Grandma Rosie died last August and somehow, some way, her cookbooks and homemaking books ended up at my parents’ house. And then, somehow, they ended up with me. I’m beginning to think maybe we are doing some sort of strange ancestral “Pass Along This Uselessness” game because I have exactly zero memories of Grandma Rosie cooking or being a stickler for having a clean house. (I have plenty of memories of Grandma Rosie criticizing my mother and me for our lack of homemaking skills because those who can’t, criticize others for can’t-ing, too.)
One of those books is Hints from Heloise with the author being listed as “Heloise” and I know this book is going to be outstanding because she acknowledges the men in her life for “helping choose the hints men would like most.” You know I want to skip ahead to those, but we’ll get there. There are 2000 hints, by the way, but I have painstakingly sat on a couch reading aloud to my family the best ones and, subsequently, am sharing them with you. Then I shall write a book called Wisdom from Wonkypenguin and it will sell about as well as the fish fondue in one cookbook we found.
Heloise’s mastery of the English language is really what makes this baby a masterpiece.
We shall begin with Chapters 1 and 2.
Soup & Main Dishes
I make the best for-free soup. That’s because our local fishery doesn’t charge for fish heads, bones, or tails.
This book was published in 1980 so we weren’t exactly still in the Great Depression, but I understand some people picked up some habits from that era that never died. I’m just trying to imagine having friends over and serving them soup with fish heads in it. Also my mother almost gagged when I read this out loud. I have a feeling it won’t be the only time.
If you eat soup with a plastic spoon, it’ll cool faster. Metal spoons retain the heat.
Physics by Heloise.
I always divide packages of bologna into slices and store them, three pieces per pack, in individual plastic sandwich bags, then freeze ’em. They thaw faster that way.
But sometimes I get in a hurry long about noon…
So I remove the three slices from the package, lay them in a small skillet and pour boiling water from my teakettle over ’em.
In less than a minute they’re all thawed. But the best part of it is this: That old skin peels off smoothly and instantly with absolutely no waste whatsoever of the meaty part.
Place “thawed slices on the paper towel. Zingo! — all the water’s blotted up and the bologna is edible quick as lightning.
The bologna can be eaten cold or put back in the same emptied skillet and heated.
Use the same paper napkin to wipe the skillet out (it’s not dirty) and put the skillet away.
Glory be to bologna!
I felt obligated to post that one since it’s Easter. Glory be.
Luscious brown tidbits
I’m not even going to tell you what this is for because it doesn’t matter. Those are three words we should just all agree should never be in that order next to each other. Just. No.
For dieters who miss eating spaghetti:
Make spaghetti sauce… but pour it over lean hamburger.
It may not come up to the real McCoy, but for the time being it does satisfy that yearning.
No. See. The part of the spaghetti that is the problem for dieters is the noodles. The noodles are the ONLY McCoy in that whole dinner. So, just, shush.
Sometimes we sure get in a rut when it comes to using kitchen aids. F’rinstance, a Minnesota housewife only used her electric knife to cut roast beef until one day when inspiration hit her while making turkey stuffing:
“I used my electric knife to cube the bread and dice the celery and onion.
“I left the celery in a bunch and, starting at the top, sliced down. The whole bunch was cut in seconds!”
Quick – someone tell Delores that, instead of a washboard, there are these crazy things called washing machines. Also: My mother said, “Even I have cut celery. It’s not exactly something that needs a time-saving fix.”
I was visiting a friend recently who had only one can of tuna for sandwiches. She just didn’t see how she was going to stretch it for all her kids. So she put in lots and lots of chopped celery, which gave it quite a bit of crunch.
I took a carrot and grated it on the smallest part of her grater and added it to the mixture. Heaven help a duck…
True story: I am reading these entries out loud to my family. I got to “Heaven help a duck” and I began laughing so hard, I could not actually say it out loud. So I passed the book to my mom. She read the entry, got to that part, and began laughing and snorting. Passed it to my wife, she did the same thing. Finally, my father managed to squeak out those four words before we all continued laughing for at least three minutes.
My next stand-up routine is simply going to be me standing at the microphone inviting people to come up and read this passage. Should have the room laughing in minutes.
Also: This causes a problem. Will my next personalized license plate be “GB2B” (Glory by to Bologna) or “HHaD”? I’m going to need a poll.
Stay tuned: Heloise 2.0 will tackle Dairy & Breads…