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Family Treasures

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By Gini Rainey

I think by now all of you have figured out how important family and cookbooks are to me, so you will be able to understand what a wonderful gift I received from my cousin a few weeks ago.  Among several things that she had set aside for me was a vintage cookbook that had belonged to our Aunt Evie.  You’ve got to know, even if we don’t agree on politics or religion, there is one thing my entire family has in common – food.  Good food.  It’s laughable, but true, that if we aren’t cooking, we’re eating, and while we are eating, we are planning what we will cook at the next meal!

I can only imagine that Aunt Evie possibly picked up this cookbook “Mother Anderson’s Favorite Recipes” while visiting the Historic Anderson Hotel in Wabasha, Minnesota.  Built in 1856, three generations of Andersons kept it open until 2009 when an economic downturn made it difficult to stay open any longer.  Drawing from their German/Dutch heritage, the Andersons cooked up a storm, making it a great place to spend the night and have a good meal for thousands of people over the years.  It has since been reopened by a new family, but the restaurant has been converted to a museum making the wonderful meals that had been served only a memory.

Fortunately, the great recipes live on in this book that was written by Jeanne M. Hall and Belle Anderson Ebner and was reprinted in 1948 by The Cookbook Collectors Library. It is filled with over 500 recipes that were handed down from Sophia Myer Hoffman to Ida Hoffman Anderson (Sophia’s daughter), who traveled from Pennsylvania to Minnesota and decided to open a hotel and cook up delicious food for the traveling men of the time. There are also recipes included from some of the Hotel’s guests, from Belle (Ida’s daughter) and Jeanne (Belle’s neice).

One of Aunt Evie’s favorite soups was French Onion soup and when she would come to visit, we always seemed to find a restaurant that served it when we went out for lunch.  This cookbook has a pretty easy recipe for it and is designated as a Hotel Anderson Specialty.  Start by melting ½ cup butter in a 2 quart pan and simmer in the butter 4 large onions, sliced thin, until light brown.  Add 4 cups of beef stock and salt and pepper to taste.  Place a toasted slice of French bread in each of four oven proof soup bowls or crocks.  Ladle the soup on top and liberally sprinkle the top of each bowl of soup with grated gruyere cheese.  Put the bowls on a cook sheet and place under the broiler set at low until the cheese begins to brown and bubble.  Now there is some might good eating that’s bound to have them coming back for more.

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Books

Book Review: “The Blue Cloak”

By Gini Rainey

The Blue Cloak by Shannon McNear

Set at the turn of the 18th century in Kentucky and Tennessee, The Blue Cloak is based on the true account of the Harpe family’s killing rampage along the Wilderness Trail.  McNear who is basically a Christian writer, struggled with the concept of the re-telling of such dynamically horrible events, but came to realize that this could become a story of redemption.

When Sally, the very young daughter of a Baptist preacher, marries the younger of the Harpe boys, many people have big misgivings about her choice of men, especially Sally’s best friend, Rachel. As Sally is leaving after the wedding festivities, Rachel hands her the gift of a packet that contains a beautiful indigo-dyed, woolen cloak. This cloak becomes a symbol of friendship, trust, and love throughout the book.

With an amazing skill for character development and research, McNear’s words succeed in weaving a tale filled with desperation, angst, deception, and ultimately forgiveness and love as the three Harpes, with their three communal women in tow, create murderous mayhem along the Wilderness Trail.

Although this book is not terribly long (255 pages) it is filled with more adventure and romance than books twice its length.  Definitely a page-turner, you might find yourself unable to put it down.

5 of 5 – Copyright 2020 – Barbour Publications

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BOOK REVIEW: Sentient Beings in the Kingdom of Bhutan

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Sentient Beings in The Kingdom of Bhutan by Laurie S. Chambers

By Gini Rainey

Chambers, who has spent over fifty years traveling the world seeking to understand the complexity of being human, has written a lovely book about the peaceful kingdom of Bhutan.  Located in the Himalayan mountains, Bhutan’s people have formed a unique relationship with the animals sharing their space in this beautiful area.

While the cover might lead you to think this is a children’s book, it is filled with the complexity of human/animal relationships.  In a place where all living things matter, Chambers has managed to capture the beauty of both the sights and principles of the Bhutanese and subtly implores that we all take on these loving and caring and grateful people.

And don’t be mistaken, there are at least three levels presented in her book.  One that appeals to the seeker of truth and peace, one that encourages the young child to live a life of appreciation and love, and one that captures the eye of the seeker of visual beauty.  This is not a book to be read straight through.  Rather, it would be a wise and intelligent thing to read each page for its own merit and value and digest and internalize the message that each one has to offer.

5 of 5 – Copyright 2019 – Balboa Press

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BOOK REVIEW: Where The Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

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By Gini Rainey

Imagine, if you will, a shack in the middle of the backwater marshes of the Atlantic Ocean in North Carolina.  The setting is as raw as the story that Owens tells about the abandonment and coming-of-age of young Kya.

Left behind by her entire family at the age of six, Kya learns more about life and survival in a short time than most people learn in a lifetime.

Ms. Owens’, no stranger to the publishing community having several books in print, paints a world full of wonder and discovery as Kya explores the beauty of nature around her as she struggles to stay alive.

Living on the edge of a community that neither helps her nor understands her, she grows into a beautiful, highly intelligent young woman with the help of a young boy who was a friend of her brothers.

Expertly building characters you will come to either love or despise, Ms. Owens laces Where the Crawdads Sing with a hint of physical abuse, romance, and murder.

Owens has created a book that has everything necessary to keep the reader turning the pages to the surprise ending.

5 of 5 – Copyright 2018 – G. P. Putnam’s Sons

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