Thursday, January 17, 2013


This is the time of year that winter decides to come on with a vengeance, gray skies, icy temperatures and, although it is staying lighter longer, overall it is just abysmal.  So, I decided to post a quick soup recipe, one that I dreamed up myself, that will turn any gray day upside down with flavor and hope for sunny, warm days. It takes only minutes and tastes like you've had it on the stove all day. 


Serves 4:

2 cans low sodium chicken broth
1 boneless, skinless chicken breast, cubed
2 carrots, diced large
1 onion, rough chopped
1 celery rib, thickly sliced
4 oz of bagged spinach
4 oz of mini meatballs*

In a medium sized pot place the chicken broth and cubed chicken. Bring up to a boil and cook for 5 minutes.  Add vegetables and cook until vegetables are fork tender. Add meatballs and cook another 5 minutes.  Add spinach to the pot and cover with a lid.  Cook until spinach is wilted.  Serve immediately with some imported Parmesan or Romano cheese.

(*I get mine at either Jimmy's Italian Imports on Belmont or Badurik's Butcher Block in Mineral Ridge.)

Tuesday, January 8, 2013


I have a confession to make, I am an avid collector of cookbooks.  I must possess about 200 of them and yet I am always on the lookout for another one.  I want to strongly recommend to anyone interested in Midwest cooking to look for Judith m. Fertig's Prairie Home Cooking.  It features over 400 recipes, ". . .that celebrate the bountiful harvests, creative cooks and comforting foods of the American Heartland." She also includes a paragraph before each recipe that places it in a particular region with a particular immigrant group. She also has included some Native American dishes.  I have read it, like I do most of my cookbooks, like a novel.  It is just that good a read.

Monday, January 7, 2013


If you have not become involved with Polish Youngstown you are missing out on some wonderful food experiences.  I have attended two of their classes, one for making kolachi and one for making jelly filled donuts.  Each was wonderful.  For the month of January they are offering a warming soup class.  Please see below and attend if you can.  You won't be disappointed!

Only a mother's love is warmer than a bowl of hot soup on a cold winter's day. Polska Kuchnia will be teaching three classic Polish soups on January 20. There's BigoĊ›, Poland's national dish and there will be two versions of barszcz: beet and the regional white barszcz served at Easter. Class begins at 11:00, the fee is $25.00 per person and preregistration is required. You can call Tad at 330-427-2752 to learn more and to sign up.

Friday, January 4, 2013

DOWNTON ABBEY a la Youngstown

Mahoning Valley Historical Society - Youngstown, OH
The Arms Family Museum, Wick Avenue, Youngstown, OH

The country is all abuzz about the premier of Downton Abbey this Sunday.  

I remember when there were a few great homes still left on 5th Avenue in Youngstown, all of which had domestic servants.  My Aunt Katie told me that, in the 1930's she had helped train newly arrived young women to go into domestic service in some of these great homes.  I believe she said it was the International Institute at which Katie taught them sewing and mending.  She also taught them how to manage a "mangle," which is a large circular iron.  It was used to press sheets and table linens.  Williams-Sonoma still carry mangles in their catalogues!

These young women would then go into "service" as housekeepers, often first starting  as scullery maids, like Daisy in Downton.  Katie also helped them with their English.  She was a first-generation American and so had been brought up in the American elementary school system.  Although Croatian was spoken at home, Aunt Katie and her sister Liz taught my grandparents to speak better English.

Drive down Fifth Avenue sometime and look at the homes.  There are still some wonderful examples of the Millionaire's Row homes.  The Arms Family Museum, pictured above, is a great place to start to get a flavor of what life was like in these homes.

Thursday, January 3, 2013


Happy New Year to all!  It has been over a year since my last post and I have finished THE BOOK!  Yes, my memoir with recipes has been completed and now I can share with you all the ups and downs of getting published!

Since my last post I have been named a community correspondent for the Warren Tribune Chronicle in Warren, Ohio.  This has given me many wonderful opportunities to investigate and report on all the wonderful things going on in our community.

So, please stay tuned as I continue to share recipes and experiences from my childhood in an immigrant neighborhood.  I will also have little stories about all the wonderful cooks and bakers I came to know and love.

Till then,