Her name was LaDonna, and she surely lived up to her name, which in Italian means “The Lady”. She went through life abiding by the rules. She didn’t break the speed limit or eat food past its date. She worried way more than she should have about her three boys or as the announcement of her third son said “My Three Sons”. This is her fourth birthday she in heaven. How does a young woman who exercises, eats right and has everything to live for die so young? She never took drugs or smoked, like the saying goes, “life isn’t fair”.
I’m not sure when Rose Carol learned how to make Eggs Benedict, all I can remember is ever since I’ve visited her in California she has made it. She serves it for most of the holiday mornings because her family insists and lucky for us she does it when we come to visit. She makes it look so easy but I’m sure by now she could make it in the dark! First she puts the melted butter and real lemon juice in the blender then she places the Canadian bacon on a pan and puts it in the oven to heat. Now she is ready to make the poached eggs. While the eggs are cooking she toasts the English muffins. When everything is ready is puts it together and everyone enjoys eating this wonderful breakfast. The secret I think is in the sauce. I can remember my brother and I going out for breakfast one morning and since he had lived in with her in California for a while and he saw eggs Benedict on the menu his mouth started to water and he had to order it! Well, when it came to his disappointment he took one bite and sent it back! Then he said to me “I guess I shouldn’t have expected it to taste like Rose’s, after all she makes the best!”
My little brother grew up to love nature. When he was here everything grew to its potential, but a year ago today it all ended. I believe that the things you enjoy on earth will be even greater when you get to heaven. So when I open those golden gates I will see gardens as far as my eyes can see. He won’t have to use his wheel chair to tend to it either. One of his favorite things to make was fresh salsa. All he did was chop onions, peppers, tomatoes and a few hot peppers together and the juices would all blend together to make a perfect salsa. Add a little salt and pepper to bring out the flavor and squeeze a lemon or lime for taste and to help hold the colors. Some fresh celantro is good, if you like it.
On a recent trip to New Orleans my niece, Ashley Tomlinson, introduced me to these cute little crepe carts. Not only can you watch the crepes being made, but you can choose from a large variety of fruits and sauces, even grand marnier and other liqueurs. Ashley’s favorite is filled with just butter and sugar. I added cinnamon to mine.
Years ago my sister bought me a small crepe maker but it does just as well, and the crepes are actually easier to eat by putting them on a plate and using a fork. Adding a little more batter makes the crepe thicker and leaving it on the griddle longer will make it crispier.
I also saw people ordering them as sandwiches using cheese topped with bacon and tomato. Turkey with Munster or Swiss plus a little mayonnaise or spicy mustard also looked good. And of course the all time favorite of pepperoni and mozzarella cheese with a little pizza sauce is always a winner. I like to add a little hot pepper flakes to mine.🌶
Here is a basic recipe for crepes. Mix together 1 cup all purpose flour, 1 1/2 cups milk, 2 eggs, 1 tablespoon cooking oil or melted butter and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Now is when it gets fun! For dessert crepes you leave out the salt and add 2 tablespoons sugar. Get more creative by adding vanilla or other flavorings. You can add rum or brandy and liqueurs. Even orange and lemon zest is good. It depends on your filling, so let your artistic side start working! For those of you who want to make it even simpler, try using thin pancake batter. Crepes also come pre-made in some grocery stores, too.
In the picture, I’m eating two crepes. One has fruit, strawberries and bananas, with whipped cream. The other is Ashley’s favorite made with lots of butter while it’s still on the griddle, sprinkled with sugar, folded and served.
Long before there were artichoke hearts offered in salads and on pizzas and in your favorite Italian pasta dishes, my sister shared her love of this vegetable with us. While visiting from California she prepared a dinner for us. You can imagine the look on our faces when she poured these out on the counter and said “we’re having these artichokes for dinner”. We didn’t want to dampen her enthusiasm but we wondered how on earth we were going to eat these strange things. It hurt your hand when you tried to pick it up. Now this vegetable looks like a sweet green flower after being boiled for 45 minutes but before that it looked something like a pine cone. It can be prickly to touch so that is why you cut about a half inch off each leaf, cut the bottom so it can stand flat and cut an inch or so off the top. After washing it you boil it for forty five minutes with a few cloves of garlic, a bay leaf or two and some salt and pepper.
Pull off each leaf and dip it in some melted butter with seasoned salt and a dash of cayenne if you please. Turn it upside down and pull between your front teeth. The little bit of artichoke with the melted butter is marvelous. You do this until all the big leaves are gone then rub off the tiny needle like substance left (the choke) to enjoy the best part of all, the artichoke heart. You can really enjoy the large pieces left dipped in your seasoned butter.
You read and hear about true love all the time. For some, love comes quickly, for others it takes time. I’ve had the opportunity over the years to witness a special kind of love and watch it grow. I’ve seen them argue over little things and seen how different they are in personality. But their bond will never be broken. You see, you don’t have to be born to the same mother or father to love as sisters do. One of my first special memories of them was seeing them be pulled in a little red wagon to an outside symphony concert. One with brown hair, the other blonde. One in pigtails, the other in a ponytail. Both wearing shorts because it was summer. Through the years the family has always seen to it that they support each other. One would play softball while the other chose cheerleading, not on the same team or even the same school, but each enjoyed watching the other perfect her talent. They helped each other get ready for proms and date nights. They started out in bunk beds together and then eventually they each had their own bedrooms in different colors and styles. But one thing they always had in common was cooking, and the house they grew up in always smelled delectable with hints of cinnamon or garlic, depending on the recipe, lingering in the air. They were the maid or matron of honor in each other’s weddings recently. Both chose many special ways to celebrate their heritage and keep family members past and present in their details. To this day they still share recipes and I’ve chosen one from each to share.
The recipe that follows is from Jessica Brevard Osborne. Now that she has been married to Colin for about 3 months, she has been trying many new recipes and wanted to share this one.
Alexis Atkinson Smith has chosen one of her favorite old recipes passed down from her maternal grandmother.
I remember one sunny summer afternoon in 1960 something, I was looking for something to do when I came across a strange piece of equipment I soon figured out was a French fry cutter. You put a potato in one end and push down real bad and it pushes the potato through tiny little knives and out came potato strips. With a little more looking my sister and I found an electric fryer. So you can imagine how excited we were to be making our own French fries!! In fact we were so proud of ourselves we told the whole neighborhood. Day after day we fried up batches of those potatoes and the back door to that kitchen on Dunkle Road became a revolving door. The Porters, Diehls, Fredricks and Wardells just to mention a few didn’t have to wait for Pumpkin Show that year to enjoy delicious hot fries!! Mother said that was the summer she couldn’t keep potatoes or ketchup in the house. 🥔🥔