by: Vern Uyetake, Dave Randall

When preparing for childbirth, you are taught to 'breathe.' What an odd lesson - little do you know how often you will call upon that training during your child's growing-up years.

Parents hold their breath a lot. We hold it as we watch our baby's staggering steps. We hold our breath as they careen down the street on their bike; and as they wait pensively for school election results. We hold our breath while we teach them to drive, then slowly exhale when they pass the driving test. Sometimes we hold our breath long into the night until the front door closes safely behind them, signaling that finally, everyone is home. And we hold our breath, right along with our children, as we wait for the college acceptance letters.

Somehow, one day you notice that you aren't holding your breath anymore.

I'm breathing easily these days. I think it has something to do with today being our son Dave's 18th birthday.

It is not miraculous for human offspring to reach the ripe old age of 18. The miracle is the metamorphosis from babyhood to adulthood, and what one makes of one's life on the other side of 18.

As most first-time parents will, Mark and I thought David was the most amazing child to ever be conceived.

He mastered safety lessons very early in life. According to Cassandra Givan, our trusted daycare provider, 'hot coffee' were his first words after 'mamma' and 'dada.'

He exhibited generosity of spirit and hospitality in kindergarten, as illustrated by a project for Thanksgiving. When asked how to cook a turkey, Dave's reply was to 'buy the biggest turkey you can find and invite all the people you love.'

Before Dave's brother Cole was born we sensed that he would be every bit as wonderful and amazing as Dave. We were right, and wished all parents could share in our great fortune by having such splendid children. I hope you realize that you do.

These past 18 years have been my formative years as much as they have been Dave's. We weren't given a manual for parenting, but Mark and I were lucky to have parents who modeled positive parenting skills. Effective parenting requires long, slow, calming breaths. Not always easy - and rarely a first inclination - breathing take practice.

During the next few weeks, 32,000 young adults will graduate from Oregon's high schools. Graduation caps will be tossed high, electrifying the air with jubilation, possibilities and optimism. The visual image of 32,000 caps soaring skyward gives me goosebumps! Oh, the possibilities!

When Dave goes to college in the fall, I will be holding my breath. However, I'll hold it in anticipation of the adventure and what he will discover about himself, not trepidation. I am confident that Dave will shape his life with originality and integrity. I hope that doesn't make him hold his breath …

This week's recipe is great for those who will be cooking for themselves for the first time. Easy on the budget and requiring little technique, the frittata's exotic flavor is sure to impress your friends!

Bon Appetit and Congrats Class of '07!

Artichoke and Green Olive Frittata

Makes four servings

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

8 eggs

10 quarter pieces of marinated artichoke hearts, sliced

1/3 cup coarsely chopped pitted cured green olives

1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

1 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme

½ cup grated Parmesan-Reggiano cheese

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a small skillet, warm one tablespoon of the olive oil. Add the garlic and cook until it just starts to soften, 30 seconds. Immediately remove from the heat and pour the oil and garlic into a large bowl. Add the eggs to the bowl and whisk together.

Add the artichoke hearts, olives, lemon zest, thyme, sage, and Parmigiano. Season with salt and pepper to taste. (Remember the olives are salty!)

Preheat the oven to 400° F.

Heat the remaining two tablespoons olive oil in a 10-inch nonstick ovenproof omelette pan (or skillet) over medium heat until it is hot but not smoking. Add the frittata mixture and using a spatula, press on it to make an even cake. Cook until the bottom is golden and set but the top is still runny, about eight to ten minutes. During the cooking, occasionally lift the outer edges so the runny egg can flow underneath the cooked portion. Transfer the pan to the oven and cook until the eggs are set and golden brown, six to seven minutes. Let set for five minutes in the pan.

Invert the fritatta onto a serving plate. Cut into wedges and serve hot, warm or at room temperature.

Randall welcomes your questions and food research suggestions. She can be reached at 503-635-8811 or by e-mail at [email protected]

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