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Sunday, January 22, 2006

The Steelers are back. Next stop Detroit.

Today was just like re-living the Terry Bradshaw days. The Broncos put up just enough fight to be interesting, but not heart stopping. Sundays back then were always interesting, and sometimes—like the game against the Colts last week--heart stopping.

It was the 70s and the Steelers ruled the NFL. Dallas was the enemy. We lived in Pittsburgh then. We live in Dallas now, and—sad to say—the Cowboys’ only enemy is Jerry Jones. Back then, though, on fall and winter Sundays, if we didn’t have tickets or the game was out of town, we either hosted or attended a day-long celebration of Steelers football that started with brunch; continued through a boozy, hor d’oeuvres and cheer-filled afternoon; and ended with early evening nightcaps that had us home by 10 p.m., tipsy, apologetic to the baby sitter, and—when the Steelers won—content and satisfied that all was right with the world.

In Dallas we have few opportunities to cheer on the Steelers (or the Cowboys for that matter). Unless Pittsburgh is playing Monday night, we don’t see much of our favorite team. Until the playoffs, that is. Watching the sixth-seeded team climb its way to a Super Bowl berth was like a trip back to the 70s, when swinging the Terrible Towel overhead was what Sundays were about.

Today, we initiated our two-year-old granddaughter Riley into the ritual. By the end of the first half we had her saying “Go Steelers” and swinging her Terrible Towel over her head, sort of. She was actually more interested in double (and triple) dipping in the dips that accompanied the potato and corn chips.

She already knows that for great football games, the food is a critical part. For this AFC Championship game, we had the requisite chips and dip, but unlike the old days, we skipped our traditional brunch and instead went with chili after the game. A 2 p.m. start time doesn’t lend itself to brunch.

But being the AFC Championship, we couldn’t have just any chili. This one needed Joe Cooper’s Chili.

Joe’s packs a heat that grows on you. When you first try it, you’ll follow your first bite with a sip of water (or red wine) and a mouthful of corn bread, wondering if you made it too hot. But with each bite, you’ll like it better and better. In fact, the second time you make it, you’ll add a bit more chili powder. It goes well with a heavy red wine, probably since its history is shrouded in the mists of alcohol.

Joe Cooper’s recipe came from my first boss at Rockwell International, Bill Van Dyke. Bill was one of the old hands from North American Aviation that made the trek to Pittsburgh when Rockwell Manufacturing bought North American Aviation back in the late 60s and turned a lot of Californians into Steeler fans.

Bill claimed that an old friend of his from Oklahoma developed this recipe. Who could doubt a boss who would periodically take his young staff out for lunch that could last well into the early hours of the evening? That was in the early 70s when a drink for lunch was de rigueur; two drinks the norm; and three drinks a guarantee that Bill would keep us away from our offices all afternoon.

The original recipe for Joe Cooper’s Chili is written as a narrative. Some excerpts worth are repeating and including in your technique:

“Meat should be good quality lean beef; preferably fore-quarter (chuck); I prefer neck meat (if you could get it off of a 3/5 year-old fat bull, it would be the best)…If you like bay flavor (it is good), 2 leaves 15/20 minutes at start…Too much suet in chili produces unpleasant back-fires…Don’t shy at the large amount of garlic. It is hard to use too much. As with onions, there is no regurgitancy from cooked garlic…Never cook beans with chili. If you want beans, cook them (pintos) separately, with no seasoning except salt…If you like tomato flavor, add ketchup at the table.”

Even if you’re not watching an NFL playoff game, this is one chili worth trying.

Joe Cooper’s Chil
For six generous or eight ample servings

3 pounds of lean beef preferably from a three- to five-year-old fat bull.
¼ cup olive oil
1 quart water (distilled or bottled if your tap water is off)
2 bay leaves
6 tablespoons chili powder
3 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon red pepper
1 tablespoon sugar
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 tablespoons flour
3 tablespoons water
6 tablespoons corn meal

First: Cube the beef into ½ inch cubes or have the butcher coarsely grind it. Heat the olive oil in a six-quart pot until it is almost smoking. Add the meat and sear over high heat stirring constantly until gray, not browned.

Second: Add the quart of water and the bay leaves and cook at a simmer for one-and-a-half to two hours. Skim off the scum that rises to the surface. Remove the bay leaves after about 20 minutes. Add additional water as necessary to keep the meat covered.

Third: Add the other ingredients—except for the flour and cornmeal—and cook for 30 minutes more at a simmer. These ingredients will make a fairly hot chili. If you like it hotter, add more red pepper. Don’t use Tabasco or other pepper sauces.

Fourth: Mix the water and flour together in a shaker and stir into chili. Add corn meal a tablespoon at a time until it reaches a consistency you like. You can omit the flour and water and just use cornmeal (or vice versa) if you like.

And finally: Serve garnished with chopped onions and accompanied by a good full-bodied red wine. And don’t forget: chili is always better the next day.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

A Memorable Dinner

I first did this dish for a gourmet dinner, but the most memorable time I served it was the Sunday before my son, Brian, joined the Army. Carey, daughter number two, made it home for spring break from law school; and our oldest, Kim, and her husband, Todd, made the drive in from nearby Poetry. It was a bittersweet evening. Our President and his Cabinet were telling the Butcher of Baghdad that they were going to send our sons and daughters over to root him out, and I was sitting across the table from quite possibly one of them.

Actually, I agreed Saddam needed to go and cheered when he did, but on a visceral level I resented the fact that a man who avoided the war I went to (as did his Democrat predecessor) found it so easy to ask our kids to do what he and his key advisors hadn’t.

Today, Carey is a full-fledged lawyer, practicing law in Pittsburgh, where the family’s roots were planted two generations before mine. Kim and Todd have moved in from the “country” and are the stewards of our two grandchildren—Riley, age 2, and Ian, age 6 months. And Brian Jr. is back from Iraq with two purple hearts, a Bronze Star and an Army Commendation medal—both with the “V” device. He was and is a medic with the 1st Calvary Division. He and most—but not all—of his buddies made it through a hellacious year as did those of us who watched and waited.

It was a long year. We all aged, Brian more than the rest of us.

He supports the war, as he must. The rest of us do as well, if only to honor his sacrifice, even as we hope that history will harshly judge those who used the horror of 9/11, flimsy intelligence and Christian righteousness to drag us into a crusade to revenge a failed assassination attempt and re-elect a Republican.

But the dinner to mark the start of my son’s journey to maturity and PTSD, was Prime Rib, one of the best ways to harden your arteries that God put on earth.

The celebratory meal was a family affair. I made the Prime Rib, Brian made his salad dressing; Maureen got the cake from Central Market (one of the seven wonders of the culinary world); and the other three pulled KP afterwards. The dinner took most of the evening and the jokes and stories flowed freely.

Here's what you'll need.

A four-rib standing rib roast (about 8 pounds)
2-4 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons white peppercorns
2 tablespoons green peppercorns
2 tablespoons juniper berries
2 tablespoons fresh thyme
2 tablespoons flour
3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1½ teaspoon salt
2/3 cup dry red wine
2 cups beef broth
1½ tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon water

First:. Preheat the oven to 250°F. Heat the olive oil in the roasting pan on top of the stove until nearly smoking. Pat the beef dry and brown on all sides, about three to five minutes on a side. Remove to a cutting board.

Second: With a sharp carving knife almost completely separate the rib bones from the meat, leaving them barely attached at the bottom and exposing the back side of the meat.

Third: Crush the peppercorns, juniper berries and fresh thyme in a pestle or, better yet, grind them in a coffee grinder. Combine with the flour, butter, Dijon mustard, brown sugar and salt to make a paste.

Fourth: Spread the meat with the paste, making sure the bone-side meat is well covered as well. Tie the rib bones back to the meat and return to the roasting pan, rib sides down.

Fifth: Slip the roast into the oven and let it slowly cook until it reaches an internal temperature of 110°F, approximately 30 minutes per pound.

Sixth: Increase the oven temperature to 500°F and continue cooking until the internal temperature of the meat reaches 135°F, about 30 more minutes.

Seventh: Remove from the oven and let stand for 20 minutes on a cutting board, loosely covered with aluminum foil. The temperature will rise to 140°F.

Eighth: Skim most of the fat from the drippings in the pan. Deglaze the pan with the wine, simmering the wine to reduce it by half. Transfer the liquid to a saucepan or a saucier. Add beef broth and simmer for five minutes.

Ninth: Dissolve the cornstarch in the Worcestershire sauce and water and add to wine/beef broth mixture, whisking to combine. Boil for a minute or two more until thickened. Season with salt and pepper and keep warm on the stove.

And finally: Remove the string from roast. Cut off the rib bones, and carve the meat into ½ inch slabs. Arrange on a warm serving platter. Cut rack into individual ribs and arrange them on the platter for those of us who like to gnaw on the bones (the closer the bone etc.). Garnish with sprigs of fresh thyme.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Of aging, sportscars and tits

I'm four months too old to be a baby boomer. For the math challenged, that means I was born in August of 1945. Depending on your age, 1945 is either just emerging from the mists that envelope the 20s and 30s--my parents heyday--or it's progressively buried more deeply in antiquity. By any measure, those of us born then are old. With today's expanded life expectancies, we can reasonably hope to get older--20 even 30 years older--but we're old. 60 is the new 40 they say. Right. I'll take 40. Actually I'll take 35. Because 36 marked the year that I was weaned from my immortality.

36 was the most traumatic of birthdates. It pushed me over the cusp--72 was really old then and I was halfway there. I bought an MGB. It was red and spent as much time in the garage as it did on the road. I also started spending more time visiting doctors. I wanted a complete physical. Tell me what's wrong so I can fix it. They did, but I didn't. They still do, and I'm getting better but still transgress.

After the MGB, I opted for a sedan, but only for a few years. Age drove me into a Supra. Loved it. Fast, sexy. Driving to Dallas to launch a new career, three girls in a Camry gave me thumbs up as I passed them at 70.

In Dallas, we fell in with friends our age. They still are, but they're old too. One of them--who later drifted off to India, then Houston--skewered me with his observation of aging men one day. "Two things men get as they race towards 50," he said one drunken afternoon standing by his grill next to his backyard pool," a sportscar and tits."

I had both. And still do, with the exception of a sportscar. So do my friends. I'm sure he does as well, though I haven't seen him for several years. I'm on his joke list, however, and daily share in the bittersweet reminders of youth that sustain dirty old men.

What's this have to do with food? Well, as my friend was waxing on the foibles of old men, he was grilling a mound of beef that was one of his signature meals. The recipe follows. It's for a dozen or so people.

5-7 pounds of sirloin in one piece (tell the butcher you want a beef loin ball tip roast and see if he understands you)
at least a pound of melted butter flavored with a bunch of chopped fresh parsley and a tablespoon or so of Lawry's seasoned salt

  • Bring roast to room temperature
  • Put in on the grill
  • Baste frequently with the butter sauce
  • Cook to desired doneness (medium rare is best)
  • Slice and serve

If you eat enough of it, you won't need to worry about getting too old.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Cheese Blintzes

Blintzes were a natural next step in the evolution of breakfast skills because blintzes appear to be little more than very flat and thin pancakes wrapped around a filling and topped with a fruit sauce.

Actually, they are quite a little more.

Cheese blintzes have three components—the crepe, the cheese filling and the berry sauce—and each demand and deserve careful attention. Done well, blintzes are the centerpiece of a great Sunday pre-football game brunch.

I got into blintzes back in the 70s when the Steelers ruled the NFL and we lived in Pittsburgh. On game day, if we didn’t have tickets or the game was out of town, we either hosted or attended a day-long celebration of Steelers football that started with brunch; continued through a boozy, hor d’oeuvres and cheer-filled afternoon; and ended with early evening nightcaps that had us home by 10 p.m., tipsy, apologetic to the baby sitter, and—when the Steelers won—content and satisfied that all was right with the world.

My brother-in-law, Michael (now Father Michael), would sometimes baby-sit for us in those days. Although he was in the seminary at the time, some weekends found him in town and we would beg him and my mother-in-law Bunny to come over and watch our two (at the time) kids if we were heading to a Steelers party. It was actually a request that was fraught with danger. You see, babysitting our kids brings out the catastrophes that seem to lurk in the shadows around them when we gave them responsibility for our children.

Like the time that Father Mike went rushing out the door of his mother’s town house to get my oldest daughter Kimberly who was toddling toward the front walk. In his panic, he saw her hurtling towards the traffic, which—at her diapered pace—would have taken some time. As he put his hand out to fling open the storm door, he inadvertently thrust it through the glass. An ambulance ride and some dozen stitches later, he was fine and my daughter had some new paramedic friends.

Then there was the time my mother-in-law was watching our three kids. My wife, our daughter, Kimberly, and I were visiting potential colleges in the northeast so Mom came to the house to mind her grandchildren. A short while into her visit, she slipped on the stairs coming down from the second floor and broke her back. We returned in time to bring her home from the hospital; set her up in bed in our now-converted dining room; and help nurse her back to health. (Part of my contribution was to share a nightly chocolate éclair and a glass of scotch with the poor woman. Both of us ended her convalescence bigger than we were when we started it.)
Even with the risk we knew we were taking with the babysitter, a Steelers game day brunch was worth it.

For about a dozen blintzes

For the crepe batter
1¼ cups flour
1 teaspoon sugar
½ teaspoon salt
3 eggs
1½ cups milk (can use skim)
2 tablespoons butter, melted then cooled for the batter

For the fillings
16 ounces cottage cheese (or ricotta, which is a good, albeit drier substitute.)
8 ounces cream cheese
¼ cup Parmesan cheese finely ground (run pre-shredded cheese through a food processor
2 egg yolks
2 tablespoons melted butter
3 teaspoons vanilla

For the sauce
3 cups fresh or frozen berries Blackberries, raspberries or strawberries work well.
¾ to 1 cup sugar depending on how tart the berries are
1 tablespoon water
½ tablespoon cornstarch

First, Second and Third: Put all of the batter ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. Adjust the flour and/or milk to get the consistency of heavy cream.

OR: If you’re a purist who likes the feel of dough on his or her fingers, then proceed as follows.

First: Sift the dry ingredients into a bowl. Break the eggs into another bowl and mix until yolks and whites are blended. Make a hole in the middle of the dry ingredients and pour in beaten eggs. Stir the flour mixture into the eggs little by little. You might need to add a little milk to incorporate all the flour.

Second: Add the milk a spoonful at a time and mix it in thoroughly before adding more liquid. When you’ve added about half of the milk, you can add the remainder in two portions.

Third: Add melted butter. Mix again

Fourth: Cover and set aside for at least an hour. Giving the batter time to rest allows the flour to better absorb the liquids. If it’s going to sit for more than a couple of hours, put the batter in the refrigerator. It can be held overnight.

Fifth: Grease an 8-inch skillet with light coating of butter. A non-stick or well-seasoned pan works best. Pour three to four tablespoons of batter into the skillet, turning the pan to coat it. Resign yourself to the fact that it will take at least two, if not three, crepes to get the right balance between the amount of batter and the heat of the pan. Throw the first few away. Fry lightly on one side—for about two minutes, then flip and fry for about 10 seconds on the other. Some recipes call for frying on one side only, but leaving the “flip” side uncooked seems wrong to me. You don’t even need a spatula, just carefully grab the crepe with your fingers at one edge and turn it over. Count to 10 and slide onto a stack, separating each crepe with a square of waxed paper. Repeat with remaining batter. You should get about a dozen.

Sixth: Beat or mix in a food processor the filling ingredients together until smooth. Put about 2 heaping tablespoons of filling in the middle of the browned side of the crepe. Fold the bottom third of the crepe up over the filling first, then fold over the sides, and finally fold down the top to form a small envelope. Place blintzes "seam side" down on wax paper. If you have time, fold wax paper around each blintz snugly and put all of them in the refrigerator for an hour or so to firm up. It makes them easier to handle later. Also, the blintzes may be frozen at this point, and then fried without defrosting.

Seventh: While they are resting, cook the berries in a saucepan over low heat, until bubbling. Mash, using a potato masher. Depending on your preferences, sieve out the seeds. Add sugar, and taste for tartness. Mix the water and cornstarch in a small cup and add to the sauce. Mix over low heat until you’re satisfied with the thickness of the sauce. If too thin, add some more cornstarch and water. If too thick, thin with water or—better yet—a little brandy or a liqueur like crème de cassis.

And finally: Melt two tablespoons of butter in large skillet over medium heat. Fry blintzes seam side down until golden brown on all sides. For a buffet, arrange on a warm platter and drizzle the sauce down the center of the row of blintzes. Serve the remaining sauce on the side. Serve as soon as possible. The sooner you can serve the blintzes when they come out of the pan, the better.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Making Pancakes

The addition of pancakes to my breakfast repartee raised the esteem in which at least two of my children held me: Kimberly, the oldest, never liked pancakes as a child. Her tastes—at least insofar as pancakes are concerned—improved as she grew older.

I think this recipe originated from one in an old Betty Crocker cookbook that we had around the house when we were first married. The cookbook is lost, but the recipe—simple as it is—has stayed with me. On pancake mornings, I tried to get up before the rest of the house—not always easy when the youngest wanted a 5:30 am bottle—and get the batter ready.

Then, as now, pancake making can be a messy affair, particularly in the heat of battle. As much as I try to clean up as I go, when the breakfast is over, there are more mixing bowls than were necessary; more spatulas, spoons and wire whips than needed; and drops of partially cooked or hardening batter—sometimes in close proximity with sticky syrup—on most surfaces.

But the pancakes are great, so the family lives with the mess and even offers to help clean up at times. In fact, the pancakes are so good, that I used them to compensate for my ineptness in Indian lore during a period of father-daughter bonding with my daughter, Carey, called Indian Princesses. This is where fathers pause each week to dress as white people think Indians do, sit cross legged on the floor and do crafts, while their daughters slowly move off to the other side of the room to play quietly among themselves.

This weekly bonding is punctuated by two or three overnight camping trips where fathers and daughters wander through the woods until boredom sets in before returning to the main cabin where the fathers sit cross legged on the floor drinking beer while the princesses move off to the other side of the room and play quietly among themselves. Indian Guides, which is the father-son version, is much the same; but the boys are noisier. My son, Brian, and I tried that in lieu of cub scouts. As a fun experience, the Indian thing is over-rated (and now apparently politically incorrect); but I must admit, as a bonding experience, it is unequalled.

But let’s return to pancakes and how they enhanced my stature. For an Indian Princess winter overnight camp-out, I was assigned breakfast duties. Since my daughter and I weren’t going to be winning any feathers for tent making or fire kindling, I decided to depart from the usual individual-cereal-servings-in-a-box breakfast and surprise my tribe-mates with something original: I pre-made pancake batter and took it along.

We were the hit of the tribe that chilly December morning. They didn’t make me chief, but we both got extra feathers. And we made as much mess as I do at home, but without the mixing bowls or a reason to bother cleaning up. Here’s what you will need to make about six, 6-inch pancakes.

Pancakes: The Recipe
For about 6 pancakes

1 cup of flour
1 tablespoon of sugar
1 teaspoon of salt
4 teaspoons of baking powder Don’t overdo the baking powder or the bottom of the pancake will burn before the insides set.
1 cup milk (plus two tablespoons) It’s just as good with skim milk.
1 large egg
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Vegetable oil for cooking


First: Mix together the dry ingredients

Second: Whisk together, in another bowl, the wet stuff.

Third: Mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients with a fork. Don’t beat, just mix the ingredients together. The batter should be slightly lumpy. If it’s too dry—closer to dough than batter—add milk a tablespoon at a time to thin it.

Fourth: Let stand for about 30 minutes or so until bubbles form on the surface of the batter. In the meantime, heat up the griddle or fry pan; warm the syrup and make sure the butter is soft.

Fifth: Make sure everyone’s seated then liberally coat the griddle or fry pan with vegetable oil. If it smokes, it’s too hot. Crank back the heat and wait a few seconds.

Sixth: Stir the batter lightly: it should be thick but still be batter. Drop a teaspoon of batter in the oil to test. If it balls up quickly and sizzles in the oil, you’re ready.

Seventh: Pour about a third of a cup of batter onto the griddle or fry pan. When bubbles form on the top of the pancake and a few of them break and stay open (about four minutes), it’s time to think about turning them over. Lift one up and peek under. If it’s golden brown, turn them all over. Let them cook for another three minutes or so, then remove. (If you’re not sure, make a small cut in the center of one of the pancakes. If you see uncooked batter, it’s not done.)

And finally: Serve immediately, smallest kids first. If you’re making several batches of pancakes, they will keep between towels on a warm plate in a warm oven, but they will deflate some.

Breakfast

My first memory of breakfast is a sock tied around a spigot. That’s what Catholics did Saturday night before going to bed back when breakfast really did break a fast that began at midnight the day before receiving Communion. The sock was to remind us to take nothing by mouth until after Sunday Mass. Gradually, fasting went the way of Latin, Gregorian chant and Extreme Unction. I still miss Gregorian chant.

But breakfast, as one of the two culinary highlights of a relaxing Sunday, still remains. Growing up, breakfasts during the week were catch-as-catch-can affairs since my father, Jack, worked various shifts and was seldom in evidence when we kids were hustling out the door for school. He was either up and had left for the day shift, on his way home from the night shift, or still in bed from the swing shift.

His default breakfast, which he usually had when we weren’t around, was one soft-boiled egg and a slice of toast. That was before eggs and their cholesterol were put on the enemies list and he was forced to give them up, along with his daily pack of Camel cigarettes. Ours was cold cereal and a piece of homemade bread and peanut butter.

But on Sundays when we did have breakfast en masse, soft-boiled eggs were on the menu, but often, there was a platter of bacon and eggs. I always liked bacon and eggs and developed a knack for breaking the eggs in the hot grease with a gentleness that kept the yolk intact for later toast dipping. It’s a practice now deemed dangerous not only because of saturated fat and cholesterol, but also because of more wily species of bacteria that have figured out a way to infect the chicken before it’s an egg. Bacteria weren’t as smart in the middle of the last century.
Breakfast launched my interest in cooking—weekend breakfasts that is. Weekday breakfasts remain as they were growing up and as they are like in most busy homes today: quick and cold. On weekends, though we get to start the day more leisurely: and how better to relax than over a long breakfast, the morning paper and a discussion of what to eat at breakfast’s counterpoint—Sunday dinner.

My takeover of breakfast started with my wife, Maureen, asking me to break the eggs for her. It was a short step from that to taking over the bacon frying. Maureen’s bacon-cooking technique was too disorderly for me. She filled the pan with bacon wily-nily then cooked it, stirring and flipping the strips occasionally until they were all crisp curlicues. I preferred to lay each strip down in the pan barely touching the next one, even if it meant cooking a package of bacon in several batches.

My wife’s bacon arrived at the table more quickly, but mine arrived neater—a fact that illustrates the differences on which our marriage has thrived. So, beginning with cracking the eggs, she allowed me to gradually usurp her morning role, trading cooking for additional sleep time and a more leisurely read of the Sunday morning paper. No fool, that one.

From bacon and eggs, I moved on to pancakes, blintzes, and ultimately that ultimate celebration of an egg—an omelet. All of those recipes will be revealed in due course.

Why Recipe Stories?

Actually, I decided to spend my last day off before officially beginning 2006 by doing two things--taking down a dormant website I developed for a memoir cookbook I wrote and investigating blogging. I don't think I'll get around to the other job.

I was mostly just curious about blogging before I started mucking about earlier today. "Who," I thought, "has the time for it?" Obviously I do. And I hope to continue. Future blog entries will re-cycle stories and recipes from the book, be about other things cooking related or none of the above. Since I'm working on another cookbook--this one targeting 20 and 30 somethings who never quite got the drift of cooking at home--entries may talk about that as well.

But about the first (and only) cookbook I wrote. It's called 'You Said A Mouthful" and is available at Lulu.com. It was inspired by the thought that every good recipe has a good story behind it. The story may center on an ingredient, where it comes from and what it does to enhance a dish. It may be about the preparation and how the time in the kitchen created a special memory with family or friends. It could be about the people who join you at your table, their relationships, likes and dislikes. Or, the story may root in a past event or snippet of time that was evoked by the food or its ingredients.

Actually, it was inspired by my kids who kept asking me for my recipes. The story idea came later. As I wrote the recipes down, I'd be reminded of a story, so I'd write that down as well. Then, I decided the stories and recipes were too good to keep to myself. That's when I discovered the wonders of self-publishing.

After I published it and told friends and family, it sold quite briskly--until I ran out of friends and family. As one friend told me, memoir cookbooks only work for the famous. However-- in what must be a tribute to Lulu's power-- sales still occur. I do have a website, but since the visitor count has stuck in the 500s for the past year, I don't think it has powered many sales.

I don't have time to get to my second chore today, so I guess the website will stay up for awhile