Tag Archives: recipes



A Savor the South Cookbook

By Damon Lee Fowler


Retail: $20


This outstanding cookbook  series is coming to an end. However,  do not worry, as the series nears the projected finishing line of twenty books, there  is not winding down on quality. This next volume tackles an icon of the southern table, Ham and was well worth the wait

Author Howler is the skilled author of nine cookbooks and the editor and recipe developer of Dining at Monticello. He lives in Savannah GA.


Ham is discussed for all of its glory starting with the smokehouses of Thomas Jefferson , to today’s southern classics and to that glorious Italian version of ham, Prosciutto. Fowler takes us into the smokehouses where the very walls capture aromas and flavors of the hams and then, after years, bounce those accumulated scents and tastes back into the pork hindquarters that are hung inside each year.


While I worked at Mt. Vernon, we visited the smokehouse often. It was one of my favorite places on the plantation—I loved the scent of good food coming, carefully cared for, cured, into its own, to be presented at George Washington’s own table. When I cook ham, my own kitchen is redolent with the scent and flavors of history. It’s an aroma that brings everyone into the kitchen to try to cadge a bit of the outer ham “just to taste” before I slice and serve it.

Such is the continuity of ham in the south and anywhere this prince of pork products is loved and eaten. Fowler not only pays homage to Ham as a premiere food of the American South, he also recognizes it s place in other cultures and provides recipes from China, France, Italy and Spain and introduces us to their historic ham types and ways of preparing ham.


I read the front of the book with its history and terminology explanations with great interest. One could say I devoured it (except for the groaning sounds of those who hate puns.) As with the others in the series there are 50 plus, in this case, 55 recipes. Although, I cannot say I loved them all, most are wonderful and all of the recipes are explained so that both beginning and expert cooks can use them all with ease.


Why was I at odds with some of them ,especially with his basic baked ham? Simply because  I prefer my own (apple juice and cloves) way of  making it. However, his method is classic and  if you are new to ham, new to the possibilities of this fabulous meat, try his way.


Many of his other recipes will likely become classics in my own home. I especially liked his rendition of the Monte Cristo sandwich (an item that seems to be making a comeback in restaurants) and his ideas for combining southern classics—like his grilled ham and pimiento cheese sandwich. YUM! This recipe includes a very nice recipe for pimiento cheese as well. Classic ham biscuits, prosciutto and asparagus and lots of other ham and asparagus are just some of the other many delicious suggestions he offers (with full recipe) for using this most versatile meat. I could not help but chuckle as I read his recipe for ham bone soup—it called to mind the story of why cat and dog are rarely friends—all because of a fight over a hambone. Yes, even the bone, the leavings of a ham are worthy of use and can produce sublimely delicious offerings for your friends and family. Lunch, brunch, supper, soups are some of the categories in the book.  No desserts with ham—but then again, many lovers of ham (like my husband) will just as soon skip the sugary desserts for a second helping of whatever heavenly ham dish crossed the table as a main course.

As a side note, I am quite fond of the cover of this volume–I love the decorative red rose made from a thin slice of ham–says it all about the love affair the South (and I ) have with ham.


This slim volume is a very worth addition to the collection and deserves a place on your cookbook shelf.


Sweet and Hotter than Honey!

Sweet thoughts for Dad


In the course of my work as a food writer, I am sometimes offered new food products to try. This one is a timely offering for those of you who have Dads who like their food with a bit of extra “kick”. These products, as a group are known as Henry’s Humdingers. They are a set of are honey sauces with spices that bring up the heat. Eaten alone or, better yet, used to flavor foods on the grill, from the roast pan and on appetizer cheese, these will make meals more lively. Made with raw honey and spices, there is one more sweet fact about these items which may well become as the ad says, the “secret ingredient” in your summer cooking. That extra sweetness is that these sauces were developed by a young man who is donating part of what he earns to The Foundation for the Preservation of Honey Bees. You can find out more about the product and the need to care for our precious honey bees at the Humdinger website, www.henryshumdingers.com

 In 2011 founder Henry won the award for Young Entrepreneur of the Year in 2011. His product is on shelves in stores in 27 different states and the District of Colombia. Stores that carry the product range from small organic specialty shops to top-of-the-line grocery chain, Wegman’s.


At this time, there are no stores in my home area carrying the delightful piquant-power packed sweets. Mine came in the mail. I received, from the company, to try, their

Father’s Day, the company special four-pack that includes of some of its most popular sauces.  It’s priced at 19.95 plus shipping for Father’s day. The four are Grumpy Grandpa – garlic & cayenne, Naughty Nana -ginger & pepper, Phoebe’s Fireball- chipotle & cinnamon & Diabolical Dad – habanero & lime.


My husband (appropriately for Father’s Day!) is the hot food lover in our family so he gave the four products a taste test from the point of view of a heat loving palate.

Here are his findings from tasting the four varieties plain.

Grumpy Grandpa: a little heat, not too much, garlic aftertaste

Phoebe’s Fireball: Good taste, nice heat and counterpoint of cinnamon. No aftertaste

Naughty Nana: The pepper and the ginger work well together,

Diabolic Dad: hottest of the four, the lime offers a cool counterpoint to the heat. This one was my husband’s favorite.


My husband said that while the four were ok as dipping sauces on their own, he’d like to see them paired with food in recipes and for that, the website offers plenty of suggestions/ www. Henryshumdingers.com. I was happy to learn that the products contain no msg, and are therefore, safe for me to eat when I try out some of the recipes on the site. I’m looking forward to it.


If you have a heat loving Dad in the house, place your order soon so you can get the package in time for Father’s Day. Maybe place another order for Fourth of July entertaining while you are at it!



Joan’s Humdinger Wings in the oven.

Simply apply about 1 T of your favorite blend to each wing and bake until done. Delicious! The company offers a recipe for Icarus chicken wings (see below) for two dozen wings, enough for a party.


Joan’s suggestion for Have you a favorite honey and carrot recipe? Use one of these honeys instead of a plain honey and the veggie will add zip as well as color to your meal. I usually add a couple of tablespoons of honey, and an equal number of T of butter to the carrots and then bake them in the oven at 350 until tender.


       Here is the recipe for Henry’s Icarus Chicken Wings–courtesy of Henry’s Humdingers


24 chicken wings

1 ½ cups all purpose flour

3T garlic powder

1 tsp kosher salt

½ tsp white pepper

Vegetable oil for frying

One 6 oz jar of Diabolical Dad tm

3 T dark brown sugar

Ranch dressing for serving



Preheat the oven to 450. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl combine flour, salt, garlic powder, and pepper. Put wings in the flour, shake off excess and set on plate, in a large pot, heat several inches of oil to 360. When oil is hot, put wings in flour one more time, shake off excess.

Deep fry the wings until crispy and golden, while wings are frying, mix the Diabolical Dad and brown sugar. Remove wings form oil, pat dry and then dip in the honey mix to coat. Lay cooked wings on baking sheet, bake until dry, about 12 minutes. Serve with ranch dressing.

Honey, I love you!!!

At the Taste of Home in Myrtle Beach on Nov 23, one of the vendors had local honey!!!!!

The booth was Senior Helpers. (843-979-3273).

Naturally, I bought some. Used it this morning on my oatmeal. YUM!!!

If you live in the area, you might want to try. The beekeeper does not sell single source honey. He blends the honey from Georgetown and Horry Counties to achieve a light and lovely all natural product, that is consistent, one jar to the next, tho I cannot judge that since I only have one jar.

Proceeds from the sale of the honey helped support local efforts to aid Alzheimer sufferers, making the purchase extra sweet!

Renovations–Need your help

Hi! We’re doing some household renovations and I will be offline for a while and off the blog for a longer. I’d like to make good use of this time for writing and posting as well as for having the joy of a lighter load in the house (we will use the renovation as a time to clear out things as well as put in the new. I’m not asking you to come and clean out the house or help lay the new floors. What I’d like is for you to use the comment section to tell me what you would like to see in Family Creativity, Food posts and writing and performing posts. Do you want to guest? Let me know. When I start up again, I’ll try to fill your wish lists as best I can. The purpose of my blog is to serve you while putting forth my ideas and books. How can I deepen our relationship and broaden the appeal and utility (to others) of the blog? Thanks. 

Food, Glorious Food

Still have two more Glory Food products to review, but am taking a break to tell you about the dinner Joe and I made for our friends last night–Leotta Lasagna.

I make a sauce that has some meat but is not cooked for a long time. Joe specializes in preparing the ricotta, returning it to the creamy stuff we enjoyed as children by putting it in the processor with a bit of milk, then we layer (with added mozzarella) and bake–terrific if I do say so myself and I really don’t eat lasagna. Never liked it until we started to make it together. Is it the lasagna I like or is it the cooking together that simply makes it taste better?


Book Review

Virgin Coconut Oil

By AndBrian W. Shilhavy and Marianita Jader Shilhavy

Usually 25.00, the book was on sale at the site for $14.99 when I checked on December 8


Right up front, I need to tell you that Tropical Traditions (at my request) provided me with a free copy of this book to review.

If you are new to using coconut oil in your diet (as I am) this is a book you should consider purchasing this slim volume It’s  a great reference for all of the uses of virgin coconut oil.


Most of the information is on coconut oil, its chemical make-up and uses. Tropical Traditions makes no health claims for its product and emphasizes the use of coconut oil in cooing as its aim by providing a group of recipes at the back of the book. There are stews and desserts and vegetable side and main dishes–something for everyone and I am anxious to try them all.


While the authors in no way claim any medical properties for their product and urge people to follow the advice of physicians in treating medical problems, individual testimonials included in the book attest to individual success at success in supplementing traditional medicine with the use of coconut oil topically or in one’s diet. Various writers testify to a wide variety of uses for the oil from helping to correct small thyroid imbalances, aid dry skin and scalp situations and help with acne. Others have written to say that since starting to use coconut oil in their diet they have seen better results for mental acuity, weight loss, and even various stomach and fatigue disorders. Even if you do not agree with these testimonials, the purity of the product sold by Tropical Traditions recommends itself as a healthy addition to any diet.


Although Tropical Traditions has posted a lot of information and many wonderful recipes online, I like being able to hold the book. I’ve already recommended it to several people and am giving a copy to my daughter as a part of her Christmas presents along with a jar of the Virgin coconut oil. Certainly an interesting read for anyone new to the idea of adding coconut oil to the pantry and array of OTC remedies for things like dry skin and scalp.

You can purchase a copy at www.tropicaltraditions.com

About the authorsMarianita Jader Shilhavy, CND (Certified Nutritionist/ Dietician in the Philippines)
Marianita earned her Bachelor of Science degree in nutrition at Centro Escolar University in Manila. Understanding the nutrition of Filipino foods, Marianita worked for over eight years as a hospital dietician and nutritional counselor in the Philippines.

Brian W. Shilhavy, BA, MA
Brian earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Bible/Greek from Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, and his Master of Arts degree in linguistics from Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago. He is the Chief Executive Officer of Tropical Traditions, Inc


So Much to DO!

It seems that my blog schedule is not getting off to a good start–Have a review of an article to do for Carmen, one to write for the SUn News and the handouts to craft for the seminar on story performance I am giving this weekend at Wildacres.

Please be patient with me.


My aim is to blog once weekly with something from me and something that will be of value to others.