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7/4/2007 – Editorials

By Richard Peterson

The Devils Lake Outlet has been on the front pages of the daily newspapers the past week. The Farmers Press is no different. We’ve had outlet stories in the last few issues as well.

I don’t think there’ll be much new news about the outlet in the coming weeks. I’m sticking my neck out, but I think the filter at the bottom of Round Lake will prove to be operating just fine and that it is impossible for minnows to pass through the filter, through the pumps, into the standpipe tank, through the pipe and through the rock and gravel filter at the top of the hill south of Round Lake. I think the minnows were "planted" by opponents of the outlet.

I also think that the Round Lake filter will be put back in place.

If, by some miracle, minnows were getting through it, the filter will be strengthened with additional layers of wire mesh.

It won’t make any difference, because the outlet is probably not going to operate again this year because of high sulfate levels in the Sheyenne River. If we get significant and timely rains, this could change and the outlet might begin operating again. But I certainly wouldn’t bet on it.

To borrow Shakespeare’s phrase, "It’s much ado about nothing."


It’s too busy this time of year. I haven’t got time to write a column, so I’ll just steal something I wrote in 1979.

"You lazy bum," my wife said last week after reading the paper. "You didn’t write a column again this week."

"Right on," I replied. "Couldn’t think of anything to write about."

Fixing a gaze of utter disgust on me, she replied, "Well, why don’t you write about your hobby?"

"What hobby?" I challenged. "I don’t even have a hobby!"

"Oh, yes you do," she countered as she poked me in my steadily expanding stomach, "It’s called gluttony."

Well, I don’t call it gluttony. I prefer to call it gourmandizing and tasting the grape.

True, my belly seems to be growing by leaps and pounds, but I can always lose weight this winter. It’s tough to keep weight down in the summer and it’s even tougher in the winter, but I don’t have time to worry about it now.

Gluttony, indeed. I’ll admit that food and drink is on my mind most of the time, but not always. When I’m constipated, for instance. And yes, aside from my newspaper reading, the only thing I look at is cookbooks. Incidentally, I have all 27 of the Time Life Foods of the World books. I’ve read them many times.

There’s nothing I like better than to be able to putter around in the kitchen trying out a new recipe while sampling a delicate vintage like Budweiser, for instance.

Saturday night I made homemade sausage. Two recipes of it. Both were flops. But I had four hours of fun trying. And it was edible, after all. At least for me. Everyone else preferred Wheaties.

Sunday I made chili. A great big kettle of it. We ran out of Wheaties, so everyone else had Cheerios.

It’s true that cooking is the only hobby I have. It started many years ago.

My parents, brother and I moved to Minnewaukan from Fessenden in 1951.

Money was scarce (even more so than now) and we moved in, lock, stock and barrel with Grandma Bertha Peterson and her son, Charlie, until spring when roads would allow us to live on the farm.

Grandma, who came to the US from Iceland, had known a hard-scrabble existence. She was frugal to the point of excess. She even saved empty sardine cans under her bed, "just in case there might be a use for them someday." But her frugality was not misplaced. She had always been poor and because of that had never let anything go to waste.

One day Grandma and my mother were gone and after school I decided to let my rising ambitions as a cook come to fruit.

Although only in the fourth grade, I felt confident, even as I do today, that everyone would appreciate my efforts, if not my handiwork.

Leafing through a cookbook, I. came across a recipe for cream puffs.

Lord knows why I chose cream puffs, because I had never seen one in my life, but sure enough, I set out to make a batch.

I can’t remember the recipe, but I do remember that it took quite a few eggs and other items. After half an hour of fiddling around, I came up with a gooey, yellow mass in the bottom of a bowl.

When Grandma and Mom came home they saw this awful stuff sitting in the kitchen. I had given up before even trying to bake the mess, thank goodness. Both of them were laughing about the matter and lamenting the loss of all those ingredients. I didn’t get a spanking.

But Grandma became my first guinea pig. She ate the "cream puff special" for breakfast, not one, not two, but three days in a row.

Nothing went to waste in her house. I wish she was still around.

Today I’m the only one who’ll eat my mistakes.

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