Old Fashioned Chess Pie


9 inch single pie crust
2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons flour
½ cup butter, melted
4 eggs, beaten well
½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Line a 9-inch pie pan with crust and then crimp the edges decoratively.

In a large bowl, combine the sugar and flour, mix well. Add the butter, eggs, and vanilla. Stir well to combine everything into a smooth, thick filling. Pour the filling into the piecrust.

Place the pie on the bottom shelf of the oven. Bake for 10 minutes. Lower the heat to 350 degrees, and bake until the center is fairly firm, wiggling only a little when you gently nudge the pan, 30 to 40 minutes.

Place the pie on a cooling rack and let cool to room temperature.



“Colonial Williamsburg” Inspired Cream Of Peanut Soup


¼ cup unsalted butter
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 celery ribs, finely chopped
3 tablespoons flour
8 cups Chicken Stock
2 cups smooth peanut butter
1 ¾ cups half-and-half
Finely chopped salted peanuts, for garnish

In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the onion and celery and cook, until softened, about five minutes.

Stir in flour and cook two or three minutes longer.

Pour in the chicken stock, increase the heat to high, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring often, until slightly reduced and thickened, about 15 to 20 minutes. Pour into a sieve and strain.  Return the liquid to the sauce pan.

Whisk the peanut butter and the half-and-half into the liquid. Cream can be used for a richer soup.  Warm over low heat, stirring often, for about five minutes. Do not boil.

Serve warm, garnished with the chopped peanuts.

Cornmeal Crusted Catfish


Oil for frying
2 pounds catfish fillets
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons crab boil seasoning
2 large eggs
½ cup half-and-half
1 tablespoon hot sauce
2 cups coarse-ground cornmeal
Tartar sauce

Heat 1 inch of oil in a Large, deep-sided cast-iron skillet fitted with a frying thermometer to 375˚F.

Rinse the catfish fillets and pat thoroughly dry with paper towels. Cut the fillets in half lengthwise.  Season lightly with salt and pepper and set aside. Combine the flour and crab boil seasoning in a bowl. Beat the eggs with the half-and-half and hot sauce in a second bowl. Place the cornmeal in a third bowl. Dip a piece of catfish in the flour, shaking off excess, then into egg wash, allowing excess to drip away. Roll the fish in cornmeal and slip it into the hot oil 2-3 pieces at a time. Fry the fish for 3 minutes, carefully turn them, and fry for additional 3 minutes more, until golden brown. Transfer to a baking sheet and place in a 200˚F oven to keep warm while you continue to fry batches of fish.

When all the fish is fried, serve immediately with tartar sauce on the side.

Hot Pepper Sauce Shaved Ice Oyster


1 standard 5-ounce bottle Tabasco or favorite hot sauce
¼ cup simple syrup
1 cup water

Simple Syrup

Pour 1 cup of sugar and 1 cup of water in a saucepan and bring to a boil.  Stir until sugar is dissolved completely.  Cool.

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Pour into a wide and shallow container and freeze. When thoroughly frozen, scrape with a fork to create a shaved ice.

Horseradish Shaved Ice Oyster


1¼ cups prepared horseradish
½ cup vinegar, preferably champagne
⅓ cup simple syrup
1¼ cups water

Simple Syrup

Pour 1 cup of sugar and 1 cup of water in a saucepan and bring to a boil.  Stir until sugar is dissolved completely.  Cool.


Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend thoroughly. Strain onto a wide and shallow container and freeze. When thoroughly frozen, scrape with a fork to create a shaved ice.  Serve on oysters immediately.


Sweet Potato Pie


Pastry for a 9’inch single crust
1 cup sugar
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon salt
1¼ cups evaporated milk or half-and-half
2 eggs, beaten well
1½ cups mashed, cooked sweet potatoes
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Heat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a 9-inch pie pan with crust and then crimp the edges decoratively.

Combine the sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in a large bowl. Use a whisk to stir them together well. Add the milk and eggs, and stir to mix everything together evenly. Add the sweet potatoes, butter, and vanilla. Mix them together well, stirring them into the egg mixture carefully, until you have a thick, smooth, and evenly combined pie filling.

Pour the filling into the piecrust and place it on the middle rack of the oven. Bake until the edges puff up and the center is fairly firm, wiggling only a little when you gently nudge the pan, 50 to 55 minutes.

Place the pie on a cooling rack and let cool for 30 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.


Most Admired: Rie Munoz


Rie Munoz (1921-2015)

Rie Munoz is an Alaskan artist that was born and raised in California. In 1951 she went on vacation to Alaska, traveling the inside passage by steamship she arrived at Juneau. She fell in love with Juneau and gave herself one day to find a job and a place to live before the steamship left. She landed a newspaper job, a place to live and Alaska has been her home since.

Over the years she has lived in many small Alaskan communities and held numerous jobs, among them journalist, teacher, museum curator and artist. In 1951 she held the position of a teacher on King Island where she taught twenty-five Eskimo children. This time in her life is featured in the January 1954 issue of National Geographic. Her paintings reflect her interest and fascination with day-to-day Alaskan activities such as village life, whaling, fishing both sport and commercial, berry picking, children playing, folklore and legends.

In 1972 she devoted herself fulltime to art and she began to publish full color reproductions of a small number of her watercolors. She produced about sixty originals a year. Over the years I have collected several of her reproductions. She describes her artwork:

“My artwork can best be described as expressionism. The term applies to work that rejects camera snapshot realism, and instead, expresses emotion by distortion and strong colors. My paintings reflect an interest in the day-to-day activities of Alaskans such as fishing, berry picking, children at play, crabbing, and whaling. I am also fascinated with the legends of Alaska’s Native people. While I find much to paint around Juneau, most of my material comes from sketching trips taken to the far corners of Alaska. I’ve taught school on King Island in the Bering Sea, traveled and sketched almost every community in Alaska.”
~ Rie Munoz




Most Admired: Marguerite Porete


Marguerite Porete (?-1310)

Marguerite Porete was a French mystic and the author of “The Mirror of Simple Souls.” It is a Christian Spiritual work concerning divine love. When she refused to remove her book form circulation and recant her views she was burned at the stake as a heretic in 1310. Little is known of her life except through her trial for heresy and it is certainly biased and incomplete. She has been a rather obscure figure until recent years as until 1946 her work had been published anonymously since her death.

Porete was officially warned by the Church that her works were heretical and they were publically burned by the Bishop of Cambrai. She had written her book in Old French as opposed to Latin and was ordered not to circulate her ideas ever again. She was eventually arrested by the local inquisitor. Twenty-one theologians scoured her book for evidence of heresy. In the end three bishops passed final judgment on her. After a year and a half in prison in Paris her trial began. She refused to recant her ideas or cooperate with the authorities. Because she did not recant she was found guilty and burnt at the stake. As she died the crowd is said to have been moved to tears by her calmness.

“The Mirror of Simple Souls,” is an allegorical conversation between Love, Reason, Soul, and Truth. It deals with Porete’s belief that when the soul is full of God’s love it is united with God and in a union which transcends the contradictions of the world. In this state one cannot sin because the soul is united with God’s will and incapable of such. A few quotes:

“O Truth, says this Soul, for god’s sake, do not say
That of myself I might ever say something of Him,
save through Him;
And this is true, do not doubt it,
And if it pleases you to know whose I am,
I will say it through pure courtesy:
Love holds me so completely in her domain,
That I have neither sense, nor will,
Nor reason to do anything,
Except through her, as you know.”

“Theologians and other clerks,
You won’t understand this book,
— However bright your wits —
If you do not meet it humbly,
And in this way, Love and Faith
Make you surmount Reason, for
They are the protectors of Reason’s house. ”

“God has nowhere to put his goodness, if not in me no place to put himself entire, if not in me. And by this means I am the exemplar of salvation, and what is more, I am the salvation itself of every creature, and the glory of God.”
~ Marguerite Porete

Most Admired: Simone de Beauvoir


Simone de Beauvoir (1908-1986)
Simone-Ernestine-Lucie-Marie Bertrand de Beauvoir was a French existentialist philosopher, intellectual, feminist and social theorist. She did not consider herself a philosopher, however her contributions to existential feminist thought firmly enshrines her legacy as one. In her lifetime she wrote novels, essays, biographies, a multi-volume autobiography, including articles/essays on philosophy, politics, and social issues. She is best remembered for her treatise “The Second Sex,” a highly detailed analysis of women’s oppression and as it relates and influences contemporary feminism. She is also known for her two metaphysical novels “She Came to Stay” and “The Mandarins,” but by far best known or renown for “The Second Sex.”

Simone de Beauvoir was born in Paris and studied mathematics and philosophy at the Institut Catholique and literature/languages at the Institut Sainte-Marie. She then went on to study philosophy at the Sorbonne. Afterwards while completing her practice teaching requirements she first met Maurice Merleau-Ponty and Claude Lévi-Strauss. While studying for her agrégation in philosophy (a highly competitive postgraduate civil service examination which serves as a national ranking of students for some position in the public education system) she met fellow students Jean-Paul Sartre, Paul Nizan, and René Maheu. The jury narrowly awarded Sartre first place over Beauvoir. She was twenty-one at the time and the youngest ever to pass the exam.

In June 1949 “The Second Sex” was published in France. She argues that men made women the “Other” in society by putting a false and constructed mystery around them. Therefore men used this as their excuse not to understand women, their problems and most importantly not to help them. She went on to argue that men stereotyped women and used it to organize society into a patriarchy. As an existentialist she believed, “l’existence précède l’essence” (existence precedes essence), there by one is not born a woman, but becomes one. It is the social construction of woman that she identifies as fundamental to woman oppression. She went on to argue that even Mary Wollstonecraft considered men to be the ideal to which women should aspire and that this belief limited women’s success by maintaining that perception. She vigorously argued that for feminism to move forward this assumption must be set aside. Thus Beauvoir aseerted that women are as capable of choice as man, and therefore can ellect to elevate themselves and move beyond the position which they have been resigned and reach a position in which they take responsibility for oneself and the world, where one can choose one’s freedom.

A long quote and a few short quotes :

“Art, literature, and philosophy are attempts to found the world anew on a human freedom: that of the creator; to foster such an aim, one must first unequivocally posit oneself as a freedom. The restrictions that education and custom impose on a woman limit her grasp of the universe…Indeed, for one to become a creator, it is not enough to be cultivated, that is, to make going to shows and meeting people part of one’s life; culture must be apprehended through the free movement of a transcendence; the spirit with all its riches must project itself in an empty sky that is its to fill; but if a thousand fine bonds tie it to the earth, its surge is broken. The girl today can certainly go out alone, stroll in the Tuileries; but I have already said how hostile the street is: eyes everywhere, hands waiting: if she wanders absentmindedly, her thoughts elsewhere, if she lights a cigarette in a cafe, if she goes to the cinema alone, an unpleasant incident can quickly occur; she must inspire respect by the way she dresses and behaves: this concern rivets her to the ground and self. “Her wings are clipped.” At eighteen, T.E. Lawrence went on a grand tour through France by bicycle; a young girl would never be permitted to take on such an adventure…Yet such experiences have an inestimable impact: this is how an individual in the headiness of freedom and discovery learns to look at the entire world as his fief…[The girl] may feel alone within the world: she never stands up in front of it, unique and sovereign.”

“One’s life has value so long as one attributes value to the life of others, by means of love, friendship, and compassion”

“A man attaches himself to woman — not to enjoy her, but to enjoy himself.”

“Man is defined as a human being and a woman as a female – whenever she behaves as a human being she is said to imitate the male.”

“Society, being codified by man, decrees that woman is inferior; she can do away with this inferiority only by destroying the male’s superiority.”

“The word love has by no means the same sense for both sexes, and this is one cause of the serious misunderstandings that divide them.”

“Representation of the world, like the world itself, is the work of men; they describe it from their own point of view, which they confuse with absolute truth.”

“One is not born a genius, one becomes a genius; and the feminine situation has up to the present rendered this becoming practically impossible.”
~ Simone de Beauvoir