Saturday, December 20, 2008

"The Beautiful You" by Mary Kay (cosmetics) consultants & "A Taste of Texas" - Cheese Spoon Bread and Spanish Pork Chops

Date I made these recipes: December 14, 2008

“The Beautiful You” Cookbook – a collection of personal recipes from Mary Kay consultants and directors by Mary Kay
Published by: Mary Kay Consultants/Communicative Arts Group
© 1980
Recipe: Cheese Spoon Bread submitted by Connie Hyde – p.32

A Taste of Texas – A Cookbook, edited by Jane Trahey; compiled for Neiman-Marcus by Marihelen McDuff
Published by: Random House
© 1949
Recipe: Spanish Pork Chops submitted by Mrs. Byron Nelson; Fairway Ranch, Roanoke, Texas– p. 125

People, every once in a while, I get lucky and get someone to work with who is a real panic. This year, it is Sarah F. who just brightens up my day on this miserable project I’ve been working on for the last seven months.

Prior to this gig, who knew that banquet tables, otherwise reserved for uh, banquets, could be used as a workspace? Without going into the gory details, Sarah, I and nineteen other attorneys have been working on a litigation project for a law firm and we sit two to a banquet table on an otherwise empty floor of the building in which the firm is located. Our table partners changed frequently due to the constant rearrangement of the deck chairs by “management” (the attorneys on staff at the firm) and eventually Sarah ended up sitting at a table behind me, initially with Mike as a seat partner but then with Sue.

So anyway, Sarah is a hoot and a half. She’s originally from Texas and therefore was unaware of some Minnesota’s famous State Fair personalities, namely, Princess Kay of the Milky Way. Princess Kay is the fake name of the princess named by the Dairy Association to represent the association at the fair and at other events. “PK” and her court have their likenesses sculpted in butter each year by a butter sculptor in a large refrigerated windowed-booth (that rotates) in the Dairy Building. PK and court sit in this booth for hours in a snowmobile suit and then afterwards they usually bring their likeness home to be stored forevermore (or until the first big corn roast—I’m not kidding) in the family freezer. You have to be there. Anyway, Sarah screwed up the name and called her Mary Kay of the Milky Way, to which Mike, her tablemate, chimed in “Can I interest you in some dairy-based makeup products?” I laughed on and off for at least half the day.

But people, what are the odds of this—two weeks before the famous Mary Kay of the Milky Way comment, I was surfing Old ( and there it was—“The Beautiful You” Cookbook, written in 1980 by a group of Mary Kay consultants! And so I put that on my “buy” list for a future date but after Sarah’s comments I just had purchase it right then and there and so that’s how one of the recipes came to end up on this blog (Mary Kay Ash, founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics is from Texas – how fitting!).

So anyway, even though she’s been living her quite some time, Sarah still longs for the openness of Texas (whereas my motto in life – honest to god -- is “Nature is not your friend) and one day talked about squirrel hunting with her daddy and then she moved on to the squirrels in her yard and then mentioned that she even had “huffing squirrels.”

Well, it’s not for nothing that I am the daughter of a wildlife biologist and so I thought she was talking about a new breed of squirrels. But no, she told the tale of how the squirrels in her yard chewed through her gas cap and got high by “huffing” (sniffing) the fumes.

Well, my table-mate, Jen, and I started laughing and then riffed about this new gang of squirrels, complete with acorn tattoos, small leather jackets and cigs hanging out of their mouths hanging out around her yard and we were all quite entertained.

But then I started thinking about these squirrels and wondering how the hell they got the gas cap off her car when there’s usually a metal plate over it and she said (in her best Texas accent) “Oh my God, no! Can you imagine? I can just see rounding the corner in my car with a damned squirrel hanging off it. No, I was talking about my lawnmower gas cap (who knew?)! But at the price of gas these days, I’d shoot those ‘sums’ of bitches before I’d let them get at my gas again.”

My stomach still hurts from that one. The other day to add to the hilarity, she brought in a photo of a squirrel from her yard to which she added, via Paint, a jacket, eye patch, acorn tattoo and a sign that said “Born to Huff.” We about died.

Now don’t be disappointed but there weren’t any squirrel recipes in the other cookbook I used, A Taste of Texas, nor, to my surprise, were there a lot of beef recipes (I guess the Texas saying “all hat, no cattle” is really true– hahaha!) so I made do with a pork chop recipe.

Both recipes were really good so y’all get ready to do some fine eat’n. And as to Miss Sarah, if you live in St. Paul, be on alert for those huffing squirrels. They’re probably hanging off one of those Mary Kay pink Cadillacs as we speak!

Cheese Spoon Bread – serves 6
1 cup cornmeal
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. dry mustard
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
3 cups milk, scalded
1 cup Cheddar cheese, grated
6 eggs, beaten

Mix cornmeal, salt, dry mustard and pepper together. Add to milk and cook, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens.

Let’s pause here a minute so I can tell you about my latest near-kitchen disaster: people, to be clear, the recipe calls for 3 cups of milk and 1 cup of cornmeal, but I misread it as 3 cups milk, 3 cups cornmeal. And this is how I ended up with a huge glob that most certainly could not be stirred! And here I just went and had my reading glasses adjusted!

Add cheese and continue to cook and stir until the cheese melts, about two or three minutes. Add to the eggs and mix thoroughly.

Pour into buttered baking dish and bake at 350 for 45 minutes, until light and puffy and browned.

Spanish Pork Chops – serves 4
1 onion, sliced
1 green pepper, sliced
3 potatoes, sliced
3 carrots, sliced
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon red pepper
10 ½ ounce can condensed tomato soup

Brown pork chops in own fat. Place in Dutch oven or roaster. Cover with slices of onion, pepper, potatoes, carrots, salt, red pepper and tomato soup. Cover and bake at 350 for one hour.

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