Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Special cookbook from Caldwell fourth-grade class in 1976

This is the final Vintage Family Fixin's column that was published in the newspaper where I used to work.
I've decided to change the name of the column, and I'm brainstorming about that. 

Got a suggestion? send it my way.

I have material for my next blog post which will be about the Club in Caldwell. In my late Grandmother Ruth McDonald's recipe box there are Club recipes. I have recently been in contact with Beverly Ralston, of Caldwell, widow of the late Robert "Bud" Ralston. Bud wrote a history of the Club which Bev shared with me. I will talk about that and share the recipes from the Club too. It's something to look forward to.

I've procrastinated in publishing this cookbook column, which was my last piece of writing with the newspaper. It's been almost seven months since I lost my job and I'm still not settled. Who would have thought it would be this hard. I hope 2015 brings me some peace and motivation.


Welcome back to Vintage Family Fixin's. Today I am sharing "A Special Cookbook" prepared by my fourth-grade class at Caldwell Elementary School in 1976.

Our teacher was Mrs. Beverly Heddleson and our school was located on the hill between North and Main streets. (This is where GMN Tri-County CAC has its offices now. The fourth-grade classrooms were located in the three-story original edifice.)

The first inside page of the cookbook reveals its title:

"Our Mom's Cookbook" surrounded by all of the first name signatures of the members of my grade school class plus mine.

A Special Cookbook from Mrs. Bev Heddleson's fourth-grade class in 1975-76, which is also pictured.

Mom's cookbook was created for Mother's Day that year and is comprised of carbon copies of our recipes in our hand writing. The cover of the book is kitchen contact paper, that was popular at the time, adhered to construction paper. The book is bound by three punch holes and brass prong paper file fasteners. There is a disclaimer at the bottom of the signature page that tells it is "Unedited."

That is funny because I see a few mistakes in the recipe I, the former Lisa McDonald, submitted (i.e. graded chedder).

Special Salad
1 1/2 heads lettuce (wash dry put in plastic bag 4-5 hours). Break into bite size pieces in bowl. Layer following 1/2 - 3/4 c. diced celery. 1/2 c. chopped gr. pepper

layer sliced purple onion

pkg. frozen gr. peas cooked

1 pt. Hellman's mayonnaise (spread like frosting)

Sprinkle 2 t. sugar

8 oz. layer of graded chedder cheese

15 strips of bacon browned and crumbled

Cover with glad wrap and refrigerate for 8 hrs.

Do not Toss


Other recipes and their contributors from the 1976 Caldwell cookbook are (unedited and written or copied by fourth graders):

Glorified Rice -- Frank E. Harriman
1 Cup Cold Rice - Cooked

1/2 Cup Sugar

1 1/2 Cup Crushed Pine Appled Rain

1/2 tsp. Vanilla

1 Cup Whipped Cream

8 Marshmalllows - cut up



Cheese Cake -- Lori Schoeppner
Chill 1 can of canned milk for 1 hr.

2 cups graham cracker crumbs

1 stick oleo 1/4 lb.

1 tblsp. sugar (save 1 cup for top)

1st bowl

1 small box lemon yellow

1 cup boiling water dissolve

2nd bowl

1 large package cream cheese

1 c. p.

2 tblsps. vanilla

beat until creamy

3rd bowl

whip canned milk until thick add contents of 1st bowl

contents of 1st bowl

contents of 2nd bowl

add 1 can drained crushed pineapple

stir well

pour over crumbs crust


Chocolate Chip Cookies -- John Turner
1/2 c. shortening (use half butter)

1/2 c. sugar (white)

1/4 c. firmly packed brown sugar

1 egg

1t. vanilla

1 c. plus 2 T sifted flour

1/2 t soda

1/2 t salt

cream suger and shortening until fluffy.

add egg and vanilla.

add all dry ingredients.

add 1/2 c. chopped nuts and 1 pkg. chocolate chips

Drop by teaspoon onto ungreased baking shot.

Bake at 375 for 10-12 min


Marshmallow Treats -- Jimmy C (Cantor)
1/4 cup regular butter. 1 pkg. marshmallows.

Melt butter in large saucepan over low heat. Add marshmallows and stir until melters and well blended. cook 2 minutes longer. stirring constantly. remove from Add rice kris pies stir until well coated. Using buttered spatula or waxed paper press miture evenly and firmly in buttered 13x9x2 inch pan cut into squares when cool


Chocolate Soda -- Stephen Minyo
Mix in glass 2 tablespoons chocolate sauce

1/4 cup chilled club soda

Add 1 or 2 large scoops vanilla icecream

Fill glass with chilled club soda

Stir to blend slightly and serve


Apple Punch -- Karl Cox
2 cups cider or Apple Juice

1 cup orange on Juice

1/4 cup sugar

Stir until sugar is dissolved Chill

Just before serving Add:

2 Cups Ginger Ale

Garnish with orange slices



Wacky Cake - 2 -- Steve Green
1 cup sugar

3 Tbsp. Cocoa

1 1/2 cups flour

1 tsp. soda

dash of salt

1 tsp. vingar

1 tsp. vanilla

6 tsp. cooking oil

1 cup water

Bake at 350 7 degrees for 40 mins.


Molosses Krinkles -- Donald Shaw
3/4 C. Shortening

1 C. Brown Sugar

1 egg and 1/4 C. Brer. Rabbit Molosses

2 1/4 C. Flour

2 t. soda

1/4 t. salt

1/2 t. cloves

1 t. cinnamon

1 t. ginger

Blend Shortening, sugar until creamy. Add egg and Mollasses Sift fry ingredients and add. Roll in ball size of walnut Drop top in sugar Drops two or three drops of water on top.

Bake 8 to 10 min. 350 degrees.

Cookies verey good.


Applesauce Cake a La Mode -- Robin Riggs
2 C. sifted floar 1/4 C. sugar 1/2 tsp. baking soda 1 tsp. baking powder 1 1/2 tsp. salt 1/2 C. shortening 1/2 tsp. each Alspice, Cinnamon, Nutmeg and Cloves. 1 1/2 C thick Applesauce 2 eggs unbeaten 1/2 C currants or raisins 1/2 C. clates, cut in small pieces 3/4 C Walnuts, cut and toasted.

Soft floor, sugar, soda, baking powder, salt and spices into mixing bowl Add shortening and Applesauce beat 2 min. Add eggs, beat 2 min. Blend in fruits and nuts. Bake in greased 8x12x2 inch pan in moderate oven (350 degrees) 55 to 60 min.


Fudgie Scotch rings -- Tony Hansen
16 oz. pkg. (1 cup) Nestle's Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels

16 oz. pkg. (1 cup) Nestle Butterscotch Morsels

1 can Borden Eagle Co. Magnolia or Dime Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk (Not Evaporated Milk)

1 Cup coarsely chopped Diamond Walnut

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Melt chocolate and butterscotch morsels with sweetened condense milk in top of double boiler over hot (not boiling water). Stir occasionally till morsels melt and mixture gebins to thicken. Remove from heat; add chopped walnuts and vanilla. Blend well. Chill in refrigerator for about 1 hour till mixture thickens. Line bottom of 9 inch pie pan with a 12 inch square of foil. Place 1/4 cup walnut halves in bottom of pan, forming a 2 inch wide flat ring.

2. Spoon chocolate mixture in small mounds on top of walnuts to form find. Decorate with remaining walnuts.

2. Chill in refrigerator until firm enough to slice. Cut into 1/2 inch slices. Makes about 36 slices.


Date Pudding -- Brad Braden
1 1/2 c cold H2O

1 t butter

1 c Brown sugar

Bring to boil

1/2 c sugar

1/2 c english walnuts

3.9 c flour

1 t soda

1/2 lb dates mix

pinch of salt

Pour liquid in pan pour dry mixture in Bake for 45 min

Bake oven at 350 degrees


Cottage Cheese and Pineapple Salad -- Misty Bates
1 pkg. strawberry Jello

1 no. 2 can Crushed pineapple (not drained)

2 T Suger

1-16 oz. Carton Cottage Cheese (small curd)

1-9 oz. Carton Cool Whip

Mix pineapple and sugar together and allow to boil 10 min., while hot, add the pkg. of Jello. Stir until dissolved, cook in pan of cold water. Add Cottage Cheese and blend. Add Cool Whip, Mix in well. Add Nuts if desired. Pour into an 8x8 pan or any type of mold and chill.


Marshmallows Puffs -- Annette Thompson
36 marshmallows

1-6 oz. package chocolate bits

1/2 c. cruncy peanut butter

2 T. butter

Line an 8 in. sq. pan with aluminum foil, cover bottom tightly with marshmallows, melt chocolate add peanut butter and butter, mix throughly, pour chocolate over marshmallow spaces on all sides of marshmallows, place in refrigerator until mixture hardens, turn candy out of pan up side down, peel off foil, cut candy into pieces store in refrigerater.


No Bake Cookies -- Michael Pangle
2 Cups sugar

1/2 Cup milk

1/4 lb. oleo

2 tablespoons Cocoa

1 teaspoon vanilla

Bring to a good boil, add 1/2 cup peanut butter and 3 cups of quick cook rolled oats, Mix, drop by teaspoon fulls on wax paper.


Peanut Butter Fudge -- Jennifer Dawn (Creamer)
Combine in enameled saucepan

2 cups sugar

3 Tbsp. butter

Bring mixture to a boil, stirring, over medium heat. Boil about 5 min., stirring constantly. Turn off heat and add

1 cup Peanut Butter

1 cup miniature marshmallows

1 tsp vanilla

2 squares unsweetened chocolate

stir until melted and Blended. (Place over low heat if necessary). Pour into butter 8 inch square pan. Cool, cut into 1 inch squares.


Individual Brownie Alaska -- Brenda McCullough
1 package (15.5 oz.) of our fudge brownie mix

1 pint pink peppermint or strawberry ice cream

4 egg whites

1/2 cup sugar

Bake brownies as directed on package. Cut into 3-inch squares; place on baking sheet. Top eat with small scoop of ice cream and place in freezer 1 hour. Heat oven to 500 degrees. Beat egg whites until foamy. Beat in sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time; continue beating until stiff glossy. Cover Brownies and ice cream with meringue, sealing it to edge of brownies. Bake 3 to 4 minutes or until meringue is light brown. 9 servings.


Buckeyes -- Jill Smith
1 8 oz. peanut butter

1 lb. powered sugar

1 Tbps. Vanilla

1/4 lb. butter

Mix well - shape into balls

1/4 sq. parifin

12 oz. chocolate

Melt in top of double boiler

dip balls in chocolate

use toothpicks


Sloopy Joes -- Chris Tilton
1 lb. ground beef

1 c. catchup

2 f. chopped green peppers

1 t. Worcestershier Sauce

1/2 t. salt

3/4 celery seed

Cook ground beef, green peppers in skillet until brown. Stir in all remaining ingredients. Bring mixtures to a boil over full flame. Turn flame to a simmer and cook ten min. Spoon mixtures into hamburger buns.


Chicken Rice Cassoroll -- Wendy (Watson)
Grease casserole with spray Put 1 1/2 cup of washed raw rice all over the pan. Spoon 1 can of cream of mushroom. 1 can of cream of chicken all over the rice by spoonfuls. Put unseasoned chicken pieces on top. Springle 1 pkg. of Lipton onion soup mix (illegible word) over the chicken.


My Salisbury Steak -- Mike Clark
1 egg

1/2 cup of milk

2 slices of white break

1 LB. ground beef

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

1 small onion, finely diced

Beat egg; add milk. Break bread into small pieces; add milk mixture. Beat until well mixed. Combine meat, salt, paper and onion; add to milk mixture. Form mixture into patties; fry until well done. Note: Patties can be make in oven at 350 degrees until done. Yield: 5 servings.


Meat Loaf -- Anne Walters
2 1/2 lb. ground beef

1/4 C. minced onions

2 C. soft bread crumbs

3 tsp. salt

2 tsp. paprika

1 tsp. mustard (from jar is OK)

2/3 C. tomato soup

1 egg

Soften bread crumbs then add all Ingredients, mix thoroughly. Pat into loaf pan pack down. Butter if mixed night before. When ready put in oven for 1 hr. at 400 degrees.


Chicken Waikiki Beach -- Nick Schell
2 whole chicken legs and 2 whole chicken breasts

1/2 cup flour

1/3 cup salad oil or shortening

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper


1 can (1 lb., 4 oz.) sliced pineapple

1 cup sugar

2 tablespoons cornstarch

3/4 cup cider vinegar

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1/4 teaspoon ginger

1 chicken boullon cube

1 large green pepper, cut crosswise in 1/4-inch circles

1. Wash chicken; pat dry with paper towels. Coat chicken with flour.

2. Heat oil in large skillet. Add chicken, a view pieces at a time, and brown on all sides. Remove as browned to shallow roasting pan, arrang pieces skin side up. Sprinkle with salt and paper.

3. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

4. Make sauce: Drain pineapple pouring syrup into 2-cup measure. Add water to make 1/14 cups.5. In medium saucepan, combine sugar, cornstarch, pineapple syrup, vinegar, soy sauce, ginger, and boullon cube; bring to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil 2 minutes. Pour over chicken.

6. Bake, uncoverd, 30 minutes. Add pineapple slices and green pepper; bake 30 minutes longer, or until chicken is tender. Serve with fluffy white rice. Makes 4 servings.

Originally published on May 18, 2014, and reprinted with permission from the publisher of the newspaper where I was formerly employed.




Monday, October 20, 2014

Valentine Cake for Mother's Day, and Pumpkin Ice Cream for October


(This column was originally published on Sunday, May 4, 2014, in the newspaper where I was employed for 25 years. I lost my job a few weeks later. It has been a life change for me. I am so very blessed to be able to be a stay at home mother after all of these years. However, the reality is that it is true what the doctors say, that the loss of a job can be compared to a death, divorce, etc. It ranks right up there. Let me tell you. I had a pretty good summer easing into sleeping in late and staying up later, and of course vacation was a blast. But truth be told I have struggled with my identity since my children have gone back to school. I haven't decided what I am going to do but I am working toward finding my way to be productive and happy without my newspaper job and also dealing with the loss of friends. One of the ways is writing this blog, which I have been ignoring. I believe my mother would be just as proud of me today as she was of me six months ago, when I shared my story about her. As a side note it should be mentioned my mother died on this day - October 20 - in the year 1968.)

Since I won't be writing next week I want to celebrate Mother's Day by sharing a story about my late mother, Sandra Ellen Watson McDonald, and two of her recipes.

My mother died at the age of 24, just two months shy of my third birthday, a victim of leukemia.

I do not remember my mother but many in the area do. My grandmother, 88, certainly remembers her, and my father, her boyfriend and then husband, remembers her well.

She had many friends, now in their late 60s, some with whom I've become acquainted that knew her.

For years I've wondered about my mother. Seeking something more.

And a year ago on Valentine's Day I finally met her.

"Spent a few hours with my grandmother this afternoon, and found in the attic a scrapbook belonging to my late mother of her school days. I broke down when I came across the photograph of her class touring The Daily Jeffersonian and comments about that day in her handwriting. Awesome discovery that made me just weep," I posted on Facebook.

A photograph of my mother and me, and a page from her scrapbook showing she visited The Daily Jeffersonian, and in her handwriting a list of the names of her classmates who toured the newspaper where I used to work.
In that attic I found my mother's youth and the years leading up to me.

Finding the newspaper clipping from The Jeffersonian was profound.

I have been employed with this newspaper since June 1989 and to know that my mother, when she was 11 years old in the spring of 1956, set foot in a space that I now occupy brings me comfort.

Before I came to work in Cambridge, the Jeffersonian plant she toured was razed and a new Jeffersonian building constructed next door. The lot where I park my vehicle is where the old building stood, the place where she and 17 of her classmates from Mt. Ephraim School toured.

I have become familiar with my mother's handwriting as in the attic I also found many handwritten English assignments from both Sarahsville High School from where she graduated in 1963 and The Ohio State University where she attended.

Career exploration was apparent from her writings. In one of the assignments she talks about being in the College of Education but intending to major in home economics, and in another paper she talks about becoming a flight attendant.

My mother attended classes at OSU until she learned she was pregnant with me. She then became married to my father, Fred, and then I was born.

Since finding my mother on Feb. 14, 2013, I have also found recipes in grandmother's recipe box that were clearly written by her. It's no coincidence that one of hers that I've selected to share today is called Valentine Cake.

Valentine Cake

1 1/3 cup coconut

1 regular size package Jell-O (strawberry)

Package white cake mix

6 cups fluffy white frosting

Tint coconut with 1 tablespoon Jell-O - prepare cake mix batter as directed on package, adding remaining Jell-O before beating.

Pour in greased, paper lined pans. Cool 10 minutes. Split cakes horizontally, making four layers. Spread frosting between layers and over cake. Sprinkle tinted coconut around sides.


The second recipe also is from my mother and was part of a term paper she wrote in English composition at Ohio State with Mr. Gross, the fall of 1963. The class met at 8 a.m., according to the theme folder that holds dozens of essays.

In the writing assignment she talks about the month of October. (She was born Oct. 7, 1944). She talks of Halloween, trick-or-treat and masquerade parties. She offers a recipe for Pumpkin Ice Cream Pie.

Ingredients for 8 servings.

Date and nut cookies - 1 2/3 cups or about 13 cookies

Sugar - 1/4 cup

Butter, melted - 1/4 cup

Canned or cooked pumpkin - 3/4 cup

Cinnamon - 1/2 teaspoon

Ground allspice - 1/2 teaspoon

Ground ginger - 1/4 teaspoon

Salt - 1/4 teaspoon

Brown sugar - 1/4 cup

Vanilla ice cream - 1 1/2 pints

Chopped pecans 1/3 cup

For one pie: Place cookies in a clean plastic bag. Lay flat on counter, open end towards you. Pound and roll with rolling pin until fine crumbs are formed. Add sugar and melted butter. Hold bag and knead until well combined. Turn ingredients into nine-inch pie pan. Press against bottom and sides of pan to form crust. Chill until firm.

Let ice cream stand at room temperature to soften.

Combine pumpkin, spices, salt and brown sugar in a bowl. Stir in softened ice cream and pecans. Pour into chipped pie crust and freeze until firm. If desired, use chocolate frosting in a tube to make a pretty cobweb design on pie surface. Or garnish with shipped cream and nuts.

On her paper the instructor writes in red ink, "Rewrite this in English English which is different from cookbook English."

I wonder what she would think of my writing?

P.S. I'd like to wish the woman who raised me and never treated me like a step daughter, Judy Behringer, a Happy Mother's Day also. See you on Mother's Day, Mom! Love you much.

Republished with permission from the newspaper publisher.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

3 Vegetable Casserole and Circus Peanut Salad for Easter dinner



Easter Sunday then and now

Welcome to the Easter Sunday edition of Vintage Family Fixin's.

Christ The Lord has risen today, Hallelujah!

My family and I will be spending the afternoon with my mom and stepdad, Judy and Dan Behringer, and my siblings and their families.

My mom Judy - the woman who raised me - came into my life in 1970 when she married my father, Fred McDonald who had lost his first wife, my mother Sandra McDonald, to leukemia.

I was an only child but in 1971 I got a sister, Amy, and then another sister, Molly, in 1974.

In 1979 we got a brother, Matthew.

Fred and Judy were together until after Matthew graduated from high school.

After Dad, Mom, Amy and I moved from Columbus to Caldwell, we lived with my dad's parents Fred and Ruth on upper Belford Street.

After Molly was born we moved to 605 Belford St.

Fred and (the former) Judy McDonald with daughters, Amy, l, Molly and Lisa (me), r, on Easter Sunday 1977.
Shortly after this picture was taken we moved to 704 West St. (I helped carry a large swing set down the street when we moved because it was only a block to our new house).

Among our new neighbors were two older women who lived in the stone-faced house at the corner of West and Belford streets, Helen Ellerman and Jeannette Marshall.

Helen lived downstairs and Jeannette lived upstairs.

Jeannette and my mom shared conversations, and recipes.

Mom asked me to bring to her house today a vegetable and a Jell-O dish for Easter dinner.

Today's featured recipe of 3 Vegetable Casserole was given to my mom by Jeannette. I found a copy in my recipe box.

Mom made this dish for our family on special occasions like Christmas and Easter.

It is very good.

3 Vegetable Casserole

1 package of frozen peas

1 package of frozen lima beans

1 package of french green beans

1 cup of medium white sauce (see below)

1 cup of mayonnaise

3 hard-cooked eggs

4 strips of crisp bacon

Combine the white sauce, mayo and eggs (chopped) and set aside.

Cook vegetables separately according to directions and drain well. In a buttered casserole place the peas and cover with 1/2 the sauce. Next place the lima beans and remaining sauce. Then make a wreath of the green beans around the casserole and place the crumbled bacon in the center of the wreath. Place in a 300 degree oven just long enough to heat through.

Medium white sauce

2 tablespoons butter, 2 tablespoons flour, 1/4 teaspoon salt, a dash of black pepper, 1 1/2 cups milk. Melt butter, stir in flour using wooden spoon or wire whisk. Stir or whisk until there are no lumps and then stir in milk slowly until smooth and bubbly. Use a small heavy pan.

The Jell-O dessert I've chosen to take to mom's Easter dinner is called Circus Peanut Salad and I can't wait to taste it. It's been a while since I've eaten a circus peanut. How about you?

I found this week's bonus recipe in Grandmother Ruth McDonald's recipe box.


Circus Peanut Salad

40 circus peanuts cut up in bits

Mix with 1 large box orange Jell-O. Stir in 3 cups boiling water till dissolved. Add 1 No. 2 can (crushed) pineapple and juice also. Refrigerate till thickens enough to add 1 medium size carton of Cool Whip. Frost when set with topping (see next).


Mix 1 small box of lemon Jell-O with 1 small package of Philadelphia Cream Cheese and stir in 2 cups boiling water.

Let stand in refrigerator until almost set. Add 1 small Cool Whip and mix well.

Frost Jell-O and garnish with mandarin orange slices.


Happy Easter, Dad!

Originally published in the newspaper where I used to work on April 20, 2014, and reprinted here with permission of the publisher.


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

My stories

It took 25 years to accumulate and one day to destroy the contents of a box of newspaper clippings and photo copies of stories I wrote during my tenure with the local newspaper.

I was fired in May.

Two days ago I removed the lid and looked inside the box holding the contents of my desk that sat in the foyer of our home for FOUR months.

The Old Man prodded me to do SOMETHING with the box. He said I should throw away the contents - a celebratory end to a job that became tumultuous the last two years I worked from home. A job he said I should have left long ago because of management problems.

But I knew what was in the box.

My stories.

The story of Capt. James William "Bill" Reed, whose remains were found in 1994 - 24 years after his plane crashed in Laos during the Vietnam War.

The story of a long-abandoned one-room schoolhouse at Glady Valley in Noble County that got new life with Amish students.

My work at the newspaper began a week after my graduation from college, in June 1989, and lasted until earlier this year.

That's a significant period of time and included three different bylines - Lisa McDonald (my maiden name), Lisa L. Short (a former marriage), and Lisa Loos (my current name). One person; three names.

Writing was my forte, and in the years when I was solely a reporter, I wrote a LOT.

I see that the other work I did - which was every job in the newsroom except sports - only added to my resume. But writing was what I did very well. And something I can be proud of.

But keeping the box in my foyer - a foot from my front door - was hindering my move forward. I need to move on and put this time behind me.

Most of the stories in the box are now in the trash or the recycle bin ready to go to City Park. I have, however, kept original clippings of a few that appeal to me. A few that I would be proud to share with our great-grandchildren who might cry disbelief learning I worked at a newspaper. Just because there may not be too many newspapers left when they learn to read.

I will show them the story of the steel vault containing a casket that was exposed on shore of Salt Fork State Park in 1993 and later re interred in Pleasant Hill Cemetery.

They might read about Andy Rocker's slaying of his wife. He was city law director at the time and I covered city police department and City Hall.

I covered the State of Ohio's announcement of a prison in Noble County, its opposition by locals, its construction and opening.

I wrote about the discovery of an animal resembling a half-deer, half-cow near a Sencaville farm, a trick roper Trevor Dreher of Coshocton, and an ostrich farm new Newcomerstown.

I wrote about Cambridge City Council's approval of an ordinance banning exotic animals here in 1992.

When the Capitol Bowling Lanes burned to the ground on Jan. 16, 1994, I was there. Frozen pen and all. From that day on I always had a pencil handy when I worked outdoors in the winter. Sub-zero temperatures that morning hindered firefighters' efforts to battle the blaze.

I covered the development of the site of the first oil well in Noble County - the Thorla-McKee well, a project lead by my personal childhood physician, Dr. Sherman B. Smith.

I helped cover the case of serial killer and arsonist Thomas Lee Dillon.

I met and became friend with and wrote about two unique characters - cowboy Chester Grey who at age 71 handcrafted a prairie schooner, and his sister Pauli Cornish, matriarch of the Kennedy Stone House Museum.

I met and wrote about a chainsaw sculptor Conrad Sandoval, fiddle maker and player Flavil Miller, and quilters Stella George and Martha Reed, and nurse Twila Thacker.

I wrote a story in 1993, announcing the opening of a homeless shelter in Cambridge, the brainchild of 14-year-old Michael Curtis and his mother, Anita.

The Cumberland-Spencer Homemakers shared with me their home remedies which I wrote about and shared with readers.

I've talked to fair veterinarians, written about buffaloes roaming on Pigeon Gap Road, bobcats in Noble County, and a 1990 visit by media mogul Ted Turner to Marietta College.

I met and wrote about a self-proclaimed clairvoyant, Eugene Lewis, of Sharon in Noble County.

I toured and wrote about the restoration of the Ball-Caldwell House in Caldwell, and the dedication of a new library there in 1989.

Later I wrote about the deadly Flood of 1998, and still later, President George W. Bush's visit to Cambridge on July 31, 2004. The latter was a journalistic opportunity for the newspaper and myself.

The excitement of working on the front page and then covering Bush's rally was a once-in-a-lifetime event for me.

I don't regret my time writing with the newspaper.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Ending to a story?

I lost my job.

Months ago.

I haven't talked about this but I'm gonna.

She was like a sister-mother to me and I haven't seen her since the day I walked into our office and an hour and a half later I walked out - forever.

We haven't talked on the phone.

The only communication has been by email and in that her revelation that it's awkward for her.

I don't understand how it can be awkward to be my friend ...

So I've told her she wasn't the kind of friend I expected.

"You should not expect too much from people," another friend told me recently.

I think he's right.

Because with expectations you can get hurt.

I'm hurt.

I read this somewhere: When people walk away from you, let them go. Your destiny is never tied to anyone who leaves you, and it doesn't mean they are bad people. It just means that their part in your story is over.

It's hard to let go.

But she's eating cake and the days go on.

I'm wondering why she walked away.

I'm wondering what is the ending to this story.

Is her part in my story over?

Grandma McDonald's Tuna Casserole




Tuna Casserole is quick after a track meet

Welcome back to Vintage Family Fixin's.

I prepared this week's recipe after a middle school track meet to feed members of my family who didn't get their fill of pizza, hot dogs and other concessions at the chilly Cambridge event.

It is from my late grandmother Ruth (DeVol) McDonald's recipe box, and after we all tasted it … devoured it … I told my sons I wished she was here to tell her how much we loved it.

Grandma and Grandpa McDonald helped take care of me after my mother, Sandra Ellen (Watson) McDonald, died, and my father, Fred S. McDonald II, worked in Columbus.

Grandma worked a full-time job at the Noble County Courthouse. Grandpa (Fred) was a carpenter with Hill's Store in Caldwell. He was well known for laying carpet and linoleum in many Noble County homes.
Me following my graduation from Caldwell High School in 1984 with my grandparents, the late Fred and Ruth McDonald.

I'm convinced this was something grandma and grandpa made regularly as it is quick to prepare and very tasty.

Tuna Casserole

Mix together:

1 - 10 1/2 ounce condensed cream of mushroom soup

1 - 8/12 ounce drained small sweet peas

1- 5.33 ounce can chunk tuna

Pour into baked 9 inch pie shell. Bake 25 minutes in 350 degree oven.

Top with 3 1/2 ounces of french fried onion rings.

Bake 5 minutes more.


I used solid white albacore tuna and a frozen Pillsbury Pet-Ritz 9 inch deep dish pie crust which I baked for 15 minutes just before making this dish. This recipe is labeled a casserole but resembles a pot pie both in appearance and taste.

My husband asked if it was made with turkey or chicken. LOL

My star runner, William Donis Loos, had three helpings.

Today's bonus recipe is from Carrie Beatrice "Bea" (Tompkins) Loos' recipe box.

Bea was my husband, David's grandmother and she died on Dec. 9, 2001. I was blessed to have met and spent some time with her before she died.

She and her husband Willard (who my runner is named after) owned and operated the former Loos Produce poultry dressing business on the city's West End before retiring to a farm off Route 662 on Loos Lane.

Bea and Willard had two sons, John and Donis "Don;," the later was my husband's father. Don died before David and I met. Our son Will is named after him too.

This recipe is does not have a title but it is "from the kitchen of Don Loos."

Don Loos was a cook at several places in town.

I'm going to call it Don's Hash.


Don's Hash

1 package dried beef

1 tablespoon butter

1 can of potato soup

1/3 cup milk

1/3 cup cream

1 small can or 1 cup peas

Lightly brown beef in butter, add soup, milk, creams and peas. Heat and serve.

Let me know if you try the recipes and please share any stories you have with me about any of the people I talk about in my columns.

Caldwell's former eye doctor, Dr. Robert "Bob" Rudge sent me an e-mail this week informing me that his wife, Nancy, happened upon my Two Ruth's column from March 23 (published September 13, 2014 on this blog) that mentioned a recipe for Chicken Cashew Casserole by Ruth DeMarco.

"I went to Cambridge High (1944) with a Ruth Campbell and thought it would be quite a coincidence if this is the same one that provided a recipe that may 'grace' the table of one of her 'old' classmates," he wrote.

Yes, Dr. Rudge, son Steve confirmed that Ruth Campbell DeMarco also graduated from CHS in 1944.

Dr. Rudge fitted me with my first pair of eyeglasses ever in the 1980s.

Nancy was the pianist and organist at the Caldwell United Methodist Church, where I became a member in junior high.

It is a small world.

Originally published on April 6, 2014; reprinted with permission from the publisher of the newspaper where I used to work.



Saturday, September 13, 2014

Revival of Vintage Family Fixin's

Early this spring I started a recipe column in the local newspaper where I worked. I called it Vintage Family Fixin's. I wanted to offer readers a recipe - or two - from the recipe boxes of my late grandmothers. In doing this I recalled stories about these women, and other members of my family, and found that sharing those memories with an audience resulted in letters and telephone calls from those who knew them.

It was the beginning of a great journey for me that ended too soon. After the publication of only five columns, I suddenly lost my job due to an error in a headline that had nothing to do with the recipe column.

I did not have an opportunity to tell any of the readers about my sudden departure or my blog but it is my hope that as I revive the recipe column maybe you will share this URL with someone who might find it interesting.

Over the next few weeks I will reprint all of the columns on this blog.
Here's the first one.


Vintage Family Fixin's

Two Ruths

Welcome to Vintage Family Fixin's.

Today begins with a story of discovery, a theme that has accompanied me through the past year (more about that in a future column).

My late paternal Grandmother Ruth (DeVol) McDonald's recipe box is much like my maternal Grandmother Janice (Day) Watson's attic -- full of unexpected surprises, coincidences or perhaps fate.

Looking through Grandmother McDonald's recipe box last week I ran across a dish called Chicken Cashew Casserole by Ruth DeMarco who in cursive wrote her recipe on a large index card that has two holes punched along the top. DeMarco, hmmmm, I know a DeMarco.


It just so happens that Ruth's son, Steve DeMarco, is a contributor to [the name of the newspaper where I used to work] of news concerning Cambridge Concert Association. We are periodically in communication as I am his contact at the newspaper. We also are friends on Facebook.

So it was a coincidence that my Grandmother McDonald, who died at age 68 on Jan. 20, 1989 -- six months before I came to work at the newspaper -- at some point and time during her life met Ruth DeMarco.

Grandmother McDonald resided in Caldwell and worked in the Auditor's Office and later Probate Court at the Noble County Courthouse.

Ruth DeMarco lived a very active life in Cambridge and passed away in 2008 at the age of 81.

The women were six years apart in age.

So how did Ruth McDonald know Ruth DeMarco?

"Her mother's maiden name was Riddle. So she has/had lots of relatives and friends in Caldwell and the area," said Steve of his mother.

Steve said of his mother's Chicken Cashew Casserole, "I make it often and it's very tasty!"

More meals from Noble County folk will be coming your way because in Grandmother McDonald's recipe box I found recipes from the old Ralston's (Pharmacy in Caldwell), the Club in Caldwell, and some of my grandmother's friends (Wanda Wheeler, Mary Jane Yontz) and my Grandfather Fred McDonald's sister Ruth Smith.

Plus you'll enjoy fixin's from my husband's late grandmother Bea Loos, plus some from my late birth mother Sandra (Watson) McDonald, my late aunt Peggy (Watson) Ruppel, and my mother who raised me Judy (Spitler) McDonald Behringer.

Today's featured recipe is from Grandmother Watson's recipe box. Grandmother celebrates her 88th birthday on March 25. Happy birthday, Grandmother! You are the best cook and I remember you making this soup for me. I'm so blessed to have you.

Grandmother Watson's Fresh Mushroom Soup recipe prepared by me.
Fresh Mushroom Soup

1 pound mushrooms

6 tablespoons butte or margarine

2 cups finely chopped onions

1/2 teaspoon sugar

1/4 cup flour

1 cup water

2 cans beef broth

1 cup dry vermouth (optional)

1/2 tablespoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper
Chop mushrooms. In large pot melt butter. Add onions and sugar. Saute over medium heat, stirring frequently for about 15 minutes or until golden. Add mushrooms and saute for 5 minutes. Stir in flour until smooth. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Pour in water and smooth until smooth. Add remaining ingredients and heat to boiling. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered 20 minutes.

P.S. I fixed this soup and my family liked it with the exception of Will, 13, who doesn't particularly like mushrooms. Lee, 11, said, "It's delicious."

Grandmother Janice Watson and me.


Ruth DeMarco's Chicken Cashew Casserole

1 (3 ounce) can chow mein noodles

1 1/2 cans cream of mushroom soup

1/2 cup chicken stock

1 breast of chicken (or 8 ounces of any cold chicken, more if desired (cooked chicken)

1/4 pound cashews, cut in quarters

1/2 cup celery, cut fine

1/4 small onion, cut or chopped

Dash salt and pepper

Set aside 1/2 cup noodles. In 1 1/2 quart casserole, combine the rest of ingredients. If cashews are not salted, add more salt. Sprinkle reserved 1/2 cup noodles over top. Dot with butter.

Bake 30 minutes in 325 degree oven.

Originally published on March 23, 2014; reprinted with permission from the publisher of the newspaper where I used to work.





Thursday, July 17, 2014

811 Days

It's been 811 days since my last post.

That's two years, two months and 20 days.

We're all still here, the Old Man and our three sons, and me, the Old Lady.

Here's a recap of my time away from you.


Christian had his heart ablation and the accessory connector was removed, successfully.

In May I was assigned to a new position at the newspaper, returning to reporting and writing, and working remotely from home.

I started to explore my grandmother's attic.

On June 29, our town was a victim of the North American derecho that killed 22 people. Our family lost electric power for four days. We were spared any severe damage to our home. I, however, was traumatized.

I developed "Mouse Elbow."

We bought a generator.

I read Lorle Porter's book "Sara's Table: Keeping House in Ohio - 1800-1950."
The Old Man became a grandfather, and I became a stepgrandmother.

I learned I was officially in menopause.

I had a heart-to-heart talk about Santa Claus with Lee (who was 10 at the time).


Our longtime child care provider fired our family.

I enjoyed the brief return of Cheesy Tots, my all-time favorite food snack, at a well-known fast food restaurant.

I decided I'd better find out what was the source of swelling in the right axillary breast area of my armpit.

Several tests and a bit later swollen lymph nodes detected.

I quit smoking!

Lee had his left nostril cauterized after suffering from frequent and heavy nosebleeds.

I made my TV debut on a Cleveland station. The reporter and videographer interviewed me at our house about my experience with identity theft via the IRS.

I found my mother in the farmhouse attic.

In May, Christian received a clean bill of health and was deemed cured.

I thought about becoming a falconer.

I started removing the wallpaper from our bedroom.

We bought a boat.

We gave away our three-legged cat Whiskers after I no longer could tolerate the allergies.

I got to experience the joy of being on a team when Christian joined Babe Ruth baseball.

I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis.

We enjoyed following the Cambridge cross country team and watching Will run with the middle school pack.

I got my first full-body massage.

I regularly watched the TV shows "Parenthood," "Switched at Birth," "Saturday Night Live," "Breaking Amish," "Gold Rush," "Live from Daryl's House," "Myrtle Manor."

Will and Christian got braces.

In October, I hired a cleaning lady.

We hosted a Minecraft-themed birthday party in November.


I managed to live through two dozen calamity days from school with three boys while working from home.

I finished removing the wallpaper from our bedroom walls.

The cleaning lady quit.

The swollen lymph nodes in the carotid artery area of my neck finally went away after eight scary months.

We took a weekend road trip to Deer Creek State Park and I photographed sunrise.

We followed Will as he traveled with the track and field team, jumping hurdles and running great distances.

I started a recipe column - Vintage Family Fixin's - that was published every other Sunday in the newspaper.

I helped my grandmother celebrate her 88th birthday.

I bought Season One of "Little House on the Prairie" on DVD.

Christian completed his eighth grade advanced art ceiling tile project of Pablo Picasso.

I got fired from my job of 25 years over an error in a headline that I did not write.

Here's my newspaper desk in a tote. I think there's a Soopr Day post in here somewhere ...

I wrote a new resume but for the first time in my adult life I didn't have to go to work.

The Old Man continues to do his job well so I can stay home, for now.

I signed up for COBRA.

I slept past 9, 10, 11 and noon.

I thank God.

I hug and kiss my boys and the Old Man.

I write.