The Future of Learning

Every so often it is a good idea to step away from your preconceived notions of “how the world works” and observe. In this remarkable Ted Talk, Sugata Mitra conducts his own experiment into how children learn. I think you will be surprised by the results – I certainly was!

With this lovely introduction to the future of learning, I am excited about the future for our children. As grandparents, we will certainly be cheering them on as they discover their own worlds.

Il Trovatore: Met HD Performance

Il Trovatore is a popular Verdi opera, but you have a chance to see Anna Netrebko and Dmitri Hvorostovsky perform in an encore Met Opera HD performance at a theater near you on Wednesday (Oct 7). This is Mr. Hvorostovsky’s last performance for a while since he returns to London to have a brain tumor treated. We wish him well.

A friend who saw an earlier performance was moved to tears by this powerful performance of gifted artists and great staging. Attend, if you can, and experience the power of opera. There is nothing else quite like great opera to stir the blood cells.

Mustard Cheddar Cheese Crackers

Mustard Cheddar CrackersOne of Sheila’s “go-to” recipes for an appetizer is Mustard Cheese Crackers. It is relatively easy to make, easy to transport and everybody seems to love them.  Can’t get much better than that.  This recipe was first published in 1998 by Gourmet and now may be found on Epicurious if you prefer to do your own research.  Please note that Sheila adds a couple of minutes to get a “crisp” golden brown cracker.

If you are stuck for a creative appetizer, this is a sure winner:

Mustard Cheddar Crackers

Ingredients (Makes 10 to 12 dozen)

  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter (softened)
  • 1 lb sharp Cheddar, coarsely grated (preferably in a food processor; 5 cups
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1/4 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 Tbs dry mustard
  • 1/4 cup brown or yellow mustard seeds
  • 2 tsps of salt
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour plus additional for dusting
  • Special equipment:  parchment paper


  1. Blend together butter, cheese and yolk in a food processor until smooth.  Add remaining ingredients and pulse until just combined.  (You may have to do in two batches with a small processor).  Transfer dough (it will be very soft) to a bowl and chill, covered for 15 minutes.
  2. Halve dough, then shape each half into a 12-inch log on a lightly floured surface.  Wrap logs in wax paper and foil, then chill until firm, at least 4 hours.
  3. Put oven racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat oven to 350ºF.  Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.
  4. Unwrap logs and cut into 1/8 inch-thick slices with a sharp thin knife, then arrange slices about 1 inch apart on baking sheets.  Bake in batches, switching position of sheets halfway through baking, until pale golden, 12 to 15 minutes.  (Sheila recommends cooking 1-2 minutes longer to get golden brown).  Line sheets with clean parchment between batches.