Of Klout, My First Ambulance Ride, and Chicken Thighs

The subject of Klout keeps coming back in the #UsGuys Twitter stream. We love to measure it, malign it, debate it… But we can’t resist checking our own scores now and then, if only to say that they are a fraction of a point too high or too low, which disproves the whole premise.

I’ll go easy on Klout. In most respects I find it to be a decent measure of a person’s effectiveness on Twitter—no other social network (as of today), but pretty good at measuring how well someone uses Twitter. A score of over 60 is very good; the single digits signal a newbie or a bot.

Anyway, my Klout score has stagnated lately because I’ve been using Twitter less. It goes back to about three weeks ago, when I got my first ride in an ambulance. I wasn’t the patient: that was my Dad. He’s had type 2 diabetes for years and it’s well controlled by medication, but occasionally his blood sugar goes a bit too low and he suffers from hypoglycemia. He’s passed out two or three times before, always briefly, and he always recovered quickly once he got some sugar in him. But this time he happened to pass out on the checkout line at a local supermarket. It caused a bit of a fuss.

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Pressgurka Recipe

Pressgurka is a tradition in our family and was the first recipe I learned to prepare as a child. Mom would peel and slice the cucumbers and I would measure out the ingredients for the dressing. When I was very little I would count aloud the five tablespoons of water and sugar as I measured them. (I’ve sometimes wondered if it was Mom’s sneaky way of getting me to practice arithmetic.)

This is a classic Swedish dish and was always part of our Christmas smörgåsbord (literally a “sandwich table,” but in reality it’s much more than sandwiches). The wonderful thing about smörgåsbord is that it is almost infinitely adaptable—you can add just about anything, and as my family is part Swedish but also part Scottish and French Canadian, we added other traditional dishes. Sometimes I’ve made fish balls (fiskbullar in Swedish), as both the Swedish cookbook and my other Grandmother’s Scottish cookbook contain nearly identical recipes. They were, after all, fishing from different sides of the North Sea.

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Karen’s Not-Yet-Famous Fruit Relish

Thanksgiving is this Thursday (in the United States; Canada celebrated in October) so it seems appropriate to digress from my usual posts and share a recipe. This tangy fruit relish has warm, spicy notes that feel very Autumnal and it goes well with a traditional feast.

I first made this relish two years ago and have been tinkering with it ever since; you’ll see there are several variations. I brought it to a couple of parties, where everyone seemed to like it and I’ve given out the recipe a few times, so now I’m sharing with the virtual community. It’s highly adaptable: you can tweak the spices and even the ingredients, and it goes equally well over a slice of pound cake or as a side dish. Aside from the sugar, it’s quite healthy–but don’t let that deter you!

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