This author can cook, too
DEAR READERS: L.A. Muse begins her book, “A Forest of Doors: An Orphan's Quest,” by recording the day her mother died. She is immediately thrown into reliving the day when she was 7 years old and her mother abandoned her, her brother and sister at Bangor Children's Home in Maine. Now, her mother has done it again, left her without even saying goodbye.
Her memories include years when her father was in the military, stationed in Vietnam. Her alcoholic and drug-addicted mother would put the children in the car and drive to a bar, where she locked the kids in the car and disappeared for hours.
They were not treated well in the orphanage, either, but one Christmas, someone donated gifts for the children. Lynnann received a Pinocchio hand puppet. She loved it.
A few years later, a family adopted Lynnann and her sister, Sissy. Lynnann was forbidden by the head matron at the orphanage to take her puppet with her. Another heartbreaking bit of information Lynnann learned later was that the adopting mother only wanted Sissy, but the people at the orphanage wouldn't let her take one without the other.
But it worked out with a happy ending, and now she lives in Oklahoma. She devotes much of her time as a Court Appointed Special Advocate for Children. The book, published by Innovo Publishing Co., can be found at Barnes and Noble and Full Circle bookstores or ordered from Amazon.com for $12 in paperback or $12.95 for hardback.
Lynnann doesn't include recipes in her book but agreed to share some. She said, “One of my favorite foods is New England Corn Chowder. Making this dish was always great fun. My foster mother taught Sissy and me to cook.”
NEW ENGLAND CORN CHOWDER
2 tablespoons cooking oil
1 small onion, chopped fine
11/2 cups boiling water
1 cup finely diced potatoes
1 can (16 ounces) creamed corn
11/2 cups hot milk
1 scant teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon cornstarch, dissolved in a little cold water or milk
In medium pot, place oil and chopped onion. Cook over low heat until onion is golden. Add boiling water and potatoes. Cook until potatoes are done, about 15 minutes.
Stir in corn, hot milk and seasonings. Return to boil. Slowly stir in the dissolved cornstarch mixture. Stir until smooth and creamy. Boil about 2 minutes. Serves 4 to 6.
Another of her favorites is New England Baked Macaroni and Cheese.
NEW ENGLAND BAKED MACARONI AND CHEESE
2 cups ziti or elbow macaroni
1/4 cup butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup flour
13/4 cups milk
10 ounces shredded sharp Vermont white cheddar cheese
In large pasta pot, cook pasta by package directions. Drain, cover and set aside.
Melt butter in skillet over medium heat. Stir in salt and pepper. Add flour, and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until smooth. Remove from heat and whisk in milk. Return to burner and gradually increase heat, stirring constantly. When mixture reaches boil, continue stirring for one minute. Remove from heat. Stir in cheese.
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Stir sauce into macaroni. Spread in 8-by-8-inch casserole. Bake 20 minutes. Remove from oven, sprinkle top with paprika, and bake another five minutes. Serves 8 to 10.
If you have a problem other readers might help solve or an idea you'd like to share, email firstname.lastname@example.org or write to Melba's Swap Shop, Box 25125, Oklahoma City, OK 73125. Please include your name and address.