Posted by: patwogan | August 7, 2010

Sophisticated Dining

My daughter, Kristen, who many of my readers know from her blog, “Dine & Dish”, is in New York.  She was interviewed on Martha Stewart’s radio show yesterday.  She is a “foodie” as many of the food bloggers are called.  Her blog is fun and educational at the same time.  She is a full time Mom, a part-time worker from home, and a free-lance writer.  She has a wonderful husband who is a great support system and enables her to take advantage of the opportunities that come her way.  Right now, he and his parents are taking care of the four children so Kristen can be in New York.

In thinking of Kristen, I was reminded of my Aunt Jean.  My Uncle Leo, George’s Dad, was a professor at Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas.  After the death of George’s Mother, Leo later married again.  Aunt Jean was a school teacher.  I was very much in awe of their lifestyle.  We visited them a couple of times if I remember correctly.  I loved their house.  It was cute.  I was about six or seven at this time, so keep that in mind as you read this.  Aunt Jean subscribed to Better Homes and Gardens.  My mother read Capper’s Weekly.  I couldn’t help but notice the difference in everything about Aunt Jean’s house compared to ours.  Aunt Jean’s house was in town and ours was in the country.  Aunt Jean’s house had a bathroom.  Our house had an outhouse.

My Mother was a great cook.  She had an old Lighthouse Cookbook and used recipes from it for special occasions.  I remember one I liked particularly well was called City Chicken.  It was made of cubes of pork on skewers which were then dipped in egg and bread crumbs and then cooked.  She also made Egg a la Goldenrod.  It was made with hard boiled eggs.  The whites were added to a cream sauce .  This was served over toast with the grated egg yolk sprinkled on top.  I loved it.!  But usually Mom made plain food.  Roast beef, round steak, pork chops, chicken..both fried and made into chicken and noodles.  Our vegetables were those we grew in the garden..peas, green beans, corn, crowder peas, tomatoes,  cabbage, and once in a while, okra.  For her plain cooking, she didn’t use recipes.

When we visited Aunt Jean, she cooked sophisticated recipes from the Better Homes and Garden Magazine.  I remember that I ate broccoli for the first time at Aunt Jean’s.  I loved her cooking and everything was served in little individual dishes.  She even had salad bowls for the salad.  At home, we just put the salad on our plate with the rest of the food.  The dessert was in  little bowls or on smaller plates.  Very  fancy.

When we got back home, Dad would always praise Mom’s cooking and remark that at Jean’s half the time you didn’t even know what you were eating.

I now wonder if she always cooked like that or if she used the fact that her in-law’s were visiting to cook a little fancier than usual.  I would imagine that might be true.  I know that I, for one, was very impressed!  I have been a subscriber to  Better Homes and Garden magazine for about forty years now.  I cook with recipes from the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook, but my favorites are the recipes I have in my head that have been handed down to me from my Mom and my Grandmother.  Not necessarily fancy or sophisticated, but very tasty!

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