Margaret Button | Kitchen Comfort: Expecting some privacy in the car


You would have thought I would have learned my lesson 20 years ago. My husband, son and I were stopped at a traffic light in Seabrook, N.H., when our son asked me to make "the pumpkin face" a reference to a Halloween decoration we owned — a pumpkin with a hideous face, complete with a squinting left eye and tongue hanging out.

I complied and was reveling in his laughter, when I realized the occupants of the car facing us across the intersection had shocked looks on their faces — and were pointing. Until that moment, I was under the delusion that my car was my own little world — no one really existed outside of its cocoon and, of course, no one saw what was going on inside it.

I was reminded of this a few months ago. Having long ago grown tired of the golden oldies of the '60s, '70s and '80s, I listen to reggae, hip-hop, rap, dance hall music on the radio when I'm in the car. I sing along (the car being the one place I will sing aloud and, yes, my singing is that bad) and also seat dance. I was parked at a red light, singing along to Flo Rida's "In the Ayer' (his spelling, not mine) and throwing my hands up at the appropriate moment — "make me throw my hands, In the ayer, ay-ayer, ayer, ay-ayer "

That was when I heard an 18-wheeler's air horn. I looked across the intersection and spotted a trucker watching my little (and I had thought private) show, and applauding. I could have crawled into the back seat I was so embarrassed.

Since then, I have been stalking other drivers on my daily commute. Let me tell you, I'm not the only one who is doing strange things in the "privacy" of their car! I watched a woman brush her teeth while sitting through four stoplights stretched over a mile — over and over and over. I've also seen women applying makeup, men shaving — and Lord help me, a driver reading a book as she was driving past me! I've seen a couple in a please-get-a-motel-room lip lock, another couple screaming at one another and almost coming to blows, and another couple who literally ate all the way from Pittsfield to North Adams.

We definitely need more tinted glass

An acquired taste

At my son's girlfriend's request, I planted cilantro in the garden. I'm not a big cilantro fan and the stuff is growing like a weed. So, I decided to use some and try a friend's recipe for salad dressing. Maybe I could get to like cilantro after all. I'm also planning to try this as a marinade for chicken.

Cilantro-Lime Salad Dressing


1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and coarsely chopped

1 clove garlic

3/4 teaspoon minced fresh ginger root

1/4 cup lime juice

1/3 cup honey

2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste

1/4 cup packed cilantro leaves

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil


Place the jalapeno pepper, garlic clove and ginger into a food processor or blender; pulse until the jalapeno and garlic are finely chopped. Pour in the lime juice, honey, balsamic vinegar, and salt, add the cilantro leaves; pulse a few times to blend. Turn the food processor or blender on, and slowly drizzle in the olive oil until incorporated into the dressing. Season to taste with salt before serving.


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