A PSA: recreation vs. re-creation

Recreation vs. Re-Creation

I read a lot of certain kinds of blogs: food, nail art, DIY lifestyle. (I read a lot of animal blogs, too, but the issue I’m about to describe comes up less frequently there for reasons that will soon become obvious.) There’s a certain amount of borrowing that happens in these communities and it’s generally considered above board so long as credit is given.

This, my friends, is where we encounter the scourge. Somehow, for reasons that are not immediately apparent to me, the English-speaking world has forgotten a critical hyphen. All day I encounter post after post touting “amazing recreations.” These aren’t articles about impressive outdoor adventures or extreme hobbyists, oh no. These are simply people trying to give credit and failing spectacularly.

It’s simple. If you want to add the prefix “re-” to a verb to indicate the action has taken place again, usually you should “close it up” (shove that prefix right up against the verb). The exception is when a closed-up word that starts with re- already exists! Example: to recollect is to remember something; to re-collect is to collect again. See? Simple!

The internet loves infographics, right? Well, internet, I made you one.

PSA: recreation vs. re-creation

 

Chewy Salted Butterscotchies

Chewy Salted Butterscotchies

I was the best Bluebird in my troop, at least when it came to candy sales. I don’t remember most of what I did as a Bluebird, but I have vivid memories of shilling treats, the awards I earned for my sales numbers, and the resulting “jamboree” I got to attend. Some people grow up as a Boy Scout or a Girl Scout, but I was a Camp Fire Kid. Every January, we sold a variety of treats (our big sellers were mint patties, some turtle clusters, and Almond Roca), door-to-door or seated at a card table in front of the local grocery store. My parents—either genius or negligent—allowed me to peddle my goods during a snowstorm, which led to extremely high sales and a staggering quantity of hot chocolate in my belly.

But I also pulled a shift at the Safeway down the street, where I attempted to convince a passerby that she needed some candy. “Oh no, thank you, I couldn’t,” she said. “Have you ever tried Almond Roca? It’s really, really good,” I replied, attempting to appeal to her sense of culinary adventure. “Oh, it’s delicious…” “It’s only $3 a box! Or two for $5!”

“Yes, but if I buy them, then I’ll eat them.”

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The Beginning of the End, or, Our Hurricane Sandy Time Line

This was our apartment building. The day it changed from red to yellow was an exciting day.

This was our apartment building. The day it changed from red to yellow was an exciting day.

I haven’t written here in a long time. Partly that’s because, in the immortal words of the Fresh Prince, our “life got flipped, turned upside down.” Starting in the middle of last October, I was selected to serve on my church‘s leadership table (and then had to step down before I was ever “sworn in”), we finished our PADI open-water scuba-diving certification, and then we weathered Hurricane Sandy. That involved late-game evacuation, a week without power and water, 16 days without hot water, and 20 days without heat. In the middle of all that, my magazine folded and I lost my job (RIP, Everyday Food). Then we celebrated Thanksgiving with our largest table of friends yet, my best pal Ivo came to visit from the Netherlands to celebrate the ordination of our friend and pastor Emily Scott, I turned 33 on 12/12/12 and we went to Medieval Times, we got Nitrox certified (more diving stuff), we celebrated Christmas in Hawaii with my parents, we moved across the friggin’ country, and now we’re firmly ensconced in a beautiful (rental) home in Seattle, establishing a very good life there. Yesterday was the anniversary of Hurricane Sandy’s arrival in New York City, so I spent the evening reading through my Facebook updates from a year back. It made me realize that they already tell the story better than I could rewrite it, so I collected them here, along with links to additional illustrative photos from the Flickr set I made after the fact.

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Boiled Cider (a.k.a. Apple Cider Molasses, Cider Syrup, Bottled Autumn)

The best thing you can do with a gallon of fresh apple cider is make it last all year.

There will be no apple cider as good as the cider my family and friends pressed every autumn when I was growing up, which has more to do with what went into it than the actual taste. My godparents, Dick and Margaret, lived in a farmhouse in Alderwood, a small town 30 minutes north of Seattle now known for its mall. Dick and Margaret, two artists, loved the land and the modest-but-roomy house. They ended up with a small apple orchard, which yielded far more apples than they could ever eat, so they’d invite a bunch of folks over for a day of apple picking. We’d dress in our flannels and our boots, climb ladders, scour the grass below, and use pole pickers to collect every single ripe fruit, which we’d haul over to Ray and Nancy’s house. Ray and Nancy were consummate hosts…and owned an antique cider press. For weeks, everyone had been rinsing out their plastic milk jugs, stockpiling them, waiting for the day they’d be able to fill them with fresh-pressed apple cider. It was a full day of sticky work and everyone was tired by the end, but what a triumphant moment when the last bushel of apples was dumped into that press and the last drops of cider poured out. We looked forward to it every year, and that delicious cider never lasted as long as I would’ve liked.

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Make-Ahead Taco Salad: Perfect for lunch or dinner

Great for lunch or dinner, vegetarians or omnivores!
The other day, I posted this on Facebook: Fact: Taco salad is the best salad. Not a single person dissented; many agreed quite vocally. Seriously, what’s not to love? Taco salad can feel somewhat virtuous (though frequently it’s far from it), it’s a little more kicky than your usual garden greens, and it’s fairly customizable. One complaint I often hear about eating salad for lunch is that you wind up hungry by 3pm. Not so with a taco salad! There’s so much happening in there, so many good, filling ingredients, that you’ll be satisfied till supper. When I was growing up, we’d often have taco salad for dinner. Matthew and I loved this meal and happily ate it out of an enormous salad bowl in which Papa tossed everything together, but if you have fussy little ones, it’s easy to do individual plates of taco salad, omitting the undesirable ingredients as needed. Feeding a crowd? For heaven’s sake, make a taco salad! I’ve yet to meet a person who was not delighted by the appearance of a bowl of these Mexi-ish greens.

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Heather+Mike Conquer New York ComicCon!

Cosplaying Finn and Fionna from Adventure Time!

Finn+Fionna

Algebraic!

Chicken Piccata

Chicken Piccata

This is a recipe I knew before I met Heather and, had she not been a strict vegetarian at the time, one that I no doubt would have made to woo her. It’s delicious, impressive, and very easy to prepare. If you make this for the lady or gentleman of your fancy, it could very well result in after dinner sexytimes. I make no promises, but your odds are definitely improved.

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Chicago Dogs: Improved

An easier way to eat the best hot dog there is.Confession: Hot dogs are directly responsible for me quitting vegetarianism after more than 15 years. You guys, I love hot dogs. My brother, Matthew, and I used to split a package of Lit’l Smokies when we came home from school (for the record, that’s four servings each; it’s a miracle we’re not dead). I like a hot dog off the grill, I like a boiled dog, I like a dog charred in the flames of a campfire, I like sliced dogs stirred into stovetop mac and cheese, I like pigs in a blanket…I even like tofu dogs, but when I was faced with a hot dog at my first Mets game in Shea Stadium, I folded like a cheap suit. Folks at my old magazine caught wind and asked if I’d eat meat for a week and write about it. The rest is history. Sweet sweet sustainably-and-humanely raised animal-eating history.

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Penne with Two Tomatoes & Mozzarella

Penne with Mozzarella & Two Kinds of Tomatoes

So, listen. Heather will probably post some recipes on this site that require dedication, skill, and a certain amount of culinary prowess. Hers will be the recipes of a woman who practically grew up in the kitchen. One who, taught by a master cook, constantly challenges her palate and her skill set, always combining fresh and exotic ingredients into uniquely nutritious, flavorful, unforgettable dishes.

The recipes I post will be the recipes of a man who has to fend for himself while that woman is out.

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Ginger Ale: Now with Real Ginger

This ginger ale is not for sissiesIn my childhood home, there were always three sodas: caffeine-free Coke, root beer, and ginger ale (preferable Canada Dry). My Papa and my brother were the real soda drinkers, but given those options, I usually gravitated toward the ginger ale. As I got older, I learned that most canned ginger ale is a lot tamer than many bottled varieties, and my allegiance lay with Reed’s Extra Ginger Brew. I like the burn, friends. I like a ginger ale that doesn’t just politely ring your doorbell but instead bashes in your front door, shakes the rain off its coat, and leaves muddy footprints in the entryway. That’s a soda I know I can bro down with—not just a delicately flavored vehicle for sugar and empty calories, but a soda that feels like a full-bodied treat, loaded with nuance and spice.

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