Four for a Dollar

This post was originally shared on The Romantic Vineyard blog in November 2010. I thought it was worth sharing in the UBC on Day 19. Enjoy…

It was the week of Thanksgiving, and I was set on trying a new creamed corn recipe for the holiday.  Having a large extended family I was going to need a lot of corn – 24 ears to be exact.  I knew that the grocery stores would be too expensive for such a large quantity; so my husband and I headed towards a roadside vegetable stand.   I was sure that their candy corn, as it’s called, would help me duplicate the dish I had so enjoyed at a New Orleans’ restaurant, Commander’s Palace.

Off we went.  We stopped at the first stand we came to, and I scouted out the market to see if they had what I needed.  They did and at the right price, too; four ears for a dollar!  My husband stayed in the car certain it would only take a moment to make my purchase.

I bagged my corn and took it to the man working the checkout counter.  He looked a bit odd, but seemed friendly enough.

“Hi!” I smiled as I placed my corn on the table in front of him.  “I have 24 ears of corn in the bags.”

He looked at me while figuring my total in his head, “That’ll be $21!”

“$21? The sign said that the corn is four ears for a dollar!

“That’s right – $21.”  He said with a toothless grin.

I knew he just wasn’t thinking, so I attempted to help him with his figuring.  “The sign says four ears for a dollar – that’s eight ears for two dollars, twelve ears for three dollars…”

I thought he would have stopped me by this point, but it was obvious by the unbelieving smirk on his face that he still wasn’t getting it.

I continued, “sixteen ears for four dollars, twenty ears for five dollars and twenty-four ears for six dollars!”

“Naw! You’re tryin’ to cheat me!” was his reply.

I couldn’t believe it!  Was he joking with me?  Was there a hidden camera somewhere? He was serious and so convinced in his mind to the point that he wasn’t going to sell me the corn!

I asked, while looking around, “Is there anyone else that works here?”

Before he could answer me I saw a couple of men sitting at the far end of the stand. I walked up to them and asked if they worked there.

The owner replied, “Is he giving you a hard time, darlin’?”

“Well, he’s trying to sell me 24 ears of corn for $21.” I still couldn’t believe this was actually happening.

“Man, he hit his head yesterday and must’ve hurt himself worse than I thought.  Come with me!”

I followed him as he approached the checkout counter.  “Mac, I want you to sell this lady her corn for $6, ya hear?”

He took my corn from under the counter and still hesitated in taking my money.  He kept staring suspiciously at me, and when his boss had walked away he said under his breath, “You must’ve really winked your eye at him!”

With that I took my bag of corn before he could grab it from me and quickly got in the car.
As I closed the door and took an exasperated breath, my husband said, “What took you so long?”

“You won’t believe it…”

Do you have an unbelievable story to tell?

My Top Twenty Loves

Today’s prompt is a great post to follow yesterday’s, I Hate Pandas, post. What do I love? This could be an entire month’s challenge because I have so many. I’ll give you the list first and then hone in on one of them.

  • God above all else. I spend the first hour of the morning with Him and reading His Word through the You Version Bible app on my phone. It is free and full of great devotionals too.
  • My husband of 42 years. Besides God, He is my why in all I do.
  • My three grown children and their spouses. I call them my “in-loves” because I love them, it’s not just a legal connection.
  • My nine grand-children. They are each unique and I couldn’t enjoy being involved in their lives more.
  • My hometown. Orlando has changed dramatically since I was born here in 1959. But it’s still home to me.
  • My extended family and the history we all share, including our grandparent’s 32 acres of groves west of Orlando.
  • Writing: Books, articles, blogs, newsletters (both neighborhood and Nana’s newsletter for my kiddos)
  • The beach
  • The mountains
  • Traveling and/or Road Trips
  • Birding
  • Photography
  • Planning events like parties, neighborhood events (the pandemic provided me with lots of opportunities to help with all of us being homebound.
  • Baking is my first love in the kitchen. My Mom wouldn’t let me cook since she used the pressure cooker to make meals fast after a full day at work. So I learned to bake. Favorite thing to bake? Pies
  • Cooking and having themed dinner parties. Favorite meal to make? Anything my husband loves. One of his favorites is Chicken Cacciatore.
  • Golf.
  • Reading, but this one often takes a backseat to all my other loves. I can get completely lost in a book, so it always feels selfish to block everything out to read.
  • Researchiing about things I don’t know–geneology, history, song lyrics I may remember wrong 🙂
  • Thanksgiving
  • Christmas

When Tom and I were first married he worked in retail. He was the area manager for 3 jewelry stores and I hadn’t yet found a job. I spent much of my time in our yellow-carpeted condo alone. Being such an extrovert this was hard. And I had moved away from another one of my loves–Orlando–to Bradenton, 2.5 hours away on the west coast of Florida. I was lonely and homesick.

The couple who managed the property where we lived was always home. She was such a kind lady and one day she asked if I’d like to come over and bake bread together? I jumped at the chance to have something to do and baking was always a favorite.

She started with helping me learn how bread dough should feel after kneading it. She was a hands-on teacher and this is how I learn best. I caught on quickly and was soon making homemade bread, hamburger buns and more. You just can’t beat the aroma of bread baking in the oven on a chilly day.

Next she moved on to a more challenging lesson – the art of making a flaky pie crust. She even shared her family recipe with me. I had no idea how this one day and this first pie would define my baking life. i.g. our family always celebrated birthdays with pie instead of cakes. It became our dessert of choice and for good reason. Mrs. L’s pie crust recipe is amazing.

So of all the pies I’ve baked, which is our family’s favorite? Apple Pie. It even won the blue ribbon at our county fair.

Debi Walter’s Blue Ribbon Apple Pie

INGREDIENTS

  • 6-8 honey crisp apples
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 T. cinnamon
  • 1/4 t. ground cloves
  • Nutmeg, freshly ground, about 1/8 t.
  • Butter
  • Milk and Sugar for the top crust

DIRECTIONS

Preheat over to 400.

Roll out pie crust and line the bottom of a 9″ deep dish pie plate. Core, peel and slice thin the apples in a large bowl. Pour sugar over apple and stir to coat. Pour in flour next and stir to coat. Add spices and stir well. You can add more spices to your liking. We like a lot of spices in ours.

Fill the lined pie plate by layer the apples one by one in a circular pattern starting from the outside to the center. Repeat this layering until you have filled the pie using all the apples. Dot with butter.

Roll out remaining pie dough and cover the apples, sealing and crimping the edges.

With a pastry brush lightly brush top crust with milk making sure it doesn’t pool. Sprinkle lightly with sugar.

Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 and bake for an additional 45 minutes until bubbly. I keep a watch on the pie and usually lay a large sheet of foil over it to prevent over-browning.

Let pie cool completely before slicing to have a nice and neat slice of pie. But if you can’t wait, it’s great warm out of the oven with vanilla ice cream.

Bon Appetit

This is my 17th post in The Ultimate Blog Challenge to post everyday in November.

Unexpected

I was hosting a Ladies Retreat at our cabin in NC. The ladies were all due to arrive in time for dinner, and it was my job (as well as two friends who came along to help) to have dinner ready for them when they walked in the door. One said she had a new recipe she wanted to make for the meal.

One by one the ladies arrived excited to finally begin our week together. The kitchen was emitting all the inviting smells of a home-cooked meal. This welcomes in a way nothing else can. The menu consisted of ham, new potatoes with fresh snapped green beans cooked with onions and bacon, glazed carrots and this extra dish I was eager to try. Have I stirred your appetite yet?

It happened to be Mother’s Day too? My Mom had only been gone a few years, so this day was still quite tender. I missed her then and still do today. One rarely gets over losing their Mom, and I was no exception.

When we all sat down at the table my friend described her featured side dish. As she did I couldn’t believe what I was hearing as the tears welled up in my eyes. The dish she made was the exact same side dish my Mom used to serve at our Pharmacy soda fountain when I was young. She called it Scalloped Pineapple, i.g. pineapple bread pudding. I had the recipe at home and hadn’t made it in years. So to have my friend think to make this same dish on Mother’s Day as a surprise for all of us, ended up being a blessing from God for me she could have never planned.

But God.

He knows how to bless in unexpected ways. And when He does it leaves me breathless.

Below is the recipe. Maybe you can use it to bless another the way my friend unknowingly blessed me.

Bon Appetite!

Scalloped Pineapple

This is my fifth post in The Ultimate Blog Challenge to post everyday in November.

Photo by Pineapple Supply Co. on Unsplash

Warms You Body and Soul

I first fell in love with it on my first trip out of the country. I was 18 and was invited to fly to England for a 3 week’s holiday including a week on a barge touring the British canals. The family was an acquaintance my brother had made on his recent backpacking tour of Europe. I was excitedly afraid. But up, up and away I went.

Caroline met me with her Dad at the Heathrow airport. From there it was a two hour drive to their humble home in Ashford, Kent.

Caroline was a year or so older and had her own flat. She worked at the local Fish and Chips restaurant, served in the traditional way with newspaper wrappings and malt vinegar. Arthur Treacher has nothing on this authentic culinary goodness.

But this isn’t what I fell in love with on this trip.

Her Mum had us over for tea. An afternoon tradition perfect for a country that rarely sees the sun shine.

Hot tea did the trick! It warmed me, body and soul!

The tea was served strong with cream, and I promise I’ve not tasted it nearly as good as it was for me on this trip.

I even asked Caroline years later what was her Mum’s secret. She couldn’t answer because her tea was lacking something too.

We suffice it to say it was her love for us and for sharing something from her kitchen which made her tea so amazing.

I shared with them our family’s banana bread recipe. They had never heard of it and were as impressed with it as I was their tea. Maybe it goes both ways; Each of us sharing a piece of our family’s heritage through food with lots of love.

As an aside, I’ve discovered a black tea that comes as close to what I remember as I can find to Caroline’s Mum’s tea. It’s PG Tips served with half and half. Let it steep for 5 minutes, and it will warm you body and soul.

It’s amazing that their family heritage has become mine. All my kids and grandkids love a good cup of hot tea.

What recipes have become part of your heritage? My banana bread recipe can be found under the recipes tab above.

Bon Appetit!

Big Mama’s Chili

I’ll never forget the time 34 years ago when I was making plans to go visit my fiance’, Tom, for the weekend. He lived 2 1/2 hours away before cell phones or e-mail. We relied on land line phone calls to communicate with each other and it wasn’t cheap. We also wrote letters–lots of letters to each other.

As I was packing, my grandmother whom we affectionately called Big Mama, let me know she was making Tom her homemade chili. She wanted to make sure I didn’t forget to take a quart to him. Somehow in the four months Tom and I had been dating he managed to win her heart. She loved Tom, and she showed her affection for him by doing what she did best–cooking for him.

We didn’t know then that it would be our last Fall with her for she died the following June, only four months after our wedding.

Tonight I made Big Mama’s Chili for the first time this Fall.

It was delicious as usual. Somehow having her story, Through The Eyes Of Grace, read by friends, family and those whom I’ve never met makes this year’s chili even more special. I loved her chili then, and I still do, but I love the heart she had for Tom and me even more. Our love is richer because of her blessing. Now I’m the one who shows my affection for Tom by cooking for him, and I’ve loved doing it for 34 years. 🙂

If you would like to try her recipe, you can find it under the Through The Eyes Of Grace tab above. I hope you’ll like it as much as we do.

Do you have special family recipes that have been handed down to you in a special way? Won’t you share the story and the recipe with us?