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Archives for : January1955

Mag Mania

My mini obsession with magazines may be my biggest vice. I don’t feel so guilty about my monthly subscription to McCall’s because Daisy uses the paper dolls as soon as I have read it. The others are just magazine greed. I try my best to find at least one new recipe from each magazine to make each month and I devour the cleaning tips to keep the best home possible. With two small children, something always needs cleaning.

But I love the possibilities. Every month, every issue, every article is a new chance for inspiration. I love the feel of the paper, the pictures of the perfect rooms, the well coiffed women with impeccable makeup. It’s the fantasy. I neatly arrange the newest editions on the coffee table, just slightly overlapping. Each month, as a new one arrives, I eliminate the old one and replace it with the latest in new social expectations.

Sometimes the children cut out the pictures and paste them on construction paper. Paste takes a while to dry but it’s easy to brush on and not as messy now that the children have mastered it. I love to hang their masterpieces. It breaks my heart to part with my magazines but at least they are well loved before being discarded.

The kids are in their quiet zone today so I am going to spend some time catching up on a few articles. I saw some recipes for chops – Steve’s favorite – and there might be some new recipe for me to try to show him how much I care.

My Love Affair with Potatoes

Generally, when I am planning dinner I choose the main dish first. Steve likes almost everything but loves steaks and chops. His mother favored roast chicken for their family Sunday suppers, so I try not to make that on Sunday. I like to fry chicken in my electric frying pan on Sunday afternoons when everyone else is busily napping or playing and it is a great convenience appliance. The cold fried leftovers never go to waste.

No matter what I choose for the main part of the meal, my real interest is in the sides. Specifically, potatoes. Potatoes are the real unsung star of many meals and can be served in many disguises. Potatoes even come in different colors for more variation. I could eat potatoes in some form or another at every meal.

On weekends, I grate them for hash browns. When I feel like showing some skill, I slice them ultra thin and make chips. But mashed, roasted, gratin, baked, creamy or boiled, there is always a new recipe to use. Even potato salads have variations. It is the most versatile side that is never the star of the show. One of my most recent additions to the recipe box is my Baked Potato Casserole. It uses great ingredients in a combination that beats the more traditional recipes.

Tonight, I’m serving it with Steve’s favorite broiled pork chops. Some convenience foods have become a part of my meal preparation but I don’t think that I will give up my love of the real deal. That would be like using a plastic replica of a potato in place of a real russet potato for Mr. Potato Head. Can you imagine!

We’re OK Corral

The card game following the New Year’s Eve party was much anticipated so that Mags could give us the lowdown on why that crazy banker brought a gun, and then shot the gun off on the lawn. I knew that Mags played it down but it was upsetting for her to have a reputation that involved a party with gunplay. Neighborhoods like ours demand a careful examination of any behavior out of the ordinary. And we weren’t living in the wild west anymore.

Judy Anne was hostessing and the theme for the card party was Secrets. Judy Anne loved to decorate and her table was in theme also, so the cupcakes were boxed with just a few peeking out, her hot dish was hidden in a covered casserole and the silverware was wrapped up in brown paper and tied with twine. Later, we discovered that Judy Anne had baked a sweet chocolate surprise into each cupcake. They were cleverly delicious. Her soft rolls were blanketed from view in linen. The drink of the day was A Secret Lady, a concoction imagined by Judy Anne that contained vodka and cranberry juice. The secret must have been how easy it was to get loopy on them because after two, nobody wanted to play cards.

But we did want to hear a report from Mags. It seemed that Kenneth Burns was known at the bank as a bit of a prankster; not the general demeanor of your average banker. Guns and gun ownership never came up in casual discussion at the bank so no one knew that Burns had a gun. Most of the men were happy to put down their guns at the end of the war, although some had brought back great souvenir weapons. Some men also brought back bad memories that made them act strangely from time to time. Mr. Burns was probably in the latter group. He had a lovely quiet wife who cared for him but knew that something was wrong with him. Questioning Kenneth about any unusual behavior made him tense and she had been happy when he landed the account historian position at the bank because it limited his interactions with people. Kenneth’s pranks must have been a way of acting-out but were never dangerous. The bank insisted that Kenneth take some time for some much needed medical attention after the incident.

Mags said that Harold was a little upset when he had to go and find the spent casings in the yard. Men and their lawns. Even in the middle of winter, their thoughts are on keeping up the grass. Or maybe Harold wanted to get rid of the secrets that those little casings left behind.