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August 8, 2009 — THIS SATURDAY — is the 10th annual World on the Square family festival in Corydon, Indiana. Here’s a little of what the web site says:

2009 is Community Unity’s tenth year hosting Harrison County’s festival celebrating the cultural diversity of our region! Come join us to enjoy the many forms of cultural entertainment, the booths with info about nations and cultures, and taste samples of delicious ethnic foods.

World on the Square is … FREE!FREE!FREE!

Admission to World on the Square is open to all and without charge. Some tables may sell refreshment items, T-shirts or small novelties for a reasonable fee — but vending is not a major purpose of World on the Square.

The international food samples are free for as long as they last, but the samples are not dispensed in meal-sized servings, nor are the samples intended collectively to be a substitute for a complete meal.

That last had to be put in, because a lot of visitors pile their “sampling” plates high, then throw away masses of food that they decide they don’t like or want, after all. Then the later visitors have nothing to eat except chips and salsa, which is disappointing for them.

I always take a dish to the international sampler. I think I’ll take bratwurst and cabbage this year, since I have lots of both. I bought two packages of brats at the store before we got off onto veg and organic meat, so this will be a good way to unload it. –Er, I mean, share it.

Come join the fun. It’s always a blast, and the music is great!


writing prompt: Go to a community event and take note of the people, the vendors/presenters. If there is none available to you, what kind would you put on, if you were going to?

I set this up yesterday to post today so I could devote as much of today as possible to watching the inauguration. I did, however, do my Tuesday post on Fatal Foodies. This week, I interviewed Carol Preflatish on her wonderful cook/anecdote book, MASTERS & DISASTERS OF COOKING.

Monday, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, we went to the Leora Brown School in Corydon. Community Unity, a local group that works for diversity awareness and non-violent problem solving, sponsored an event there–They played live recordings of Dr. King giving five of his speeches with discussion time between them. It was stirring and moving to hear his prophetic words in his own voice again.

We were all asked to bring cookies, so I brought these. The basic recipe is the one on the Quaker Oatmeal box. I added raisins, walnuts and chocolate chips, because that was the favorite combination of our late friend, Mary Garcia, who was overcome by lung cancer several years ago, but who did not go down without putting up one helluva fight. She’ll always be one of my heroes, and this will always be one of my favorite cookies, just because she loved them so.


  • 1 cup (2 sticks) margarine or butter, softened
  • 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt (optional)
  • 3 cups Quaker-type rolled oats (quick or old-fashioned, uncooked)
  • raisins, chopped walnuts, dried cranberries, chocolate chips and/or chopped pitted dates to taste

Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
Cream butter and sugars. Add eggs and vanilla; beat well. Add flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; mix well. Add oats and goodies; mix well.
Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown. Cool 1 minute on cookie sheet; remove to wire rack.
Makes at least 4 dozen, depending on amount of goodies you add.

For bars: Bake 30 to 35 minutes in ungreased 13 x 9 metal baking pan.


Writing prompt: Who is the first president you remember? Who is the first you remember hearing about? The first who made an impact on your life that you were aware of?

We went to the Community Unity Christmas party and I took Alu Mattar. This is the dish I posted about where I started with making ghee, then grated the ginger and garlic to make the curry…. I’m not usually so painstaking; I can’t think what got into me.

Anyway, here’s the recipe, and it’s really quite easy. It must be, or I wouldn’t have made it.

Curried Potatoes and Peas (Alu Mattar)

1/4 cup (60 ml) ghee (see recipe below)
1 Tbs (15 ml) finely chopped fresh ginger
1 Tbs (15 ml) finely chopped garlic
1/2 cup (125 ml) finely chopped onion or shallots
Salt to taste
1 tsp (5 ml) ground cumin
1/2 tsp (2 ml) turmeric
1/4 tsp (1 ml) cayenne pepper, or to taste
3 medium tomatoes, finely chopped
2 10-ounce (280 g each) packages frozen green peas
1 large potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch (1 cm) cubes
1 cup (250 ml) water
3 Tbs (45 ml) finely chopped cilantro (coriander leaves)
1/2 tsp (2 ml) garam masala (see recipe below)

Heat the ghee in a heavy pot over moderate heat until it is very hot.
Add the ginger and garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add the onion and
salt and cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is soft and golden
brown, about 8 minutes. Stir in the cumin, turmeric, and cayenne,
followed by the tomatoes. Cook, stirring frequently, until most of
the liquid has evaporated and the mixture forms a thick paste, about 5
minutes. Add the peas and tomatoes and stir to coat them with the
tomato mixture. Stir in the water and bring to a boil, stirring
frequently. Reduce the heat and simmer covered for 10 minutes, until
the potatoes are tender. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro and garam
masala and serve immediately. Serves 4 to 6.

Our dear friend Jackie was there. She’s undergoing chemo and all her hair has fallen out, so she brought a bag of Christmas bows and invited us to give her some holiday hair. Here she is, all festived up.



Then, on Friday, I went to lunch in Louisville. We were going to Bourbon’s Bistro, but they’re only open for dinner, so boo-hoo for us. We went to Crave, instead, which we LOVE anyway.


They have the BEST home made soups and sandwiches! Jane got a cheesy broccoli soup and a Creole sandwich called something like Bamm, I’m Good. I got cream of chicken and rice soup and a veggie sandwich–just a few raw vegetables on sourdough bread with Benedictine spread, but it was SO GOOD! This is on Frankfort Avenue, across the street from Bourbon’s, Java Brewing coffee shop and my beloved Irish Rover.

While we were waiting to cross the street, I met these ladies who claim they were doing a tree survey. If you ask me, they were casing the joints, but they say they were surveying trees. huh! I’ve never had a tree answer so much as ONE QUESTION I’ve ever asked, and they want me to believe they’re getting trees to take whole surveys? I don’t think so.


Anyway, on Saturday, Mom and I worked the Friends of the Library Book Box book sale and then Southern Indiana Writers had a book signing. Most members were sick and only three of us showed up, but we had a great time, as always, and sold some books. Here are Jeannine Baumgartle, Joy Brown Kirchgessner, self and The Mysterious Mr. B, who said, “You’re not going to put this on the internet or anything, are you?” I assured him I was, but you never know when somebody might be on the lam, so I blurred his face for his own protection. Of course, it might just be that he didn’t want to be seen in our company…. Nah!


Writing prompt: What questions would you ask a tree?

What with cleaning up after the storm and what-not, we haven’t been paying any attention to what’s left of the garden at this time of year. Charlie can’t stand it when the vines get straggly or the bushes get all bug-eaten, so he tends to rip up and plow under anything that’s past its prime. I feel lucky I’m still around. Anyway, we haven’t been out to check on the cucumbers, which is just about all that’s left. When he went out the other day, he found this. It frightened us, and we gave it away. This is me, holding Cukenstein. I don’t look as fat in this picture as I usually do. I wonder if I can use this for my driver’s license.

Speaking of weight, I’m on a health regimen. I went on one before, lost weight and felt great. Then I got lazy (GOT lazy?) and stopped exercising. Guess what? Gained weight. So I’m back on track. I’m starting out slow, which is how I did it before. Sometimes people start out trying to do too much right at first and hurt themselves or burn out. Me, I do pitiful little bits of exercise and increase it as I get stronger. I’m looking forward to feeling good again. Feeling good isn’t a deprivation, it’s a gift, yes?

Part of it is eating well. I mean GOOD stuff! Anything that tastes good, just maybe a little bit less, a little bit less oil or butter but not NO oil or butter.

Got to go–I’m in the middle of doing the Educational Newsletter for Community Unity.


Writing exercise: You’ve been neglecting something and, when you go back to it, it’s monstrous.

This is one of those days when I’m running sideways to keep from flying. Mom and I had a Community Unity meeting this morning. I evaded being nominated Co-Moderator again, which carries an understood follow-up year as Moderator. Been there, done that, would do it again, but I managed to duck it THIS time! All the active members are very active and very willing and, as Scott said this morning, self-starters, so Moderating is not an onerous job. I just don’t need to deliberately take on a teeny bit more responsibility just now.

See, I’ve already agreed to help set up a web site for my church, Corydon Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and have a meeting about it this afternoon.

Then, since it’s Thursday, I have a meeting with Southern Indiana Writers. I’m ready to put on my pj’s and turn in already.


Writing Exercise: You’re overextended. A new opportunity comes up. Either you turn it down, or something you’re already committed to or enjoy has to give. Put several characters in this situation and see what choices each would make.


Here is where I ramble on about whatever happens to fall through my mind. I also have a professional site, where I post about my books, stories, news and appearances. Every month, I post a “Hot Flash” there–a story or prose poem of about 50 words. I hope you enjoy your visit. –Marian Allen

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