Mimi’s Special Breakfast

Fluffed Eggs-Mimi’s special breakfast:

Mimi's Fluffed Eggs

My Fluffed Egg

I can only remember my mom doing these a few times when I was young. We made lots of cinnamon toast, or just plain toast with all kinds of jellies that Mother made during the summer: watermelon rind preserves, tomato jelly, grape jelly and, especially, fig preserves. Daddy loved sweets.

Just for fun, I decided to try these fluffed eggs for Hud to see if he enjoyed them. Guess, I am a lot like Mother. The egg whites whipped up very fast and fluffed eggs are bound to be fun with the grandchildren once in a while. 🙂  My whites were a little brown by the time the yellow looked cooked, but Hud said it is a winner. Don’t forget to click on the recipe to enlarge it for reading. Make breakfast fun!

From Mimi to all of us.

Cry No More

Slicing an onion.

Sniff, sniff, sniffle. How can anyone eat this onion if I cry all over it? For years, I dreaded the awful task of slicing or dicing onion.

Now I always volunteer to slice or dice onions at the homes of family and friends. Why? Because someone gave me the best tip in the world. Even with my contacts, no tears. The tip came at a Pampered Chef Party, and I have no idea what the consultant’s name is, but if you are the one and read this, please let me know so that you can get credit.

It’s just this simple.

  • Cut the roots off first.
  • Slice from the base moving back towards the top.
  • No tears.

Before this, I tried holding bread in my mouth, putting the onion under water, everything anyone said do. Nothing worked. The opening scene from Like Water for Chocolate was lodged in my brain. No more. Happy slicing. Enjoy those hamburgers. Cry no more.

After writing this, a quick search showed me that while I know little about being a chef, the professional cooks do not know this secret. A chemist friend of mine explained once that two chemicals in the onion combine when it is sliced creating toxic fumes. One of the chemicals, I don’t remember which, is housed in the roots. By cutting the root off first, that chemical is never released to combine with the one in the onion. Apparently, the juice inside the onion is stimulated by slicing and creates a flow that activates the root system also when cut from the top.

 Here is a very good site showing the current standard in the cooking profession by Jennifer Clair from Home Cooking New York. And then there is an informative and fun article which explains the chemical reaction set off when slicing an onion at Lifestyle. The entrenched professional wisdom is: half the onion and cut very fast so that you do not get the full impact of the toxic fumes. 

Now the two links above give a pretty good repertoire of knowledge about slicing onions. Think I will stick with what works for me, besides that, I like a whole round onion slice on hamburgers, not a half.

Click on the Pampered Chef link. At their site, download a free celebrity cookbook and they will donate one meal to Feeding America.

Seven Minute Icing

Well, folks this is really “the icing on the cake.” Mother could whip this up so fast when Daddy came home from WWII. It takes a little more practice for me, and even though I am not a pro, it’s a lot of fun. Hud loves this cake just about as much as my daddy did. Though Hud may love coconut more, the pineapple cake icing Mother made had no coconut in it. Remember to click on the recipe to enlarge it. Enjoy!

My Grandmother's Seven Minute Icing

Pineapple Cake

Maybe Hud will forgive me for telling… Two pieces of this cake remained in the fridge when we decided to  diet several days ago. This morning I noticed the empty cake plate on the drain. I might cheat ” just a little” on my diet, but I did not eat a piece of that cake after the diet began…BJ, “Hud, did you throw that cake away?” Hud, “Are you kidding, waste that cake?”

From Mimi’s Cookbook to all of you from BJ.

Mimi’s Pineapple Cake

Mimi's Cookbook Cover

Home on furlough from WWII, our dad had his favorite pineapple cake every day. Even though little, my brother and I gave him lots of help when it came to eating. Mom too, she hoarded ration stamps to have enough sugar and pineapple for this grand visit.

Upon finding Mimi’s 1918 handwritten recipe book, I learned the recipe was hers. Here it is for all to enjoy.

Daddy’s Favorite


Daddy  wrote home about the pineapple cake often while he was serving in the Pacific during World War II. Mother saved her ration stamps for months. When it was almost time for Daddy’s furlough, Mother put my little brother in our red wagon. While she pulled, I traipsed as fast as my short legs could go all the way to the grocery store more than a mile away.

 Mr. Griswald was taken back when Mother asked for so much sugar and canned pineapple. He scratched his head and said, “I don’t know, Lela, that’s a lot of sugar and pineapple for one family.” Mother showed him the ration stamps. He looked up with a sheepish grin on his face, “Somebody mighty special must be coming home soon.” Mother beamed from ear to ear and reached to wipe away fresh tears, “You know it, Sal.” Mr. Griswald helped her load the wagon and get my little brother back in. Then we made the trip home.

 I remember the day Daddy walked up to the front screen. A beautiful pineapple cake sat waiting for him on the table. He let us help just a little bit, even though he had a terrible sweet tooth. Mother made sure that pineapple cake was ready every day until time for his leave to end. When today’s cake had only three or four pieces left, another one went into the oven. 

Story told to me many times by my mother. Click on the recipe to enlarge. Frosting tomorrow.

Bullock: Blinded by Love

Hope Floats. Sandra, you float. The role that won Oscar for Best Actress stands eclipsed by the real life drama we watched since that auspicious night Sandra Bullock stood in shimmering gown holding the Hollywood honor of honors, husband Jesse James by her side. Walking the red carpet, glowing above the gown, smiling for photographers, we were awed.

Suddenly, the unthinkable: beauty, glamour, artistry, not enough. Just as suddenly disappearing from public eye, we wonder, “Is she living out the drama she played when a ludicrous scene in a movie gone by left her shocked before the world and bereft of will to rise?”

Not this Sandra, not this place, not this time. Blinded by love. The cries and giggles of  new life sustain her and move the mother protector inside. Not as though, she didn’t struggle. Together with Louis, her son, she will. She will rise and stand: compassion and dignity. No “Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song” for Sandra. Let the others play that tired song.

 Welcome, Sandra to new life. Welcome to new love.  Thank you for continued grace and style. Thank you for giving us the joy of sharing yours.

From BJ to Sandra.

Eggstatic-super Easter or post-Easter fun

If you have any real boiled eggs left or feel like doing some more, here’s a sure way to add unforgettable fun to yesterday’s Easter Egg Hunt. Prior to doing this stunt gather:

  • a jar that has a mouth just big enough for a boiled egg to rest on top. The mouth of the jar must also not be much smaller. The old milk quart jars were perfect. The pointy end of the egg should fit down in the mouth of the jar.
  • a peeled, boiled egg
  • a safety lighter
  • a piece of paper torn from anything like a napkin or newspaper. Tear it about 1” wide and two or three inches long. Warning: Do not use a large piece of paper or wad of paper.
  • Next, gather the kids and proceed:

1)       Light the paper with the safety lighter and place it down in the jar.

2)       Quickly place the egg back on top of the jar.

3)       When the paper quits burning, there will be the loudest explosion!  

4)       Kids always look to the ceiling to see where the egg landed, expecting to see one huge mess.

5)       They find nothing there.

6)       Looking back at the jar, they find the egg intact at the bottom of the jar.

Your young scientists will figure this out very soon. Be careful who tries it next; they need supervision. Have fun. This can be done anytime of the year, but it just seems to be more fun at Easter.

From BJ to the kid in all of us.

Final Four and Wedding Bells

Wedding Bells

Now just how does a wedding tie into a basketball story? Read on.

My youngest and his bride married on March 6. She is from a little town just about 20 miles south of my original home town. She and Sam met on the internet. Imagine that! They grew up so close, but never knew each other until someone invented a new world of communication. Alto is a wonderful little community of loving people. I am so happy for Sam to have chosen to make his home there with Patti.

She belongs to Hilltop Baptist Church, a church which bought the original school grounds. The school was razed, but the church decided to keep the gymnasium facility which included the auditorium stage, home economics department, where we had the rehearsal dinner, the ag department classrooms and, of course, the gym.

A beautifully modern reception hall welcomes members and friends where once half of the gym, the bleacher space, the cafeteria and the stage served eager teens. As we took our rehearsal dinner foods to the home ec area through the hall, we were suddenly in the other half of the now antiquated gym which is waiting for its facelift. I didn’t think much of it at first.

The next trip through that gym, there was time to look around. There to my complete astonishment, was the gym I used to play in with my high school team. We either played the Alto Yellow Jacket girls team or others in tournaments, not at all auspicious like the Baylor Lady Bears or the men’s Final Four, but we had fun. Trouble is, the Alto girls usually beat us. Alto had a harder time with our boys’ teams, but we girls just couldn’t hold a light to theirs. Looking at the aged floors, I could almost hear the sounds of voices echoing up and down the court. Somehow some pretty sweaty smells came into that journey down memory lane, ugh! However today, football reins king for the Jackets.

After Sam walked me down the aisle the next day, he took his place with Charles, Jacob, Dan and Patti’s brother. Hud and I sat down and looked up there to see our handsome men looking like Il Divo. It was just too much. The tears welled up and poured down. How stupid! The bride’s mother is supposed to cry, not the groom’s. The only way to hide it was to laugh at myself. Someone had thoughtfully placed a pretty square box of tissues at the end of each pew.

Sam and Patti brought both her mother and me a lovely long-stemmed rose. Now this is one of the other great things about a small town. Two weeks later, that rose from the Alto Florist  remained beautiful even though it didn’t get water for at least nine or ten hours. Roses usually wilt by the next day. What a great surprise! Well, Patti’s brother pronounced Sam and Patti man and wife in spite of the weepy groom’s mother and the ring bearer who wouldn’t come to the altar.

Thanks Sam and Patti for a beautiful wedding. May you raise a basketball team and have many beautiful years together.

Final Four-A Contagious Fever

Dr. James Naismith saved me. That’s what he did. Even though he died in 1939, long before I was born.

The Navy extended my husband of just five months instead of discharging him at the appropriate time saying he was soon to be on his way to the Mediterranean. Not wanting me to be in Florida alone, my husband drove our boxer and me across a treacherous mountain trip over frozen highways and black ice from Jacksonville, Florida to West Virginia, so that I could stay with his parents until Uncle Sam relented.

I soon began substituting in the one and two room school program still existing in the mountains of Wayne County, WVA at that time. First assignment: one room school up on Big Lynn, a hollow formed by a creek running down off the mountain. My first day was one of those rare days in February when the sun is shining. The eighth grade history lesson brought all the classroom into the circle to hear more about the history of basketball. The little guys just kept inching up closer until I motioned them all to join us. The book said, basketball began with a real basket. Points were made when the ball landed in the basket. Someone had to climb a ladder to retrieve the ball. (Guffaws from the kids.)

Hey, we had a basketball. One of the boys went home at lunch for a bushel basket. He cut the bottom out before returning with our new found goal. During our afternoon recess, we measured to just the right spot and nailed the basket up high on the back of the coal bin next to the playground, divided into teams, and you can imagine the rest. Even the little ones stood on the periphery to catch the ball and throw it back to the players in the middle.

We must have made a lot of noise. Pretty soon, my husband’s cousin, Bobby and a couple of other farmers from over the hills showed up in their pickups. When they joined us, the game went into overtime, just like our recess, as we played the first basketball game on Big Lynn. Now who wouldn’t love teaching or being a student for that matter with a start like that? Every pretty day, and some that weren’t so much, after that, each recess spawned a new game of basketball.

1936 American Gold

Dr. Naismith conceived his game in 1891. He would be amazed to see us click on these highlighted phrases to retrieve his full story, as much as he would by March Madness. After inventing this game ,that gives us heart attacks in March and April as we go madly toward the Final Four every year, Dr. Naismith watched the first Olympic basketball competition in 1936, at the Berlin Olympics.

From BJ to all those wonderful students on Big Lynn, cousins too :), and everyone with March Madness!

Cuisine-Mimi’s Cookbook

Photo by Hud

Mimi and the girls prepared simple meals on quilting days. Sometimes a neighbor like Mrs. Mehutki dropped in to help. She usually brought some of her special Finnish Butter Cookies. The butter cookies became a family favorite. They are so delicate and light, they just melt in your mouth.

The meal usually consisted of stew or soup, sometimes cornbread sandwiches or just plain cornbread and milk. Mimi’s family liked buttermilk. I’ve tried milk and cornbread. It is a long way from a favorite; the buttermilk and cornbread is completely distasteful. Maybe it was good to those who grew up not having all of the convenient snacks and sugar that spoil us so today. One thing for sure, no eating or drinking was allowed near that precious quilt being made for family or friends.

My mother’s 1917 Hoosier (a portable cabinet with separate flour and meal grinders)is a treasured appointment in our family dining area. A few years ago, one of the drawers just quit closing. After trying in every other way, I pulled the drawer all the way out. Behind it were two cookbooks which had been there, heaven only knows how long. One was a 1936 issue of the JR Watkins Cookbook which sold for a whopping one dollar. JR Watkins has graciously given consent to share their recipes. I will write more about them in later posts. The other was a 1918 handwritten cookbook kept by my Mimi. It cost her a buffalo nickel.

Leafing carefully through those pages soon to be one hundred years old, feelings of connection unknown before flooded my soul. The paper is very fragile. It is apparent that handling will cause disintegration rapidly. But there written in Mimi’s hand are recipes my mother prepared over and over. Since Mimi was gone before my memory, I never knew those recipes were from so long ago. I prepared some of them for my boys and then their families never knowing they were third generation, at least. Charles’ Kay and Chuck laughed at me about the Candlestick Salad, thinking it was too far out.

Keeping this precious book for posterity is a priority. Hud carefully scanned each page.

Poppy and Mimi used available commodities to care for their family. Many of the recipes seem strange to us today. However, I have to tell you that Green Tomato Pie is scrumptious if you like tart. Choosing tomatoes already white just before the pink starts yields a little less tartness. This was one of Mother’s specialties. 

A few recipes at the end of the collection were tucked into the back of the book by my mother. We included them simply because that is the way we found the book.

If you are part of my family, this is a treasure it warms my heart to share with you. If you are a friend, you are now part of our larger family and that makes the journey all the more special.

As soon as our brander helps, we will have Mimi’s Cookbook here for you to peruse.


Photo by Hud


How about using a quilt for a wedding register? This was the idea my husband to be and I settled on for our wedding. Wedding registers usually get packed away and seldom even looked at again. When we started planning our wedding, we wanted something that would really be special from each of us. Something that showed we

Photo by Hud

 were pledging our lives to each other. How to

find the quilt? There was enough to do without looking for a quilt.

Coming home from school shortly after the idea began to surf, I found the latest copy of Domestications catalog in the mail. Gasping, I stared at the quilt on the cover. It

was perfect; a beautiful pastel Trip Around the World with inset florals and zigzag border. There were lots of white squares. I hastily ordered it and then bought blue fine pointed sharpies.

At the wedding we placed the quilt on the table by the entrance. One of my granddaughters asked each person to sign with name, birth month and day. After the wedding, I transferred each name onto a calendar. At the first of each year we place them on a new calendar. As time allows, we call to give greetings to our friends on their birthdays. Over and over we are asked, “How did you know?” until this year when writing this book keeps our days running together and the time slips away. Maybe next year we’ll do better.

Each March, the month of our anniversary, the quilt is placed on our bed to remind us of that special event. And by the way, my husband never forgets our anniversary.

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