ORIGINALLY WRITTEN CHERYL JOST
There use to be an old song that played over and over again on the
radio at this time of year; the lyrics went something like, ?Roll out
those hazy, lazy, crazy days of summer….?
Being a farm wife and a mother of two, I?m not sure I really relate to
the lazy part of summer. But the crazy part certainly fits,
considering the baseball schedules, summer drama activities and
harvest right around the corner.
Just trying to remember what kid has a ball game which night and at
what diamond in which neighboring town leaves me foggy brained. Do you
think that?s what the lyricist means by ?hazy?? I really didn?t think
In any event, I thought this week I would try to find my way through
the fog and try to answer some questions from readers that have been
posed to me over the last six months or so.
The questions concern cooking, follow-ups on some of the items I have
mentioned in this column, updates on guinea pig searches and the like.
One of the most asked questions that I get is, ?Why are my cookies
spreading all over the sheet? I?ve used the same recipe for years, and
the product is just not the same as it used to be.?
I always follow up this question with one of my own. ?Are you using
butter or shortening in your recipe, or are you using margarine??
The fact is that margarine has changed. The brands many of us have
used for years have lowered their amounts of fat and replaced the
content with water.
The ?spreads,? as they are now labeled, are fine for table use, but in
baking they can lead to disaster.
When looking for an oleo to be used in baking, make sure the package
of sticks is clearly labeled ?margarine.? Many of these are the store
brands, not the national brands. And never use tub margarine, low fat
or diet margarine in baking?and expect a good outcome.
As for me, I use butter. The flavor is incomparable and I know there
is no guessing as to the fat content that is so important to a quality
And while we?re on the subject of fat, I?m aware that many of us are
always looking for ways to cut unwanted fat out of our diets. But
really, people, some recipes you just can?t fool with.
I remember one good woman telling me, ?I made your recipe, and it
wasn?t the same as when you made it for us the other day.?
Well, after she cut the fat by half, reduced the sugar by half, took
out the nuts and added raisins, and only used egg whites and not the
whole egg, she really didn?t have my recipe anymore. It might have
been healthier, but how could it taste the same?
We had a good laugh over that one.
I welcome receiving correspondence from readers who are practicing
vegetarianism as part of a healthier life-style. I especially enjoy
the delightful notes I receive from Sonda Bruce, who finds ironic
humor in being a vegetarian living in the middle of Flint Hills cattle
I wonder what my vegetarian friends think about the popularity of the
?low carb, high protein? diets that are all the rage now. Anyone up
for a pound of bacon?
Jumping now to another subject, I understand that many of you have
been asking Melissa Bartel down at Kitchen Corner if she is my
infamous ?buddy? who is often mentioned in this column.
She isn?t. Melissa is my dear friend, but alas, not ?Buddy.? And no,
Buddy is not my imaginary playmate?she?s a real, breathing human being
who (I think) prefers not to be mentioned by name.
Recently, Buddy and I searched for the Chamber of Commerce?s medallion
with discouraging results. On the Friday the medallion was found, we
had been out to the Hillsboro sign, where it had been hidden, and had
looked for a good 40 minutes before having to leave to attend to the
duties of work and children.
It was less than two hours later that my nephew, Eric Driggers, along
with a friend, walked into the same area and found the hidden
We, my buddy and I, being law- abiding women, took the extra time to
contact Tracy Isaac at the Chamber office to make sure we could jump
the fence and search the sign area. My buddy and I, being good
citizens, didn?t want to trample the foliage too badly so we held back
in our search of the planted areas.
My buddy and I, being responsible adults who have to work for a
living. We couldn?t spend the time that college students out for the
summer could afford to waste.
My buddy and I, being good sports, want to publicly congratulate the
Disappointment is a bitter pill to swallow.
Now, on to guinea pigs. After writing about our search for guinea
pigs, Diane Jeffrey called from Marion to make me an offer I couldn?t
refuse. She had two young guinea pigs that needed a new home and we
were more than happy to make room for them here at our house. They?ve
settled in quite well and seem to be thriving, eating carrots out of
hand and letting us stroke their slick coats.
That same column also mentioned my search for a new bedspread?one that
I just can?t seem to find. I got a great note from Audrey McLinden,
also from Marion, who does custom sewing, ?I?ll make you a
spread…need drapes, too??
Audrey, as soon as the fog lifts, I?ll give you a call and we?ll put
our heads together.
* * *
I?ve got a new cookbook, Keeping Good Company, and I liked this recipe
for a potato dish that can be served either hot or cold.
New Potatoes in Sour Cream
1 cup butter, melted
10-12 small red potatoes, scrubbed clean
2/3 cup sour cream
2 Tbs. snipped chives or 2 Tbs. dried dill
8 slices of bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
Salt and pepper
Slice unpeeled potatoes very thin and cook in butter over low heat
until tender. Add bacon, chives, seasonings, and sour cream. Heat
slowly for one minute?do not boil or sour cream will curdle.
My tip: when a recipe calls for fried and crumbled bacon, I use
bottled bacon pieces that can be found in the salad dressing section
of the grocery store. Be sure to use the bacon produced by Hormel or
Oscar Meyer, not imitation bacon like Bac-O?s. One bottle produces
about the same amount of bacon pieces that a pound of raw
ORIGINALLY WRITTEN CHERYL JOST