What a stupid thing to say on TV and in the papers. That was my opinion when I heard news of a study on the effects of parents reading to their children, how doing so kept them back from learning how to read to themselves. It is not a new idea; I remember a teacher telling me the same thing, when my children were small, that reading to children made them lazy about learning to read themselves.
When my kids were babies I would sing nursery rhymes to them, a feat in itself because I can't carry a tune and sing like a frog, and at the age of two, I would introduce them to the library. They would choose a book, and from these books and the many we had at home, their father and I took turns reading to them every night before they went to bed.
Every time you open a book to read to a child, it introduces them to a wonderful magical world, and also it is a joyful, fun time for you and your child. Because of this, I truly believe our kids grew up to be voracious readers, not only of books but newspapers and magazines, and even today they never arrive to visit without a book or two in their hands. Just recently, one of my sons said that one of the main things he remembers about growing up was that our house always had lots of reading material visible around the house.
When I opened last Saturday's Globe and Mail and turned to the letters to the editor, I realized that I wasn't the only one that had negative vibes from that study. Sometimes I think these so-called specialists who do studies should have a study done on them.
My youngest brother once told me that in his first year of university, he got confused because one professor would say one thing, another would say something else, and the books he was told to read all expressed differing views on different subjects. It was then that he said to himself, "wait a minute, I'm not dumb, I have a brain, those ideas are their ideas I can read and listen and decide for myself what I think." So I guess I shouldn't be too critical about some else expressing their ideas.
The odd time when I go to the library I'm there when story time is on and all the mothers and grandmothers with children sitting on their laps or in strollers beside them are having a wonderful time, listening and reacting to the story being read to them.
The other thing I read in the weekend paper was that it is apple time in Ontario and I can't disagree with that, hardly a day goes by that I don't eat an apple. Also, it is a time we can put apples in our favorite recipes. A baked apple is one of those favorites.
Try this one from the Foodland Ontario that I've kept from a few years ago, a real keeper.
Poached Apples with Warm Carmel Ginger Sauce
Serves 4- and made simple by using the microwave
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 cup water
3 tablespoons finely chopped crystallized ginger
4 small Ontario Ida Red apples
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup whipping cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
In a shallow microwaveable dish that will hold 8 apple halves in single layer, combine 2 tablespoons sugar, water and 1 tablespoon ginger. Microwave, uncovered, on high 3 minutes or until boiling.
Peel, halve and core apples, brush with lemon juice to prevent discoloration. Arrange in sugar mixture, core side down, cover and microwave on high 4 minutes or until apples are tender, but not soft. Pour off and reserve poaching liquid. Let apples cool, cover and chill until serving. In heavy 2 cup glass, stir 1/2 cup sugar with 3 tablespoon reserved poaching liquid until sugar is wet. Microwave, uncovered on high 4 minutes or until a deep golden color. Carefully stir in cream, remaining ginger and vanilla until smooth. Let stand a few minutes. Place two apples, core side up, in each serving dish and spoon warm sauce over apples.
Apple Streusel Oatmeal Muffins
1 1/2 cups hot milk
1 1/2 cups quick cooking rolled oats
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 apple, peeled and chopped
2/3 cups Skor toffee bits
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup melted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons cold butter, diced
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons rolled oats
1/3 cup Skor toffee bits
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Butter or use large paper muffin cups to line muffin tin. In medium bowl pour hot milk over rolled oats, stir and then let stand 5 minutes. In large bowl stir flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, apple and toffee bits. Add beaten eggs, brown sugar, melted butter, vanilla to oatmeal mixture, blend well. Pour over dry ingredients and mix just until moistened.
To make topping cut butter into flour until crumbly, stir in rolled oats and toffee bits.
Fill each muffin cup to top with batter and sprinkle with topping. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes. Serve warm or cool. Yield 12 large muffins.