Category Archives: recipes

Christmas food

Since it is almost Christmas I decided to go ahead and start my cooking.   It’s tradition and you can’t mess with tradition.   This recipe was printed in the St. Louis Globe-Democrat, a newspaper that was published from 1852 to 1986.   I’m guessing that this recipe is from 1976 or 77.   Mom saw it, clipped it out of the paper, and made it for Christmas one of those years.   I thought it was delicious, and as it is a tiny recipe I promptly lost it.   But the food editor of the paper kindly looked it up and sent me this copy, and I have taken more care with this copy.

KODAK Digital Still Camera

I have made this every year since then, and it’s one of the things that I only make  at Christmas time.  I would make this for me and make German hazelnut cookies for M.   His recipe was translated from German and started out “make a mountain of flour and mine a pit in the center” [those Germans do have a way with words ;-).]

KODAK Digital Still Camera

Anyway, it doesn’t look like much, I supposed I could fancy it up but I am quite lazy.   It tastes delicious and carries the taste of Christmas in my mind.  The recipe claims to make 12 servings, but I have never found this to be the case (it’s between 4 and 8).

KODAK Digital Still Camera

And it is the perfect thing to enjoy on a gloomy winter’s day.

Father’s Day Chili

Well we are just past Father’s Day, and one of my brothers sent me a request for my father’s chili recipe.   Dad was born in 1928, and in his era “Mexican” food was not so ubiquitous a part of the food landscape.  He had been raised on the Eastern European diet plan: sausages when you can afford them, and potatoes and cabbage the rest of the time.  So chili, even in it’s Midwestern form was somewhat exotic.   And this is how he made it for us:

A pound or so of ground beef, some chopped onion to suit, one or more cans of kidney beans, a bit of salt, a teaspoon of garlic powder, a teaspoon of onion powder, a tablespoon of chili powder and tomato juice or V-8 juice.

Brown the ground beef with the onion and drain off the fat.  Throw in the rest of the ingredients, simmer for a bit and eat with saltine crackers.   Easy peasy!  If you need to serve more people, just use more beans and tomato juice.

This chili bears a slight resemblance to the original from Mexico.   I remember the bottle of chili powder that we used for this, specially purchased for this recipe.  I think it possibly contained cumin, garlic, oregano, salt and some form of mild chili powder.   It couldn’t be too spicy, we just weren’t used to that.

When I moved to New Mexico I learned to make New Mexico red chili, which is a more complicated recipe.

12 pods of dried chile, 2 cups of water, 1 teaspoon of salt, 2 tablespoons of lard, 1 tablespoon of flour, tomato juice or water.

Wash the chile pods, removing stems and seeds.  Bring chile pods and water to boil, reduce heat and allow to steam for 10 minutes or longer.  Pour into a blender and liquify.  Strain the sauce through a sieve and add salt to taste.  Heat the lard, then add the flour to make a roux.  Pour in the chile sauce and stir until thickened.   Add tomato juice or more water if needed.   Cook cubes of beef in this until tender, red chili is served with the pinto beans on the side, if you care to add them.

Both recipes are good in their own ways, I would make New Mexico red for M, and Midwestern chili for myself whenever I got a hankering for it.  I think I’ll make some tonight (but with more chili powder, I like it hot).

KODAK Digital Still Camera


KODAK Digital Still Camera






It’s been a snowy week, so it’s a great time to make comfort food, those ordinary easy recipes that remind you of home.    This recipe is courtesy of my gran.   It is undated, but I asked her for it when I was a young woman, so I have had this piece of paper for at least 40 years (perhaps more).


Gran had stopped school when she was 15 to work as a factory girl, and she did not write much, so it is a very minimal recipe.  She liked it because it is dirt simple to make, unlike some of her other recipes.    I saw an almost identical recipe on the internet today, so it is still popular.  And it comes from Kentucky.

Batter ingredients:

1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar (this is really a lot, I usually use 3/4 cup or less), 1 cup of milk, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon of salt.   Mix this together to make a batter.

Melt one stick of butter in the bottom of your baking dish.   What size?   I use a 10″ round corning ware pan, otherwise I think the batter is too thick.    Pour the batter over the melted butter.

Drain a large can of peaches or cherries.   Make sure they are well drained.    Place the fruit evenly over the batter, it will rise up and cover the fruit as it cooks.   Bake at 350 F for 45 to 50 minutes, or until it is golden brown to the very center.

KODAK Digital Still Camera

I used too many peaches in this version, because I had thawed out a large sack of them.   But it was delicious, and perfect for eating on a cold snowy day.


My gran is the woman on the right, my beloved grandmother is the woman on the left, and that’s my older brother in the middle.