Thursday, June 15, 2023

Favorite Cook Book



I cook a lot, but I'm not good at it. I don't like the chore. Did I tell you I hate chopping veggies? No? Well, I do. 

I once cut a deep gash in my finger and the doctor had to sew it up. I did that on a can opener, but I also cut myself when I chop stuff.

Multiple cookbooks adorn a large cabinet in my kitchen. I love to read the recipes. I'll examine one and think, "that sounds good, but I don't have all the ingredients."

Why do all these journals call for odd things?

Here are a few examples:

Fresh minced oregano.

Ground turmeric.

Grated fresh ginger.

Fresh dill.

Fresh thyme.

One bunch of arugula.

Frozen artichoke hearts.

My organic farmer daughter has all the above mentioned herbs growing fresh. I do not. Every now and then, I will purchase a can of artichoke hearts. I don't like arugula, so it can't be found here in my refrigerator. On to the next recipe.


My go-to cookbook is this green one. It was published by the Houston Junior Forum, first printing in 1980, second one in 1981.  We once had a secretary who belonged to the Houston Junior Forum, and she gave me this handy little ditty.

I use it often and write a date on the recipe when I try it. I also give the dish a review. (I am an author, you know, and writers like reviews, although the cooks will never see them in this book. If you read my books, please leave a reiew.)

Some of the dishes are repeaters, others, not so much. The best banana nut bread of all time is in this volume, and I've made it too many times to count.

I'll share a recipe I amended from this versatile little tome. If I change a recipe, it's my own, right? After trying it various ways, including the way it was written, I think my amended way is better.

Gay's Easy Bake Chicken


Thick bacon slices. Don't use thin sliced.

Sliced potato rounds from two potatoes (about ¼ inch thick)

2 cans cream of chicken soup

2 large cans of condensed milk

6 to 8 Chicken tenders

Salt and pepper.

In a medium Pyrex baking dish, place the bacon strips to cover the bottom. Place potato rounds on top of the bacon. (I use two medium sized russets) Mix soup and milk together. Pour over bacon and potatoes. Save a portion. Place chicken trips on top and add remaining mixture. Cover tight and bake at 325 degrees. It takes about 3 hours. I pull the pan from the oven, hold it up, and check the bottom to make sure the bacon is done.

Most of the recipes in my green book have normal stuff.  Yay! Did you see the date? Early 80's. Food was more normal back then. Our organic farmer, Lanissa, will inherit this green cookbook. She loves kitchen duties and uses all fresh ingredients from her garden. She won't need the one pictured below.


Authors write books for dummies. You'll find dozens of them at booksellers. I bought a diabetes cookbook for dummies years ago. I also bought one for computers. I haven't read or used either one.

I thought the cookbook for dummies would be easy and healthy. It probably is healthy, but it isn't easy. Every recipe calls for fresh herbs and a dedicated amount of time. 

Herbs are expensive, and if you buy a bunch and use a teaspoon, you've lost money. I suppose you can substitute dried herbs, but you must keep a lot of bottles on hand.

I decided to sub one herb in a recipe. I checked the date on my dried thyme—1995. Well, so much for that.

I need to clean out that spice rack.

What are you planning for dinner tonight? Uber Eats? Door Dash? That sounds like a plan.

Gay's Author Page

Tuesday, June 6, 2023

WWII Letters

They were lost but now they are found.

I’m talking about my Dad's letters. The ones he wrote to my mother during WWII.  My mom gave them to me years ago, and I've moved them around with me.

About ten years ago, we downsized our library, and I was positive my husband accidentally gave them away. He offered many cartons of books to two young Baylor University preacher boys, and I couldn't find my box after that. I thought the keepsakes were gone forever. I hoped the young preachers would find the letters and donate them to a WWII museum.

Hubby was in the attic a few days ago and brought down several containers. Was I ever surprised and happy! The letters and memorabilia are found!

The letters are posted from Los Angeles, Camp Berkly, Texas, Fort Sill Oklahoma, and Fort Dix New Jersey. I plan to organize them by dates. A few have no postmarks, only a return address.  The word "free" appears where the stamp should be. 

In one of the posts, my dad tells my mom that he loves me, and then he adds, "even if you don't think I do."  I guess my mom had written her concern—my dad hadn’t met me, and I suppose she thought he therefore couldn’t love me. My dad didn't see me until I was two years old, but he knew I belonged to him, and he loved me.

In another letter, he asked if I was still blonde. I was blonde when he finally saw me, but My hair grew darker with age. Early on, it turned white like my dad's. 

In another letter, he wrote, "you won't know me. I'm white headed and weigh 145 pounds."  He mentioned several times that he and the troops were hungry. He also wrote that they hadn't been paid.

He, along with coutless others, stormed the Normandy beaches. D-Day was June 6. His battallian fought their way in on June 7, known as D-Day Plus One.

My dad had to be transported from France to England and was in the hospital in country for weeks. In one letter, he wrote, "I bought a dozen eggs from a lady, boiled them here in the ward, and ate them all." Perhaps he had been paid by then. On the other hand, it appears from the communication that guys serving often wrote home for money, but he said he never would do that.

The carton contains letters written over a four-year period, it also has a pair of my mom's shoes, an old iron, and a box with two packages of unopened Chesterfield cigarettes. 

There is also a Thanksgiving menu from a hospital in McKinny, TX. Like most WWII guys, Dad never spoke much about his war experiences, and I didn't know about this hospital stay. Based on the date of the menu, he had returned to the USA, and was recovering at a hospital in Texas.

Look closely at the bottom of the menu. The patients were treated to cigarettes after their Thanksgiving meal.

Reading these treasures is like studying a family history book. 

PBG Insider: Gay N. Lewis Introduces her "Sarah" series

Sarah at Christmas