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Recipes and Stories

10 January 2022: Healing Soup

My Chicken Noodle Soup


I don't know how you all greeted the new year, but I hope it wasn't the way we did: in bed with head colds. Whenever I'm under the weather, if I can stand upright for more than two minutes, I drag myself to the store for a chicken and make a big pot of broth for chicken soup. (The one good thing about being in the middle of a pandemic is that the discipline of wearing a mask and constant hand-washing meant that there was little danger of passing that cold around.)


Yes, I could've just opened a can, and have been known to do that while waiting for heat to work its magic on the chicken, water, and a handful of vegetables. But the mass-produced contents of a can aren't at all the same and simply don't have the healing power of homemade soup. Read More 

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7 January 2022: Comfort Revisited—Ilda's Ham and Potato Gratin

Ilda's Casseruola al Forno (Ham and Potato Gratin) has been a comfort food staple in my kitchen for four decades


As our first full Christmastide in our Virginia home comes to an end, we're finally beginning to settle in and feel as if we're really at home here. It would be nice to report that settling in included an exuberant outburst of creativity in my sweet, sunny kitchen.


Well, no.


The upheaval of moving, the loss of my car thanks to being broadsided by a careless driver, unexpected changes at the church, the worrying decline of my elderly parents, and the new spikes in the pandemic have led instead to a full retreat into all our comfort food favorites.


We celebrated the season with the usual treats and have had more than our quota of eggnog, cheese straws, country ham biscuits and rolls, roast turkey, potato gratin, homemade fruitcake, and cookies. And, despite being laid out with terrible head colds, being good Southern boys we saw in the new year with plenty of collards and black-eyed peas.


But our day to day staples have been homey comfort favorites that I can make blindfolded. Read More 

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