Cooking with Trey in Atlanta

Last week, I sat in the Lazy Boy reading a book when the phone rang. It was Trey, my 18-year-old grandson, who happens to think I’m the best cook in the world. I admit I like his thinking that, even though I know better.

“Grandma, I need your help,” he said. “Here’s what I have that I need to cook today. Will you help me turn it into a delicious meal like you always manage to do at your house? The kitchen is pretty well stocked because Mom and I just went to the grocery store yesterday. First, I have 2.3 pounds of beef for stew cut up in pieces.”

“How big are the pieces?” I asked him.

His mom, Julie, who’s recovering from back surgery, chimed in, “About the size of marshmallows.”

Immediately my mind went to the miniature ones. She was thinking large.

“Trey, hang up. I’m going to call you back on video call so I can see what you’re doing,” I told him.

In no time flat, I had him stirring the flour-dredged meat and a big, chopped onion in hot oil in the big electric skillet. In the meantime, Julie was chopping up the red potatoes into marshmallow sized chunks and digging in the freezer for frozen sweet peas and carrots.

“When the meat is brown, cover it with water and 4 beef bouillon cubes, turn it down to simmer and let it cook for about 40 minutes,” I instructed. “At this point, add the vegetables, a teaspoon of black pepper, cover it, and let it cook for another 30 minutes. Taste it just before serving for salt. You might need to add some, but those bouillon cubes have lots of salt in them. Send me a picture of your finished product. You can serve it over rice if you want to.”

Later, he sent me a picture and said his brothers and his parents liked it a lot.

“Thanks, Grandma.”

I sat in my chair, relishing the cooking time with Trey that we had done so efficiently via the video phone conversation. I could see the size of the potatoes and the meat. I could see his grin when he was bantering with his mom about putting green beans in it. She said yes; he was adamantly opposed. Yes, that cell phone is worth all I pay for it, I guess.

Last night on the news, I heard reports about Big Tech (Tweeter, Facebook, etc.) closing down social media accounts of the president, and I was appalled. CENSORSHIP in any form horrifies me. Whether or not I agree with the president and all his actions, I disagree completely with censorship. Granted, Trey and I were on the phone line, but I find the phone and social media closely related. Don’t doubt for one minute that Big Brother can listen into your conversations. Big Brother probably doesn’t want to know how I cook, but he might want to know other things I talk about on the phone. How often do I see on FaceBook that someone has been censored because the content is not what FB wants for its viewers? How far are we from complete censorship? You tell me, but don’t assume it can’t happen. If they can shut down the accounts of the president, never doubt that they can shut down any and everyone else. That frightens me.

In these United States of America where we are guaranteed freedom of speech by our constitution, we seem to be losing our grip. Some of our most naive citizens might thing that only our duly elected public officials could deprive us of rights by changing the laws, but we’re watching as Big Tech assumes that role. I’m certainly not so naïve as to think people will give up social media. We are completely and totally addicted to it. I have a nephew who tells us all the time that he can give up cigarettes whenever he wants to; he just doesn’t want to. Sure, he can. And we can give up Social Media, too. Test yourself. Starting Monday morning, put it down for a week. Once that fails, watch as more and more controls appear and censor you. By the time you realize what’s going on, it’ll be far too late.

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