Rich and Thin Brownies

chocolate-thin-browniesThat old adage, “you can never be too rich or too thin,” coined by Wallis Simpson – the scandalous divorcee who cost King Edward VIII the crown – applies to brownies as well as social climbers. This recipe for Thin Chocolate Bars from Home Cooks’ Easy Recipes (edited by Vivian Rothe, Paradise Press, 1993) bakes in a jelly roll pan. Continue reading

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Snow Blower Cocktail for Patriots Fans

snow-blower-cocktail-5Since I live in the capital of Patriots Nation, I could hardly pass up a chance to serve my Super Bowl crowd a locally themed cocktail to supplement our beer. I found my recipe in the St. Jean’s Book of Favorite Recipes (1982) from Newton, Massachusetts. St. Jean’s Catholic Church formed in the 1890s heart of the Nonantum section’s French-Canadian community. Continue reading

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An Inaugural Food Tradition

_20170120_121823As a candidate, President Donald Trump dispensed with many traditions. Continuing that theme, he  removed Boston-based Legal Sea Foods chowder from the celebratory menu, where it had been a fixture since 1981. Then he put it back! Want to make it? The recipe comes from the first edition of the Legal Sea Foods cookbook, published in 1988. Use bottled clam broth in place of fish stock to make it easier. Serve with a bottle of champagne — or shots of bourbon — depending on your sentiments today!



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Party Punch that Swirls and Sparkles

punch-deaconess-2Whether you plan to celebrate or protest, the U.S. Presidential inauguration week begins with gatherings of all kinds. Continue reading

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New Year Tradition: Tea, Cakes, Egg Nog

Egg Nog with nuts and cheese.JPGMost Americans associate champagne and caviar with the New Year, but other traditions pre-date that. The Puritans used to visit each other for tea and cookies on New Year’s Day. New Year’s receptions hosted by women became popular in the 19th century. Continue reading

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Cranberries for Chanukah


This year marks one of the rare times that the first night of Chanukah coincides with Christmas Eve. Interfaith families might be lighting candles while waiting for Santa. My favorite latke recipe never changes but this year I decided to try my grandmother’s handwritten cranberry sauce recipe as a topping for latkes instead of the traditional applesauce. Written on a piece of paper from a long-gone insurance agency (Tabb, Brockenbrough & Ragland)  in Richmond, Virginia, the recipe itself has survived the test of time and still tastes “perfectly lovely,” as my grandmother liked to say. Canned pineapple was a novelty in the 1930s so that might explain why it’s there. No matter what, the sweet tidbits contrast nicely with the tart cranberries. And there are eight nights to enjoy the sauce!

Pineapple-Cranberry Conserve (1930s)
Makes about 4 cups

4 cups cranberries
8 ounces pineapple tidbits, drained and juice reserved
1 orange, sliced thin, then quartered
1 cup sugar
1 cup chopped almonds

  1. Add water to the pineapple juice to make 1 cup.
  2. In a large, stainless steel pot, cook the cranberries with the pineapple juice and orange. When the cranberries start popping, add the sugar and tidbits. Cook until thick, about 15 minutes.
  3. Stir in the chopped almonds. Let cool before serving with latkes or just plain.
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Follow Me to Tennessee Cookies

cheesecake-xmas-cookies-doneI’ve been waiting to try recipes from The Pear Tree, a cookbook from the Junior League of Knoxville, Tennessee (1977), ever since my daughter and I sped out of Nashville just ahead of a major storm in 2015. The book’s focus on Christmas menus mostly limits it to December. I finally found the right occasion to make Cheesecake Christmas Cookies for my office holiday gathering. Continue reading

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