Mineral Wells Index, Mineral Wells, TX

October 21, 2013

Reflections on baking bread

Mineral Wells Index

— Last Sunday was our traditional, monthly family dinner. We celebrate birthdays each month, and, if there are no birthdays, we just eat and celebrate.

October is the birth month for our youngest grandchild, Travis, who is now fifteen. He asked for fried chicken and cheese cake, and I was happy to oblige. As I wanted to add more to the menu, I made my aunt, Bessie Mae Ficke’s, shrimp salad. It’s really easy and delicious.

Mert’s Shrimp Salad:

• 1 large package elbow macaroni

• 16 oz. frozen cooked shrimp, tails removed

• 2 cups chopped celery

• 1/2 cup chopped green onions

• 1 cup mayonaise

• 1/2 cup lemon juice

• 3 mashed, ripe avocados

Cook the macaroni and drain but do not rinse. Thaw and chop the shrimp - a little bit. Add other ingredients, except avocados, and chill well. After thoroughly chilled, perhaps the next day, mash avocados and add when ready to serve.

This aunt was one of my father’s seven sisters. She was born in Wheeler County, Texas, to John Ficke and Harriet Elizabeth McBee Ficke. She was the Ector County deputy tax collector for many years. She died in 2003. She was a very special lady who raised one of my cousins, who was not her son, after our grandmother died.

The next recipe is called Taco Treat, and both Raf and I love this casserole!

• 1 pound ground chuck

• 1 can cream of chicken soup

• 1 can cream of celery soup

• 1 small can chopped green chilies

• 1 jar taco sauce (whatever heat is best for you)

• Packet grated cheese

• Large bag tortilla chips, crumbled

Brown meat and add soups, chilies, and taco sauce. In a large, greased casserole layer meat mixture, crumbled chips and grated cheese, ending with cheese on top. Bake in a 350˚F oven for 30 minutes until bubbly.

When our daughter Christi was small she had a friend named Misti Dawn.

They were such friends in Sunday School, that they even gave the whole church nursery the chicken pox together.

Misti’s mother brought this to a church covered dish meal, and I have been making it ever since - about 40 years.

This is wonderful to divide in half and freeze or share with a sick friend.

Isn’t it amazing how love, family, friends, and food all go together?

What better way to spend an evening or a Sunday afternoon than visiting with family and friends while eating a delicious meal.

If you haven’t checked out my new mystery novel, Home to the Brazos, go to Amazon or Kindle and do so.

It is set right here in Palo Pinto County - the people and plot are fiction, but most of the places are real.

Many of the scenes in the book take place around a dinner table, which, I think, is one of the best ways to communicate - food, breaking bread together, is wonderful.