Wednesday October 20th 2021

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‘Food Obsession’ Archives


by Jane Thomson Beside startling names, what these two recipes have in common is that they can help use up odds and ends of uninteresting foods, and do it simply. EGGS IN PURGATORY - Adapted from “Dash”, the food advertising glossy supplement found monthly in the Pioneer Press and S’Trib. For four eggs: 1 to 2 cups of marinara sauce (or ketchup, or chili sauce , or cocktail sauce, or steak sauce, or any savory red condiment; or even spaghetti sauce) ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes 4 eggs or 1 cup egg substitute 1 to 2 cups of Parmesan cheese black pepper Simmer sauce with red pepper flakes in skillet. Crack eggs, or pour egg substitute into sauce. Cook until set as desired. Top with Parmesan and black pepper. Am I alone in thinking that some of the prettiest strawberries often taste “blah”? SAUTEED STRAWBERRIES WITH CINNAMON AND FRESH LIME - From the Pioneer Press 2 tablespoons of brown sugar 1 tablespoon of butter (I used less) 1 tablespoon lime juice (bottled is fine; I used more to make up for butter) ¼ teaspoon cinnamon 1 pint of strawberries, washed, hulled and halved or quartered depending on size (about 2 cups) In medium skillet over medium-low heat, stir together brown sugar, butter, lime juice and cinnamon. Cook until bubbling. Add berries. Toss for 2 minutes. Remove from heat. The recipe says to serve immediately; but I found the sauce kept for several days in the fridge. It is would be good on ice cream, yoghurt, pancakes, waffles, hot cereal, etc.

Food Obsession: B.S.T.P.

by Jane Thomson Bring Something To Pass – a potluck. The first recipe is from my daughter Rose. Some years ago, when she was a teenager, I was out of the kitchen for long periods of time, and not hanging over her telling what to do. She made some cookies that won a prize at the Sherburne County Fair (we lived in Elk River at the time). Of course, I have kidded her endlessly about the time she made pancakes on a warming tray and wondered why they were taking so long to get done. This recipe is from her fairly recently, in her adult years. These days I have more to learn from Rose than to teach her. CURRIED TUNA SALAD - about 8 or 10 potluck side-dish servings 2 cans tuna packed in water 1 red bell pepper ¾ of a purple onion 1 apple 2 stalks celery 2 cloves garlic 2 tablespoons of curry powder 1 teaspoon of salt 1 tsp. black pepper 1 teaspoon honey or sugar ½ teaspoon dried dill ¼ cup mayonnaise ¼ teaspoon cinnamon 1 tablespoon vinegar, preferably balsamic dash of cumin (more…)

Food Obsession: WHAT DID I TELL YOU?

By Jane Thomson I said to read the whole recipe before making the dish. Here are a couple of recipes that are easy to make if certain very specific instructions are followed. They are in caps here, but such details don’t always hit you in the eye when you give a recipe the once-over. BEER BREAD – this quick bread goes with anything and is good toasted. I got the recipe from Mary Gardner, who lives upstairs in my building. She is a frequent host; also an author and teacher at the Loft Literary Center. Among other books, she has written Outlaw Biker – My Life at Full Throttle with her friend, Deadeye Hayes. Turn oven to 350 degrees. Grease an average-size bread pan very well. 12 oz. beer AT ROOM TEMPERATURE ¼ cup sugar 3 cups of “SELF-RISING” flour: no substitutions; no mixtures Mix sugar with flour, mix in beer, pour mixture into bread pan. Bake for 45 minutes; cool on rack, turning out of pan after about 15 minutes. (more…)

Food Obsession: PANCAKES

By Jane Thomson More pancakes and less prose (could this be on a t-shirt?) Pancakes, combined with fruit and either milk, eggs, yoghurt or sausage make a decent meal. It’s only when you take in “all you can eat” that they become a weight hazard. Any of the pancakes below would be good with syrup, honey or tart/sweet fruit jelly. WATKINS OATMEAL PANCAKES – (This must refer to the Watkins company that sold household items, including vanilla, door to door. Perhaps they are still in business.) 1cup rolled oats ½ cup of whole wheat or unbleached white flour 1 ½ cup buttermilk or low-fat milk 2 eggs, beaten 2 tsp. baking powder 2 tsp. vanilla 1tsp. cinnamon (more…)


By Jane Thomson My first recipe is from 97 ORCHARD , an Edible History of Five Immigrant Families, by Jane Ziegelman. This book interests me because my father grew up in a New York tenement (the word just meant “rental building” at the time; I don’t know how shabby his family’s apartment was, but I suspect it was not spacious). The building at 97 Orchard is on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, and is now the Tenement Museum. It was built about 1860 and was abandoned after 1935. It has been preserved and restored. The first time I visited the building about 20 years ago, it was left just as it had been found. The tour started in the narrow dark front hall with a dingy frieze painted on the wall, a tin ceiling and rickety stairs going up to the next of several stories. We were then taken to an apartment composed of two small rooms with one window between them and one window to the outside. There were layers of old wallpaper peeling, and numbers on the wall showing the quantity of trousers that had been sewn, as the apartment was also a sweat shop. Since then several apartments have been restored and decorated as they might have been when an immigrant family lived there - one for an Irish family, one for a German family, one for an Italian family and one for a Jewish family. Furnished and decorated it is much more cheerful; but I hope one apartment has still been left as found. The recipe is one that might have been made for a Jewish family that lived at 97 Orchard, the Rogarshevsky‘s. It was contributed to the book by Frieda Schwartz, who was born on the Lower East Side in 1918. (more…)

Food Obsession: FOOD AND CLASS

Recently I read an article in the November 29 Newsweek that claimed that eating habits and tastes are the new dividers of social class in America. Well-off people can choose pure, organic, out-of-season and hard-to-find-foods, as they have access to high-end stores that carry these things and the money to buy them when they are there. These foods are usually nutritious, delicious and satisfying. One woman cited in the article felt she was doing her part to make the world a better place by demanding such foods for herself and her family. Meanwhile, the poor go to a convenience store or a huge supermarket and get the cheapest foods sold in quantity and featured in coupons and price deals, foods that give quick satisfaction, little real nutrition and a load of calories. It doesn’t have to be this way. At Cedar Food and Grill, the grocery store at East 26th Street and Cedar Avenue, “Mo” is making sure that there are fresh fruits and vegetables and other wholesome foods available for his mostly low-income customers. Wholesome foods, some even organic, can be found at some huge supermarkets. Your backyard or community garden will yield organic and locally grown foods. Canning and freezing will make them last, with none wasted. (Since an experience canning a pint of tomatoes in junior high school home ec class, I haven’t canned any foods. I should read up on it and try it again.) Eating less meat, cooking at home oftener also make for tasty, nutritious dinners – and you know what went into your finished product. (more…)


by Jane Thomson I don’t aim to be a collector, but somehow have acquired at least 100 cookie cutters, of all sizes, some 100 years old, including shapes observant of almost any holiday. While on the subject of size, make cookies of all sizes; but for best results (all done, none burned) bake cookies of the same size and thickness on the same sheet. Grandchildren love to make cookies. We made some with my then 2 ½ year-old grandson last Christmas – two adults were in charge, with plastic on the floor. The cookies were very interesting, and quite edible. I don’t know where I got this recipe, but it is fairly recent. (more…)


by Jane Thomson Time to come out with recipes to use up turkey after the annual feast – my suggestion is  eat it with salt, pepper and cranberry-something. I do give thanks to the Almighty pretty often.  For instance, that my daughter and 3-yr-old grandson, caught in a bus shelter on the edge of a tornado in (yes) Brooklyn, New York last month, were not blown away before the bus came.  And even every time I find my keys when I’m in a hurry.  But before a huge meal commemorating a long ago event that is fraught with heavy questions, no, not my favorite time. So I will include a couple of recipes that could be used for that occasion, though they have nothing in particular to do with it.  The first recipe might come into play if you overdo at the Thanksgiving feast and need to diet for a few days – it is a delicious dip for raw, or even cooked, vegetables.  It does call for a little red wine, but you might have a little left of that after the celebration.  I used more red wine than called for so I could mix all in the blender.  A mortar and pestle or a potato masher might do the job.  I found out that the dip keeps in the fridge for two weeks.  This recipe is from the S’trib, and has a silly name. (more…)


by Jane Thomson As I remember the story, if Cinderella doesn’t leave the ball and get into her elegant coach by midnight it turns into a pumpkin. In these recipes, the pumpkin, perhaps your jack-o’-lantern, turns into food. Both recipes are originally from the S’Trib.) The first recipe could be a second use of your Halloween pumpkin, if it is clean, still fresh, cleaned of candle wax, and does not have very large openings cut for facial features. BAKED BEEF STUFFED PUMPKIN One 5 to 6 lb. pumpkin or three 2-3 lb. pumpkins 2tsp. dried sage 2 tsp. salt, divided 1 ½ tsp. dried thyme 2 tbsp. vegetable oil ½ tsp. pepper (I used more) 2 cloves garlic, minced 2 c. cooked rice 1 onion, chopped 2/3 cup of raisins 1 lb. ground beef ½ cup of pine nuts 3 eggs Preheat oven to 350. Cut the top off pumpkin and remove seeds and strings. Prick cavity with a fork and sprinkle with 1 tsp. of the salt. Heat a large pot or skillet. Add oil. When hot, add garlic and onion and sauté until onion is translucent. Add beef and continue sautéing until browned. Remove from heat and add remaining ingredients. Stuff pumpkin with mixture. Place one inch of water in the bottom of a shallow baking pan large enough to hold the pumpkin. Put pumpkin in pan and bake for 1 to 1 ½ hours. Drain. Cut into wedges. Makes about 8 servings. If there are any leftovers, reheat them but do not try to freeze them – the pumpkin gets watery. (more…)


by Jane Thomson Above is the frequent lament heard from my son Randall, some 25 year ago, when he would come home from high school and look into the refrigerator. If he was looking for sugared soda pop or chips with greasy dip, he was right. Or perhaps my daughter’s six-foot-five-inch boyfriend Doug had beat Randall to the snacks (“Thanks, Mrs. Thomson – the cookies were great!”). Years later when my son was a young husband and father, and I was baby-sitting Ella (now 17), I would open his fridge, see leaves, roots and strange grains, and say to myself “There’s nothing to eat around here.” And there are people who can look into the fridge (if they have one), any time, assess that there’s nothing to eat, and be correct. Someone please write more about this! The point I am leading up to is that if possible there should be some wholesome and interesting food for kids to eat when they come home from school. They may have eaten lunch at 11 a.m.. Some may go right to a job after the snack (if they can get jobs). Some kids may have extra-curricular activities after school and be really hungry when they get home. A family dinner later is the ideal. The above-mentioned Randall or Doug could have eaten the following foods after school and still have been hungry at 6 p.m. Both recipes are from the S’Trib, eons ago. (more…)

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