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Today's word on journalism

May 8, 2009

The Last WORD


The Fat Lady Sings, Off-Key, Drools

At about this time every year, like the swallows to Capistrano or the buzzards to Hinckley, Ohio, the WORD migrates to its summer musing grounds at the sanitarium —St. Mumbles Home for the Terminally Verbose.

The reason is clear, and never moreso than as this season —the WORD's 13th —peters out.

It's been a fraught year of high palaver and eye-popping transition, both good and not-so-much. An interminable presidential campaign saga finally did end, and in extraordinary and historic fashion. Meanwhile, the bottom and everything that's below the bottom fell out of the economy, with families, homes, entire industries and —of particular interest to WORDsters and the civic-minded —dozens of daily newspapers ("I don't so much mind that newspapers are dying--it's watching them commit suicide that pisses me off." --Molly Ivins). . . all evaporating. What replaces them, from the individual to the institutional to the societal? Are we looking at a future of in-depth Tweeting?

As any newsperson or firehorse knows, it's hard to turn your back on day-to-day catastrophe --we just have to look at the car wreck. But even the most deranged and driven need a rest. As philosopher Lilly Tomlin once observed, "No matter how cynical you become, it's never enough to keep up."

So this morning, as a near-frost hovered over northern Utah, the unmarked van pulled into the driveway and the gentle, soft-spoken men in the white coats rolled the WORD out of bed and into a straitjacket for the usual summer trip to St. Mumbles, where the blathering one will be assigned a hammock and fed soothing, healthy foods --like tapioca, dog biscuits and salmon --while recharging the essential muscles of cynicism, outrage, sarcasm, social engagement and high-mindedness, in preparation for the next edition.
Summer well, friends.

Speak up! Comment on the WORD at

http://tedsword.
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Feedback and suggestions--printable and otherwise--always welcome. "There are no false opinions."

A taste of Mexico's amazing shrimp

By Shannon K. Johnson

“Where is the bathroom?” I asked of the hostess at Red Robin late on a Saturday afternoon. A question that would hardly seem unusual, but only a few hours early my question would have been phrased very differently.

“Donde esta el bano?”

I have just received the first stamp on the broad virgin pages of my passport and my destination Mazatlan, Mexico.

I had four years of high school Spanish, a hundred dollars cash, and a family who packed 13 bags for eight people. So we loaded up baggage carts and tipped the couriers who brought us out of customs and took a big white van to our resort.

I have never been outside the country and we did not rent a car so I never got a chance to see the “true” Mexico, but I saw the resort side of Mexico. While the open air hummers filled with soldiers whose back’s were slung with black automatic weapons encouraged us to stay in the safe parts of the town.

But other than the occasional convoy driving by Mazatlan was beautiful.

It was hot but not buggy and aside from lots of shopping, and a kayaking trip to a small island for snorkeling with sting rays, many days were spent laying on the beach and munching on food from the resort or made by my Aunt’s mother.

Mexico was the epitome of a lazy vacation.

One interesting fact about Mazatlan is that it is a major shrimping area. Early in the morning my uncle would walk out to the shoreline and buy fresh caught shrimp from the fisherman who sold their wares on the beach.

In the week I have been back I have tried to find fresh shrimp and been unsuccessful. Logan is very landlocked and all the grocers I have been to stock formerly or presently frozen shrimp.

Even though little can be done to imitate the fresh shrimp cooked in fresh lime juice and butter, but here is a close substitute that has a little taste of Mexico.

Since all the shrimp are frozen I purchase peeled and cooked shrimp to make the cooking quick and easy.

I am planning to bring a little Mexico home.

First, I sliced one small yellow onions and nine mushrooms and lightly frying them in butter, garlic pepper and lots of lime juice and of course the shrimp.

While the mix is cooking, I heat up a nice flat griddle and butter the corn tortillas with a tiny bit of garlic salt.

Corn tortillas are naturally stiff and the only way to keep them from crumbling is the warm them up. It can be done in the microwave or the way I prefer-on the stove.

Once the fajitas are fully cooked which should not take long with cooked shrimp. Otherwise wait till the fish turns pink and white rather than the gray of raw shrimp.

But either way make sure the onions and mushrooms are caramelized.

To finish the fajitas I lay a fat slice of fresh mozzarella or spread goat cheese on the tortilla as a substitute for the Mexican cheese mixes that so many use.

In fact there is a type of cheese that is called “Mexican” in Mexico that is white and mild in taste much like the fresh mozzarella rather than the cheddar jack mixes seen stateside as Mexican.

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