Archive for October, 2012

Recipe of the Week – Buttermilk Doughnuts

Submitted by Dave Hutchins

Yield: 2 dozen


3-1/3 cups Gold Medal flour
1 cup Granulated sugar or Splenda sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon Nutmeg
2 Tablespoons Shortening
2 Eggs
3/4 cup Buttermilk


Heat fat or oil (3 to 4 inches) to 375 degrees in deep fryer or kettle.

Measure 1-1/2 cups flour and the remaining ingredients into large mixer bowl.

Blend 1/2 minute on low speed, scraping bowl constantly.

Beat 2 minutes on medium speed, scraping bowl occasionally.

Stir in remaining flour.

Turn dough onto well floured cloth covered board; roll around lightly to coat with flour.

Gently roll dough 3/8 inch thick.

Cut with floured doughnut cutter.

With wide spatula, slide doughnuts into fryer or kettle.

Turn doughnuts as they rise to surface. Fry 2 to 3 minutes or until golden brown on both sides.

Carefully remove doughnuts; do not prick the surface.

Drain, Serve plain, sugared or frosted.

Do not use self-rising flour in this recipe.
Deep Frying Tips:
The right temperature is so important for tender, light doughnuts! If too hot, doughnuts brown before they cook through; if too cool, they become grease soaked. To test temperature without a thermometer, drop a bread cube in. At 375 degrees, it should brown in 60 seconds.

Reader’s Forum – Week of October 22, 2012

For your convenience, all Reader’s Forum submissions are separated by the ## symbol.

In response to Contributor Brian Fischler – Laugh For Sight NYC 2012, Terri

I am the Fundraising Chair of a local group called Western PA BOLD–with BOLD standing for Blind Outdoor Leisure Development. In that capacity, I am always looking for new, creative and innovative fundraisers. That said, how would I go about organizing a Laugh For Sight fundraiser here in Pittsburgh for Western PA BOLD (To the best of my knowledge, no such fundraiser has ever been conducted here)?

My final question is, is the name “Laugh For Sight” trademarked, in which case I know we would have to come up with a different name?

Thank you again for an informative article and also for any help you can provide.
In response to Contributor Nancy Scott – One Little Word, Jim wrote:

After reading “One Little Word” by Nancy Scott, I came away confused as to which word altered her conversation with her friend. Her friend linked the words “blind” and “normal” in the same sentence.

Sighted persons have direct access to print, and can drive themselves from here to there independently. That existence is “normal” for them. Sighted persons cannot imagine what it’s like to be blind. Therefore, existing as a blind person would be “abnormal” for them.
As blind persons, our lives are patterned differently than sighted persons.

For instance, Nancy needed transportation from her sighted friend to attend the play. Assuming both enjoyed the play, different from doesn’t necessarily mean inferior to.

Blind persons use alternative techniques and adaptive technology to achieve the same results as our sighted peers. Therefore, we use different methods and skills to achieve the same results.
From a cultural and historical standpoint, changing the meaning of the word “blind” is a tough proposition.

In Plato’s Republic he states: “Justice is better than injustice; and sight is better than blindness.” Most people in our culture subscribe to that belief. Altering the belief system of the masses constitutes a lifetime challenge.

An Excerpt from the Blog of Christine Ha: 2012 MasterChef Winner

MasterChef has been the craziest, most stressful, most intense, yet most amazing experience of my life thus far. Even though we had long sixteen-hour days of being on set, even though we had dozens of sleepless fitful nights, even though we all developed some sort of addiction or anxiety due to the stress of not knowing what would happen each day, even though we all had trouble adjusting back to our “normal” lives once the show was over; this has been a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

To the family I made at MasterChef. I know I speak for many of us contestants not only from this season but from previous seasons as well when I say the kinship I’ve formed from being on the show means more to me than any prize. I’ve said it countless times before, and I’ll say it again: having met all these folks from such different walks of life than mine; with different ideals than mine; from different backgrounds, beliefs, and cultures than mine; and to have us all bond over such a simple yet universal thing such as food are the most wonderful gifts I can take away from this experience. It continually proves my strong belief that food brings all people together. It doesn’t matter if you’re from Libya or the U.S., gay or heterosexual, Catholic or Muslim, Republican or Democrat, eighty or eight years of age, man or woman–you can sit together and share in a meal and be consumed with love and respect for one another. Everyone in this world needs food for sustenance, and when it tastes divine and reflects a person’s heritage or region, it’s even more beautiful. That is why, above all else, I love food so much–food has the supernatural ability to bring two unlikely human beings together. And MasterChef is utter proof of that phenomenon. These people I’ve met on the show have become my foodie family for life. It is impossible not to love and bond with those who went through the same physically, mentally, and emotionally demanding experiences as me; those whom I ate, drank, cooked, used the bathroom, conversed, napped, played games, changed clothes, did laundry, cried and laughed with day in and day out; those whom I spent twenty hours a day with less the four hours spent isolated in my own hotel room at night; those who were there by my side through the thick and thin of it while my ties from the routines, comforts, and friends and family from home were severed for the whole of sixty-plus days. It was culinary boot camp, and I am grateful for the relationships I’ve formed with the other contestants. Believe me when I say that these mean more to me than the monetary prize, the cookbook deal, the title. I share this title of MasterChef with all those who cooked alongside me in that kitchen.

To the people I’ve reached all over the world. Over the past few months as “MasterChef” unfolded on small screens across America, I’ve received a plethora of mail from people wanting to share their stories with me. There is the teenager who found the courage to try out for her high school soccer team. There are the parents of a child with vision or hearing impairment or paraplegia who now believe their child can achieve something great in life in spite of hard circumstances. There is the newly widowed, the recovering alcoholic or addict, the cancer patient, the unemployed, and the prison inmate who feel inspired to pick up the broken pieces of their lives and demand higher standards for themselves and their future. There is the starving artist who decided not to compromise his passion for theater, film, literature, art. There is the young man who was shunned by his community because of his recent admission of his sexual orientation who found hope and saw light at the end of the dark, dark tunnel. There is the twelve-year-old who wants to pursue culinary school despite others telling her there is no way she can do it because she is autistic or blind. All these people have reached out to tell me that my story has given them some sort of hope. Yes, I hear “you’re such an inspiration” all the time, and sometimes I worry about being patronized or becoming jaded. But when I sit back and think about the impact I’ve had on each individual who took the time out to write or tweet me, and then I think about all the hundreds or thousands more whom I’ve touched but who have not communicated with me to tell me so, and then I’m overwhelmed with such inexplicable joy and humility. There is greater purpose to all this, and I have faith that my story and ability to affect others stretch beyond MasterChef. MasterChef is just a stepping stone to what I can and hope to do for this world in my lifetime. I used to pray that if I could just influence one or two people with the story of my struggles, then I would feel fulfilled and acknowledge that my pain and suffering happened for a reason. But the fact that I now know I’ve touched so many more than just one or two…well, I can only say the blessings are seven hundred-fold. I am beginning to understand why my life unfolded in the way it did, and for that, I would not change a thing.

Excerpt published with permission. The full blog post can be found here:

Contributor Erin Jepsen – Her World, Rich and Beautiful

My daughter, age four and a half, can see things about two inches from her nose. She experiences the rest of the world through her ears, her nose, her memory, and best of all, through her imagination. Sometimes, when she asks me, I’ll tell her what I see outside the car windows, but sometimes I ask her what’s out there, because her version is usually more interesting.

“What’s outside?” I ask, and get treated to a story about a hyena driving a car to work (Abi joined our family from Africa nine months ago). When I ask her what a book says, her fingers scan the Braille and she tells me an entirely different tale about a stranded princess. Walking down the street together, she pulls my attention from the broken fence and abandoned litter to the magical sound of the crunching leaves beneath her feet.

As a person with low vision, I have struggled my whole life to identify what is around me accurately. I give myself headaches trying to read; I worry about tripping when I walk around. When I know I’m missing things around me, I have felt frustrated and annoyed. I’ve felt that the world lacks a certain richness for me that other sighted people enjoy.

Then Abi came into our family. She has introduced me to her world, rich and beautiful. Instead of lamenting the things she misses, she notices sounds and smells I overlook. Most of all, she populates her world with imaginary characters and impossible situations that make me laugh, and make me think. How important is the “real world” anyway? The real world that is full of ugliness and imperfection perhaps isn’t as vital as her world of stories and beauty. Sure, there is a certain amount of interaction that must be accomplished in the real world–I’m not describing a withdrawal or an unhealthy denial of her surroundings. What I observe is a scenery, an invented landscape that’s even more delightful at times than our mundane world of streets and houses and trees.

One of the things about my own low vision that I’ve always enjoyed is the unique perspective with which I see the world. Now, as I get to know my daughter, her unique scenery entertains me in a similar way. Rather than describing the world that I see and hear, it’s fun to ask her to describe the world that she’s thinking about. Rather than assuming my world is richer than hers because I can see more than she can, I love to dive into the world that she experiences, into a place that’s taken in differently than mine, but is in no way inferior.

I had thought that as a person with one foot already in the blind community, I would not have a “sightist” mentality. I was wrong. With our culture so focused on the visual, it’s hard not to view non-visual experiences as inferior, with a few exceptions, like recorded music or audio books. During the past nine months of having our daughter home, I’ve learned a deeper lesson, that her world is not just equivalent to mine; it’s sometimes better. At only four, she knows the power of a good conversation, or the joy of a shared story. If I will take the time to listen, she tells me all about the scenery in the landscape of her world, and I’m surprised at how accurate it really is.

Feature Writer Karen Crowder – Ray Bradbury: How He Influenced My Life and Writing

Ray Bradbury, a fantastic science fiction, short story, and fantasy writer, died at 91 in early June of this year. He wrote for over sixty years and his writing always gripped my attention. This time of year always makes me think of him, as his stories tended to have some Halloween-type themes.

The first time I read one of his books was after summer school in 1967, when I got “Medicine for Melancholy” from the Perkins Library. I was captured by his descriptive prose; hours flew by as I escaped into worlds of fantasy, suspense, or science fiction.

I especially liked his sensitivity towards the problems of children and adolescents. In one story, the plot centers on a girl stuck who misses her home on Earth, and the other students at her school mercilessly bully her for her love of sunshine. They do not understand why she dislikes the constant rain on Venus.

I would also read his short story collections, like “Illustrated Man,” “Machineries of Joy,” and “The October Country” with Robert Donley’s brilliant narration. When I was at Lion’s World in Arkansas, the librarian allowed me to keep an aging Braille copy of “The Day It Rained Forever.” The librarian told me it was falling apart, unaware of the gift she had bestowed upon me. My favorite stories from that anthology are “The Scent of Sarsaparilla,” about a man’s homemade time machine, bringing him to summer days of his youth. “Dark They Were and Golden-eyed” are about new colonists on Mars and how the planet changes their lives. “Here There Be Tygers” concerns space travelers’ arrival on a pleasant Earth-like planet.

When doing research for my term paper for college on his life and writing, I did not realize he worried about our increasing reliance on technology as he spent his childhood in a small town in Illinois. The presence of this theme occurred in the books “Dandelion Wine,” “Something Wicked This Way Comes,” and “Farewell Summer.” “Dandelion Wine” is about carefree life in a small mid-western town during summer in the 1920s. “Something Wicked This Way Comes” is about an autumn carnival before Halloween. The carnival is no longer fun, especially when a ride and game mysteriously malfunction.

In 1988, right before Halloween, I had my first date with Marshall at a friend’s house. He brought a taped version of Bradbury 13, a series of dramatized stories that aired on public radio in the mid 80’s. “The Ravine” was a scary story about young women going to the movies. When one woman starts walking across a bridge to her home, she thinks there are the footsteps behind her, and she can’t decide if they’re real or part of her imagination. You can feel the suspense as she crosses the bridge at night to her home.

The last book I read in 2008 was his biography as told by him. His encouragement for writers was to write every day and work on something you may publish each week. These words motivated me to revise and submit writing to Consumer Vision that summer–beginning a new chapter in my life. I have this author to thank for his inspiration and the countless escapes into wonderful worlds on and off this Earth. He has left our world richer for his wonderful writing.

Sources: Various book titles and dates were sourced from Wikipedia.

Feature Writer Steven Famiglietti – A Simple Change, A Big Result

Usually, I write about technology or personal experiences that I have gone through in my life. But this week, I wanted to share a recent discovery with everyone, because I think it could be helpful.

For many years, I’ve experienced muscle and joint pain. I’ve mentioned it to my doctor, but he didn’t think it was anything serious. I never insisted that any tests be performed and I figured that this was how the rest of my life was going to be. What puzzled me was that I am still young and I try my best to eat well, exercise, and get plenty of rest. I even do stretching daily to help with the joint and muscle discomfort.

Since I was born very prematurely, a few doctors had told me that my pain was a side effect of my early birth. This was another reason I figured that I would always experience this uncomfortable way of life.

I have been talking with friends of mine about this issue because this pain causes me to become easily tired and unmotivated. This is not a healthy way to live since I work a full time job and have a new dog to care for each day.

Several of my friends told me that they have been following a gluten free diet. I began to read about this kind of diet online and I’ve been talking to them about it. All of them explained that they feel much better as a result of eating gluten free and each person has said that they are more alert and, all around, feel much better.

So a few weeks ago, I decided to give it a try. Before trying it, I made two decisions–I would finish all of the foods I had already purchased, and if I didn’t see any results, I would go back to my old ways of eating. After only a few days, I noticed that I was more alert, and my joint and muscle pain had nearly disappeared.

The week before I started eating gluten free, I rated my pain on a scale from 1 to 10. During that week, there were a few days that my pain levels were up in the 6 to 8 ranges. Now, my pain levels are down to 2 and on some days they are at a 0. It is very interesting to me that a person can be fully able to eat and digest all foods, but they can actually be intolerant to some foods. After all, what we eat ends up being carried all throughout our bodies. Therefore, if something we eat should bother us, it is logical that if we eat things that don’t bother us, we can feel better.

I am going to continue my experiment and see how things progress throughout the next several weeks. I will say, I am feeling very well and I have quite a lot more energy during the day. I am sure that many of you are wondering why I haven’t consulted with my doctor, but I will be seeing them in a few weeks for my yearly exam and I am going to share my findings. I’m very interested to see what he has to say on the matter. I would also recommend that if any of you are considering changing your diet drastically, to please consult your doctor during the process as well.

Have any of you tried adjusting your diet to solve pain or discomfort? If so, share your findings in the Reader’s Forum.

Feature Writer Lynne Tatum – A Taste of Old New York

We have made several trips to the Tenement Museum in the past to learn about the families who inhabited the old buildings, but this time, comfortable shoes were not a prerequisite. All we needed to do was sit at a table and wait for the goodies to be distributed. We were in the middle of a fabulous food tour of the eateries in the neighborhood of the Tenement Museum–some which have been around for over a hundred years.

The lower East Side was a well-known home to a melting pot of immigrants. In addition to the tasty treats, it was interesting to learn that some of the eateries and shops are no longer staffed solely by descendants of the original immigrants, but, in some cases, food is still prepared in the original manner and is blessed by a Rabbi in order to maintain the kosher standard and seal.

Prior to the taste test, an educator invited us to share our memories about food. Several stories were centered around delicacies served during the holidays. My strongest memories, though, are of the incredible west-Indian dishes prepared by my mother that I will never enjoy again. It is highly unlikely that I will find a restaurant where they are prepared the way she did. This was a shared realization.

When you think of New York, you probably think of bagels, but perhaps not bialys. I must have had a bialy at least once, but I really didn’t recall the taste or consistency. We learned that bagels outsold bialys because they were easily mass-produced. The bialy has a distinct thumb-shaped indentation where the garlic is embedded that cannot be reproduced by any machine. I also learned that bagels contain a bit of lye and are boiled. I’ll stick with bagels, though, as bialys are a bit dry for me, but are somewhat improved by a smear of cream cheese. As an aside: we do have a deli here known as Bagel and Smear.

Another favorite food we sampled were pickles. The Pickle Guys ( now sell them in large, red barrels. Originally, the barrels were indeed made of wood. The pickles are, however, prepared in the good old fashioned way and flavors abound. We sampled one called the new pickle that was not as dill as I like, but had a pleasantly mild taste. I even bravely sampled a pickled pineapple. Definitely a pineapple on steroids, I’d have it again. The establishment also offers pickled papaya.

This 12-course tour was topped off by chocolate-covered pretzels from Economy Candy ( where you’ll find a multitude of nuts, dried fruit, and candies from your childhood and today.

You can imagine that this fact-filled tour has shot to the top of my favorites list.

Feature Writer Terri Winaught – Susan’s Legacy

When Susan Komen was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 33, neither she nor her sister Nancy Crinker knew things they wish they had known. Since it was their family doctor who diagnosed Susan’s cancer, she never thought to get a second opinion. For example, when this doctor brought in a surgeon who pronounced Susan “cured” after surgery, Susan was happy because that’s what she wanted to hear. Unfortunately, it was only five months later when Suzie found a lump under her arm. A biopsy indicated that the cancer had spread to Susan’s lymph nodes and right lung.

As she continued to fight, Susan was inspired when former First Lady Betty Ford went public in 1978 with her breast cancer diagnosis. “If she can fight, I can, too,” became Susan’s attitude.

Before losing her valiant battle, Susan told Nancy that she wanted to help other women by working on a breast cancer cure. Nancy’s response was to found Race for the Cure(R) and the Susan G. Komen Foundation in 1982. Since its inception, the foundation has been involved in every aspect of breast cancer intervention.

Starting with early detection, the survival rate in 1982 for women whose cancer was found early was 74 percent. With 70 percent of women 40 and older now getting regular mammograms, the survival rate is now 99 percent, and the incidence of breast cancer has been reduced by 33 percent.

Moving on to funding, the federal government currently allocates $850 million to breast cancer initiatives compared to $30 million in 1982. Additional funding sources include: the Astrozenica Foundation, the Men Against Breast Cancer Foundation, and the Komen Foundation’s allocation of close to $1 billion in grants.

Global community outreach, advocacy, and health education are additional ways the Komen Foundation has been and continues to race for the cure. More specifically, regarding leadership, this foundation not only has affiliates nationwide, but also in 50 countries.

Though no one would minimize the significance of these milestones, but everyone would probably agree that there is still work to be done. If the past 30 years are any benchmark, it is likely that Susan’s legacy will last for many more years, and hopefully be victorious in racing for a cure.

Sources:,, and

September 2012 audio version

Welcome to the Matilda Ziegler Magazine audio player. To begin listening to the magazine, simply click the “Read more” link below. Once you select the month, an embedded media player will start playing the magazine immediately. While using this player, you can press the control key plus the space bar to pause the current article. To proceed to the next article hold down the control key and the shift key and then press the N key. To go back to the previous article hold down the control key and the shift key and press the P key.

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Feature Writer Alena Roberts – How the iPad is Changing the World of Education for Children with Disabilities

This week I had the pleasure of attending a webinar that discussed using the iPad with children who have multiple disabilities. As an iPhone user, I was aware of the built-in accessibility, but I wasn’t aware of all the great apps and accessories that can be used to help students who have more severe disabilities. As a future teacher of the visually impaired, it was exciting to learn how a mainstream device is changing how students learn.

The first part of the webinar discussed accessories that can be used with the iPad to make it more usable. One of the purposes that the iPad can serve is to be a communication device for students who are non-verbal or have difficulties communicating. The iAdaptor is a case that turns the iPad into a communication device. It has built in speakers, a protective cover for the screen, and a stand for when it’s placed on a table. Other cases that were recommended include: Invisashield, RJ’s Ultimate iPad case, Ballistics Tough Jacket, and Grip Case. Along with being a communication device, the iPad can also be used with students who use switches instead of a keyboard. A switch is a device that is used to activate buttons like a mouse. Many apps have been designed to be used with switches, and now with Bluetooth, the switches don’t even have to use cords anymore. Some of the switch options for iPad users include the applicator from Inclusive Tech, Blue2 from Ablenet, and RJ Cooper Bluetooth Switch Interface. To learn more about switches and the apps they can be used with visit this link: Accessible Apps for iPad.pdf

With the added accessories, many apps can be used with students to help with learning and interaction. One of the main causes of visual impairment today is Cortical Visual Impairment. These students have vision problems due to brain damage, rather than a malfunction of the eye itself, and people with this condition require extra stimulation to help their brain see images better. Some of the apps that work well with these students include Five Little Aliens, Sensory Light Box, TapnSee Zoo, Peekaboo Barn, Jitterbug, and Bumper Cars. These apps are all simple, but very interactive.

The iPad is opening doors to these students that weren’t even available a few years ago. Children who have multiple disabilities no longer have to have equipment that costs thousands of dollars for them to be able to communicate, learn, and interact; and the suggestions I offered only scratch the surface of what the iPad is really able to offer students today.