It’s a word that has both positive and negative connotations. You can be overwhelmed with gratitude — a good thing. But you can also be overwhelmed by what you need to accomplish — not so good.
It’s a word that I’ve found myself using a lot in recent days as Hubby Bryan and I have coped with the death of his father, Bob. We have been overwhelmed by so many emotions, as well as the outpouring of expressions of love and sympathy we have received. We so appreciate the many kind words, calls, cards, etc. It truly is overwhelming to live in the midst of such a caring community — most definitely a positive thing.
And now, in the aftermath, we find ourselves overwhelmed by what needs to be dealt with in the wake of a person’s death. The mind boggles with all the paperwork that must be completed, a task that falls mainly to my mother-in-law and husband.
But I had my own overwhelming tasks to face upon my return to work this week. My email mailbox was full (I appreciate the patience of all who were awaiting a reply), and my desk was running over with a week’s accumulation of mail and announcements that had been dropped off. It took me a couple of hours to wade through it all and determine which had been taken care of and which had not.
I’m sure it will take me a couple more days to get fully in the groove, and there may likely be some things that fall through the cracks. That’s what happens when one is overwhelmed in a not-so-good way.
At the bottom of one pile on my desk, however, was an envelope that quickly put a smile on my face. Since it was addressed to Lagniappe — the title of this forum (which means “a little something extra,” for those who may be confused by the strange word) — I was pretty sure it contained some recipes. I was right. It was from Lucille King of Rushmore, and it offered a prescription for what can be another source of overwhelming — garden harvest season. It’s that time of year when gardeners are scrambling to “put up” as much as they can for future use or make use of their garden’s bounty before frost claims it all.
“They are neat ways to use up late tomatoes, cucumbers, etc.,” writes Lucille about her recipe offerings. “So if your cukes are still producing more than you planned on or don’t have time to can, try several containers of the frozen ones. They stay nice and crispy and easy to make.”
Frozen Cucumber Pickles
Combine 2 quarts sliced, unpeeled cucumbers, 2 medium onions (more or less to your liking), sliced, and 1 tablespoon salt. Let mixture soak for 3 hours.
In a saucepan, warm 1 cup vinegar and 1¼ cups sugar. Add a bit of mustard seed and/or celery seed (optional). Drain the cukes and add to vinegar mixture.
Ladle into containers and freeze. When ready to eat, just defrost and serve chilled. Add a little more vinegar if necessary.
“This makes you think of mincemeat,” said Lucille about this second recipe.
Green Tomato Pie
Chop green tomatoes to yield 2 cups. Cover with water and boil a few minutes; drain.
Add 3 tablespoons melted butter, 1 cup brown sugar, ½ cup chopped raisins, 2 tablespoons vinegar, ½ teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon cinnamon, ½ teaspoon cloves and ¼ teaspoon nutmeg. Pour mixture into a double pie shell and bake at 350 degrees until brown.
End-of-Season Veggie Mix
Lucille uses an ice cream bucket nearly full of the smaller, end-of-season tomatoes. Scald, peel, remove any blemishes and chop into a large cooking pan.
Grind up some carrots, onions, celery, green and/or red peppers. Add several jalapeños or other leftover produce if you like, as well as a couple teaspoons of minced garlic. Sprinkle with salt.
Cook until the vegetables are done. Cool and put into one-pound containers and freeze.
Add to homemade vegetable soup, chili, spaghetti, goulash or any hotdish that also calls for regular tomatoes.
Reader submissions are appreciated. Share your recipes by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org; or send to Lagniappe, Daily Globe, Box 639, Worthington 56187.