By Sherrie Norris
I find it amazing how life often takes us in circles. Sometimes, we have to go ‘round the bend a few times to really ‘get it.’
I have been fortunate to spend much of my time writing for local publications for about 35 years, and have now ended up almost where I started as a much younger woman. A free-lance writer and columnist —that’s me!
I recall Ken Ketchie’s early years with his first publication, and how I, as a young gal from Crossnore, drove a handwritten story or two, for $15-35 each, depending on length, to his Blowing Rock apartment-turned-newspaper office on a regular basis — just to see my name and a story in print.
Those were the days, my friend.
And, several years later, it was Ken who gave me an old computer from his office to learn how to do it all in modern form. I was probably the last to learn how to turn on a computer.
Since I got paid by the word, it would’ve been nice had he told me that, with the push of one button, my words would be counted automatically. Yes, my dear husband and I spent many Sunday afternoons counting the words to my stories – and of course, I wanted to write more than 1,500 each time for the bigger pay!
I now sit in my home office down by the New River in quiet solitude, on most days, a nice Apple computer at my fingertips, and yes, I know the button to push to count my words! And, yes, I still write long stories.
More than that, though, I am blessed to be able to write in peace without the hustle and bustle of an office atmosphere and to focus on things that really matter: the stories that seem to fall down from heaven right onto my desk about selfless heroes and community projects, about outreaches and fundraisers that make a difference. That’s what it’s always been about for me as a writer. I just want to help promote those things and individuals that strive to make life better for those around them.
And, then, as you will find here each week, starting (again!) today, a little fun with food and recipes.
Again, yes, it all started with Ken Ketchie who thought a cooking column would be nice for his newspaper. Little did he know at the time, I could barely boil water, but the faith he had in me eventually led to my catering business, the publication of a cookbook — and yes, a well-loved weekly recipe column that has stood the test of time.
Round and round we go, where we land nobody (usually) knows. But this time, I know. Thank you for sharing my journey as we turn back the pages of time and dig into a little Lovin’ Spoonful.
With St. Patrick’s Day just a few days away, I’d like to start off by sharing a little of “the green” with you as we celebrate Ireland’s patron saint.
Easy Irish Potato Soup
8 medium potatoes, peeled and drained
2 stalks celery, diced
2 small onions, diced
2 sticks butter or margarine
Cook vegetables in water until tender. Pour off water, add enough milk to cover; add butter, salt and pepper to taste. Cook on low heat for milk to reach desired warmth.
Recipe may be doubled as needed.
St. Patty’s 7-Up Cake
1 pkg. white cake mix
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup 7-Up
1 small pkg. pistachio instant pudding mix
Combine ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Beat for 4 minutes. Pour into greased and floured 9×13-inch baking pan. Bake in 350 degree oven 30 to 35 minutes, cool.
1 small pkg. pistachio instant pudding mix
1½ cups milk
1 (8 oz.) carton Cool Whip
Combine pudding mix and milk. Beat for two minutes. Fold in Cool Whip. Spread over cake. Chill until served.
Create a simple, but healthy snack by slicing a green bell pepper widthwise; it will reveal a shamrock or lucky four-leaf clover shape. Slice another pepper lengthwise to create stems. Serve with your favorite dip.
Patty’s Peppermint Shake
2½ cups vanilla ice cream
¾ cup milk
Junior Mints or Peppermint Patties, about ½ cup, chopped
Green food coloring
Place candy in freezer for about 15 minutes. Combine all ingredients in blender and blend at medium speed for 30 seconds. Stir as needed and continue to blend until desired consistency and color is reached. Top with additional candy pieces. Serve with spoons and straws.
I leave you with a familiar “Old Irish” blessing:
May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
and rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.
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