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RDJ-- Minestrone Bowl, 10-13-12  RDJ
 Oct 15, 2012 13:59 PDT 

Volume 15      Number 195
US Library of Congress ISSN: 1530-3292

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Minestrone Bowl

1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes
2 cups boiling water
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups chopped lower-salt ham (about 8 ounces)
2 cups chopped onion
1 cup chopped carrot
1 cup chopped celery
5 garlic cloves, chopped
6 cups water
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 zucchini, halved lengthwise and sliced
1 (16-ounce) can cannellini beans or other white beans, rinsed and
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon black pepper
3 1/2 cups hot cooked linguine (about 7 ounces uncooked pasta)
1/4 cup plus 2 teaspoons (about 1 ounce) grated fresh Parmesan cheese

Combine the sun-dried tomatoes and boiling water in a bowl; let stand 30
minutes. Drain sun-dried tomatoes through a sieve into a bowl, reserving
sun-dried tomatoes and soaking liquid. Cut tomatoes into julienne

Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add sun-dried
tomatoes, ham, and next 4 ingredients (ham through garlic), and sauté 5
minutes. Add reserved soaking liquid, 6 cups water, and diced tomatoes;
bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes. Add zucchini
and beans; cook 5 minutes. Stir in basil, salt, and pepper. Place pasta
into each of 7 large bowls; top with broth mixture and cheese. Makes 7

Nutritional Information
Amount per serving
    Calories: 319
    Calories from fat: 21%
    Fat: 7.4g
    Saturated fat: 2.1g
    Monounsaturated fat: 3.3g
    Polyunsaturated fat: 1.4g
    Protein: 17.1g
    Carbohydrate: 48.1g
    Fiber: 5.5g
    Cholesterol: 22mg
    Iron: 4mg
    Sodium: 822mg
    Calcium: 139mg

By Walter Mills

High School Confidential

I was searching for information on the Internet the other day. As I was
leaving a web site, a pop up advertisement lingered on my computer
screen. This kind of advertising normally irritates me intensely, with
its implications that someone else is in control of my computer, and
usually I hurry to wipe it off my screen.

This time, however, the pop-up ad did its job, and I clicked on the link
and followed it along down the rabbit hole of memory to Classmates.com.
The Classmates web site is essentially a message board for linking up
high school classmates. You have to pay for any of the extra services,
but it doesn’t cost anything to take a look. I scrolled down until I
found a listing for Norview High School, entered my graduation year, and
added myself to a list of almost two hundred names that had already
registered. Out of a graduating class of around five hundred, this was
a fairly large percentage.

Out of the two hundred names registered, I only recognized a dozen or
so. Of those, I could only put a face to five or six. Pretty bad
considering that I spent three years in the same half-block-wide,
three-story building with these kids. It’s like not recognizing the guy
who was next to you on the chain gang.

I know that I knew more than a dozen people in high school. I must have
sat next to students in biology and history, but I can’t recall who they
were. What was the name of the boy in Algebra II who made me so angry
that I took a swing at him in the hallway after class? I’ve forgotten,
just as I’ve forgotten the name of the girl I actually punched when I
missed him. Luckily it was only a glancing blow. “You almost hit him,”
she consoled me. “Next time, leave your glasses on.”

Almost as soon as I registered, I began to have doubts. My name popped
up on the list under the ‘M’s with a little note saying ‘new member’
beside it. I felt ridiculous, as though I were already at my high
school reunion standing around with a glass of generic white wine and a
shrimp on a toothpick, people coming up to me, looking at my name tag
and saying, “Nope, don’t remember you.”

I never went back to any of my reunions, so maybe they are not like that
at all. Or maybe they are just like high school, and the popular guys
and girls are surrounded by crowds of their admirers the way that they
used to be. I hope not, but the influence of high school lingers. Why
else would forty percent of us take the trouble to sign up on a class
web site?

Like a lot of other people, I expect, I never went back because I wasn’t
going to risk a reunion until I had made something of myself. I wanted
to be able to walk into the room and hear somebody say, “Isn’t that Walt
Mills, the best selling novelist?” To which someone else would reply,
“Yeah, remember how funny his hair always looked in high school?”

It’s hard to get away from your past. High school is like that
indelible stamp in your passport, the ugly photo on your driver’s
license. You’ve been there and you carry the scars. Even if everyone
has forgotten that you wore your pants too short and your ink pen was
always leaking through your shirt pocket, you can’t forget.

A few days after I registered at Classmates.com I got an email from the
woman who is in charge of organizing our next class reunion, which will
take place next spring. I didn’t recognize her name, so I took out my
high school yearbook, and sure enough, there she was. Never saw her
before in my life.   

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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