Friday, April 29, 2016


I've been making this for some time now. Just last week I thought to take some pictures while I made it. Just the pictures of the onions and the final dish came out well. I had to make one change to the recipe, a change that annoys me no end: my original recipe called for a 6 oz. can of tuna, now they are 5 oz. And I do remember when they were 7 oz.  Why didn't they just leave it at 7 - or is there now not enough tuna to fill the demand. Read my Recipe Method over in the right hand column. This is one of those recipes where I list the ingredients as I go along. Here goes:

Boil water and cook broad noodles for 2

In 1½ Tbsp. butter, sauté 
1 small to medium sliced onion, salt and pepper, until onions are golden.

Sprinkle onions with 1 Tbsp. flour, and mix in with
½ cup of half and half

Add 1 small can sliced mushrooms and the juice

1 tsp grated lemon peel (or one packet of True Lemon) and bring to a bubble, then lower flame to the lowest setting. 

When noodles have 5 minutes to go, add 1 5oz. Can of tuna,
drained, to the onions and mushrooms. Break up tuna and mix it
in with the sauce and just heat it through.

Serve with French’s onions or chopped chives on top.

Friday, April 22, 2016


Here's another recipe that I've been making for quite a number of years. Last night, I finally thought to take some pictures. It is fairly quick to prepare. My husband would like more bacon in it, but I think two strips each is plenty. You, of course, can use as many as you'd like



4 strips of bacon, cut in 1” pieces
1 egg
3Tbsp. fresh ground Parmesan
Salt and pepper
½ tsp garlic powder

1 large plum tomato, diced (optional)
Chopped chives for garnish

Spaghetti for two    


Boil the water for the spaghetti and cook it according to directions

Sauté the bacon pieces until they are just browned, the way you would for regular strips.

Meanwhile, mix the egg, parmesan, salt and pepper and garlic in a small bowl.

When the bacon is cooked, remove it from the pan, leaving the drippings in the pan.  When the pieces are cooled, mix them into the egg mixture.

When the spaghetti is done, take a few tablespoons of the pasta water and add it to the bacon drippings.  Drain the spaghetti and put in in the pan, mixing in the drippings.

Pour the egg mixture over the spaghetti and mix that in, then mix in the diced tomato, if used.

Sprinkle chives on top.


Thursday, April 21, 2016


Four generations
Today, Her Majesty, Elizabeth II, is ninety. I always remember her birthday. Always. Why? Because it is also my sister’s birthday. When I discovered that fact, I was delighted, especially since from an early age, oh, about ten or eleven, I thought the Queen was our Queen.  After all, what’s a country without a President and a Queen? I thought that was the way it worked: one male for the business stuff, one female for the ceremony stuff.  Remember, I was only ten or so.
If you’ve followed my blog for any length of time, you know that I am an Anglophile, and an Elizabethophile. (Or should that just be an Elizabethan?)

with her corgis and dorgis (yes, I had to google 'dorgies')

The BBC and the New York Times, my morning regulars, contributed the lovely pictures accompanying my blog today,

I just love this picture.  Here she is with the youngest two of her grandchildren, and her five great-grandchildren.  And I absolutely smile from ear to ear at that little Mia holding great-granny's handbag. Evidently the world was charmed too - it's all over the internet.
What is so rare as a picture of the Queen without her handbag?

 Happy Birthday Your Majesty, and many more. Oh, and Zen Hugs too!

Saturday, April 16, 2016


Today is the birthday of Anatole France, born Jacques Anatole Thibault, in Paris, France of course, in 1844. And how do I know this? I read, of course. According to The Writer’s Almanac, one of my favorite sources for blog ideas, France said, “The books that everyone admires are the books nobody reads.”

I have to admit, and really not ashamedly so, that though relatively I’m widely read, I’ve never read many of the classics that one would think I should have. In many random works of fiction I’ve read over the years, I’ve come upon characters who were extremely well versed in the classics – that’s perhaps because their creator was. For the longest time I wished I were similarly well read, but then I gave up on that. I’ve never read more than excerpts from works like The Iliad, The Odyssey, nor any of Jane Austin, and only the Dickens works I read I was required to read in school. I know most of his stories, but I really don’t like Dickens style of writing, nor do I like Edith Wharton’s. I do like John Steinbeck’s style, so I’ve read all of his works, including the delightful Travels with Charlie.

I have read, Gargantua and Pantagruel, War and Peace, Crime and Punishment, but not Pride and Prejudice. Sorry. I’ve read Don Quixote, and Animal Farm, and The Wind in the Willows, but not all the Harry Potter books because I like Susan Cooper's The Dark is Rising Sequence of books so much more.

List Challenges has an entry: 99 Classics Books Challenge – of which I’ve read 45 according to their count, I think. Sometimes I don’t remember if I’ve read it or not because I know of it in one way or another. Maybe I saw the movie! There were only two on the list that I’d no knowledge of at all: Baltasar and Blimunda, and Os Maias. (I’ll have to research them.*) So – 45. I’ve read a hell of a lot more than those 45. Good for me? One never knows. At the end of the day, at the end of my life, will it have made a difference?  One never knows.

*I learned that these two are by Portuguese authors. In reading about the novels, I’ve decided they won’t be on my list of things to read in the future. Que pena. 

Friday, April 15, 2016


I love numbers. I like to see numbers in sequences or patterns, and I like to see nice big numbers like 75,000.  My Blogger home page said just now that I have had 75,000 page views.  For a dinky little blog like mine, that's a lovely number to have accumulated in a little over five years. I am delighted! Thank you readers.


Even the lanterns must go.
I wasn’t planning on posting to my blog today – I’ve one on deck for tomorrow – but this posting from Sharon Santoni’s always-interesting My French Country Home, got me to thinking. She wrote about the upcoming renovation and renewal at Paris’ famous restaurant, La Tour D’Argent. They are selling off everything, including wine from their cellars. Almost everything will bear the restaurant’s monogram.

I surmise that all over the world there are collectors of such things as will be going for sale at the auction: furniture, silverware, dishes, linens, decorative items, copper pots and pans, wine glasses of every shape and size. 
I also surmise that those who are ‘somebody’ wouldn’t want these things - they already have their own fine stuff. But those of us who are relative nobodies might like to have a thing or two. I did take a peek at the catalog. Whew! They certainly did amass a mess of things – their stuff has stuff. No wonder they want to clear things out and make a new start. The Crillon and the Ritz in Paris recently did the same. 

I don’t think I’ll be able to make it to the auction in May, tant pis, but I’d really like to have one of these little blue and white ashtrays.  That would be enough for me. 

Wednesday, April 13, 2016


They’ve called her The Julia Child of the South, but in my book – and I do have several of hers, she is in a class by herself. I’ve many of Julia’s books too, but I see the difference in them as Julia being classically Cordon Bleu trained, and Edna being classically home trained. More aptly, she was called The Grande Dame of Southern Cooking. I’ve written about Edna Lewis and my other favorite cooks and their books in one of my blogs. My favorite Edna Lewis book is In Pursuit of Flavor, and isn’t flavor the bottom line in cooking and eating?

Edna Lewis was born on April 13, 1916, in Freetown, Virginia, a community founded by eight families of freed slaves, including her grandparents. She believed in the basic connection of food to the farm, where everyday life revolved around the raising of food and its seasons, from the chickens and pigs to the fields and forest. Like many cooks of her generation, she learned how to cook in measurements of coffee cups, soup spoons, tea spoons, and the amount that would fit on a nickel or a dime. She learned to know what was available and fresh at the moment. This knowledge of what’s readily available has developed in to the current “locavore” trend in which chefs create the day’s menu from what meat and produce they can get close to home. As it was in the days before speedy, refrigerated transportation when Edna Lewis was learning to cook, this is usually means it is from within a hundred miles, and has been raised sustainably.

Lewis left Virginia when she was just sixteen. She wound up in New York where she worked as a seamstress, another skill learned in Virginia and carried on for her own wardrobe throughout her life. She became known for her wonderful food, and in the late 40’s she became the cook, and an instant success, at the Café Nicholson. When she broke her leg and had to give up cooking professionally for a while in the late 60’s, she was persuaded to turn her handwritten notes into what became The Edna Lewis Cookbook. The book has been called, by Craig Claiborne, no less, “the most entertaining regional cookbook in America” The rest, several cookbooks, many awards, and a U.S. Forever stamp later, is American culinary history.

One of Edna Lewis’ best loved recipes is the one for Yellow Vanilla Pound Cake. You can find the recipe on line at the Saveur website. Any readers familiar with Jan Karon’s Mitford series of books will remember Esther Bolick’s secret recipe for Orange Marmalade Cake. In the books, the controversial, perennially award-willing cake almost became a character itself. Working with Edna Lewis and her apprentice, Scott Peacock, Karon developed a recipe for the Mitford Cookbook & Kitchen Reader. Thus fiction became a delicious fact.

An Edna Lewis Pound Cake  Wonderful!

Friday, April 8, 2016


Recently, in a prominent southern magazine, the resident gardener was very dismissive of anyone trying to keep what he called “Ice Cube Orchids” beyond their sell-by date, or in this instance, the last flower to fall off the stalk. I’d never heard of that name for these supermarket specials.
When I got my first white orchid (I really don’t like he pink ones) at Trader Joe’s three years ago, I googled the care and feeding of such plants. I was dee-lighted to come upon the ice cube watering technique. I popped the plant, plastic pot and all, into a terra cotta pot and set it on the big counter behind my kitchen sink. I put the suggested three ice cubes on top of the soil and that was that.

As I recall the plant stayed in bloom for over a month. When the last flower faded, I googled again - this time to see how to keep it alive. I found that I should just cut off the stem, keep watering it and fertilizing it, and see what happens.

Well, the watering technique was easy. Every Sunday I did the three ice cube routine. But did I fertilize it? No. I am a bit lazy that way. Anything needing special nurturing had little chance with me because I simply forget to keep with the program. Ice cubes were easy to remember because we use them here every day.

I lucked out. I must have the proper combination of minerals in my tap water, the proper amount of sunshine every day, and the proper amount of benign neglect that the orchids just love.  My first orchid has rebloomed three times. The second one, a gift, has rebloomed twice now, and the little one I bought last year has bloomed again. 

So if you have the room to keep a phalaenopsis orchid, the proper sunshine, ice cubes made in an old-fashioned ice cube tray from unfiltered tap water, and a regular hand with the cubes (three to a large plant, two to a small one each week) give them a try. By the way, I’ve never repotted any of them. I sort of like the roots coming out all over the place. I remove any dead ones so that I have a place to nestle the ice cubes by the soil. The constant drip of the melting cubes insures that the plant gradually takes up the water, and you have no wet mess anywhere. And no, it's not too cold for the plant  the water is above the freezing point.

By the way, remove any yellowed leaves – usually one each year – and when the bloom finishes cut off the stem. If there are any little nodes on the stem, as there were with my little yellow orchid last year, cut the stem just above the node. This year on that plant I got one bloom above the node, and a full set of blooms from below.

The cost for these orchids is relatively minimal. The foliage is large and it doesn’t drop all over, and the flowers last. The first bloom on my first plant came out on December 20th. It is just fading now, about three and a half months later. That’s a long time to have such lovely flowers in bloom.

The perfect spot

Friday, April 1, 2016


What better day for this poem than this rainy, blustery April Fool's Day here in South Carolina. April, as you may know, is National Poetry Month. I celebrate the month with one of my favorites from Pooh’s creator, A.A. Milne. Of late, if my comment is not “It is what it is,” I might say “And that, said John, is that!”  The poem is short and to the point.

   By A. A. Milne

John had
Great Big
Boots on;
John had a
Great Big
John had a
Great Big
Mackintosh --
And that
(Said John)

Not Milne's John, but
he's got on all the right stuff