Showing posts with label From Scratch. Show all posts
Showing posts with label From Scratch. Show all posts

Friday, December 30, 2022

Rosy the Reviewer's Favorite TV Series of 2022

It's been a good year for some really interesting, challenging and fun TV series.  I wish I could say the same thing for this year at the movies.

Here is what I watched and loved!

The White Lotus - Season 2

Once again a disparate group of people come together at the White Lotus resort and once again there is a dead body but this time the White Lotus is in Sicily.

The ending of Season 2 of this series has sparked more controversy than any other series this season (and no, I won't give it away).  If you were expecting Season 2 to be a continuation of Season 1 with the same setting and the same characters, you would be wrong. 

This series has turned out to be more of an anthology series starring various characters vacationing at a White Lotus resort in various locations.  Last season, the series was set in Hawaii.  This time it's Sicily and the only returning characters from Season 1 are Tanya (Jennifer Coolidge) and Greg (Jon Gries).  However, Season 2 is just as good as Season 1, if not better, and many of the themes from Season 1 remain - class dynamics, wealthy people with issues and... murder. 

Season 2 begins with a flash forward. A dead body is discovered in the water and there are rumors of other people found dead.

Then in a flashback, we meet the new cast of characters. Like I said, Tanya is back and is now married to Greg, though their relationship is rocky.  Tanya has brought her young assistant, Portia (Haley Lu Richardson), along and Greg is not happy about that so Tanya orders Portia to stay out of sight.  Portia meets young Albie (Adam DiMarco) who is at the resort with his father, Dominic (Michael Imperioli) and his grandfather Bert (F. Murray Abraham), who are in Sicily to get in touch with their roots and find some long lost relatives.  Dominic's marriage is also on the rocks due to his many affairs and Bert is just a dirty old man.  Other guests include married couple Ethan (Will Sharpe) and Harper (Aubrey Plaza), who have joined Ethan's old college roommate, Cameron and his wife, Daphne. Harper doesn't like Cameron (Theo James) and Daphne (Meghann Fahy), finding them fake. This time the hotel manager is Valentina (Sabrina Impacciatore), a seemingly unhappy woman, and it doesn't help that she is constantly having to keep tabs on sex workers, Lucia (Simona Tabasco) and Mia (Beatrice Granno), who keep insinuating themselves into the lives of the hotel guests. 

It all makes for a delicious mix of drama and dark comedy. 

Everyone has a storyline, but the heart of the series is Tanya, a dippy but very wealthy woman. Her husband,Greg, tells her he has to go back to the States for work, but Tanya is suspicious, thinking he is having an affair. Bored and adrift at the resort, Tanya meets Quentin (Tom Hollander) and his friends, a group of gay men who "adopt" her.  The handsome and mysterious, Jack (Leo Woodall), Quentin's "nephew," befriends Portia who in turn dumps Albie and Albie ends up with Mia. More drama ensues. And then there is the mystery about that dead body.  Who is going to die?

Created by Mike White, this is social satire at its most brilliant.

The story moves at a fast pace, the characters are interesting, the dialogue is snappy and the Sicilian landscapes are breathtaking. The San Domenican Palace stands in for the White Lotus, and it's beautiful, but if you are hoping to plan a vacation to Sicily so you can stay there, forget it.  For one thing, the suites with views are $3000 a night and the place is already totally booked. The power of TV!

Rosy the Reviewer says...can't wait for Season 3! What character(s) will return?

Welcome to Chippendales

This docudrama series tells the story of Somen "Steve" Banerjee, the guy who came up with the idea for Chippendales, and the evil deeds that took place.

Kumail Nanjiani plays Somen "Steve" Banerjee, an Indian immigrant who in the 1980's worked his way up from gas station owner to become the owner of the most famous and successful male strip club in Los Angeles - Chippendales. But Banerjee wasn't happy with that. Banerjee was an immigrant seeking the American Dream and that dream was to be the next Hugh Hefner, the top dog. He couldn't stomach competition so perhaps a little fire might start at a bar that also had male dancers? And then there was his partner and choreographer, Nick di Noia (Murray Bartlett), who was handsome and charismatic, appearing on talk shows to promote the club and being called "Mr. Chippendales." And when he opened a very successful club in New York City and then took the Chippendales dancers on tour with even more success, Banerjee was livid, so livid that murder came to mind.

Who knew that handsome men taking off their clothes and wiggling their butts could cause such havoc?

This is a departure for Nanjiana who is more known for comedies but he carries the role brilliantly. Other standouts are Annaleigh Ashford as Irene, Banerjee's very sweet and supportive wife, Irene, who finally lets Steve have it when she finds out what he is really up to, and Bartlett, who fans of "White Lotus" will recognize as Armand, the White Lotus manager from Season 1. Well, maybe you won't recognize him. I didn't at first, probably because he is one of those really good actors - a chameleon. And the rest of the ensemble cast is first rate, including Juliette Lewis, playing her usual kooky self.
Rosy the Reviewer says....created for television by Robert Siegel, this dramatization of how the male stripper franchise "Chippendales" came to be and the criminal activity that ensued is riveting. Nanjiani is a revelation as Banerjee and you won't be able to take your eyes off of him...or this exceptional series.

Firefly Lane - Season 2

A dramatic series that follows the friendship of two women from their teens to their forties.

This is decidedly a bit of a soap opera, but there is a reason soap operas are so popular. There is lots of drama! Taken from the novels by Kristin Hannah, and adapted by Maggie Friedman, Season 2 continues where Season 1 left off and continues the story of the friendship of Tully Hart (Katherine Heigl) and Kate Malarkey (Sarah Chalke), two besties, who met each other in the 1970's as middle-schoolers when Tully moved across the street from Kate on Firefly Lane.

Tully was the beautiful, popular and strong one, Kate, nerdy and smart and the series follows the ups and downs of their friendship over three decades, hopping around in time. Tully becomes a celebrated television anchor, Kate works along with her but also marries, Johnny (Ben Lawson), and has a child. As Season 1 wraps up, Tully and Kate are at a funeral and Kate tells Tully she is not welcome! What could have caused the rift between these two long-time friends?

So, Season 2.

Season 2 focuses more on Tully and her relationship with her hippie mother, Cloud (Beau Garrett), and Tully's search for her father, who she never knew. As for Kate, the series explores her relationship with Johnny - they got married, they broke up, they got back together. Tully and Kate work together to film a documentary about finding Tully's father but the two eventually have a falling out. Then Kate has a health scare and realizes she needs her friend but when she goes to Tully's apartment to rekindle their relationship, Tully is gone.

To be continued. This is the last season of "Firefly Lane," but the season's 16 episodes have been divided into two different "seasons," so the final eight episodes will come out in 2023.  So we are still on that cliff, hanging.

Katherine Heigl and Sarah Chalke play the adult Tully and Kate and do a good job of portraying the yin and yang of Tully’s and Kate’s friendship, but Ali Skovbye and Roan Curtis are just as good as the young Tully and Kate.

Like I said, this is a bit of a soap opera but there is a reason why soap operas are so successful. They engage us with characters we root for and intriguing plots and that describes this series.

Rosy the Reviewer says….despite my comment about the soap opera aspect of this series, it’s a coming of age tale that not only celebrates female friendship, but explores what it was like for women coming of age in a time when they suddenly had more choices and how difficult it can be to make the right ones. If you loved “Beaches," you will love this.

From Scratch

While studying in Sicily, an American woman falls in love with a local chef.

When American student, Amy (Zoe Saldana), meets Lino (Eugenio Mastrandrea), a handsome Sicilian chef, and falls in love, she doesn't realize the cultural shock she will go through.  It's a clash of cultures and just as a chef starts dishes from scratch, so too must these two lovebirds "start from scratch" to make their relationship work. 

Based on Tembi Locke's memoir of the same name, Lino's traditional Sicilian family does not approve of Amy, especially when he moves with her to Los Angeles. Amy has a loving but boisterous, opinionated family and Lino must also get used to Amy's life in America but time passes.  Lino and Amy adopt a child and things look like they will work out.  But then tragedy strikes and everyone must "start from scratch" again.

Zoe Saldana is a very sincere actress.  She is one of those actresses you believe whether she is painted blue in "Avatar" or here as a young mother coping with tragedy. Eugenio Mastrandrea is also believable, and might I add, handsome?  He is someone to watch.

Rosy the Reviewer says...a well-acted and touching love story.

Only Murders in the Building - Season 2

There has been another murder in the building!

This time in Season 2 of this hilarious series, it's the Anconia's HOA President, Bunny Folger (Jayne Houdyshell) who is murdered, and neighbors and amateur detectives Charles-Haden Savage (Steve Martin), Oliver Putnam (Martin Short), and Mabel Mora (Selena Gomez) are once again putting together a podcast about the murder and trying to discover who the murderer is.  

But because Bunny was murdered in Mabel's apartment and Mabel is found covered in blood and not remembering what happened, Mabel comes under suspicion, and it doesn't help that someone is trying to frame all three of them. But there are other suspicious neighbors and friends about, like Alice (Cara Delevingne), Mabel's artist friend; rival podcaster, Cinda Canning (Tina Fey); Leonora, Bunny's mother (Shirley MacLaine), and even Detective Krebs (Michael Rapaport).  Amy Schumer makes an appearance as herself along with a foul-mouthed parrot who knows more than he is letting on.

The usual hilarious Martin Short and Steve Martin hijinks ensue with Selena Gomez holding her own which is not an easy task considering Martin and Short will do anything for a laugh, especially Short.  There are also many red herrings and twists and turns. But no matter what is happening, it's always fast and funny.

This season, the series, created by Steve Martin and John Hoffman, gets into more character development and we learn more about our main characters, and there is some poignancy mixed in with the comedy.  And yes, there will be a Season 3.  No mystery there.

Rosy the Reviewer says...watching Martin Short and Steve Martin run around is funny enough but the plot is also always fun.  The series is nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Comedy as are all three of the stars.

Hacks - Season 2

Legendary Las Vegas stand-up comedian, Deborah Vance (Jean Smart), is back for Season 2.

Deborah is worried about her career.  She decides she needs to be more honest on stage but how to do that when she isn't really sure of the meaning of her life off stage?

Season 1 ended with Deborah finally accepting her young assistant, Ava (Hannah Einbinder), as her co-writer, but that's before Deborah finds out that Ava has dished about what a bad boss Deborah is to some TV writers. Subsequenly, Ava is tortured, worried that about Deborah will find out. To make matters worse, they are stuck together as Deborah takes her show out of Las Vegas and on the road. The two are an odd couple, an aging comedian and a young Zoomer, who are both trying to figure out their lives, and who, despite some ups and downs, can't seem to quit each other. It's a comedic road trip but also an interesting story of female friendship spanning a couple of generations. 

Jean Smart has come into her own and is finally being recognized for the wonderful actress she is.  She won a Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Comedy series last year and is up for it again this year, as is the series itself.  But the entire ensemble is first rate as well as the smart writing, no pun intended.

Rosy the Reviewer says...created by Lucia Aniello, Paul W. Downs, and Jen Statsky, this is about as perfect as a series can get and Jean Smart is perfect in it!

And in case you missed these other TV series (and my reviews) the first time around, here is my wrap-up of more of the best series of 2022 (if you want to see the original full review, click on the title).

The Crown - Season 5

The story of the Royal Family continues.

Rosy the Reviewer says...the best season yet and I proclaim that Imelda Staunton is the best Queen Elizabeth yet!

Pam & Tommy

It's all about Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee, their love story and that infamous sex tape.

Rosy the Reviewer says…a really good, engrossing story, stylish, and a lot of fun, and, even if you aren’t interested in Tommy Lee and Pamela and their sex tape, this is just a really well-done series, one of the best of the year! And no, I never saw the tape.


The story of Julia Child and the beginning of TV cooking shows.

Rosy the Reviewer says…this series is a confection, the best meal you will ever have. It’s bingeable, delicious and satisfying. You won’t be able to put down your fork, er, the remote! Bon Appetit!

Bad Sisters

What do you do when you discover that your sister's husband is abusing her?  Why, you decide to kill him, of course!

Rosy the Reviewer says...this is a celebration of sisterhood.  These "bad sisters" are really good sisters who are loyal and love each other very much and it is a joy to watch...Brilliant writing, brilliant actresses and a brilliant villain. (Apple+)

The Patient

A therapist takes on a new patient only to discover his new patient is a serial killer...and then the serial killer decides he needs his therapist all to himself and kidnaps him!

Rosy the Reviewer says…this brings a whole new meaning to the guy living in his mother's basement. From the start, you will be hooked and want to know what is going to happen to Alan (Steve Carell) and Sam (Domhnall Gleeson). A tense, sometimes humorous but always fascinating look at empathy, isolation and the world of therapy and one of the best series of the year. Not be missed. Trust me. I'm a criticologist! (Hulu)


The story of Adam and Rebekah Neumann and their start-up, We Work, one of the world's most valuable start-ups, and how it all went wrong.

Rosy the Reviewer times this show was above my mental pay grade when it came to the ins and outs of the business financial world e.g. IPO's, S-1's, etc. but that doesn't mean I didn't enjoy it.  I did.  The story is engrossing and the acting is phenomenal. (Apple+)

The Tourist

A man wakes up in the Australian Outback with no memory of how he got there or even who he is.

Rosy the Reviewer says…if you like thrillers with a Coen Brothers vibe, this is a must see. Another great series that you won’t be able to stop watching. (HBO Max)


Thanks for reading!

See you again soon!

If you enjoyed this post, feel free to like it and share it on Facebook, Twitter, or other sites; email it to your friends and/or follow me on Facebook at 

And next time you are wondering whether or not to watch a particular film, check out my reviews on IMDB (The International Movie Database). Go to, find the movie you are interested in.  Scroll over to the right of the synopsis to where it says "Critic Reviews" - Click on that and if I have reviewed that film, you will find Rosy the Reviewer alphabetically on the list (NOTE:  IMDB keeps moving stuff around so if you don't find "Critics Reviews" where I am sending you, look around.  It's worth it)!

(NOTE:  If you are looking for a particular movie or series, check out this cool site: JustWatch.  It tells you where you can access all TV series and movies)

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

A Baby Boomer's Food Memories - with Recipes from My Mother's Kitchen

Growing up, I was a very finicky eater.

How finicky were you, Rosy?

I was so finicky I didn't even try pizza until I was 15. (It looked funny).

I was so finicky, my idea of a salad was plain iceberg lettuce and a carrot.

I was so finicky, when I went to a Chinese restaurant, I ordered fried chicken
 (remember "Chinese-American" restaurants?).

I was so finicky that when I was invited to eat over at a friends house, I had to ask, "What are you having?" and make my decision accordingly. 
(Did not want to get myself into a situation where I had to try something that would make me gag like cooked carrots).

I was lucky that my parents didn't make me eat whatever was on offer.  I think they tried but after several under the table feedings to the dog or screaming fits that the cooked carrots were making me gag, they gave up (I was a budding actress after all). My mother would just make something different for me.

Despite my limited repertoire, the food I did eat was very comforting.  My mother was a good cook and made everything from scratch.

Growing up, breakfast would usually consist of a soft-boiled egg in a bowl, chopped up with a little butter, and some toast  (butter mixed in with soft or hard boiled eggs is very yummy).

My mother was up every morning to see my Dad off and get me ready for school. Since my Dad had to be at work by 8am, she was up at six or so and she did this every day for 50+ years (unlike some people who will remain nameless but her name starts with an "R" and ends with a "Y.") 

Lunch would often be what my mother called "Johnny Cake," which in my view was just cornbread but it seemed special, especially smothered in maple syrup.

Here is her recipe for "Johnny Cake:"

1 C. corn meal                               1 egg
1 C. flour                                       1 and 1/4 C Sour Milk
3 T sugar                                       3 T Butter
1 t salt                                           ( var. add molasses for 1/4 c sour milk)
1 1/2 t baking powder
3/4 t. soda

(When my mother died I took her little recipe box with all of her recipes and this recipe is from that, handwritten by my mother.  Nothing else was on the card so I am assuming you mix all of that up and figure out the oven temperature and the baking time on your own. The sour milk is a Swedish thing).

She would serve this with butter and maple syrup.  I remember even eating this when I was in high school.  I lived a block from school and would go home for lunch (you could do that in those days).

Or I might have a tuna sandwich.  But tuna salad?  Oh, no.  I didn't want any "stuff" mixed in with my tuna, so my mother would toast the bread, butter it on both sides (yes, you heard me right), spread the inside of the bread with Miracle Whip and lay the white albacore tuna onto the bread with some iceberg lettuce. The buttering of the bread on both sides was a special treat and is truly yummy.

Another favorite was Campbell's tomato soup, made with milk, and a little butter added once it was hot and in the bowl.  That was my Dad's touch.  If I was lucky, my Mom would add cut up pieces of toast with peanut butter on it.  I know, it sounds gross but it is really delicious.  And even really finicky people have their odd little indulgences that no one else can understandElvis had his peanut butter, banana and bacon sandwiches and I had my peanut butter toast in tomato soup.

Dinner was more of a problem because my mother had my Dad to please.

He was rigid in his expectations.  Dinner on the table at six, bread and butter on the table and there must be dessert, even if it's canned fruit.

He was a meat and potatoes guy with the occasional casserole thrown in.  I could do meat and potatoes up to a point (hated prime rib and steak - too chewy) but the casseroles?  No way.  I remember my mother trying to sneak things into my food but I would always suss them out. 

So if dinner consisted of something I couldn't abide, my mother would make me something different such as creamed peas on toast or chipped beef on toast, which I loved.  It was basically a white cream sauce with either the peas or the chipped beef stirred into it. (And do not go there with that other name for chipped beef on toast.  My mother would not approve).

Another favorite was what we called "Kraft Dinner," or better known as Kraft Macaroni and Cheese.  My mother would throw some bacon into it or cut up some hot dogs.  Yum.  I hate to say it, but I have yet to come up with a mac and cheese recipe that tastes as good and comforting to me as "Kraft Dinner."  It was a staple for my own kids too.

Evenings consisted of a variety of snacks.

My Dad was a big snacker.  I have fond memories of him lining up about six Ritz crackers he had spread with peanut butter along the edge of the kitchen counter and tipping each one into his hand and popping it into his mouth, followed by a little "aren't I clever?" laugh.

I would share his snacking in the evening as we watched television together, that is, when he wasn't working one of those three extra jobs he had.  My mother would usually be either reading the newspaper on our screened-in front porch or downstairs ironing.  She had no interest in television. I can remember saying to my Dad, "I am craving something but I don't know what it is" and he would then proceed to quiz me on what I might want. 

If there was nothing in the house, we might end up going to Mills Ice Cream for an ice cream cone or a taffy apple (that's what we called Caramel Apples) or he might run into the local theatre and buy some popcorn for us to take home or stop at the A & W for a quart of root beer to make root beer floats at home.  Or he loved nothing better than to whip up something for me.  He would make up some concoction and it would be just what I wanted.  He would laugh and say he should have been a short order cook.

When we were really lucky, my Dad would make caramel ice cream using his Aunt Laura's recipe. It's the best ice cream I have ever had.

Here is the recipe for Aunt Laura's Caramel Ice Cream
(also called Cooked Custard Ice Cream):

1 1/2 pints whole milk in double boiler
1/2 C flour
1 C sugar
2 eggs
Mix the flour, sugar and eggs and milk. 
1 C suger-carmelized - add to above mixture.  Stir until mixed. 
Note:  If sugar and custard are same temperatures when blended, the sugar will not lump.
Remove from cooker and cool.
Place in ice cream machine (we had the hand crank type)
Add 1 quart whole milk.
This recipe makes 2 quarts of rich ice cream.  Double to make by the gallon.

Every Sunday we went to church. 

The night before my mother would get a coffee cake ready so she could pop it in the oven in the morning.  After church we would come home to a big lunch of pork roast, with potatoes roasted along with it so they came out all carmelized and luscious, followed by dessert of one of my mother's homemade pies.  She made the best pie crust.  It was always white and flakey with the most beautiful fluting around the edges.  I wish I had her recipe for her crust.

But here is her recipe for coffee cake:

1 C milk (scalded)                        3T butter
1/4 C suger                                  1/2 t salt
1 cake yeast (crumbled in cooled milk)
2 eggs
3 and 1/2-4 C flower

Add butter, sugar and salt to scalded milk.  Cook to lukewarm.  Add yeast.  Add 1 C flour and beat with Rotary Beater until well blended.  Add eggs - beat again-Mix in remaining flour.  Let rest for 5 minutes.  Knead and put in bowl.  Let rise until double.  Push down and knead slightly.  Make into coffee cakes, let rise until double.  Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes.  Delish!

(I love that she wrote Rotary Beater.  Must have been a "new-fangled contraption."  "Delish" was her word added to the end of the recipe card.  Actually, "delish" was one of her words for anything really delicious.)

This time of year, I think of apple cider, doughnuts and hot turkey sandwiches. 

We would drive out into the country, buy a gallon of cider from a farmstand and then my Dad would make doughnuts in the deep fat fryer, lovely cakey doughnuts that he would dust with powdered sugar.  And the Thanksgiving turkey would yield leftover turkey for my beloved hot turkey sandwiches: a turkey sandwich covered with turkey gravy.

There was a decidedly different attitude about food and ingredients in the 1950's and 60's

When I would ask my mother what was in something, she would reply, "Oh, everything good.  Butter, sugar, flour, cream..."  Those were not the enemies they are now in our politically correct foodie world of today.  But also more dishes were made from scratch in those days so I guess they really were more healthful.  McDonalds didn't materialize until I was almost a teenager.

I was really intrigued by Robert Putnam when I saw him speak at a library conference.  He is the author of "Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community" (2001), and he spoke about the fact that we have become disconnected from our families, our communities and neighbors.  We no longer belong to bowling leagues, join groups, or even have dinner parties.  He blames this on long commutes, two career families, changing generational values, technology and TV.  I think he is right. 

But back when I was growing up, I can't tell you how many potlucks my mother went to. 

She even had a little round fabric carrying case for her dinner plate, her salad plate, her coffee cup and saucer and her utensils when she attended big church functions and the like (I can't imagine that if she went to a potluck at someone's house she would have to bring her own stuff, but who knows?). 

Her go-to potluck contribution was invariably her 7-Layer Salad.  She would always say, "They gobbled it right up.  There wasn't a smidgen left."

Here is her recipe for 7-layer Salad:
(and it really is a cut above other recipes I have seen.  Must be the sugar).

Use a large straight-sided pan - 9 x 13.  Assemble in this order

1 head of lettuce broken in small pieces
1/2 C chopped green onions
1/2 C chopped celery
1 can sliced water chestnuts
1 pkg. frozen peas, uncooked
Sprinkle over lettuce.
Spread 1 pint Hellman's Mayonnaise over this, then sprinkle 2 Tbs. sugar.  Then sprinkle on 1/2 Cup grated Parmesan cheese.
Cover with Seran (sic) wrap and refrigerate over night.
Next Day:  Sprinkle about 1/2 jar of Bacos over salad.  Then cook 1/2 dozen eggs (6), chop and put evenly on top of salad.
Top with 4 thinly sliced tomatoes.

Frozen peas:  I only ate 5 vegetables growing up.  Raw carrots (as I have said repeatedly, cooked carrots made me gag), raw celery, frozen peas, corn and plain iceberg lettuce (if iceberg lettuce can be called a veggie).  And I actually ate the peas right out of the frozen bag.  Try it,  They are really good!

My mother's brother owned a little grocery store in the neighborhood where they grew up so my mother felt she should buy her food from him.  She would call in her order and my Uncle Hibby would deliver the food.  That was all well and good for her, but I, who lived and breathed Saturday morning cartoons, was very frustrated by the fact that he never seemed to have the new cereals or candies I would see advertised on the TV.  Our staples were corn flakes, Cheerios and Shredded Wheat.  But on the occasion when we would go to the store itself, my Uncle would always let me pick out some candy to take home.  My mother would go next door and buy a smoked fish and she and I would devour it together when we got home.

My Dad, however, did not like fish so we never had it as a main course.  My Dad knew I liked it, so on Fridays, when they served fish in the cafeteria at his work, he would wrap the fish patty in a napkin and bring it home to me.  His doing that for me felt as good as the fish tasted.

My Mom's parents came from Sweden so my mother had a fondness for smoked fish, pickled herring and other Swedish delicacies.  I loved the smoked fish, forget the herring.  But one Swedish food I was passionate about was the Swedish Rye Bread.  Her recipe was the best.  I have never had Swedish Rye Bread to match it.

Here is her recipe for Swedish Rye Bread:

2 and 1/2 C milk                                    1 T salt
1/2 C shortening                                    2 pkgs. yeast
1 C corn syrup                                       4 C rye flour
1/2 C dark molasses                              5 C white flour
1/2 t anise seed
1/2 t fennel seed
1/2 t caraway seeds
Heat milk.  Add shortening, molasses, syrup and spices.  When lukewarm, add yeast and salt.  Place the two flours in a bowl, mix, add liquid.  Mix with hands.  Let rise 2 hours.  Knead. Break into 3 sections.  Put in well-greased pans.  Rise until double.  Bake 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes.  Mix 2t corn syrup & 1 T water together and brush over tops after baking.

When I was in college, my mother would send me "care packages" of cookies and other goodies.  One of my favorites was her Potato Chip Cookies.

Here is her recipe for Potato Chip Cookies:

1/2 C butter 
1/2 C margarine
1/2 C sugar
3/4 crushed potato chips
1 and 3/4 C flour
1/2 nuts (optional)
Roll into balls and flatten with fork.  Bake in 375 degree oven for about 15 minutes.

My parents were born in 1908 so they lived through a depression and could remember a time when there were no convenience foods.  Though we enjoyed TV dinners on trays like many families in the 1950's, my mother made most of her food from scratch and without convenience foods.

Later in life my mother started experimenting and when she told me about her Tater Tot Casserole I thought she had lost it.  But it is really good (my aversion to casseroles had changed by then).

Here is her recipe for Tater Tot Casserole:

1 and 1/4 lbs. ground beef (brown a bit)
1 onion sliced over meat
Pour on:
1 can Cream of Mushroom soup plus 1/2 can milk
1 lg. pkg. frozen mixed vegetables (California Blend)
1 can Cream of Onion soup plus 1/2 can milk
Top with Tater Tots (lg. pkg)
Bake 1 and 1/2 hours at 375 degrees (covered 1/2 the time)

(If you want to throw a retro party, this would be a conversation piece!)

When I think back on my childhood, I realize that my parents did not have a lot of money and they didn't believe in overspending on food.  Meals were simple but wholesome and made from scratch. 

Meals were made with love. 

That in and of itself is comforting.

My food fussiness prevailed throughout college. 

But when I moved to San Francisco the day after I graduated, I had an epiphany. 

It occurred to me that it would not be cool to be in a restaurant in Chinatown and order fried chicken, so I decided then and there to eat anything and everything and I have done ever since.  There was no turning back.

I now have gone from the most finicky little girl in Western Michigan to the biggest food snob in Western Washington! 

Did I tell you I am eating my way through all of the fine dining restaurants in Seattle from A-Z?


What are your childhood food memories?

  Were you a finicky eater too?

As I said, these recipes were taken right off the hand-written recipe cards from my Mother's recipe box.  Since cooks in her day worked from memory too, I can't vouch for how well these recipes were documented on her cards. I plan to try them out so will report back.  And you let me know too!

I was inspired to write this blog because of a book I just read "Blue Plate Special" by Kate Christensen, a memoir of the comforts food can bring to a chaotic life.  Check out last week's blog here for more information about it.  It's my new favorite book.

Thanks for reading!  If you enjoyed this post, feel free to subscribe and/or share it with your friends

Don't forget to catch my blog on Friday for my week in reviews and other adventures.