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Articles from January 2006

What's Cooking in Region 1 - January 2006
by Marghretta McBean

I know it's really winter when I start reading seed catalogs. Whether creating an imaginary horticultural extravaganza or pondering blueberry species, it makes the short cold days feel warmer.

I think gardening can confer good management skills: in order to have a successful growing season, preplanning is essential. Available light, soil, etc. must be accurately accessed to determine what will (and will not) grow. Just as important is an honest appraisal of gardening committment: are you an every day or once a week gardener? Plants, like people, respond to attention. Failure is common in the gardening world: one must have the ability to accept a reversal and have a contigency plan in place. It is a humbling experience to sow a seed, nurture it, and watch as it develops into a beautiful flower or luscious tomato.

Leaving my botanical reverie, I hope to see many of you at the upcoming gatherings in our region. New Hampshire & Maine Mensa will be hosting their Granite Gathering with a "Return to Middle Earth" theme. Fun for your inner hobbit during Presidents Day weekend.

Northern New Jersey Mensa's ever popular Midwinter Blahs returns the last weekend of February. This one day event has a format that many groups could use: Regional Gathering features (speakers, games room, hospitality, etc.) , but in a more manageable size for a small group and/or RG committee.

The Year of the Dog will begin on the new moon in Aquarius, January 29th. When I was a child, the chinese laundryman would offer Tea Eggs to customers as a lunar new year's gift. They look spectacular, and taste good too:

Tea Eggs
Chinese Tea Eggs

  • 12 eggs
  • 4 quarts water
  • ¼ cup black tea leaves
  • 2 star anise
  • 1 inch piece cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. five-spice powder
  • 1 Tbl. salt
    1. Place eggs in large pot. Cover with 2 quarts water and bring to boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium and cook 7 minutes.
    2. Drain; let stand until cool. Lightly tap eggs to crack shells, but do not peel.
    3. Bring 2 quarts water to a boil in large pot. Add tea leaves, salt and spices. Carefully add cracked eggs.
    4. Reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer 1 hour.
    5. Let cool; drain. Peel while still warm or thoroughly cooled. Serve whole as a finger food.

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