surprised me was getting friendly with people who responded. I think I originally imagined something more like a message in a bottle. On the other hand, once as a kid, I put a message in a bottle and someone sent me a letter with a drawing.

Then, for a time, I was very active on this blog and commenting on other people’s. That was very good for a time, but since my internal life and emotions tend to be a bit tumultuous, I think I’ve alienated quite a few people over the past couple of years. In some cases, it was probably inevitable, but in other cases I feel bad about it. I’m not an easy person to get along with.

In any case, it’s gone back to feeling like I’m tossing messages in bottles again. I’ve become faster to write something in a personal email than to write it on the blog.

So, the other day, my mother was here and she was helping me organize my apartment. It’s a little strange because I plan on moving as soon as my lease is up. Still, I had become so disorganized it was becoming difficult to function. One problem was that I never completely developed a “place for everything,” so it is impossible to put “everything in its place.” When I try to tidy, the things without places wind up in little piles which are highly subject to being messed up the next time I look for something I need.

There are a few reasons why I have difficulty making a place for everything. Some are practical. I needed to buy some shelves and containers to put things so they can be put on shelves. Others, however, are emotional.

I was determined to tackle some of those difficult piles and chose to either get rid of things or store them in a proper place where they could be found without rifling through a box of unrelated stuff and making a big mess. I had a small plastic container that had once contained some of those moistened cloths for cleaning the floor which had been bouncing around for a few years. It had “table by the door” written on top of it and, it was, indeed, full of small items that had been in a drawer in a table, like a key ring with no keys on it and a business card from an Englishman I dated for six months who turned out to be married. Apparently, when I moved sometime around 2010, I must have thrown everything in that drawer in the box. I went through the box. I ripped up the business card along with a few others from people I’m unlikely to contact again. (Why do men sometimes give you their business card? What do they expect me to do with it?) Then, I found a little business card holder that a friend had given to me. I opened it up and it was filled with my own business cards from a business I tried to start up back in 2008. I had spent a couple of years developing a product, figuring out how to manufacture it, making designs, securing a loan and buying equipment. I put a huge amount of time and effort and hope into it. In the end, I couldn’t sell it and the company, if you could call what was essentially a one person operation a company, went under.

I stared at the business cards, which were printed up with so much hope, and I started sobbing.

I hesitate to say what’s on my mind because I’m afraid I’ll sound like a great big whiner, but I’ve had a lot of failures in my life. When I was young, I was very smart and I did well in school. I was fairly together. I didn’t smoke, drink or take drugs. Adults described me as “unusually poised.” I graduated from high school early and had an academic scholarship to college. I was the kind of kid everyone expected to succeed.

Ever since then, though, things haven’t gone as well. I try to look for a pattern for my failures, but each time the reason seems different. A failed marriage, a failed attempt at graduate school, a failed business. They’re all different.

There are days I want to get rid of all my possessions and start over again because there are so many painful memories attached to things.

It’s hard for me to straighten my apartment and clean without crying.

Well, this isn’t quite where I meant to go when I started writing. Sorry for being such a downer.

squirrel-1

The new year has already started off rather well. In the past, I’ve mentioned wanting to see the no-longer endangered Delmarva Fox Squirrel. Several times, I’ve taken trips to the Eastern Shore of Maryland in hopes of catching sight of the little bugger. We had only just arrived and I got out of the car to take some pictures of some Mallard Ducks when I caught something out of the corner of my eye. What should be running up to me but the biggest squirrel I’ve ever seen. It looks a lot like a heavy-set Gray Squirrel in photos, but I assure you when you see it you know it’s different. It weighs about three pounds, that’s three times heavier than a gray squirrel. After pausing to let me get a better photo than I could have hoped, it darted across the road.

squirrel-2squirrel-3Besides the squirrel, we saw some pelicans.

pelicansWe were driving along and my sister pointed out two lumps in the middle of the water and asked if I thought they were anything. I suggested logs.

eagles-1Her eyes are apparently better than mine.

eagles-2While I was taking picture of some geese and swans, a Great Blue Heron flew into the picture.

heron-1Then a Turkey Vulture nearly flew into me.

vulture-1Really, this thing was close. Or at least if felt as if it was. They are among the largest birds around here with a wingspan that can be up to six feet. Then I looked up.

vulture-2Maybe it’s me, but I think they’re cute.

Then, we saw a bunch of cars pulled over and everyone was taking pictures. It wasn’t too hard to find the locus of their attention.

eagle-3

A big bird in a small tree. As I was taking pictures of this Bald Eagle, another landed on the tree.

eagles-4They are always quite a sight.

eagles-5And just before we left, we saw one more Great Blue Heron.

heron-2Happy New Year!

blackwater

I’ve been very busy making gifts for Christmas.

necklaceSorry for the blurry picture. The light was low. The necklace is made from PMC, precious metal clay. PMC was invented in the 1990s. Silver or gold is combined with a binder and can be worked like clay. Then it is fired in a kiln. The binder burns off and what remains is nearly pure silver.

I keep meaning to get back into writing and I don’t know what is holding me back. It’s not even that I have nothing to say. In fact, the problem may be that I have too much to say. Worse yet, it feels complicated, or at least different. If someone else expresses feelings similar to your own, that makes life easy. You can reference it. Even if it is only part of what you want to say, it cuts down on time. It also makes it less likely that you’ll be misunderstood.

So, I went to a movie tonight and got home feeling very sad and glum. It was strange because I enjoyed the movie, but it left me feeling oddly nostalgic. The movie was Gimme Danger, a documentary about The Stooges. As a film, it’s not good enough to enjoy if you don’t like the band. Last year, I went to go see the movie Amy and although I barely knew Amy Winehouse’s music beyond a handful of songs my mother enjoys, I liked the movie. Gimme Danger is not likely to engage anyone who isn’t already a Stooges or Iggy Pop fan. I’ve always really liked the band, so I enjoyed the movie. Luscious and I always used to argue about Iggy Pop. She always used to insist there was something sexist about him, although I could never get her to articulate exactly what that was. It seemed to blend into a general tirade about men dominating rock and roll, but she liked the Dolls, she like the Sex Pistols, the Clash, the Ramones, so I’m not sure what it was about Iggy Pop and the Stooges that bugged her.

The down feeling was definitely a side effect of nostalgia, although why the movie left me feeling quite so nostalgic is beyond me. The Stooges were before my time, almost, and I actually found out about them a little bit late, after The Stooges were defunct, although Iggy Pop was still very active. Still, there were some shots of New York City in the seventies. Certain types of New York scenes, especially downtown, definitely make me feel the loss of the era.

One odd thing about the movie is that it really doesn’t give you a feel of the time period well. The only sense of danger is in the title. We’re told that they were an influence on other bands that came later, but somehow the movie just doesn’t convey how different this sounded at the time.

Anyway, I paused from writing this to poke around on the internet and I listened to some songs I haven’t heard in a while. I was going to go off on some of those complicated feelings I’ve been unable to express, but I’m looking at the clock and I think I’ll have to skip it tonight. What follows is unrelated to the film I just mentioned. It was just some music I first heard back in the early to mid nineties.

pumpkin-seeds

Last week, I made myself pumpkin stuffed with corn and beans. It was so good, I went out and got myself another pumpkin. This time I stuffed it with rice because I once read a recipe like that. That was good too. I know this isn’t a cooking blog, but if you haven’t tried it, I recommend it.

What I did:

First, I cut up some bacon into little bits and cooked it to render the fat. While the bacon was cooking, I sliced some shallots and put them in with the bacon. Leaving that on the stove to turn golden brown and turning off the heat later, I cut a top in a pumpkin and scooped out the seeds and strings. I used to love doing that as a kid, but now it’s a chore. Where’s a mess loving kid when you need one? Turn on the oven to 350°F (180°C). Chop some cheese into small dice. Drain the excess fat off of the bacon. Since the pan had cooled by this point, I used that instead of dirtying a mixing bowl, but I wasn’t cooking in it. So, if the pan is still warm, use a mixing bowl. (The English teacher’s daughter in me is feeling uncomfortable about mixing tenses here. Sorry, Mom.) Mix together corn kernels, beans, the diced cheese, ground pepper, nutmeg and whatever herbs you have on hand with the bacon and shallots. I used tarragon because it was the only fresh herbs I had on hand. Other choices might be better. I had to eyeball the amounts. I wanted approximately equal amounts of corn and beans and the whole thing should fill the pumpkin. You can pack it in if necessary. Pour about a quarter cup of heavy cream inside. Put the top back on the pumpkin. Bake for about an hour and a half to two hours.

I liked the corn rather than the rice. It seems to me to be a nice variation on succotash. I don’t know if people outside of North America know succotash, but it’s basically corn and beans, usually lima beans. It looks like it can be a nice dish for Thanksgiving. The whole pumpkin can be brought to the table and the food scooped out from inside. You have to scrape the spoon against the pumpkin itself when you serve it. The only downside for Thanksgiving is that I usually try to make all the side dishes on top of the stove because the oven typically has a turkey inside taking up all the space. After all, Thanksgiving dinner is all about coordination. What goes in when, for how long and at what temperature. What’s on which burner. It’s very filling and can be a meal in itself, which is how I ate it.

Here are the ingredients:

  • 1 small pumpkin
  • 3 or 4 strips of bacon
  • 1 shallot
  • Corn kernels
  • Beans or peas
  • Cheese
  • Heavy cream
  • Pepper
  • Herbs

I would use a milder cheese with the corn, but you could probably go with a stronger taste with the rice. Eliminating the bacon and sautéing the shallot in oil is probably easy.

It was good with the rice, too.