Battle of the basket

My co-worker, Justine Wettschreck, is the one in the newsroom who writes the blog called  “Dirty Laundry.” But today, I’m going to air my own dirty laundry. OK, not so much the laundry itself, but the laundry basket.

Later this year, Hubby Bryan and I will celebrate our 19th wedding anniversary, and for all the years we’ve been married, we’ve had one laundry basket. It didn’t even come new as a shower or wedding present.

This laundry basket, at least in my recollection, was Bryan’s before we got married, and who knows how long he’d had it before that. I’m pretty sure that’s the case, because I would never have picked out a harvest gold laundry basket. My choice would have been my favorite color, blue, if that were an option, or white if not. Since the popularity of harvest gold dates back to the 1970s, I would guess it was originally bought 35 years ago.

Before I continue on with this story, I have to give credit where credit is due. HB is the primary laundry-doer in our household. I throw in the occasional load and usually help to fold the clothes, but for the most part, Bryan is the one who regularly takes care of the laundry tasks and has developed a schedule for washing sheets, towels and clothing.

That being said, Bryan has become attached to the laundry basket in the process.  A laundry basket that is not only an ugly color, but is also cracked and warped from years of use.

Every once in a while, when I am compelled to haul laundry down to the basement or take it out of the dryer, I have complained about the sad state of this basket. But Bryan just usually shrugs his shoulders and says something like, “It’s got years of use left in it.” (It might be my imagination, but he seems to hug the basket a little tighter after such an exchange.)

Last week, on a rare mid-week day off work, I did a bit of shopping without HB and happened to go down the aisle that houses items such as laundry baskets. There, sitting on a shelf, was a gleaming WHITE laundry basket, just a bit bigger than Ol’ Goldy. It was a beautiful thing — no cracks, no missing chunks of plastic.

But the most amazing thing was the price. Being a frugal shopper, I had gone along with HB’s assertion that the old laundry basket had plenty of use left in it. But this pristine new laundry basket had a price tag of only $2.97. Yep, for less than $3, I could banish the gold basket from my sight.

So, of course, that’s exactly what I did. When HB came home later that day, the white basket had taken up residence in our walk-in closet, and Goldy was waiting to go out to the curb. There was only one problem: Even though it’s made of plastic, the basket is so old that it didn’t have a recycling symbol on it. It predates all recycling efforts. So I wasn’t sure if it should go in the garbage or recycling bin.

For a few minutes, I could see Bryan pondering alternate uses for his beloved laundry basket, but eventually he had to admit that it had outlived its usefulness. But there may have been a glimmer of a tear in his eye as he carried it out to the trash bins.

A couple of weeks ago, I had the pleasure of reporting on the trip that Mayor Al and Janice Oberloh took to Washington D.C. and the event they attended at the White House. The Oberlohs also were guests at Minnesota breakfasts hosted  by two of our Minnesota representatives, Sen. Al Franken and Sen. Amy Klobuchar.

Al and Janice especially raved about a special item on Franken’s menu, a wild rice porridge, and managed to get a copy of the recipe. Credit on it goes to chef Mitch Omer and the staff at Hell’s Kitchen in Minneapolis.

Minnesota Porridge

In a heavy nonstick saucepan, combine 4 cups cooked wild rice, ½ cup roasted, cracked hazelnuts, ½ cup dried blueberries, ¼ cup sweetened dried cranberries and ¼ cup pure maple syrup. Cook over medium-high heat for about 3 minutes.

Add 1 cup heavy whipping cream and heat through, stirring constantly, about 2 minutes.

Ladle into bowls and serve immediately. Serves 4.

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