January 2010! My, how fast the month is going.
Because of the Christmas storm which started on the 23rd, we missed out on the brunch on the 24th. A lot of families changed their plans.
In spite of many still digging out after the Christmas storm, a number of Barb Root's piano students came out in the cold to entertain the diners with their Christmas pieces. The diners expressed their enjoyment of this annual happening, as did I.
Dec. 31, found diners ending the year on a "healthy" note. Many had their toenails clipped and their blood pressures taken. Early coffee and Christmas treats were available before the pork chop dinner. Three door prizes were given to Maymie, Darby and Vernis.
The Council on Aging provided senior dining sites information about vitamin D. Lack of vitamin D can cause weak or aching muscles and bone pain that's often misdiagnosed as arthritis or fibromyalgia and can exacerbate osteoporosis. I was surprised to learn that a person should have their vitamin D level checked each year.
Very few foods contain vitamin D, and most people get too little sun to make it. Your skin actually makes it when it is exposed to sunlight. Aging has no impact on how much vitamin D you absorb from food or pills. If you're 70, your skin can make only a quarter of the vitamin D that a 20-year-old can make when exposed to the same amount of sun. A 70-year-old can make enough if he or she is in the sunlight for 15 to 20 minutes a couple times a week. Another interesting statement was that, if you get enough sun in the summer and fall, it will carry you through the winter, because vitamin D is stored in your body fat.
"Jamaica Me Crazy" Day was the 12th. Picture palm trees in the dining area. Alright, picture small palm trees on the tables, created by the Kimball Kruisers 4-H Club. Dolores and Anita won door prizes. The meal consisted of coconut chicken (it was not a favorite), over rice; cranberry garnish, pineapple tidbits and ginger cake.
Jamaica, the third largest island in the Caribbean Sea lies 480 miles south of Florida. Ocean winds ease the heat and humidity, causing the temperatures along the coast to stay between 80 and 86 degrees. Jamaica is 4,411 square miles, which is slightly smaller than the state of Connecticut. Ninety percent of its population is of African descent.
Jamaica is the only country whose flag shares no colors with our American flag. Their flag has three colors: black stands for hardships overcome; gold for the natural wealth and beauty of sunlight; green for hope and agricultural resources.
Tourism is one of the country's leading economic activities, attracting more than 400,000 tourists a year.
Jamaica's government provides free schooling for those between the ages of 6 and 15.
Sugar cane is the island's most important crop. Other farm products are bananas, papaya, mango, passion fruit, coconuts, coffee, pork and poultry. This Caribbean Island also supplies most of the word's pimento. Pimento is a large, red, heart-shaped sweet pepper. We know its berries from products like pimento-stuffed olives and in the dried form - allspice. I had no idea allspice was dried pimento.
Their farms do not produce enough food for all the people, so the nation imports much of its food. Most of their imports come from the United States.
I dusted off my 1976 World Book to gather this information, so possibly some of it is outdated. If I was a gambler, I'd bet the number of tourists is higher now.
Speaking of peppers, I recently tried a pepper that was new to me. There was nothing sweet about it. I gave in to my addiction of trying new things in the cooking department. I purchased a can of chipotle pepper in adobo sauce (it was not cheap)! The day came to open them and make a bean medley chili, which called for 1 pepper. I am not a dancer, but with one little fingertip-lick of the sauce, I became one! Talk about hot. The recipe also called for three tablespoons of chili powder. I decided to use only one tablespoon and upon tasting the final dish, I was glad I did.
I found a page of "outhouse" jokes, which I thought would bring some memories to the surface and some smiles or chuckles. Before reading the first one, I asked the diners how many of them had the pleasure of having to use an outhouse while growing up. Two ladies hadn't had the "privilege." One of the gentlemen questioned my use of the word "pleasure."
Kimball had some snow, followed by rain which froze, leaving a layer of ice on everything. I had to admit it was beautiful, shimmering beneath the sunlight.
Friday evening, Jan. 29, as I walked by my east window, I did a double-take. My breath was almost taken away at the magnificent scene. Light appeared to be illuminating from the ice-covered snow as the full, pale-orange moon hung low in the horizon. What a sight. I hope the pictures my son took turn out.
Friday, Feb. 12, the diners will be treated to a Valentine's meal, followed by Bingo. If you're joining us for Bingo, bring a red or pink or white prize in a paper bag.
'Til next time,
Senior Dining Site Coordinator