WHIDBEY RECIPES: Can a clone be her own grandma?

Unless you’ve been visiting on another planet over the holiday weeks, you can’t have missed the news about the cloned baby girl born recently. (I should qualify this by using the word “allegedly,” of course.)

Putting all discussion of the ethics issue aside for the moment, I admit to finding the whole idea fascinating, frightening and, yes, even humorous.

According to what I’ve read, there are people who believe that cloning is the path to immortality. We just keep replicating ourselves, i.e., cloning ourselves, over and over again, thereby staying “alive” even though our previous self (from whom we’re cloned) must still eventually die. Actually, it gets a bit confusing, but my imagination has been piqued to the max by this concept.

Let’s imagine, for example, that I decide to clone myself; in effect, give birth to myself again so that I can not only be my own mother but presumably get to watch myself grow up and, dare we hope, even turn out a better me?

At the very least, perhaps I could prevent myself from making some of the mistakes I’ve already made. (Huh?) The people who believe in doing exactly this so they can achieve life everlasting never seem to mention, however, that it’s almost impossible for me to be me again, even if I could give birth to my cloned self.

For example, I was raised in Shelton, Wash., by Chuck and Joetta Walton, during very different times. Unless I moved (and I’m not about to), the new me would grow up on Whidbey Island, daughter of myself and John, who would almost certainly decide having both the adult and the baby me around stretches the “ ’til death do us part” beyond reason and leave, thus making me the single mother of myself.

It’s obvious that the baby me would inevitably be quite different from the mother me simply because of the variance in nurturing and environment. In other words, cloned me might walk, talk and look like the original me, but that’s where the grand idea of “me” living forever through a new “me” would end.

Are you with me so far? Now, if your imagination carries this a step further, that cloned me, when she grew up, could conceivably clone herself, bringing into the world yet another me and, if I’ve lived long enough — Voila! I’m my own grandma.

Yes, it does, indeed, boggle the mind and fuel the imagination.

The plain truth is, however, no matter how far they take the cloning or how many “identical” animals or people are created, no two will ever be exactly alike until and unless cloned creatures are raised in totally controlled, identical laboratory conditions — a ghastly thought.

Meanwhile, the truly amazing thing is that each of us alive on the face of this earth today is unique, one-of-a-kind. There will never be another me, or you, or him or her, cloned or otherwise.


You’d think cloning recipes would be easy, but when it comes right down to it, no dish is ever made exactly the same way twice. Some tiny thing like a few grains of salt, one additional ort of herb or spice, a few seconds difference in cooking time, all add up to that slight variance from the original that makes it impossible to say we’ve created an exact replica of grandma’s specialty. When it comes to cooking, however, it’s often possible to make something good even better with just one or two little changes. These, for example, are long-time favorites with just a wee difference or two.

Macaroni & Cheese, Quick & Easy

2 c. chicken broth

1 c. low or nonfat milk (if you want it lean; otherwise use regular milk)

1/2 lb. elbow macaroni (uncooked)

1 Tbls. cornstarch

1 c. frozen petite peas (optional)

1/4 lb. Canadian bacon, cut into thin strips (or use turkey bacon, cooked and cut into small pieces)

3/4 c. each, sharp cheddar cheese and Monterey Jack cheese (or Manchego, or Asiago, or use all cheddar; you can also use reduced fat cheese, if desired, but dish will not be as rich tasting)

1/2 c. freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1. In a 4-5 qt. pan, over high heat, bring broth, milk and macaroni to a boil. Reduce heat a bit, then stir mixture often until macaroni is just tender (about 10 minutes).

2. Blend the cornstarch with 3 Tbls. cold water, until smooth. Stir into the macaroni mixture and continue stirring until mixture boils. Add peas (if using) and bacon; mix well and remove from heat. Add cheddar and jack cheeses and stir just until the cheeses are melted. Season to taste with salt and black pepper, spoon into warmed, wide bowls and sprinkle generously with Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately. Serves 4

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