Java Jive, Manhattan Transfer
If Leslie Stahl sat me down, leaned forward, and said, “Now, Marla, you’re seventy-six, what is the secret to life?”
I would have to say, “Moderation.” Now between you and me (we’ll leave Leslie out of this), moderation is a glossier (?) word for just enough—not too little and not too much.
Moderation seems to be one of the undisputed truths of the universe; too much or too little of anything doesn’t work. Weather that’s too hot, too cold, too windy, too wet, too dry is not good; too much rain, there’s flooding, not enough rain, there’s drought. Sitting too much is bad for your health, standing too much hurts your knees; selfieing too much is bad for your ego, isolation leads to depression; sleeping too much is bad for your career, not enough sleep is bad for your mood; working too much is hard on your family, idleness is bad for your wallet. Too much money in the economy, there’s inflation, too little money, there’s a depression. Too much money in your bank account and you’re one of the entitled 1%, too little money and you’re poor.
And while too many animals can be thrilling—a pod of whales, a pride of lions, a school of minnows, a herd of wild horses—a sky full of bats or a murder of crows is a bit creepy, a swarm of bees is scary, and encountering too many hopping bunnies (just read that a group of rabbits is called a fluffle) might give you pause. I love the spring sound of a tree frog but heard a bad story about someone who was so disturbed by tree frog ruckus (or perhaps it’s croakus) in a pond behind their house that they poisoned the whole lot. Now that is too much.
Of course, it might be said that moderation is a cop out. Doing something full tilt can lead to greatness: practicing too much gets you to Carnegie Hall, working too much makes you the boss, being too pretty puts you in a Hollywood movie, extreme athleticism lands you a $330,000,000 contract.
“They” (whoever they are) keep yanking us around about what’s good for us. Too much wine or just a bit, too much Coke or just a sip; first it’s good for you, then its bad for you. Honey–nutritious or an indulgence? A daily baby aspirin–life saver or stroke risk? Eggs–a healthy protein or a source of too much cholesterol? Michael Pollan’s three food rules make the most sense to me: eat real food, not too much, mostly plants. Now, if we could just follow the second rule, “not too much,” it would eliminate the entire diet industry—moderation.
So, put me in the Goldilocks’ camp: not too hard, not too soft, not too hot, not too cold, but just right. However, let’s leave chocolate, coffee, and butter out of the discussion.
BTW, the Sweetie passed his five-year CT scan with flying colors!
Virginia Baked Apple Pudding
- 1/2 cup too much butter, melted
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup milk
- 2 cups peeled, diced apple
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a small baking dish, combine butter, sugar, flour, baking powder, salt, and milk until smooth. In a microwave-safe bowl, combine apples and cinnamon. Microwave until apples are soft, 2 to 5 minutes. Pour apples into the center of the batter. Bake in the preheated oven 30 minutes, or until golden.
Serve with whipped cream, vanilla ice cream, and sprinkles. And a grating of white chocolate couldn’t hurt.