Monthly Archives: November 2017

Ah, December—a month to celebrate !

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December is upon us and as far as celebrations we are probably thinking of Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and the end of finals. December is also observed for another, lesser known reason: it is Universal Human Rights Month.

How did the declaration of Universal Human Rights Month come about and what does it mean?  The proclamation came about in 1948 shortly after World War II. The United Nations wanted to prevent the atrocities that that happened during the war. The first article of the declaration of Human Rights states that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. The rest of the document lists what these rights are.  It emphasizes how important it is to work toward protecting freedom for all in order to keep peace.

Is there a need to reflect about Human Rights? By all means there is. There have been blatant events that have violated our rights. A few of these are:

  • Slavery Africans were brought to the American colonies. They were stripped of their human rights, enslaved and considered to be lesser than their fellow human beings for centuries.
  • Child Labor During the Industrial Revolution in the early 1800’s. Children as young as 6 were required to work up to 19 hours a day with little or no pay. They often worked in dangerous conditions.
  • Jim Crow Laws in the Southern United States Jim Crow laws discriminated against individuals based on their skin color. African-Americans were stripped of their rights in America until 1964.
  • Holocaust Hitler denied humanity to Jews, homosexuals, communists, Slavs and more during the Second World War

Unfortunately there are not just historic instances, injustices continue today.

  • Modern Sex Trafficking Currently this practice may involve upward of 27 million people.

Am sure you are aware of other unjust occurrences based on one’s race, religion, sex, nationality, or ethnic origin.

How can we observe Universal Month of Human Rights? We need to work to find common ground with the people around us. All humans are born into the same world we were and despite our differences we must learn to function together.  Perhaps we can make an effort to practice the Golden Rule of “Doing unto others as you would have them do unto you”. It would also be a gift to mankind to practice kindness all year long, not just during December.

 

 

 

Thanksgiving gives us an opportunity

 

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Thanksgiving gives us a chance to pause and be grateful for an abundance of food and other good things in our lives.

Thanksgiving began as a day of giving thanks for the harvest in colonial times. Today it has evolved into being a holiday involving turkey, family, football and the serious beginning of the Christmas shopping season.  For me it is an opportunity to stop and think of how very much I have to be grateful for. After counting my blessings, I have the role of creating a somewhat traditional dinner. Yes, the meal will feature roasted turkey with stuffing, of course. Also pumpkin pie for dessert is a must. In planning the rest of the dinner, I have a little more leeway. I usually prepare one or two of my old vegetable standbys but then I like to include a new recipe. Ah, the search for a new recipe gives me chance to head to the library’s cook books located in the 641 area of the Dewey Decimal System.

As I looked on the cookbook shelves to see what I could include in this blog, I came upon these “interesting” instructions in The American Heritage Cookbook ( 641.5973 Am).  They have instructions from 1890 on how to prepare a turkey for Christmas dinner. They tell you that the turkey should be cooped up and fed some time before Christmas. Three days before it is slaughtered, it should have an English walnut forced down its throat three times a day and a glass of sherry once a day. They claim that the meat will be deliciously tender and have a fine nutty flavor.  Am glad these directions are for a Christmas turkey rather than Thanksgiving bird, although I know it makes no difference at all! If instead of following their directions, you decide to purchase a turkey from the grocery store, I agree with your decision!

Perhaps you find the idea of preparing something to contribute to the Thanksgiving dinner overwhelming. You don’t need to start with gourmet offering but you can browse the cookbooks to find an easy appetizer or veggie. You can also look for recipes for using some of the wonderful leftovers in the days after Thanksgiving. The people who have been in the kitchen much of the day on Thanksgiving will be more than grateful to hand over the reins to someone else to create a post-Thanksgiving meal.

Check out the cookbooks in the 641 area of the library. You will find a wide variety of recipes for Thanksgiving and also for everyday cooking.