Ronnie Paul: Communicating in the modern world |

Ronnie Paul: Communicating in the modern world

Ronnie Paul
Ronnie Paul's recipe for black bean salsa makes around 3 1/2 cups and contains corn, cilantro, red onion, garlic, avacado, fresh lime juice and black beans.
Photo by Jeff Kane

When we went out for dinner the other night, we sat near a couple and their three teenage children. Everyone’s head was bowed over the food on the table and I was touched by their shared moment of gratitude.

As I berated myself for failing to raise such a gracefully dedicated family, one kid looked up and shouted, “Sweet! I got 52 texts today.”

It burns me up to see people sitting together yet thumbing away on individual palmed screens. I miss hearing (okay, call it eavesdropping) the murmur of full and animated conversations.

Considering texts, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat, face-to-face communication is becoming as obsolete as churning butter.

My kids roll their eyes when I spout negativity about cyber-communication, but they appreciate that I text them occasionally and even over-use emojis.

“You’ll use apps and hashtags next,” they gleefully predict.

Pardon my sour sarcasm, but I question my friend who uses an app to determine tennis ball usefulness. In my day, when balls lost their bounce, you got new ones.

My cousin uses an app that tells him when it’s raining. Call me old-fashioned, but I still subscribe to simply poking my head outside.

I’ll never need a device that reminds me to munch a chocolate chip cookie or to swim when I’m sweltering in summer heat. Ditto for when to head to the kitchen and cook.

And just so you know that I can be savvy: #NJOYTheseRecipes!

Green bean-pasta salad

Serves 4-6

You won’t need a reminder to make this again.

12 ounces green beans

6 ounces curly pasta, boiled until just tender

1 tablespoon capers

3 tablespoons skinless sliced almonds

Salt and pepper


Whisk together:

6 tablespoons olive oil

4 tablespoons lemon juice

2 tablespoons honey

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon dried dill

1 pressed garlic clove

1 teaspoon grated lemon peel

Cut the stringy ends off the green beans and drop them in boiling water for three minutes until just tender. Rinse under cold water and dry.

Toss the green beans and pasta with the marinade, and chill for a few hours until all the dressing is absorbed.

I like to bring the salad to room temperature before serving, but it’s perfect cold, too. Just before you bring it to the table, stir in the capers, almonds, and salt and pepper.

Black bean salsa

Makes 3 1/2 cups

It’s okay to text someone to come over and share this.

1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed

1 cup corn kernels

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

1/4 cup chopped red onion

2 large garlic cloves, pressed

1 medium avocado, chopped

Juice of 2 fresh limes (about 2 tablespoons)

Mix everything together and chill.

This recipe is great practice for chilling out in the kitchen.

More cilantro, less onion: this is one where the exact amount of ingredients doesn’t really matter.

Breakfast smoothie

Makes 10 ounces

Hooray for soft summer fruit!

Puree until smooth:

1 medium banana

1/3 cup kefir or yogurt

2/3 cup soft fruit pieces (Yes, even melon!)

1/2 medium avocado

3 soft Medjool dates, chopped (optional)

If you want a thinner smoothie, add water or fruit juice.

Ronnie Paul is a Nevada County freelance writer.

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