Shirley McMurtrie

Parallel Parking

Parallel Parking

Can you parallel park? I did once, only once. I quit while I was ahead. It is hard to do. I need a forty acre field on a good day. How I ever got through life without bumping fenders trying to park, I'll never know. Yes, I do. I always looked for a diagonal parking space or a parking garage where the attendant parked my car.

Chocolate Bon Bons

Chocolate Bon Bons

My favorite kind of chocolate to work with is cocoa. However, that doesn't work for making dipping chocolate. At least I don't know how to do that. I have several candy recipes I make every Christmas, but Anne's favorite is my Chocolate Bon Bons.

I came across this candy recipe a few years ago. It certainly didn't look like a candy recipe. What candy lists flour among its ingredients? This is the only one I know of.

Soft Molasses Cookies

Soft Molasses Cookies

There are handsome gingerbread men. This is not that recipe. This is an, oh, so soft, ginger flavored work of art. The aroma lingers in the air long after you bake a batch. Your kids coming in the door from school will head straight for the cookie jar. This is a cookie to make when a cold west wind is swirling snow around the yard and you hope the kids get the mail from the mailbox when they get off the bus so you won't have to go out in it. It is that kind of cookie.

Liver Patties

Liver Patties

Not everyone likes liver. It is safe to say that most people dislike liver. I love liver. My daughter Anne hates it. We live together, so I can only fix it if she is not going to be home that day. That out of the way, let me tell you why I like liver. Well, I don't know why, I just do.

The Twelve Days of Christmas

The Twelve Days of Christmas

I remember growing up on the farm. It was a boring time for me. That is until I discovered my escape in reading. I read most anything that had words I could understand, and I especially liked to read funny stories. When I heard the song, “The Twelve Days of Christmas”, the gears of my bored mind began spinning. What fun I could have with that scenario:

Fruitcake

Fruitcake

Why does fruitcake get such a bad rap? They aren't all hard and tasteless. I like mince pie and I like fruitcake. To me they are in the same class of food. To prove it, I have a recipe to share with you for a Mincemeat Fruitcake.

Goat Salami

Goat Salami

We sold my dad's farm to some folks from Chicago. I shouldn't say that these Chicago people were different, but they were. They had never farmed before. This was to be an adventure. Yeah right, adventure! It was hilarious watching those city dudes adjust to country living. They stood out on a goat farm in a county that didn't do goats. We couldn't give them any advice on how to raise goats. We recognized a picture of a goat when we saw one. That was about it. Fortunately, for the goats, their enterprise thrived.

Fried Green Tomatoes

Fried Green Tomatoes

We all have our own recipe for Fried Green Tomatoes. I have mine and will share it with you. Green tomatoes fresh from the garden are best, but nowadays, you can buy them at the grocery store. I buy a couple whenever I see them, even though they cost the same as the ripe ones. Do you think, like I do, that they should be cheaper, since they're not ripe? Oh well.

Baked Cake Toppings

Baked Cake Toppings

To eliminate the need for frosting and/or to have the cake ready to eat as soon as it is cool enough, some cakes can be made with a topping spread on the batter before baking. They are quick and easy to make and eliminate the necessity of frosting the cake after baking. Baked toppings are best on cakes baked in square or oblong pans. The following recipes will make enough topping to frost them. If you are making a cake in a large jelly roll pan, double the recipes.

Goose Dinner

Goose Dinner

Have you ever eaten goose for Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner? It was an old timey delicacy. Back in the day, many farmers raised ducks and geese. What about the wild Canadian geese we see on the Fountain City Pond in wintertime? I know someone who caught and roasted one, but that is another story. I am talking about the domesticated kind of geese.

A McMouse Thanksgiving

A McMouse Thanksgiving

Years ago I wrote a Christmas play for small children at our church. Since my name is McMurtrie, I wrote about the adventures of the McMouse family at Christmas time. We had a lot of fun with the concept of mice celebrating Christmas. Why not? Sometimes the easiest way to get an important meaning across to children is through cartoon characters. It works for adults as well.

Legs! Legs! Turkey Legs!

Legs! Legs! Turkey Legs!

When I roast a turkey, everyone in my family goes for the white meat. I am the only one opting for the drumstick or thigh. That is, until I fix Turkey Legs and Gravy. Years ago in the 60s, turkey legs in the meat case at the store went for thirty-nine cents a pound. I could afford that. The problem was to figure out a recipe that my family would eat.

Club Sandwiches

Club Sandwiches

We have gotten away from the club sandwich. McDonald's and Burger King have spoiled us with their tasty hamburgers and fries. I remember seeing my first Mickey D's. There was no going back to just plain sandwiches, or even club sandwiches. Back in the day, every lunch counter had their specialty club sandwich. They were made fresh as you watched the counter girl pile on the goodies. Most homes didn't have fresh tomatoes or lettuce out of season. What a treat!

CREAMED EGGS

CREAMED EGGS

This is a good dish to make at Easter time when you have an abundance of decorated hard boiled eggs. Don't use any that have been out of the fridge over a few hours. This is a good dish to serve on toast or hot biscuits for lunch. Sometimes we forget how versatile eggs can be. Don't let hard boiled eggs go uneaten. Fancy them up either as Deviled Eggs or Creamed Eggs.

Baking with Cocoa

Baking with Cocoa

These days, there are a number of types of chocolate to use in our dessert making. For instance, we use Baker's Sweet Chocolate for making German Chocolate Cakes. A variety of chocolate chips find their way into our candy and cookie recipes. But I like baking with cocoa.

Back in the day, cocoa was cheaper than chocolate baking squares. On a limited budget, cost was everything: almost. I could get more mileage from a box of cocoa than I could from those skimpy chocolate squares. It had a longer shelf life as well. That made cocoa a winner for me.

Armistice Day

Armistice Day

What a difference a generation makes. I grew up thinking of November 11th as Armistice Day. After all, it celebrated the end of the Great War, World War 1, as signed on that date at Versailles in that boxcar in France. I still think of it that way.

Pinochle

Pinochle

Back before television, when you only needed your ears and imagination to follow a story on the radio, there were card games. Some were played alone, but others needed more players. I remember when we were first married in the late forties, when my husband and I were part of a Pinochle Card Club. There were six couples in our club. We met once a month on a Friday night at one of the group member's home. We were all young couples, most newly married, trying to get started in life. Money was in short supply. We needed a way to entertain ourselves that we could afford.

Turkey Day

Turkey Day

I was looking for an old Halloween postcard from my stash of early 1900s postcards. I didn't have even one. I guess Halloween wasn't a big deal back then, but I did find a couple turkey post cards. The one I chose has a very apprehensive turkey eyeing a basket of cranberries. That ole Tom sized up the situation pretty well. The postcard got me thinking about our national holiday, Thanksgiving Day.

Halloween

Halloween

I remember lots of things that happened when I was seven or eight years old. I do not remember celebrating Halloween during those years on the farm. We had no close neighbors. Halloween wasn't mentioned in school either.

All Saints Day on November 1st is celebrated in the Catholic church. Masses are offered to shorten their departed ones' time in Purgatory. October 31 is All Hallows Eve. We know it as Halloween. Ghosts and goblins supposedly roam the earth causing trouble. Do Trick or Treaters cause trouble? We did.

Homemade Popcorn

Popcorn

When the heat source is wood or coal embers, use a long-handled wire popper. Put only enough corn in popper to cover bottom. Shake gently to get tender puffy kernels.

When popping on your kitchen range, use a large kettle or deep skillet. Add about 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil or shortening. Don't use butter or margarine. Add ½ cup popcorn to hot skillet. Cover and shake gently and constantly over medium heat. You can hear when the popping stops. Remove from heat to a large bowl and add salt. 1 cup unpopped corn makes about 5 cups when popped.

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