Shirley McMurtrie

Writing Episodes

Writing Episodes

Last week I put out a call for those interested in writing their memoirs. Beginning with “It was a dark and stormy night” as Snoopy did in the Peanuts cartoon series is NOT the way to go. It is too easy to get bogged down and lose interest in the project. Plus it might be repetitious and boring. Writing in episodes is the way. Each story of about five hundred words would be about one situation. In writing the story of your life, you are painting scenes, one story at a time. This is a proven method, tested with everyday adults writing about their lives.

Cigarettes

Cigarettes

Do you smoke? I did. I quit on my thirtieth birthday sixty years ago. That is longer ago than most people are old. I started during the war, World War ll, that is. Most everything seemed to be rationed, but cigarettes weren't.

My dad smoked. During the Great Depression, he smoked a pipe. Cigarettes were around then, but pipe tobacco was cheaper than cigarettes. As a child I enjoyed the aroma when Dad lit up his pipe. His tobacco came in a small bag with a drawstring.

Philippino Egg Rolls with Sweet and Sour Sauce

Philippino Egg Rolls with Sweet Sour Sauce

This recipe is from Lita, Jamie Porter's Filipino wife. They came to Tennessee to visit us a year ago. Lita made these for us. I wanted to chop the veggies in my food processor. She was horrified. They must be chopped by hand, she told me. Sorry, Lita. It's the food processor for me.

You can find the egg roll wrappers in the frozen food section of the grocery store. Or you can go to West Knoxville to an Asian store and buy the fresh ones. They are in a package, too, so I don't see any difference except taking more gas for the car to buy them from an exotic Asian store.

Memoir Writing Class

Memoir Writing Class

Several years ago a memoir writing class was offered at the Senior Citizen Center at Halls Crossroads. I had been trying to write about my past and needed someone to critique my efforts. I figured this would be a good place to start. I had no idea how much it would help. The classes met the first and third Tuesday of the month. Bob Farmer was the moderator. They ended when the class reduced in size because of deaths, relocations and other interests.

Scorched Gravy

Scorched Gravy

Have you ever heard of Scorched Gravy? It doesn't sound like much, but it's tasty. I fix it now, even when there are meat drippings for flavor. Scorched Gravy is another recipe from my childhood. Mother made it often during the Great Depression. We always had potatoes to build a meal around. Meat was another thing. With no refrigeration, fresh meat was a delicacy, not often on our table. Potatoes and gravy were.

New Year's Traditions

New Year's Traditions

Here it is New Year's Eve. I have experienced a lot of them. The earliest ones I remember were during World War ll. Being a teenager during wartime was no fun. Celebrations had changed, were cut back or eliminated. My folks tried to keep some in place to give us a normal home life. Dad, in his forties, hadn't been drafted since he worked in a defense plant. Our family was intact, but not much else was.

Frost-ings

Frost-ings

Brrrrr! It's cold outside. Christmas is over. I am ready for spring. I have never liked cold weather. Growing up, Mother would send my brothers and me outside to get us out of her hair. Each of them had on a jacket, toboggan, boots and gloves. I was shrouded in a sweater, “ski pants,” heavy coat, toboggan, big scarf, boots and mittens. That made me the last one out the door.

Chicken Noodle Soup

Chicken Noodle Soup

When a cold west wind is swirling snow around the yard, I think of "Chicken Soup". You may think of skiing at Gatlinburg; I think of soup. There is no way I am leaving the house unless it's going to church or I need groceries. If it can wait, I'll get my groceries after church. I'll open the door only to feed the birds. Anne will drive down to the mailbox to get the mail rather than walk. That is more than I will do on a cold snowy day; but I will make soup. I have lots of soup recipes. Some take a while to make. Some are quick.

Scrambled Eggs

Scrambled Eggs

Most every cook has a favorite recipe for scrambled eggs. Some add cheese. Some add milk or cream. I add a white sauce. You know, make a flour and butter roux, then add milk and cook until thickened. Do this when there are more than two or three for breakfast. It is a good company dish.

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