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The cold virus is among the world's most prevalent of wintertime diseases and its symptoms are among the most stubborn to cure. Just about all of us have suffered from the effects of a winter cold. Three quarters of the people in the United States have at least one cold a year.
The remedies to treat these symptoms range from antibiotics, antihistamines and analgesics. There are many alternative medicines used to treat the common cold. A wide variety of these medications and treatments include healing philosophies, approaches and therapies.
Gardening hint: To keep the slugs and other pests away from young seedlings, grandma sprinkled the area around her tomatoes with cayenne pepper flakes.
If grandma loved garlic, then it could be said that she worshipped the tomato. Her homemade tomato sauce bubbled on the stove like an eternal volcano. The familiar and mouthwatering aroma of her sauce permeated the kitchen and welcomed us to her home. There are many things that link me to my past, but few rekindle memories as quickly as the smell of tomato sauce simmering on the stove.
As we raised our glasses high, grandpa's words sang out over the dining table, "Salute' per chinto anno," his deep, rich voice as hardy and pure as the red wine he held in his glass.
"Good luck, for a hundred years," his dinner guests echoed back. I remember how my grandfather's face beamed with pride at these joyous occasions and how our meal never began until each family member had repeated the traditional dinner toast and sipped from our small glasses of red wine.
Many years ago, I paid my Italian grandmother a last visit. On that day, she insisted I take home some seedlings from her bountiful garden: a piece of this, a smidgen of that and a handful of her finest sunflower seeds. She searched carefully through her garden for the perfect seedlings, uprooting several oregano, chamomile and rosemary plants, including the bitter rucola. Every plant, that is, except her bountiful parsley.
SAGE GARGLE: to soothe a sore throat grandma steeped three or four dried sage leaves in a cup of hot water for about ten minutes. While the tea is still warm, use as a gargle to treat canker sores add 1/2 teaspoon of lemon to the tea. 1/2 teaspoon of salt in a glass of warm water also makes an excellent throat gargle.
My Italian immigrant grandparents came to the Almaden Valley during the great migration. They were prune ranchers, cherry growers, farmers and cannery workers. The cuisine they prepared and enjoyed was essentially food grown on their land. Much of what they harvested they ate or preserved. Their favorite food, and the one they held in highest regard, was the valley's wild mustard green plant that grew freely in orchards and along the hillsides.
Just hearing the words "fresh mint" on a warm summer day and my mind conjures up the southern symbol of hospitality, a lengthy sprig of green mint submerged in frosty tumblers or icy silver cups of cool mint juleps.
Later, when the cold weather rolls around and the holiday season appears, mint becomes part of the warm and comforting holiday meals. Mint will change its look and adapt itself to the coming season when it will be used dried or frozen to flavor and garnish pork roasts, vegetables, jelly sauces, jellos and creamy desserts.
The principles in creating a good garden are an inviting entry, something to focus on and a continuity of form. My Italian grandmother spent most of her days tending a garden that supplied all of these elements, and yet she never read a garden manual, never joined a garden club and, as a matter of fact, never read a home and garden magazine. And yet, to visit her garden was to visit a small part of paradise.
Garlic was grandma's favorite herb. Her eggplant relish is a veritable smorgasbord of beneficial ingredients which, of course, includes garlic.
Most everyone knows about garlic's pungent flavor, and is well aware of this bulbous perennial's reputation. But to grandma, the garlic was irreplaceable. A relative of the Lily, the huge ball like blooms of the garlic plant are fused with hundreds of tiny lavender blooms that, like their bulbous root, are rich in sugar and almost as pungent in fragrance.
Like most people, I love to eat good food, especially during the holidays when an abundance of traditional fare is set upon the table. And, like most people, who have strong family ties, I enjoy the taste and textures and aromas of the foods of my heritage. To me these foods represent a continuity of family and family traditions. For that reason, I like to prepare these recipes that were passed on to me by my grandmother, who so carefully preserved each of them in her memory. No recipe books for her, when she gave me a recipe it was merely a pinch of this, a handful of that, etc. But somehow her recipes have always come out to perfection.