COOKING

17 10 2012

I married very young. In fact, I had only been 18 a month when I married for better or worse, etc. And I meant every single word of it.  So did he.  It has lasted a long, long time.

But when I was first married, I was determined to learn to cook and cook really good.  Everyone else seemed to know how, so I would too. I had some new cookbooks and so I spent a lot of time reading through them picking out what I thought sounded really good.  And easy.  And impressive.  Of course.  I worked full time and didn’t have a lot of time for cooking, but I was definitely determined.

On this day, I had read about blanched spaghetti.  Now that sounded truly marvelous since I had never even heard of it. So I decided I would have that for supper.  Didn’t sound hard to fix either.  I just put a pan of water on the stove and cooked the spaghetti.  Then it said in order to blanche it, all you had to do was pour cold water over it  Even I could manage that one!

So I prepared all the rest of the dinner for my new husband and I and then prepared the blanched spaghetti.  We sat down, smiling at one another as usual.  I was so proud of everything new that I did.  We ate in silence.  But we both enjoyed the meal.  Then he got up from the table and said, ‘I never ate cold spaghetti before.’  I said, ‘I didn’t either.  But I don’t think I will fix that one again.’  He smiled and agreed and we both went on about our business.  It was awhile before I understood what I had prepared. Just spaghetti that had been washed so it wouldn’t stick together after cooking.

I don’t recommend fixing blanched spaghetti for your supper tonight. But it sounded good back then.  Life was wonderful and  I wouldn’t have missed those times for anything in the world.

Since then, I have learned a lot about cooking and how to feed all those hungry kids and make them think it is a really good meal.  But I never tried blanched spaghetti again.  Don’t think I could sell any of them on that.

I have a really good cookbook out now.  It’s called Bet’s Cookbook and has a lot of original recipes and some not so original in it.  It tells exactly how to put together really good meals that don’t cost much and are easy to prepare.  My kids loved all my cooking and that is the best recommendation I could ever have.   If you might be interested in buying one of my cookbooks, please send $12 including postage to BET, P.O. Box 2249, Benton, AR  72018.  I have other really great books, too.  Look me up on Amazon sometime.

But don’t fix blanched spaghetti.

 





THINGS I AM SICK AND TIRED OF

1 10 2012

There are a lot of things going on these days that I just simply am  sick and tired of.  I noticed that we now have a shortage or an upcoming or at least they think we will have a shortage of bacon.  Well, so what!  We can live without bacon if we have to, you know.

In 1957, there was a shortage of a lot of things.  I know because I had just had a new baby and could not buy some of the groceries I really needed and had to drive all over the place to find them.   First, we had a shortage of coffee.  Oh my!  The world just about flipped over that one.  We all heard about how in Columbia, there was a shortage of something and this made us all have a shortage of coffee.  Well, people were hanging onto their coffee cups and whining a lot over that one.

Next, we had a shortage of sugar.  Of course this made the price go sky high.   And did I mention that by now, coffee was about tripled in price?  Well, sugar soon was, too.  No one could run their household in those years without that five pound bag of sugar.  Had to have that just to get up in the morning.  There were no sugar substitutes to lean on and no one ever considered just doing without it.  Absolutely no way we could exist without sugar.

There were a lot more shortages, in fact about 5 or 6  really standard items that we all depended on and that suddenly went short.  Meat was another one, if I remember correctly.  But I really don’t remember all the rest of them.  The result was that prices went up.  Isn’t that the intended result anyway?  Higher grocery prices and then everyone can explain why. Suddenly coffee went up and then sugar and then the meat.  Well, we all just had to adjust and lower our standard of living in order to buy groceries.  That was the intended plan all along anyway.

Now we have a shortage of gasoline for our cars.  Shame on us for having a car anyway.   We should all be out hoofing it everywhere and riding that bus that is never on time or the subway or the streetcar or thumbing a ride to WalMart.  Of course the prices on gasoline have been going up quite a lot.  But no one really explains why we have a shortage in the first place.  Could it just happen to be so that they – whoever they are – can raise the prices?  And then when the election gets closer, the prices begin to come down so that those in charge, whoever they are, can now say – Oh Lookie, the price of gasoline has gone down.  And those in charge take full credit.  How convenient.

Maybe if we could just drill for our own oil and provide for our own gasoline, maybe we could have a decent price on our gas.  But then, those in charge could not take credit for that one.

Well, I don’t know about you, but I am with Robin Williams who recently said we should offer all those oil producing nations $10 a barrel for oil and then they can like it or lump it.  If they decide to lump it, they can sell their oil to someone else in the world.  Meanwhile, we’ll just produce all our own products.  Wouldn’t that be nice?  Wouldn’t that be normal once again?  Maybe, just maybe if we vote for the right people this time around, we can see our country begin to progress once again.   Maybe we can drill for our own oil and run our own pipe lines and quit protecting those overpopulated bears and wolves and spiders and whatever else those environmentalists can come up with.  Wouldn’t that be nice, though.

I remember a normal time with no one trying to run everything their way.  I do remember that. Maybe we can have it again.  Sure hope so.

 





WOULD LIKE TO GO HOME

4 09 2012

I sure would like to go home today.  Not to a house particularly, but to home in my heart.  I think of my parents and our life in their home and how happy we all were most days.  I sure would like to go back there sometime.  It was wonderful.

And I think of the little house we lived in as a young couple with 1, 2, and then 3 children.  That was a wonderful place, too.  Just those toddlers and their smiles and their cries and their learning, always learning.  Would like to see all that again, too.

And then next was the horrible place where everything went wrong all the time.  No money, a sick baby, run down house, lost everything.  Don’t want to ever go there again.  And hope I never do.

Next was a terrible rent house full of dirt and trouble also.  Still no money and an alcoholic lifestyle and trouble, trouble, trouble. Don’t miss that one, either.

Then when things got better, there was the house with all the children under my feet and the recovery of the alcoholic and the constant teaching of the damaged child.  It was a hard time, but not too bad.

And then we finally made it back to sanity and lived in a wonderful house with all those wonderful kids growing up and growing up way too fast.  The many carpools and meals to be prepared and washing to be done and vacuuming constantly.  Would love to go back and just visit there for an afternoon with all my children in the kitchen and lots and lots of noise and listening to all their conversations at once.  Absolutely wonderful.

Next was another really nice place but some of the children were gone now. Still miss them to this day, not for now, but for then.  Back to the times when they were growing up and stretching their long legs and big feet   under the table and learning to drive and write checks and learning everything.

And then to this big empty place where I am lost sometimes, looking for everyone.  I just wish I could go home, back where I belong, back to those places from before with all the children at home and all that noise and commotion and much too busy days.  I sure would like to go home.

If you would like to go home,too, then look at my books.  #2503 is the one about my parents and their home; In The 1940’s tells of those times growing up during the World War II years and loving every minute of it; The Wonderful 1950’s is all about those years before the troubles began when those toddlers were filling my days; and then The Real Story tells about those alcoholic years and the recovery and success afterwards.  It also tells of earlier years when my father was growing up and the tremendous success he obtained in his life, going from abject poverty to being a very successful individual.

All my books are $12 each including postage.  Or you can buy any 3 for $30 including postage.  Just send check or money order to BET, P.O. Box 2249, Benton, AR   72018.     Thanks.

Think I’ll go dream about going home now.   Sure would like to.





STUFF

17 08 2012

When I was raising all my children and there were a bunch, my mother in law grew vegetables in her garden and gave them to me.  So I was obligated whether I liked it or not to can or preserve or do whatever I could to save all those vegetables for my family to eat.  I always wondered if I saved any money doing that, but I still had to do it anyway.

First, she would call me and tell me she had a basket of tomatoes or peaches or whatever else there was.  Of course I was most grateful for all this, but I hated getting the phone call.  First of all, I’d better get myself over there in a hurry because she had no patience for my not coming right now.  Those tomatoes might just spoil before I got there.  Well, of course I had a few dozen other things going at the time but that didn’t count.  Like, maybe I was running a load of wash and wanted to put them in the dryer or maybe I had to take some of the kids to the pool or to the barbershop or whatever.  No matter, hurry up and get that basket full of tomatoes.  So I did of course.  Makes for better family relations if I do it right.

Then after picking up the vegetables, I still have to take those kids wherever or whenever they are going.  Then get home and make all the preparations for canning.  Do you know what that means?  Takes a lot to can tomatoes.  Lots of washing and getting ready and setting up.  By this time, the children are ready for lunch so have to stop and do that.  Then it is time to put someone down for a nap.  Have to do that.  By this time, that load of clothes is through in the dryer so have to do that.  Finally, with a couple of hours before time to start dinner, I start canning.  And I canned and canned and canned fast as I could.

If you have time, read my blog entitled Jars.  You will really enjoy it if you have ever been faced with any of the above.  Just pure fun.  Might just as well laugh over it all.  But, I’ll tell you for sure, I was glad when she quit giving me those vegetables.  I was about canned out.  And I still wonder if I saved any money in the deal.  Guess I did, though.  It is in the papers now that the price of groceries is going to go up because of the drought.  If this is true, you might want to get a few jars and think about canning yourself.  Never know.  Those tomatoes are hard to beat.  Glad I had them lots and lots of times.  Read Jars and laugh!





THE WAY IT WAS

30 06 2012

Everyone seems to be so surprised when we talk of how things really were back then.  And I don’t mean a long time ago.  Did you know that in the early 1950’s most people had never used a shampoo?  Or a hair brush?  We washed our hair with soap and rinsed with vinegar or sometimes coal oil and used a comb.  I was so glad to have a hair brush because I had terribly tangled hair and that comb just about did me in.  When the tv came along, people could see those commercials and began to buy those things they saw.  The radio had been an opener for a lot of things, but the television made it even more so.

Also, in this awful hot weather, be thankful for that air conditioner, no matter how well it works.  We grew up in the 40’s and 50’s with a fan if we were lucky.  Most people just spent a lot of time on the porch fanning with a funeral home fan or wiping their face with a handkerchief.  And this, again, is not that long ago.  Oscillating fans had been on the market only a short time and a family usually only had one or perhaps two.  They moved the fans from one room to another, depending upon the need.  For instance if my mother was cooking, she had the fan to blow  in the kitchen.  Same way with washing dishes.  Then when the children were put to bed at night, they had the fan until they dropped off to sleep and then the parents would have it the rest of the night.  And by the way, due to the hot weather, all children had what was called heat rash and cried a lot over that.  I don’t ever want to see that one again. 

After that, the window fan and the attic fan came along and that was a real change for the better.  I remember the men putting the attic fan in our house and the breeze blowing in the window all night long.  That was truly wonderful.  Why, you could plan on being able to sleep the whole night through.  And the window fan was great for the kitchen area or the room where mother ironed.  It helped a great deal in the hot, humid weather. Of course the windows were always open to allow for that cool breeze.  How wonderful it was! 

I don’t want to live like that again.  I really like the way I live now.  I like the air conditioning and the being able to sleep and the sitting in my chair reading the paper without sweating like a hog.  I really like all this.   Do you?  If you don’t want to go back to living like that again, be sure and DO NOT vote for Mr. Obama because he will put us right back there.   With his monetary policies, we are moving backwards every day. 

If you enjoy the things you have in this country, vote for the Republican, whoever it might be.  And be sure you VOTE!!!  It is very important. Remember that every time you turn on that air conditioner.  Make that vote count this time.  





I STILL WANT IT BACK!!!

16 06 2012

I wrote yesterday about things I wanted back in my world.  And then I remembered I also want my food left alone.  I want my tomatoes back!  I used to just love those wonderful tasting fresh tomatoes we got from the backyard every year.  And everyone I knew grew a few of those in their backyard or bought them at the farmer’s market.  Sometimes even a neighbor would give you one or two of those huge, almost split in half tomatoes from their garden.  My mother-in-law grew the most wonderful tomatoes ever.  She would throw her coffee grounds on the tomato plants every day and they grew like mad.

Well, anyway, I want my tomatoes back!  These things they sell nowadays have no taste except sour sometimes.  They are not pretty.  They have no good smell anymore.  And do you know why?  Because someone messed around with the seeds and they took all the acid out of the tomatoes. Now I don’t know how that was supposed to help the environment or whatever it was they were helping. Probably something weird like all that other stuff is.  But they ruined the tomatoes. You cannot buy the old type seeds anymore and so we are all stuck with this made-up tomato that isn’t worth eating.  Even a BLT doesn’t taste like it used to.  And I used to just love them.

I used to can a lot of tomatoes every year, too.  But if you want to can tomatoes nowadays, you have to add acid to them in the form of lemon juice or some such thing. Absolutely and positively ridiculous!  Over and over again.  Ridiculous!

I still want my food back.  Quit messing with the food in this country.  Leave it alone.  If I choose to be unhealthy, that is my choice.  If I choose to be fat and ugly, that is my choice.  If I choose to be healthy, then that is also my choice.  But leave the food alone.  Quit fixing everything for everyone. It is my responsibility to care for myself.  Not someone else’s.

God made the food. God provided just exactly what He wanted us to have and He didn’t need for it to be fixed or altered or changed in any way.  This is His world.  This is His plan for us.  Everything was provided for us, period.  He had his reasons for putting the acid in the tomatoes.  He had his reasons for doing each and everything regarding the foods.  So quit fixing everything for us.  Leave it alone.

Thank You, Dear God for everything you have provided for us forever.  Please take care of us.





DEAR GOD: THANK YOU FOR FAMILY

3 06 2012

When I was growing up, my father worked at night. Of course we kids went to school during the day, so we hardly ever saw him.  Sometimes we would see him in the car as he left home right after three in the afternoon and we would be hurrying home from school.  Except for his day’s off, we hardly ever got to see him.  But we were still a very close knit family.

My mother was there and  my grandmother always and we ate our dinner together and did our homework together and listened to the radio together.  Then when Daddy was home, we still did those same things together.  Always together.  This was what a family did.

Of course we only had one car and my mother would use it once a week to buy her groceries and pay her bills or do any shopping she had to do.  Otherwise, we really didn’t have any place we had to go.  So we stayed home and enjoyed our home and our family.  Thank You, Dear God, for the example of that family!

When I married and began my own family, we lived this same sort of life. My husband was one of those traveling salesmen and was gone a great deal of the time.  My kids and I still spent time together.  We ate together, we watched television together and we visited with each other quite often.  So my own children grew up with that example in their lives also.  Each of them now has their own families and although some of them travel for a living, they still make a point of being there when possible.   And those families spend that precious time together.  They eat together, they watch television together, they visit with each other often, and they truly enjoy being together.  This is what families do.

I had a lot of children so when it was time for dinner, they all knew they better be in the house and ready to eat at a certain time.  Then we all stood together at the table, each one behind their chair,  while we said our Blessing before the meal.  We had to stand to do this.  Otherwise, we might have forgotten our prayers.  Or we wouldn’t have all started eating at the same time.  So this worked very well for us.

During our meal, we caught up on all the latest news from the neighborhood and the schools and the friends, and whatever else was going on in our lives.  We all relaxed together and enjoyed our dinner.

All these things are some of what makes up a real family.  In today’s world, so many people do not take the time to be a real family.  Please try to be a family in your home.   No matter what, your children must know what constitutes a real family.  They must grow up realizing that this closeness, this sharing of time and conversation, this being together wherever and whenever is what a family is supposed to be.  How can they have a family life if they don’t know what that is.

Help your children to grow up to be family oriented.  Then you, too, can say ‘Dear God:  Thank You For Family’  For this is the most important element in this world anyway.  Take advantage of it every day and enjoy your family life and your family members every day as much as you can.  They will soon be gone to have their own families.  Help them to be successful in their endeavors.  And to thoroughly enjoy their lives.

To be surrounded by the love of a real family is the greatest gift of all.

 

 





DEAR GOD: THANK YOU FOR MY FATHER

24 05 2012

I grew up in this really great typical family.  There was a mother, father, grandmother, sister and brother.  We lived a perfectly normal life in the decade of the 1940’s.  Everyone was treated fairly, both in praise and in reprimands.  And I am so glad I was placed there by Almighty God because it couldn’t have been any better.

My father was always the last word on anything.  He was very fair and very kind and very strict.  But he always was striving to make people happy and to feel better about themselves.  We had this neighbor who was always talking about his ‘hogs head cheese’ that his family ate when he was growing up. My father had eaten some of that before, too, down in the country where it was made.  So he talked with the neighbor and they both agreed that cheese was just simply great.

Next month or so, the neighbor family invited us over for Sunday dinner. And guess what!  They served hogs head cheese, the real kind, made out of real hog’s heads. The neighbor had made a trip to the country just to get that for us.  We had been taught all our lives to be nice and complimentary and kind to anyone, so when it came time to eat that hogs head cheese, all us kids smiled and swallowed – really, really hard.  I remember my brother looked a little green, but he didn’t say so.  And it was all I could do to eat mine, especially thinking about those hog’s heads.  But we ate it and raved over how good it was.  My father was raving over it, too, complimenting the neighbor for such a wonderful treat.  But, oh boy, we were really glad to get back home so we could brush our teeth and say what we really thought about that hogs head cheese.

Another time, our Great Aunt Mary was coming for a visit.  I had never seen her before as it had been so long since she had visited.  She and her husband were driving from California just to see us.  She had helped in raising my father and so he was really excited about her visit.  He kept talking about how he wanted her to make some of that great chili she had made for him as a kid.  He kept saying it had big chunks of garlic in it and we would just love it.  Well, after visiting for a couple of days, Aunt Mary decided to make some of that chili that my father was just raving about.  You know, the one with the big chunks of garlic in it.

My father watched while she cooked and he was so anxious to taste.  That night  at dinner, we had garlic chili with a little meat thrown in for flavor.  It had so much garlic in it that it was all we could do to swallow it.  But we did.  And we all complimented Aunt Mary for such wonderful chili.  I can still taste that garlic every time I think about it.  But we were kind and thoughtful and smiled a lot even if we did smell sort of funny that evening.

It was truly a great family full of all the things that families did back then.  And lots of fun and happiness.  You might like to read a little more about this family of mine along with living history about what was really going on in the world around us.  My book IN THE 1940’S  tells all that.  The War was raging all over the world and we were living with the rationing and the allotment checks since my father went to War and the air raids and everything else that was going on.  It was a very interesting time and if you like my writing, you will really enjoy this book.

Each book only $10 plus $2 postage.  Send check or money order to BET   P.O. Box 2249   Benton, AR  72018    Thanks, Bet

 





DEAR GOD: CAN YOU HEAR THE CHILDREN CRYING?

20 04 2012

In this supposedly enlightened world of today, our poor children are crying and moaning and hurting.  Dear God:  Can You Hear The Children Crying?  I can.  I hear them over and over again constantly.  I see them on television and I read about them in the newspapers and I get gobs of mail every day telling me to listen to YOUR poor children.  As You have said, ‘whatever you do to the least of these, you do also unto Me.’  But those people are not listening to You anymore.  They think they are in charge of Your world.  And the children are crying. All the time.

There are those that are slaughtered in the wombs of their mothers.  The poor baby has no one else in this world to protect him. He is completely dependent upon his mother.  And who is she that she would deliberately destroy his life.  Surely, she cannot mean to do this.  Surely, she cannot intend to destroy the very basic being within her own body.  Do those poor children cry throughout eternity?  Do their mothers cry throughout all eternity?  The only animal that destroys their own is the Guppy that eats their babies.   Surely, we have not descended to that level.

I read of other atrocities against children every day, too.  Just today, I read of a child only 3 months old who already had broken ribs and a concussion from being thrown around or mistreated in some way.  Why on earth would any human being do that to a 3 month old child.  I certainly remember that babies cry and it is hard to listen to them sometimes.  But no right thinking adult would ever hurt a tiny child like that.

In another instance, a child had actually walked to school and when he arrived, his teacher noticed something wrong.  By that time, the flesh was  falling off his bones because he had been scalded in a tub of water.  Why would anyone ever think to do that to a small child.  Oh, Dear God:  Can You Hear The Children Crying?

And then there are those whose parents do not feed them nor care for them in any way.  Why is this?  Why in the world would anyone not feed their children.  All animals feed their offspring.  I see pictures in my mail and on the television and in the newspapers every day showing small children who need a good meal.  Most of them also need a good home. Why has this happened in our beloved Country.  The government is not supposed to be feeding them.  The schools are not supposed to be sending food home with them to tide them over the weekend until they can come back for a meal at school again.  What is wrong here.  Why are those parents not being made to take care of their own children.  Surely there is something akin to responsibility within their hearts, minds and souls.

Meanwhile, Dear God:  Can You Hear The Children Crying?  I can.  Please help them.  Please wake those parents up so they will start to take care of their very own children.  Please Dear God Help Them.  YOUR children are crying.





DEAR GOD: THANK YOU FOR RESPONSIBILITY

11 04 2012

I read every day about how irresponsible everyone is in this world of today.  Especially the children.  Seems those children are coddled every day of their lives.  That means, of course, that they are not allowed to grow up.  They are always kept safe behind Mama’s apron and shielded from that horrible cold, cruel world out there.  As a result, they never have the opportunity to really cut those apron strings and grow up as they should.

People cannot learn to be responsible unless they have the chance to practice responsibility.  One of my children raised his children with the words – what is the magic word?  Responsibility was the answer.  That meant they were responsible for their own lives, whatever it might be that day.  When they were much younger, they were responsible for keeping their room nice and clean.  This was THEIR responsibility.  Of course, we all understand that responsibility must always be age appropriate.  This means that if they are 5, they can only understand responsibility on a 5 year old level.  And that means, try to keep the room clean enough so that no one trips and falls trying to walk through it.

Then by age 8 or so, they should take even more pride in a clean room.  By age 10, the room should be automatically kept uncluttered and pretty clean.  Then by age 15, it all starts over again.  They have forgotten what the words ‘clean room’ mean.  They do not understand anything said to them about any mundane subject such as that.  They hardly even know they have a room because they can’t find it under all that stuff they have. But they are in no hurry to clean it up because they have more important things to do like talking on the phone and eating a snack.  But remember, that will soon pass.  No doubt it will. Or you will.

When they reach the ripe old age of 18 or so, they will once again take some pride in having a clean room and return to a semblance of responsibility.  So don’t give up on them.   They will eventually get there.  And you know what?  They may even sometime thank you for making them responsible.  One of my daughters told me one time that she really appreciated me teaching her to keep the kitchen clean.  Seems she had gone to another’s house for dinner and the guests had to wait while the lady washed the silverware they were going to eat with because her dirty dishes were in the sink.  And had evidently been there for some time.

So, you see, sometimes it really does pay off.  Sometimes, they really do appreciate those little responsible things they were told to do as children.

Teach your children to be responsible and you will be truly amazed at what wonderful adults they become.  I know that from experience.  And I have had lots of experiences with my big family.  Mostly fun, by the way.  But they are all growing up to be very responsible adults, ones to be proud of.

Dear God:  Thank you for responsibility.  And Thank You for those parents who care enough about their children to teach them to be responsible in their growing up years so they can be responsible as adults.