Dining In columnist Nancy Finch leaves us with a good taste in our mouths.
by Nancy Finch, Food Columnist
Probably I should feel nostalgic, and indeed I do, a
I am sitting down on a Sunday night as I have for
many years (not always on Sunday) to write a food column. But, this one is
different — this is my last.
Like many other column-writing nights, I have flour
all over me, a pie from a new recipe is just out of the oven and I hope,
desperately, that it will be as good as it looks. The “test stomach”
has just announced that he is going to bed so there will be no testing
I have been going through this routine since 1972.
For the last 10 years, Dining In has been a feature
of, first, Rural Living and now Cooperative Living. Before that I wrote
for Cooperative Farmer and, before that, I was food editor of the Richmond
Thirty-two years makes for a lot of food columns.
I’ve gone from testing on a husband and four children to an empty nest.
A casserole that once was devoured at one sitting now seems to last ...
and last ... and last. Then there are the age and time changes that hamper
the way you like to cook. Fat, cholesterol, spicy esophageal murder foods
and fast-after-work numbers have changed how I cook. Readers likely have
faced similar changes depending on what stage of life you are in.
Bill Sherrod, my editor for the last 10 years,
suggested I do a “look back” for my last Dining In.
Bill did me a favor. Going back through columns from
years gone by helped me find “lost” recipes. I am delighted. Stacks of
magazines contained favorites that I would not have searched for
I sought Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday issues
only. But, just to keep the tradition, I tried two “new” recipes — a
chocolate pecan pie and a layered mocha pie. While I love pumpkin pie and
wouldn’t think I had celebrated Thanksgiving without it, some of my
children would happily substitute chocolate pecan pie for the holidays. If
you, too, have less-than-enthusiastic pumpkin pie family members, you can
bet they’ll also like “Mocha Truffle Pie.” A plus? It’s easy.
One of the “finds” was a column about cabbage
when I had fed the family three kinds of cabbage in one meal. A son had
plaintively wondered why I couldn’t have tested something chocolate
instead of cabbage. I guess the chocolate pecan pie is for him. It is VERY
So, what were some of my “finds?”
The one I am most thrilled with is recovering the
lost “Texas Lizzies” recipe from a friend of my late mother’s. Wilda
Adams’ recipe came from her mother in Kentucky so it is quite old.
Having lost my original, I went online to find “Lizzies” just last
year. I found them, but the recipe was not as good as this one.
The reason I love this recipe is that it makes a
large quantity. You can keep the batter in the refrigerator and bake
cookies as desired. I’ve kept it for at least a couple of weeks, but
they’re so good, they don’t last long.
“Ella’s Creamed Jets” are another family
tradition. My late aunt and uncle made them and I treasure the recipe,
handwritten by Uncle Buck. I published this recipe in 1983.
Since I love giving parties, although that has been
on the wane, my recipes often were for fellow party givers, especially at
holiday times. “Spinach Dip in a Bread Round or Loaf” came from a food
editor friend, Louis Mahoney, now of the Richmond Times-Dispatch, but when
I published it in 1986, she was with The Richmond News Leader. This recipe
is always a hit.
Another party favorite is a familiar artichoke dip
recipe. I named this “Sam’s Favorite Artichoke Dip” because I set it
on the coffee table for guests and Sam, our shaggy dog, ate it before
guests had a chance. It is easy and delicious. Ask Sam.
And to readers, keep cooking. I get worried when I
see “take out” and mixes filling the grocery shelves and counters.
Cooking is fun! And I intend to keep right on. I was shocked recently when
a check-out clerk looked at the picture of a chocolate cake on my box of
cake flour and asked, “How do you get the cake brown? Do you use food
coloring?” Mothers (and fathers), help your children know that chocolate
cakes don’t come from food coloring.
CHOCOLATE PECAN PIE