Some years ago, I became fascinated with traditional proverbs and sayings, their metaphorical layers and the many different interpretations found within just a few, succinct words. I marvelled at their ability to transcend race, religion, opinions and age.
These often humble words, offer us knowledge; knowledge that is passed to us in much the same way relay runners might pass a baton. Once it’s handed over, it is up to us what we do with it and how we pass it on.
During my formative years, as many Aussie families could attest, Salmon dishes hadn’t extended beyond one’s elderly Aunt Betty’s, “Salmon Patty.” For the uninitiated, salmon patties are a slightly bland salmon and mashed potato concoction. For the most part, Australian cuisine hadn’t spread its wings beyond the ‘meat and three veg’, until well after the seventies.
Unless your family was into crabbing or regular fishing trips, like my former neighbour who served up this delicious smoked fish and Red Claw lunch one day, you might not be tempted by seafood at all. But I can’t really understand that! It matters not whether it is Barramundi, Salmon or Mussels, there isn’t any seafood I don’t like.
Ten or so years ago, Norwegian Gravlax, entered my life. I was visiting a Danish friend who was teaching me how to string a loom for weaving, (which had nothing to do with salmon), and she kindly offered me a smoked salmon and lettuce sandwich for lunch. It was humble and it was delicious. I was hooked. I had to have more.
Gravlax tastes like a cross between salmon sashimi (imagine it with the addition of seasoning from salt, plus fresh herb flavour), and the smoked salmon slices you buy at stores – but minus the smokey flavour, because smoked salmon, is, [of course,] made by smoking salmon.
It’s not too salty, the flesh is not overly cured i.e. still nice and moist. But it’s cured enough to be easily sliceable into thin pieces, (which is virtually impossible with raw fish). It’s salty enough that you’ll want to eat the slices plain, but not too salty that you’ll need to guzzle a glass
Most of the salmon, that is produced in salmon farms, is thought to be highly toxic. This is due to the techniques required to produce it according to a documentary on YouTube. Some varieties of FARMED salmon they consider especially so. The farmed salmon can and may infect, wild populations as well.
Although this revelation concerns this salmon zealot, I’ve only discovered the delights of eating smoked salmon a mere decade ago, so I’m thinking I am not about to give it up, yet, especially at my stage of life.
It’s All About the Salmon
So where do you find the best Salmon?
Sweden? The very best I’ve eaten was a Salmon dish in Stockholm, with Swedish friends. A melt-in-the-mouth fillet topped with a berry-based sauce that can only be described as sublime perfection.
Surprisingly enough, the next best salmon dish, I’ve eaten, was a pan-fried Tasmanian Salmon fillet I selected from a local restaurant’s menu. Again, it was – perfection.
Many Scandinavians love eating Salmon, so I can easily blame my Nordic genes, for my present addiction. Finns have a hundred different varieties of this fishy beast to try, as I discovered in Helsinki, one day.
Salmon Quiche, found in a Norwegian friend’s Women’s Weekly magazine, was more popular with visiting guests, than it was with my children, as was a Salmon pie recipe shared by a fellow Australian School-Mum.
Needless to say, I loved them both.
Some folks enjoy Salmon soup, which I found to be quite similar to a creamy seafood chowder I was served in Wellington harbour one year, but the Finns adds a flavour to die for. It must be the fresh dill or the cold waters of the Baltic region? Here’s the one I tasted in Finland.
By now, you have probably figured salmon, smoked or otherwise, had me in its grasp. Each time I ate it, I liked it more and more. So much so that I experimented with making my own Gravlax.
How to Make Your Own Gravlax
A rose gold lump, formerly knows as a marine creature, sat curing in the refrigerator, under a cleaned bluestone rock, for 3 days. It had been doused with black pepper and enough salt to clog several arteries. The rock was to compress it, (apparently). Here is the recipe I followed:
Mix equal parts salt + sugar (combined) to 50% of the weight of the salmon.
Coat a fresh fillet of salmon liberally with the salt and sugar mix
Top with loads of chopped fresh Dill, or herbs of your choice.
Place a cleaned, heavy weight, such as a rock, a paperweight or marble board, on top.
Leave, loosely covered, in the fridge for 24 hours to cure; 36 hours for medium; 48 hours for hard cure. [I chose the medium time frame.]
Slice with a very sharp knife into wafer-thin slices and serve.
Next Friendly Friday Blog Challenge
Sandy, from The Sandy Chronicles, will announce the next theme for the Friendly Friday Challenge over at her blog, in two weeks time.
It is fairly well recognized that counting your blessings, as opposed to your burdens can have a huge impact on your psychological health.
Studies have demonstrated that showing gratitude for even the most basic things can have reduce depression and increase contentment.
How to Find Gratitude in life?
Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.
It turns what we have into enough and more.
It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity.
It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.
Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.”
We cannot travel to, own, earn, win or consume happiness, but we can find it in gratitude in our daily lives, as Albert Clarke said,
“We must see that it is not happiness that makes us grateful, but the gratefulness that makes us happy.”
Many writers and philosophers considered thankfulness to be the highest form of thought, almost a spiritual experience. Acting thankful is something that inevitably leads to gratitude.
Buddha took this to an extreme.
Let us be thankful, for if we didn’t learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn’t learn a little, at least we didn’t get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn’t die; so, let us all be thankful.
Gratitude as a Daily Habit
Marc and Angel suggested making gratitude a daily habit by:
..intentionally identifying three things in your life you are grateful for. It could be as simple as feeling thankful for the clean water that comes out of your faucet or appreciating the cool breeze on a warm day.
List the things you feel grateful for over dinner, or make it a habit to identify what you’re thankful for before you go to bed. Over time, being thankful becomes like second nature, and you’ll experience benefits ranging from improved sleep to greater immunity.
Marc and Angel
Do you make gratitude a daily habit?
For me, feeling and showing gratitude can reset my mind from its daily worries, anxieties and concerns. Concerns that, at times, feel quite overwhelming.
Thinking of the things I am grateful fore, can help ground me, re-focusing my attention on what I do have, on what is around me.
Many aspects of my life are not ideal, are unfair and may never change. And yet, there is still so much I can be grateful for, even in circumstances not so ideal.
Could you identify three things you’re grateful for each and every day?
Furthermore, I explained, her own Grandmother remembered the introduction of what was referred to as, “the electric light.” On hearing this, my teenager responded with a pained, then incredulous look, before asking, “So you grew up without electricity?” (Certainly not, I retorted. I was born well after the war!)
Life before Cell Phones
The teen then continued to ask how our generations could possibly have managed social arrangements and meetings without even a mobile phone to help us! If no one turned up at the agreed time, what did you do? she asked. I explained how we’d:
wait or wander off nearby, feeling either disappointed and confused and come back to check a short while later
find a payphone and call the person, if we knew their home phone number, (which we often did), or if the phone book was in-situ, we could look the number up. [How long has it been since anyone saw a phone book in a payphone box?]
go to their house and find out what happened
give up and go home
The conversation made me acutely aware of how reliant modern society is on energy and information in the form of the world wide web and cell phones. I wondered:
Could we cope without cellular or internet connections?
Fifteen years ago, such a question would have been superfluous, but now I’m not sure. My older sons certainly act as if their jugular vein has been severed if the internet connection drops out, for more than a few minutes. (In Australia, this may be fairly commonplace). Without mobile phones towers operating, we are effectively shut off from technology and information.
Consider for a moment, how really powerless and vulnerable the modern world is without the internet, cellular networks and electricity?
Years ago, we never knew any different, particularly in rural areas. Scores of people throughout the world still live this way. Would I now find it hard to go for or days without internet access or a few hours without a power source?
GOING OFFLINE and OFF GRID
Feeling determined to reject the confining chains of modern society, and re-acquaint with my inner hippie, I decided to experiment with a personal challenge to go OFFLINE and OFF-GRID – ie. voluntarily go with out power and technology for a day.
As soon as the challenge began, I was having problems.
I needed a phone number to call a tradesmen so instead of searching the net for the phone number, I tried to look it up in the phone book. No luck there as the hard copy of our phone book was not only out of date, it was buried in the darkest recesses of the junk cupboard, never to seen again.
Instead, I thought to do some holiday planning… Nope: that didn’t work as I needed to look up accommodation venues on the net.
I decided to continue with my genealogical research and reading, only I needed census information and names to cross-check details and dates.
Forget that – I will make a nice meal/dessert if only the oven would work without power.
For food: I kept the refrigerator on but tried to eat food from the pantry that did not require refrigeration.
Make a cup of tea? – How would I do that?
Perhaps I could chat to the neighbour? No luck there either, as she’d gone out somewhere or was already asleep. This was not going well.
Watch some TV? Nope! Wasn’t possible.
Do some sewing/embroidery craft hobbies/ paint/fix something. Not enough light after 6pm.
Read a book or write in my journal?
YES!- I could do that – but it was night-time. And who can see by candlelight once you are past the age of 40?
Only one thing left for my other half and me to do, I guess. Go to sleep.
No wonder people had so many children before the advent of electricity.
Our reliance on energy and connectivity is obvious.
Could you take the challenge to go powerless for a day?
Earth Hour March 27
The Earth Hour initiative began in Sydney in 2007 by WWF and is now an annual worldwide environmental event.
Held every year on the last Saturday of March, Earth Hour engages millions of people in more than 180 countries and territories, switching off their lights to show support for our planet.
But Earth Hour goes far beyond the symbolic action of switching off – it has become a catalyst for positive environmental impact, driving major legislative changes by harnessing the power of the people and collective action.
Earth Hour is open-source and we welcome everyone, anyone, to take part and help amplify our mission to unite people to protect our planet.
The Earth Hour global organizing team is recommending all individuals to take part digitally when possible, and to wear a mask and follow local guidelines if you are planning to be in a public space or are thinking of spending the ‘Hour,’ with friends and family, outside your home.
It’s Not Just a Crisis of Climate: by Martin C. Fredricks IV
Everything I need to know about the climate crisis and the need to speak positively about what can be done I’ve seen in my daughters’ eyes.
Martin C. Fredricks IV
One is 19 and the other is 13. Both, at different times, have had a slightly fearful but determined look in their eyes while telling me they don’t plan on having children. Each followed it up with, “Why would I….”
“The world’s going to be uninhabitable soon,” each has said in her own way. “Why would I bring kids into that.”
It’s not a question, but a statement of moral conviction. They don’t want it this way, but they’re looking to the future with eyes wide open. They reason it would be wrong to put any additional human beings through what looks likely to be coming.
But there’s no anger or disappointment from me. Just sadness. Not because my wife and I might never have grandchildren, but because our daughters and people their age around their world have to think this way. Theirs is the first generation forced to look at Armageddon not as some far-off, theoretical threat, but as a real possibility within their lifetimes.
I’m partially to blame. I talk, think and write about the climate crisis all the time; no doubt I’ve been too bitter and graphic about it too many times around the dinner table.
But in truth we all share some blame. We’ve enabled the politicians and governments that have their heads stuck deep into the sand, not to mention the lobbying slush funds of fossil-fuels companies. They’re blindly, happily and willfully ignorant of the damage we’re already experiencing.
Think about the power outages in Texas. The fires on the west coast of the USA, in the Amazon and across Australia. The flooding in Indonesia. Or the Covid-19 pandemic around the world. Scientists tell us this particular coronavirus strain was able to jump from animals to humans at least partly because of climate-related habitat loss.
Better still, read scientific reports like “Special Report: Global Warming of 1.5°C” by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the “Fourth National Climate Assessment” by the U.S. Global Change Research Program. They paint a clear, fact-based picture of what’s coming if people do not curtail carbon emissions at least 45 percent by 2030 and down to net zero by 2050.
Yet we still hear officials say climate change is a deception, and we still see social media posts like this from our neighbors:
To which I always respond:
Fortunately, there are starting to be more that say things like:
Which is on the right track. The false debate about climate change’s existence is over.
It’s now time to act.
I’ve been doing what I can, and now, with my daughters’ eyes haunting me, I’m recommitted. That look is in my mind’s eye every time I write a post, march for climate action or attend a meeting about sustainability.
It’s also why I’ve started telling them the good news about the climate crisis –
If human beings start doing the right things right now, there’s still time. We can save our planet and ourselves by electing the right people, pressuring the wrong ones through peaceful protest, stopping financial support for corporations that fund fossil fuel extraction, and doing everything else we can in our own lives and communities.
Because, remember: what we say and what we do make a difference, especially to the people we love most.
So how are you talking about the climate crisis with the most important people in your life?
The Rudolph Framework “helps you understand the actual problem you and your business solve for your customers– not the one you *think* you solve.” Click HERE to be taken to her fun explanation of this framework.
Most know, or will quickly find out, I am no blog business guru and to be frank, StPA is purely self-expression via my own mindful meanderings covering a multitude of topics from the environment to photography.
Therefore, you might, as I initially did, think this Rudolph exercise holds little relevance in the blogging world and is akin to writing one of those verbose, but glib ‘mission statements.’ [Groan]
Those two words, ‘mission statement,’ is enough for me to tune out and yet, reading further, I quickly realized that I did want to know where I might be headed blog-wise, and that a little blogging self-examinationmay indeed be useful, at least to me. Add to that, Ally mentioned that she was curious to see where the framework would take other bloggers. Thus, I’d dive right in. I may have taken it in a tangent way off the original intention, but it IS an experiment so who knows where we will end up.
Following are the Framework questions. One fills in the blanks for how it pertains to your blog. Like one of those grammar exercises back in school. Easy, right?
Something to Ponder About Blog’s Rudolph Framework
Once upon a time, there was a blog focused on information important enough to share with others that promoted open, independent discussion called Something to Ponder About.
It has the capacity to question, to inform, to frustrate and possibly to validate aspects of environmental change, in addition to various other topics.
Some people doubt it because they’re sure technology will be the saviour in any environmental disaster and the blogosphere is merely filled with rank amateurs who not only ignore contradictory information and opinions, but seem hell-bent on locking up the planet, subverting business progress or fixate on their own capitalistic endeavours. [which is incorrect].
But one day, the earth shouts at ALL its people so loudly that heads turn and deaf ears and closed eyes open.
Which means that more folks become interested in environmental change and start to connect with bloggers and others who recognize we all live on one heavenly body.
To help the awareness of planetary health and survival for all sentient beings.
And that matters because the global population needs access to independent information and different opinions, from many diverse sources which results in an informed global community, who might be more proactive about positive change, mindful of equity and respectful of differences.
In the process, you help coalesce a community of global cohesiveness and egalitarian understanding with blogs being one small catalyst.
The Planet gets a kiss!
Applying the Rudolph Framework to Your Own Blog
If you wish to try this writing experiment with your own blog, check in with Ally. Blogger etiquette would suggest you cite Ann Handley and include a pingback to The Spectacled Bean.
Even though few people are currently travelling, most of us have travel stories about our global adventures, that we can re-visit through writing and photographs.
Welcome back to the Friendly Friday Blogging Challenge, where I challenge you to create a post and share your stories, photographs, or memories, that you experienced ‘On the Way,’ to, or from, somewhere. It may be a shop, airport, workplace, historic site, residence, or whichever place you choose.
It was steaming hot and humid, as only Thailand can be. The vacation was over, but with our well-cured suntans and fond vacation memories lingering softly in our minds, the ‘Moth,’ (ie. Man of the House), and I were ushered into the rear seat of a Mercedes, by two young men who would drive us to Bangkok International Airport.
This older model ‘Merc,’ clearly nearing its use-by date, was the Taxi Airport Transfer our Travel Agent had kindly arranged, which meant we’d avoid navigating Bangkok’s public transport system in the oppressive, pea soup-like heat that had surrounded us back at Pattaya Beach.
Thankfully, the Mercedes was air-conditioned; mind you, the cooling unit was working extra hard to reach anywhere near the back seat and in reality, a vintage metal blade fan spewing tepid air would have been more effective than this car’s cooling system and I smiled a wry smile to the Moth, now seated beside me.
My hand reached across the numerous cracks and wrinkles in the sweat-caressed leather upholstery and touched the Moth’s hand. He’d been a tad nervous about travelling in South-East Asia and was clearly relieved he’d soon be on a plane heading home, to Australia.
Then something happened which began to make that look a little less likely.
We’d already been stuck in not one, but two, traffic jams and to pass the time, our Thai guide and his young driver would repeatedly push the ‘eject’ button, on the 1970’s era cassette player, and laugh uproariously when the ageing cassette plopped out on the floor. Added to this it seemed that absentmindedly switching the windscreen wipers on and off, and on and off again, despite the sun blazing outside, was an additional source of mirth for these two young guys.
Was this their first city job, I wondered? They looked like they were still a bit wet behind the ears.
Glancing over at the car’s instrument panel, I noticed the temperature gauge was spiking ‘hot,’ while the petrol gauge’s needle now flickered on ‘Reserve,’ indicating the fuel tank was close to empty. I raised an eyebrow and felt a slight tightening in my chest.
Cautiously, I asked the Thai Guide how much longer it might be before we’d reach the airport? In broken English, the reply came that it would be around half an hour, more or less, depending on traffic problems around the airport. I raised my eyebrows and looked again at the Moth.
Should I say something more about potentially running out of petrol?
I hesitated for a moment and crossed my fingers, but remained silent.
Minutes ticked by and I began to calculate whether we could still make our flight if we did get stuck in another of Bangkok’s notorious traffic jams and whether the car would run out of petrol before we reached our destination.
I decided I should speak up.
“Won’t you need a little more fuel, soon?” I finally said, in a polite, suggestive way.
Both the driver and his offsider looked at each other, befuddled. After a moment, they shook their heads firmly. It seemed I might need to clarify a little more what I meant.
“The fuel gauge,” I said, gaining confidence and pointing.“It is showing empty.”
“Ah, hah,” the young Driver said, with a gentle laugh.
“Temperature,” he said smiling and tapping the petrol gauge with a knowing nod.
“Umm.I don’t think so.” I offered. I was shaking my head but in those days, I had a soft voice and hadn’t developed any kind of authoritative tone, so the driver easily shrugged me off with a quick, “No problem,” and flashed that broad and innocent Thai smile, that can charm almost anyone.
I sat back in my seat thinking there was no way we’d catch our flight if we ran out of petrol. I looked at the Moth, imploring him with my eyes to say something to the driver. His eyebrows were knitted together, yet he remained silent.
“Would you like something to eat?” the driver then piped up? “A bowl of rice? You have time,” he said pointing to his watch.”
I thought a detour may use up even more petrol and remembering his questionable skills in reading gauges, I wasn’t confident we had any time for food. Declining politely, I advised him we’d eat at the airport, adding under my breath – if we ever get there.
Several minutes later, the frenzied finger-pointing and gesticulating towards the car’s instrument panel, accompanied by feverish Thai mutterings between driver and colleague, suggested something was amiss.
Without warning, the Driver stepped hard on the Merc’s gas pedal. We sped off at high speed through the traffic. I suspected it wasn’t the pressures of time that had prompted his change of heart. He must have realised his mistake in reading the gauges and surmised fuel was now perilously low.
Falsely thinking that accelerating and reaching the airport faster would prevent the car from running out of petrol, meant we were now overtaking every car on the highway, at breakneck speed. I gripped the armrest tightly with one hand and the Moth’s hand with the other.
Just hold on! the Moth mouthed at me silently.
After what seemed like an eternity, I saw the terminal of Bangkok International Airport loom ahead of us through the windscreen. If anyone had been listening in at that moment, they would have heard four very audible and loud signs of relief from both the front and the back seat of the old Merc.
We had arrived.
Join in with the Friendly Friday Challenge
Do you have a story or photograph or two to share?
Compose a post, be that photograph/s, story or recipe, with the theme, ‘On the way,’ somewhere – and include both the tag, ‘Friendly Friday’ and a url linking back to this post.
After publishing your post, return here and leave a comment with your post’s url. That way other visitors can find your post and visit.
We are in the midst of a casual baking challenge in a (time-unlimited) bake-off with Sandy, Moon and Ju-Lyn. Sandy has issued a counter challenge for me to make a Dacquoise ( See Sandy’s pic below). I have to summon up a little more courage before making that. All in good fun though.
Whilst it is somewhat of a cross-cultural event, spanning Canada, USA, and Singapore, my Pavlova recipe was very traditional, originating in the Australian Women’s Weekly Cookbook.
Experts lay the origin of certain mental health complaints squarely at the foot of one’s early life experiences. That said, can they really account for as much as is suggested? If not, should psychological interventions be tailored to take this thought into account?
Environment and Genetics – Nature versus Nurture.
Marsha hosts a Writer’s Quotes Wednesday Writing Challenge –#WQWWC which I am joining in a little early today – as it is Wednesday here, already.
I believe the theme this week is Trustworthiness. My take on this theme is a little skewed, but I thought – Can I trust my intuition, my own thoughts? Should I trust my intuition?
Yesterday two things came to mind, nothing serious, just thoughts and today, those two things were most significant in events, both, in my house and the larger region where I live.
Intuition or coincidence?
Does this ever happen to you?
If you have pre-cognitive thoughts, do you or should you, trust them?