Monthly Archives: June 2012

Something Fishy Here


Two whole red snappers deep fried to perfection–my first supper on this visit to Costa Rica. The white rice and vegetables were fairly normal, but the fish with lime was delicious–as was the slice of fried plantain.


Too much fish for one lady! I left both heads, the tails and a whole lot in between.


Carlos had the chicken with mango sauce. The “flag” is a slice of plantain deep fried like a big potato chip.

We will be here eight more days, which means many more opportunities to sample the flavors of Costa Rica. While I’m having fun with the food, the real purpose of this trip is to assist in a mission project. Carlos’ son is providing free dental care and Carlos is helping as a translator. I’m involved in a sewing class for a group of women. Some in our group are conducting a Vacation Bible School and others are doing some home improvements projects for area residents.


Costa Rica Flavors

Two big scoops of Blue Bell coconut and coffee ice cream. What more delicious way to introduce my next flavorful posts–from Costa Rica? If all goes according to plan, July will feature some flavorful “postcards” from the country of “pure life.”

Ginger Snap-Shots

Thank you, GINGER ZEE, ABC meteorologist, for updates on TS Debby. For Michigan followers, Ginger hails from our state. Her career began in Flint and Grand Rapids. Good addition to ABC.


Bought every bottle of this “delicious” GINGER MINT hand soap on the shelf at my neighborhood TJMaxx.


Meet GINGER, my sister Peg’s cat.


If you remember Avon’s WHITE GINGER, chances are you have an AARP card.

Chocolate Diversion

This was the day to do something with all those bags of overripe bananas taking up too much room in my freezer. Solution:  a batch of my famous (at least to me) banana muffins. Noticing a jar of chocolate chips in the cupboard, the thought came to me that with a slight recipe modification I could make chocolate banana muffins this time.

Then I remembered a delicious chocolate cake that used to be served at the New England Memorial Hospital where I worked in Massachusetts back in the 1960s. It was called Loma Linda Chocolate Prune Cake. It did not taste like prunes at all. But it was very moist and rich. My mouth watered at the thought of it.

Thanks to Google, I had no trouble finding the recipe online. Apparently a lot of other people like that cake, too.

I checked the ingredients and I had everything except buttermilk, which necessitated another Google search for how to bake with soy milk (which was the only milk I had on hand). To my surprise, I discovered that by adding a teaspoon of vinegar to a cup of soy milk, I could use it like buttermilk. Oolah! (You cooks probably already know this.)

Next, I had to soak 3/4 cup of prunes in boiling water….etc., etc., etc. I followed the recipe exactly. My chocolate “muffins” are now in the oven. The smell is delicious. I can hardly wait to sample those moist morsels.

But, wait, where are my frozen bananas?

I totally forgot the very reason I started this baking project in the first place! Alas, the seventies have some drawbacks!

$1 Ginger Snaps

Let me warn you, these little babies pack a punch! A look at the ingredients explains why. It’s gotta be the chili powder and red pepper. Actually, I did not notice the tingle (burn?) until after I’d completely swallowed the cookie. Okay, a little zing, but I liked them!

Family Dollar sells the 12-oz. bag for $1. That’s better than 14 oz. for $2.99 on the manufacturer’s website. My problem was finding them in stock at my local Family Dollar. (I did not find them at Dollar General.)

Stauffer’s, not to be confused with Stouffer’s, has been making “biscuits” or “snaps” for more than 140 years. Starting in York, Pennsylvania, the company’s first product was Animal Crackers, which were originally delivered door-to-door in a wheelbarrow.

With additional bakeries in New York and California, and producing 250 tons of cookies per day, Stauffer’s is now owned by the Japanese company Meiji.

Deliciously different

What does Vernors Ginger Soda have in common with cornflakes, the auto industry and me? All were born in Michigan!

Growing up in the Wolverine state, I liked the way Vernors’ bubbles tickled my nose. My sister says they stung. I liked the strong ginger flavor. My sis strongly disagreed. For me Vernors was a refreshing fountain drink to be enjoyed ice cold on a hot day at the Ionia County Free Fair. My sister remembers it more like a medicine that Grandma Allen kept in her refrigerator. (Ginger is supposed to settle the stomach.)

Whatever your experience with Vernors, I think you either loved it or hated it. What I hate is the new recipe. Vernors may still boast a more robust flavor than some of the other ginger ales on the market, but it’s not like the old Vernors I remember. The ginger flavor is weaker, the bubbles less powerful. And, of course, today it is sweetened with high fructose corn syrup. Vernors is still aged in oak barrels, but for only three years as compared to four years originally. I think it is sold only in cans today. The soda fountain version is a thing of the past.

Created by a Detroit pharmacist in 1866, for most of its history Vernors was available only in Michigan and nearby big cities such as Toledo, Cleveland and Buffalo as well as in Ontario, Canada. Today, thanks to the influence of Michigan retirees, Vernors is now available in Florida and Texas, too.

Owned by the Vernors family of Detroit for 100 years, the company that gave birth to America’s oldest surviving ginger ale was sold in 1966. It is now owned by Cadbury Schweppes.

Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.


Is anybody out there named Ginger Lee? I have a reason for asking.

You see, a long time ago one of my writing teachers cautioned me against using the word “gingerly” to describe an action, such as “He gingerly opened the envelope,” or “She walked gingerly across the room.” Years before that another teacher deducted points for every “very” found in my writing. I’ve never forgotten those “rules,” and  have abided by them as if they were written in stone tablets. I think it is time to break the rules as I begin another flavorful month of blogging. Of course, breaking any rules must be done VERY GINGERLY! There, I’ve said it.

So, here’s a preview of some possible gingerly topics you may find here in June: Ginger ale and its tie to Michigan, a gingerbread recipe with lemon sauce, cheap gingersnaps from a Dollar store, my mother-in-law’s ginger tea, the fragrance of white ginger, in search of ginger soap, and people and pets named Ginger. And, please, if you know someone named Ginger Lee, let me know.