Cutting out the biscuits . . . . .

 

I don’t know why, but I’ve had baking powder biscuits on my mind lately, the high golden ones my mother made and that were so good for breakfast, with butter and jam. I loved them so much I would even eat a cold when I came home hungry after school.

In the summer she sometimes made a huge one, split it and put it back together with sugared strawberries between and over the top. People argue about which is best, the biscuit or the cake, with strawberries . . and either whipped cream or ice cream.

I found a recipe online that looked superb, the biscuits  raised high with a golden crust. I saved it, and this morning decided to give it a try. I would have it with bacon and eggs and an excellent raspberry jam I bought cheap at the day-old bread store. I put them together with anticipation, but took them out of the oven with disappointment. The crust was golden,and crisp, but the inside was doughy.

I remember how quickly my mother and my grandmother put their biscuits together, how easily. Maybe because they did it so often. But, really, I think I could have done better if I had a table full of hungry people sitting at the table waiting for the biscuits. I was a fairly good cook once, but there’s something about cooking for one that just isn’t the same.

Here are two of my favorite shortcake recipes. Neither is for biscuits.

Shortcake  (This is our favorite) 

½ cup sugar

½ cup soft butter

2 tsp baking powder

¼ tsp salt

1 cup flour

1 egg

½ cup milk

Mix all ingredients lightly and pour batter into 8 x 12 prepared pan.  Sprinkle generously with ¼ cup sugar, and bake at 375 degrees until brown, 20-30 minutes.  Serve hot or cold with fresh berries, topped with whipped cream.

Strawberry Shortcake

½ cup plus 1-1/2  tsp  butter

6 T plus 1-1/2 tsp sugar

1 egg

½ tsp salt

grated peel of 1 lemon

2 cups flour

2 tsp baking powder

7 T milk

Cream butter and sugar. Beat in egg, salt, lemon.Fold in dry ingredients.

Bake 345 for about 40 min.

This recipe was taken from The Great Scandinavian Cookbook. Odd amounts

are because of conversion from Swedish measurements. This recipe is good also

. . less cake-y . . in taste and texture a little like the old fashioned

biscuit recipe our mothers used.

 

At last I know . . . . . it is good to go . . . . .

 

I must say I haven’t written here for a while because I have been busy getting my new book to the publisher and going over and over and over the material checking for typos and such. Not near as much fun as the writing was.

But this morning early, as I sipped my coffee and caught up on Facebook, I suddenly received a message that popped up out of the blue on Chat and surprised me with some wonderful news, something that meant a lot to me.

When I wrote in my first book a piece describing my experience with smoking and my quitting, then traveling and teaching others, I thought a lot about Jacquiline Rogers, the woman who had  experienced, then researched, then created the effective program of Smokenders. I wished I could talk to her, asking if my account was correct in its details.

But I didn’t know how to find her or even if she was approachable. She had become very well known.

Before I published that article I looked up the gentleman who now owns the Smokender program. I sent him a copy of the article and he approved it. His name is Don Seibert.

And it was he who appeared out of the blue this morning to tell me he had been to visit Jacqueline Rogers in New York (I think) and he had taken my book with him. She is now 93, in good health and good spirits. They read my article together and she was pleased and plans to buy her own copy of my book

Can’t tell you how pleased I was to hear that.

When I say “out of the blue” that makes sense, since Yahoo recently changed their email page to blue borders and light blue print . . which, for me, is hard to read. I wonder if they make changes often to please the people who use their program, or if some guy thinks up a new change just to convince his boss he is really doing something with his time on duty

And perhaps I am writing on this page today just to prove I am doing something with my time. Just checking in, you might say. Will write more later, after I send in my final version of the book. I’ll tell you about it then.

Have a good day.

DM

 

Come in . . feel free to look around . . . . .

Good morning. I had fun yesterday writing about things on my bedroom wall. So I’m going on to show you, from time to time, some of my other little treasures.

The first thing you would see when you enter my front door is this small chest that looks like an antique but isn’t. I ran upon it in a furniture store when I was moving into this house and I said “Yes!”

On the wall above it is a grouping of oriental pictures I bought years ago from one of the quaint shops in Waikiki. Below that is a hand-painted bowl I’ve kept, not because it’s an antique but because it is pretty. And beside that is a treasure from childhood.

U;n sorry you must turn your head, but the picture refuses to turn.

When I was a child I spent a lot of time at my grandparents’ and years later, when they died, I was asked what I would like from their home. I chose this paperweight. It was always kept on the small table that held the radio, and I played with it when my grandparents listened to news, and I asked them lots of questions about the picture in the paperweight. It was of a log cabin in the woods and bore the words “Only house left from the Massacre of 1857.”

This became even more meaningful years later when MacKinley Kantor won the Pulitzer prize for his book Spirit Lake, which describes that massacre in excruciating detail. Kantor was from Webster City, Iowa, the country seat, a few miles from us.  (He wrote other great books too, like Andersonville.) Today his beautiful monument is just a few steps away from my grandparents’ gravestone in Webster City.

 

But the  real antique, and a priceless one, is in the frame to the left. It is a tiny set of wool mittens knit by an elderly great aunt many years ago. What makes these mittens unique is that they were knit on TOOTHPICKS.  In length they measure 2 ½ inches. Do you have any idea how difficult that would be?

I treasure something like this because I too was entertained by hand work through all my years. When I was eleven I hand crocheted antimacassars for chairs and sold 3-piece sets to the ladies in town for $11.00. In high school I knit myself a sweater and knit baby sweaters for gifts.

In high school I also knit a pair of maroon wool socks for my dad for Christmas. They were still in his top drawer when he died. He said they were too nice to wear. But they went on to fame. One year, when I was away in college, my mother entered them into the Iowa State Fair competitions, in her name. And my socks not only won first prize in the knit socks category but first prize in the entire knitting category. My mother claimed the credit and the prize money. I didn’t care. She was probably the one who had taught me how to do it.

From time to time I will show you some of my other handwork, and I want you to understand I am not bragging about these things. They were projects I kept busy with, and relaxed with, while others were out playing tennis, swimming, going to ball games.

Turns out the only thing athletic about me is my fingers!

 

Colors from the past . . . . .

 

I’m going about the house this morning, picking things up, dusting things off, and appreciating little things. I’m noticing how many objects about the house are very personal to me, each with memories from my earlier years. Don’t you find that true in your house too? I’m going to share a few of my memories here from time to time

Here is the dress form from my early sewing years. I did sew some of my own clothes and certainly clothes for my daughter . . such as her prom dress. But the dress on this form happens to be one I bought in Houston probably twenty years ago. It looks old-fashioned, but it was just trendy then. I only wore it a few times, but I do remember wearing it to Sunday brunch, near the water, on the terrace of the famous Moana hotel. It seemed appropriate there, but you can imagine it would look weird in most places.

Although the fake flowers on the hat came from Hawaii, the hat itself came home with me from Peurto Rico. I had been there for a conference and upon return I shocked husband Gene by walking off the plane with a new haircut and the big hat and a bottle of rum for Gene.  I had been wearing that large hair style with back-combing. Pictures of that are horrible to look at now, but it was the acceptable style at that time.

The picture on the wall here is indeed precious to me. It was on the wall in the upstairs guest room of my grandparents’ home. When I was a child Grandma put me there for an afternoon nap, and put a Fritz Kreisler record on the Edison before leaving me alone. I had not wanted to nap, but I couldn’t help drifting off as the cool breeze blew the lace curtains in and as I gazed at my beautiful friend on the wall, the little girl with the dove. Everything about this picture said “peace”, and I’ve carried it all these years in my mind.

It seems right that now, in my old age, I fall asleep, with this little girl near, as peacefully as I did at four.

 

 

Coming soon . . . watch for it . . .

 

I haven’t written here for a while because I have been busy putting the last touches on my new book. That means I have been over it and over it and over it, and Sara has been over it too, looking for typos or other silly mistakes. But this week I turned it in and at this moment an editor is reading it to determine whether it is worth printing.

My first book was a collection of things I had written through the years. This book is a collection of things I wrote through this year, If accepted it will probably come out at about the time of my 92nd Birthday in August.

It will be named My Half of the Conversation. In this book I talk about many things, light-hearted moments and serious subjects as well, and encourage you to consider your half of the conversation.  In Hawaii they have a phrase I just love.  When they get together they “talk story.”  I hope you will join me in my book to talk story, and I’m leaving a few blank pages in the book for notes on your half of the conversation. We’ll think and talk about many of life’s mysteries.

Meanwhile, I am learning to live without driving a car, for no reason other than my age.  It is the most difficult thing I have ever done. Writing a book? No, that’s duck soup in comparison.

And meanwhile, I have just received results of my DNA test and learned, just as expected, that I am more than half Scandinavian and the rest is English and North/West European.  Yet . . the only surprise . . I am 5.3% Italian. So maybe my maiden name should have been Doris Petersinskioliono.

I have a beautiful apricot hibiscus blooming by my front door again. It is a lovely spring, although I think summer just hit us with 100 degrees.

Have a good day.

Doris Peterinskioliiono Markland

Memories of the Titanic

It is 6:00 in Hawaii and I am watching the movie Titanic while a cake is baking in the oven. Such a well made and moving movie. It’s one of the few that I have watched more than once.

I’ve wondered sometimes why the Titanic story moves me so. But then, I was born in 1925 and no doubt the adults were still talking about it and I picked up on fear and tragedy. I remember when I was about 4 my family went to a lake recreation area  on a Sunday and we rode the roller coaster  and went through the fun house Then my dad signed us up to ride on the famous old boat that toured Lake Okoboji. I began to scream and say I would not go on the boat. “You never know when it will go down,” I screamed, although I had never seen a lake or a boat before.Finally the family gave in and we did not go. I can still remember the fear that I felt, although I had no experience that would plant that fear.

One wonders how many fears we picked up from others, early in life and held onto. There are lots of things we inherit besides silverware and money. But then, perhaps I went down on the Titanic in another life.  (Not)

I survived my eye surgery and then have postponed my return to the mainland because of a muscle problem that is painful and making walking difficult. Darn.  I have finished my new book and signed a contract to publish, so I have lots to do. You can look forward to a book called My Half of the Conversation. I shall hope, when it comes out, that it rides with the waves of approval and does not go down like the Titanic.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stream from the Koolau Mountains

I have probably posted this picture before. It is the best picture I ever took in Hawaii. So good, in fact, that it won me $100 when it was chosen as one of the best pictures of American beauty.

Well, I was supposed to be home by now, but I have to stay on for a few weeks because I had surgery on one of my eyes. Doesn’t that sound like Hawaii fun? It probably wasn’t as bad as it sounds, but then it wasn’t fun either. I am healing, and I had the best of retinal specialists here, which I don’t have at home.

My daughter Sara is living here now and has been very handy to take me to appointments and watch over me. Her little dog, Malia, is always with us and now and then I dog-sit. Malia loves to be here with me. She is very quiet and does not cause problems. I’m not a dog person, but then Malia is my granddogter.

I signed a contract today to publish my second book. It is a real mish-mash of writings that probably represent where my mind is in these later years. I think other older people will understand it, and their kids , if they read it, may better understand what is going on with them. Who writes books for old people? It’s probably an unknown category. It will probably sell 5 copies. That’s about the number of my old friends still living.

The weather here is just about perfect and I’d like to think that when I come home sometime in May it will be just about perfect there. It takes great planning to accomplish this transition.

Hopefully I will soon be back to sharing some interesting insights here . . the ones that maybe were too late to make the book.

Aloha,

Doris Markland

 

 

 

 

 

 

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