About The Tuesday Prude

I always told my husband I fell in love with him before I know his last name. Good thing, too. I'm beginning to enjoy my unusual and sturdy married name. Klumpers are almost as rare as prudes. However, in an effort to make it a more common household name I bore 3 sons, all Klumpers, and a recent Klumpers grandson has been added to the lists. In an effort to make prudishness a more common household virtue, I have created this blog.

How big are a Dutchman’s Britches?

Tomorrow we’re having a St. Nicholas celebration with our family.
But St. Nicholas Day was December 6, you say?
You are so right.

But in our family, there is no such thing as a firm date. They’re more like suggestions.
Baby due dates? We laugh at those.
Birthday cards? Why not spread the cheer over several days—or weeks—once we remember the actual birthdate.
IRS requirements? Except for that brief, exhilarating “merry extension to all and to all a good pandemic” of 2020, this agency has actually not demonstrated a sense of humor over fluid deadlines.

Anyway, we’re celebrating tomorrow. With potato soup the website swears is actually Dutch.

I could make Soup-n-Brigh (not how it’s spelled in Dutch but generally how it is pronounced). A mix of bread and buttermilk cooked in an open pot until the entire house smells like a men’s locker room with two weeks of unwashed laundry. Or maybe Bluepop. Barley and grape juice and raisins. Cooked in an open pot ’til the raisins swell to the size and texture of turkey gizzards.

So even though the potato soup isn’t a traditional food handed down from my ancestors, it sounds edible.

What I really go for are the sweets. I will be breaking my grandchildren’s tender little hearts because there will be no Dutch letters in their wooden shoes because with shipping, those little first initials of their names doubled in price. My thrifty forebearers would have rolled over in their graves.

But, we will have almond bars and stroopwafels and my forever favorite: Jan Hagel cookies. I always thought this translated as “John Hail” because the topping—rock sugar in the Netherlands, chopped nuts on this side of the Atlantic—look like hail. (If you squint, this side of the Atlantic.) Turns out, it probably came a slang term for sailors, and came to be associated with the riffraff or common people, and unruly mobs. That last one describes my tribe when we’re high on sugar.

Speaking of being Dutch: on the way to church Sunday we were scanning the skies. After approximately 200 years without seeing the sun, the weather forecast was calling for clearing skies. 
“HA!” I pointed out the car window to a cloud-free area. “My mom always said, ‘If you see a patch of blue big enough to make a Dutchman’s britches, it means the sun will come out.”

And sure enough. After several hit and miss hours, the sun did make a brief appearance. But I’ll tell you from years of experience, it is not always a proven axiom.
Or is it?
How big a Dutchman? How big are his britches? Maybe when the cloud/clear sky ratio hits a certain point, inevitably the sun will come out.
Has anyone researched this? Or is it one of those instinctive things you just learn through generational imprint and experience. I bet those unruly janhagel Dutch sailors would know.

Whether you celebrate St, Nick Day early, late or never, I wish you great blessings of health, strength, safety and faith.
And may all your Dutchmen in the sky have just the right sized britches.

Grinch Green or Sugar Plum Fairy Pink?

About ten, maybe twelve years ago I went through a Christmas nostalgia phase that coincided with a flurry of merchandise designed to appeal to those of us who spent our childhood in the 1960s. With no thought of budgetary restrictions I bought piles of textiles whose predominant colors were bright red and Grinch green. By New Year’s Day that year I was ready to donate all those tablecloths, napkins, and tea towels to a local landfill.

Something about the combination of colors didn’t appeal to me after that first blush of loving association with a kinder, gentler era. I didn’t dump the unpleasant kitchen accoutrements but did frown at them often and only put them on display when no company was expected.

Not long ago my college roommate met me in downtown Chicago and we enjoyed high tea at a lovely hotel. They have pink-predominant trees in the lobby and tea room. See?

It is quite lovely and festive and tasteful. But I’m uncertain if I’m ready to associate pink with Christmas. However. I don’t fancy only the traditional Santa Suit reds and Christmas-tree greens all the time either.

Pastels aren’t my first love. Or second. Washed out colors seem depressing. Monochrome makes an impact but can eventually become …repetitive. Maybe I enjoy richer colors. Deep blues and reds and golds and greens.

The only constant is light. Lots of Christmas lights. White, golden-glow, colored. They light the long hours of darkness in the northern hemisphere. They remind us of the Light of the World. They make electric companies everywhere rub their hands in glee. Yes, lights are my requirement.

Anyone have any favorite Christmas color combos? Anything unusual, new, unexpected? What makes you happy? (And I’m curious if anyone loves browns and/or grays for their Christmas decorations?)

Life after Lawry’s (and its inherent complexities)

The Big Three:
Lawry’s Season Salt

Who could ask for anything more?

They fulfilled all my cooking needs—with occasional forays into oregano and paprika—for years. But life as a vegan seems to require more.
Italian Seasoning? Got it.
Herbs de Provence? The mix that, when I say it in my head, sounds like a delightful blend of Leslie Caron and Hercule Poirot, on my tongue comes out with distinct flavor of Homer Simpson. Can’t do the name justice, but I cook with it.

So now that I’ve dipped a foot into Spices of the World, I’m ready for more. Last night I took my little light-up-tutu clad granddaughter to dance class, and we stopped at the grocery store on the way home. She took notes as we made swift and efficient progress.
Until the spice aisle.
And a paralyzing case of Spice Indecision.

While I dithered over the endless choices involved in “buy two, get one free” offerings, my granddaughter continued to take notes.
Thyme? I have the ground stuff, but need the leaves.
The aforementioned Herbs de Provence? Don’t I have plenty left? Doesn’t it lose its flavor if it sits too long?
And if I buy two spices at the $3.79 price do I get one from the $5.49 category? Or do I have to remain in the parameters of the designated price? Do I need 3 spices from the $3.79, $4.99 or $5.49 groupings?
Thyme leaves. I need those.

While I dithered, my little granddaughter continued to write notes.
“I’m being patient.” She repeated this as I considered the smoked paprika and the Greek seasoning.
“I’m being very patient.” She reiterated as I squatted in front of the rosemary (cracked) the turmeric, and the wasabi blend.
“Still patient,” as she added an ominous-looking line to her notebook.

Not certain what this says, but I doubt it is complimentary

Outside the spice aisle, the World Cup progressed, nation made war against nation, and families everywhere sat down to partake of perfectly-seasoned meals. Time stood still in front of the cayenne, the endless dill options, the Jamaican Jerk. The little signs displaying the various sale prices started to swim before my eyes and my granddaughter’s light-up tutu began to dim. I could not, for love or money, decide which 3 spices from which sale bracket to purchase. I admitted defeat and we made our way to the checkout. My granddaughter closed the notebook but kept a patient finger in her place. Just in case.

We packaged, paid, and loaded into the Jeep. I delivered her safely into the arms of her waiting family. Went home. Unpacked groceries,
And found 2 jars of dried thyme leaves, From the $5.49 section.

Spices Photo by Tamanna Rumee on Unsplash

The Mist and All

My favorite season is fall. My favorite anthology/collection is “One Thousand Beautiful Things” that my dad passed on to me.

And my favorite poem in the book is “The Mist and All.” I’m sure I’ve shared it on my blogs before but here it is again because today is a misty November day and this poem washes it in loveliness.

The Mist and All

by Dixie Willson

I like the fall
The mist and all
I like the night owl’s lonely call
And wailing sound
Of wind around

I like the gray
November day
And bare, dead boughs that coldly sway
Against my pane
I like the rain

I like to sit
And laugh at it
And tend my cozy fire a bit
I like the fall
The mist and all

My first love: We Gather Together

The one that started my love of Thanksgiving carols. Way back in high school.

It was written in the 16th century by Dutch Protestants (of which I am one, although I don’t go quite that far “way back”) to celebrate the Netherlands liberation from Spain. Until the defeat of the Spanish forces, the church had been forbidden to gather for worship.

Pretty sure we sang this at almost every Thanksgiving Day church service. Yep—those Dutch Reformed sorts had worship services Reformation Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve, and New Year’s Day. Then we gave our poor pastors a break until Good Friday, Easter, Ascension Day, Pentecost… . Go ahead and ask me if I ever saw the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade growing up.

The point is—gathering to worship and rejoice and eat and give thanks is such a wonderful gift, and we don’t realize it until the gift is withdrawn. May you gather this Thanksgiving, whether it is with family, friends, or strangers. And be blessed!

Everybody eats when they come to my house

This “everybody eats” dictum applies to my extended family gatherings any time of year, but nowhere is our innate desire to feed loved ones on display more than Thanksgiving.

Listen to the song and be warned. Come to my house and I WILL feed you.

While this isn’t technically a Thanksgiving carol, honestly, what is? The definition is fluid.

Enjoy the great blessing of food and the gathering together to partake of it!

Enjoy the great blessing of food and the gathering together to partake of it!

Heap High the Farmer’s Wintry Hoard

I’ve been listening to this song for well over a decade without fully understanding all the lyrics. Finally last year I looked it up. Still the only song on my Thanksgiving playlist that I haven’t memorized. But do I belt out that first line! (Before subsiding to a sort of mumbling hum for the rest.)

Heap High the Farmer’s Wintry Hoard (John Greenleaf Whittier)

Heap High the Farmer’s Wintry Hoard (John Greenleaf Whittier
1 Heap high the farmer's wintry hoard!
Heap high the golden corn!
No richer gift has autumn poured
from out her lavish horn!
Through vales of grass and meads of flowers
our plows their furrows made,
While on the hills the sun and showers
of changeful April played.

2 We dropped the seed over hill and plain
beneath the sun of May,
And frightened from our sprouting grain
the robber crows away.
All through the long, bright days of June
its leaves grew green and fair, 
And waved in hot midsummer's noon
its soft and yellow hair.

3 And now with autumn's moonlit eyes,
It's harvest-time has come,
We pluck away the frosted leaves,
and bear the treasure home.
Oh let the good old crop adorn
the hills our fathers (forbears) trod;
Still let us, for his (this) golden corn,
send up our thanks to God!

For the Beauty of the Earth

I grew up singing this Folliot Pierpoint hymn in church, with a different tune. That one was fine for congregational singing,

But this lyrical, lilting, soaring choral version is a delight!

    1. For the beauty of the earth,
    For the glory of the skies,
    For the love which from our birth
    Over and around us lies.

    Refrain: Lord of all to Thee we raise
    This our hymn of grateful praise.

    2. For the wonder of each hour,
    Of the day and of the night,
    Hill and vale, and tree and flower,
    Sun and moon, and stars of light.(Refrain)

    3. For the joy of human love,
    Brother, sister, parent, child,
    Friends on earth and friends above,
    For all gentle thoughts and mild.(Refrain)

    4. For the church, that evermore
    Lifteth holy hands above,
    Offering up on every shore
    Her pure sacrifice of love.(Refrain)

    5. For Thyself, best Gift Divine.
    To our race so freely given,
    For that great, great love of Thine,
    Peace on earth and joy in Heaven.(Refrain)

    Let All Things Now Living

    It’s November and I love November and Thanksgiving songs and atmospheric late autumn photos.

    Today is also election day and some of us might be stressing. “So why,” my efficient self asks my rather slothful self, “not post a Thanksgiving song that you love and a photo you like, and emphasize the absolute wonder and delight of creation along with a reminder that ultimately this stuff isn’t under our control?” And my slothful self replies, “Let’s do it! It means I don’t have to get creative and write something original!”

    So here is a photo:

    And the lyrics to a song:

    Let all things now living a song of thanksgiving
    To God our Creator triumphantly raise,
    Who fashioned and made us, protected and stayed us,
    By guiding us on to the end of our days.
    God’s banners are o’er us, Pure light goes before us,
    A pillar of fire shining forth in the night,
    Til shadows have vanished, all fearfulness banished,
    As forward we travel from light into light.

    By law God enforces. The stars in their courses,
    The sun in its orbit, obediently shine;
    The hills and the mountains, the rivers and fountains,
    The deeps of the ocean proclaim God divine,
    We too should be voicing our love and rejoicing,
    With glad adoration a song let us raise,
    Till all things now living unite in thanksgiving
    To God in the highest, hosanna and praise.

    And a link to the song:

    And a happy November 8/Election Day/Thanksgiving month to you.

    Atomic Age Casserole Redux

    Ever heard of an elevator pitch?
    It’s supposed to be a short, succinct presentation to somehow convince someone you have something they’d be interested in.
    Short enough for an elevator ride.
    Succinct enough for them to immediately imagine making millions off your invention, pyramid scheme, pivot plan or book premise.

    Here’s mine for the nation’s next bestseller:

    “With the current craze for clothes, movies, architecture and decor from the 1950s and 60s, GenX-Y are hungry for the next undiscovered treasure from their parents and grandparents’ era.
    What they are really hungry for are casseroles. Casseroles made with cream soups. Ground meat. French Fried onions and canned peas.
    They want cookies made with oleo-margarine and evaporated milk. Tortes piled high with Dream Whip or tapioca pudding. They want jello salads chock full of shredded carrots and fruit cocktail. All they need are the recipes.”

    Unless you’re riding to the 107th floor of the Sears Tower in Chicago, by this time the elevator would have dinged and your pitch is over,
    But the listener would be salivating, and no doubt you are too.

    So I’m setting to work on THE definitive recipe compilation. I’ll scour church cookbooks and old Better Homes and Gardens magazines. I’ll take creative new photos in creative ways of “Russian Fluff” made with Cream of Shrimp soup.
    I’ll test treasures like Orange Slice Cookies, Lima Bean and Pork Knuckle Casserole and Rink Tum Ditty—a personal favorite based on the name alone.

    This is not me. But it is my dad. I like to think Rink Tum Ditty is in one of those pans.

    My husband will feast on Baked Bean Sandwiches. Alternated with enriched bread topped by Raisin-Peanut Filling.

    Got a favorite retro-classic, vintage-Atomic age, mid-century modern recipe that gets your nostalgic juices flowing? Tell me all about it.

    And if you see a cookbook with this concept come out before I get mine written, remember: You saw it here first.


    Corned Beef Casserole

    -6 medium potatoes (‘medium’ confuses me, I need circumference and absolute measurements. E.g.: Small potato—2” around. Medium—4” on center Large—4”x 6” excluding protrusions)
    -1 can cream of mushroom soup
    -1 tsp. salt
    -2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
    -1/4 c.cubed American processed cheese (That doesn’t sound like enough. Fill free to use half a cup. Heck, go all the way to a full 8 ounces)
    -1 can corned beef, cut up (Do they still package corned beef in cans? And if not, why not?)
    -1/2 can milk (love the economy. No bothering with a measuring cup. And the touching faith in a cook’s ability to eyeball ‘half a can.’)
    -pepper. At your discretion.

    Cook potatoes, cut into cubes, place in casserole dish. Heat remaining ingredients in saucepan. Pour over potatoes and bake 45 minutes in 350º

    So what do you think? Does my pitch have a chance with, say, Simon & Schuster?
    Let me know if you see one of their acquisitions editors on an elevator.