THE CONSUMER VISION
 
April 2021
 
Address: 359 Coggeshall St., New Bedford, MA 02746
Phone: 508-994-4972
Email: bobbranco93@gmail.com
Website: www.consumervisionmagazine.com
Publisher: Bob Branco
Editing and Proofreading: David and Leonore Dvorkin
Formatting: David Dvorkin
 
TABLE OF CONTENTS
 
In this Table of Contents, three asterisks *** are used to separate the title of each article from its author. In the same way, three asterisks *** will be used to separate articles to make using your browser’s search feature easier. If any of you have screen readers that make searching difficult or undoable with asterisks, please let us know not only that, but also if three number signs ### would be easier. If you are a screen reader user for whom neither symbol works, please let us know what works best, and we’ll do our best to accommodate.
 
In columns like Special Notices, Readers’ Forum, and Recipes from Karen Crowder, letters of the alphabet—A, B, C, etc.—are used to separate items.
 
1. HEALTH MATTERS: Flu Shots and Covid-19, Coffee and Fat-Burning, and 12 Habits That Harm Your Heart *** by Leonore Dvorkin
 
2. TURNING POINT: The Importance of Vaccine Resources for Persons with Disabilities *** by Terri Winaught
 
3. A WORD ABOUT BASEBALL 2021: Season Opening Is Better, If Not Normal *** by Don Wardlow
 
4. THE HANDLER’S CORNER: Living and Working with Guide Dogs *** by Ann Chiappetta, M.S.
 
5. ABOUT KAMALA HARRIS *** by Terri Winaught
 
6. SPECIAL NOTICE ABOUT IN PERSPECTIVE PODCASTS *** by Bob Branco, Publisher
 
7. AUTHORS’ CORNER
 
8. TERRI’S TIDBITS *** by Terri Winaught
 
9. RECIPE COLUMN *** by Karen Crowder
 
10. CONSUMER VISION TRIVIA CONTEST
 
***
 
1. HEALTH MATTERS: Flu Shots and Covid-19, Coffee and Fat-Burning, and 12 Habits That Harm Your Heart
by Leonore H. Dvorkin
Email: leonore@leonoredvorkin.com
I welcome comments on any of my articles.
 
Note: Most of the following paragraphs are excerpts from and paraphrasing of the cited articles.
 
1. Flu shots associated with fewer, less severe COVID cases
Source: EurekAlert, March 23, 2021 / University of Michigan
 
People who got a flu shot last flu season were significantly less likely to test positive for a COVID-19 infection when the pandemic hit. Also, those who did test positive for COVID-19 had fewer complications if they had received their flu shot. Studies to examine the effect of the flu vaccine on respiratory illness are ongoing. In addition, there is robust data that the flu shot helps prevent heart attacks and hospitalizations for heart failure.
 
Personal notes: My husband and I have gotten our flu shots every fall for about 20 years, with no problems. Now we’re doubly glad that we had those shots in the fall of 2019 and in 2020. We’ve been fortunate enough to avoid getting COVID-19, and now we’ve received the vaccine for that, too, with only mild and short-lived side effects.
 
2. A strong coffee half an hour before exercising increases fat-burning
Source: EurekAlert, March 22, 2021 / University of Granada, Department of Physiology
 
Scientists have found that drinking a strong cup of coffee half an hour before aerobic exercise significantly increases the rate of fat-burning, and that if the exercise is performed in the afternoon, the effects are even more marked than in the morning. For purposes of the study, the exercise times were 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.
 
Notes: Having coffee in the morning and then exercising may suit your schedule better, but at least now you know that a good, pre-exercise jolt of caffeine is helping you burn fat. If you don’t like coffee, try “Liquid Caffeine,” from https://liquidcaffeine.com/ . It comes plain or mildly sweetened with stevia. Each large bottle lasts a long time. You can use a small amount to boost the caffeine content of any hot beverage, or you can add some to a bottle of water to make a super cheap energy drink. Be aware that a little goes a long way. We most often use a little less than a teaspoon at a time. As the pump on the bottle delivers more than that, I poured some into a clean dropper bottle that I had. I find that 12-15 drops at a time are plenty for me.
 
3.  12 Worst Ways You Can Hurt Your Heart Today
Source: AARP Magazine, February/March 2021
 
This article took an interesting approach to the subject of heart health. Instead of telling you what you should do in terms of diet and exercise, it named 12 common things you should not do. I shortened some of the headings and added brief clarifiers.
 
a. You use an alarm clock to wake up. – People who sleep less than six hours a night have a greater risk of heart attack. Seven to nine hours of sleep per night seem to be best for most people.
 
b. You stir creamer into your coffee. – While coffee itself may have some heart benefits, non-dairy coffee creamers most certainly do not. They can be significant sources of heart-damaging trans fats. Thanks to labeling laws, even creamers labeled “0 trans fats” may have up to half a gram of this terrible fat per serving. Their suggestions: Use real milk, soy milk, or another dairy alternative. (I like Silk brand oat milk.)
 
c. You count walking around the office as exercise. – Obviously, you need more activity than that. Aim for at least 20 minutes of steady exercise at a time, getting your heart rate up. Build at least 150 minutes of real exercise into your week.
 
d. You don’t get flu shots. – The flu puts stress on the heart. One study showed that 1 in 8 patients hospitalized with the flu suffered an acute CVD event. (CVD = cardiovascular disease.) If you have underlying heart disease, an annual flu shot is crucial for helping to prevent an unnecessary infection.
 
e. You drink diet soda. – A report from the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis found that people who drank diet soda daily had a 36% greater risk of developing metabolic syndrome and a 67% greater risk of developing diabetes. Both of these raise the odds of having a stroke or heart attack. Try sparkling water with lime to get your bubbly fix. (My note: Add a little of that Liquid Caffeine, mentioned in #2 above, if the caffeine in soda is part of what you crave.)
 
f. You drive in heavy traffic. – You may not be able to avoid this, but to help avoid the multi-system damage from the pollution from traffic, roll up your windows and re-circulate your AC. You might also be able to find a less congested route to and from work. Men who drive for 10 or more hours a week have an 82% higher risk of CVD death.
 
g. You remain angry about things. – Chronic anger is toxic, and it can lead to a heart attack. Possible remedies: Try to forgive the offender. Talk to a therapist. Try yoga, tai chi, or meditation.
 
h. You don’t connect with your social network. – Loneliness and social isolation can increase your risk of CVD. If you live alone, schedule regular calls or video chats. Join a book club or another group that meets regularly. (Many now meet virtually.) Go for a walk and greet neighbors.
 
i. You snack on chips. – Eat lots of fruit instead! It’s low in sodium, and many fruits are high in heart-healthy potassium.
 
j. You order the Italian hero. – Even two servings of processed meat per week increase the risk for heart attack and stroke. Salmon and tuna are much better sandwich choices.
 
k. You eat French fries. – Fried foods are terrible for your arteries, as they’re made in deep fryers that probably use saturated fats. Have baked or boiled potatoes instead.
 
l. You don’t floss before bedtime. – Gum disease is linked to an increased risk of heart disease. Flossing, brushing, and regular visits to the dentist are associated with lower levels of gum disease.
 
About the Author
 
Leonore H. Dvorkin is a regular contributor to this newsletter, and she and her husband, David Dvorkin, are its editors. David is a retired computer programmer and tech writer; he’s also a prolific author, with 30 published books and numerous articles to his credit. Leonore is the author of four books and many articles. She also tutors three languages and has taught exercise classes since 1976. With all her students now vaccinated against Covid-19, she plans to restart those classes this month.
 
Since 2009, David and Leonore have been running DLD Books Editing and Self-Publishing Services. Some of the regular contributors to this newsletter are among their many clients, most of whom are blind or visually impaired. Their most basic aim is to provide excellent, comprehensive services at very reasonable rates. They invite you to visit any of their websites for more information.
 
David Dvorkin: http://www.dvorkin.com/
Leonore H. Dvorkin: https://www.leonoredvorkin.com/
DLD Books Editing and Self-Publishing Services: https://www.dldbooks.com/
 
***
 
2. TURNING POINT: The Importance of Vaccine Resources for Persons with Disabilities
by Terri Winaught
 
Whether you watch the news, listen to it on a radio reading service, have signed up for NFB Newsline ®, or utilize the internet as your primary news source, you probably know how severely COVID-19 has affected mental health nationwide. Yet another distressing piece to the COVID puzzle has been problems accessing vaccination sites, especially with so many of them being drive through or drive up.
 
Thankfully, the Biden administration has tasked FEMA (the Federal Emergency Management Administration) with ensuring equity for persons with disabilities. FEMA is managing setup and operations for community vaccination centers across the country. With other federal agencies, FEMA established a Civil Rights Advisory Group that developed a civil rights checklist and best practice information resource to provide states, territories, and tribes a list of civil rights considerations and resources to ensure equitable vaccine access.
 
“It is essential that people with disabilities have equitable vaccine access,” U.S. Access Board Executive Director Dr. Sachin Dev Pavithran remarked. “This means ensuring that strategies are developed and implemented with the integration of the needs of people with disabilities into the design of accessibility to the vaccine. I commend FEMA for making the necessary efforts in continuing to make the vaccine more accessible for people with disabilities.”
 
FEMA provides live on-demand American Sign Language interpreters at all federally supported community vaccination centers during each center’s hours of operation. FEMA also has civil rights and disability integration advisors in each of its 10 regions to advise state, local, tribal, and territorial governments and other partners, ensuring that the needs of people with disabilities are integrated into all facets of vaccination center operations. For further details on your region’s Disability Integration Specialist, email FEMA at FEMA-Disability-Integration-Coordination@fema.dhs.gov .
 
More information about vaccine support, equitable vaccine access, and ASL videos can be found on FEMA’s website. Find vaccine updates in your community and more information from your local health department. You can also find a list of places where adults can get a vaccine.
 
My goal for future “Turning Point” columns is to say more about Warm Lines, which are telephone services staffed by persons with lived experience in recovery from mental health issues, substance use disorders, or both. Although Warm Lines are not crisis lines but instead for people who just need to talk, a Warm Line can refer a caller to a crisis line if needed.
 
Given the difficulties people in Alabama, Colorado, Georgia, Mississippi, and Texas have recently experienced with everything from turbulent weather to mass shootings, theirs are the Warm Lines on which future columns will focus. If anyone needs or wants a Warm Line number before then, however, please feel free to reach out to me at work: (412) 488-4912 or via email: twinaught@pittsburghmercy.org .
 
Let’s become a kinder, gentler nation by being good to ourselves and each other.
 
***
 
3. A WORD ABOUT BASEBALL 2021: Season Opening Is Better, If Not Normal
by Don Wardlow
 
While it won’t be quite normal, major league baseball will have an April Opening Day this season. A year ago, the game was shut down, with all other sports following its lead. When baseball finally began, it was almost the last major sport to do so. There were no fans until the National League Championship Series and the World Series, both played in October in Texas. Texas is again a trailblazer, as the new stadium in Arlington is scheduled at press time to be open at 100% capacity, at least on Opening Day, April 1. As more people become vaccinated, counties, cities, and states are making decisions about allowing crowds to congregate.
 
Up to now, there have been no major Covid outbreaks causing large-scale game postponements. We saw this a year ago with the Marlins and Cardinals taking the most casualties. When it comes to welcoming fans into their ballparks, team owners have to follow strictures set down by the county, city, or state where they play, and some of these are unusual. The Texas Rangers are the most evasive, not saying what capacity will be allowed after opening night. Canada’s rule is the most severe; the Blue Jays can’t play in Canada, and other teams won’t be welcome there until further notice. As if that weren’t harsh enough, only 15% of capacity, some 1300 people, will be allowed at the Jays’ spring training park in Dunedin, Florida. This makes no sense to me. The Tampa Bay Rays, whose stadium is only a few miles from Dunedin, will be open to 7,000 people per game if that many people want to go. The Rays haven’t drawn well in the best of times.
 
While Toronto’s ruling is the harshest, two other cities are almost as unwilling to bring the fans back. The Jays’ near neighbor, the Detroit Tigers, are under severe limitations as well. No more than 1,000 people, not even 3% of what the Detroit ball park can hold, will be allowed as the season gets going. Whoever made the rules in the nation’s capital, Washington DC, was prepared to not allow people at all until mid-March, when they decided to let a miserly 5,000 fans into Nationals Park. This is the team that won the last World Series played under normal conditions by beating the Astros in 2019. Boston will allow fewer people, 4,000 per night, but that’s a higher percentage in their smaller ball park.
 
On the other side of the coin, Colorado will allow 21,363, some 42% of capacity, at Coors Field. St. Louis, Kansas City, Cincinnati, and Cleveland are being almost as generous, allowing 30% in each of their parks. The following teams will allow 25% of capacity: Atlanta, Arizona, Baltimore, Houston, the Florida Marlins, Milwaukee, and Minnesota. The following teams will allow 20% of capacity: Chicago Cubs and White Sox, Los Angeles Angels and Dodgers, New York Mets and Yankees, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, San Diego, San Francisco, and Oakland. Seattle will allow 9,000 people, which may be near 25% of their stadium’s capacity.
 
In other ways, the more things change, the more baseball remains the same. While it took a long time to happen, free agents were signed by new teams and trades were made. By way of free agency and at a cost of hundreds of millions over the next few years, the Dodgers signed pitcher Trevor Bauer. The Blue Jays signed outfielder George Springer, which would be hard to imagine if they didn’t have a large television network backing them. The Padres may have made the biggest upgrade, getting pitchers Blake Snell from the Rays, Yu Darvish from the Cubs, and Joe Musgrove from the Pirates. All of the above have World Series experience, which the Padres don’t. Their task is still a daunting one: to catch and overtake the defending champion Dodgers, who won the last World Series over the Rays.
 
Though the crowds may be small going forward, even a small crowd is better than the artificial sound the stadiums used a year ago, when people weren’t permitted to attend in person. If the general public is allowed, I hope broadcasters will be welcome where they weren’t.
 
***
 
4. THE HANDLER’S CORNER: Living and Working with Guide Dogs
by Ann Chiappetta, M.S.
 
I’m sharing a book review with you all this time. I hope you share it with anyone wanting to know more about guide dogs.
 
Book Review
Forward Together: An Inside Look at Guide Dog Training
C 2020
Author: Christie Bane
Narrated by Kristin Allison
BARD catalog # DB100008
Also available in paperback for $19.99 from Amazon
https://www.amazon.com/Forward-Together-Inside-Guide-Training/dp/B089729GJL/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=Forward+Together+An+Inside+Look+at+Guide+Dog+Training
 
The author, who has raised and trained dogs for three decades, reveals the professional methods behind teaching guide dog skills. Includes explanations of a wide range of guide dog skills, how to match dogs to handlers, and teaching handlers how to work with their new guide dogs.
 
I downloaded this book from the National Library Service BARD website after hearing positive feedback about it from another guide dog handler. This book was powerful to this reader because of being a guide dog handler. It provided an in-depth and complementary perspective of training a guide dog. Christie Bane, the author, is candid and direct, and this reader found it refreshing and gratifying. She simplified the nomenclature, acronyms, and jargon used by instructors and program staff, explaining myths like corrections, food rewards, and many other aspects of canine behavior. Bane also explained how behavior is developed and how instructors identify and test a dog’s temperament, drive, and a desire to assert intelligent disobedience.
 
She explained, in brief, how the various guide dog training programs train dogs, and how each program is an independent, nonprofit organization and not affiliated with the other programs in the United States.
 
Bane is a good author, and the book flows well. Her talent kept me reading, which is another reason for liking this book; it kept my interest even when it became a bit technical at times.
 
Bane’s passion for dogs and the people matched with them is clear in this book, as are her professional experience and compassion. The shift in training methods from punishment and negative reinforcement to positive reward-based training methods was fascinating, and I came away with a better understanding of why my dog does what it does based on her explanation.
 
Her message is practical while also suggesting that above all else, one must be humble and possess not just confidence and organizational skills, but also show humility when necessary.
 
This reader especially like the ending, for it shows the author’s genuine connection with dogs and the passion to train, match, and understand them.
 
This is a must-read for guide and service dog trainers, staff members, puppy raisers, and even prospective handlers and trainers/apprentices.
 
Rating: Five stars
 
***
 
5. ABOUT KAMALA HARRIS
by Terri Winaught
 
Kamala Devi Harris was born in Oakland, California, on October 20, 1964. At age 56, Kamala was elected Vice President on November 3, 2020.
 
What makes Vice President Harris’ election so historically significant is that she is the first woman to hold this office. In addition, Kamala is also the first African American and the first Asian American to achieve this distinction, her mother having emigrated from India and her father having come from Jamaica.
 
With March being Women’s History Month, there is no better woman to honor in this newsletter than United States Vice President Kamala Harris.
 
***
 
6. SPECIAL NOTICE ABOUT IN PERSPECTIVE PODCASTS
by Bob Branco, publisher of The Consumer Vision
 
Pease join our podcast mailing list! Each week, Peter Altschul and I record a podcast called In Perspective, for which we invite special guests to talk about their projects, professions, and other issues that benefit our listeners. Sometimes, Peter and I discuss a topic by ourselves. You are welcome to appear on our show, and you can subscribe to our mailing list free of charge.
 
If you would like to receive copies of our show each week, just send a test email to bobbranco93@gmail.com, and I will see that it's done. If you want to participate on any episode of In Perspective, we can send you a Zoom invitation. Also, if you have a topic that you feel would be beneficial for our listeners, please indicate your interest in appearing on In Perspective. You can email bobbranco93@gmail.com, or call 508-994-4972.
 
To check out a previous episode of In Perspective, go to www.brancoevents.com and click on "In Perspective Podcasts." At that point, you will see a list of archived shows from latest to earliest.
 
Here is a list of guests for April through mid-July 2021, along with dates and times of the recordings. Please note that all episodes start at 5:00 p.m. Eastern time.
 
Friday, April 2, Ray Irving, digital voting and music, 5:00 p.m.
Friday, April 9, Nelson Holmberg, Joe Machise, and Jalil Mortazavi, news and views, 5:00 p.m.
Friday, April 16, Donna Halper, Associate Professor of Communication & Media Studies, 5:00 p.m.
Friday, April 23, Deborah Kendrick, author of When Your Ears Can’t Help You See, 5:00 p.m.
Friday, April 30, Donna Jodhan, sight loss coach, 5:00 p.m.
Friday, May 7, Hoby Wedler, chemist and entrepreneur, 5:00 p.m.
Friday,May 14, Robin Putnam, detecting and reporting scams and scammers, 617-973-8744, 5:00 p.m.
Friday, May 21, Steve Roberts, weather and climate change, 5:00 p.m.
Friday, May 28, Congressman John Leboutillier, 5:00 p.m.
Friday, June 4, Sandy Arruda, fitness, 5:00 p.m.
Friday, June 11, Peter Altschul, author of Riding Elephants: Creating Common Ground Where Contention Rules, 5:00 p.m.
Friday, June 18, Angela Paulson, domestic violence, 5:00 p.m.
Friday, June 25, Rob Weissman, Beep Baseball, 5:00 p.m.
Friday, July 2, Elizabeth Sammons, author of the historical novel The Lyra and the Cross, 5:00 p.m.
Friday, July 9, Stephanie Boulay, nutrition, 5:00 p.m.
Friday, July 16, the American Cancer Society, 5:00 p.m.
 
 
 
 
 
7. AUTHORS’ CORNER
 
A. The Giant Collection of Catfish Baits and Rigs
by Ron Milliman, Ph.D.
 
C 2021 / $4.99 in e–book only on Amazon, Smashwords, and other selling sites
Book–related website with full details, a free text sample, and buying links:
https://www.dldbooks.com/ronmilliman/
 
From the Introduction
 
In this book, I cover some of the various baits used for catching the three more common kinds of Catfish: the Channel Cat, the Blue Cat, and the Flathead Cat. I talk about all kinds of baits that are known to attract Catfish. Then I wrap it up with a discussion of rigging and suggestions for videos full of catfishing action.
 
I focus on the things that most affect a Catfish’s exceptionally keen sense of smell. In most cases, you will have your best luck by figuring out what the Catfish are feeding on in the water where you are fishing and do your best to match your bait to that.
 
This is a collection of Catfish baits that are known to work. However, it’s only to give you an idea of the range of Catfish baits, both store–bought brands available and concoctions that you can make yourself. It’s impossible to include all possible Catfish baits, as the repertoire seems almost infinite.
 
If you have something different from these, and it works for you, I invite you to send it to my email address, so I can add it to my collection. Email me at: rmilliman@twc.com
 
 
B. The Butterfly Effect: A Poetic Call to Action
by Butterfly Thomas
C 2021 / In e-book ($2.99) and print ($7.50) from Amazon, Smashwords, and other online sellers.
 
Details, author bio and contact information, free text sample, and buying links:
https://www.dldbooks.com/bthomas/
 
Prepare to listen, learn, and be deeply moved as you read these 34 poems—most of them short, many of them angry, and all of them ringing with truth.
 
While the first several poems address historical outrages, such as slavery, lynchings, poll taxes, redlining, and medical maltreatment and neglect of Blacks, subsequent poems deal with more recent events that captured headlines worldwide, including the invasion of the Capitol on January 6, 2021. “May Day,” a mere 12 lines long, is a powerful tribute to George Floyd, and Breonna Taylor’s death merits two poems.
 
“The Conversation” is a heartbreaking expression of Black parents’ need to talk with their young sons about the very real dangers they face in this society as they reach adolescence and adulthood.
 
As you read, as you listen, you will encounter not just strong emotions, but subtle literary references, ingenious rhymes, and compelling rhythms. “Freedom Song” has as its leitmotif the stirring beat of a drum.
 
It is easy to imagine many of these memorable poems being set to music. One can hope that someday soon, they will be.
 
Butterfly Thomas is the author of the urban thriller Head Head High (2018) and In My Feelings: A Book of Poetry (2020). She lives in Virginia.
 
***
 
8. TERRI’S TIDBITS
by Terri Winaught
 
Hello, Consumer Vision readers.
 
As is too often the case, there is so much tragedy in the news that it is just too much tragedy.
 
Since mass shootings—defined as four or more people being killed or wounded at one time—are always tragic, I’ll start there.
 
I’ll start with the March 16 shootings in Atlanta. I’m not surprised, given the anti-Asian feelings that have erupted since the current pandemic, but I am definitely saddened. It’s because I agree with Dr. King’s assertion that “hate cannot conquer hate; only love can do that” that I cringe every time I hear people call the coronavirus the China virus. That said, I couldn’t be happier that people of Asian and Pacific Islander ethnicities are now boldly and proudly proclaiming that “their lives matter,” and indeed they do.
 
Moving on to the more recent shooting in Boulder, Colorado, that state (starting with Columbine in 1999) has certainly seen more than its share of mass shootings. That’s why I couldn’t agree more with President Biden that Congress needs to quickly set about the business of passing commonsense gun legislation. Lest any Consumer Vision readers think I am trying to deprive anyone of Second Amendment rights, I see nothing wrong with responsible gun ownership. By that I mean ownership based on successful completion of background checks and the banning of assault rifles, since there is no need (unless one serves in the military) for assault weapons.
 
My heart, compassion, and condolences go out not only to the victims and their families, but also to the shooters, since only a sad and angry mindset conceives of violence with seeming disregard for innocent lives.
 
To end on a happier note, though, as saddened as I am by the shootings, I’m happy that more and more people are getting vaccinated. I’m now fully vaccinated. I had symptoms from the second dose, but they were mild compared to the devastation of getting COVID: being hospitalized, being put on a ventilator, and still dying.
 
As always, feel free to reach out to me with comments, feedback or suggestions: twinaught@pittsburghmercy.org or in braille at: 400 Cochran Road, Apt. 409, Pittsburgh, PA 15228. You are also welcome to phone me:
Home: (412) 263-2022
Cell: (412) 595-6187
You can also send a text message to my cell number.
 
Until next time, be good to yourselves and each other.
 
***
 
9. RECIPE COLUMN
by Karen Crowder
 
April arrives with expectations of warmer, sunnier days. However, in New England and the Northeast, there are cooler, rainy days, which are beneficial for flowers, gardens, and trees. There are flourishing forsythias, magnolias, tulips, and green grass. Mornings and evenings, there is the lovely chorus of birds. In supermarkets, fresh strawberries and asparagus are available. With the Covid-19 pandemic waning, many restaurants are almost fully open, as are ice cream and roadside stands.
 
There are six special days in April. Thursday, April 1 is April Fools’ Day. Good Friday is April 2. Passover ends Sunday, April 4. Easter is celebrated Sunday, April 4. However, Catholic churches have Easter vigils on Saturday evenings. The Muslim observance of Ramadan begins Tuesday, April 13. Patriots’ Day is observed Monday, April 19 in several New England states.
 
This month, I have three good recipes: Creamed Haddock with Stuffed Mushrooms, Easy Blueberry Coffeecake, and Super Fudge Brownies.
 
A. Creamed Haddock with Stuffed Mushrooms
 
I made creamed haddock on a cool March evening. I topped it with Ritz cracker stuffing. I used the extra stuffing for four large mushrooms. This casserole made two servings. It’s a festive meal on Easter Sunday.
 
Ingredients:
 
Two tablespoons butter
Two tablespoons flour
One cup milk
One-half cup half-and-half or light cream
One pound haddock, codfish, or flounder.
 
Topping:
 
Sixteen Ritz crackers
Three-fourths stick butter
Two small onions
Stems from four mushroom caps
Dashes of curry powder and garlic powder
A pinch of salt
Squeezes of lemon juice.
 
Directions:
 
1. In a large saucepan, melt butter. After five minutes, add flour. Stir butter-flour mixture with a whisk for 60 seconds. Add milk and dashes of garlic, curry powder, and salt. Stir sauce for three minutes, until it’s smooth. Stir infrequently for 25 minutes. Add one-half cup cream or half-and-half and stir for 10 minutes to incorporate it. Shut off heat. Let it thicken.
2. Grease a square 8 by 8-inch Pyrex or metal pan with butter. Add squeezes of lemon juice. Put rinsed fish in the pan and add thickened cream sauce.
3. Crush 16 Ritz crackers, butter, mushroom stems, two small chopped pearl onions, and spices with clean hands. Put over top of fish.
4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake this casserole for 35 minutes.
 
Serve with sautéed asparagus, a salad, and bread or rolls. 
With a hungry family, this will disappear.
Note: Double the recipe if you are serving over two people.
 
B. Easy Blueberry Coffeecake
 
When my friend Marian was still alive, we began celebrating Easter together at her home in Townsend, Massachusetts. Her neighbor joined us. We called ourselves the three widows. This Easter tradition began in 2010 and lasted until Marian’s death in 2017. Everyone loved my coffee cake. Marian cooked a ham dinner, and her neighbor brought dessert.
 
Ingredients:
 
One cup Bisquick
One cup flour
One-half teaspoon baking soda
One teaspoon baking powder
Two tablespoons sugar
One and one-fourth cups milk
One egg
Two tablespoons melted butter
One teaspoon cinnamon
One and one-half cups fresh or frozen blueberries.
 
Streusel topping:
 
Three-fourths cup light brown sugar
One stick butter
One-fourth cup flour
Two teaspoons cinnamon.
 
Directions:
 
1. In a large mixing bowl, measure all dry ingredients. Stir ingredients with a wire whisk for 60 seconds.
2. Combine milk, melted butter, and egg in a small mixing bowl. Add wet ingredients and stir coffee cake batter with a wooden spoon. Add floured blueberries and stir with a wooden spoon until they are incorporated.
3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
4. Blend brown sugar, softened butter, flour, and cinnamon with clean hands in another bowl. Grease a 9-inch round Pyrex pan with butter and a dusting of flour. Measure half of the coffee cake batter into the pan with a measuring cup. Spread some streusel topping over the batter. Measure remaining batter over the streusel topping. Add remaining topping evenly over the coffee cake.
5. Bake coffee cake for 40-45 minutes. Cool cake on the kitchen counter. Invert cake onto a plate lined with parchment paper. Cover coffee cake with parchment paper and plastic wrap. Refrigerate it overnight.
 
Your guests will love it, requesting it again.
 
C. Super Fudge Brownies
 
This recipe is originally from Mrs. Fields Cookie Book, which I bought from the National Braille Press. It’s no longer available there; try your state regional library. I often baked dessert on Easter.
 
Ingredients:
 
One stick butter
One stick Imperial margarine
Six ounces unsweetened chocolate
Two ounces bittersweet chocolate
Two cups granulated sugar
Six large eggs
One-half cup all-purpose flour
One teaspoon real vanilla
Twelve ounces Nestlé’s semi-sweet chocolate chips
A pinch of salt.
 
Directions:
 
1. In a double boiler, melt chocolate, butter, and margarine on low heat for 20 minutes. While these are melting, bring eggs to room temperature and break them into a large mixing bowl. Run electric mixer on low to medium speed for six minutes. Turn mixer to low speed and add sugar. Continue mixing egg-sugar mixture on medium speed for five to six minutes.
2. Cool chocolate-butter mixture and add it to egg-sugar mixture. Mix again on low to medium speed for four minutes. Add vanilla, flour, salt and one cup of the chocolate chips. Mix again for two minutes on low speed.
3. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease a 7x11-inch Pyrex pan with butter. Dust with flour. Measure out half of brownie batter and add remaining chocolate chips. Measure out remaining batter. Level it over entire pan with a spatula or sandwich spreader.
4. Bake brownies for 55-60 minutes.
 
Cool them, and believe me, they will disappear in no time.
 
Note: I made changes, using one stick of margarine and adding the bittersweet chocolate.
 
Let us be thankful for an Easter with open churches. We should be grateful for the vaccine that’s making our world normal again. Pray for a more united country and world.
 
***
 
10. CONSUMER VISION TRIVIA CONTEST
 
Here is the answer to the trivia question submitted in the March Consumer Vision. The 1970s television show that featured a character named Frank Lorenzo was All in the Family. Congratulations to the following winners:
 
Jan Colby of Brockton, Massachusetts
Daryl Darnell of Urbana, Illinois
Leonore Dvorkin of Denver, Colorado
Nancy Hays of Waterbury, Connecticut
Trish Hubschman of Easton, Pennsylvania
Jo Smith of West Dennis, Massachusetts
 
And now, here is your trivia question for the April Consumer Vision. Which annual holiday is based on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the vernal equinox? If you know the answer, please email bobbranco93@gmail.com, or call 508-994-4972.
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