Stoic the Vast and Dora the Explorer; Tomato-cornbread salad

Here’s the thing: A whole lot of stuff does not matter once you get past, say, the quarter-century mark. My husband, Stoic the Vast, thinks that applies to everything (that it doesn’t matter), but he’s wrong. Some things do matter, just not the way people behaved in your high school class 50 years ago.

My classmates Mary and Barb and Mary’s 94-year-old mum, Elizabeth.

As Stoic likes to remind me, our brains aren’t fully formed until we’re in our mid-20s so when we were 16, 17 and 18, we were pretty much idiots. Actually, it seems like I must have been rather a rude idiot because there were more than a few women who looked at me sideways with no love at all. I obviously dismissed them as not important and must still because I don’t remember any of their names after spending 4 days with them last week. A whole lot of my classmates are a whole lot nicer than I am and, consequently, seem to have a whole lot more fun. Hmmmmm.

The woman on the back of whose neck I wrote  with ballpoint pen is still friendly, who knows why? Which is good because I liked her then and enjoy her mordant wit now.

My entire reunion experience was a lot like Liz Lemon’s on “30 Rock” according to our youngest, Dora the Explorer. Most of my classmates thought Stoic was in our class and liked him a lot, and I found out I, too, was not especially nice unless it suited me. Hmmmm.

I think now, after those 4 days and driving about 1200 miles, that my family and the times were more to blame for my unhappiness than my classmates. As Stoic told me every time we went anywhere in a bunch, “These are some really nice people.”

We had just over 100 in our Class of ’62. Twelve have died, and yet 69 came back so that was most of us.  Stoic is very fond of the food in central Pennsylvania, and we ate a lot of it.

Thursday dinner through Sunday brunch I managed my eating. Once we got in the truck Sunday midday, though, all bets were off. I ate too much on the road and then again Monday but pulled myself back up onto the wagon on Tuesday with no great damage done. When I overeat, I not only don’t lose weight, I feel lousy, too. Slowly, slowly, it is dawning on me that I do myself no favors over-eating and under-sleeping.

I walked in Pennsylvania and have walked since at home. I’m getting ready to go yank weeds for an hour. I’ve entered my calorie and water intake on The reunion was not the end of my taking care of myself but, I hope, a lengthy beginning.

And with Dora about to leave for four months in East Africa, my world feels like a friendlier place.

We came home to wheelbarrows-ful of tomatoes and there’s nothing better you can do with them than this salad. Recipe says it makes 10 servings, but that would be 10 servings for mice only, not hungry persons. The avocado and the cornbread combined make something celestial.

Tomato-cornbread salad with avocado and cilantro

5 cups 1/2-inch cornbread cubes

1-1/2 pounds tomatoes, stemmed, skinned, seeded and cut into medium dice

Salt to taste

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 red onion, cut into small dice

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

2 avocados, cut into medium dice

1/4 cup olive oil

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

Ground black pepper to taste

Heat oven to 250°. Place cornbread cubes on rimmed cookie sheet; bake until bread dries out, about 30 minutes, then set aside to cool. Salt tomatoes, stir in garlic and let stand until juicy, about 30 minutes. Drain off liquid. Toss onion, cilantro, avocado, olive oil and vinegar with tomatoes. Add pepper and adjust salting. Add bread; toss. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

And to think I’ve never liked cilantro before this summer!



2 responses to “Stoic the Vast and Dora the Explorer; Tomato-cornbread salad”

  1. Love the way you think…and write! Gotta try the tomatoes and cornbread!!!!


    1. thank you. the salad is sooooo good. i haven’t forgotten you want the rice salad recipe. xo, joa


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