Sweet Potato Cornbread

2 cups self-rising white cornmeal mix
3 Tbsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
5 large eggs
2 cups mashed cooked sweet potatoes (about 11/2 lb. sweet potatoes)
1 (8-oz.) container sour cream
1/2 cup butter, melted

  • Preheat oven to 425°. Stir together first 3 ingredients; make a well in center of mixture. Whisk together eggs and remaining ingredients. Add to cornmeal mixture, stirring just until moistened. Spoon batter into a lightly greased 9-inch square pan or cast iron skillet.
  • Bake at 425° for 35 minutes (a little less for a cast iron skillet) or until golden brown.

Culinary Fun Fact: True or False You should never wash fresh mushrooms?

You’ve probably heard that you should never, ever wash fresh mushrooms under running water. The thinking goes that they will soak up the water, making them soft and slimy in the final dish. But is that really true?

After tests of using a damp cloth to brush off the mushrooms and a quick rinse in a colander under running water, there is no difference in the texture of the finished dish.

One rule of thumb – Wash mushrooms right before cooking; if you let rinsed mushrooms sit around for longer than 10 or 15 minutes, the texture will indeed begin to suffer.

Irish Boxty

Boxty is basically potato pancakes. It is a traditional Irish potato dish which is quite easy to make. The name comes from the Gaelic “Bacstai”. An old Irish poem says:

Boxty on the griddle, boxty in the pan,
If you can’t make boxty, you’ll never get a man.

Boxty is an excellent way to use left-over mashed potatoes. Basically it consists of equal parts of raw potato, mashed potato and flour:

1 cup grated raw potato
1 cup mashed potato
1 cup plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
pepper to taste
1 egg
1/2 cup buttermilk

Grate raw potatoes and mix with the cooked mashed potatoes. Add salt, pepper and flour. Beat egg and add to mixture with just enough milk to make a batter that will drop from a spoon.

Drop by tablespoonfuls onto a hot griddle or frying pan. Cook over a moderate heat for 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Serve with a tart apple sauce.

If you’re feeling very Irish, serve with fried bacon, fried sausage, fried eggs, fried black pudding, fried bread, and fried soda bread.

Culinary Fun Fact: Truth or False Salt is optional in most recipes—you can just leave it out.

Even the small amount of salt included in most baking recipes makes an enormous difference. Salt-free cakes are overly sweet but also bland, they called it mild, flat, or dull, you can barely detect any vanilla flavor. Cakes that include salt are also sweet, but the flavors of butter and vanilla were much more balanced and pronounced.

Salt doesn’t just enhance flavors in foods; it also helps mask less agreeable tastes like bitterness. By suppressing bitterness, salt allows more desirable flavors—including sweetness and spices—to come through.

In bread baking, salt controls the activity of yeast, strengthens gluten, and accents the bread’s flavor; it should never be omitted. Adding even a small amount of salt to an egg dish keeps the proteins in the eggs from bonding to each other, thereby producing a weaker protein chain and more tender eggs.

Salt helps improve the texture and flavor of nearly every kind of meat. When salt is applied to raw meat, juices inside the meat are drawn to the surface. The salt then dissolves in the exuded liquid, forming a brine that is eventually reabsorbed by the meat. This brine acts to change the structure of the muscle proteins, helping them hold on to more of their own natural juices.

Vegetables like tomatoes, cucumbers, and eggplant can also benefit from being salted to draw out their moisture before they’re used in a recipe.

Chatham Artillery Punch

Based upon a recipe in “Savannah Style – A cookbook by the junior league of Savannah.”

It is said that the concoction possesses more of a kick than the two brass cannons presented to Savannah by George Washington. It was first devised in the 1850’s to honor a rival military organization. The Republican Blues, and since then has laid to rest, at least temporarily many an unknown soldier and countless known Ones.

Serves 200

  • 2 gallons tea (green tea – l pound tea to 2 gallons water. Soak overnight in tin bucket and strain.)
  • Juice of 3 dozen lemons
  • 5 pounds brown sugar
  • 2 gallons Catawba wine
  • 2 gallons Santa Cruz rum
  • I gallon Hennessy (3 – Star) brandy
  • I gallon dry gin
  • I gallon rye whiskey
  • 2 quarts cherries
  • 2 quarts pineapple cubes
  • 10 quarts champagne

Mix the tea with lemon juice, preferably in a cedar tub, then add brown sugar and liquors. Let this mixture “set” for at least I week, or preferably 2 weeks, in covered container.

After “setting” period and when ready to serve, pour over cake of ice. Never chill in refrigerator or used crushed ice. When this is done, add cherries, pineapple cubes and champagne. pouring in slowly and mixing with circular motion. The punch is now ready to serve.

Culinary Fun Fact: Adding salt to your cooking water dramatically increases the sodium level of the pasta.

Adding salt to pasta cooking water ensures that the pasta will be flavorful. The preferred ratio of 1 tablespoon of table salt to 4 quarts of cooking water per pound of pasta for the best-seasoned pasta of any shape or size.


Give or take a few milligrams of sodium, all the shapes (spaghetti, linguine, penne, rigatoni, campanelle, and orzo) absorbed about the same amount of salt: 1/16 teaspoon per 4-ounce serving, or a total of ¼ teaspoon per pound of pasta.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend less than 2,300 milligrams (1 teaspoon) daily for people under age 51 and less than 1,500 milligrams (¾ teaspoon) for those age 51 and older, so even if you’re watching your sodium intake, the amount that pasta absorbs is so small that it’s probably not an issue.