From the delicious to the sadly outrageous here are some things that are “things. ” That is, things that are trending in my news feed this week.
We here in the west are slowly learning what Japanese cooks have known for centuries: apparently, steamed hosta leaves make for excellent spring dining.
The folks at Fiddlehead Nursery in Collingwood tried blanching the newly sprouted shoots by covering them with a black pot in order to tenderize the shoots. However, blanching is optional.
Once harvested and washed, they steamed the leaves for about 4 minutes, added a little butter, salt and pepper and voilà! Instant garden gourmet.
I wish I had known this when I lived in Southern Ontario – my garden had wall-to-wall hostas!
Time to add a new word to your vocabulary. Also time to prepare yourself come the day you are invited to attend a wedding ceremony where the betrothed marries herself.
Presumably the same could/should apply to grooms – fair’s fair, right? But according to the news article, this trend is ladies only.
Sologamy is the act of marrying oneself and the growing relationship trend has seen more and more women in the U.K., Australia, Japan, Taiwan and the U.S., walk down the aisle by themselves to give themselves away to themselves.”
We can thank Carrie Bradshaw, apparently, who in a “2003 episode of Sex in the City mused about marrying herself. [She] made the declaration after complaining that her married friends never celebrated her decision to be single.”
Supporters of the trend see it as a way to have their (wedding) cake and eat it too. That is, they prefer the single life, but want to have a ceremony to mark the occasion. It’s a chance, they say, to make fun of the institution of marriage. Oh, and they want the dress.
I’m siding with the detractors on this one, and having some fun of my own wondering, “What happens if things don’t work out? Who gets the silver service?”
Lastly, a starkly contrasting and sobering news item connected to mining.
Over the long winter months, I read many books related to the history of mining in Cobalt and Northern Ontario. One book discussed the author’s life-long involvement with gold. He interweaves his autobiography with an account of the a court case between two gold mining companies who each claimed ownership of a gold prospect. The common theme being the extraordinary steps people will take to acquire gold.
In his early globe-trotting days, the author found himself in need of a job in Australia. He took work at a gold mine knowing that he was in for some back-breaking and potentially hazardous work. However, he was not prepared for the daily prescribed ritual of aluminum powder treatment.
I was not prepared either. In spite of three years of mining study and wall-to-wall rocks and mineral talk for the past decade, this was astonishing news.
You may be familiar with silicosis, the occupational hazard of inhaling fine particles of dust. The minute bits of rock lodge in the lungs and cause inflammation and scarring. The damage is permanent. It can lead to cancer.
By way of preventing silicosis, mine owners turned to treating the workers with aluminum powder. The CBC reports that “from the mid 1940’s up to the late 1970’s the powder was used in mines and other industries where workers might be exposed to silica dust. It may seem unbelievable now, but the theory was inhaling that the powdered metal, ground to a specific micron size, would give a protective coating to the lungs.”
So, yes, it was a “thing.” Astounding. Good intentions, right? But, seriously! How could they NOT connect the dots? Dust in the lungs is dust in the lungs!
I’m happy to report that the “thing” of the past, the daily dosing of aluminum powder is indeed in the past.
The “thing “that came to my news feed this week is this news item.
Janice Martell is the daughter of a miner who worked in a uranium mine in Elliott Lake. Her father Jim Hobbs was required to take the daily doses of aluminum dust. He was told it was safe because the government said so. In 2001, Jim was diagnosed with Parkinson’s, a neurological disease that is possibly connected to aluminum. He died this week.
When she applied to Worker’s Compensation on her dad’s behalf, Janice was denied. This prompted her in 2014 to start up the McIntyre Powder Project, a research initiative.
Janice met yesterday with the Ontario Ministry of Labour. She wrote that her two goals are
- getting answers for these mine workers and their families and
- overhauling the WSIB system (which I want to be part of), to ensure that no other workers have to wait for a layperson to seek justice for them.
“We shall see,” she said.
This is a sad story. It is a David and Goliath story and it involves mineral riches and power. We shall see, indeed. I sense that Martell has a long, hard struggle ahead of her. I wish her well.