By Gini Rainey
Today was a day of revelation! After YEARS of scrounging around antique shops for unique items (translation: that ‘stuff’ we grew up with, but somewhere along the way was, tossed, lost, or given away) my husband and I came to the realization that perhaps it’s time for us to open up an antique shop to get rid of all the ‘stuff’ we’ve been acquiring. We took a drive in the country to look at the beauty of Mrs. Lee’s daffodils, just outside of the self-designated “Antique Capitol of East Texas.” Since we were so close to the shops in Gladewater, we decided to take a trek to see if there was anything left that we couldn’t live without. That’s when our eyes were opened! Either the stuff in the stores wasn’t as good as it used to be – or it’s time for us to set up a booth!
All was not lost though. In addition to our self-revelation, we also saw some absolutely amazing spring flowers on our 4 mile drive through the countryside, viewing literally millions of golden blooms that are scattered over 28 acres that fulfilled the vision of Mrs. Helen Lee. If you’ve never visited this lovely space, plan to do so in the next couple of weeks. The daffodils were in their full glory today, but I have sense, from all the buds we saw, there actually might be a couple more weeks of life left in them.
So, when we returned home, I knew I needed to sit down in front of the computer and generate an entry for my blog. What you guys aren’t aware of is that a while back, and as computer smart as I think I am, I opened an email attachment that I thought had come from a handbell ringing friend in Dallas. Boom- shacka-lacka-boom! I had been made the unfortunate beneficiary of a sweet little ransom ware virus. Not only did it suck the life out of every document on my laptop, but also from the thumb drive that I work from for my blog and which also held the inventory of my “library.” So, before I start my blog writing each week, I have given myself the job of entering the books from at least one shelf back into my inventory. BTW – I now save my ‘stuff’ to the ‘cloud’ via drop box thanks to the very much appreciated advice of a very good friend.
In the process this afternoon, I came across “Mrs. Rasmussen’s Book of One-Arm Cookery” written by Mary Lasswell and published by Houghton Mifflin Company in 1946. This little book is a rare gem and although only 102 pages long, its humor and salute to our men in the armed forces, is just sweet. Plus, the sentiment on the cover is how a lot of us (whether we want to admit it or not) cook meals for our guests: “Take a bottle of cold beer out of the icebox. Place an ashtray (well, not so much anymore) handy to the stove. Assemble your favorite wisecracks for the favorite friends who’ve gathered round. What’s this – a struggle over a hot stove? Lady, relax! You’re having a high time cooking with SUDS!” (Really – if you can lay your hands on a copy of this book, it will definitely be worth the price you have to pay!)
So for dinner tonight we are having pork chops with potatoes au gratin, and believe it or not, this cookbook has a recipe for O’Brien au Gratin Potatoes! What you will need for this is 2 cups of cooked, cubed potatoes, ½ cup chopped green pepper, ¼ cup chopped pimientos, 2 chopped green onions, 2 tablespoons chopped parsley, salt and pepper to taste, and ½ cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese. Mix all of the ingredients together, gently, in order to not break up the potatoes. Heat 4 tablespoons of butter in a frying pan and pour the potato mixture into the pan. Flatten with a spatula to get an even crust on the bottom. Reduce heat until the green peppers are done. Mmmm, mmmm, mmm!