Braille Monitor                                             June 2015

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With this being a milestone year for the Federation, we at the Monitor have spent a bit of time going back through the archives. Long-time readers may remember that recipes did not start out as a regular column in the Monitor. There might have been the odd recipe in this or that issue, mostly from Dr. Jernigan, but it wasn’t until November 1971 that “Recipe of the Month” became something readers could look forward to each issue. With this in mind, we’re reprinting that first recipe of the month, the first recipe from Dr. Jernigan that appeared, and a few other golden oldies that tempted our taste buds.

From the Editor: this recipe from Dr. Jernigan was first published back in December 1970. To make it easier for readers to use, the ingredients list has been converted to the usual format from its original form.

Corn Bread
by Kenneth Jernigan

What with spending my full time directing the Iowa Commission for the Blind and trying to do the same thing with respect to the presidency of the NFB, plus some participation in the state and local affiliates, I find myself moderately well occupied. Occasionally people ask me whether I ever think or do anything else. The answer is—sometimes, but hardly ever; and, of course, I like it that way.

Even so, there are moments. For one thing, now and again I like to cook steaks or hamburgers on the charcoal, and I have also developed a recipe for corn bread.

Let me begin by confessing that the basic ingredients and the beginning formula came from Anna Katherine. However, she was gone one day, and I got out the meal and buttermilk and began to experiment. I measured exactly, varied this and that, and had a fine old time. Several hours and several dozen batches later I had what I wanted—my notion of ideal corn bread. Most of the intermediate trial mixes went into the garbage, but the final recipe remained.

If you would like to try it, more power to you, and may you enjoy it as much as I have. Remember that the measurements and the temperatures must be absolutely exact—no approximations.

1 cup yellow corn meal
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
Sunflower seed, safflower, corn, or olive oil

Method: Mix the cornmeal (the nondegerminated kind if you can get it) with the soda, baking powder, salt, and buttermilk. Do not mix the buttermilk with the dry ingredients until the oil has been put into the oven to heat. This will give you a better product.

Get your oven to a temperature of 475 degrees. (Be sure that you get it that hot even if you have to use an oven thermometer to know.) Use iron muffin rings or iron corn stick molds, and put two teaspoons of oil in each individual ring or mold. Wait until your oven has reached 475 degrees. Then put your oiled pans in and leave them for six minutes.

Take the pans out of the oven and put one tablespoon of the corn bread mix in each ring or mold. Put the filled pans back into the oven immediately and leave them there for sixteen minutes. Remove from oven and much joy in eating. By the way, the teaspoons and tablespoons and the cups are the measuring variety, not the regular kind.

Apple and Cranberry Pie
by Mae Couts

“Mae Couts, wife of NFB Executive Committeeman James Couts, offers a taste-tempting pie.” This was how the November 1971 issue introduced this recipe. For an idea how culture has changed, note that this recipe not only assumes that you will make your own pie crust from scratch, but also that you need only the ingredients (but not the method) listed in order to do so.

3 apples peeled and sliced
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg (or use vanilla instead of spices)
1/2 pound fresh cranberries, cooked and sweetened
1 cup sugar

Make a two crust pie—
1/2 cup shortening. (I use Crisco)
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cold water

Method: Bake in 350 degree oven for thirty to forty minutes. Be sure to put pie on a cookie sheet in the oven or you will have juice all over the oven.

by Kenneth Jernigan

Somewhere around 1970, when the National Office of the Federation was at the Randolph Hotel Building in Des Moines, I began making a concoction which I called NFB Tea. I served it to the first seminar, which occurred in the fall of 1973, and I served it in the presidential suite at National Conventions. Some admired it; others couldn't tolerate it; but everybody knew about it.

Then, as the seventies passed into history and the eighties came and went, the custom of serving NFB Tea at conventions and seminars faded. However, there are those who pine "for the good old days" and long to see a revival of the soothing brew. They continue to ask that the recipe for the NFB Tea appear in the Monitor.

When I remind them that I put it into the Monitor sometime early in the seventies, they simply respond with annoyance, saying that they don't remember it, don't have that edition of the Monitor, or don't want to be bothered with irrelevancies. Since the recipe is now quite different from what it was when it appeared in the Monitor a decade and a half ago and since the requests continue, it seems worthwhile to print it again. So here it is as revised:

You can make as much or as little NFB Tea as you want by increasing or decreasing the quantity of the three basic ingredients. Just keep the proportions the same. Pour equal parts of pineapple juice, orange juice, and cranberry juice or cranberry cocktail into a large container. If you don't intend to use at least as much as a forty-six-ounce can of each of these juices, it hardly seems worth the bother, not to mention which it will be difficult not to over flavor. After you mix these three basic juices, the fun begins. I usually add about one-third as much peach or apricot nectar and one-third as much apple juice as I have used of each of the three basic ingredients. Sometimes (but not always) I also add a small amount of pear nectar if I have it, about half as much as I have used of the apple or peach.

Then I begin to sweeten the mixture with either sugar or sugar substitute and add flavors, tasting as I go. I regard certain flavorings as indispensable, but NFB Tea is a highly flexible brew, which should be crafted to the taste of the brewer. I always use vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg. I use liquid cinnamon and nutmeg, and if I don't have the liquid, I make it by heating the ground spice in water as strong as I can and straining it.

Next I add small amounts of a large variety of other flavorings. I emphasize that you should begin with only dribs and drabs. Remember that you can always put more in; once it's there, you can't take it out. The mixture of flavors will depend on the whim of the moment and what I have handy. But I will always use at least eight or nine in addition to the cinnamon, vanilla, and nutmeg. Here are some of the ones I use: almond, Angostura bitters, anise, apple pie spice, arrack flavoring, banana, blackberry, blackcurrant, blueberry, brandy flavor, butternut, butterscotch, butter rum, caramel, cherry, peach, chocolate, clove, coconut, coffee flavor, English toffee, a tiny amount of ginger, hickory nut, lemon, pineapple, lime, maple, orange, orange bitters, pear, pecan, pistachio, pumpkin pie spice, root beer, rose, rum flavor, sassafras, violet, sherry flavor, strawberry, tangerine, walnut, and most anything else I can find. I don't use mint, eucalyptus oil, or wintergreen. It will also be observed that NFB Tea contains no tea. When I first started making the brew in the early seventies, I used Lipton tea, but I abandoned the practice before the end of the decade. It had to do with some of my Mormon friends and also with my evolving taste. I like it better without the tea.

When the mixture has been thoroughly concocted and tasted, a good deal of ice should be added and stirred in. All that remains is to enjoy the product and try different proportions next time, but not different proportions among the three basic ingredients—pineapple juice, orange juice, and cranberry juice or cocktail. And no omission of the three basic flavorings— vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Anything else goes.

Originally Printed in the March 1985 Monitor
Sheila's Irish Potato Soup
by Sheila Samson

Note: In the Family Food column by Marcine Silver in the Centerville, Ohio, Times for November 28, 1984, Sheila Samson is featured. The column concluded with Sheila's recipe for Irish Potato Soup, which we reprint here. Sheila Samson is president of the Dayton Federation of the Blind, one of the leaders of the Ohio affiliate, and about as dynamic and active a person as you would want to meet. She lives her Federationism on a daily basis and helps spread the word. Her recipe is a good one. Try it.

2 heaping tablespoons butter or margarine
2 medium-sized onions, very thinly sliced
5 medium potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
2 cups milk
2 cups water
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup light cream (half and half)
6 slices of bacon, crisply fried
Fresh parsley

Method: Melt butter or margarine in a Dutch oven or large pan. Add the onion and cook gently until transparent but not browned. Add the peeled and thinly sliced potatoes, the milk, water, and seasonings. Cover and cook on a wire trivet until potatoes are tender (about one-half hour).

Fry or cook the bacon in a microwave oven, until crisp. Wash, tear, or chop the parsley. Set aside.

When potatoes are tender, remove from heat and use a potato masher to mash them while still in the pan. The soup should be a porridge-like consistency. Add the cup of light cream and heat through, but do not boil.

Serve the soup with the chopped parsley and crumbled, crisply fried bacon as a garnish, using one slice of bacon for each bowl of soup. This makes enough to fill five or six large soup bowls. To increase recipe, simply add extra potatoes, adding equal parts of milk and water to cover all ingredients. You might also increase cream and fry enough bacon for several more bowls of soup.

In the December 1991 Monitor, the recipe feature changed yet again. Previously, a single Federationist’s recipe would be selected for publication. This was the month that the Monitor began running a selection of several recipes from a state affiliate. We’ve chosen only one of the delicious treats from that month to reprint, along with the Editor’s note explaining why the recipe feature changed:

From the Associate Editor: One of the pleasures of this column in the Monitor is the opportunity for us all to get to know a little more about the members of our Federation family who send in recipes. In an effort to broaden the group of people whose culinary offerings are shared in these pages, the editors have decided to invite each state in turn to contribute a month's recipes. It will be up to the president and anyone else whom he or she chooses to pull into the decision to determine whether one person or several will be invited to select recipes. States are welcome to choose state or regional favorites or take advantage of the season of the year. This month it is Alabama's turn. Louise Greene, president of the affiliate asked Robert Kelly, first president of the Huntsville chapter and a member of the board of directors of the National Federation of the Blind of Alabama, to gather up some of his favorite recipes. Here they are:

Sweet 'N' Savory Chicken Salad
by Robert Kelly

1/2 cup plain, nonfat yogurt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3/4 teaspoon dried tarragon, crushed
2 cups cooked chicken, cut in chunks
1 can (20 ounces) unsweetened pineapple chunks, drained
1 can (10-1/2 ounces) unsweetened mandarin oranges, drained
1 can (4 ounces) sliced water chestnuts, drained
1 small cucumber, diced
1 scallion, finely chopped
lettuce leaves

Method: Mix together the yogurt, lemon juice, and tarragon to make a dressing. In a large bowl combine the remaining ingredients, except lettuce leaves. Pour the dressing over the chicken salad and toss lightly. Serve on lettuce leaves of your choice.

And since we’re heading into summer and gardening season, a recipe originally printed in October 1997 using summer squash.

Summer Squash Casserole
by Mary Brunoli

6 cups summer or zucchini squash (or both)
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 can condensed cream of mushroom or cream of chicken soup
1 cup sour cream
1 carrot, grated
1 small package herb stuffing
1/2 cup butter or margarine

Method: Boil squash and onions ten minutes, then drain. Mix soup and sour cream, and add grated carrot. Add squash and onion mixture. Mix stuffing with melted butter. Place half of mixture of crumbs in 13-by-9-inch pan. Add squash mixture and then add rest of bread crumbs on top. Bake at 350 degrees for thirty minutes.

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