Thursday, March 19, 2009

It Only Takes a Recipe to Get a Meal a Cookin'

Last night a fellow blogger and my dear sister in law, Virtual Farmgirl posed a question to her readers: Where do you get your recipes?
That question has been stewing in my mind ever since.
So many thoughts are whirling round that I knew a mere "comment" would not answer the question hence this blog entry.
Last evening just prior to to my reading of the VFG post of the day, I had received two requests for recipes from friends. Friends are a great source. Especially if they make the meal for you and you get to try it out before you make it.
One of them called me the "Great Goddess of the Crock Pot". Which is so funny to me as I do not consider myself some amazing cook.
The other friend saw my Facebook status update that spoke of a pork dish I was making for dinner. The internet and Facebook playing a vital role in these interactions.
Many people comment on Facebook that I must be some fancy amazing cook.
Meals are my responsibility in our household and therefore my status reflects the fact that is what I am doing at that point in time.
Common place everyday meals are what happen most. Take out from Taco Bell, Wendys or the Commander and not to mention Fish sticks all make an appearance at the Arndt family table.
Sadly, I am not cooking up something every night of the week. Three to five times a week and I feel good about it.
My recipe sources are both common, many and varied.
I love to use recipes from the backs and sides of packaging of envelopes, cans and boxes of pantry items also.

Google is always a quick and almost foolproof source for me.
VFG likes as do I. I also like
I love the Food Network's Barefoot Contessa and will often go and print out the recipes of hers that I like and then make them. I store these and all of printed out internet recipes in a black folder in my kitchen.

One of my favorite Go To Cooks is my Aunt Camille. She has sent many a wonderful recipe for my daughters to use in 4H or the perfect recipe for a dinner party that I am hosting.
I have a recipe box filled with cards handwritten by the dear soul who gave them to me. A lot of these are from my mother in law, Rose. Recipes from Rose are stars in my collection.
Speaking of collections... my collection of cookbooks fills a full shelf of the bookcase. I refer to them often for favorites that we have tried.
The most treasured recipes are the ones that are in my head and are not written down.
These come from my mother and my grandmothers.
I stood beside them stirring and beating and watching.
My interactions with them are the foundations of my recipe box in my head.
Clearly a lot of technique and methods were gleaned from these experiences from my matriarchs.
Cooking is fun to me and its strong ties to my family history make it a tradition worthy of carrying on into the future with my daughters. VFG and my brother put together a recipe booklet as a gift to her family. This is a way of preserving all that great food without a Mason jar. A worthy goal for me.
Thanks VFG for the Food for Thought. Visit her blog at

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Big sigh of relief

Aaaaah! Time to relax -- finally! We made it through the craziness of the past couple of weeks.
VIP day is over.
School operetta is over.
Solo contest is over. (4 gold medals for the Blackwell girls! Yay!)
Top Chef is over.
The bake sale is over.
Flute choir performance is over.
Piano at Family in Faith is over.
Hannah's show at the Park District is over.

I feel as though a great weight has been lifted. I don't think we have anything on the schedule for any evening this week - other than Lent service, which doesn't require me to do anything but show up.

The relief I feel is only slightly dampened by the fact that I'm kind of ticked off at my boss and some of the management staff at work. I finally spoke up during a meeting when I might have normally just kept my mouth shut, which felt good, but then there was some confusion about a scheduled display and my boss asked me to do something that I had already been doing. Which I just find annoying -- like she doesn't trust me to do my job.

Anyway, I choose not to let that get to me. Stuff at work always passes. And in 12 days we'll be on our way "home" to Disneyworld!

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

William Carlos Williams

A Celebration

A middle-northern March, now as always—
gusts from the South broken against cold winds—
but from under, as if a slow hand lifted a tide,
it moves—not into April—into a second March,

the old skin of wind-clear scales dropping
upon the mold: this is the shadow projects the tree
upward causing the sun to shine in his sphere.
So we will put on our pink felt hat—new last year!
—newer this by virtue of brown eyes turning back
the seasons—and let us walk to the orchid-house,
see the flowers will take the prize tomorrow
at the Palace.
Stop here, these are our oleanders.
When they are in bloom—
You would waste words
It is clearer to me than if the pink
were on the branch. It would be a searching in
a colored cloud to reveal that which now, huskless,
shows the very reason for their being.

And these the orange-trees, in blossom—no need
to tell with this weight of perfume in the air.
If it were not so dark in this shed one could better
see the white.
It is that very perfume
has drawn the darkness down among the leaves.
Do I speak clearly enough?
It is this darkness reveals that which darkness alone
loosens and sets spinning on waxen wings—
not the touch of a finger-tip, not the motion
of a sigh. A too heavy sweetness proves
its own caretaker.
And here are the orchids!
Never having seen
such gaiety I will read these flowers for you:
This is an odd January, died—in Villon's time.
Snow, this is and this the stain of a violet
grew in that place the spring that foresaw its own doom.

And this, a certain July from Iceland:
a young woman of that place
breathed it toward the South. It took root there.
The color ran true but the plant is small.

This falling spray of snow-flakes is
a handful of dead Februaries
prayed into flower by Rafael Arévalo Martínez
of Guatemala.
Here's that old friend who
went by my side so many years: this full, fragile
head of veined lavender. Oh that April
that we first went with our stiff lusts
leaving the city behind, out to the green hill—
May, they said she was. A hand for all of us:
this branch of blue butterflies tied to this stem.

June is a yellow cup I'll not name; August
the over-heavy one. And here are—
russet and shiny, all but March. And March?
Ah, March—
Flowers are a tiresome pastime.
One has a wish to shake them from their pots
root and stem, for the sun to gnaw.

Walk out again into the cold and saunter home
to the fire. This day has blossomed long enough.
I have wiped out the red night and lit a blaze
instead which will at least warm our hands
and stir up the talk.
I think we have kept fair time.
Time is a green orchid.