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Tribute to mothers

Back in my younger years when I was a DJ among other things, I recall spinning those old 78 r.p.m. vinyl records and songs such as, “There’s No One Like Mother To Me,” and, “That Silver Haired Daddy Of Mine.” Oh how easily those records would crack or break so they were always handled with care. Sort of reminds me of life. For the moment I’ll carry on with a bit more of something from the past, then later herein we’ll meet Marvin Nakonechny, CEO of Progressive Foods out of Edmonton. He and his partners are developers of quick-cooking barley. Later, I’ll even squeeze in one of my homemade tomato plant food recipes.

WELCOME TO MAY

… the month with a special day dedicated to mothers. As a kid, my favourite room in the entire house was the kitchen. It was a friendly, bright and happy spot where Mother endlessly cooked and baked. She relied on old recipes never written down and tested new ones. Oh how those scents of fresh baked bread, cinnamon buns, pies and sweet homemade pickles made from home garden-grown cucumbers permeated throughout the entire house and even drifted into the great outdoors. Scraping crumbs from cake pans and sampling spicy gingersnaps and molasses cookies still warm from the oven are dreams often reborn within me. For all of these memories and much more, I pause… and offer a profound and grateful prayer of thanks. Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers everywhere.

Here are a few other tributes. Napoleon said: The future destiny of the child is always the work of the mother. C. Simmons is credited with saying: If you would reform the world from its errors and vices, begin by enlisting the mothers. Then there’s John Quincy Adams who stated: All that I am, my mother made me. According to H.W. Beecher: The mother’s heart is the child’s schoolroom. Someone by the name of Ruffini is credited with saying: Stories first heard at a mother’s knee are never wholly forgotten, — a little spring that never quite dries up in our journey through scorching years. There’s a Jewish saying that says: God could not be everywhere and therefore He made mothers. This final one is a Spanish proverb: An ounce of mother is worth a pound of clergy.

AM I A STORYTELLER SORT OF GUY?

I kind of think so! Here are some sentimental lyrics from a song I still sing now and then called, “My Little Home Near Calgary.”

Every night I’m thinking of that little home,

Down among the hills near Calgary,

And I’m always lonely, longing to return,

To a place that means the world to me.

Just a little shack, outhouse at the back,

Still it is a palace there to me,

Summer songbirds singing, ’round the kitchen door,

Of my little home near Calgary.

I can see my mother,

standing by the gate,

When I drove the old car up the lane,

She would never scold me, ’cause I got home late,

Mother always loved me just the same.

Such a tender smile, beaming all the while,

No one could be half so kind to me,

Now she’s gone to heaven and she’ll ne’er return,

To that little home near Calgary.

QUICK-COOKING BARLEY — A HEALTH-PROMOTING GRAIN

I caught up with Marvin Nakonechny during the Royal Manitoba Winter Fair in Brandon on March 27, 2013. Marvin and his team were at their display booth busily providing three different taste samples of quick-cooking barley — namely: Breakfast Delight, Barley Jambalaya for the main course and Prairie Salad as a side dish.

After sampling Barley Jambalaya I said to Marvin, “This would make a good dressing for turkey or chicken,” to which he responded, “Well you are so right because we do have a recipe and I call it ‘O My God Turkey Dressing,’ and nothing derogatory is intended.” He described the dressing as “very tasty, but perhaps a bit too rich for some.” It’s a case where “taste says it all when meal planning for a special occasion because this turkey dressing is gone long before any other dishes.”

Marvin mentioned that the above trio of quick-cooking recipes comes in a 10-page brochure along with other recipes — all of which were specifically developed using quick-cooking barley. The recipe brochure is available with each 500-gram bag purchased and is available in over 100 stores throughout the Prairie provinces with distribution now slowly extending into B.C. Larger sizes are available for the hospitality industry. In time it’s expected markets will open up in other areas of the country.

According to Marvin, being at the winter fair is one means of introducing their healthy grain product to the public. He pointed out that “quick-cooking barley is tasty, convenient and versatile for consumers as an alternative to rice and pasta or potatoes and says minimal processing is involved. The grain is very hydroscopic, meaning barley has the ability to absorb other flavours and has so much fibre it won’t go mushy. This allows a lot of different tastes to be created.”

The barley used at their facility is grown and selected from all three Prairie provinces. At present the various steps and special drying process are set up at Flowing Grain Hutterite Colony north of MacGregor, Man. Marvin indicated, “Quite a bit of technology and engineering is required to put all the steps together to achieve a No. 1 whole grain product.” He pointed out, “The end result is a hulless barley that contains all the basic nutrients and cooks in 10 minutes,” and he considers it a brand new industry for barley with wide adaptability. Soluble fibre in barley can help restore and maintain the good kind of cholesterol that many folks seek. Since it’s slow to digest, barley can be a useful food for diabetics, digestion and elimination. It quite dramatically slows down the conversion of starch to glucose. Those who wish to lose or maintain normal weight can also benefit by introducing barley fibre into their meal planning.

When all is said and done taste sells, and quick-cooking barley prepared according to recipes available has got a lot going for it. Do your own personal health and that of your family a favour. I, Ted, suggest we all get on the bandwagon with the regular use of quick-cooking barley. It’s good for the body and another step toward helping avoid health issues and reaching a ripe old age. We all love to eat but don’t always eat what’s best for us.

As Marvin told me, “The barley story is a big story that needs telling. Barley is making an impact on the consuming community of people and is touching lives of homemakers, cooks and chefs everywhere.” For more information and recipes you can visit www.progressivefoods.ca or phone (780) 466-8651. You can also write to Progressive Foods at #210, 8711A – 50th Street, Edmonton, Alta. T6B 1E7.

O IT MUST BE THE TOMATOES

If you’re with me regularly on this Grainews page, you’ll know the above is the title of my song for prostate health, wellness and awareness. Well I’m not writing about the prostate today, other than to say I’m still promoting the antioxidant lycopene with my tomato song that tells how lycopene is abundantly found in fruits of the vine and why it’s very beneficial to a man’s prostate.

I dug into my arsenal of home garden recipes and pulled out a formula that follows shortly. It can contribute to a good crop of tomatoes. You just whip up a batch, pour some into your hand-held misting bottle and lightly spray it all over the foliage, flowers and stems of your tomato plants. Do it every other day for the first week and then cut back to once a week. Repeat with a weekly misting over entire tomato plants but don’t feed them with this formula beyond the middle of August. When there’s not adequate rainfall, it’s also essential that you maintain an evenly moist soil at the base of tomato plants by daily watering.

MAGIC TOUCH TOMATO FOOD

Keep in mind that tomatoes are heavy feeders and benefit from supplementation.

The following works quite well for me:

One envelope of plain, unflavoured gelatin powder

(not sweetened jelly powder) stirred into enough hot water to thoroughly dissolve according to label directions

1/4 cup blackstrap molasses stirred into enough very hot water to disperse it throughout the water

Pour both the diluted gelatin and diluted blackstrap molasses into an empty and clean four-litre milk jug. Use a small funnel if necessary to avoid spillage.

Then add the following ingredients:

1/4 cup liquid seaweed concentrate

1 tablespoon rubbing alcohol

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar (not white vinegar)

Fill the four-litre jug to the top with water and mix well. Pour some into your misting bottle and spray tomato plants as directed earlier. †

About the author

Columnist

Ted Meseyton

This is Ted Meseyton the Singing Gardener and Grow-It Poet from Portage la Prairie, Man. I salute all gardeners and farmers who help make our world a little safer and more ecologically balanced, and who toil to provide health-giving produce to others who cannot produce their own. It takes all sorts to make a world. One half of the world doesn’t know how the other half lives. The best physicians are Dr. Diet, Dr. Quiet and Dr. Merryman.

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