Corn Mush Recipe

The author of 1877 Cookbook Buckeye Cookery and Practical Housekeeping included meal suggestions. A spring breakfast meal suggestion is: fried ham; Graham bread: fried mush; scrambled eggs; radishes; potatoes boiled in jackets; coffee; tea; and chocolate. What time would you have to get up?!? 😊

The cookbook includes recipes for some of these. Today I’m sharing one for corn mush from Mrs. W.W. Woods, the 1877 cook.

Mrs. Woods gave no ingredient measurements so I looked at a few modern recipes to give me an idea how much water to boil.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray cooking spray or grease a skillet or loaf pan.

Boil 3 cups of water in a large saucepan. Stir in ½ teaspoon of salt.

A LITTLE BIT AT A TIME, add 1 cup of cornmeal to the boiling water. Prevent lumps by sifting the cornmeal through your fingers. Stir constantly over medium high heat until all the cornmeal is added.

Remove from the burner. Because it’s difficult to boil the mush thoroughly enough to cook it without scorching, Mrs. Woods put her kettle directly into the oven and baked it for an hour. Since she recommended stirring the mixture using a 2-foot paddle with a 2-inch blade that was 7 inches long, it’s safe to say she made huge batches at a time. My “paddle” was an ordinary wooden spoon! 😊

I transferred the mush to a sectioned-skillet for baking and it still took about an hour. I then chilled it in the fridge for frying later. (Baking and chilling the mush in a loaf pan makes it easier to slice for frying.)

Once chilled, beat 2-3 eggs in one bowl. Bread crumbs should go in a different bowl.

While the Crisco or lard heats, dip the mush slices into the egg mixture and then the bread crumbs. Fry until golden brown.

I enjoyed the baked corn mush as a nice side dish. The fried mush was delicious—I liked it better than I imagined I would. Frying the mush enhanced the flavor. I liked it both baked and fried. To save the calories, I’d eat it baked.

-Sandra Merville Hart


Compiled from Original Recipes. Buckeye Cookery and Practical Housekeeping, Applewood Books, 1877.



Korean War Veterans Memorial

On a recent trip to Washington, DC, I visited the Korean War Veterans Memorial. It was a dark, rainy evening for my first view of these rugged American soldiers wearing ponchos. The soldiers in the field face different directions so one of the statues is looking at you from any of three sides. When I returned home, I discovered more about this memorial located on the National Mall.

American served in the Korean War from June 25, 1950 to July 27, 1953. Of 5.8 million who served, 54,246 Americans died, 8,200 went missing in action, and 103,284 were wounded.

The Korean War Veterans Memorial, dedicated on July 27, 1995, honors Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard on a Mural Wall.

The United Nations Wall honors the 22 nations that sent troops to Korea.

A Pool of Remembrances offers a reflective place to sit.

Most impressive are the 19 seven-foot tall statues standing among juniper bushes and separated by granite strips that symbolize Korea’s rice paddies. Each represents duties filled by the Army, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Navy. Above the Lead Scout is a Dedication Stone with the saying:

     Our Nation honors her sons and daughters

     who answered the call to defend a country

     they never knew and a people they never met

-Sandra Merville Hart


“Korean War Memorial,” American Battle Monuments Commission, 2019/09/05

“Korean War Veterans Memorial,” Washington DC, 2019/09/05

“The Korean War Veterans Memorial,” The Korean War Veterans Memorial, 2019/09/05


Civil War Women

The Civil War Seen Through Women’s Eyes in Stories by Louisa May Alcott, Kate Chopin, Eudora Welty, and other great Women Writers

Edited by Frank McSherry, Jr., Charles G. Waugh, and Martin Greenberg

This is a collection of short stories about the Civil War. Some have such a ring of truth that one wonders if they really happened just this way.

There are stories written by women who lived during the Civil War (1861-65). Other authors were born almost fifty years after the war.

Most stories really resonated with me. They transported me back in time to how citizens of the North and South suffered and I hurt with them.

-Review by Sandra Merville Hart


Welsh Rarebit Recipe

I found this recipe in my 1877 Cookbook Buckeye Cookery and Practical Housekeeping and was surprised to discover this is really a type of open-faced grilled cheese. Modern recipes used a creamy cheese sauce. This old-fashioned recipe actual talks about both types.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Toast 4 slices of bread. (I used rye bread for myself and white bread for my husband.)

Cut the crusts off the toasted bread. Spread butter over the toast. Add a layer of cheese. (I used American cheese, but vary this for your favorites. Shredded cheeses will also work.)

Spread a thin layer of mustard on top of the cheese. Place the prepared slices on a pie plate or cookie sheet. Heat these in the oven until the cheese melts.

Serve immediately.

This is a tasty, fun way to put a spin on grilled cheese sandwiches.

The 1877 cook gave a second option of toasting the bread and adding melted cheese, which seems to be the more modern version. She gave no recipe for this, so I’ll give mine.

Over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a saucepan and then stir in a tablespoon of flour. Pour in ½ cup of cream (makes a thick, creamy sauce or use milk for a thinner sauce.) Stir constantly until it begins to bubble. (It can scorch easily.)

Remove the pan from the burner. Then add about 1/4 cup of cheddar cheese. I added a little American cheese because cheddar doesn’t melt smoothly.

Stir until smooth and spoon over toast.

I liked this second option even better. The creamy cheese was another variation on the classic sandwich—and very filling.

-Sandra Merville Hart


Compiled from Original Recipes. Buckeye Cookery and Practical Housekeeping, Applewood Books, 1877.


Iwo Jima Memorial

The World War II Battle of Iwo Jima between the U.S. Marines and the Imperial Army of Japan lasted five weeks, beginning in February of 1945. The Japanese under General Tadamichi Kuribayashi had camouflaged their artillery and at first caused significant casualties for the Marines under the command of Holland M. “Howlin’ Mad” Smith.

Over the next few days, about 70,000 U.S. Marines soon outnumbered the 21,000 Japanese forces. The battle eventually claimed the lives of nearly 7,000 Marines. The losses for the Japanese were far greater—only about 200 survived the battle.

Marines of the 28th Regiment, 5th Division, were ordered to capture Iwo Jima’s Mount Suribachi. About 10:30 am, a U.S. flag was raised on February 23, 1945—four days after the battle began. A larger flag was raised that afternoon. The afternoon flag raising was the image taken for the iconic photograph by Joseph Rosenthal, Associated Press.

The photo inspired Sculptor Felix W. de Weldon to make a life size image that three of the six flag raisers—Ira Hayes, Rene Gagnon, and John Bradley—posed for. Sadly, the others were killed.

The Marine Corps War Memorial, also called Iwo Jima Memorial, was dedicated by President Dwight D. Eisenhower on November 10, 1954.

Because there were two actual historic flag raisings that day, doubt arose regarding the identity of one man in the photo. The Marines conducted an investigation. They discovered that though John Bradley had been one of the six men who raised the first flag, Private First Class Harold Schultz actually replaced him in the second flag raising.

The six flag raisers in the iconic photo are: Corporal Harlon Block, Private First Class Rene Gagnon, Private First Class Ira Hayes, Private First Class Harold Schultz, Private First Class Franklin Sousley, and Sergeant Michael Strank.

-Sandra Merville Hart


“History of the Marine Corps War Memorial,”, 2019/09/05 editors. “Iwo Jima,” History, 2019/09/05

“USMC Statement on Iwo Jima Flag Raisers,” Marines, 2019/09/05


Loving a Harvey Girl by Linda W. Yezak

From the Smitten Historical Romance Collection: The Cowboys

Taming the West … one heart at a time.

 Eva Knowles has to get a job to support her family back home until her pa gets back on his feet. She meets the handsome cowboy, Cal Stephens, soon after she arrives at a Texas town. She’s grateful for the good word he puts in for her because it lands her a job at the Harvey House.

Cal hasn’t seen the beautiful Eva since she left for six weeks of job training in Kansas. He’d love to court her but his childhood friend, Melody Malone, suddenly seems to be everywhere he goes. When he does go on a date with Eva, she makes it plain she’s not interested in marrying. And Melody isn’t making the situation any easier.

I loved Cal’s character. The author masterfully wrote in deep point of view, enabling me to connect with the cowboy. His honest reactions touched me. I also enjoyed learning about the Harvey Girls, adding to my interest in the well-written story. A page-turner!

I will look for more stories by this author.

-Sandra Merville Hart


Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas  Save money and use coupon code SandraMHart for a 20% discount on Lighthouse Publishing books!

Economical Breakfast Suggestions

A few dishes we might think of today for inexpensive breakfasts include cereal, oatmeal, scrambled eggs, toast, and pancakes.

The author of 1877 Cookbook Buckeye Cookery and Practical Housekeeping included meal choices for economical breakfasts back in her day.

Her first suggestion:

Ham and eggs, baked potatoes, hash, hominy, and Graham gems (Graham muffins) with coffee to drink.

Her second suggestion:

Breakfast stew or fish, tomatoes, fried Graham mush, applesauce, potatoes, and either toast or cornbread. Coffee to drink.

It’s funny how 140 years can change our ideas of breakfast foods. Most of us think of hash browns as an acceptable breakfast side dish but not baked potatoes.

Ham and eggs are still a staple and I serve applesauce for breakfast, but what about hominy? Have you even heard of fried Graham mush?

These are the kind of gems that are hidden in our history—and I love discovering them to include in my novels. 😊

-Sandra Merville Hart


Compiled from Original Recipes. Buckeye Cookery and Practical Housekeeping, Applewood Books, 1877.


Becoming Brave by Jennifer Uhlarik

From the Smitten Historical Romance Collection: The Cowboys

 Taming the West … one heart at a time.

 A grisly scene of death greets Coy Whittaker on a cattle drive. Five dead bodies—no, a lone brave is still alive. Barely. What happened here?

Aimee Kaplan crawls out from a hollow log—her hiding place during the attack that killed her four brothers. They’d been frightened of someone and on the run in Indian Territory. Was that terrible man behind this attack?

Somehow, she knows she can trust the Coy, the cowboy who finds her. He stumbles upon an outlaw gang near the brothers’ graves. If they were the ones after Aimee’s brothers, he and the other hands must keep her safe while driving the herd.

I was touched by the tragic loss of so many family members at once. The cowboy carries deep wounds from the past and hides his true identity. Danger and suspense kept me turning pages. I had to know what happened. The action drew me immediately to this well-written story.

This is the first book I’ve read by this author. I will look for more stories by her.

-Sandra Merville Hart


Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas  Save money and use coupon code SandraMHart for a 20% discount on Lighthouse Publishing books!

Pentagon Memorial

On a recent trip to Washington, DC, I visited the Pentagon Memorial. It was late in the evening and there were only a handful of visitors at the memorial. As I looked at the benches—184 of them—with lighted pools of water flowing underneath, I was struck once again by the tragedy of September 11, 2001.

No American alive that day can forget its horror. Four commercial airplanes were hijacked in coordinated attacks on specific targets and tragic loss of innocent lives resulted.

Five hijackers boarded American Airlines Flight 77 to Los Angeles from Dulles International Airport that sunny morning. The flight, delayed 10 minutes, departed at 8:20 am with 58 passengers and a crew of 6. What the crew didn’t know was that armed hijackers were among the passengers.

While flying over eastern Kentucky, hijackers took control of the plane, possibly between 8:51 and 8:54 am. It’s believed that one of them piloted the plane. None of the radio messages sent to the pilot after that time were answered.

It crashed into the Pentagon at 9:37 am, bringing a tragic end to 184 innocent lives.

The Pentagon Memorial, in remembrance of those who died there, opened on September 11, 2008. Architects Julie Beckman and Keith Kaseman along with engineer Buro Happold designed the memorial in a timeline, from the youngest victim (Dana Falkenberg at 3) to the oldest victim (John D. Yamnicky at 71), both on Flight 77.

Victims’ names have been placed on cantilevered benches with pools of flowing water underneath, which are lit at night. The designers put a lot of thought into the placement of the benches. Visitors read the names of those who perished in the Pentagon with that building behind it. Names face the sky where the plane approached for those from Flight 77.

Beautiful Crepe Myrtles, 85 of them, will eventually grow to height of 30 feet, giving shade to the Memorial in future years.

The Age Wall starts at a height of 3 inches for the youngest victim and builds to 71 inches for the oldest.

It’s a beautiful, well-designed unique memorial.

May we never forget.

-Sandra Merville Hart


“Pentagon Memorial,” The National 9/11, 2019/09/05

“Pentagon Memorial,” National Geographic, 2019/09/05



Saratoga Potatoes Recipe

The author of 1877 Cookbook Buckeye Cookery and Practical Housekeeping included meal suggestions. A summertime breakfast suggestion is: nutmeg melons; fried fish; Saratoga potatoes; sliced tomatoes; Minnesota rolls; bread; coffee; tea; and chocolate.

The cookbook includes recipes for some of these. Today I’m sharing one for Saratoga Potatoes from Mrs. Jasper Sager.

I quickly scanned the recipe for what I thought were fried potatoes—a breakfast side dish. I was wrong.

Pare (peel) four large potatoes. Slice them thinly in a slaw cutter. I have my mother’s slaw cutter that we used to shred cabbage, carrots, cheese, etc. It has a slicer in the middle that looked promising for producing thin potato. It worked beautifully.

It wasn’t until I saw the paper-thin slices that I realized I was making potato chips. I’ve eaten Saratoga chips at restaurants but never made them.

Slice the potatoes lengthwise for larger chips.

Place the sliced potatoes in ice water as they can brown quickly when exposed to air.

Mrs. Sager used “boiling lard” to fry her potatoes. I don’t own a deep fryer—my cast iron skillet worked fine.

I heated shortening over a medium-high heat. To prevent possible burns, I didn’t allow it to boil.

As the shortening melts, pick up a handful of potatoes and gently squeeze the excess water from them. Then place on a clean towel or paper towel and dry thoroughly. (I went through three towels with this batch.)

When the oil is hot enough, place dried potato slices into the skillet a few at a time. Try not put them on top of each other. Cook carefully on both sides until they are lightly browned. Remove potatoes and drain on paper towels.

I asked my husband to taste the first batch to see if they were overdone, underdone, or just right.

“These are good.” He filled a plate and began munching.

Apparently, they were just right.

Frying them a handful at a time required several batches. As each batch takes a minute or less, these were quickly done.

I took some to my sister’s house a couple of hours later. Her family loved them. They must be eaten soon after frying. I think I’ll make these as a fun novelty dish for an upcoming picnic.

What surprised me most is that potato chips were considered breakfast food in the 1870s! Our teenagers had told us for years that snacks like chips are breakfast food. Did they read this cookbook??? 😊

History is filled with surprises. That’s why I love learning about our past.

-Sandra Merville Hart


Compiled from Original Recipes. Buckeye Cookery and Practical Housekeeping, Applewood Books, 1877.