Tuesday, May 30, 2017
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When Did They Start Serving Oatmeal at McDonald’s? I don’t eat at McDonald’s very often any more. I still treasure their French fries, fresh out of the fryer. 1905 Quaker Oats magazine advertisement (Photo credit: Wikipedia) I stop for an occasional hamburger, for old times’ sake, if I know I don’t have anything handy to eat at home. But, stopping there on the road is rare. Thus, on a recent trip to Georgia, I was surprised when my husband said we’d have to stop at a fast food restaurant because a leak in our water hose had put us three-and-a-half hours behind schedule. I had found... (Read More ...)

Memories. Blending families. New Traditions. What kind of stuffing do you make? Thanksgiving Dinner with All the Trimmings Do you remember your mother’s turkey dressing? Is that the kind you make now? Wonderbread breadcrumbs with egg, onion and sage? Pecan? Cornbread? Oyster? Gizzard? Inside the bird or outside in a pan in the oven? Blending Families to Make New Traditions One year, we had three kinds of stuffing. My husband wanted to see what oyster stuffing tasted like. We had long before agreed to blend our family traditions by having both the white bread inside the bird of my Midwestern roots... (Read More ...)

Doughnuts Frying The neighbor lady who lived across the street from us when I was in elementary school often hosted backyard parties for neighborhood children. She was not married and had no children of her own. I don’t remember how she got us to clean her house for her. But, she made fresh doughnuts in an electric frying pan at the end of the afternoon. She told my mother once what a big help I was around the house and how thoroughly I cleaned for her. My mother, unused to any but required chores from me, was taken aback. Clearly, my mother did not understand the allure of working for someone... (Read More ...)

Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich My favorite sandwich was and is a banana sandwich. Recipe: 1. Slice bananas 2. Slice 2 green onions, including most of the green stems 3. Spread mayonnaise on 2 slices of white bread 4. Layer the bananas on one slice of bread and sprinkle green onions over 5. Top with second slice of bread. 6. Cut sandwich in half, lengthwise. Enjoy memories of childhood. I don’t know when I made up this sandwich recipe. My mother put peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in our lunch bags. My father made grilled cheese sandwiches with Velveeta  for Sunday supper. These old favorites... (Read More ...)

Lemon Meringue Pie Lemon meringue pie. Cherry pie. Rhubarb pie. Apple pie. Falling off the top of a ladder, stretching to pick cherries. Trying to eat my brother’s lemon meringue pie when he forgot to add shortening (flour + water = paste). Picking rhubarb out of a Chicago suburban garden. Cutting up slices of apples and sprinkling them with cinnamon and sugar. I remember summers, and that my mother made the best pies I have had before or since. Once I was grown, and came to realize how amazing her tender piecrusts were, I asked her how to make piecrust. “Oh, it’s easy. Just don’t knead... (Read More ...)

Purple bell pepper Beets. Eggplant. Red cabbage. You expect these foods to be purple. You might even use beets to color other foods, like pickled eggs, or as a food coloring for Easter eggs. But, where did purple (sweet Bell, usually green) peppers come from? And, why? And, purple potatoes? Are they really more nutritious, in the sense that foods with a deep color are supposed to be better for you? Red (sweet) peppers have twice the Vitamin C of green peppers and almost three times that of an orange. Yellow, orange and purple peppers fall in the same nutritional category as red peppers, but... (Read More ...)

Chocolate Mousse After her breast cancer diagnosis, Sheryl Crow’s oncologist introduced her to a nutritionist. Then, she hired a chef to go on the road with her on tour. The result of this lifestyle change is captured in Crow’s new cookbook, If It Makes You Healthy: More Than 100 Delicious Recipes Inspired by the Seasons. Although Crow grew up eating dinner together every night with her family and her mother was a creative and excellent cook, Sheryl did not learn to cook. When she started touring, meals were on-the-go, with no particular attention to their nutritional value. The breast cancer... (Read More ...)

Image via Wikipedia I inherited my mother’s cookbooks. Recently, my husband was reading one that must have been one of her first ones. The Lily Wallace New American Cook Book was published in 1945. She had married in July, 1941, months before the attack at Pearl Harbor in December. My husband was amused to see they included squirrel in their Brunswick stew recipe. “2 grey squirrels. Skin, dress, draw, and clean squirrels, according to instructions for roast rabbit.” He grew up in Georgia, where squirrel was considered an essential ingredient in Brunswick Stew. He didn’t expect to... (Read More ...)

What Does the New Food Pyramid Look Like? The new food pyramid, called MyFoodPyramid, looks the same as the old food pyramid, but the details behind the colored stripes are different. The current food pyramid, with stripes representing grains (gold), vegetables (green), fruits (red), oils, (yellow), milk (blue) and meat and beans (purple) and a little figure running up the side of the pyramid to include an emphasis on physical activity for good health, was introduced in 2005. Its guidelines are updated every five years. The food pyramid with stripes replaced the older 1992 food pyramid that had... (Read More ...)

Image via Wikipedia My husband recently read, Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human, by Richard Wrangham. Something in his description of the book caught my interest. People who are already thin use more energy to digest their food. OK. Thin has the advantage that it helps you stay thin. But, and this is where it got interesting. Raw food takes more energy to eat and more to digest. Raw food as a diet technique. Now, this is something available to anyone who is trying to keep their weight down. Thin or not offers you no advantage. Eating raw food offers you an advantage. You use more... (Read More ...)