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Pasta, Polenta & Risotto Random Thoughts

Fudgepop, or Frozen Fruit Bar?

July 10, 2020
Fudgepop vs. Organic Mango Fruit Bar

The biggest decision of my day yesterday was whether to choose the Fudgepop, or the O Organics Mango frozen fruit bar. The Fudgepop is only 60 calories, and half the size of the fruit bar, but it’s CHOCOLATE. The O Organics is almost twice as big, and only 80 calories. And yes, I know it’s organic, but, it’s not chocolate.

I’m quite certain all today’s great thinkers are pondering the tough questions like me.

Honestly, I could eat the contents of both boxes in one sitting, but it probably wouldn’t end well. I went for the mango for lunch and the Fudge Pop as my after dinner treat. Maybe I’ll switch it up tomorrow. Oooh, something to look forward to.

Stinking hornworm damage!

But my big excitement this week was finding about 10 tomato hornworms skeletonizing my beloved and only tomato plant. If you ever come back as a tomato hornworm, remember this: Never mess with an Italian’s tomato plants. She will gleefully exterminate you. My apologies to any hornworm lovers out there.

In researching the hornworm, I found out they come from moths which lay their eggs on the tomato plant’s leaves. The eggs hatch and eat like there’s no tomorrow (because there usually isn’t).

But you can spray your tomato plant with something called BT, which stands for Bacillus Thuringiensis. It’s organic and only harms the worm and nothing else.

My beloved and only tomato plant

You can also go out at night, shine a black light on your tomato plant and the horn worm will glow in the dark, so you can find it. Man, the things you learn on the internet.

Or you can just run your fingers along the plant like I did, and when you come to something that feels squishy, just pull it off. Then violently crush the worm with your sneaker, which is vengeful and messy, but disturbingly satisfying. (I credit the finely honed revenge gene I inherited from my mom for that.)

The other thing I’ve been busy with is my book about my mom. I’ve sent it to a few people for feedback, and now I’m waiting to hear back. As Tom Petty wisely sang, “The waiting is the hardest part.”

And I’ve learned, writing the book isn’t the challenging part, the tough part is getting someone to publish it for you. You have to write to agents, and woo them with something called a book proposal, which they then show to publishers. In it, you tell them everything about you and your book, then promise with a blood oath on the lives of your children, that you’ll do everything in your power, to market your book. That’s not far from the truth.

Easy Peezy Mushroom Pasta with Spinach and Pesto

And when I can tear myself away from hornworms and writing, I cook. I made a great pasta tonight. It took about 15 minutes. I bought some fresh mushroom ravioli, sauteed some spinach, and mixed it all together with some pesto (which I always keep frozen). I put a tomato on the plate, with a little basil, drizzled it with olive oil, and a sprinkle of salt, and called it dinner. It was delish!

So, I’m finishing that, still picking up trash on the streets, practicing Italian with Duolingo (I’m on a 35 day streak)walking in the morning and evenings with my meditating music, pondering volunteering possibilities, sitting on my porch, learning to be one with solitude, and trying not to think about the horrors that might await me with work, health, unemployment benefits, etc. Thank God for phone calls from family and friends, and Topper, who has taken to occasional sprinting, usually when I’m in flip flops.

Eat well, dine alfresco, and stay strong people, after all, we really have no choice.

  • Reply
    July 11, 2020 at 4:50 pm

    Best of luck with your book, Fran! I’m sure it’s a fascinating read!
    Bah to the tomato worms. Nasty creatures! Glad that you managed to dispose of them!
    When I was a little girl, my dad planted tomatoes one year. And, as with all of his projects, he then declared that it was the job of my sister and myself to take care of these tomato plants. And man oh man, those plants got the most horrific case of worms. My dad insisted that we get rid of them, but we weren’t allowed to just pluck them off and toss them in the garbage. No, he gave us a big pair of kitchen shears and said that we had to cut each worm in half. He said it was the only way to get rid of them. What? Did he think that the dratted worms would slither out from under the garbage can lids, wiggle their way across the yard and back onto the plants? Why must we cut each one in half? I have no idea, but you should have heard the squeals of terror come out of the mouths of we two little girls, as, night after night (we had a strong crop of worms, let me tell you) we’d spend hours out there, trying to work up the courage to cut those worms, and then watching the goo pour out of them (while we screeched in horror). No doubt the neighbors were charmed with the racket.
    In my adult life I’ve grown tomatoes many times, and nary a worm has shown up. Perhaps I paid my dues that summer of 1963, when my sister and I toiled on those summer evenings with the heart-stopping task of whacking those worms in half.
    I have no recollection of harvesting any tomatoes that summer. All I remember is the worms.
    Kudos to you for the balancing act of the mango and the chocolate pops. Life is an adventure!
    I love your stories! Take care!

    • Reply
      Fran Tunno
      July 12, 2020 at 8:51 pm

      Oh wow Leslie, I’ve never heard of that. Maybe he was trying to toughen you up. They are pretty gross when you smash them, I can only imagine what it’s like to cut one in half. Eeeeuuuu. I’ve never had them before, this is my first year…very weird. As for the balancing act, the Fudge pops are definitely winning. Thanks for taking the time to write!!!!

  • Reply
    Nicol Z
    July 11, 2020 at 3:49 pm

    I’m gone for two weeks and already the hornworms have sprouted?! Oh how I wish I was sitting at your patio table with you. I can’t wait to read your book and may all the publishers recognize how wonderful your stories are. Love you, Frenzy xoxox

    • Reply
      Fran Tunno
      July 12, 2020 at 8:48 pm

      Yes, the bastards would have skeletonized the whole thing I I hadn’t come out and snuffed them out. I took great delight in it, but do miss you terribly. Let’s figure out a time for a chat, when you come up for air. xoxoxo

  • Reply
    July 11, 2020 at 11:08 am

    I’m so glad you are working on getting your book published, Fran! You can always go the self-publishing route if the traditional way doesn’t work. Either way I know it will be a HUGE hit!!

    • Reply
      Fran Tunno
      July 11, 2020 at 3:46 pm

      Thanks Monica, it’s certainly about time. I just had to take advantage of this furlough, when else will I have all the time in the day to work on MY stuff? Never. So, I really had to do it. Thanks for your faith in my book’s possibilities and for always reading! And yes, if a publisher isn’t interested, I’ll definitely self publish. xoxo

  • Reply
    Chas Madonio
    July 10, 2020 at 7:41 am

    Obviously, this pandemic has gone on far too long if you are doing research on hornworms. I never even heard of hornworms. Do they have little horns sticking out of their little heads or do they play little miniature trumpets? I know the dilemma you face deciding between Fudge Pops and the Mango Bars. Nancy has a friend whose Italian mother would say to her, every time she would see her eating fattening foods, “That’s going to go straight to your ass” and she was right. Her friend is rather plump. So, if you need extra encouragement when choosing between chocolate or healthy foods, think of the old Italian lady’s words of wisdom. Then go ahead and eat the chocolate.

    • Reply
      Fran Tunno
      July 10, 2020 at 1:48 pm

      Ha! That made me laugh and that’s exactly what I do. I know what’s good for me, then do the opposite, then feel guilty. But chocolate usually wins no matter what. And yes, when I went to see how to deal with the pests, I learned all about them. I love the blacklight idea! Clearly, I have too much time on my hands! Glad to see you still have your sense of humor in spite of all that’s swirling around us. You and Nancy stay safe! And thanks, as always for taking the time to comment! xoxo

  • Reply
    EmilyAnn Frances
    July 10, 2020 at 7:37 am

    Best wishes for your forthcoming book, Fran. You have an innate sense of humor and I feel like I already know your Mom from your writing. Your book may just be the kind of mental vacation we need right now.

    • Reply
      Fran Tunno
      July 10, 2020 at 1:50 pm

      Oh Emilyann, let’s hope publishers feel the way you do. Thank you so much. Trust me, if I do find a publisher you and all my followers will be the first to know! Stay safe! xoxo

      • EmilyAnn Frances
        July 12, 2020 at 9:29 am

        Sending you a hug—from a great big and safe distance.

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