I have always liked red table grapes, but have previously looked in vain for a way to cook them. A few years ago our church group took a trip up to Cumberland Falls in Kentucky. While there, we had lunch at their tearoom. Grape Salad was on the menu. It was delicious and new to all of us. We asked for the recipe. The one they gave us didn't turn out at all like the tasty salad we had there. Don't you hate that? When someone gives you a recipe and its not quite like their dish.
I have been hungry for cookies lately. Today I broke down and made some. They were from an old cookbook I found somewhere or other. What a disappointment, I have many tried and true recipes that turn out just fine every time. Why, oh why, do I continue looking for new ones. Anne reminds me of that fact every time I have a cooking disaster.
Mother never made candy. During the Great Depression, we appreciated the occasional sugar or molasses cookies Mother did make. She always bought chocolate-covered fondant from Woolworth's Five and Dime, the only candy we had, except hard Christmas candy and one Hersey Bar. (That is another story.)
Mother worked in a candy factory as a teenager. She dipped chocolate-covered fondant drops. That remained mother's favorite candy throughout her life. I am not so prejudiced. I like lots of different candies. I think my favorite is Peanut Butter Fudge.
Now there is something you don't see on a salad bar anymore. I am talking about stuffed celery or celery roses. I remember when I first saw stuffed celery at a potluck. They certainly didn't look like much. But after trying one, I was hooked. I looked for them at every potluck after that. It took a while to learn how to make them. They seemed so simple. There must be a catch to making the filling. What a surprise. There wasn't. I soon learned to make several cheese fillings. See what you think of these. This is how I make stuffed celery.
There are a jillion bean and pasta salads out there. They are all a little different and good, too. This one is a bit different from the rest. The celery is partially cooked. The onion is marinated in white vinegar. All of that does make a difference. Try it and see what you think. You can use any combination of canned beans, even add green beans, if you like. Mix it up.
Years ago, we received a five-pound block of American cheese when we picked up what we called “welfare food.” It was so good. There is nothing to compare with it nowadays. I miss that cheese.
I have a recipe for those of you who receive food commodities. Sometimes you really have to reach to find a good tasting recipe for those items that you are not familiar with. We grow up eating certain dishes. Our mothers made them as did our grandmas. It can be hard to learn to like something new, but give it a try.
Here is a variation on a lemon meringue pie I hope you will try. So, you have problems with pie crust? This crust can't go wrong. Just stir up the ingredients and press into the bottom of the pan. Cook the filling and top the crust with it. Spread with meringue and pop it in the oven. There you have it. A nice easy version of a lemon meringue pie. Also, you can get up to 15 servings out of the pan.
LEMON MERINGUE DESSERT
Do you like bananas? I do and so does my daughter Anne. Since she does our grocery shopping nowadays, she has a method of choosing which bananas to buy. We have a friend from the Philippines who taught us how to select the best banana. She looks for bananas with thick fat ends, not pointy ones. She is right. There is more banana hiding behind the peel. She says they have a better flavor, too.
My mother could put together a soup even when there didn't seem to be enough food in the house to make a meal. I grew up on soup, especially in the winter time. With a little meat to season it and the vegetables we had on hand, she could make a hearty soup for not much money. Cornbread goes well with most soups and goes well with this one.
When I was in charge of my household, when I could get around better, when I was still driving, I tried to keep a well stocked pantry. It was too well stocked according to my daughter, Anne. I didn't shop every week. Once a month was more like it, when I got my Social Security check at the first of the month. Oh, yes we would run out of bread and milk, but that was about it.
The Olive Garden is our favorite restaurant. A few years ago we celebrated my eighty-ninth and half birthday in July. (When you approach ninety, every day is a luxury.) We had an Alfredo dish. My daughter Anne had chicken and I had shrimp. We decided we could make a recipe at home that tasted just as good.
I have been hungry for cookies lately. Today I broke down and made some. They were from an old cookbook I found somewhere or other. What a disappointment. I have many tried and true recipes that turn out fine every time. Why, oh why, do I continue looking for new ones. Anne reminds me of that fact every time I have a cooking disaster.
It's that time of year again: “Easter Egg Time.” What do you do with all of those colored hard boiled eggs?
I remember when my kids were of Easter basket age. After the drabness of winter (it had been a long time since Christmas), they needed some cheering up. With no birthdays since December, there had been little to celebrate. They were ready!
What child doesn't like a decorated cookie? What mother likes to do the decorating? Some do. Some don't. If you have a couple preschoolers tearing up the house, the last thing you have time to tackle is decorating fancy cookies.
The word “COOKIE” has a magic sound to a child's ears. You might even get them to lie down for a nap, if you promise cookies when they wake up. I know. I used bribery as a parenting tool when mine were at that changeable stage between diapers and pull-ups. It works, if you vary the bribe.
Do you like strawberries? Do you like rhubarb? I say yes to both questions. I learned how to make Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie just a few years ago. Previously, when I thought of Strawberry Pie it was the one with fresh strawberries in a baked crust, cover with strawberry glaze and piled high with Cool Whip. There was a serious gap in my pie repertoire.
I like Chicken Chow Mein. It is a quick easy meal. I remember when I worked back in the late 70s with four kids at home and a hungry husband. I worked in a sewing factory. Sewing doesn't require much thinking capacity. Once you learn what the operations require, it was pretty much rote. I would plan my supper meal as I sewed.
Aluminum foil hasn't always been available for the housewife. (That's what we called married ladies that stayed home and didn't work outside in the real world.) I remember, after World War II, when aluminum foil and I were first introduced. Oh yes, I had become quite an expert in using waxed paper to seal a bowl for chilling in the fridge, but we all know you can't cook with waxed paper. It was love at first rip between me and aluminum foil. I looked for new ways to use this wonderful invention. This oven dish is one of them.