Monday, October 31, 2005


Unpacking another box (of things we obviously don't NEED since we moved in August and the box is still packed) I found this book and when I opened it to my favorite page I found something I thought I had lost, my letter from Peter Mayle.

My letter to him was brief and I mentioned how I felt it was "a daunting task; writing to the writer" and as you can see, he made me feel at ease about it. I also told him how his books were so well written that I had a tendency to live vicariously through him, knowing I would never be able to visit Provence.

He was very gracious to have taken the time to write me back, and obviously had actually read my letter.

I love letting good writers know just that, it's such a difficult thing for me to do (write) that I am often in awe of those I feel are well written.

I would "translate" this but then it would lose it's charm.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Tag, I'm it

I've been tagged by Melanie.

List 5 things people may not know about you and tag 5 people to do the same.

Needed a few minutes to think on this one.

1. I didn't like my husband in any romantic way for 6 months after we met~we were best friends.

2. I am related to Abraham Lincoln on Mary Todd's side of the family.

3. My mother met Fred Rogers~and he really was a very sweet man.

4. I chose Culinary Arts in school because I was going to go for Criminal Justice but spotted it listed just after that and thought it was more like me since I always wanted to open a cafe or B&B.

5. I spent my 18th birthday in a D&A rehab.

I'm tagging:
compulsive writer,

Wednesday, October 12, 2005


I was going to post a recipe of my grandmother's the other day (and I still will someday soon) but today I am too sad for much cooking~My beautiful grandmother had a stroke this morning. Keep her in your thoughts and prayers if you would.

Grandma is 97 and my youngest child, Ian, shares her birthday, July 1st.

Ina J. Sharp

Grandma Barnes and Grandma Sharp

Mother and Daughter

Grandma on her 97th birthday with Ian on his 1st

Saturday, October 08, 2005

More on Fall

Last year we had our own Fall Harvest celebration of sorts. The last few posts contain recipes that were served and I needed to round it out here with one more. The Ham Loaves were really more ham balls-browned slightly and about 2" in diameter, placed in the Crockpot and topped with the sauce in the recipe. There were Garlic Cheddar Mashed Potatoes, Cream Cheese Pound Cake, Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins, my own recipe Apple Pie (to follow), and an Indian Apple, whole pumpkin and whole acorn squash on the table for decoration.

It was simple, meant to be that way, and fun. The kids bobbed for apples and we lit some candles and just enjoyed the atmosphere.

Anne's Apple Pie
Not Mom's, but still good.
Printable Recipe

1 recipe double crust pie dough
5-6 large apples, peeled, cored and sliced

Mix together:

1/2 c sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg (I really prefer freshly grated)

1-2 Tablespoons flour

Place bottom pie crust into a 9" pie pan and sprinkle evenly with the flour. Put half of the apples in the pan and sprinkle with half of the sugar and spice mixture. Top with remaining apples and sugar. Top with crust, crimp edges and vent-I like to use a small star shaped cookie cutter and then replace the cut out dough offset slightly on top of the opening

Bake at 350 degrees F for 45-50 minutes until apples are soft and crust is golden brown.

Double Crust Pie Dough

3 c flour
1 c shortening
salt-I use about 1/2 teaspoon
6-7 Tablespoons ice water
Mix flour and salt. Cut in shortening until it resembles coarse meal or small peas. Add water a tablespoon at a time until dough forms well. Let stand 10 minutes under an overturned bowl before rolling to desired thickness.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

I'm Not Trendy~and I Like it That Way

Recently I was reading a magazine and came across an add for a chocolate fondue fountain. My first thought was "Who on earth would buy one of those?". A local chocolatier in town has one but other than that I can't see spending money on something that trendy. I'm not big into food trends at all unless it's the "everything old is new again" type of trend.

I try to stay up on "what's hot" and "what's not" for the sake of any potential clients but other than that, I don't follow trends myself. Mostly because they are just that, trendy, which just means that all too soon they'll fizzle and not be heard from again for 20 or 30 years (how many of you recall getting a fondue pot for your wedding?)

I'd love to be one of these hip new young chefs armed with current fads and ready to take on the culinary world. It just isn't me though. I find a classic baked macaroni and cheese every bit as satisfying as any funky eclectic new dish~probably more satisfying.

Food isn't just a building block to me, detached and meaningless, it has a deep emotional rooting for me and everything I make is infused with love and care, not just for the individual it was made for but for the food it is made from as well. I don't want to make a dish simply because "Hey wow, that looks cool!".

Don't get me wrong, food properly plated is a lovely thing because we really do eat first with our eyes. But if that food, plated so expertly, isn't fulfilling, I see no point in having made it to begin with. I think one can tell which dishes have been made with love and which have been made with "wow" in mind.

This is one of my most treasured "full of love" recipes:

Cream Cheese Pound Cake
Printable Recipe

1 1/2 cups butter-softened
8 oz. cream cheese-softened
3 cups Sugar
6 Eggs
3 Cups sifted flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

Grease and floured a 10 inch tube or Bundt pan. Set aside.
Cream the butter and cream cheese, gradually adding sugar, beating until light and fluffy.
Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each.
Add flour and salt, stirring until combined. Stir in vanilla.
Pour batter into prepared pan.
Bake at 325 degrees F for 1 1/2 hours or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes; remove from pan and cool completely on a rack.