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Comfort food and books for comfort

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Christina Stock Photo There are various herring salad recipes in Europe. Some include red beats, others apples and cranberries.

Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record

Summer meals

and ‘The Water Lady’ by Alice B. McGinty, illustrations by Shonto Begay

By Christina Stock

Vision Editor

Summer means ice cream, sun lotion, vacation and fun with friends. Of course, with the new virus strains popping up, the Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization are still recommending to be careful when meeting friends outside one’s family, especially when around non-vaccinated people. But there is no reason not to enjoy the outdoors and being active before the kids will return to school. I don’t know about your family, but when my family in Germany was out and about in summer, nobody wanted a heavy meal when they got home.

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Some of my family’s favorite summer meals were strawberries that were squished with a fork, a teaspoon of sugar and milk turned it to a refreshing chilled strawberry soup. When we had rice left over, we would add a little rice to it.

Another typical dinner would be open-faced sandwiches my German Oma (Oma means grandmother in German) Else would make that we would eat in front the TV on Friday evening, while watching a music or variety show.

However, one of my favorite summer dishes was herring salad with potatoes. Unfortunately, we don’t get all the varieties of fish here in Roswell, but we do get herring in sour cream in grocery stores, which is the base for following recipe:

Oma Else’s herring salad

Serves 4

Ingredients:

14 oz pickled herring in sour cream sauce

1/2 cup yogurt

1/4 tsp sugar

1 medium sized sweet onion, peeled and sliced in thin rings

1 medium sized tart apple, peeled and diced

3 large sweet/sour pickles (preferably German pickles), diced

Preparation:

Separate the herring and onions from the sour cream. Add the yogurt and sugar to the sour cream sauce and mix. Return the herring into the sauce and add the onions, apple and pickles. Mix carefully and refrigerate for an hour.

Serve either with a baked potato, boiled young potatoes or on fresh bread.

There are many varieties for herring salad throughout Scandinavian countries and even within Germany, one of those is to add red beats to the salad.

In addition to herring being delicious, it has a high protein content, you get 20 grams of protein in a three-ounce serving. It also is rich in key nutrients such as Omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D and selenium.

Books for comfort:

“The Water Lady — How Darlene Arviso Helps a Thirsty Navajo Nation”

by Alice B. McGinty, illustrations by Shonto Begay

The children’s book “The Water Lady” is unusual in many ways — unusual in the best sense of the word that is. It is based on a true story and on a real contemporary person. In 2016, author Alice B. McGinty drove with Darlene Arviso on her water route through the Diné (Navajo) Reservation in the four corners region. The author wrote that Arviso is a truly inspiring woman with a devotion to her community. She delivers water, water for livestock, children and adults because there is a lack of running water. Arviso delivers daily 3,500 gallons of water to 10-12 homes on her route.

The beautifully illustrated book follows Cody, a young Diné boy, from the moment that he wakes up thirsty looking for water. It switches to Arviso and her chores, getting her children ready for school, being the school bus driver before starting to deliver the precious water to Cody’s family. In simple words the story develops, not in a preaching or teaching way, but in a touching straightforward style: The worries of the child that there is no water and that another hot desert day is ahead. And the relief, when Arviso in her yellow water truck arrives.

The emotions and story are captured in Shonto Begay’s illustrations that are vivid and colorful, showing the mesa landscape of the high desert and its people.

Begay has an instinct for the colors and how to frame the words in pictures. Diné land is his home, he was born and raised here. He is one of the survivors of the U.S. boarding school system where Native American children throughout the U.S. were taken from their families and forcefully “re-educated” into the anglo-American system. In his biography about his work, Begay said that he survived thanks to his spiritual strength and and his drawings. Today, Begay is a well-known speaker to audiences of all ages. His art has been exhibited in solo shows at the Museum of Northern Arizona, Arizona State Museum, Utah Museum of Fine Arts, The Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian in Santa Fe, the American Indian Contemporary Arts Museum in San Francisco and Phoenix Art Museum.

Begay attended Bureau of Indian Affairs boarding schools all over the Navajo Reservation and high school in Kayenta. He received an Associates of Fine Art degree at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, and a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from California College of Arts and Crafts. He worked a decade in the 1980s as a National Park Service ranger at Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming and Navajo National Monument in Arizona.

McGinty is the award-winning author of 50 fiction and nonfiction books for children. In her biography it says that she is also a writing teacher and coach, she runs a writing camp for teens, is a children’s book reviewer for the Champaign-Urbana News Gazette, and is a regional adviser emerita for the Illinois Chapter of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.

A frequent presenter at schools and conferences, McGinty was awarded the 2017 Prairie State Award for excellence in writing for children.

McGinty’s next book will be out in August, perfect for the first day of school. “Step By Step” is the journey of a kid on his first day to school and the reassurance from his father that he can do anything if he takes it step by step. Whether it is making new friends, learning the ABCs and numbers, nothing is too much when doing it in small steps.

“The Water Lady” is available at all online book stores and was published by Schwartz and Wade/Random House children’s Books.

For more information, visit alicebmcginty.com.

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