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Articles from April 2005

What's Cooking in Region 1 - April 2005
by Marghretta McBean

March came in like a lion and left...like a lion. The weather here has been ghastly, but hopefully the balmy days of spring are not too far away.

Tucson Arizona was the setting of Mensa's Colloquium 2005, "Earth in Mind: Fueling the Future". As a participant and facilitator, I can say the event was an overwhelming success. For those who feel that Mensa doesn't offer opportunities for intelligent discourse and debate, a Colloquium is the answer. Over 150 of us gathered to listen, discuss and of course, disagree, but in a highly energised and focused forum. In addition to presentations on alternative fuel sources (pro & con) and the future of the earth resources, we got to ogle the latest in hybrid cars. Hopefully Region 1 will be presenting a Colloquium on Cosmology in 2006, hosted by Mensa of Northeastern New York. Stay tuned for more details....

As a board member of American Mensa, I attend its quarterly meetings. The most recent was held in Columbus Ohio in mid-March. As the Chair of the Ad-Hoc Funding Committee, I am pleased to say that the Committee's motion to pool and then equally divide RVC (Regional Vice Chair) discretionary funds was passed. Each year American Mensa designates funds for use by its RVCs based on the number of groups within a region, and to a lesser extent by the number of members within a region. While my Committee was unable to come up with a more equitable funding formula, we were able to address the "budget overflow" problem that many RVCs face at the end of a fiscal year. Ten percent of the funds will be set aside for emergencies, with RVCs approving usage. Typical expenses incurred by RVCs include RG registration and hotel fees, travel to group activities and funding of group or special events.

If you are reading this, you are probably a current member, since Mensa's membership year begins 1 April. Please exercise your constitutional right and vote in our national and regional elections. Details are in the April Bulletin. I would like to continue working for Region 1, but I need your help to do so.

Passover begins 24 April. I have always like the cuisine of the Sephardic Jews, since it includes foods, spices and herbs that seem anathema to the Ashkenazi. A mina (or maiena in Egypt) is a pie, consisting of layered matzos, vegetables and cheese. Minas are common at Sephardic Seders. An Italian Sephardic friend of mine calls minas "Passover lasagnas".:

Mina (Spinach & Potato Matzo Pie)
Spinach and Potato Mina slice

  • 8 medium potatoes
  • Two 10 oz. packages frozen chopped spinach or kale, thawed and squeezed
  • 4 to 6 scallions, diced
  • 15 oz. container ricotta cheese (or 1 lb. farmer cheese)
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp. nutmeg
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 6 to 8 matzos
  • 1 ½ cups vegetable stock
  • 2 cups grated white cheese (e.g. mozzarella, Monterey Jack or white cheddar)
  • Olive oil
    1. Steam the potatoes in their skins until tender; cool. Peel and cut into ¼" thick slices.
    2. Preheat the oven to 350° F.
    3. In a mixing bowl, combine the spinach, scallions, ricotta cheese, lemon juice, and seasonings.
    4. Soak the matzos in room temperature vegetable stock in a shallow container until pliable but not mushy, about 2 minutes; drain.
    5. Lightly oil two 9" x 9"(or one 13" x 9") pans; line the bottoms with a layer of matzos. Layer each with the spinach mixture, potato slices, more matzos and about 1/2 cup grated white cheese. Repeat until all ingredients are used. Finish with a layer of matzo, topped with grated cheese.
    6. Bake until golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Cut into squares to serve.

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