Welcoming June, summer

Welcome to June; month of graduations and weddings. There could be volumes written about brides, grooms and weddings. No matter what is said or what advice married folks want to give to the newlyweds, there is only one thing needed to say. Marriage is an institution and all institutions require work to keep them going, so getting married is really getting a job for the rest of your life. The salary is a happy and contented life. Of course, one has to have a second job, and sometimes several part-time jobs, in order to take of that first and primary job. It is in the best interest of everyone starting that institution to research it very well before making that final commitment. If something doesn’t look right about it, RUN as hard as you can and look for another option. Just like other institutions, it is easier to get into than out of. And like other less important jobs, it is better to fix the problem than to look for another institution in which to enter. Enough said.

I hope you had a nice start to summer. Memorial Day is a special time for everyone and brings back both happy and sad memories. It is important to reflect on the brave ones who have kept our country free. It is, also, important to remember our own family members who have passed on and remember the happy times. They will always be a part of our lives and have helped to make us who we are today. Don’t be ashamed to shed a tear or two in their memory. Be thankful for family we still have. Be thankful for those who serve today to keep us free.

Keep the grill out, and use it as the summer season gives us nice, warm days and time to relax and enjoy those around us. In six months, it will be December 1st and we will be thinking Christmas.

Another road trip to the Eastern Shore was just completed. With the help of several nice, and hard working, folks, the Beach House was opened and much yearly clean-up completed. A second house to care for is a real problem when it is 8 hours driving time away. That is 8 hours on a good day when it isn’t a holiday weekend and the traffic is light. The “parking lot” extended from the Bay Bridge back almost to Millsboro, Delaware, when we left Monday. Over Saturday, back Monday – definitely not a vacation. I volunteered to stay there for a few weeks to work on the house, but husband Norm thought that would be a vacation for me and work back in Ohio for him – cooking, cleaning and laundry. It is so peaceful there on the Bay – just sitting on the deck and looking at the water. We really do need to sell it since it is so far away and hard to care for adequately. Of course, the state government had to put a license fee onto my favorite hobby – catching Blue Crabs. Now, if one lives there and is “elderly.” it is a reasonable fee.

On June 16, Norm’s mother will be having her 100th birthday and the nursing home is planning a big party for her . There aren’t many folks who reach that milestone. Her mind isn’t what it used to be, but she knows us and often talks sensibly. Living on Sanibel Island, Fla., she had met Willard Scott, who has a home there, too, and always said she wanted to be on his segment of the NBC news. I hope she has forgotten that as the chances of him wishing her a “Happy Birthday” are very slim. She always tells Norm to bring her some money in case she wants to treat a friend to lunch. She thinks the “restaurant” down the street is so nice – they don’t charge her anything to eat there, (the “restaurant” – dining room – is just a few doors down from her room). We would like to have her here at home, but she requires more help than we are able to give her. She always loved cards and sent many to everyone she knew. Of course, now most of those she knew have passed on. If anyone would like to send her a card, we would appreciate it. Address: Isabel Christopher, Muskingum Skilled Nursing and Rehab, 501 Pinecrest Drive, Beverly, Ohio 45715. She credits her longevity to eating ice cream every day.

Now that June is here, Norm may get a few tomato plants in the ground. He says he likes the idea of the farmers around here taking their produce to the Chesterhill auction and the local farmers’ markets so that he doesn’t have to worry about the garden. I am almost convinced for most vegetables. I do like to go to my own garden to pick a nice, big, red tomato for a sandwich, or grab some zucchini for a casserole. It’s hard to get a farm girl out of the garden, even when it is in her best interest. He is interested in getting the asparagus in the ground and outsmarting the raccoons who dug up the first he planted. Guess he wants a challenge when he does plant something.

After going through lots of everyday items of his mother’s when we worked at the house in Delaware, I have promised myself to start getting rid of much of the paperwork and knick-knacks that have settled here on the hill. I would rather say “Good-bye” to my own things than to have someone say, “What is this dumb thing?” Of course, Norm and I have different ideas about what is trash and what is treasure. I will do that job when he is at work and definitely before he retires. I read books and he reads manuals and he can’t see what is so great about printed items that don’t tell one what to do or what the new tax laws are. All my cookbooks just blow his mind away. Finally, he has quit saying anything when we go to Ollie’s and I find new cookbooks to bring home. I could cook hundreds of meals a day and never use the recipe twice for, at least a few hundred of years, and not even get through all those cookbooks. I even find time to read novels as well as the cookbooks. Drives him crazy…

Do make the most of each day and enjoy the warmer weather. When the temperatures climb and we complain about the heat, it is easy to forget how we froze such a short time ago. Each day is a gift and we aren’t promised another, so try to spread peace and happiness, all the time, wherever you go. Hug your little ones. God bless.

Enjoy the sweet corn that is coming into season now. This is when it is best. Be sure to put some in your freezer for next winter. Add fresh corn to Corn Griddle Cakes or cornbread.

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EASY BARBECUED CORN ON THE COB

Remove husks and silks from fresh corn just before cooking. Place each ear on a piece of aluminum foil large enough to wrap tightly around ear. Brush with melted butter and spread with about two tablespoons of your favorite BBQ sauce over each ear. Seal foil and bake at 425-degrees for 12 to 15 minutes. Use oven or BBQ on grill.

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HERB BUTTER BAKED CORN ON THE COB

1/2 butter or margarine, softened

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary

1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram

1/8 teaspoon pepper

Combine all ingredients – enough for about a dozen ears of fresh corn. Husk and silk it right before cooking. Brush each ear and wrap tightly on a piece of aluminum foil. Bake at 450-degrees for 25 minutes, turning several times.

NOTE: On each of the above recipes, cook to your desired doneness. I cook corn a much shorter time than many folks. In boiling water, 3 to 4 minutes is enough for me, and on the grill, just until the flavor gets into the corn. Every grill and griller has different times and tests.

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CORN SALAD

1 cup vinegar

1/2 cup sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons mustard seeds

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 1/2 fresh corn cut from the cob

1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper

1/2 cup diced pimiento

1/4 cup chopped celery

1/4 cup chopped sweet onion

1 small clove garlic, minced

Combine vinegar, sugar, mustard seeds and salt in a Dutch oven and boil two minutes, stirring to dissolve sugar. Add remaining ingredients and boil three minutes. Cool. Keep in refrigerator in an airtight container.

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FRESH CORN

FRITTERS

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 eggs, beaten

1 cup fresh corn, cut from the cob

2/3 cup milk

1 teaspoon melted butter

Oil for frying

Confectioners sugar for sprinkling

Combine all dry ingredients and mix well. Combine eggs, corn, milk and butter and mix well. Stir this mixture into dry ingredients. Heat frying oil to 375 degrees. Drop batter, by tablespoonfuls into hot oil and cook until golden, turning once. Don’t crowd. Drain on paper towels and sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar while still hot. Serve hot.

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CORN PUDDING

2 cups fresh corn cut from the cob

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

2 to three tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon salt

2 cups milk

2 eggs, beaten

2 tablespoons butter, melted

Combine corn, flour, sugar and salt. Stir well. Combine remaining ingredients, mixing well. Stir into the corn mixture. Pour into a lightly greased 1 -quart casserole dish. Bake in preheated 350-degree oven for 1 hour, stirring twice during first 30 minutes.

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FRESH CREOLE CORN

2 slices bacon, chopped

1 large sweet onion, sliced and separated into rings

1 medium sized green bell pepper, finely chopped

2 1/2 cups chopped fresh tomatoes

1 small bay leaf

2 cups fresh corn, cut from the cob

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

Fry bacon until crisp, drain on paper towels and reserve drippings. Add onion and green pepper to drippings and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until crisp-tender. Add tomato and bay leaf to skillet and simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in corn and simmer 10minutes, discard bay leaf and stir in salt, pepper and bacon.

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Patty Christopher is a longtime columnist for The Parkersburg News & Sentinel.