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Comfort food and books for comfort

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Christina Stock Photo A light dish: Turkey steaks in German mustard sauce with eggnoodles.

Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record

Mustard, more than a condiment — and the book “Dead in THAT Beach House,” by M. Glenda Rosen

By Christina Stock

Vision Editor

Spring is here, though it feels more like an early summer. Vaccines against the dreadful COVID-19 are getting administered left and right, and there are many who are closing their home offices and returning to their places of work. I don’t know about you, but now that the yoga pants will be replaced by regular pants again, I have been checking my wardrobe to see how my pre-pandemic clothes fit. In case of adjustments, I have already started — earlier this year — to lower my calorie intake and bulk up with vegetables, without butter or rich sauces. One of my favorite go-to sauce replacements is mustard. One teaspoon has on average less than five calories, no sugar, no fat and only small amounts of sodium — altogether, a much healthier choice than many other condiments. Mustard’s flavor can enrich any sauce because its taste is stronger than that of mayonnaise or ketchup. Growing up in Germany, mustard was a staple in our fridge. Ketchup was frowned upon because of the mass of sugar that is part of it, and mayonnaise was sparingly used because of its fat and calorie count. I am talking, of course, of German Dusseldorf-style mustard or Dijon mustard. Even the typical American yellow mustard is better than the other condiments, though it too has too much sodium, with up to 110 mg per serving, 3.3g total fat and 0.9g sugar, as the nutritional fact sheet on the bottle reads.

Mustard has a fascinating history that goes back thousands of years. The tiny mustard seed is even mentioned multiple times in the Bible. Archeologists found the first recipe for mustard written down by a Roman poet in 42 AD. His name was Lucius Columella. His recipe is still in use in mustard mills throughout Europe and sold in shops. Mustard seeds had an early start in medicine. In 795 AD, emperor Charlemagne, also known as Charles the Great, the first emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, ordered citizens not only to grow their own herbs, but also mustard as a medical plant.

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My Oma (grandmother in German) used to grind mustard seeds and mix them in warm water when I had a cough. She would put the thick paste on my chest and cover it with a warm towel. The oils in the mustard seed would help to sooth the cough. My Opa (grandfather in German) suffered of rheumatoid arthritis and he would get the mustard paste as well. There are a lot of wild stories about the benefit of mustard that you may just ignore. One of these old legends says that if you pluck white mustard leaves with your left hand and eat them with honey water, you’ll be lucky in love.

In an article published on May 5 on the German Center of Health website, it says that recent studies show that mustard may protect against certain illness-causing bacteria. It is important though to use the raw seeds, not the prepared store-bought version unless they use the entire mustard seed. The regular prepared yellow mustard has the hull removed before grinding it. The oils and the vitamins and minerals are just below the hull, as is the case with most seeds, vegetables and fruit. Only 10g/0.35 oz of mustard seeds have 4% of the recommended daily dose of vitamin B1 (important for the nervous system) and B3 (may lower bad LDL cholesterol); 13% vitamin E (antioxidant and anti-inflammatory), 14% of calcium (heart, bones and muscle support), 10% magnesium (muscle functions), 37% selen (antioxidant that supports the immune system and helps against infections) and 14% iron (supports the transport of oxygen throughout the body).

Some scientists say that the spicier and more pure the mustard, the better it is for the body. Before you change your diet, contact your doctor to make sure that the diet you choose will not harm you.

I have a theory that if there would be no mustard, Germans wouldn’t eat as many sausages as they do. Today, I have something more healthy than sausages for you:

Turkey steaks in German mustard mushroom sauce

Serves 2

Ingredients:

2 turkey steaks (or chicken breasts)

1 Tbsp olive oil

8 oz mushrooms, sliced

1 clove garlic, minced

1 cup beef broth

1/2 cup dry white wine

1/2 tsp thyme

4 Tbsp German Düsseldorf mustard (or 2 Tbsp German hot mustard or Dijon mustard)

Preparation:

In a deep pan heat the olive oil until it starts shimmering. Fry the turkey steaks on both sides over medium-high heat, about five minutes on each side. Depending how thick your turkey steaks are, you may have to fry them up to five minutes longer. Remove the turkey steaks from the pan and keep warm on a plate, covered with aluminum foil.

In the same pan, add the mushroom on medium-high heat until tender, about five minutes. Add garlic and cook a minute or two more. Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil, scraping any residue from the bottom. Reduce the heat and simmer until the sauce thickens, about 10 minutes. Place the steaks on a plate and pour some of the mustard sauce evenly over them. Serve with steamed potatoes, rice or egg noodles. If you like, you can add some chopped parsley on top.

Books for comfort:

“Dead in THAT Beach House” by M. Glenda Rosen

Submitted Cover Art

Who doesn’t love a good crime story? “Dead in THAT Beach House” is a fast read, perfect for a couple of hours entertainment.

M. Glenda Rosen is the pen name of Marcia G. Rosen. She is a member of Albuquerque’s Sisters in Crime (SinC). SinC is a group dedicated to supporting female crime writers and was founded in 1986. There are more than 4,500 members who belong to the writers’ organization.

The award-winning author’s career started out in the world of business. She is the founder and owner of a marketing and public relations agency for 25 years. Her career as author began with nonfiction books. In recent years, Rosen found a new passion: Writing murder mysteries. According to her biography, Rosen’s interest in writing fiction — raining havoc and death on its heroes — stems from having a father who was involved in organized crime.

Rosen has two murder mystery series going, one playing in the world of glitter and beauty in the salons of East Hampton; the other centers around two senior sleuths who unravel crime, abuse and murder from New York City to Las Vegas, Nevada, and the uppity people residing in the Hamptons.

“Dead in THAT Beach House” is the third book in the Senior Sleuth series and can be read out of order. As many authors do, Rosen writes about things that are important in her life, such as abuse of the elderly. In the introduction she writes: “Senior strengths, their ability to have passion and love and the unconscionable issue of elder abuse found a voice on the pages of this book. I believe many seniors can have ‘A bold third act’ by starting something new, even as they grow older.”

Rosen’s writing style is fast and vivid. The senior sleuths Dora and Dick Zimmerman are witty, quirky and their characters remind one of old mystery comedies, specifically The Thin Man series from the 1930s.

“Dead in THAT Beach House” begins with the retired couple getting news from their younger son Jake. His girlfriend’s uncle and aunt got murdered while visiting the Hamptons where they inherited an old house. Dora and Dick Zimmerman’s kids usually don’t want to get involved in their parents’ murder-magnet lifestyle, though it comes in handy when one of them is faced with said murders. The mystery grows when two up-to-no-good kids find a skeleton in the abandoned house. However, the true mayhem begins when the Zimmermans arrive and the body count rises.

“Dead in THAT Beach House” is perfect for anyone who loves a good mystery. The book — despite having old and new murders at hand — is free of foul language. Instead, tongue-in-cheek humorous situations contrast with dangerous situations that move the story forward. There are more twists and turns along the way, including outmaneuvering a greedy development group that wants to snatch up the old estate; and finding a hidden treasure. Were the people behind the development group responsible for the murder? What was the connection to the murder in the past? One thing is for sure, the evildoers are underestimating the senior sleuths and their dangerous friends who come to their aid when death comes calling again.

“Dead in THAT Beach House” is available at online bookstores as an eBook or paperback.

Another book Rosen wrote, with her son Jory Rosen, is “The Gourmet Gangster: Mysteries & Menus By The Family.” It is a collection of intertwined mystery stories featuring the mob, a restaurant owner, a bookie and his detective friend. The recipes in the book are provided by Jory Rosen.

For more information, visit theseniorsleuths.com.

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