Tag Archives: Recipe

OMG, It’s Monday! Prayer: My Goofs, His Grace

O Lord, I remembered my name today, but apparently forgot to add that final cup of flour to the cookies. Thank You that my eternal destiny does not depend on turning out a perfect recipe — of any kind. OMG, how I celebrate Your love and forgiveness through Jesus!

Macaroni and Cheese

Image by Hucklebarry from Pixabay.
Image by Brigitte Werner from Pixabay.

An all-American dish, right?

Nope. Historians believe a 14th-century Italian cookbook, Liber de Coquina, contains the first written mention of pasta and cheese. Americans can thank Thomas Jefferson, who brought a macaroni and cheese recipe and pasta maker home from Europe.

My grandchildren aren’t interested in mac ’n’ cheese history. They simply want to fill huge emptiness inside. Grandma boasts two recipes: their great-grandmother’s, plus one recently discovered on the Internet.

Unlike many 1960s homemakers, Mom didn’t cook the 19-cents-a-box food made popular during the Depression. Instead, she boiled spaghetti, then added inexpensive margarine and whatever cheese had escaped five-kids-in-the-house foraging.

Image by pixel1 from Pixabay.

Her recipe proved invaluable during my Hubby’s medical school years. Once, I looked up from saying grace before one spaghetti-and-cheese supper to see my work-weary husband face down in a plateful of our entrée.

Fast-forward several decades, when he invited students for a cookout. Would they consider my spaghetti fetish — and me — weird? Risotto or gnocchi might boost sophistication ratings, but costs would skyrocket.

Cheap won. I prepared mac ’n’ cheese — not only popular with students, but later, with our grandkids.

Not everyone welcomes different versions, especially as cheese enthusiasts rarely compromise. Some insist on American or cheddar. Discerning palates may require brie, smoked Gouda, or goat cheese.

Others, if stranded on a desert island, would refuse the stove-top version, as real mac ’n’ cheese demands an oven-baked crust.

A recent San Francisco macaroni and cheese contest’s entries might raise Midwestern eyebrows, with additives like nutmeg, mustard and even cinnamon and sugar. Vegetables took center stage: mushrooms, tomatoes, brussels sprouts and that darling of the veggie world, kale. Some added fruit, such as figs.

Image by Hans from Pixabay.

The judges, including Smithsonian Magazine writer and cheese merchant Gordon Edgar, awarded first place to a dish featuring aged Vermont cheddar.

The cultured audience, however, chose a different entry — and were shocked to silence when the winner revealed his main ingredient.

Velveeta®.

Image by Peggy & Marco Lachmann-Anke from Pixabay.

This dish, even in its many variations, will endure. When my family needs comfort or celebration food, mac ’n’ cheese will be there for them.

Americans’ political views are even more diverse than our versions of macaroni and cheese. But acknowledging differences, can’t we lean on the basic recipe, our comfort and celebration for almost 250 years?

I want that to be there for my family, too.

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: What’s your favorite macaroni and cheese recipe?

Classic Post: Dandelion Treasure

This post first appeared on March 16, 2016.

As I walk past our nearby elementary school, I search for the first fuzzy yellow dandelions. Although I want them out of my yard, deep in my grown-up heart, I still like them.

As a six-year-old, I heard God sprinkled dandelions on lawns like manna. Sometimes, He turned them to gold during the night. The financial possibilities made it worth a try.

The gold coin story did not pan out, but I still welcomed dandelions. Softer than my baby brother’s hair, they dotted the gray-brown Indiana landscape, reminding me better than any catechism that God loves color.

I showered my mother with bouquets. She never turned them down.

One evening Mama surprised my siblings and me. We would pick dandelions for supper! I did not realize they were good to eat. Or that our old refrigerator was empty. Mama acted as if we were going on a picnic.

“These look good.” She bent and nipped off leaves.

Grown-ups rarely made sense. “Aren’t we going to eat the flowers?”

“No. Some people make wine with them, but we’re eating just the greens.”

“Can’t we make wine?”

Mama’s eyebrows rose. “Probably not a good idea.”

My pastor father’s congregation might not take kindly to a bootleg wine-making operation in the church basement.

My seven-year-old brother grabbed the big greens first.

“Thank you.” Mama shook dirt from our offerings. “But little ones are best.”

Ha! My spindly greens topped his!

I asked, “What do cooked dandelions taste like?”

“Spinach.”

I’d never eaten spinach. But on TV, Popeye’s spinach helped him clobber the bad guys!

Maybe dandelions possessed the same magic. I insisted on a big bowl for supper. Muscles would pop out on my skinny arms. I would teach Kevin, the mouthy kid across the alley, some manners!

I took my first bite.

Maybe we should have made wine.

Though I gulped several spoonfuls, I didn’t hear Popeye’s happy music. My arms still looked like plucked chicken wings. Maybe if the dandelions had come from a can instead of the churchyard, the spell might have worked.

Decades later, dandelion greens, no longer a dubious alternative to going hungry, are chopped, pickled and curried in hundreds of international recipes.

I take home the fresh, green pile I’ve gathered. When I find the right recipe, I’ll dine on four-star fare for lunch. My personal skeptic insists I’ll be eating weeds. Ignoring her, I search the Internet for recipes.

Who knows? Chopped in my repent-after-the-holidays salad, dandelions might make me as skinny as Olive Oyl.

Fat chance.

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: Do you have a favorite dandelion recipe?

Macaroni and Cheese, Everybody?

My grandson loves football and macaroni and cheese.

Today, Hubby and I will cheer for our grandson’s football team. Afterward, he’ll want to eat the house.

To spare his family’s abode — and to celebrate victory or comfort in loss — I’m baking this special player’s favorite macaroni and cheese.

An all-American dish, right?

Nope. Historians believe a 14th-century Italian cookbook, Liber de Coquina, contains the first written mention of pasta and cheese. Americans can thank Thomas Jefferson, who brought a macaroni and cheese recipe and pasta maker home from Europe.

My football player probably isn’t interested in mac ’n’ cheese history. He simply wants to fill that huge emptiness inside. Grandma boasts two recipes: his great-grandmother’s, plus one recently discovered on the Internet.

Unlike many 1960s homemakers, Mom didn’t cook the 19-cents-a-box food made popular during the Depression. Instead, she boiled spaghetti, then added inexpensive margarine and whatever cheese had escaped five-kids-in-the-house foraging.

Her recipe proved invaluable during my Hubby’s medical school years. I’ll never forget one spaghetti-and-cheese supper, when he’d lost sleep several nights. After saying grace, I looked up to see Hubby facedown in a plateful of our entrée.

Fast-forward several decades, when he invited students for a cookout. Would they consider my spaghetti fetish — and me — weird? Risotto or gnocchi might boost my sophistication ratings, but food costs would skyrocket.

Cheap won. For the first time, I prepared mac ’n’ cheese — not only popular with students, but later, with our grandson.

Not everyone welcomes different versions, especially as cheese enthusiasts rarely compromise. Some insist on American or cheddar. Discerning palates may require brie, smoked Gouda, or goat cheese.

Others, if stranded on a desert island, would refuse the stove-top version, as real mac ’n’ cheese demands an oven-baked crust.

A recent San Francisco macaroni and cheese contest’s entries might raise Midwestern eyebrows, with additives like nutmeg, mustard, and even cinnamon and sugar. Vegetables took center stage: mushrooms, tomatoes, brussels sprouts and that darling of the veggie world, kale.

Some even added fruit, such as figs.

The judges, including Smithsonian Magazine writer and cheese merchant Gordon Edgar, awarded first place to macaroni and cheese featuring aged Vermont cheddar.

The cultured audience, however, chose a different entry — and were shocked to silence when the winner revealed his main ingredient.

Velveeta®.

This dish, even in its many variations, has and will endure. When my football-playing grandson needs comfort or celebration food, mac ’n’ cheese will be there for him.

Americans’ political views are even more diverse than our versions of macaroni and cheese. But acknowledging differences, can’t we lean on the basic recipe, our comfort and celebration for almost 250 years?

I want that to be there for my football player, too.

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: What’s your favorite macaroni and cheese recipe?