Screws and Recipes

Last week wasn’t great. There were several reasons, but the problem with my car can summarize the whole week. Presumably somebody  spilled a huge case of big screws out of their truck at a major intersection that I drove through at noon–when it was super busy. By the time I got my car to Discount Tire, it was the 31st one that day with tires studded with the same screws (just at that one store so imagine how many cars were truly damaged!). Yup, all four of my tires had to be replaced. Luckily, we had bought them in 2008 from Discount Tire, and they provide a lifetime warranty. So the cost was well under my deductible.

Speaking of deductibles, I discovered that my insurance doesn’t cover “road hazards.” What the heck is that about? If a car stalls right in front me, and I can’t possibly stop in time, is that a road hazard? What if a big chunk of concrete comes down from the overpass onto my car, is that a road hazard? I don’t like sneaky loopholes, and that is what it sounds like to me.

I plan to call the police department to see if they have a camera and can see who littered the road and caused all this damage to so many cars. My reasoning is that somebody who doesn’t fasten down a case of screws doesn’t fasten that ladder either–you know, the one that falls off on the freeway, causing a fatal accident.

On a more positive note, I went through my recipe box. I don’t use it anymore. Instead, I keep my recipes in two binders. So the recipes in the box date back a bit. I’m on a path of very very gradually cleaning up some of the old stuff that litters my life. I want to get rid of junk recipes that I’ll never use again–and that serve no historical purpose. I won’t get rid of my grandmother’s recipes although they are mainly breads and cakes that I can’t make for the gardener because of his celiac disease.

I found several recipes that are impossible to make because a key ingredient is no longer sold. But I found three I wanted to make. One is a corned beef cream cheese ball, but when I got to the grocery store, I discovered that they don’t sell those packages of flaked corned beef any more, and if I get some from the deli it’s probably too expensive and the wrong consistency anyway. I don’t remember noticing when they stopped selling processed corned beef in those little packages. If we think about it, we could probably make a really long list of foods that are no longer available that we used to count on.

That left two recipes, and I did make them. One was an ice cream pumpkin pie. This recipe dates back to junior high, which brings back a lot of memories. I had typed the recipe after I got it from two girls in my class. It was a favorite since I always loved both pumpkin pie and vanilla ice cream.

I had to make a couple of changes, though. The gardener can’t eat ice cream anymore because of the lactose, so I used vanilla almond frozen dessert for the “crust.” And I substituted Cool Whip for the Dream Whip (which I haven’t used in decades). I thought it was pretty good, but not as I remembered it. The gardener loves it (and he’s not even a pumpkin person), but since he can’t eat many desserts, he isn’t much of a judge of sweets.

The other recipe was for Coney Island sauce. When we were young, both the gardener and I loved to get Coney Dogs at the Coney Island restaurant in Kalamazoo. While we were in college, we worked at different retail stores downtown, and it was fun to meet at restaurants like this one and share our break. It looks like Coney Island is still in business. If you click the link, you can see the photos of the inside of the place, looking as it did when my grandfather and my mother and I were all kids!

I no longer eat beef (for the sauce) or regular hot dogs,  but thought the gardener would enjoy this blast from the past. The first thing I noticed is that the ground beef I buy is shredded into long tubes, rather than being the ground beef that crumbles in the frying pan. That meant I literally needed to chop the ground beef. Geesh. Then I tried to make it in my slow cooker because it requires 3-4 hours of simmering, and I can’t leave the flame on with cats all over the kitchen. I still simmered it on the stove near the end, but then the gardener told me I should have left some of the juice in. I don’t remember juice in the Coney dogs we ate as kids. He loved the flavor. The bun isn’t as good since it’s a dry gluten free bun and not one of those squishy cheap buns that are part of the fun.

Does it work to go back and try to relive the past by making old recipes? Sort of, but not completely, as you can see.

Even with all the screw damage and other stuff falling apart and causing trouble last week, I completed my writing resolution for the first week of 2018. I wrote every single day, at least 30 minutes. I will never be somebody who writes 4-8 hours per day, and I’m ok with that. But if I can write a minimum of 3.5 hours per week (excluding blog posts), I find that acceptable.

What about you? Did you have any resolutions or goals for the year? Have you made a good start on them?




Filed under #AmWriting, #writerlife, #writerslife, Food & Drink, gluten free, gluten free travel, History, Memoir, Vintage American culture, Writing

72 responses to “Screws and Recipes

  1. Happy New Year, Luanne.
    Those screws! (And someone with screws loose on all sorts of levels. ) 🙂
    I’m glad the cost of the new tires wasn’t as bad as it could have been.
    There are certain recipes and foods from our past that bring back all sorts of memories.
    Good luck with your resolution. I probably write nearly every day–but it’s often a mixture of work and playing around–unless I’m facing a deadline. I’ve learned with my last book that I can research and write thousands of words in a short time–if I have to.

  2. I’m glad you found time to keep up with your writing resolution between hazards and nostalgia! I still cook the chickpea curry my Home Economics teacher taught me in high school – I would like to try some of the recipes my mother used to make, like pea soup and leek pudding, but I suspect they wouldn’t taste the same 🙂

    • That is so cool–both that you still make the recipe and that you had Home Ec in high school! We didn’t have it in our high school, just in junior high, so had to quit after 9th grade. What is leek pudding like? It sounds interesting!

      • I was very good at Home Ec! Needlework was a different matter 🙂 But the good thing is that we also did woodwork and metalwork, so it wasn’t split down gender lines. Leek pudding is basically a suet pudding flavoured with leeks – cooked in a muslin cloth for quite a long time – it’s a traditional recipe in this part of the country.

        • Oh, it sounds so different to me who has never had suet pudding (I know it’s made with meat, but also they don’t have suet here)! But I love the flavor of leeks! They are the most underused vegetable around here.

  3. Wow! Those screws! I have gone back to make some old recipes. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. My tastes have changed. I don’t eat as many sweets or as much meat. Some old recipes are just too much work. At least you found two that the gardener likes!

    • It’s interesting though to go back and see how our collective tastes have changed, isn’t it? I’ve found that I love the vintage appetizer recipes, but that they are so different from what is found on Pinterest and the rest of the internet today. The Mexican and Asian influences have been so profound over the past 30 years. Contemporary recipes are very difficult for me to sift through for the gardener, whereas the older ones are easier to adapt to things he can eat, and I think it’s the ingredients today: more beans, tomato sauces, spicy foods and salsas, coconut, all the foods he can’t eat. That Coney Dog recipe isn’t spicy like food today, but still has a lot of flavor.

      • Everything does seem to have oriental or Mexican flavoring. I looked at a potato soup and it wasn’t the soup of my youth. Black beans and chili powder. It may be good but not what I’m looking for.

  4. Hi Luanne,
    Hope your tire adventures are soon over. I can relate, as I’ve had many such debacles eating up my time. About recipes: I gave all my mom’s old recipes (file boxes full of index cards) to the son of a friend (the son is in the restaurant business), a natural cook who loves recipes and makes up his own. My sugar consumption is practically nil and I seldom eat meat, so many of mom’s wonderful-at-the-time recipes are no longer something I’d prepare.
    I’m trying to work on my newest novel so need to resume my practice of going daily to the St. John’s library for a few hours. The house makes constant demands, e. g. take down the Christmas decorations already!
    I need to leave home to write, even though I have a fine home office.
    Have a great week!

    • Your mother must have been a wonderful cook, Elaine! What a treasure for your friend’s son! You do so well to stay away from sugar and meat! I could go without meat forever and not miss it, but sugar? Yikes. Of course, I am already so limited in what I can cook because of you-know-who haha.
      Your practice of going to the library to work is a good one. You are right that the house is always making demands. One demand after another. Enjoy your writing process, Elaine! xo

  5. I’m so sorry about those screws, Luanne. One tire is bad enough, but all four! I hope there was a camera to capture the culprit. People who don’t secure their loads need to be fined. I once had a wheelbarrow fall off a flatbed in front of me. I was on a busy, major interstate and it was an act of God that I wasn’t killed. Yay you on the writing! I’m working on copy edits right now and then I’ll go back to my current WIP. Have a great week! I’m home from my annual colonoscopy, so I’m really happy it’s over…for a year, at least.

    • Congrats on the new agency! Yes, all four stupid tires. I called the PD, and they sent me to risk management who is sending me a form to fill out. It’s been a few hours, but has not yet arrived in my email. It’s so onerous being a good citizen :).

    • I have no idea why my finger hit enter. Stupid finger. The wheelbarrow story is devastatingly scary. That is exactly the kind of thing that does kill people “regularly.” Some people are so inconsiderate and lazy that they are a menace. You are just cruising with your writing! So happy for you, Jill! Yay for the colonoscopy being over, but so sorry you have to have it done so often. Good thing they have them available, though, isn’t it?!

      • I do hope that you receive some sort of compensation…tires aren’t cheap! Yes, the wheelbarrow incident was my most terrifying experience on the road. Since, I never drive behind people who are hauling things. I don’t know about you, but around here, painters will drive with ten or more ladders stacked on the roof of their van. Then they get on the interstate and FLY! Can you imagine if one or more came loose? Thank you so much for your support and encouragement over the years, Luanne. I hadn’t intended on getting an agent, but it just kind of happened. Yes, I’m thrilled to have that colonoscopy done until next year. The Remicade infusions are still working, so that’a a blessing. Have a great week!

  6. Dammit. But good work on the writing, despite all. There’s no point in my making resolutions – I wouldn’t keep them 🙂

  7. Happy New Year, Luanne! Enjoyed this post immensely!
    Sorry about the screwy situation! Boo hiss on the perpetrator!
    I love this: “I’m on a path of very very gradually cleaning up some of the old stuff that litters my life.” OH HOW I WISH I could do that too!! Must rid myself of lazy inertia first!! Plus I’d have to hire a giant moving van to cart all the’old stuff’ away! Lol!
    Re recipes, that pumpkin thing sounds delish! I’m a huge sucker for sweets, anyway! Add FAT to it, and SOLD! Lol, I love all the wrong things!!
    Goals? Yes! I want to get a first draft done of a new book! It would help if I could first zero in on which of several ideas to run with!!
    ‘See’ you again soon! ❤

  8. I had the same thing happen with a screw that was left on the road by a telephone repair truck. It only took ONE to puncture my tire. I see you had many. As for recipes, sometimes it’s good to get rid of the useless old ones, unless they are sentimental treasures.

    • You see how annoying it is! And each of my four tires had many screws. The gardener estimated 50 screws in my tires. I really don’t have many sentimental treasure recipes. I was too stupid to ask for them when people were alive. I have a few from one grandma. And I have my mother’s salad recipes. She is not really a cook, but has a few good recipes.

  9. Sorry your new year got off to a rough start. How frustrating. Hopefully the next few weeks will yield more pleasant offerings. 😁

  10. Sorry about the tires. I would love to see the Coney Island recipe. The pie looked great.

  11. I’ve had similar experiences with old recipes from the 70’s.

  12. Wow, Luanne, how weird about those tires. I have had some nails and screws in tires after driving down streets where new homes are being built; it is always a nuisance to have to get new tires for such a reason! Congrats on the writing. I like that you made some reasonable goals. I have not figured mine out yet, but I am contented to be making progress on my mound of paperwork each day. Can’t wait to get to my own projects! It will be a couple of weeks, I think. Here’s to solid progress in 2018! Love the recipe idea. I have hundreds to go through as well.

    • I am always too grateful to get some of the mound of paperwork done, too, but that’s why I am trying to put the 30 minutes of writing, if not first, in there. My inclination to go through my list of work always comes first otherwise. Let’s get some writing done this year, Carla :)! xoxo (Hope I get to see you in February).

  13. How cool that you still have a recipe from high school! I still have a small plastic box of recipes that was given to me as a shower gift. I never make any of the recipes but I can’t bear to throw it out because many have my mother’s handwriting.

    I’m pleased to hear you say you can’t write for hours at a time. Neither can I. Only on rare occasions can I sit down and write for about 3 hours but that’s with lots of little breaks of getting up and grabbing a cookie or some water and stretching a bit. Good for you for keeping your resolution. And for the record, I count blog posts as writing.

  14. It’s from junior high! Even younger. haha. Oh, that is so wonderful that you have recipes in your mother’s handwriting. You definitely should not throw it away. Maybe one of your kids will even want it someday. Am I right that she’s passed? I hope I am not remembering that wrong. If so, did they know her?
    I’m glad you can’t write for long blocks either because I always think I am the only one!

    • Yes, my mom passed away 25 years ago so just before we adopted our first daughter. Our oldest, who now lives away from home, has started to cook but she’s more or less a vegetarian and a sugar tee-totaler. My mother – and me, too – was a sugar addict. Her pies are legendary in our family.

  15. I’m sorry you and other people had flat tires due to a negligent screw dropper.
    Old recipes can be problematic. For instance, no way am I going to serve a chiffon pie with raw egg whites! On the other hand, an old recipe made as per directions can erect the past in an astonishing and poignant way.

    • Good point about raw eggs in old recipes. Steak Tartare, too! Yes, food brings back the memories, but it’s never quite the same. The food or the memories.

  16. I actually laughed when I read this. That pumpkin/ice cream concoction sounded pretty…sugary. While I like the ingredients, it doesn’t seem that appealing, but this comes from someone known to eat sweetened condensed milk out of the can (there’s a reason for this.) So, as someone new to your blogging, I’m wondering if “the gardener” is how you refer to your significant other…

    Resolutions? This is the first month of my official retirement. I’m “resolving” to not be totally unproductive every day…

    • Oooh, that’s a fabulous resolution! Congrats on your retirement! I’ve never been completely retired, so I’m not sure if I would be unproductive. It’s hard for me to be still and do nothing. I’d be tapping my foot really fast! Re the dessert, you know I used a big can of pumpkin and I doubt I doubled the sugar. Probably more like 1.5 which would be 3/4 for a regular can. It’s not too sweet, but freezing does hides some sins 😉.
      Yes, the gardener is my husband. He spends almost all his free time gardening!

  17. I resolved not to make resolutions. 🙂 The tires, so awful. I used to get flats on the freeway because of nails dropped from construction trucks. Yikes!

    • Lol. I used to make that resolution. It saved me from disappointment in myself 🤣🤣🤣. Isn’t that so annoying to get a flat from such a tiny annoyance?!

  18. Luanne, I LOVED the visuals of the old recipe cards. Typed! Hand-written! Your photos took me back. And, I always enjoy hearing your stories about an experience, like going through the old recipes and selecting three, then two, to try, and how they came out … thank you for a nice gift of learning more about your day. Oh, and kudos on the writing every day! You’re on your way to fulfilling your resolution!

  19. Luanne, that tire incident is horrible. A sign of a truly irresponsible person — and worse. (I actually once knew someone who did that — and he laughed about it.)
    You rounded out the post with recipes. How fun to find and revisit old forgotten recipes! Hugs.

    • Geez, how did I not respond to you, Teagan? I feel so stupid for finding comments with no responses from me. Duh.
      Hey, I made another old recipe the other day. Impossible Cheeseburger Pie. I don’t eat beef, but my husband and my mother loved it. Do you have Bisquick by you? Or something like it? Flour mixed with some kind of shortening right in the thing. Anyway, I buy the gluten free version–and the pie is made with that. Super easy.

  20. Two things: One, they still sell chipped beef here. Or, at least they did last month.
    Two, I have this incredible $9 tool sold by Pampered Chef. It’s a meat masher. Gets ground meats super fine. I do not sell it, I don’t usually buy it, my father-in-law bought me one because I loved MIL’s.
    I envy your organization with recipes. I need a new way. I haven’t yet decided what the best way is, so I continue with the cards — but it’s getting too full. Almost every time I need one, it’s a panic.
    I cannot believe that about the screws! My husband managed Sears Auto for years and years, and he’s never heard of such a thing. I am so glad your tires were under warranty!

    • I seriously don’t know whether I am losing comments I have written or if I read stuff and imagine a response in my head and don’t write it. Those are the only two explanations for not responding to you here. Yikes.
      Yeah, only Phoenix can have an event like the screw strew of the year.
      I want one of those mashers!

  21. Oh, my goodness. I’m so sorry to hear about your car. What a crazy thing to happen. I’m glad to see that you went to the kitchen and created some lovely stuff. That pie looks delish, Luanne.

    • It was good. I need to make it again (already) hahaha. Somebody told me that somebody who works with tires all the time said he had never in all his years of working with them heard of anything happening quite like this!

  22. If I don’t make any resolutions, then I don’t have to worry about breaking any 😉

  23. I am so sorry you could have been hurt having all 4 tires go flat due to the same dumped screws! Horrors and shoot! I wish this hadn’t happened but glad you had a warranty! Yay! 😀
    As far as recipes, I like the old ones my Mom passed on to me, Italian Wedding Cakes, cheesecake like New York style, apple crisp. . . Grandma’s kuchen, strudel and spaetzle are not often possible to find time, so I tend to but at German bakeries the first two breakfast coffee cakes.
    I still make a cream cheese ball with Buddig brand corned beef. My son asks for it at Christmas, his birthday and other occasions appetizers are served. I went to a fancy party with Felicia for New Year’s Eve and three people copied down the recipe! 🌟
    I get very low fat ground beef and it never tastes as fresh as the old days of meatloaf, sloppy Joe’s or chili. I now make most dishes with ground turkey. Not really the same!! Hugs to you, your Mom and the Gardener (plus your kids and friends. . .) 💞

    • That’s probably the same cream cheese ball with corned beef!!!! So you can get Buddig’s there? I can’t find it anywhere here! I thought it was extinct :).
      Speaking of ground turkey, I am making my go-to tonight. It’s Korean turkey rice bowl. Super easy and so yummy! But you have to have cilantro in the house for it, in my opinion.
      Mom is making her famous spinach salad, which I am grateful for because she makes it all the time for my brother–and I never get it because she doesn’t live by me ;).

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