Stinky Tale of Hazmat in the House


The sequence of events and facts in the following story are absolutely true. The names have been changed to protect the, well, you’ll figure it out.

****

While I was visiting my dear friend, Ruth, and enjoying tea at her kitchen table, I noticed a rather large gap along the baseboard of her kitchen cupboard.  “My, that’s big enough for something to live in,” I remarked.  Ruth replied, “Oh, yes, I know. I need to fix it one of these days.”Continue reading

What a Hoot: Trailer Trash Theme Dinner Party


Last weekend I attended a most unique dinner party that featured a trailer trash theme. It was the first time I’d even heard of such a thing, and I admit it was a lot of fun.

The hostess had a large back yard, and used it to full advantage. (No, she didn’t haul in an old Airstream for the trailer trash theme party, but it would have been a nice touch. LOL) Continue reading

Father’s Day Grillin’ & Chillin’ Favorites


Time to dust off the grill and pull the patio cushions from storage so that Dad can have his special moments enjoying some Father’s Day grillin’ & chillin’ favorites. I thumbed through my family cookbook to devise the Father’s Day grillin’ & chillin’ favorites menu below. Most of the tastes are strong and guy-oriented, so they are sure to please most anyone who likes bold flavors.

Father’s Day Grillin’ & Chillin’ Favorites Menu
Here are some of the favorites tastes of the Dad-types in our family.  Mix or match as you like, and if you want to add these ideas to your family cookbook, be my guest.Continue reading

Pretty New Recipe Card Boxes & Recipe Card Tins!


I really like the newest recipe card boxes we’ve added to our line. The one shown above is called Calabrian Fruit, a brightly colored recipe card box that features some of the fruits harvested in Calabria Italy, especially the bergamot orange, which helps give Earl Grey tea its distinctive flavor.

Some of our other new recipe card boxes are made of beautiful craft woods, and still others feature some great new prints and graphics that are suitable for most everyone’s kitchen.

I’m really excited about our new Recipe Card Tins, though.Continue reading

Empty Nesters: Preparing Downsized Servings


My AARP magazine always has some lovely recipes for twos, presumably for couples who’ve let their fledglings fly from the nest into their own territory. For some new empty nesters who’ve sent their last kid off to college, preparing a reduced amount of food each day can be a difficult adjustment, but one that can be learned.

For example, instead of automatically preparing five sandwiches (including three for unexpected visitors), the empty nester’s household food consumption can probably be cut in half. That’s a large amount of food to be deleted from the shopping list, but in reality, many groceries in the house are for the benefit of children’s appetites and pleasing visitors, not the empty nester.Continue reading

Congratulations Graduates, Now Go Eat Your Cupcakes


President Barak Obama told a Kalamazoo Central High School graduating class: “There is nothing you can’t do.”  With the caliber of young graduates I’ve seen recently who are coming out of high schools and colleges, and even many young students still in elementary schools, I have to agree with him.

The young graduates I’ve noticed are surprisingly savvy for their age:

– They are smart.
– They volunteer.
– They are more patriotic than their counterparts 10 years ago.
– They have a plan.
– They are open to suggestions.
– They like cupcakes.Continue reading

Summer Delights of the Waldorf-Astoria Salad

My dear friend, Ruth, and I had a delightful Waldorf Salad today for lunch. It was full of crisp green apple chunks, chopped walnuts, sliced celery, and plump raisins (which I do prefer to the original recipe calling for grapes–much easier to manage when grapes are not in season).

Waldorf Salad is a classic American dish and is probably in every red-blooded American family cookbook in one way or another. Waldorf Salad is a wonderful budget-stretcher since it is a great way to add non-meat nutritional fruits, vegetables, nuts, proteins, and fats into the daily diet.

According to experts, the first Waldorf Salad was created by the maître d’ at the Waldorf Hotel in New York City around 1893 (before the “Astoria” was added to the hotel’s name).

Although some people think of Waldorf Salad as a fall dish, Ruth and I know that summer has nearly arrived when we semi-competitively break open our respective family cookbooks and produce our own Waldorf Salad recipe. She makes her Waldorf Salad recipe with grapes and no sugar (the classic recipe), and I make my Waldorf Salad recipe with raisins and a slight touch of sugar (the modern recipe).

Since this is my blog, I’ll use my Waldorf Salad recipe for two:

MATILDA’S WALDORF SALAD

1 sweet firm unpeeled apple, cored and coarsely chopped into one inch chunks

½ cup chopped walnuts

½ cup sliced celery

½ cup raisins (or sliced seedless grapes in season)

3 Tablespoons Best Foods-style mayonnaise (not Miracle Whip)

1-2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 Teaspoon granulated sugar

Shredded lettuce, any variety

Flaked coconut

Whisk together the mayonnaise, sugar and enough lemon juice to create a fairly smooth dressing. Refrigerate dressing while chopping the apples and walnuts, and slicing the celery. Mix dressing into a bowl with the apples, walnuts, celery, and raisins. Stir until all the ingredients are coated with the dressing. Serve on a bed of shredded lettuce. Garnish with sprinkling of flaked coconut.

Note: Add chopped chicken for a more substantial salad. Other good options include substituting the raisins with dried cranberries, dried pineapple, or finely chopped dates; and substituting chopped almonds for the walnuts.

I have had this Waldorf Salad recipe for a long time, and at least once a year refer to it in my family cookbook. You may want to add this Waldorf Salad recipe to your family recipe cookbook, too (assuming you like it, or course). Just cut this recipe or your favorite version and paste it into your own family cookbook template.

Happy Cookbooking,

Matilda

12 Items Left Over From Spring Cleaning That You Can Still Do Away With

Spring is slowly turning into summer. Where has half the year gone? More importantly, did you get rid of all the items you had planned to discard during your annual spring cleaning? Or did some of them get left on the shelf to deal with another day? I thought so!

If you’re ready to freshen up the kitchen in preparation for summer fun, here are 12 items left over from your annual spring cleaning that you can still do away with:

– Stale spices and old ingredients.
– Plastic containers with microwave cooking scars.
– Dried up tubes of anchovy paste, tomato paste, or anything dried up in a tube.
– The habit of eating the same foods repeatedly because they are “easy.”
– Sample menus from once-visited restaurants that you acquired for “inspiration,” but have never looked at or patronized the restaurant again.
– Recipes that you know you’ll never try.
– Jars of “that looks interesting” exotic sauces that you haven’t used in 6 months. (Donate them to your local food bank.)
– Freezer foods that have been frozen in place for a year. (Either throw the packages away or make a strong pot of soup to share with neighbors).
– Chipped teacups and saucers.
– Dented pots or pans.
– Table linens with stubborn stains and/or tears.
– Old potholders and kitchen towels that are too thin to absorb heat or moisture.

Many of you may be thinking that some of the above-mentioned 12 items are important to keep because they may have been given to you by someone else. Guess what? Even if you let go of the stuff, you won’t lose the memories. And if you are really afraid to let some of the items go for fear of not remembering, take a photograph of them, and then give the item(s) to the local thrift store. That way the photos will jog your memory and appreciation of the items, but they will be long gone….

Happy Cookbooking,

Matilda

6 Actions to Protect Your PC from an Insidious Computer Virus

We recently had a frustrating experience with an insidious computer virus that attacked me (err, my blog). Can you imagine having some “infection” altering or eliminating all the blogs you’ve written on you own website. What a violation!

Yup. That’s what happened. We are trying to recover as best we can from this insidious computer virus attack. It has take many hours of work, and we may have a few glitches left to solve, but we want to take this opportunity to remind you to protect your work and your PC computer from an insidious computer virus with a few simple steps:

Back Up Your System
Be sure to have secondary storage backup so you can recover important files if your computer crashes or its attacked by an insidious computer virus. There are many portable and external hard drives available that can hold your entire computer’s software programs and files. System backups can be set to occur daily at a specific time, thus relieving your mind of that task.

Update MS Windows
If you are running a version of Microsoft Windows, it is a good idea to visit www.windowsupdate.microsoft.com about every three months to collect any updates. The updates sometimes help your computer run better and prevent some insidious computer viruses. If you have an older computer, you might need to do updates like this to load new software.

Defrag
Experts recommend using your disk defragmenter periodically to keep the system dragfree. Found under your “system tool” in your computer, the disk defragmenter will help keep your hard drive organized to allow faster access to files and reduce the chance of a file becoming corrupt, or unreadable.

Empty Your Recycle Bin
Eliminate extra space on your hard drive by emptying the recycle bin. Double click on the Recycle Bin and under “file” and choose “empty recycle bin.” Recovering the extra space may help your computer run faster.

Store Large Files Off the Hard Drive
If you have a large volume of photographs or other large graphics files, move them to the backup drive, or burn archival CDs so the quality won’t fade. Computer hard drives and online storage services can fail or be attacked by an insidious computer virus, resulting in lost photographs. Many other storage devices will work, too, including finger-sized flash drives.

Upgrade Firewalls and Antivirus Software
Use our latest insidious computer virus experience as a reminder to upgrade your own firewall AND antivirus software to protect from unwanted invasions. Surely you wouldn’t want all the loving work you’ve done on your family recipe book to disappear in the dark, would you?

Happy Cookbooking.

Matilda

3 Hints to Know You’ve Achieved Professional Quality Cookbook Making at Home

Our customers are our greatest resource for keeping in touch with the cookbook-making software marketplace at large. What features a few customers may want individually in their software is usually a good indicator of what everyone wants (but might not be voicing their desires). According to our interactions with customers, just about everyone interested in creating a family recipe book also wants to achieve professional quality cookbook making at home.

But how do you know you’ve achieved professional quality cookbook making at home? There are many good indicators that you’ve succeeded. For the record, here are our three hints to know that you’ve achieved professional quality cookbook making at home:

EASY TO DO
Instead of a chore, the project was one you looked forward to doing every day until it was done. You could either type your recipes or cut and paste recipes into pre-determined templates. There were many choices of headings and ways to organize the recipes in sequence.

LOOKS GOOD
The graphics and design options were clear, simple and distinctive enough to reproduce in color or black and white. You didn’t need to worry about how to format the recipes. (A good cookbook-making software will automatically convert your recipes into the design template of your choice). You could add photos and stories about your relatives or about the recipes.

POSTIVE FEEDBACK
Everyone to whom you gave (or showed) a copy of your cookbook loved it. In other words, your target audience was truly impressed that you achieved professional quality cookbook making at home!

We pride ourselves on the fact that we listen to our customers and try to incorporate their ideas into future releases of our Matilda’s Fantastic Cookbook Software. If you have ideas on how to enhance our cookbook-making software to take professional quality cookbook making at home to a higher level, please let us know in our Forum. We can’t promise you a spot on a “Windows 7-I’m a PC”-style television commercial, but we can promise that we will consider your suggestion carefully and do what we can to accommodate your ideas in our next release. Thanks so much.

Happy Cookbooking,

Matilda

Food As Medicine: An Idea as Old as the Centuries

Using food as medicine to keep away disease and sickness is an idea as old as the centuries. Food’s natural nutrients, when consumed in whole foods instead of supplements or packaged processed foods, have been found to be far superior for health. According to experts, this is mainly because the body can absorb and utilize natural nutrients more easily than artificially-prepared tablets that might not be thoroughly digested in the system.

Why else would we have such sayings as “An apple a day keeps the doctor away?” With apples in plentiful supply most any time of year, it would be easy to eat one small apple during one’s waking hours to abide by this well-known food as medicine sentiment.

And how about Chicken Soup to cure what ails ye for food as medicine? There have been scientific studies discussing the beneficial effects of using animal bones in food preparation. The gelatin that forms as a result of boiling or roasting chicken bones and beef bones is prized not only for its taste but for its help in easing joint stiffness. I don’t know about that so much, but I do know there’s nothing like a warm cheery bowl of chicken soup when one is feeling less than 100%.

Some food as medicine enthusiasts think certain foods help with specific parts of the body. Such as fish to improve brain function (or at least help sustain it). Carrots for the eyes. Garlic for warding off most anything (including vampires). We all know the positive effects of eating oranges and drinking milk.

So, would it be fair and useful to have a daily “dose” instead of a serving of these foods as a food as medicine prescription for good health:
– 8 ounces of milk
– 6 ounces of orange juice (or one small orange)
– 1 small apple, any variety
– 8 ounces chicken soup with freshly shredded carrot garnish

Doesn’t sound too hard. Everything mentioned is fairly easy to prepare and access. I can see it now: “Recipes Rx: The Healthy Cooking Family Cookbook,” containing illness prevention recipes collected by food as medicine practicing family members. Might be good reading.

Back to the lab….

Happy Cookbooking,

Matilda

What the Fluffernutter!

Ruth and I were reminiscing about the good old days, and she remembered a hideous childhood snack that she adored. I say hideous because in today’s on-the-surface health-conscious society, the old-fashioned delight of Ruth’s recall is too packed with calories and fat to have any redeeming social value.

Secretly, however, those same outwardly “health conscious” types will probably try Ruth’s childhood delight and join the club of Fluffernutter Sandwich fans after reading this. For the unindoctrinated, a Fluffernutter Sandwich is a basic combination of peanut butter and marshmallow crème on white bread.

Not exactly your healthy sandwich. I hear it kicks somewhere between 400 and 500 calories, and about 160 calories from fat. However, we are just talking here about Ruth’s favorite childhood snack (which by the way she had not eaten in years).

The recipe (or assembly technique) for a Fluffernutter Sandwich is pretty easy:

Fluffernutter Sandwich

2 slices white bread
Marshmallow crème to taste
Peanut butter (smooth or chunky) to taste

Position two slices of white bread on the counter. Slather one with a favorite type of peanut butter. Slather the other slice of white bread with your chosen thickness of marshmallow crème. Join both pieces of bread with filling facing one another. Slice if desired. Eat.

Variations: Wheat bread, sliced bananas, honey, jam, shredded coconut, raisins or dried cranberries.

Ruth rummaged through her cupboard and returned with an unopened jar of marshmallow crème. We just had to try a Fluffernutter Sandwich, one more time. As for me? Well, I cut the calories by having my Fluffernutter Sandwich open face!

Happy Cookbooking,

Matilda

Outlining & Organizing Your Family Recipe Cookbook

Writing a family recipe cookbook is really no different than writing the great American novel. The essential ingredient of both types of books is planning.

A family recipe cookbook requires some thought as to what recipes will make the cut into the book, just as an author of the great American novel must also decide what characters will appear.

A family recipe cookbook requires research into the family background to find interesting tidbits and photos to include, just as an author of the great American novel must authenticate his or her written work with factual information that can bring depth to the story.

A family recipe cookbook requires an outline to organize the chapters, just as an author of the great American novel must develop the chapters to evolve the story. Some typical chapters for a family recipe cookbook might be:

Appetizers
Entrees
Side Dishes
Desserts
Beverages

More customized chapters in a family recipe cookbook might include international foods, such as:

Chinese
Indian
Italian
Mexican
South American
Thai

Still other chapters in a family recipe cookbook might include very personalized topics that are of special interest, such as:

Cake Decorating
Picnics
Parties
Holidays

Writing a family recipe cookbook may not be as difficult as writing the great American novel according to some folks, but I guarantee you’ll be just as proud of your family recipe cookbook effort as that great American novelist on the New York Times bestseller list. All it takes is some planning and organizing, and a great at-home-cookbook-making software.

Happy Cookbooking,

Matilda

“5ab” Range Mode

A few days ago we had a giant power surge in our neighborhood and a simultaneous viral attack of our website (and if you noticed, all of the 2010 entries into yours truly’s blog are missing).

The gap in power caused the clock on my gas range to blink, begging to be reset. My gas range has one of those touch pad cooking panels and sometimes the clock takes a bit of patience to reset. There was no hurry to run around the house re-establishing temporal sanity, so I left everything a-blinking whilst I did other chores around the house.

However, my husband decided to fix my gas range’s clock. I kept hearing the distinctive high-pitched beep beep beep sound and was puzzled by it, but didn’t pay any mind. Soon enough, the sound subsided and my ears went back to their regular routine enjoying the silence.

A few hours later, I’m in the kitchen and notice the clock on my gas range has some cryptic error code: 5ab. What the heck? I push the keypads, and nothing happens. turning off the circuit to my gas range from the electrical panel?Zilch. They are frozen. I cannot press broil, bake, or even see in the oven because the light won’t come on. Except for the gas burners, the rest of my gas range is dead.

Oh, drat! The power surge fried the circuits in my gas range, I thought. Maybe my gas range needs to be unplugged a few seconds to reset the touch pad memory. That’s what I usually do when my printer goes haywire. I just turn it off, wait 10 seconds, and turn it back on. That usually does the trick. Except in this case, several hundred pounds of appliance are in the way of the plug. My gas range will have to be moved out…a precarious proposition at best for scratching floors or chipping countertops. How about How about turning off the circuit to my gas range from the electrical panel?

Sounded like a plan. So, my husband, humbled by the idea that his attempt to reset the clock had caused the malfunction on my gas range, trotted off to find the circuit that would free the electronic buttons from their frozen state.

It didn’t work.

Several hours later, I realized my cooking routine was going to be interrupted since I couldn’t even press the “Bake” control button to heat the oven. Just before calling the lonely repairman, I pulled out the operator’s manual and learned about some very clever programming that my gas range and most other modern ranges have these days.

The “5ab” I was seeing on the clock on my gas range was not an error code at all. It was an indicator that the Sabbath mode was activated! According to the manual, “This is a mode of operation based on Jewish requirements for holidays and Sabbaths. On Sabbaths, devout Jews cannot operate any machinery, including appliances, because this is considered work, which is prohibited on the Sabbath Day. To accommodate this, the range can be placed into Sabbath mode where only the bake and timed bake modes are functional.”

My “5ab” was really “Sab” (the “5″ is used to represent an “S”) and only the bake and timed bake functions work om “5ab” mode!

One mystery solved. However, look as I might, nowhere in the owner’s manual are there instructions on how to get out of the “5ab” mode on my gas range. So I Googled “brand gas range problems” and found a marvelous website: http://fixitnow.com/ that gives quick advice on how to fix or troubleshoot problems with appliances.

Their advice was to hold the “Clock” button down for three seconds. Even though there was none of the normal “give” to the touchpad button, it worked! The clock went back to its pre-power surge time, and the oven light resumed. “5ab” was gone on my gas range.

What a relief that we didn’t have to go through the expense of replacing the gas range’s brain or wiring, like we assumed would have to happen. All is right with the world now. And our Jewish friends no doubt will have a laughing fit at our “5ab” adventure.

Happy Cookbooking,

Matilda

Corn on the Cob with Mayonnaise & Parmesan Cheese

I am usually a purist when it comes to most foods. I like baked potatoes with butter, not sour cream and chives. I like plain potato chips, not the flavored ones. I like popcorn with butter and salt, but not other flavorings. And, I thought I liked corn on the cob with just butter and salt, too, until I tried a twist someone else suggested. The twist was eating corn on the cob slathered with mayonnaise and sprinked with parmesan cheese.

Corn on the cob with mayonnaise and parmesan cheese is really good. It doesn’t sound too healthy, but once you taste it, corn on the cob with mayonnaise and parmesan cheese just might become a new staple.

Another variation is dipping the hot corn on the cob in butter, then rolling the buttered cob in parmesan cheese and a squeeze of lime. I’m not sure if there is a Latino origin to any of these twists to eating corn on the cob, although I’ve seen similar treatments by street vendors in various cities while visiting Mexico years ago (before the drug lord wars, that is).

However, I never tried corn on the cob with mayonnaise and parmesan cheese before. I jotted down the ingredients my friend told me: quality mayonnaise; good commercially-grated parmesan cheese (such as Kraft 100% parmesan); boiled or micro-cooked corn on the cob; a little salt, if desired. Use mayonnaise instead of butter, and parmesan instead of salt. Voila!

Chalk up another recipe for the family recipe book!

Happy Cookbooking,

Matilda

Easy Crisp Crunchy Summer Fresh Freezer Pickles

Many, many years ago one of my friends brought a medium-size Tupperware container of pickles to a social potluck at the local church. He was well-known for his gourmet cooking, and everyone fluttered around Kim because of his sense of humor and genuine zest for life. One would think that a medium-sized Tupperware container wouldn’t have caused quite the stir. But it did.

Inside was a pleasant surprise of crisp, crunchy pickles made in the freezer. What was so amazing about the crisp, crunchy freezer pickles was that they resembled pickles made through the canning process, yet were so summer fresh they were even better than the canned (jarred) varieties any of the church ladies had ever tasted.

We all immediately wanted the freezer pickle recipe. Kim was generous enough to share his freezer pickle recipe with us, and my version of his freezer pickle recipe has enthralled several family members who’ve also adopted the recipe as their own.

With “pickling” cucumbers in abundance right now, it seems a shame to wait until summer to make these all-time favorite freezer pickles. This recipe is so easy it’s hardly a recipe, yet the result is so delicious that anyone who eats the freezer pickles marvels and asks for the recipe. Most think they are high quality bread-and-butter pickles:

Summer Fresh Freezer Pickles

7 cups thinly sliced pickling cucumbers (with peel)
1 large Vidalia or other sweet onion, sliced paper thin to make onion ringlets
1/2 cup green and red pepper, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons pickling salt
1/2 tablespoon celery seed
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
3 cloves fresh garlic, crushed
1 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup distilled water
2 cups white sugar

Slice the vegetables with a mandolin (if available). Combine all the freezer pickle ingredients listed above in a bowl. Stir well; making sure sugar is completely dissolved. Cover and let stand 1-3 hours, then refrigerate for 3 days. Stir every day. Pack into small freezer containers and cover with brine, leaving some room for expansion during freezing. Freeze as desired. Thaw before serving.

How simple is that? The wonderful sweet-tart taste of bread-and-butter pickles made without too much fuss. A great freezer pickle recipe for the family cookbook!

Happy Cookbooking,

Matilda

5 Ways Recipe Book Making Can Be Therapeutic

In its purest form, cooking in general can be a therapeutic action: methodically measuring out ingredients for the recipe; having a proven recipe plan to follow, successfully combining different components and techniques; and enjoying the outcome of one’s efforts.

Sometimes the sheer concentration of making a recipe is all that one needs to find therapeutic order in the chaotic world we live in. For some, cooking can be a quick rehabilitation, if you will, performed daily, or as frequently as desired.

Recipe book making can be therapeutic, too: collecting the recipes; entering into the cookbook software; proofreading the recipes; printing the pages; having them all bound together.

Here are five ways recipe book making can be therapeutic:

1. A recipe book making project can be healing. It might force an estranged family member to call the other, thus helping heal family wounds. (That’s therapeutic!)

2. A recipe book making project can be constructive. For someone who is recuperating from an illness, creating a recipe book is a wonderful use of time. In this regard it is therapeutic for the recovering individual, as well as for those who may eventually enjoy the fruits of the recipe book.

3. A recipe book making project can be a remedy. It might correct some misconceptions about recipes, relatives, and the family history. The recipe book might solve some mysteries! (That’s therapeutic!)

4. A recipe book making project can be satisfyingly productive. A sense of pride and accomplishment for the recipe book maker is evident, in that an actual physical item is produced at the end of the undertaking. (My cookbook software makes sure it all looks professional, too).

5. A recipe book making project can be restorative. For someone who needs uplifting, a recipe book making project can be invigorating when it causes the maker to experience a therapeutic change of scenery, a change of mind, or a change of heart.

For me, recipe book making is a grounding experience. Just as cooking is an essential function of every day, recipe book making has a way of giving me perspective on stressful events that may be out of my control. It allows me to forget everything but the task at hand for a few moments. (Now, that’s therapeutic!)

Happy Cookbooking,

Matilda

Recipe Templates for Red Hat Society Recipe Books and More

My dear friend, Ruth, and I enjoy visiting with our Red Hat Society friends and occasionally having tea with them as time allows. Last month we visited with our local Red Hat Society chapter to celebrate the international sisterhood’s 12th birthday. It is remarkable how this organization has grown from a single chapter to now reportedly more than 40,000 chapters around the world.

(Gee, if all the chapters wanted to make a Red Hat Society recipe book, that would be a lot of recipes, possibly 800,000!)

In case you weren’t aware, the Red Hat Society is a group of ladies who’ve reached at least 50 years of age and who want to enjoy life full throttle. They have a wonderful time together, wearing purple outfits and their red hats to teas, luncheons, events, theater, picnics, and just about anywhere and on any outing their whims lead them. They prescribe to the novel idea of social networking in person (rather than through a computer or handheld).

Ruth and I understand that women under 50 may also join, though their attire is pink hats and lavender outfits. (In our area, we’ve only known Red Hatters.)

All in all, the Red Hatters are a fun group and we do enjoy their unique values and enthusiastic outlook on life. Based on our personal networking among the local group, we have received many requests from Red Hat Society chapters who want to create their own recipe books. That is why we have a Red Hat Society template for chapters who wish to create a group custom recipe book, or for individuals who perhaps want to give custom recipe books as gifts to special Red Hatter friends. We also have 26 other templates for other organizations

When Ruth and I left our local Red Hat Society chapter after their birthday celebration, she was humming “When I Grow Up I Want to Be and Old Woman,” that catchy and amusing tune from a healthcare television commercial.

Amen. More fun-filled escapades here we come. (I think custom recipe book-making should be part of those fun-filled escapades, don’t you?)

Happy Cookbooking,

Matilda

Cinco de Mayo & Mother’s Day, Oh My

A sure sign of spring are two celebrations that are both in the month of May. Amid the beautiful spring flowers we have Cinco de Mayo and Mother’s Day. I often forget what they are truly about, so here is a brief history lesson that my dear friend, Ruth, gave me just the other day.

Cinco de Mayo
Somewhere along the line, Americans decided that one of Mexico’s important dates in history should parallel our own Independence Day. Maybe it was the way Cinco de Mayo rolls off the tongue, or the May 5/July 4 similarities for marketing purposes. Never mind that Cinco de Mayo is the anniversary of the historic Puebla battle of 1862 in which the Mexican Army tromped the heck out of Napoleon III’s occupying French Army (which, by the way, was supplying our U.S. Confederate soldiers, so the outcome of this battle also helped end the U.S. Civil War).

Well, anyway, Ruth says the holiday today celebrates Mexican pride and culture, and has a great food and drink tradition enjoyed all over the world. As for me, I see Cinco de Mayo as an opportunity to chomp chips and salsa, and to (symbolically) devour French pastries.

Mother’s Day
Although some may think Mother’s Day was created by greeting card companies to boost sales, the annual holiday was championed by Victorian Era peace activist Ann Jarvis, and later her daughter, Anna Marie Jarvis. In 1868, Mama Ann wanted to reunite families divided by the Civil War. Daughter Anna Marie just wanted to pay tribute to her late Mom, and to recognize all mothers for their special contributions to society. By and by, and after much to-do, the tribute day became a national holiday on May 8, 1914. It has subsequently gone internationally viral. By the way, carnations are the traditional flower for Mother’s Day, and the traditional meal is a lovely Sunday brunch (or breakfast in bed with the kids making pancakes). Gee, how about brunch at a Mexican restaurant to celebrate both holidays at once!

Come to think of it, these two holidays would be nice to include in a holiday section in your family cookbook, or if you prefer, in your recipe box with recipe cards easily made by Matilda’s Fantastic Cookbook Software.

Now for my annual tequila shot and salt (with lime, please).

Happy Cookbooking,

Matilda