Category Archives: What I Learned This Week

WILTW: Vichyssoise (Pardon Moi?)

Yesterday, I took a cooking class at The Culinary Conference Center: Soups And More. This was a very hands-on class where everyone got an apron, a hat and chopped/diced/rolled/stirred or whatever was needed. In 4 hours, Executive Chef Rick Low guided us through seven recipes: turkey consomme, acorn squash-pear puree, vichyssoise, spinach and cheese stromboli, grilled flat bread, herb compound butter and bruschetta.



Flat Bread & Bruschetta

Flat Bread & Bruschetta

Turkey Consomme

Turkey Consomme

Acorn Squash - Pear Puree

Acorn Squash – Pear Puree

No pics of the stromboli, but it was great. We made so much food and got to take some home.

The Culinary Conference Center offers cooking classes throughout the year; I’ll definitely go back.

WILTW: Beloved Belindy

Almost everyone (of a certain age) remembers the Raggedy Ann and Andy characters. This week, I learned that they had a mammy: Beloved Belindy. Like her young charges, she had her own book and was an actual doll.


More images of Beloved Belindy (Google Images)

There are a few mentions of Belindy on Raggedy Ann fan sites–one fan points out that, even though Beloved Belindy obviously looked like a stereotypical black mammy, in the books she never spoke in dialect/slang. Take a peak inside the book.

What ever happened to Beloved Belindy? According to Mammy: A Century of Race, Gender, and Southern Memory by by Kimberly Wallace-Sanders:

In 1950, after a twenty four year life span, Beloved Belindy was taken off the market as a direct result of protests from civil rights activists. Interestingly, her later appearance as a black version of Raggedy Ann, without her mammy paraphernalia, is an excellent example of revisionist history.

WILTW: Bad Idea

The Sinking Of The Titanic: The Board Game
The Sinking Of The Titanic
This board game appeared in 1975. Players had to rescue people from staterooms and race to lifeboats. The winner didn’t just win…it was implied that the losers and the people they tried to rescue were lost at sea. T’was perhaps a bad idea to have people perish in a children’s game linked to a real life disaster.  After it’s initial release the game was re-named Abandon ship. (source:

This means, of course, that copies of The Sinking Of The Titanic are rare and worth a nice bit of change now. The copy above is on display at the Greater Astoria Historical Society.

My guess is that the gaming company saw the popularity of disaster movies (The Towering Inferno-1974; The Poseidon Adventure-1972, and lots more) and wanted to cash in.

WILTW: How To Be Black

With the help of Baratunde Thurston and the esteemed Black Panel*, you too can learn:
-How To Be The Black Friend
-How To Celebrate Black History Month (buying this book is a start)
-The Pros & Cons of Being the Angry Negro
-How to become the next Black President
-How to harness the power of your blackness to become a spokesperson for the race.

Part memoir / part instruction manual and loads of fun, How to Be Black is not about limitation, confinement, or adhering to a 10 Commandments like set of rules to preserve racial/cultural purity.

How To Be Black is about being yourself because, as Elon James White would say, everything you do becomes a black thing.**

*The Black Panel is pretty diverse. In keeping with the books premise you get different views of blackness.
**This only works, of course, if you are already black. As pointed out in the disclaimer: The book is not How To Become A Black Person If You Are Not Already Black.

What I Learned This Week – A Different Point Of View…

This week, I realized that all of the books/films I’ve encountered about missionaries have come from a missionary’s point of view. So, I asked The Horde* for books/stories written from the point of view of the people who missionaries (colonizers??) came to save.

Here are the recommendations I received:
Nervous Condition by Tsitsi Dangerembga
Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
Early books by Ngugi Wa Thiongo: A Grain of Wheat, Weep Not Child, I’ll Marry When I Want

I got some reading to do.

*The Horde = the good folks who hang out at Ta-Nehisi Coates’ blog at the Atlantic.

What I Learned This Week – Augusta Chiwy

Augusta Chiwy

Lady Agusta Chiwy
Nurse who tended to American GIs and other casualties in the encircled town of Bastogne during the Battle of the Bulge.

Born in the Belgian Congo, nurse Augusta Chiwy was visiting Bastogne, Belgium, in December 1944 when she volunteered to help at an American aid station. For years, it was mistakenly thought that she died when the Germans bombed Bastogne on Christmas Eve.  So, it was quite a pleasant surprise when  British author/military historian Martin King decided to research her story–and found her alive in a Belgium nursing home.

2011 was a big year for her. In June, King Albert II of Belgium made her a Knight of the Order Of The Crown; she became Lady Augusta Chiwy. The US Army awarded her the Civilian Award for Humanitarian Service in December.

Learn more about Lady Augusta Chiwy: African nurse saved GIs at Battle of Bulge | Belgian Nurse Honored For WWII Bravery
See her describe the Christmas Eve bombing.

How I found out: I was reading  Um So Why Am I Supposed to go See “Red Tails”? Are There Any Black Women in this Movie? at What About Our Daughters and someone mentioned Lady Augusta Chiwy in the comments.

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