I had the opportunity to write an article for Women Writers, Women’s Book. The site was launched in 2011 to be another platform for contemporary women writers and authors around the world writing in English. Its mission is to encourage and promote the visibility of women writers. We are particularly interested in the edges, the intersections between genres, nationalities, languages, arts, cultures.
Barbara Bos is the managing editor and owner of Women Writers, Women’s Books. With sections such as, writing, interviews, recommended reads, agent’s corner, submissions, library 2021, author genie, hybrid publishing, and ask BLIX, Barbara has lovingly and judiciously curated a site that both supports and encourages women writers.
Barbara was born in Holland. After finishing University she left for the UK. Since then she has uprooted herself twice more, currently living with her family in a small village in Galicia, North-West Spain.
It was a dark, cold, grey, January day in Manhattan. The city’s holiday shine had long faded away. Gone from the modern contemporary office lobbies across New York County were the trees, lights, and holiday decorations that made them sparkle. Now, they were more like a rich man’s trophy wife or girlfriend, beautiful to behold, but soulless and cold. At least that’s what went through fifty-three-year-old Clarissa Berman’s mind as she walked through the lobby of her office building on Lexington Avenue.
At 5’8, Clarissa wasn’t considered petite, but tall enough to be above average. A very curvy African American woman, she had big boobs, a generous butt, a smallish waist with a little more tummy than she’d like. Her long, curly, thick hair was a custom mix of Clairol light reddish and cedar red-brown, which played nicely off of the red undertones of her light brown complexion. To say Clarissa was a convert to the natural hair movement, was a bit of a stretch. She’d done so at the suggestion of Mary Ann, otherwise known as her mothership. A woman used to having her will be done, she now suggested things to her adult daughters who’d long discovered that her suggestions were the equivalent of mutton dressed as lamb, but it was still mutton.
From the moment Clarissa and younger sister Elena were able to understand their roles in the family, her mothership Mary Anne Stevenson made it clear that even when they became queens of their own domains, they’d always be the ladies in waiting to her. Growing up, the ‘I am the mother argument’ was the overriding element for almost everything. Everyone from her husband, family, and friends, were in the mothership realm, and therefore subject to her opinions, will, and advice.
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Thirty-five years ago, Newsweek (wrongly) declared that single women over 40 are more likely to be killed by terrorism than to get married—prompting a nationwide crisis whose anxiety still lingers. Nora Ephron translated that factoid into a little move titled Sleepless In Seattle.
“It’s easier to be killed by a terrorist than it is to find a husband over the age of 40″, a male coworker informs Annie.
That statistic is not true!” Annie protests.
Becky (Rosie O’Donnell) settles the debate. “That’s right—it’s not true,” she says. “But it feels true.”
The June 1986 issue of Newsweek titled the piece with the headline “Too Late for Prince Charming?” According to The Atlantic the piece is very much a product, and a reflection, of its time—a time when Americans were navigating the consequences of the baby boom and the women’s liberation movement and the sexual revolution and the advent of the birth-control pill and economic recession and economic prosperity and the many, many other events that made the ’70s and ’80s times of simmering cultural anxieties.
Like millions of people, I liked Sleepless in Seattle. I felt it was a cute, lighthearted, and funny film. Although Newsweek’s article in 1986 was considered hard facts, I found it to be about as filling as cotton candy, with all of the tooth rot.
Thankfully, we really have come a long way. The traditional roles we were expected to fulfill even in the broad-shoulder pads of the eighties, have changed tremendously. More women are going to college and not putting off a career to get married or have children. The average age of first-time brides has risen. Moreover, now these brides have options to ensure their fertility later on when they are ready to have children. Women can freeze their eggs, undergo invitro-fertilization, use surrogacy, or adopt. The biological clock can be paused and reset. Older mothers aren’t look down on any more, and they’re more common now.
It is also possible to find yourself at a particular age with children and a divorce or relationship under your belt. You may be at a crossroads in determining how you want to move forward, and you have options including
Where you chose to meet potential dates is personal and you might have a lot of questions, but don’t know who to ask. Or maybe you know who to ask, you’re just not sure. We want to be a resource for information and a few laughs about the state of dating. No matter who you are, follow the blog for new posts and links to the podcast.
If you are like me, when you get up in the morning you feel like you did any other day when you were say thirty-three. In my mind that’s how old I am. Then I get up in three moves more like a faulty lawn chair, than a nimble thirty-something. However, there is a bright side for those of us who are north of forty and fifty plus. We are at an age when we can enjoy children as parents, or as dare I say Glam-parents. I have yet to find the appropriate word that doesn’t evoke visions of rocking chairs and knitting needles. Although, I have a few friends who have been creative when it comes to how their precious grandchildren refer to them. One of my favorites is Gigi.
That said, it’s the time of year when all the wonder of the world is in a child’s eyes. Granted, we are in the midst of some very trying times with the pandemic, but we can find ways to share the joy with our families, show our love, and face these challenges with resilience. One way to do that is in the kitchen. This recipe is for Sufganiyah. It is a round jelly doughnut eaten in Israel and around the world on the Jewish festival of Hanukkah. The doughnut is deep-fried in oil, filled with jam or custard, and then topped with powdered sugar. The doughnut recipe originated in Europe in the 1500s and by the 1800s was known as a Berliner in Germany.
The recipe for Sufganiyot is from The Children’s Jewish Holiday Kitchen by J Nathan. It was released by Random House in 1995. I’ve adapted the recipe for other dietary needs like gluten-sensitivities, low or no sugar diets, vegetarians and vegans.
Sufganiyah or Sufganiyot recipe by J Nathan adapted by me
1 scant tablespoon (1 package) dry yeast 4 tablespoons sugar (Swerve sweetener, Splenda granulated, Golden sugar, coconut, turbinado, or raw cane sugar pulsed, ) 3/4 cup lukewarm milk or warm water* (dairy: whole, or 3/4 cup of 2% plus 2 tablespoons of half and half or light cream)(almond, soy, rice, or light coconut milk) 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (gluten-free all-purpose flour, sorghum, brown or sweet rice flour, almond flour works when combined 1 1/2 cups almond flour plus 1/2 cup corn flour) Pinch of salt 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 2 eggs, separated (for the yolks 1/2 cup silken tofu plus 1/4 teaspoon baking soda, or 2 tablespoons of soy lecithin) (whites 1/4 cup Aquafaba) 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter or pareve margarine, softened* (vegan butter or margarine) Apricot or strawberry preserves Sugar (Granulated or confectioner’s sugar, Swerve confectioner’s sugar substitute) Vegetable oil for deep-frying
*Use butter and milk if serving at a milk meal, and water and pareve margarine for a meat meal
The reason for the use of the combination of almond flour and cornflour is so that the doughnuts will be light and airy. Almond flour is essentially ground almonds and nuts don’t lend easily to being fried. The addition of cornflour lightens it to make it easier to fry. You can also use arrowroot.
Child: Mix together the yeast, 2 tablespoons of the sugar, and the milk. Let sit to make sure it bubbles. Child: Sift the flour and mix it with the remaining sugar, salt, cinnamon, egg yolks, and the yeast mixture. Adult with Child: Knead the dough until it forms a ball. Add the butter or margarine. Knead some more, until the butter is well absorbed. Cover with a towel and let rise overnight in the refrigerator. Adult: Roll out the dough to a thickness of 1/8 inch. Child: Cut out the dough into 24 rounds with a juice glass, or any object about 2 inches in diameter. Take 1/2 teaspoon of preserves and place in the center of 12 rounds. Top with the other 12. Press down at edges, sealing with egg whites. Crimping with the thumb and second finger is best. Let rise for about 30 minutes. Adult: Heat 2 inches of oil to about 375°. Drop the doughnuts into the hot oil, about 5 at a time. Turn to brown on both sides. Drain on paper towels. Child: Roll the doughnuts in sugar.