This is the story of two dinners, one a great success, the other sort of. Further back than I want to remember my wife came to me with an idea, The conversation went like this.
Her, “I’m thinking of inviting Father Tom to dinner in a couple weeks.”
Me, “That sounds great, what’re having?”
Her, “I don’t know yet. You can cook anything you like!”
Me, “Ok, I’ll come up with something.”
I do like to cook, and had been collecting the “Woman’s Day Encyclopedia of Cooking” ( sadily it sees that eBay is the only place to find that 12 volume set.), the mid 1960s edition in the grocery store every month or so. Yes it was that long ago.
I worked a day or so mulling over the books till I came up with a menu I had never cooked before. I do have some confidence in my abilities in the kitchen. The combo I came up with was based out of the “Pennsylvania Dutch” section and consisted of “Pork Balls with Noodles”, “Sour Beans”, hot Popovers, and ending with “Rhubarb Pie”. And this would be on a weekday evening after I worked all day.
I could go on with how I timed everything so that I spent almost no time in the kitchen after Fr. Tom arrived. The dinner was a great success.
The second great dinner was probably about 5 or so years later. We were hosting a Thanksgiving dinner to include my sister and her husband. And again I was the cook. Almost disaster. I wanted something that looked traditional, but not Turkey. So out of the same set of cookbooks I came up with “Crown Roast of Pork.” Man that thing was huge. It just barely fit in my oven! Add to that, I had no pan large enough to hold it. Two cookie sheets covered with aluminum foil wouldn’t do the trick either. In a panic I knocked on a neighbor’s door and asked her if she had any idea. Luckily she had a sheet cake pan large enough and would loan it to me. One disaster averted.
All but one enjoyed my creation, including mashed potatoes, sauerkraut and if I remember, cranberry sauce (out of the can). There was one holdout that didn’t like it, “It’s NOT turkey and this Thanksgiving!”
Both of these were so far back that I don’t have any pictures, the crown roast photo if from What’s Cooking America
for the Daily Post Shaken and Stirred Nov. 26, 2014