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11/29/2004

SNOW

Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 9:42 am

It looks like 5 or so inches of snow fell during the night. Bino said it was more like 8″ where he lives a couple of miles south of us. Brit woke up early and said he was freezing. He kicked up the furnace and crawled back in bed. We were surrounded by warmth when it was time to rise and shine. He ran the snow blower over the front walk in case the UPS man wants to deliver a package. I can’t imagine anyone else wanting to venture up this way right now, but the way is clear if you wanna.

My calendar is clear today so I can concentrate on laundry, cleaning and Christmas stuff. And, I need to go to the wellness center. Always, forever more, I’ll need to go to the torture place.

ADOLPH VOPAT PLUS WILSON’S WINTER CARNIVAL

Filed under: Wilson Musings — Peg Britton @ 9:33 am

Please join us for this month’s Business Breakfast on Wednesday, December 1st at Made From Scratch in Wilson. This month’s featured speaker is Adolph Vopat. Adolph will speak on Macular Degeneration. Macular Degeneration is the leading cause of vision loss in people age 60 and older. 1.6 million people suffer from age related advanced Macular Degeneration. Adolph recently completed a two year study of this disease. Adolph encourages everyone to bring their questions. Please join us on Wednesday, Dec 1st, at Made From Scratch. The Breakfast meeting runs from 8:00am to 9:00am. We hope to see you there.

This Saturday, December 4th there will be fun and entertainment at Wilson’s Winter Carnival. The Carnival will offer a variety of things to do. There will be a bake sale, games for the kids, refreshments, a play, and a visit from Santa. This would be a great time to drop the kids off and do some shopping in Wilson. The carnival will be at the Wilson Opera House and is sponsored by the Wilson Chamber of Commerce and the Wilson Opera House.
Schedule of Events:
11:00 am - 1:00 pm - bake sale, games and refreshments
1:00 pm - 1:30 pm - Ford’s Theater Company presents “Santa’s Misfits”
1:20 pm - 2:00 pm - Santa visit

See the flyers around town.

Brian Boisvert, Wilson Chamber President

11/28/2004

WHAT CONNECTS HYPNEROTOMACHIA POLIPHILI TO OCCULT

Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 6:34 pm

Answer: mysterious or Chaldean
Winner: Roger Mulligan
Dear Peg,
Just wanted you to know that in the end, you found not only one but two correct answers to last week’s GuruNet Challenge. Unfortunately, though, your name was not drawn as our weekly winner. Now that you’ve got the hang of it, we hope you’ll continue to try your hand at our weekly Challenges!
Regards and good luck,
Shira Be’eri
The GuruNet Challenge

I don’t know how many times I’ve found the right answer, but they just can’t seem to find my name in that hat. I need a win!!!

PESKY SQUIRRELS, DOWNER CREEK AND “THE TREE”!

Filed under: prairie musings, family, friends, Ellsworth — Peg Britton @ 5:22 pm

The fourth squirrel today to be outsmarted is on his way south of the bridge. Another was standing by the tender trap waiting for his turn at entrapment. Three made their way south of the bridge yesterday in the back of Brit’s truck. It is endless. I don’t know where they come from in such numbers. At least Brit is marking them now so we can see if they are returning. There should be time for them to find a new tree hollow before winter weather blasts in.

Christmas came early yesterday in the form of a trip to one of my favorite places, Downer Creek farm outside WaKeeney. We headed that way to take pictures of the WaKeeney Christmas lights, which are spectacular. Stop by to see them if you are anywhere near WaKeeney. We ended up at one of the most comfortable rural havens in western Kansas. That would be at my friend’s farm house, southwest of Wakeeney, not too far from the bluffs. The food and conversation are the best to be found anywhere, and that’s because such nice, bright, hard-working, knowledgeable people gather there. One never knows who that will be, but when I’m there to enjoy it, I’m as happy as a clam. Last night there were seven of us enjoying a full Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings and conversation that stays there when we leave.

Long tall Tyler arrived this morning and in four hours, he and I had the Christmas tree humming with lights and decorations. Nothing else got done, but that much is out of the way. He’ll be back to help with the reindeer, my birdhouse chair and other manner of odd traditional items used to clutter the house from now until New Year’s Day. Tyler’s always amused at the ornaments on our tree and has staked several out for himself. Most are very old; some I made for our first Christmas tree which was a hand-made espaliered chicken wire contraption that caught my eye in a 1951 issue of Better Homes and Gardens, or some such magazine. I used it for years until Dane was old enough to ask why we couldn’t have a real tree like everyone else. I have one dalapidated glass ornament from my parents first Christmas tree. The hundred or more of tree ornaments are ones that have special meaning as we’ve collected them on all our trips, domestic and otherwise. They are an odd assortment, but special. Many were hand-carried from China, Budapest, Bali, NZ, Thailand, …well, from a lot of places where we’ve been fortunate to travel. They weren’t particularly intended to be tree ornaments, but that’s what they became. We have a tree with a personality of its own.

The EHS Bearcats start their season Friday against Lyons. I’ll be going as I’m anxious to see the boys play. I also hope to see the girls in action too. The varsity team members received their jerseys last week. I’m not sure what all that means, but it was an exciting time for the players.

The Parade of Homes was today and I’m sure it was very well attended. Our friends from Salina came over for it and stopped by to check on the progress of the tree before joining others for the tour.

Once I get the rest of the house in order, I can start making mustard sauce and Rom Pope. Yeah!

11/27/2004

CHIRSTMAS TREE

Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 10:33 am

I go screaming and yelling with the thought about putting up a Christmas tree. It’s not that I don’t like a tree, as I do, but 53 years of going through this tortuous yearly ritual have left me in shambles. The erection of the Christmas tree usually is marked by remembering it as the worst day of the year.

For most Christmases, we made a day of going to a tree farm to cut the tree we had previously selected as ours during the summer. It was a family operation with all the neat side bars. The trouble always started with trying to get a large, very heavy tree in one of the 20 or so tree stands we’ve bought or had made over the years. I’m still going to invent the perfect tree stand as no one else has and I have it figured out. The stories to tell about that would fill a book. We even had friends who would gather on that day just to sit and watch the hilarity of it.

Then we converted to an artificial tree. That was an improvement over the worry and hassle of a fresh tree. It’s also close to being a divorce free operation.

But…for some reason, I’ve decided today is the day to drag it out and assemble it, as long as I can get some help from a very tall grandson. My attitude about doing it is even good.

Oooppsss. Conflicts already. The tall grandson can’t come until tomorrow afternoon. We’ll never get it up without a full day to devote to it. Gloom!!!

11/26/2004

MY BLOG GOT A POPDEX CITATION, THE WEBSITE POPULARITY INDEX

Filed under: prairie musings, friends — Peg Britton @ 10:19 pm

My friend “Possumblog” must have something to do with it.

Citations for : kansasprairie blog
www.kansasprairie.net/blog1/blogindex.htm

November 21st
Possumblog
“Peg Britton”
November 21st
Peg Britton
www.auburnmedia.com/wordpress.com [citations] 9:35 AM

Click Here.
I think this is just pretty nifty.

About Popdex
Birth of an index

Popdex came about because an inflated technological ego thought that a current-events news & link spider could be built in a few days. A month later, after many Mountain Dew filled nights and weekends, an index was born.

Not having added anything “new” to what was out there already, the next step was incorporating the popularity of linking sites into the rankings. Thus if websites A and B are extremely popular, and link to site C, then site C is given more weight in the rankings than a site linked to by sites with smaller numbers of inbound links.

A score is computed hourly and the rankings are updated, with the highest possible ranking out of 100 (like a percentage). I call this technology PopScore.

-Shanti

LEFTOVERS!

Filed under: prairie musings, family — Peg Britton @ 10:49 am

Remembering…

My mother was a wonderful cook and some of my best memories were captured sitting around the dining room table enjoying her good meals. My dad loved leftovers and all the creative ways she prepared them. I tended to love her casseroles better than the main event since in my youth I went through a period of years when I didn’t like the looks of a hunk of meat on a platter that I could relate to the living creature from which it recently had been removed. With my limited experience with life in general, it was easy for me to just assume every family was exactly like ours.

After Brit and I were married, I followed my mother’s well-intentioned habit of buying a very large turkey with the accompanying lovely anticipation of her leftover creations. I don’t recall the exact size of the turkey I purchased for just the two of us, but Brit’s recollection is that it had to be the usual 20-24 pound bird that Maggie liked to buy. The largest the oven would hold.

Our first Thanksgiving together was very similar to Mom’s. I had all the family traditional dishes and it was a great meal. Perfect duplication of my mother’s. Brit loved it. I was happy. He was always very appreciative of all the meals I cooked for him, and continues to be, and was glowing in his praise for my culinary accomplishments, however misguided that I was.

He traveled. He was a National Bank examiner and got home only on weekends for Friday and Saturday nights, and then not always on Friday night. Sunday, he was off again to some far away place. Weekends were very special.

According to his story which has not dimmed over the years, every weekend he came home after Thanksgiving, I had turkey, cold turkey sandwiches, hot turkey sandwiches, turkey spaghetti, turkey tetrazzini, turkey hash, turkey and dressing casserole, and all those wonderful turkey dishes my dad just loved. Stuff I assumed every guy just loved. Brit smiled, ate it and thanked me.

By the time we got to turkey soup, he knew the bones had been boiled and there was no further trace of turkey meat. There was a God. But, by then, Christmas loomed on the horizon and the thought of another turkey filled him with overwhelming despair. It was then that he said he didn’t like turkey to begin with, had never liked it, and disliked it even more after his first Thanksgiving as a married man, and if I never had it again, it was fine with him. It was then that I came to the realization that I didn’t like it all that well either.

So, turkey has forever since taken a back seat at our table. One year, I recall the family decided they wanted meatloaf for Thanksgiving. My sister, who maintained the turkey tradition throughout her life, was horror struck when I told her.

Brit’s “turkey story” came to light again yesterday, mainly for the grandsons’ enjoyment. The story has been embellished so much that even I can’t remember the truth of our first Thanksgiving turkey. Since that first Thanksgiving dinner, I have always expanded the turkey menu to include ham with horseradish sauce, which is one of his favorites. Usually, we have something else. And in the many years I reluctantly prepared turkey for whatever occasion, I was sure the leftovers went out the door with the kids, who do have some appreciation for them. One turkey sandwich later and I’ve had my fill of turkey.

I know what we’re having for Christmas this year. Ham!

11/24/2004

HAVE A HAPPY THANKSGIVING WITH FAMILY AND FRIENDS

Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 5:09 pm


OLD AND WISE!

Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 4:02 pm

An elderly man in Phoenix calls his son in New York and says, “I hate to ruin your day, but I have to tell you that your mother and I are divorcing; forty-five years of misery is enough.” “Pop, what are you talking about,” the son screams. “We can’t stand the sight of each other any longer,” the old man says. “We’re sick and tired of each other, and I’m sick of talking about this, so you call your sister in Chicago and tell her.” And he hangs up. Frantic, the son calls his sister, who explodes on the phone. “Like Heck they’re getting a divorce,” she shouts. “I’ll take care of this.” She calls Phoenix immediately, and screams at the old man, “You are NOT getting divorced! Don’t do a single thing until I get there. I’m calling my brother back and we’ll both be there tomorrow. Until then don’t do a thing, DO YOU HEAR ME?” And she hangs up. The old man hangs up his phone and turns to his wife. “They’re coming for Thanksgiving and paying their own way.

TO HEPHAESTUS

Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 12:37 pm

Was Aphrodite really unfaithful?

PEOPLE DOING GOOD DEEDS

Filed under: prairie musings, friends — Peg Britton @ 10:16 am

Sammy Finke will be going to Wichita for the month of December to work for The Lord’s Diner, which is a large soup kitchen in Wichita. She’ll help get ready for their annual fundraiser and will be contacting businesses and donors to ask for donations and contributions. She worked in soup kitchens in NY during her college vacations from studies at K-State, so she’s entrenched in public service and helping the needy.

My friend Joyce and her family in Kansas City will again deliver meals in Wyandotte County on Thanksgiving Day. Another good deed. They’ve done it for so many years I’ve lost count.

Jesse won’t be home for Thanksgiving. He is doing charity work of his own at the “soup kitchen for the cows”. It’s too bad they don’t know it’s a holiday and that Jesse would like some time off. If they did, they’d probably be willing to eat a little bit less and take care of themselves for at least a day. Alas, his girls need constant care, so he’s giving it to them morning and night. This weekend will have him beat by the end: He’s got a large paper that needs to be typed up in addition to working plenty of morning shifts (6:00am), evening shifts (6:00pm) and the red-eye, midnight to 3:00am shift!

And to all those here in Ellsworth who take those extra steps to make the holidays special for others less fortunate, we thank you.

RURAL KANSAS NEEDS MORE EXPLORERS CLUB MEMBERS, ACCORDING TO MARCI PENNER

Filed under: prairie musings, friends — Peg Britton @ 10:05 am

Dear Kansas Enthusiasts,

It occurred to me recently that to reach a goal one must put it out there to the universe. I want to do that with you now.

My goal is to reach 5,002 current (dues paying) Kansas Explorer Club members by the end of 2005. 2005 happens to be the tenth year of the Kansas Explorers Club.

The main goal of the Kansas Explorers Club is to provide useful information to interested people in hopes of inspiring them to travel the state, or simply to appreciate it more through armchair travel. The grand hope is to find enough of those interested people to create a Tipping Point of economic impact in rural Kansas. We currently have 1,500 active members though over 3,300 have joined over the years.

My thought has long been that if we had 5,000 active Kansas Explorer Club members that it would be enough to create that Tipping Point. The Tipping Point, in this case, would be where we start to see a noticeable impact on the economy and psychology of rural towns. Five thousand members finding out about all these fascinating places around the state and learning how to make a difference — and then a healthy percentage actively exploring is a wonderful scenario!

We have seen the impact of what 1,000 to 1,500 active explorers can do and it has been impressive in some cases. Take this effect x 4 and I think we’d see some marvelous things happen!

Explorers are taught the limitations and realities of small town travel so the expectations are in line with what they find. Explorers are taught to interact with the towns or attractions in a way that makes a difference like patting a volunteer on the back or feeling good about spending money.

This letter is my way of telling the universe that we are ready to reach the goal of 5,000 members.

As an explorer, you are part of the pathway to the goal. It might be by buying one or more gift memberships; it might be by giving out Explorer brochures and urging membership at one of your civic meetings; it might be taking a friend on an Explorer adventure and inspiring them to join.

We are not just looking for numbers but a quality audience, people emotionally invested in Kansas. We’re looking for members who truly are interested in knowing and participating in the Kansas experience and would likely renew their membership year after year.

Individual membership to the club is $18.61; family is $30. The main benefit is a bi-monthly newsletter. You can register online at explorekansas.org/signup.html. I’d be glad to mail brochures if you’d like to tell about the explorer club at a meeting. It’s easier to click here and then click on the Explorer logo on the left!

So here it is: The goal is to reach 5,002 active Kansas Explorer Club members sometime in 2005 and we need to start now. It will make a difference. Could you please help me put this goal and its accomplishment out to the universe?

Rural Kansas needs the boost. See you on the road.

SEE KANSAS WITH NEW EYES!
Spread the word!
Marci Penner, director

You can join the Kansas Explorers Club, and I encourage you to do so, by clicking on the Explorer Club logo on the front page of my website Click Here!

Marci is in the final stages of completing her Kansas Guide Book for Explorers. It will be at least 384 pages, probably 4-color all the way through, and cost will be in the neighborhood of around about $24. Marci Penner traveled to every one of the 626 incorporated towns in the state and many unincorporated towns to research for her book. It has taken over two years and 40,000 miles of tremendous effort on her part and the results will be overwhelmingly significant for Kansans about Kansas. It will be the most comprehensive guidebook on the market!

People who love Kansas, its backroads and out-of-the-way places, will find this book a treasure trove of information. Keep you eyes open for media announcements of it’s availability (and I’ll have it here as well).

Put your support behind a great organization and join or renew your membership today. Put some money aside to buy her Guidebook. As an “Explorer”, you’ll receive an 8 page newsletter every other month telling you about all the wonderful out-of-the-way places in rural Kansas. It’s great for networking. It’s a keeper. You’ll be helping to sustain rural Kansas.

STEPHEN F. AUSTIN STATE UNIVERSITY FOOTBALL ALL-TIME ROSTER

Filed under: prairie musings, family — Peg Britton @ 9:38 am

Dane Britton ‘70, ‘71

(My, but that seems like only yesterday.)

11/22/2004

BAD TACTICS

Filed under: prairie musings, friends, political musings — Peg Britton @ 6:43 pm

“Did you know about the fund raising tactics the Republicans are doing? I felt so taken today and I did manage to get out of it. But the anger it breeds is horrible.

The NRCC (National Republican Congressman(?) Committee) using Tom Reynolds name called the office and asked me to be on a physician advisory board, to attend a President’s dinner, fill out some surveys and let my voice be heard, etc. Ha! Then they said they request a one time $500 gift and “give us your credit card number”. They complete the call by telling me that the $500 is not tax deductible as it is going to support congress and you cannot accept gifts from foreign citizens or make contributions to organizations. I was livid when they hung up.

I was also played and humbled. Here I thought that maybe the KAFP or someone had nominated me for some position but I kept wondering why me. Then well why not me and that was my problem. The arrogance to think that anyone would listen that intently to me — but the “gift” was the key. Maybe they will listen to me some day but I am not going to pay them to do it.

What is worse is that I didn’t know who Tom Reynolds is and people in the office really thought he represented Western Kansas. He is from New York for Pete’s sake.

Anyhow that has been my adventure for today.”

From a female physician friend of mine.

MY SWEETIE

Filed under: prairie musings, family — Peg Britton @ 4:33 pm

For months, Brit has mentioned at one appropriate time or another, that he was soon going to be 80. Usually, it was in response to something…like, “I’m not moving those 10 cords of wood before breakfast ’cause I’m almost 80, you know!” Those comments are always confusing to our kids who tend to remember these things until they stop to subtract 1925 from 2004.

Ally got the wrong number of candles on Todd’s birthday cake one year and he and Dane became twins for months until we got that resolved. Now we don’t allow Ally to be in charge of candles. It’s too confusing, but very funny.

I reminded Brit this morning that today was the last day he would be 78 and tomorrow, when he reaches 79, he can actually say “I’m almost 80, you know!” He was happy with that.

We’re going to celebrate his big day on Thursday at the Midland which really isn’t all that fair since he’s not fond of turkey. But every year, he gets to share his birthday with Tom Turkey. Neither of us ever once thought long ago, when we were married, that we’d still be eating turkey and blowing out candles together for our birthdays. So far, since we’re still among the ambulatory and having fun, we’re pretty dern lucky. Very lucky and very happy.

CONGRATULATIONS TO RUTH A. FRENCH, RHODES SCHOLAR FOR 2005

Filed under: prairie musings, family, print news — Peg Britton @ 10:40 am

Ruth A. French, Partridge, is a senior at the University of Kansas, where she majors in political science. An activist for environmental protection and women’s rights, she has won prizes for her academic work and for her writing. A lobbyist for Planned Parenthood and pro-choice causes, she has also worked as a research assistant for a U.S. Court of Appeals judge. Ruth will do the M.Phil. in Comparative Politics at Oxford.

“Kansas student named Rhodes scholar
Associated Press
KansasCity.com
LAWRENCE, Kan. - A University of Kansas student is one of 32 Americans selected as Rhodes Scholars for 2005.

Ruth Anne French, a native of Partridge and Haven High School graduate, is the 25th student in school history to win the scholarship.

French was one of four Midwest winners from a group of 12 finalists who were in St. Paul, Minn., for final interviews over the weekend.

“We were all just very shocked by the news,” she said. “It is just something that you don’t even want to try to imagine or hope for.”

The scholars, chosen from 904 applicants endorsed by 341 colleges and universities, will enter Oxford University in England in October 2005. The scholarships pay for two or three years of study.

French said she planned to study environmental policy regulation.

“Being challenged by world-class faculty who will be able to guide me and my research interests, that is very exciting to me,” she said.

The Rhodes Scholarships were created in 1902 by the will of British philanthropist and diamond magnate Cecil Rhodes. Winners are selected on the basis of high academic achievement, personal integrity, leadership potential and physical vigor, among other attributes.

The university’s last winner was Robert M. Chamberlain of Topeka, who was named in December 2002 as a 2003 Rhodes Scholar. A Kansas State University student, Ben Champion of Olathe, also was named a Rhodes Scholar for that year.

About 95 Rhodes scholars from 19 countries are selected each year.”

An interesting twist is this: Mackenzie was perusing the list of scholars when one of the names struck a bell. Joseph S. Jewell, Stevensville, Michigan, California Institute of Technology and University of Michigan. It took her a while to remember. She and Joseph, back in their early high school years, chatted in the Princeton Review chatroom, at least she thought that was who it was. She found his email address on the net and wrote. He wrote back…”Hi Mackenzie….” Same Joseph. They are having a good reunion.

11/21/2004

TIM ALLEN

Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 4:27 pm

Tim Allen, comedian, had this to say about Martha Stewart:
“Boy, I feel safer now that she’s behind bars. O.J. & Kobe are walking around; Osama Bin Laden too, but they take the one woman in America willing to cook and clean and work in the yard and haul her ass to jail.”

DRIED FRUIT COMPOTE

Filed under: recipes — Peg Britton @ 11:50 am


1/3 cup chopped dried apples
1/3 cup chopped dried pears
1/3 cup raisins
1/3 cup dried cranberries or cherries
2/3 cup dried apricots
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest
1/2 tablespoon freshly grated orange zest
1/2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, or to taste
1 cup water

Serving suggestion: ice cream

In a large bowl combine all of the dried fruit and add enough hot water to cover by an inch. Soak for 20 minutes. Drain the mixture.

In a saucepan combine the fruit with the sugar, the lemon and orange zests, the lemon juice, and the water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer the mixture for 10 to 20 minutes, or until the fruit is tender. Remove the pan from the heat and let the compote cool. The compote will keep for a week if covered and chilled. Serve the compote at room temperature with ice cream.

This sounds really good to me and I can think of all kinds of variations and uses for it. It’s from the same website that Janis had on Gone South. I love dried fruit and recently discovered that Sam’s has dried mangoes. They also have dried blueberries and strawberries, in addition to the usual assortment of dried fruits. Mangoes are wonderful and would be great incorporated into the above recipe.

JOHN CARLIN

Filed under: prairie musings, political musings — Peg Britton @ 11:44 am

I’ve waited all morning during the Clinton Library dedication ceremonies to hear John Carlin’s response to receiving the library keys for the National Archives. Chelsea presented them to him, with him out of the picture. There was a quick shot of him smiling and walking away. Dern. I like John. I was hoping to hear him make a few comments. He didn’t even have an opportunity to say “Thank you. I’ll hang them on a hook by the front door”.

Clinton’s remarks were right on target. He does build bridges. I wish he were still President.

There was a sea of umbrellas under which hundreds cowered from the rain. It poured during the ceremonies, increasing in intensity as the proceedings developed. It didn’t dampen too many spirits, but people appeared to be soaked to the bone. Wherever they go now, inside I presume, there will be the aroma of wet walruses.

It was nice to see the Clintons, Bushes and Bushes, and Carters enjoying the occasion together, laughing and at ease. Too bad the Fords, Nancy and Lady Bird couldn’t attend. They have all made valuable contributions to our county. It was a very nice celebration.

Speaking of library dedications; I hope the Bush library is located at SMU. Laura went to school there so I suppose that is a possibility.

11/20/2004

MYSTERY PECAN PIE

Filed under: recipes — Peg Britton @ 9:46 pm

This came from a website Janis Gore had on her website, Gone South. It looks good.

Topping:
3 eggs
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Pie Filling:
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg

1 un-baked deep-dish (9-inch) pie shell
1 1/4 cups chopped pecans
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Topping:
Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, mix cream cheese, sugar, salt, vanilla, and egg until combined. Pour into pie shell. Top with chopped pecans. Pour Topping over pecans. Bake for 45 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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