Monday, August 24, 2015


I know all of you have been awaiting this post for a while now, but summer has a way of taking me off course. A few weeks back my hubby and I enjoyed a hectic vacation at Pawley's Island, N.C. with our daughter, Kristy and her family. What a gorgeous place to kick back and build sand alligators, hop the waves, or in my case, get slapped around by them, swim in three different pools, eat at some of the finest bar and grills in the South, play Uno and lose three times, chase the youngest around the condo trying to get him to poop on the potty, and finally dropping onto the bed after 16 hrs. of complete madness for a well-earned rest, but instead being awaken at two in the morning by the pounding footsteps or noisy voices from the family above us. Truly a vacation to remember!

                                                             MY BABA'S FAVORITE FRIDAY RECIPES

Being Catholic in the Fifties meant 'what's for dinner?' was never in question, the answer was always FISH. Beer-Battered Cod was fast and easy. Baba scooped some flour into a bowl, added baking powder, paprika, salt and pepper. Next she’d beat an egg and pour a cup of pilsner beer into the mix. Once the consistency met her approval, Baba combined all the ingredients to form a creamy batter.After filling her cast iron skillet with lard, Baba turned on the burner and waited until the oil was hot enough. When Baba was certain the specific temperature was reached, she’d flick a few drops of water into the skillet. If the droplets skidded across the surface, she knew she could begin frying the fish. Baba dipped each piece into the batter, held it high to allow the excess to drip off, then carefully lowered it into the skillet. She always knew when to turn the fish over. Her internal clock had been set since she began cooking meals in her mother’s home. After all the pieces were done, she’d place them on a towel to drain, set them in a pan and put in the oven to keep warm until dinner.

Czech Pivo-Mlátil Treska
   (Beer-Battered Cod)

(potato pancakes)

Because potato pancakes were always in demand,Baba made  sure she grated enough potatoes  to have left-overs. She  then cracked  and  egg or two into a bowl and whisked  them with a fork. She’d add  flour to the eggs by the handful, and sprinkle in a pinch of salt and pepper. Although many recipes called for onions in this dish, my grandmother never included them in her pan-cakes. After stirring everything together, if the consis-tency was too watery, Baba continued to increase the flour  until she thought it looked right. That’s the way Baba cooked, by handfuls, pinches, and appearance.
While the potato mixture rested, Baba covered the bottom of her electric fry pan with cooking oil and set it to the correct temperature. She’d then drop spoonfuls of batter into the hot grease. When bubbles began forming on the edges of each one, Baba turned them on the other side for just a minute or two. She’d then remove the pancakes, place them in a pan and pop them in the oven to keep warm.


                                                                 (Bubbly Cake)       

Although any type of fruit could be used when making Bubbly Cake, my grandmother preferred using blueberries. She’d rinse them under the spigot, place the fruit in a bowl, and mix a little flour in with them.

Her next step was to combine the wet ingredients together. Baba poured milk into her mixing bowl and a bit of vegetable oil. Before adding the eggs, she needed to separate them. My grandmother’s technique in doing so was awesome. She’d take each egg, crack it on the edge of the bowl, and with one hand, open it, drain the egg whites, and drop the yolk into the milk and oil.  I’ve tried to replicate her method, but have never been able to master it.

In another bowl, Baba mixed the dry ingredients. She’d then add the milk mixture little by little and continue beating until a creamy batter was formed. Next Baba beat the egg whites until they formed stiff peaks and gently folded them in.  Baba greased a nine by eleven pan, poured the batter in, gently placed the fruit on top, set the oven on 375 and let it bake for thirty minutes. When cooled, she’d sprinkle it with powdered sugar.  So simple, a kid could do it!


PLAYING HOOKY (When We Were Kids, Bk. 1) is the first chapter book of this series. I originally wrote it for tweens and teens. However, because it takes place in the Fifties, I soon discovered that the baby boomers, folks born 1941-1944, are just as enamored with the story as the kids. Playing Hooky takes people back to their own childhood, which makes them able to identify with Betty Lou and Danny Kolinski on so ma
ny levels.


 (When We Were Kids, BK.1)

When Frank Kolinski was fatally injured in the mill, Mary, his wife, and his two children were left to fend for themselves. Baba, Zedo, and Uncle Tom encircled the little family with their love and support. Living in Baba’s house, gave her daughter comfort and assistance in raising her children, and for Betty Lou and Danny, these three people became their pillars of strength and source of wisdom and understanding.       

hope you will try some of Baba’s favorite Friday recipes. As a family we looked forward to every meal because we knew how much love and caring went into the preparation. We were never served anything that came out of a box or can. With Zedo seated at the head, we respectfully gathered around Baba’s kitchen table to share blessings, food, and conversation. We cherished this time together and were excused only when our plates were emptied and our stomachs, full.
I also hope you get a chance to read Playing Hooky and the following three books in the series, Puppy Love, Pimples and Periods, and Promises. You won’t be disappointed, I promise.