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RDJ-- Creamy Mexican Crab Dip, 08-25-12  RDJ
 Aug 26, 2012 06:56 PDT 

Volume 15      Number 155
US Library of Congress ISSN: 1530-3292

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Creamy Mexican Crab Dip

1 (8-ounce) package Neufchâtel cheese
1 (8-ounce) block nonfat cream cheese
1 (6-ounce) can lump crabmeat, undrained
1/2 cup salsa

Place cheeses in a microwave-safe bowl, and cover with wax paper.
Microwave at MEDIUM (50% power) 2 to 3 minutes or until softened,
stirring with a wire whisk until smooth. Drain crabmeat through a sieve
into a bowl, reserving 1 tablespoon liquid. Add reserved liquid,
crabmeat, and salsa to cheese; stir well. Serve warm or at room
temperature with baked tortilla chips, raw vegetables, or breadsticks.
Makes 2 1/2 cups (serving size = 1 tbs)

Nutritional Information
Amount per serving
    Calories: 24
    Calories from fat: 49%
    Fat: 1.3g
    Saturated fat: 0.8g
    Monounsaturated fat: 0.0g
    Polyunsaturated fat: 0.0g
    Protein: 2.3g
    Carbohydrate: 0.5g
    Fiber: 0.1g
    Cholesterol: 9mg
    Iron: 0.1mg
    Sodium: 80mg
    Calcium: 25mg

By Walter Mills

The Spike

Each weekday morning I get up an hour before dawn, stumble downstairs,
and make coffee. There is usually a brief struggle with the cats, who
demand their breakfast and try to trip me several times before I reach
the kitchen, but I am single-minded. They can wait until the coffee is

Coffee is a vice and doubtless some kind of health risk, but who cares?
In the morning my mind is a dry pump, and if it is not primed by a
generous infusion of caffeine, then I may go back to bed and not bother
to get up.

I think it was coffee that killed the French novelist Balzac back in the
19th century. He was addicted to a powerful Turkish brew that he drank
in small cupfuls all night long to fuel his prodigious output of words.
Tens of thousands of words a night, night after night, year after year,
until the whole story of his times was told, and then his heart exploded
like a firecracker from too much caffeine.

Smoking is another vice that once seemed worth the price it extracted.
In his deeply moving memoir of the Spanish Civil War, Alvah Bessie
spends almost as much time inventorying who had cigarettes and where to
get them as he does describing battles against the fascist armies
invading the republic. In a photograph, the author stands defiantly in
his rough uniform and campaign cap with a long cigarette drooping from
his lips, like Bogart in Casablanca. He looks inseparable from his weed,
as were an entire generation of soldiers who went to war and only later,
if they survived, paid the price for their addiction.

After years of not smoking, I still sometimes have a longing for the
sweet taste on the tongue, the bite in the lungs, and the focusing of
concentration that comes from the glowing coal and the smoke curling up
before my eyes. In wartime, smoking was both a private act and a social
interchange, and in both senses, a civilizing force against the
inhumanity of war. Whether sharing a smoke with a pal or lighting up in
a lonely foxhole, the GI was finding a moment of freedom. Too bad he
couldn’t give up the terrible habit once the war was over.

For many an Englishman, tea has filled the role of a civilizing
addiction. In “The Spike,” George Orwell’s first-person account of the
homeless shelters in England during the Depression, he describes how
even the pitiful tramps who were served a miserable portion of dry bread
and weak tea in the spike before being driven out to walk the roads,
depended on their cup of comfort. “It is their food, their medicine,
their panacea for all evils. Without the half gallon or so of it they
suck down a day, I truly believe they could not face their existence.”

In the spike, the official in charge of the shelter, the terrifying and
petty Tramp Major, confiscated the tramps’ cigarettes, made them stand
in long ranks half-dressed to be inspected by a doctor, and even tossed
good-tasting food into the garbage rather than spoil the tramps with

We have our own Tramp Majors protecting us from ourselves. The health
and fitness industries would have us believe that we can build a better
human being if we give up our vices, eat the right foods, and trudge a
few miles a day on the tread mill. If we dress in spandex and rub Retin
A into our wrinkles, we will look better and feel nobler and be happier.
But buff is no substitute for character, as Bogart proves.     

Yes, let us make better choices about our diets, give up smoking if we
can, take a walk or ride a bike if it gives us pleasure. But the
fanaticism of health, the grimness of exercise, the obsession with
maintaining the illusion of youth into old age, only diminishes us. Life
is too short to try and live forever.    

Read more of Walt's writing at his blog:

(The above column originally appeared in the Centre Daily Times and is
copyright © 2012 by Walter Mills. All rights reserved worldwide. To
contact Walt, address your emails to    awmi-@verizon.net ).

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