Tag Archives: grandmothers


I have a great view, not so great weather. Live in a building overlooking a lake. Don’t worry, I’ve boots and shoes and coats for everything because we lived in the Rockies and are ready for even Mud Season (called Spring everywhere else but the Rockies).

Our dog, who we got as a rescue from the Pound and had to have two hips taken out and grow her own, has appointments. She’s about 86 in “people years.”

I’m running into¬†Grandmothers who want to schedule to see our Zoe with their grandkids this summer. Should I ask her real grandma for approval?

If I’m pleased you must know our Zoe (Greek for “life”) is as well. She loves the attention and I must keep her bathed and combed out. Yes, she loves the bath/massage, has to air dry, no hair dryers,¬†and hates being combed with Dee’s Torture Chamber of combs and brushes.

As she is the Queen, or Grande Dame here she will do her part and I’ll make it happen. Please tell her it’s OK to let the younger dogs keep ears out (one is blind) and she can snoopervise and take appointments from loving grandmas. All the best, Dee

p.s. Zoe’s Grandma M is far away. I will not place Z on a plane. For a farm family who once wanted to mow a goat pen for Zoe, I said no, she sleeps on our bed. Now Grandma M laments the holiday times we do not bring her, because of two things. Zoe cleans up anything we drop or spill in our 3-5 day cooking extravaganza, and she watches out for my father-in-law to come home from feeding the cows. On his portion of the sofa where he reads Civil War books.

I tried to take him up to New York, Vermont to see Revolutionary War sites and have a great photo of him framed, with my mother-in-law’s shadow taking the photo, at the Saratoga Battlefield. I also took them to the women’s suffragette location. No photos will be disclosed but I did get one. I’m keeping it under wraps for now.

Still the daughter of an ancient battle, the War of Northern Aggression as he calls it, we get along well but my dog is a Texas dog, born in the only state that was ever a nation. Proud of it.

If my father-in-law knew how much Texas kindness his son, daughter-in-law and adopted dog were bringing up here, he’d be proud and still miss us when miles away, our dog picks up that farm road dust and knows the ranch is nearby. Thank you sir, ma’am for everything. Dee



I know more people like the grandmother who “adopted” me 14 years ago. I never really knew mine as they died before I was a year old.

She’s been undergoing some difficulties and it’s hard to be so far away and unable to visit right now. We love her and hope she’ll be up and on her feet swiftly.

Nanny came from a different age. All of her children, grands and great-grands have a sense of purpose, honor, and honesty.

Today I was scammed my a company trying to buy my husband (from dog Zoe) a gift for Fathers’ Day. My bank refused the first payment as fraud. The second, I called in and told them I’d sue if they charged me for two more of the same items.

I think I have to call the bank back as the only way they can stem these charges is to cancel the card.

Nasty people are around that just want whatever they can get without earning it. Guns, drugs, that’s not how we were brought up. While my husband and I grew up in vastly different places we never locked our front door or car. Think of others, tell the truth, apologize when you’re wrong. Work hard. Take care of your family. That is what it is about, and grandmothers who take you in. Cheers, Dee

Recipes for Disaster

Only one, and I’ll add one for good, for family celebrations that last for days.

I offered to take in a neighbor’s dog, J, an exuberant 110 lb. lab/retriever for the night. He is a wonderful, needy, house guest but I couldn’t figure out how to get his harness on. When it comes to dog care, I get up in the morning and know that Z needs to go out asap. I use the facilities, check out how many layers of clothing/boots/hats/gloves I’ll need and we’re out the door. So I felt for J and decided his collar was OK.

Unfortunately we’re in an ice storm and all the streets and sidewalks are covered and most schools are closed. My husband took my car to work because I’ve snow tires on and he does not (they’re in storage).

So J’s a big guy! I’d already walked six blocks to the store to pick up a few things. Took me 20 minutes each way avoiding “black ice” where it looks like pavement but is slick and deadly. At times I walked on the street because cars had broken up a lot of it but that’s deadly as well in this town.

He was very good and didn’t pull me around much and did everything he was supposed to do. It took several hours for he and Z to settle down. My Zoe was the troublemaker, barking at any sound she heard. I’d fed them and taken them out separately.

Now it’s midnight and he was up so I took him. She was jealous so I took her and placed her back up on the bed. He did the funniest thing! When I went to visit him and learn of his feeding, treat, med schedule and where his leash was kept he did not come to greet me as he had closed himself in the bathroom.

While we were testing boundaries I closed off everything but the living/dining areas. I was hoping they’d both settle down and didn’t hear him for a couple of minutes. Then I heard him breathing. He had opened the door to the guest bathroom and closed it behind him! He can get in, not out.

He will not settle now and opened our bedroom door and closed it. Smart boy. It has been an adventure.

There’s a huge barge off shore and it’s lit up like a Christmas tree! I went to a health care facility today to give my gift. I’m going to start a pet therapy program for them and I and my Zoe may go to see patients. The national program would not accept her because I feed her a raw food diet. She’s been on it for nearly ten years and I won’t compromise her health and change her diet for charity. Perhaps they’ll come up with the same restriction but I’ll come up with a program for them anyway.

Receptionist T escorted me down the hall to meet the volunteer coordinator who was at a rummage sale to benefit the hospital. He knew I’d just come off the icy sidewalks and offered his arm and thanked me for what I was trying to do as he’s always wanted to be a zoologist. After I slipped and slid to the grocery store and came back, as I promised, I spent a whopping $5.28 at the rummage sale. I got a house with a tree that can be retrofitted as an ornament, a candy cane with a felt mouse that is already on our tree, and a slice of Kringle, strawberry. Yum. I had them cut it in half and gave half to T for escorting this old lady down the hall.

Now for the good stuff. The other day I saw Bobby Flay do a Strata and I’ve done frittatas and quiches et al but this was “Dee the mom’s” clean out the frig strata. I did have to buy good bread, but you should use stale bread, and good cheese. And just wing it, knowing your parameters.

For two of us I set out the bread to get stale and caramelized 1/2 an onion in a pan with a pat of butter. I had some frozen spinach so added it to a bowl after squeezing all the liquid out of it, added about two cups of bread cubes, four eggs, 1-2T of cream and 1/2 cup of Gruyere cheese. I also sauteed two pork sausages, cut them up and added. Mix up dry and wet and combine and mine fit easily into a 2 quart Pyrex rice cooking bowl. Top with another 1/2 cup of Gruyere and cook at 350 for about 45 minutes.

What I told my mother-in-law, we have cooking fests every Thanksgiving, is that this is a “seat of the pants” dish we could triple on one morning and we wouldn’t have to do individual egg orders for everyone. Have all the ingredients ready, first one of us up pops it in the oven for an hour or so (multiple portions will take longer) and there’s breakfast!

Many years ago I asked my fiancee about family traditions. Christmas? Milk cows. Thanksgiving? Milk cows. You get the drift. This dish gives a family eggs, sausage, milk, cheese, veggies. A dairy is not something for an older man or couple to run, so it’s a ranch now but everyone still needs a hearty breakfast to live on a farm.

The funniest story I have about this is my first time there at the then dairy to “meet the folks.” As I, a cook, negotiated my way around an unfamiliar kitchen, I said there was no milk for omelets or scrambled eggs and future mother-in-law told me I could use evaporated or dried milk from the pantry. I said, you’ve 150 cows across the road and they were milked not an hour ago and you don’t have milk?” My dear m-i-l said “I no longer have two growing boys. Back then I always had a gallon or two in the frig.” To this day my husband knows whether store-bought milk is “grassy.”

Nanny is always worried about her kids, their kids, her great-grands. She was worried about my husband even though I passed her 45-minute interview but the next time we saw her she said “It looks like Dee is feeding you well.” Perhaps too well these days. But I knew she approved of us being together. That’s how life goes. Dee

ps I never knew my grandmothers so Nanny agreed to be mine over a decade ago.


are in short supply this week. The first one who “adopted” me nearly 40 years ago is gone.

ML taught me how to understand a Texas accent, but most important Texas hospitality. She cooked Tex Mex foods and expanded my palate as a youngster, as did her daughter JC and my Aunt.

My mother didn’t know much about cooking when she married my father, so in the year before I was born, before Grandma H died she taught Mom all about the German foods Dad liked. That’s what we ate, plus anything with Campbell’s soup in it. It was post-war and everything to bring Rosie the Riveter back into the home was supposed to be “easy.” Canned food, frozen dinners, vacuum cleaners and real washing machines. Plus wearing dresses and pumps to clean the house and having your hair done once a week and teased to perfection. Easy!

Being exposed to Texan and Mexican flavors was incredible. All of a sudden I knew there was another world of flavor out there. There was no such thing as American Regional Cuisine back then and those who knew about cooking were all trying to be French. I had no idea that there were even more cultures in Asia and everywhere and regional breakdowns that I’m still eager to learn, even years after cooking school.

ML must have known decades ago that I’d marry a Texan, and have to decipher the language barrier (due to the War of Northern Aggression) and food differences, like chile peppers. She prepared me for it with love and grace.

When I was in college, ML’s daughter had caught the cooking bug and gave my mother a lifelong subscription to Gourmet magazine. That changed our lives. Souffles, chicken and peach salad. Mom was on fire and the bug was in me as well. No more cans. Everything from scratch.

For our first wedding anniversary we went to ML’s birthplace, San Antonio, and toasted her at the pub in the Menger Hotel which she’d told us about.

What can I say about her now? Love. Grace. She was probably obstinate at times, came from her Texas upbringing (being a nation once and holding out as a state) but I remember unconditional love for her family and friends.

We were all bathed in the light of that love. You will be missed. Love, Dee

ps Happy Birthday Nanny (my husband’s grandmother). She took me on 10 years ago, not as a replacement for ML but because one cannot have too many grandmas when one hasn’t known her own. D