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Ronnie Paul: New vibrations

A few years ago, my daughters gave me a cell phone. Although I still prefer a landline, texting began to seep into my life.

Initially I only texted with my kids, but soon friends asked for my cell number, promising to use it only for emergencies. The first emergency was a question about buying vinegar in Seattle. Then came deliberations about choosing on-line yoga pants. Of course I answered, but made everyone promise to destroy the number when their predicament passed.

As COVID social distancing made up-close chats difficult, I gave more friends permission to text. By then I didn’t even make them pledge to obliterate my contact information. Now messages such as “What should I make with all this zucchini?” or “OMG my hair is so shaggy,” are frequent communiqués. Some friends started sending emojis which took up more space than words. Unfortunately, that encouraged me to do the same.

Now my daily life includes the pings and vibrations of cell alerts which ignite my texting hormones. Even when I’m winning a Scrabble game or doing a yoga headstand, my dash to check a message has become Pavlovian. I must admit that lately I even check my texts when no sound beckons. Little compares to the thrill of the bold black letters of a fresh text.

As COVID social distancing made up-close chats difficult, I gave more friends permission to text.

My passion for cooking is as dedicated as my text mania. Please shove aside your cell phone and give these recipes a try.

That’s Amore Pasta Salad

Serves 4-6

Hooray for fresh tomatoes and basil. You’ll want to text someone about this summer dish.

6 ounces raw spiral pasta, cooked al dente

1 cup halved cherry tomatoes

1 6-ounce can medium pitted black olives

½ cup small white beans

1 tablespoon drained capers

1 tablespoon toasted pine nuts

2 generous tablespoons chopped basil

Salt and pepper

Dressing

Whisk together:

9 tablespoons olive oil

6 tablespoons red wine vinegar

½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce (I used the real thing, but vegetarian is good, too.)

Toss everything together and chill well.

Not Just Another Slaw

Serves 4

There’ll be no ho-humming when you serve this slaw.

1 cup chopped green cabbage

2 cups chopped red cabbage

2 scallions thinly sliced

1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds

Dressing

Whisk together until smooth:

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

2 tablespoons mirin

2 tablespoons sesame oil

2 teaspoons tamari

2 teaspoons honey

1 large garlic clove, pressed

Mix everything together and chill well. If you want to make a great impression, serve this with the above pasta salad.

Maple Scones

1 dozen

No one will moan about getting up early when you serve this breakfast treat.

2 cups sifted white flour

4 ounces (1 stick) salted butter cut in small pieces

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 beaten egg

½ cup maple syrup

3 tablespoons vanilla yogurt

½ cup raisins

Combine the flour and butter until it resembles coarse meal.

Stir in the remaining ingredients until incorporated.

Drop by quarter cups on a well-greased baking sheet (wetting the cup makes this easier). Wet your fingers and gently push down the top of each scone. Bake for 16 minutes at 400 degrees until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Ronnie Paul is a Nevada County freelance writer.


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