Something real.

Tonight’s adventure in motherhood?

Finding photos for my daughter’s (surprise!) yearbook ad that was due yesterday but that I’ve been allowed to submit tomorrow, because my daughter’s school yearbook people took pity on me after I begged.

Also, reading and helping with a few more college essays.

And when I finish that, I have to continue a search that I started this weekend, trying to find some training materials that I wrote … a LONG time ago … because the training would be at least as relevant now as when I first wrote it. Which is another story for another day.

Also, I had a glass of wine and sugar snap peas for dinner. And my daughter had a bagel and tater tots, and no I did not make that up, and yes, that’s actually what she asked for, and she had already eaten carrots and a pear for an afternoon snack, so when she asked for tater tots for dinner, I said, “sure.”

Do I have time to write tonight? Well, no. But, goddammit, a commitment is a commitment, and a post is a post, and this one right here? Well this one is number THIRTY ONE!

Ha! I did it.

Now, since you’re here, how about something from my archives – something I think you’ll enjoy:

Ruthie Colmer, Fork in the Road

Originally Posted on a different blog that I started and then abandoned

Cooking is in Ruthie Colmer’s DNA, thanks in large measure to a father who rose every morning to make breakfast for her and her brother.  The third generation in a family of foodies, she has turned her home cooking talents into a thriving catering business, Fork in the Road.

“Years ago, when my boys were little, I needed some mad money for a project I wanted to do in our yard.  A friend called to ask if I’d come to her house and make appetizers for a party she was hosting.  Just like that (snap), I had my first catering job and the money for my project.”

What began as an in-home service, preparing lunch, dinner and appetizers in clients’ homes, is now a full-service catering operation.  While there are a few signature items like candied bacon for which Ruthie has become well-known (sorry, that recipe’s secret), her favorite assignment is to prepare a special and unique menu that matches what her client or guest of honor will enjoy.  A recent birthday dinner is a great example.

“They were big food people who’ve eaten at really incredible restaurants all over the world.  For his wife’s birthday, the husband wanted a special, small, intimate dinner at home.  He developed the menu, and I did my best to make it all happen – a perfect evening with delicious food.”

Ruthie’s grandmother Ruth, for whom she was named, was very well-regarded for her cooking in her home town of Moss Point, MS and neighboring Starkville.  Percy, Ruthie’s grandfather, was a gardener who grew vegetables and flowers in abundance.  Percy’s sisters doted on their two nephews, teaching them both to cook and to appreciate good food.  Ruth’s son Bob, Ruthie’s dad, kept the tradition going.

“Brother John and I would come downstairs, and there he’d be in his flannel robe, making scrambled eggs and looking just like Dagwood,” Ruthie says of her father. “He and my uncle Fred taught us to appreciate good food of all types, formal and informal. I guess that’s where I learned that if it’s not good, it’s not worth the calories.”

Ruthie in the kitchen

As a custom cook, Ruthie has more tips on preparing food than recipes on hand to share (although she did agree to share one, below). Top on her tip sheet is using the freshest and most natural ingredients.

“When I was little, Grandaddy would take me riding in his wheelbarrow up and down hills and rows of his garden.  I would eat tomatoes off the vine like apples from a tree.  If some made it to the table, my grandmother would top the tomatoes with homemade mayonnaise – the best.  From those experiences, I agree with Michael Pollen: if your grandmother wouldn’t recognize it as food, then it isn’t.”

Also high on her list are presentation and good company, tricks she learned from her mother, Elaine.

“If the food looks pretty and you’re with people you love, even the plainest dish tastes better.  And it helps if you have some fresh flowers, too.”

Want to try your hand at one of her signature recipes? Here’s Ruthie’s recipe for Gazpacho Aspic.

Thanks to the cook for sharing, and cheers to eating something great in Memphis.


Ruthie Colmer’s Gazpacho Aspic

With a glass raised in toast to Elaine Stritch, “To the Ladies who Lunch.”  I would truly be lost without you!  Ruthie

4 envelopes unflavored gelatin

1 12 oz. can V8 or Zing Zang Bloody Mix

1 14.5 oz. can crushed tomatoes

3/4 c. beef broth

2 Tbsp. Italian dressing

2 stalks celery, finely chopped

1/2 green bell pepper, finely chopped

1/2 medium onion, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

3-4 dashes Tabasco (or more, or less)

Chopped fresh basil

Salt & pepper to taste

Mayonnaise (homemade or Duke’s)

Dissolve gelatin in V8 juice.  Heat to boiling and set aside.  In a large bowl. combine all remaining ingredients.  Stir in gelatin mixture and pour into a well-greased 6 cup mold (or Pyrex dish, if cutting into squares).  Refrigerate several hours or overnight.  Cut into pieces and top with mayonnaise, a sprinkle of paprika and a sprig of fresh parsley.

NOTE: the gelatin, liquids and tomatoes need to be precise measures; everything else is really variable.  You can add olives, or not, other kinds of fresh herbs or different seasoning.  It’s only great if it tastes great to you, so experiment a little and make it your own.

This post is 31/56 in a self-directed challenge to write (or at least post) something (SOMETHING) every day – a birthday gift to me from me, because writing gives me a place to put the clutter that lives in my head.


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