Today’s Photo

My friend's cat Frisco knows exactly how to spend a cold and dreary spring day.


Word Play

I was playing a word game recently and my opponent came up with the word “benefic.” Obviously it’s related to the word “beneficial,” but I hadn’t heard of it before.

I did a little research on it and here’s what I found:

doing or promoting some good; beneficent: a benefic truce; a benefic confluence of planets.
1590–1600; < Latin beneficus. See bene-, -fic

From World English Dictionary on the same web page:
benefic (bɪˈnɛfɪk)
-adj. a rare word for beneficent

From Merriam-Webster Online and my own American Heritage Dictionary:
-adj. meaning beneficent

"Benefic" can be found in the Scrabble dictionary, as an adjective meaning “kindly,” but Cambridge Dictionaries Online didn’t have an entry for it. My spellcheck doesn’t like “benefic,” but then it doesn’t like “spellcheck” either! 🙂

The moral of this blogpost is: if you can’t create a “benefit,” try “benefic” instead.

Beginnings & Endings

In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, here are the opening and closing words of the classic novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie Wills Wilde (he himself added “Wills” in the 1870s). Wilde was born in Dublin in 1854 and died in Paris in 1900. Read more about his life here.

A recent Readers’ Review discussion on NPR’s Diane Rehm show was about this novel.

The Picture of Dorian Gray was Wilde’s first and only novel, and it created a stir for its hedonistic theme. A preface was added to the first book edition to speak to criticisms about the previous version when it was first printed in “Lippincott’s Monthly Magazine.”

First sentence of the Preface:

“The artist is the creator of beautiful things.”

First sentence of Chapter I:

“The studio was filled with the rich odour of roses, and when the light summer wind stirred amidst the trees of the garden there came through the open door the heavy scent of lilac, or the more delicate perfume of the pink-flowering thorn.”

And the last sentence of Chapter XX:

“It was not till they had examined the rings that they recognized who it was.”

Awesome recipe-Honey Roasted Almonds

Enjoy this recipe for a healthy snack that’s fast and easy to make.

The following is from, although as usual I try some variations of my own (see below):

Honey Roasted Almonds

2 c. whole almonds, skins on
1/4 c. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. honey
2 tbsp. water
2 tsp. almond or vegetable oil

Spread the almonds in a single layer in a shallow ungreased baking pan and place in a cold oven. Bake at 350 degrees, stirring occasionally, until the internal color of nuts is tan (12 to 15 minutes). Remove from oven and set aside.

Thoroughly mix the sugar and salt. Stir together the honey, water and oil in a medium size pan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Stir in the roasted almonds and continue to cook and stir until all the liquid has been absorbed by the nuts (about 5 minutes). Immediately transfer to a medium bowl and sprinkle sugar mixture over all and toss. Spread on wax paper and cool.

For a printer-friendly version, click here.

[My notes: So far, I’ve only used vegetable oil, although someday soon I’ll splurge for almond oil and give that a try to see if it adds a different flavor.

Use a good-flavored honey.

I also tried adding less sugar. This works to a certain extent – if you don’t add enough, the almonds stick together. I use maybe about two-three teaspoons less than the recipe calls for.

I added cinnamon (maybe about 1 teaspoon) but that wasn’t enough to give the flavor I was looking for. I’ll try again and report back.

Things to watch for: make sure you watch the almonds as they roast so they don’t burn on one side. When you’re cooking the almonds in the honey mixture, make sure the heat isn’t too high because the mixture can take on a burnt flavor.]