Monday, April 21, 2014

Stories to Tell

Naturalist, writer and advocate of U.S. forest conservation, John Muir was born April 21, 1838, in Dunbar, Scotland. As early as 1876, he urged the federal government to adopt a forest conservation policy through articles published in popular periodicals. In 1892 he founded the Sierra Club. He served as its first president, a position he held until his death in 1914. He was largely responsible for the establishment of Sequoia and Yosemite National Parks.
Happy Birthday

We"ll Be The Last One To Let You Down is one of the most unique and mesmerizing memoir stories I have read. Rachael Handel, a Minnesota journalist, presents a unique, moving perspective of a gravedigger’s daughter and her lifelong relationship with death and grief. But it is also a reflective commentary on the living elements of our cemeteries: our neighbors, friends, and families—the very histories of our towns and cities—and how these things come together in the eyes of a young girl whose childhood is suffused with both death and grief.

Rachael Hanel’s name was inscribed on a gravestone when she was eleven years old. Yet this wasn’t at all unusual in her world: her father was a gravedigger in the small Minnesota town of Waseca, and death was her family’s business. Her parents were forty-two years old and in good health when they erected their gravestone—Rachael’s name was simply a branch on the sprawling family tree etched on the back of the stone. As she puts it: I grew up in cemeteries.

But when Rachael’s father—Digger O’Dell—passes away suddenly when she is fifteen, she and her family are abruptly and harshly transformed from bystanders to participants. And for the first time, Rachael realizes that death and grief are very different.

I thought her writing was honest, insightful and even sometimes a bit quirky. I have always been fascinated by cemeteries and the stories behind the tombstones. Handel does not disappoint . The images she creates are vivid and eloquently captured and her stories within the stories are entertaining.
Cook's notes: This dessert is light, laced with a splash of fresh tart key limes and can be assembled in under 15 minutes. Lemons  can be swapped for limes. Makes 30 tartlets.

Key Lime Mousse or Lemon Mousse Tartlets 

  • 4 oz. softened cream cheese at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk 
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice or lemon juice 
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream whipped 
  • 2 TB. lime zest or lemon zest
  • raspberries for garnish  
  • 2 packages of frozen mini phyllo tarts at room temperature 
  • Beat together cream cheese, milk, juice, zest until smooth   
  • Fold in whipped cream 
  • Spoon mousse into tartlet shells 
  • Garnish with raspberries 
  • Refrigerate uncovered at least one hour before serving

1 comment:

  1. I'd highly recommend Rachael Hanel's book, too, and have reviewed it here:

    Excellent synopsis of the book, Sue.