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. 🥔🥔
Leave it to my California Chef Sister to add a pear to this already deliciously good salad. So with this new idea I decided to look up information on pears. I found out that most pears come from Oregon and Washington and most varieties have a long season from August to May. So why don’t we use them more? Well when you pick them up in the produce area of grocery store they feel hard and if you were to push on them it would cause them to bruise and rot. What to do? Be patient! Buy them, bring them home and put them in a brown paper bag for a day or two then eat them like they are or use them in a variety of different recipes.
After going to The English Rose tea room in Chattanooga, Tennessee this weekend to celebrate our cousin Natalie getting a new job as an airline flight attendant and moving to New York, what do you do?? Our idea? Make scones. They were much easier than we imagined.
1 1/2 cups plain flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 cup sugar- Mix well- add 1 cup mayonnaise or sour cream- knead well and form into a ball. Roll out onto floured board or wax paper 3/4 inch thick and cut with round biscuit cutter. Bake on wax paper 10-12 minutes in preheated oven 400 degrees.
And of course what you put on the scones is as important! Butter and honey are at the top of the list, and a close second is lemon or raspberry curd, followed by any preserves or jelly. Or just eat them plain if you like.
I love dishes and I think it runs in families!! My mother and sisters and daughter and daughter-in-law all love them!! I have special occasion dishes, birthday dishes, Christmas dishes and fall and winter ones. Some dishes come with flowers and others with stripes. Of course solid dishes of all colors. But the most dearing of all are the ones passed down from my mother and grandmothers. It would be easy to put them away in a safe place and not use them but what purpose would that accomplish? My mother always said no one was more important than her family, so I took her advice and I use them. When I do, I like to share a story or a recipe from the person who owned the dishes before me. Someday, I hope, my children and then their children will do the same.