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Recipe in this column:  

Black and Tan Frosting for Cookies

Salmon Cakes


Fame’s in my future as Americans become gourmands


  by Sally D. Ketchum


I’m going to be a celebrity! Hot dog! David Kamp’s hot new book, The United States of Arugula, suggests that I am destined to be a Celebrity Food Writer. I can’t wait, but wait I must. Kamp’s book, with five star reviews and high places on bestseller lists at its September 12 release, is about the rise of gourmet food in America and celebrity food folks that arrive with it--TV food personalities, the three great cookbook writers (Beard, Child and Claiborne), the zillions of not-so-great cookbook writers, Iron Chefs, restaurant reviewers, food stylists, grocers and eateries. You see, Kamp, who also writes and edits for such up-scale magazines as Vanity Fair and GQ, says that the trend to food-related celebrity is so strong that soon we will have celebrity butchers, bakers and farmers, if not candle stick makers.


In fact, we already do have them. The media, including our paper, has kept abreast of the local organic farms and herb nurseries and vineyards. Surely, my status, since I often write about trends and find that the country is becoming fixated, for better or worse, on micro greens, black truffles, European rich butters, flavored foams (Yes, I’ve tasted them—amazing!  But you need expensive equipment to produce food foam.) And sprays for dressing salads (I haven’t tasted them, but they’re at the stores.) After all, eating in San Francisco, I doubted the server when he said the salad course was flying fish eggs topping the micro greens on the serviche (raw fish marinated in citrus juice, lime in this case.) Ha! Flying fish eggs fly all over the culinary scene now, and in different colors, too! But, checking many reference books in my food library, even fairly recent ones, there’s not a word of them. The trend Kamp writes of moves fast.


The word is that many food-connected celebrities have a secret life; US of Arugula is full of tasty and not so tasty anecdotes about celebrity sex, drugs and shenanigans. Sex? Why, early on, every summer before we headed to northern Michigan from downstate, my dad told me that country boys grew up faster than city boys.  Something about piglets, as I recall. However, I didn’t think the boys at Long Lake were any taller than the boys in my school at home.  But, as a celebrity food-writer, I must write about sex, like the sexes of eggplants. Truth or myth, it all depends on the shape of the blossom end “scar.”  I’ll have to fudge, though, because I can never keep which sex has the round scar and which sex is uneven. 


Drugs? I’ve never done drugs, but I did get in trouble when I sent my college student son a pot party; but it was only a small bag of Miracle Grow potting soil, some seeds and a few plastic pots. As for the money element of celebrity, I’ll save the modest checks from my work until I have enough to bank and raise the eye of the teller.


Certainly, with a future as a food writer celebrity, I’ll work on my mission statement: I intend to rename vegetables. Really, even cutting edge chefs call the old tomatoes varieties “Heirlooms.” Sounds like something dusty up in the attic. I’m thinking of a beautiful, full round and ripe red variety. I’ll call it “Fergie;” the old “Mortgage Lifter,” popular in the depression, I’ll call “Bull Market,” and the long and elegant “Cream Sausage” tomato will be born again as “Calvin Klein.”


My mission is to keep track of au currant table manners. In fact, I’ll have to scout out those no-chairs restaurants where it is de rigueur to sit on the floor. Further, as creamy French food has gone out of fashion, I’ll have to stop depending on those lovely French phrases and brush up on my Indian (“The gram macula’s heat drew tears.”) My Greek needs a lot of work, too. (“The diaspora of Asian salads to Kalkaska is amazing.”) And, my Hungarian is terrible! I used shako in a recent draft on milk shakes, when true celebs know shako is a peaked Hungarian military hat and the word rightly should go with an orange-ginger buttercream meringue pulled into a high dollop. 


Nevertheless, now that I know my destiny as a Celebrity Food Writer, I’ll be ready. Small bronze plaques at the city limits would be pleasant. I’ll read mountains of mail (My Record-Eagle blog already has a comment from far away Indiana.), and I’ll have to put a spray of arugula in my hair, too.  Be assured, Dear Reader, when I become famous, I’ll let you know.


Sally Ketchum is a northern Michigan writer who lives in a remote woods and water area.  It’s already becoming famous, she notes. A tourist from Pellston was at the local fishery just the other day.



Salmon Cakes (1948)


6 cooked potatoes, chopped

2 cups flaked salmon

1 green pepper, chopped

1 egg


Combine ingredients and shape into cakes. Brown in greased frying pan. Serve with Tartare Sauce and parsley. Serve 6.



(Moroccan Cuisine)

Good with fish, lamb, duck or chicken)


1 tablespoon cumin seeds

1 garlic clove, minced

1-½ cups finely chopped fresh cilantro

½ cup finely chopped fresh Italian parsley

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

1 1/2 teaspoons paprika

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

½ cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil


Stir cumin in small skillet over medium heat until lightly toasted, about 2 minutes.  Transfer to mortar. Add garlic; pound with pestle until paste forms. Transfer to bowl. Mix in cilantro and next 4 ingredients. Stir in olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Can be made 2 days ahead. Cover; chill. Let stand at room temperature 1 hour before serving.


--Bon Appetit, October 2006 Special 50th Anniversary Issue.


*Charmoula recipe is part of a complicated two-page recipe for Roasted Whole Fish and Fennel with Crushed Potatoes, Preserved Lemon and Charmoula.  The Anniversary issue is a keeper.

Luxury or necessity

Counter attacks

by Sally D. Ketchum


Once again, He-Who-Must-Be-Fed enlarged our garden instead of making it smaller as I had suggested.  He listens to me (as most husbands listen to their wives), but he happened to be in his “I’ll do it anyway,” mode.


This brings me to the subject of plastic quart freezer bags. Yesterday, I ran out of plastic quart freezer bags. We had every other size, snack packs to three kinds of gallon bags.  But, what I needed as I looked at a bushel of tiny French green beans was quart side—the perfect size to hold two snack packs of beans for two and a bagful for a foursome. I wanted these so desperately that it occurred to me that just then that having an unlimited supply of freezer bags, all sizes, would be a luxury. Just then I yearned not for a spa, not for a housekeeper, not for an evening of watching “Monarch of the Glen DVD. I yearned for freezer bags! (The DVD is highly recommended!)

While I contemplate the nature of luxury, my thoughts approach the subject in different avenues.  Certainly, luxury is in the eye of the beholder.  For instance, I eyed my very cluttered kitchen counters and found that they were full, not with necessities, coffee maker, toaster and such, but with clutter—items that were luxuries only in my eyes.  Under the unessential category:  Jar for pocket change (music fund for the kids), a large plastic bin (dog treats/three dogs), a large flower pot (for kitchen utensils that should be in a drawer, a weird looking grated cheese shaker (gift from a dear pal) and so on.


Worse than my problem with clutter is my proclivity to fetishes. I know I have a fetish for boxes. During our last move HWMBF made me throw out my box collection. He knocked down boxes of boxes saved for Christmas, kids’ projects and emergencies like a lost young kitten. I don’t even like to see boxes knocked down. I like my boxes stacked inside each other, something like the hand-painted Russian dolls that enclosed other dolls. My kitchen is full of boxes, some large ones, collecting things to be moved here or there, some tiny ones inside the drawers to hold precious things like spent AAA batteries and colored paper clips.


J. K. Galbraith, a famed American (though born in Canada) economist, who studied economics and luxury and said that, “In an affluent society no useful distinction can be made between luxuries and necessities.”  Interesting to me. Many of my kitchen things are probably luxuries, but I absolutely feel that I need them. For instance, Matilda, my standing mixer (I am in the habit of naming my favorite things.), a necessity, is the best--bakery quality, if not bakery size.  My toaster, luxurious because of its cost, is a necessity since it has a totally smooth, easy-clean surface that is a necessity to me, as housecleaning impaired as I am.


Then there is the aspect of gourmet ingredients.  Although I have tasted shaved a black truffle, I have never purchased one.  However, if I’m going to do chocolate, I do chocolate, that is I use Dutch process black cocoa from Dean & Deluca. HWMBF loves imitation crab and lobster, probably as an excuse to drink melted butter. But, by gumbo, if I’m making seafood in crème fraiche, it’s going to be made with seafood that once swam or crawled under its own name.


Freebies are another luxury in my life.  I love to give things away. Somehow, I receive a lot of inexpensive travel bags. OK, yes they have a logo of a magazine, travel agency or writers’ conference. But I don’t use these as birthday gifts to dear friends. I give them to kids. They love them--brand new, and who cares if it says TV Guide on them?  My young neighbor pal was kind enough to even show me that he was using his bag as a carrier for his garten snake.


Finally, I’d like you to know that I don’t have the luxury of a dishwasher. Something about where we live and our limestone peninsula’s plumbing.  But, I have HWMBF, as willing with a towel as he is with a trowel.


Sally Ketchum lives, cooks and writes from the shores of northern Lake Michigan.



Black and Tan Frostings for cookies

Jeanne Brophy frosted buttermilk sugar cookies, half black and half tan, called “Black and Tans,” to win a Gourmet 2005 contest.


Chocolate Frosting  (black):

¼ cup unsweetened Dutch process cocoa such as Periginotti

2 ½ tablespoons unsalted butter

1 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted

¼ cup half and half

Mix cocoa and butter together with a hand mixer. Gradually blend in sugar and half and half. Blend until fluffy and light. Can be prepared a day or two in advance, tightly wrapped and refrigerated. Allow to come to room temperature before using.


Tan Frosting (peanut butter):

¼ cup creamy peanut butter

2 ½ tablespoons unsalted butter

1 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted

¼ cup half and half

Mix peanut butter and butter together with a hand mixer. Gradually blend in sugar and half and half. Blend until fluffy and light. Can be used and saved as Chocolate frosting.

Recipe in this column:  

Mom Page's Scalloped Potatoes

Game Day Slow Cooker Chicken Salad


  by Sally D. Ketchum


Monday in Michigan. Anyone tired on Mondays?  Yep. We are casualties of the weekend. Fatigue and ennui set in after sneaking in chores around errands and still having time for ALL THOSE GAMES. A couple of weeks ago we were blitzed with sports as teams came in streams: high school football and soccer, Michigan State and Michigan in the same game, the Tigers taking on the Yankees, and though we viewers, in the stadiums or living rooms, were satiated with scoreboards and beer commercials, the Red Wings played to finish the day. So?


So food. So popcorn, naked or not, pretzels in various twists, boards sticky with cheese, slow cookers of thick soupy (and sometimes mysterious) foods and, yes—beer, boxed wine and for some of us, bottled water.  Looking back at that sports-stuffed weekend, I recall a condiment-loaded train of spicy stuff from Friday night to leftovers on Sunday. I’ve fallen into a rut. So I’m thinking things over, and I’m looking for improvement, even if that means bringing back some of the old things. They were, it seems this Monday, not only more sensible and healthful, but also better tasting.


I discovered tailgates early in my childhood. As voyeurs, we picnicked more modestly in our Dodge, parked in the stadium’s lot. We watched the more organized tailgates. These affairs grew over the years until the present panorama--elaborate tables, team colors all over, portable grills, camping equipment, slabs of barbecued ribs with two sauces and team pennants stuck in tubs of ice and beer.  Now, the super stars of tailgaters, seeking both publicity and records, spend unbelievable sums on motor homes to lug foods and supplies to parking lots as early Wednesday of the game week to set up.  I envision that Bite Songs will be next.  (YOU CAN USE JUST THE FIRST TWO LINES IF YOU LIKE, OR CUT THE WHOLE SONG.)

“Bite, bite, bite, we could eat all night, just a bite, just a bite!

Eat, eat, eat! Indigestion, we’ll defeat, as we eat, as we eat!

 Plate, plate, plate! Look at all we ate! Celebrate, celebrate!

We’ll gain fame! (Fists up.) Tailgate is the name! What? (Fists down.)

There’s a game?  Oh, well. (Pause)

Still, heat the grill! It’s a thrill!  Bite, bite, bite…“(Refrain)


But, usually (Consider the price of tickets.), I prefer game food at home. Thinking it over, I find that I depend on three types of game day foods, the nibbles, the make-it-yourself, cheese, sausage and condiments sandwich tray with a bowl of lettuces, and a heartier offering in a slow cooker or warm oven.  These are stews and chowders in the slow cooker and trays of chicken wings, toasted ravioli, tacos, wrapped foods and the like in the oven. I announce these, but we serve ourselves.  Not all at once, of course, but I’ve come close with a large crowd. In practice, it seems that at the start of games, the nibbles that come first are organized insofar the peanuts stay in the bowls and little paper napkins in team colors accompany the chips with dips. You can twist the napkins when the other team threatens.  (Spiced nuts, easy to make with recipes on line, and even nut cookbooks in bookstores make great nibbles.) And the game goes on, and I know that by the 4th quarter, there will be empty chili bowls on the floor and wads of paper towels on the tables, greasy with the butter and Louisiana hot sauce for the Buffalo wings. Though unsightly, a wastebasket in the middle of it all is a work saver. It’s game day; it’s game food.


 I have my favorites. I like cold meatloaf slices on the sandwich board.  My slow cooker favorites are red and black bean chili, short ribs with tomatoes and herbs, and Italian Meatballs with Chard. In a warm oven, I like olive oil drizzled on fresh ravioli sprinkled with rosemary (purchased ravioli, and baked at 400 degrees until brown and crisp) and spinach balls, always welcome to the health conscious folks. Game day food is fun, and I like to furnish a basket of Tootsie Pops or team color M and M’s as the game is re-hashed. Oh, if our team loses?  I suggest bringing out hot cherry pie, homemade or not, turn the TV off, and change the subject.  Like, who do we play next week?



Game Day Slow Cooker Chicken Salad

5 cups diced cooked chicken

3 cups celery, chopped

1 cup chopped pecans

2-½ cups mayonnaise

1 2ounce jar chopped pimentos, drained (optional)

2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided

1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided

1-cup breadcrumbs

1 cup diced green bell pepper

½ cup minced onion

½ cup lemon juice

1 cup crushed potato chips

1 jar of bacon bits

1 can Chinese noodles


Combine the first 11 ingredients in a slow cooker, reserving half of the cheddar and half of the Parmesan. Cover and cook on low heat for 6 hours or more. In separate medium bowls next to the slow cooker, offer a variety of add-ons: crushed potato chips, remaining Parmesan, remaining cheddar, bacon bits, Chinese noodles and such. Serve with Kaiser rolls or other large rolls. Serves 12-14

--Sally Ketchum, a revamped recipe from an old cookbook 


  by Sally D. Ketchum


The eternal battle of Mars vs. Venus had a good week. He-Who-Must-Be-Fed said that he was going to make scalloped potatoes because I no longer made them “the way you used to.”  While he has never been a “not as good as my Mother’s” husband, lately he is romanticizing foods (They tasted better back then.), foods that I swear I can produce today. But, come on, we all like to try new things once in a while, right?


In any case, in making his potatoes, he used only the ingredients I used back then: potatoes, butter, cheese, milk and flour—with one exception: He forgot the flour. So his scalloped potatoes were potatoes escalloped in a buttery, watery-milky fluid, albeit supporting small chunks of cheese. Since he had made a double batch, it was up to me to deal with the leftovers. So I did.  I sliced his cold potatoes into large chunks, drained them, and put them in a bowl and made a cheesy white sauce. Then I tossed the chunks and the sauce together in the bowl and put the now sauced potatoes in a baking dish. I baked them about 25 minutes at 350 degrees.  The dish looked kind of funny, but tasted just fine.


Scalloped potatoes have always been an issue in our marriage, at least since the infamous block party. In our early marriage, we happened to live in a friendly neighborhood of a Detroit suburb. This neighborhood had a long-standing tradition of having a block party near summer’s end. The police even allowed us to block off the streets, (against the law to all others) because of the tradition. This, of course, was a highlight of the season since it meant that kids could ride in the street, and they certainly did so. Scooters, tricycles, bicycles and dirt bikes, babies in strollers pushed by toddlers wove in, our and around the picnic tables in the street with only the loss of an occasional red Jell-o salad and flown away napkins.


In these parties, I somehow I became famous on the block for my scalloped potatoes. However, in a classic, “Pride goeth before a fall,” case, I sliced off the tip of my middle finger, the longest one, the first time I used my new Miracle Slicer for the potatoes.  I had begged for this TV advertised device for years; and, though HWMBF warned that I was impaired in culinary technology, I sent away for my Miracle Slicer, a wonder in plastic and blade.


(Gentle readers, I must pause here to give you some background for what followed. You see I attended one of Michigan’s great universities; and our neighbor, a respected attorney, went to the other great one.  And since the party was early in the football season, it happened that our respective great football teams played each other the day of the party.)

To continue:  When I sliced the very top of my longest finger off, HWMBF wisely avoided my screams, wadded up bandages around the wounded digit and packed my whole hand in an ice bag. However, in an act of certain heroic brilliance, he found the severed tip of my finger on the table, packed it in another bag of ice, and then took the bag and me to the hospital where an ER doctor stitched things back together. (It healed after a while, and now all I have as evidence of the event is a crooked fingerprint.)


Epilogue:  As the party wore down, my family and our neighbor’s settled down to together in the neighbor’s den to watch The Big Game on television.  Back from the hospital, my middle finger now bandaged thick and splinted stiffly, I supported my forearm with pillows, hand and finger upwards to control bleeding, as the emergency room physician had directed.  So there we were, one family dressed in maize and blue, the other in green and white.  During commercials my neighbor glowered at my raised finger. This unsettled me. At the time I wondered why.  Later, HWMBF, always knowledgeable, explained that men know the language of rude gestures, those commonly seen in road rage and professional wrestling matches.  How awful, I thought.  My neighbor must have thought me terribly vulgar.  I console myself now thinking that, no, he wouldn’t think that. He knew me. He probably just didn’t like my potatoes. I don’t recall who won the game that year. I still make scalloped potatoes, and I include a terrific recipe for them.


Sally Ketchum is a northern Michigan food writer. She recalls childhood summers near Alpena, near Posen, where then, all  children were let out of school in September for potato digging.



Mom Page’s Scalloped Potatoes


Note:  If followed exactly, this is, indeed, a never fail recipe. It is one of a few that live up to that billing.  If you adjust it, add or change ingredients to your preference, it will probably be good. If followed, it is certain to be delicious.


5 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

8 medium russet potatoes, peeled and sliced 1/8 inch thick

1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

½ cup hard cheese such as Parmesan, Dry Jack or pecorino Romano

2 Tablespoons chopped fresh herbs such as thyme, parsley and/or chives


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 12 x 9 inch ceramic or glass baking dish with 1 tablespoon of butter.  Toss together the potatoes, onion, cream, salt, pepper and nutmeg in a large bowl.  Line the bottom of the baking dish with an even layer of potatoes and onion.  Dot the surface with 1 tablespoon of the remaining butter.  Repeat layering until the dish is full and pour any remaining cream over the top.  Press down on the potatoes so that they are an even thickness. Dot the surface with any remaining butter and sprinkle with cheese.

Bake uncovered until the potatoes are tender, the cream is absorbed, and the cheese is golden and crisp, about 1 hour.  Sprinkle the herbs on top of the dish just before serving. Makes 6 servings.

--The Record-Eagle, from a wire service

Recipes in this column:  

Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin Bread

Pumpkin Pie

by Ramona Plesher

(Kas' Mom's Recipe)


Yield: 2 pies


1 large can of pumpkin

4 eggs

1 can condensed milk

1 cup of water

1/4 tsp. salt

1 cup sugar

Spices to taste:

(I use about a teaspoon of cinnamon and a couple of good "shakes" of the others.)

Cinnamon (1 tsp.)

Ground Cloves





Make two pie shells. (Use the recipe listed in the far left column, under Apple Pie, or a pre-made pie shell.)


Combine ingredients listed. Fill each pie shell. Bake at 375° for 50-55 minutes.

Pumpkin Bread

Yield: 3 small loaves or 2 larger ones.   Oven 325°

2 cups sugar

1 cup salad oil

3 eggs

2 cups canned or cooked pumpkin

3 cups flour

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. ground cloves

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

1 tsp. ground nutmeg

Grease 3 small loaf pans (7.5" x 3 1/2" x 2 1/2") or 2 larger loaf pans. Heat oven to 325°.

Beat sugar and salad oil in a bowl. Add eggs, one at a time, and beat until fluffy. Beat in canned pumpkin.

Mix flour, salt, baking powder, backing soda, cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg together in a bowl. Add the dry mixture the to pumpkin mixture and stir well.

Bake for 60 minutes. Remove from pans and cook on racks. Wrap n foil.

Note: This recipe is from Kas' collection. It came from a friend many years ago, so the original source is not known.

Recipe in this column:  

Fettucine Alfredo



+All-American Apple Pie

+"Ramona's" Chocolate Chip Cookies

+Chocolate Lebkuchen

+Cut-Out Cookies


+Split Seconds (cookies)

+Thanksgiving Dutch Apple Pie



+Apricot Cookies

+BBQ Marinade

+Citrus Spinach Salad +Fantastic Fudge Pie

+Fresh Plumb Crumb

+Gazpacho, chilled Mexican Soup

+Good 'n Easy Scallop Bake

+Lemon Butter Cookies

+Mushroom-Bacon Quiche

+Thanksgiving Dutch Apple Pie

+Zesty Baked Trout


Recipes for Hunters


From the forest to the table











Author, Cook  and Gardener

Sally D. Ketchum


Super Student/

Happy Kid!

A Practical Student Success Guide for Everyone

by Sally D. Ketchum


Fettucine Alfredo

by Diane Attilio


1/2 cup butter

1 cup cream

2 tabls. parsley

1/2 cup Parmean cheese

1/2 cup Romano cheese

24 oz. fettucine

Salt and pepper to taste

Shrimp/Scallops or both


Cream butter. Gradually add cream and parsley. Beat in cheeses. Cook fettucine and drain well. Add the creamed mixture to the hot pasta and toss to coat the noodles. Add salt and pepper and cooked shrimp and scallops, if desired.




Recipe from Food and Fables From Family and Friends

by Diane Attilio


Diane Attilio

Cookbook Author


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