Monday, July 21, 2014

Tika & Mustard

Everybody likes mustard, right? It's the world's most favorite condiment and it comes in so many different flavors! But Tika does not like mustard in any flavor:

This is from Wikipedia:  "The Romans were probably the first to experiment with the preparation of mustard as a condiment. They mixed unfermented grape juice, known as "must", with ground mustard seeds (called sinapis) to make "burning must", mustum ardens — hence "must ard". A recipe for mustard appears in Apicius (also called De re coquinaria), the anonymously compiled Roman cookbook from the late 4th or early 5th century; the recipe calls for a mixture of ground mustard, peppercaraway,lovage, grilled coriander seeds, dillcelerythymeoreganoonionhoneyvinegarfish sauce, and oil, and was intended as a glaze for spit-roasted boar."

Did you know there is a National Mustard Museum and a National Mustard Day?  The museum is in Middleton, Wisconsin and August 2nd is the annual National Day of Mustard. 

Our ancestors undoubtedly enjoyed mustard on their meats because without adequate refrigeration meat would too quickly spoil and our ancestors would eat it anyway (up to a point of course). 

Click to to enjoy learning all about America's favorite condiment. And how do you enjoy your mustard? 

"Big deal," said Tika. "I prefer mayo." 

Monday, July 14, 2014

Tika & The Educating of Thomas Jefferson

Last May, I visited Monticello, the home of Thomas Jefferson. (This life-size statue of him is at the Visitor's Center.) I have read many books and watched many TV specials on this man and continue to be intrigued with his life. One thing I learned about him that I did not know before was that in his youth, in Williamsburg, Virginia, and at the home of John Wythe, he was educated and tutored in "Socratic method of teaching and learning." Wanting to know just what this was, I asked Grandma Google (who knows everything) and found this in Wikipedia:

"The Socratic method of teaching and learning was named after the classical Greek philosopher, Socrates, and is a form of inquiry and discussion between individuals, based on asking and answering questions, to stimulate critical thinking and to illuminate ideas. Socrates generally applied his method of examination to concepts that seem to lack any concrete definition; e.g., the key to moral concepts at the time, the virtues of piety, wisdom, temperance, courage and justice." 

That the Wythe house was Jefferson's classroom was evident. In the main rooms, the tables and shelves were populated with "things" to stimulate discussion, understanding and learning. Take this shell, for instance, which I photographed. Think of the discussions it occasioned! The guide to the Wythe house explained "that in this house curiosity was championed and all were familiar with the ancients..... Locke, Bacon, Newton, Socrates, Plutarck, etc. Ideas first presented by the ancients were discussed anew." And that's how Thomas Jefferson obtained much of his education. I was impressed. 

Tika was not impressed as I explained all this to her. "When is it time for Animal Planet?" she asked. 

Monday, July 7, 2014

Tika & Towns Named Mount Vernon

Tika was primed and ready for a history lesson when I returned home from Mount Vernon, Washington. This charming town is 300 miles west of Spokane, where we live in eastern Washington, and is near onto Puget Sound. "And the town was named for George Washington's home, Mount Vernon?" my smart little Tika asked.  I assured her it was. As we snuggled and talked, we wondered how many towns were there in the United States named Mount Vernon to honor our First President?

Asking Grandma Google (who knows everything!) I found that there are 20 states other than Washington who have towns named Mount Vernon:  Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

Made me wonder next how many town names in my state (Washington) are repeated in other states?? I'll ask Grandma Google and then share the findings with Tika.