My paternal grandmother had the right take on many things, aging in particular.

Her sense of humor intact, she approached the centurion mark with the philosophy that there was at least one good thing about getting older.

“Best thing about it,” she would say, “only happens once.”

My maternal grandmother on the other hand didn’t seem to notice that she was piling on the years. Her position was that if you ignored something, it wouldn’t happen.

Ending one conversation where a friend pointed out that, after all, we have to go sometime, she looked him straight in the eye and said, “Well, I’m not going!”

Me? I’m somewhere in the middle. I just marked another hefty birthday, lunched with friends and family, and pasted one more page in my life’s logbook.

It was a fun week — two birthday lunches, two dinners and a whole lot of good wishes. However, I’ve reached the age at which a lot of my well-wishers have ulterior motives. In my case, cards from age-related businesses nearly outnumbered those from family and friends.

For instance, there was my annual salutation and dues reminder from AARP, another from Life Alert wishing me well and suggesting it might be time for their services.

I didn’t miss the two offering me free hearing checks, another touting the virtues of “supplements for the aging.” But the one that topped the list was a cheery greeting from the Neptune Society.

Makes me wonder if I should get an unlisted address.

After a certain age, it’s as if the world thinks the aging population doesn’t realize what’s happening so they keep reminding us. As if gravity hasn’t already reared its ugly head. We’re well aware, each morning as we step into the shower, that another body part has succumbed to its lethal pull.

All this is just my way of justifying a lack of motivation in the kitchen. I have a new — to me — cookie recipe waiting to be baked, a basket of Concord grapes to deal with and an idle grill reminding me it’s been a while since I fired it up.

Too hot, too tired and too busy — all good excuses that generally work, but now even I’m not buying.

However, if you are in the same boat and want a way out of the dining doldrums, I have a terrific noodle salad that takes little effort and gets big results.

Minimal cooking with maximum taste, from daughter Wendy, here is my favorite hot-weather noodle dish. Shared before, more than once I admit, but an all-time favorite in my house.

Using this basic recipe, Wendy says she “ups the chili paste quantity” and suggests that those who don’t like cilantro substitute grated ginger to taste.

Wendy's Noodle Salad

2 pkg. ramen noodles, any flavor

1/4 c. rice vinegar

2 Tbsp. lime juice

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2 Tbsp. sugar

2 Tbsp. Asian sesame oil

1 garlic clove, minced

1/2 to 1 tsp. Asian chili paste

1/4 tsp. salt

1/2 c. fresh cilantro, chopped

1 carrot, grated

1/3 to 1/2 c. dry roasted peanuts, chopped

Additional chopped cilantro for garnish

Break noodles up, discard seasoning packets — see note below — and add to 2 cups rapidly boiling, lightly salted water. Stir and cook for five minutes or until tender. Drain, rinse with cold water and drain again. In large bowl, combine vinegar, lime juice, sugar, oil, garlic, chili paste and salt. Add cooled noodles, cilantro and grated carrots. Toss lightly and refrigerate until ready to serve. Garnish with chopped peanuts and more cilantro just before serving.

NOTE: I rinse cooked noodles under hot water, sprinkle with seasoning packet contents, toss, omit salt and proceed with recipe.

Santa Ynez Valley resident Elaine Revelle can be reached at thewoodenspoon@juno.com.

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