” I’d like to do something for my Dad,” said Lizzie, our California daughter,  to her singing teacher.  “I want to sing him a song with a guitar. Do you think I could do it?”

A couple of months ago, Lizzie was planning to visit us and wanted a special gift for her Dad in the nursing home.

“Hmmm, it’s a beautiful idea, the gift of song” the teacher answered.  But you wouldn’t want to do something too difficult. And you might use a ukulele instead of guitar. ”  Her hands started fingering the piano keys.  “You might want to sing something like [and here she burst into song], “Today while the blossoms still cling to the vine, I’ll taste your strawberries, I’ll drink…….”

“THAT’S IT!” Lizzie exclaimed jumping up, and in her excitement grasping Teacher’s hands.  “How did you know?  How did you KNOW???  That’s the exact song I was thinking of!  That’s the song I’ve heard Mom and Dad sing all through my childhood!  That’s the song they sang to my newborn daughter on the night she came home from the hospital!  How did you know?  How did you KNOW? Did I tell you the song I was thinking of beforehand?”

“No,” Teacher replied calmly.  “But it happens to me frequently.  Coincidence is just God’s way of staying anonymous.  But She overplays Her hand all of the time.”

Yes.  I suppose She does. 

I still sing this song to John in the nursing home.  There is little reaction, but his closed eyes and the smile on his face is response enough. 

If you know it, you can plunk it easily on a guitar or ukulele.  It only takes three chords:

Today while the blossoms still cling to the vine,

I’ll taste your strawberries, I’ll drink your sweet wine.

A million tomorrows may all fade away,

E’er I forget all the joy that is mine today.

Oh, I’ll be a gypsy and I’ll be a rover

You’ll know who I am by the songs that I sing.

I’ll feast at your table, I’ll sleep in your clover,

Who cares what the morrow will bring?

And there’s more…... find out for yourself!

Photo by Eva Elijas on

Moong Dhal — a new recipe to me.

When Pietro (son-in-law) worked in Kabul, his house had guards protecting its occupants.    Pietro’s Farsi improved by chatting with the guards and in the course of their conversations, gathered some good recipes.  This is one of them.  It is mild, comforting, protein-rich, filling, and, despite the olive oil, is only 21 calories per ounce (28.3 grams). 

The beans you use are pictured above.  They are not the green mung beans used to grow bean sprouts. They are moong beans. They are hulled and yellow. (And Google doesn’t know the difference.)  Pietro makes this with a pressure cooker.  So, to give you accurate instruction, I had to buy a new one, didn’t I?


A sad farewell to the old cooker with its rounded bottom and broken handle I’d used for 53 years, bought in Iran. You of course could make this recipe without one….and I’m interested to learn how long the cooking time takes on a stove top. If you do make it this way, just peck a little message in COMMENTS on our mutual blog.  Thanks.

Pietro’s recipe makes quite a lot.  Because it doesn’t freeze well, you might want to start out by halving the ingredients.

You will need:  moong dhal, onions, salt, ground cumin, garam masala, pepper, a jar of basic tomato sauce for pasta. 

Put 2 cups moong dhal in a large bowl and soak in plenty of water, rubbing the dhal between your hands. (Use the same cup for all measurements…Pietro probably uses the US standard 8 ozs cup. (227 ml.)

In a pressure cooker or large heavy pan, gently fry 2 peeled and chopped onions in ½ cup olive oil.  When onions are transluscent but not brown, add 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon ground cumin, 1 tablespoon garam masala.    Stir well to incorporate and to enjoy the scent.  Add one jar of pasta sauce, and rinse out the jar twice adding the rinse water to the onions.  Drain the moong dhal and stir into the pot.  Now check the liquid:  it should be a scant 1 inch (2.5 cms) above the dhal beans. 

Bring to a rolling boil. Then cover.  When it starts steaming, cook for 12 minutes.  Turn off the heat and let the mixture remain on the burner as both cool to a peaceful state, before removing the lid. 

 When finished, the dhal should be the consistency of mashed potatoes. Check the seasoning.   It firms up when it is cold.  You could make a quick soup by adding stock.  Lizzie takes it as is to work, and reheats in the microwave…it’s good for staving off hunger.

Oh, and by the way, depending on the pasta sauce, it’s really quite Vegan, isn’t it? 


  1. That song is new to me – I must learn it – I’ve listened & I hope it suits my ukulele.
    Music is so important as we get older, in all sorts of ways.
    I wonder what my children will sing to me?


      1. I tried it with gammon this lunchtime, cooking it while I was cooking the rest of the meal.
        Very tasty, and much quicker than the authentic method.


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