Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category


Friday, May 15th, 2009

Now, Mona Faye’s grandsons are big connoisseurs of hot dogs. Yes, their mother tries to slip them a chicken dog now and then since when she serves the all-beef, kosher franks they eat four each!

But there are limits. We all need limits, you know. We can’t do too much with wienies. Society will crumble.

On July 29, 1969, when Mona Faye’s youngest boy was just 2.5, Hunter Weiners went too far.


You wouldn’t eat a Cake called Lipstickgate!

Tuesday, September 16th, 2008

We here at Mona Faye’s Kitchen rarely discuss politics. It is so gauche. Such conversations just might upset your digestion! Thus, we remain completely nonpartisan. We prefer to keep a sunny outlook all the while secretly hoping for the best for our candidate of choice, never entertaining a negative thought about his temper, his declining health, or his flashy trophy wife. Even though she couldn’t fix a platter of squirrel and dumplin’s if her country’s security depended on it, that’s for sure!

So just to remind our staff of our real purpose, we like to pull out a recipe every four years that points to what really matters in America. It’s not about scandals or elections. No, it’s about manufactured hydrogenated oils and powdered milk and artificial food dyes and processed flour that’s as white and pure as the freshly driven Alaskan snow! In sum, it’s about cake.

No one knows where this lovely green slice of heaven acquired its infamous name. We don’t like to think about it. On February 26, 1976, the Washington Post reported that it had become quite a craze — probably due to the pistachio shortage that year. A few weeks later a reader surmised that the name came from President Nixon’s love of the little green nuts that inspired the dessert. The recipe first appeared in that paper the previous November:

Watergate Cake
1 box white cake mix
1 box pistachio instant pudding
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup club soda
3 eggs
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Mix all ingredients well (4 to 4 minutes). Bake in 12-by-9-inch greased pan for 45 minutes at 350 degrees.

Topping for Cake
1 box pistachio instant pudding
1/4 cup cold milk
1 (9-ounce) box whipped topping mix
Nut meats and maraschino cherries

Beat milk into instant pudding mix. Prepare topping mix according to instructions on box. Fold into pudding mixture. Spread oncake and top with nuts and cherries.

So forget the debates and the polls. Ignore the pundits and those irritating phone calls. Just eat cake and insist that life was better back in 1971, when Watergate was just a lovely confection among friends.

Railroaders’ Lunch

Saturday, July 5th, 2008

We here at Mona Faye’s Kitchen have brought you third-place winners of Knox gelatin competition in 1905. We have brought you presidential favs.

And now we bring you another taste of history from . . . well, A Taste of History in Greenfield Village in Dearborn, Michigan. Serve this bread with smoked turkey, cheddar cheese, red onion, and brown mustard.

Greenfield Village Hobo Bread

2 C. raisins
1 1/2 C. boiling water
4 t. baking soda
4 t. butter, softened
1/2 C. granulated sugar
1/2 C. brown sugar
2 eggs
1 t. salt
1 t. vanilla
1 3/4 C. walnuts
4 C. flour

Pour boiling water over raisins; let cool. Stir in soda and other ingredients. Fill 6 or 7 greased and floured large soup cans to half full.

Bake at 350°F. for 45 minutes to an hour. Cool and remove from cans.

Makes 6 or 7 large loaves or 24 servings.

[tags]Greenfield Village, Railroaders’ Lunch, Hobo Bread[/tags]

“Can she bake a cherry pie, Billy Boy?”

Sunday, June 15th, 2008

That ol’ Mattie Kostrya. She’s so uppity. Pies and cobblers aren’t supposed to be fussy. That’s why men like them. Save the cream of tartar for homemade playdoh, Martie, not for desserts. And keep the baked fruit and dough recognizable to our men on this their special day.

Here’s Mona Faye’s favorite and very old-fashioned berry cobbler recipe written in her own hand. It’s originally from her other daughter-in-law and from Arkansas — Missouri’s less sophisticated neighbor. That Arkansas is the exact opposite to everything uppity makes it the perfect place to discover the best cobbler recipe.

Now, if you mention berries to Mona Faye, she will tell you that her favorite are blackberries or “maybe dewberries, but I don’t get many of those. . . . if you’re going to go pick them, you have to wear long sleeves because there are stickers and long blue jeans because there are chiggers and a big straw hat because you don’t want a sunburn. You just don’t!!”

Yes, good, old-fashioned cooking has to hurt just a little bit. This daughter-in-law has made two cobblers to honor the men in her life today — blueberry and cherry. And she risked life and limb by wearing only short sleeves and capris as she picked those berries . . . right out of the freezer case.

Arkansas Blackberry Cobbler

[tags]Berry Cobbler, Vintage Recipes, Martha Stewart[/tags]

Rift in the Space-Time Continuum

Sunday, June 1st, 2008


Only the Joys of Jello would dare to pair the cheapest and flimsiest of desserts with the finest of crystal. And not only that! Jello’s Joys flaunt the sanctity of all that is good and decent by asking a mere housewife to slant her best stemware in the darkest recesses of her kitchen.

We at Mona Faye’s Kitchen have tried to impress with Jello before. We ask you, Gentle Reader, do remember that no matter what you do to the Jello — no matter how joyful and no matter even how “perfect” — it still tastes just. like. Jello. Is it worth the risk for nothing more than red-flavored cow bones?

Hair Today, Still Hair Tomorrow

Thursday, May 15th, 2008

Now. Now I understand why my husband cringes at anything coconut, claiming that it feels like he’s eating hair. It’s Mrs. Laflin’s fault.


[tags]Clown Cake, Coconut Hair, G. T. Laflin[/tags]

Picnic Panache

Sunday, May 4th, 2008

The best place to talk recipes is at a picnic. It’s usually potluck. We all stand around waiting for the main course to cook. We’re hungry. So we talk food.

Last week it was salads. I heard that I make the best cole slaw ever. But Mona Faye’s deviled eggs can’t be beat. And Mona Faye’s youngest wondered where we could find that salad they make at Ruby Tuesday’s. “You know, the one with the bacon and broccoli?”

Here ya go, hon’! All for you.


3 c. broccoli florets
2 oz. (1/2 c.) shredded cheddar cheese
1/3 c. raisins
1/4 c. chopped red onion
8 slices bacon, cooked & crumbled
1/3 c. sunflower seeds
1/2 c. mayonnaise
2 tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. lemon juice

In a large bowl, combine broccoli, cheese, raisins, onion, bacon and sunflower seeds. In a small bowl, combine mayonnaise, sugar and lemon juice. Mix dressing well and allow it to stand refrigerated for an hour or so. Just before serving, stir dressing well and pour over salad ingredients. Toss to coat. Makes 9 (1/2 cup) servings.

What the Fricassee?

Sunday, April 20th, 2008

If your first name is Lettice, your life’s plan is already mapped out for you. You will write a cookbook.

Mrs. Lettice Bryan wrote The Kentucky Housewife in 1839 with recipes adapted to the Southern climate. And for our family’s celebration of President’s Day, we had to fix Abe Lincoln’s fav, Chicken Fricassee from Lettice herself — the source that was probably kicking around Abe’s boyhood home back in the day.


When it all comes out on the dish, I really think that Fricassee is chicken-n-dumplin’s without the dumplin’s. My better half disagrees. And he would know since he grew up in Mona Faye’s Kitchen where chicken-n-dumplin’s are the comfort food of choice. I’ve yet to corner Mona Faye for her recipe, but I’ve concluded that the exact recipe is a bit of a secret (although I do know that it decisively contains no eggs).

Everybody has a Fricasee. The Italians have Fricassea di Pollastri with basil and prosciutto. The Germans have Huhnerfrikassee with nutmeg and Worcestershire. The Cubans have Fricasé de Pollo with lime and cumin. And the French have . . . well, Fricassee.

So we made our homage to Lincoln and Lettice and discovered a new family favorite. I adapted the “how to fricassee a chicken white” up above (the main difference between “white” and “brown” is the former is cooked with no skin). This dish is good enough to satisfy both Mona Faye’s son and grandsons although the younger you are the more ketchup you prefer.

Lincoln & Lettice Chicken Fricassee


1 chicken cut-up
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon paprika
3 tablespoons all purpose flour
2 cups water
3 tablespoons butter
1 onion, chopped
5-6 carrots, sliced
2 stalks celery, sliced
2 cups fresh small mushrooms
1 tablespoon sage
1 tablespoon parsley
1 cup milk

1 tablespoon of flour


Wash and dry the chicken pieces. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, nutmeg and paprika.

Brown the chicken in hot oil over high heat in a Dutch oven turning once. Add water and cover, simmering until chicken is cooked — 20-30 minutes.

Remove chicken. When cool enough, pick chicken off the bones and set meat aside.

Add onions back into the pot and cook until translucent. Add carrots and celery. Add mushrooms, sage and parsley. Whisk together milk and flour and add to the pot. Add chicken. Cook over medium heat, stirring until thoroughly heated.

Rice or noodles are optional but yummy.

[tags]Abraham Lincoln, Chicken Fricassee, Vintage Recipes, The Kentucky Housewife, Lettice Bryan, President’s Day[/tags]

When the Moon Hits Your Eye like a Big Meat-za Pie

Sunday, April 13th, 2008


Pizza didn’t really get any attention outside the Italian-American communities until our soldiers came home from WW2. Oh sure, in the late 19th-century you could find a street vendor in Chicago on Taylor street who’d sell you a slice. The original version was a “tomato pie” which is the opposite of what we know as pizza — first cheese, then toppings, then sauce.

Naples is really the birthplace of pizza. In the 16th century, those poor commoners were the rapscallions who risked life and limb by topping their yeast-bread with those assumed-to-be-poisonous fruit of the nightshades (a.k.a. tomatoes). The Neapolitans now are purists about their pies. There are only two they accept within the family: the “Marinara” and the “Margherita.” The former is what the fisherman liked to eat — toppings of tomato, oregano, garlic, extra virgin olive oil and usually basil. The latter adds mozzarella cheese. That’s Amore!

But nobody — not one soul in Italy, Chicago, New Jersey, or New York — ever imagined this.


Not even Robert Atkins could fathom something so hideous as Meat-za.

But now that I look closer at the picture, I do think I remember seeing something like this in Chicago. But not on Taylor Street. This was at the Museum of Science and Industry. You know. . . . the Body Slices.

[tags]Pizza, Meatza, Robert Atkins, Museum of Science and Industry, Campbell’s Soup[/tags]

Red (Velvet) No. 2

Saturday, April 5th, 2008

Mona Faye, as you who love her know very well, winters in the sunny tropical South. So while the rest of the country is shoveling and shivering, her leisure time is spent sans WiFi, basking poolside in her chrysanthemum bathing cap and reading trashy novels while sipping umbrella drinks and evening out her golden glow.

Well. . . . not really. But, at the very least, it’s been awhile since this blogger has added anything to the menu. But I have been stewing.

This week was our littlest family member’s second birthday. And while the adults clamor for waist-shaping sugar-free desserts and the tweens insist on nouveau cookie cakes, my little guys have pretty old-fashioned tastes when it comes to birthdays. They like the same thing I liked when my dear ol’ Mom baked my birthday cake.

They like red.

You who are nearing or have well past your fourth decade remember the Red (No. 2) Scare of the 70s. In 1976, while our older brothers tortured us with Logan’s Run-esque threats, those grown-ups destroyed our red M&Ms, dumped our orange drink from those pre-happy Burger Chef Fun Meals, and yanked all things cherried right from our Kool-Aid smiles simply because the FDA found Amaranth (dye) (a.k.a. E123) to be a carcinogen. Bullies!


Now, don’t confuse this with the Red No. 3 Scare of 1990 which also happens to cause cancer, but not enough cancer to upset the producers and consumers of strawberry Slim-fast and McCormick’s Salad Toppins’.

You can still get your red from No. 40 here in the good ol’ U. S. of A, but Denmark, Belgium, France, Germany, Switzerland, Sweden, and Austria have banned it. Killjoys! It’s only made from coal tar, and when you compare #40’s troubles to #2 and #3’s, there’s hardly any problems to speak of.

If you want to be really old-fashioned about your red — and we here at Mona Faye’s Kitchen are nothing if not old-fashioned — you get your crimson the way the Azteks and the Mayans did. From bugs. Yes, the E120 in your Jello or Doritos is nothing more than smashed-up South American beetlejuice. And while it’s not Kosher and it doesn’t cause cancer, it is very, very red.

In my memory, Red Velvet Cake disappeared for a few years after 1976. Shame really. When our grandmothers passed around the recipe in the 1940s (thinking they were stickin’ it to the Man known as the Waldorf Astoria for over-charging a patron for a copy of the recipe. Just like we did with the Neiman Marcus Cookie Recipe.), they used beets! They didn’t even need the two bottles of red food dye that the recipe called for later. In fact, the baking soda and vinegar mixture that gives Red Velvet Cake its characteristic lift and flavor actually reacts with the (non-Dutch-processed) cocoa in the batter to give it a red twinge. So you really don’t even need any additives.

But how can you resist something so beautifully red! It just oozes that healthy, rosy glow, doesn’t it?

So here’s my recipe that I’ve tweaked until it resembles how my mom made it way back when. Some people prefer the cream cheese frosting, but I don’t think anything compares to the honest-to-goodness buttercream icing I have below here. Our version for the party today will be in cupcake form with Blue sugar sprinkles. Blue No. 1, that is.

Red Velvet Cake


  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 ounces red food coloring
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup oil
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 1 cup milk
  • 5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Grease two 9 inch round pans. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Make a paste of cocoa and food coloring. Set aside.
  2. Combine the buttermilk, salt and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Set aside. In a large bowl, cream together the oil and 1 1/2 cups sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the cocoa mixture. Beat in the buttermilk mixture alternately with the flour, mixing just until incorporated. Stir together baking soda and vinegar, then gently fold into the cake batter.
  3. Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake in the preheated 350-degree oven for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before frosting. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
  4. To Make Icing: In a saucepan, combine the milk and 5 tablespoons flour. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens. Set aside to cool completely. Cream together butter, 1 cup sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla until light and fluffy, then stir in the cooled milk and flour mixture, beating until icing reaches spreading consistency.

[tags]Red Velvet Cake, Vintage Recipes[/tags]