NASCAR is back and running today. Danica won the pole! I hope she continues the way she has started. She will be my choice to cheer on regardless, just because I think it is neat to have a girl in the running with all those guys who think they can drive better than anyone else. I get some of that inspiration from comments at home I ride shotgun because someone criticized my driving a few times, so I just said, "You drive!" although, of course, I am the better driver!
I inherited that attitude from my mother, I guess. She was a fantastic driver, and if she were a young woman today, she would probably be right out there driving with Danica. When she was young, there were no driver tests or even driver training except what one got at home. My granddad worked on oil rigs and was often away from home. My grandmother liked to visit her family in the hills around St. Marys, so Granddad told Mom she was to learn to drive so she could take Grandma whenever she wanted to go visit. Mom was 12 years old at the time. Now, Granddad considered the gas feed as an "on-off" switch and always drove "full speed ahead." He took Mom out to the cornfield and started the car for her. At that time, one started a car with a crank on the front remember those? He told her to keep it between the rows and pulled the gas feed all the way down. She promptly killed the motor. He got out told her he would start it one more time, but if she killed the motor, she had to start it. Of course, she killed it a second time, so she learned right then how to crank a car. She didn't kill the motor again. Granddad wasn't a very patient man, so she learned quickly, and at full speed. She took Grandma to see the family often and even learned to back up the steep hills (mountains) where some of the relatives lived. No highways back then just dirt roads.
She always did drive the way her Dad taught her and, by some miracle, never got a speeding ticket except for a warning one time in Illinois. We were driving to see my brother Bill, stationed at Chanute Field. I had been driving and she had casually mentioned to me that I was driving a little too much over the speed limit. I smarted off that I hadn't been caught yet. We soon traded drivers and she drove. We went whizzing by the rather rural countryside when here comes a local police car behind us and stopped her. This old, skinny guy with a badge slowly got out and came up to her window.
"Didn't you see that speed limit sign in that town back there?" he asked in a rather nasty tone.
"What town?" she said.
I still don't know how we got out of that one without leaving money in Illinois.
During WWII, the speed limit was 35 miles an hour. The main job of us kids was to sit looking out the back window for cop cars. We knew what would happen if we missed one, too. A little sticker on the windshield had the speed limit and a notice saying, "WAS THIS TRIP REALLY NECESSARY?"
We, and the horses, kept in shape by the physical labor necessary as the tractor gas was mainly used for Mom to meet the boat and see Dad. He was a commissioned officer in the Coast Guard during the war as his ship carried iron ore on the Great Lakes. We didn't know for years that Mom traveled with a pistol hidden under the cushion in the car when she drove up to the ports on the lakes. Thankfully, she never had to use it.
If you know any people with the last name of Jones, Locke or Nichols around the St. Marys or Ritchie County area, you probably know some of her cousins. One of my future projects is to trace her family history. I was always told that I would find some very interesting forebearers from back in those hills.
This is one reason I keep telling everyone to write down their family stories. Time waits for no one, and too soon those who could leave that history are gone. Every family has a story just don't leave anything out as the things that one might want to hide will give future generations a good laugh or at least an understanding of why certain things happened. Don't leave out the family recipes, either. It took years to figure out how Grandma made that great rice pudding.
With the crazy Ohio Valley weather, we need to keep that soup pot ready. Recently, I found some meaty and boneless ribs on sale, so cooked them in the crockpot with onion, celery, carrots, peppercorns (along with half the other spices in the cupboard) then put the ribs with BBQ sauce on them into the oven for BBQ Ribs. The juice in the pot was used with beans that had been soaked for bean soup. Two meals with the work of one. It cut down on the dishwashing of lots of separate pans, too. I like the cooking, but I do dislike doing dishes.
Find ways to make your cooking easier and try some new recipes, just for something different to do. It keeps you young. Keep a smile on your face and a sweater always nearby. Take care and God Bless!
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REFRIGERATOR RAISIN BRAN MUFFINS
One box Raisin Bran (15-oz.)
Five cups flour
Three cups sugar
Three tablespoons brown sugar
Scant two tablespoons baking soda
One teaspoon salt
One quart buttermilk
One cup shortening, softened
Cream shortening and sugars. Beat in eggs. Add buttermilk and mix together. Combine dry ingredients. Add this mixture and the bran flakes to the creamed mixture, stirring just until combined. Cover batter and store (up to six weeks) in the refrigerator. When ready to bake, fill greased muffin tins two-thirds full and bake in preheated 375-degree oven for 15-20 minutes. Remove from the pans as soon as baked. This recipe will make between 5 and 6 dozen muffins. If this is in the refrigerator, you can have hot muffins for breakfast quickly anytime.
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CAROLINA SHORE SHRIMP SCAMPI
Four pounds raw jumbo shrimp, shelled
Four ounces butter, melted
One-cup fresh bread crumbs
Split shrimp down the middle and arrange on a baking dish or baking sheet. Brush with butter and sprinkle with bread crumbs. Broil five minutes. Arrange on a platter and pour the sauce over.
One clove garlic
One tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
One cup lemon juice
Three-fourths cup cream sherry
Three-fourths pound butter, softened
Three-fourths cup Dijon mustard
Chop the scallions finely and press (or mince) garlic. Add Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, salt, and sherry. Mix the butter with the mustard until soft and smooth. Add to the rest of the sauce. Boil for five minutes, stirring constantly.
This sauce is also good over any fish and over chicken breasts.
If you are using fresh lemons for the juice (best), use some of the lemon rind grated as zest, too. It adds flavor.
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Heat one-and-one-half cups milk. Add six cups shredded cabbage. Cover and cook three minutes. Make a paste of one and one-half tablespoons flour, one-and-one-half tablespoons butter and one-half cup cold milk. Stir into cabbage. Add one-and-one-fourth teaspoon salt and one-fourth teaspoon pepper. Cover and cook six minutes.
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Six cups diced, cooked and cooled potatoes
One teaspoon salt
One-fourth cup chopped green onions
One-half cup chopped celery
One-half cup chopped pickles
One-half teaspoon pepper
Four hard-boiled eggs, chopped
One teaspoon dry mustard
One-half cup mayonnaise
One-fourth cup vinegar
One tablespoon sugar optional
One cup sour cream
Combine potatoes, salt, onion, celery, pickles, pepper and half the chopped eggs. Mix dry mustard, mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar and sour cream in a small bowl. Combine with the potato mixture. Garnish with the rest of the eggs and a sprig of fresh parsley.
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Patty Christopher is a longtime food columnist. Contact her at email@example.com