Monday, February 1, 2010

Is Life like a box of chocolates or more like a Casserole?

February, WOW!  The month when light returns in earnest to this region.  An hour and 42 minutes per day will be added this month,  I read in the paper today.  As severe cold has held Scandinavia and large parts of Europe in a tight grip for some time now, it will be a welcome sign of change.  This, they say, has been the coldest winter in Helsingborg in 30 some years.  In Linkoping, where my cousin Gunn lives ( a 2 1/2 to 3 hr. drive north of here) the temps have dipped to -29 degrees C.   It has not been like that since 1942!!  Way up north in Sweden, well, you can imagine.

David has become obsessed with sorting photos!  We came here with boxes and bins, shoe cartons and folders, loaded with our history in pictures.  It has been fun to look back at some of the various stages of our life.  David also unearthed a "lost" cookbook of mine. This simple little spiral bound book was a gift from my early days in Oklee, Minnesota.  A collection of recipes put together by the women in the Oklee Chapter of the American Legion Auxiliary.  And that in itself is a mouthful!  The book was shuffled in with some photo albums during our move from San Jose to Mariposa.  During the 16 1/2 years running and growing the Oakhurst Feed & Supply Store I did not take the time to look for it,  even though there were many occasions when I missed it a lot.

Rediscovering this little jewel,  I realized how much more than recipes this book contained!  There is for example a handwritten recipe for Mandel Brod,  given to me by Florence Katz,  a customer of ours at The VIP Beauty Salon in Minneapolis,  where I worked.  Florence Katz is the woman who was instrumental in getting me the job at KQXL Radio,  doing the Scandinavian Music Hour.  She herself stood for the weekly Jewish program.

Then there is the recipe for Raisin Chess Pie from Carol Springer,  she was a neighbor in Windsor Green.  We always had this "Oh So Good Desert" at Thanksgiving.  This was always Francis Bradleys favorite!  Francis is my long time childhood friends husband.  There are recipes such as the "hot dish" made with Chow Mein Noodles,  ground beef,   tomato and mushroom soup, onion,  celery etc.  A dish the kids just loved!  The Deluxe Lemon Yellow Cake made with lemon Jello.  Mona Botes' recipe for Quiche Lorraine, given to me on my trip back to Sweden the year John turned one and learned to walk!

Then there was the Waldorf Red Cake.  A peculiar cake very popular long ago.  Black Beans in Tomato Vinaigrette,  another favorite of mine,  a recipe torn out of a newspaper, while Maria and I sat in the waiting room at the doctors office,  after Janice's horse broke Marias nose!

My children have doodled on almost every page in this book!  There are folded sheets of paper of drawings stuck in between the pages.  A pencil drawing of a picture of a horse with the words "eat a good breakfast and you will be glad-if you don't you will be sad-because you will be hungry" written in a balloon from the horses mouth............etc. etc.

You have no idea to what culinary highs one could bring a can of pork and beans?  Glorified pork and beans with sliced  Spam and a side of Tater Tots anyone???

What a journey through history.  Who would have imagined that this little book could bring forth all those memories!  Seegers Hardware Store,  Johnson's Jeweler,  Oklee, Minnessota,  Tunberg Ford & Mercury,  Thief River Falls,  where a few business'  that supported the  cook book.  Oh my!

Is life like a box of chocolates or more like a Casserole?

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