Living Lite

Today's Lunch: My Take on the All-American Hot Dog

November 12, 2018

Hot dogs! The all-American classic. My favorite version is a hot dog with mustard & onions. How in the world did I come up with that as a go-to meal (besides it being fast and easy)? Who knows! I never liked hot dogs, or mustard, or onions growing up. But, my tastes changed as I grew up. Children have a natural "neofoodphobia," that is, they're afraid of new food. But we grow out of it and experimenting with new foods can become a pleasure (uh, well, with most adults anyway!).

I still don't really care for hot dogs, but I've discovered chicken sausages that are lighter and even tastier. They come in all kinds of different flavors: sweet italian, spicy italian, sun-dried tomato and basil, and more. I've never liked regular yellow mustard, but when I tried honey mustard, I was hooked. My Swedish mother swears by Swedish mustard, and I like its mild and slightly sweet flavor, too.

So, this has become my "take" on the All (~90%)-American hot dog with mustard & onions. I start with a chicken sausage, which I heat in the microwave.

Chicken Sausages come in wonderful arrays of flavors (Photo by: Katherine Tallmadge) Chicken Sausages come in wonderful arrays of flavors

My "bun" is usually a toasted 100% whole wheat English muffin, because that is what I keep on hand for everything, from creating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (the peanut butter melts in the nooks and crannies!) to fried or scrambled eggs. Of course, to fit on the english muffin, I slice the chicken sausage/hot dog.

100% Whole Wheat English Muffin - They're always in my frig to toast with fried eggs, peanut butter and jelly, you name it! (Photo by: Katherine Tallmadge) 100% Whole Wheat English Muffin - They're always in my frig to toast with fried eggs, peanut butter and jelly, you name it!

I discovered these wonderfully succulent and sweet mini onions at Quaker Valley Orchards found at either Rose Park's or Dupont Circle's Farmers Market. They get chopped and tossed on...

Mini Sweet Onions from Quaker Valley Orchard (Photo by: Katherine Tallmadge) Mini Sweet Onions from Quaker Valley Orchard

Next, I squirt some swirls of Swedish mustard (I believe it was bought at Ikea) over the top of everything...

Swedish Mustard (Photo by: Katherine Tallmadge) Swedish Mustard

I slice up some fresh tomatoes. The Japanese Kumato tomatoes from the grocery store are great this time of year. Add some fresh rosemary from my garden... And Voila!

Bon Appetit!

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Washington Gas Leaks and Other Gas Menaces in Georgetown

November 7, 2018

"There have been at least 60 natural gas leaks within a 5 to 6 block radius in Georgetown's East Village since 2016," said Edward Segal, Georgetown Gas Safety Advocate, who says this is a "very conservative estimate." Segal has been monitoring the leaks and communicating updates through his website, Georgetown's Gas Leaks.

The fear is of a potential repeat in Georgetown of the series of natural gas leaks and explosions that occurred recently in the north Boston area. On September 13, the explosions lead to dozens of home fires that killed a teenager, injured 25 people, damaged 42 buildings, affected 8,600 gas customers, and left large numbers of people homeless.

Georgetown's leaks, so far, are only causing manhole covers to explode and Georgetown's shade trees to die, according to Bob Ackley, an independent gas safety expert from Gas Safety USA. But, he warned Georgetown's ANC and Councilmember Jack Evans, "No community can afford to be lulled into a false sense of confidence about the safety of their gas pipelines."

Washington Gas has not provided any information to the community about when, where or why there are gas leaks. But they are required to provide that information to the DC government.

"We need accountability and full disclosure from Washington Gas," said Segal. "Washington Gas should share with the public the same information it is required by law to share with the DC government," he added.

So, what to do when the gas company isn't cooperating and the government isn't sharing? That's what The DC Public Service Commission is for. The DCPSC protects consumers by keeping public utilities safe, reliable, affordable, environmentally sound, and it's designed to resolve disputes between utilities and their consumers. Segal filed complaints with the PSCDC against Washington Gas, worked with them for over a year, and the result, Segal said, was disappointing. "No commissioner ever saw my complaint; the staff simply forwarded the complaint to Washington Gas. There were no hearings, no process, no response," Segal said.

"Maybe they should read their own mission statements," said Segal.

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Meditation on the Grace, Flux & Fettle of Fall

November 5, 2018

Getting out in nature, among trees, in the fresh air, and even a little sun, is essential to your health, according to medical experts. Happily, here in Washington, DC, there are still wild forests and waterways to enjoy close by and in every direction - even right in the middle of the city, too. 

Song for Autumn 
by Mary Oliver from New and Selected Poems:  Volume II (Beacon Press)

In the deep fall
don’t you imagine the leaves think how
comfortable it will be to touch
the earth instead of the
nothingness of air and the endless
freshets of wind? And don’t you think
the trees themselves, especially those with mossy,
warm caves, begin to think
of the birds that will come — six, a dozen — to sleep
inside their bodies? And don’t you hear
the goldenrod whispering goodbye,
the everlasting being crowned with the first
tuffets of snow? The pond
vanishes, and the white field over which
the fox runs so quickly brings out
its blue shadows. And the wind pumps its
bellows. And at evening especially,
the piled firewood shifts a little,
longing to be on its way.

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