NO-RECIPE RECIPES

February 28, 2021

           As I mentioned last week, I was intrigued by a cookbook review in Publishers Weekly (January 18th issue; the book will be published in March): The New York Times Cooking No-Recipe Recipes: A Cookbook, by Sam Sifton.
           The review begins, “Sifton, food editor of the New York Times, gathers in this remarkable cookbook 100 purposefully inexact methods for creating delicious meals. Cooking without adhering to standard recipes ‘is a proficiency to develop, a way to improve your confidence in the kitchen,’ he writes, and, accordingly, the recipes are accompanied by measurement-free ingredient lists, a soupcon of insouciance (‘This is a freestyle version of restaurant food’), cheerful tips, and ideas for modifications.”
           In the “Q&A” sidebar, Sifton said, “To me, recipes are sheet music that allow you to play a melody, while a no-recipe recipe is like a chord chart that gives you a rough outline to fill in as you like.” The final question is one I’d never heard before, “If you were a dessert, what would you be?” He replied, “Let’s see, I think I would be a piece of apple pie with a slice of cheddar on top. It’s pretty American, and I’m pretty American. And the cheddar adds a nice savory note at the end.”
           Of course I immediately wondered what dessert I would be. The answer that popped into my mind was: gingerbread. With Hard Sauce, not whipped cream, the way my mother served it. Her Hard Sauce recipe came from a Fannie Farmer cookbook, omitting Fannie’s lemon extract: butter, powdered sugar, vanilla extract.
           I asked my sister what dessert she’d be. She replied, “Lemon meringue pie.”
           And Penny and I have been remembering how Sunday suppers were often a “Hamburg Mess” when our father did some no-recipe cooking. He began browning ground beef in the big cast-iron skillet and added whatever struck his fancy from the fridge and cupboards. As we grew into our teens, we took over. Penny remembers adding onion and tomatoes in some form—whole, sauce, catsup—and maybe beans but not the red kidney beans he and I favored; as she says, the result wasn’t goulash or chili or spaghetti sauce, simply our Hamburg Mess. And she recalls that this was one of her favorite cooking times. What I recall most about the times I was doing the cooking is the chance to experiment with the spices and herbs in the larder—also Worcestershire and Tabasco, so sophisticated!
           In my early-married years I was a careful cook, following recipes faithfully, but eventually I began to wing it, usually with casseroles and soups. I never wrote down some of the results, such as the Night Before Payday Casserole. Some I did, and here’s a favorite I came up with when our garden was full of greens and garlic, my Greens and Garlic Soup:
           Olive oil
           Several cloves of garlic, peeled
           Chicken broth
           Potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
           Swiss chard (or kale or spinach), washed and deveined and torn or cut into small pieces
           Heat oil in Dutch oven. Add garlic. Cook low, covered, 5 minutes.
           Add broth. Bring to a boil; simmer 5 minutes.
           Remove garlic and mash with a fork. Return to broth.
           Add potatoes. Cook covered until barely tender.
           Add chard (or other greens) and cook, uncovered, 2-3 minutes more.
           Add water if consistency needs it.

© 2021 by Ruth Doan MacDougall; all rights reserved

   LIBRARIES AND PUBLISHERS WEEKLY

February 21, 2021

            At last I went to the library for the first time in a year—that is, I went inside our library. Since the pandemic hit, the foyer has been open to the public, and we can pick up or leave off books on the table and bookcase there, but to go farther indoors you make an appointment to have a half hour as the lone patron. I hadn’t yet done that. However, recently when one of the librarians phoned to say that a book I had suggested had arrived, I realized I yearned to go in, browse, get some audiobooks, and thus I made an appointment.
            Entering the beautiful, familiar interior felt like a homecoming but also emphasized how strange the past year has been. Nancy, the library director, and I talked about this as I browsed.
            For audiobooks, I decided on Jerry Seinfeld’s Is This Anything? and John Grisham’s Camino Winds.  The book awaiting me was The Liar’s Dictionary, by Eley Williams; I’d read a review in Publishers Weekly and it sounded like fun. When I got home and dipped in, I discovered that as the PW review had said, it was “a sheer delight for word lovers.”           
            Reading my issues of PW, I often find reviews of books I’d like to read but I know there isn’t time for them all, alas. A few of examples of reviews I liked are:
            The Glitter in the Green by John Dunn. Hummingbirds!
            Liars: Falsehoods and Free Speech in an Age of Deception by Cass Sunstein. Wow, that title and The Liar’s Dictionary—I can’t imagine why the subject of lying is of interest to me; the reason can’t possibly be the past four years, can it? The last sentence of this review says, “Policy makers and legal scholars will value this astute analysis of how to strike the proper balance between freedom and responsibility.”
            When Women Invented Television: The Untold Story of the Female Powerhouses Who Pioneered the Way We Watch Today by Jennifer Keishin Armstrong. One woman was “Virtuoso Betty White [who] ad-libbed her way into being one of the first women to develop a hit daytime talk show (Hollywood on Television).
            And then there’s the review that was of GREAT interest to me, The New York Times Cooking No-Recipe Recipes: A Cookbook by Sam Sifton. Indeed, I may be writing about this idea here soon, and I may be suggesting the book to the library!
            In the January 25 issue of PW, that week’s last page (the “Soapbox” page) was titled and subtitled: “A More Perfect Union: A librarian and educator sees libraries as crucial to bringing people together.” It was written by R. David Lankes, director of the University of South Carolina’s School of Information Science. He concludes, “Our nation may be divided at this moment. But throughout our history we see that when we come together in civil, honest conversations based on facts and science, history and truth, we find commonality. And I believe that our libraries and schools are the essential social infrastructure that will help move us past this dark period in our history.”

© 2021 by Ruth Doan MacDougall; all rights reserved

         PARTY; AlSO, PIZZA

February 14, 2021

           Many, many thanks to the partygoers at the LAZY BEDS book launch party! It was a miraculous event for me, doing my first Zooming get-together and seeing you there, dear friends over the years. Much gratitude to you for spending part of a Sunday in Snowy and Bev’s world. (Yes, Puddles, I hear you; your world too!)
For those who couldn’t attend, Jen made a recording. A link to this video will soon be posted on my Facebook page.
           Another subject, also a happy one: pizza. Last Tuesday, Maine’s WCSH-TV “Morning Report” told me that this was National Pizza Day, and their Daily Stumper Question was: What is America’s least favorite pizza topping?
Multiple choice: a. Pineapple; b. Anchovies; c. Olives; d. Eggplant
I guessed Eggplant because even though I grew eggplants in our garden and Don admired their beauty and liked them in my Joy of Cooking’s Eggplant Creole casserole, he wasn’t particularly enamored with them otherwise; we tried them only once on a pizza. Two of the “Morning Report” hosts also guessed eggplant. The third guessed anchovies, and he got it right. So did Penny and Thane when I later told them the Stumper.
           Needless to say, the favorite topping in the survey was pepperoni.
Sharon, one of the hosts, remarked that a favorite combo of hers is pineapple and Kalamata olives. I must try that! Don and I sometimes combined mushrooms and Kalamata olives or mushrooms and anchovies . . .  Well! I didn’t have a pizza in the freezer with which to celebrate February 9th, but for supper I assembled a salad full of everything else pizza-like I had on hand, such as Italian-style chicken sausage, tomato, black olives, fresh basil, Parmesan, and anchovies.
           In June 2019 I wrote here about pizza, past and present, quoting from the Henrietta Snow scene in which Snowy and Tom reminisce in an Italian restaurant:

Snowy said, “We’ve never had pizza together.”
“It hadn’t been invented back then.”
She laughed. “It was just reaching New Hampshire in our teens, or Gunthwaite at least. Julia, Bev’s mother, served the first I ever had, a frozen one. Then we began making them from a Chef Boyardee box. But it was really a college thing.”

           And after that quotation I continued, reminiscing about those college years, “When I was living with my grandparents during non-resident terms, my grandmother Ruth did the cooking but I helped on weekends by making a Chef Boyadee pizza for supper. A rectangular pizza on a cookie sheet. Then one day after work at Beacon Press an office friend walked with me to Boston’s North Station for the commuter trains home, and on the way she took me into a little Italian bakery, where she bought bread and I did too. We talked about pizza, and the next day she gave me her recipe for making pizza from scratch. And thus I graduated from Chef Boyardee.
“And when I joined Don at Keene Teachers’ College, he introduced me to his favorite beer-and-pizza joint.”
           Where we usually had the Pizza Supreme (or whatever it was called) with EVERYTHING on it.
           And now another happy subject: Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone!

© 2021 by Ruth Doan MacDougall; all rights reserved

   GROUNDHOG DAY

February 6, 2021

           I’m posting this a day early because tomorrow morning I’ll be getting ready for the Lazy Beds launch party. I apologize for any Saturday/Sunday confusions this may cause!
           Last Monday as I set forth to do errands before Tuesday’s snowstorm, I noticed that Frost Heaves signs had been put up on roads. While I jounced onward over the heaves, I thought optimistically: when Frost Heaves signs appear, can Weight Limit signs be far behind? The latter signs appear in spring’s mud season.
           On Tuesday, Groundhog Day, we got the predicted snowstorm with over a foot of snow, and our New Hampshire woodchucks remained indoors in their burrows still happily hibernating, no chance of seeing their shadows. Another hope for springtime!
On Maine’s WCSH-TV “Morning Report” I learned that a man in Maine had humorously measured the depth of the snow with cans of Moxie stacked up. It measured one-and-a-half cans. I didn’t have any Moxie on hand so I just tried to estimate what the snow in my backyard would measure in cans—not quite a six-pack, depending on drifting?
           Until almost the end of January, that month was mild, with many warnings about thin ice. Because of this and of course the pandemic, there hasn’t been as much ice fishing as usual. Instead of a little village of bob houses on the Squam Lake bay I drove past Tuesday, I saw only a lone fisherman, without a bob house, sitting on a footstool on the ice, his fishing pole over the hole he’d cut. It was such a classic scene; I wished, as I often do, that I were a painter. And it brought back memories I’ve written about, sitting at a hole in the ice with Penny and our father on Lake Winnipesaukee. He did not own a bob house. Chilly—freezing!
           The Laker newspaper has told me that the cold snap at the end of January made it possible for the Great Meredith Ice Fishing Derby to be held February 13-14th, and “This year’s derby will offer more than $50,000 in prizes, with a first prize of $15,000 in cash.”
           Another Laker article reported on another February 13th event, saying that whether you’re a “spectator, visitor, or ice fisherman, the Wolfeboro Lions Club has something warm and delicious for you . . . [The club] will offer a concession stand at 19 Mile Bay Beach in Tuftonboro, with proceeds supporting the Lions Scholarship funds. There will be homemade chili by Lions Club members, steamed hot dogs, coffee, hot chocolate, and bottled water for sale at the stand.” Although Penny and I had fun picnicking with our father on sandwiches (usually deviled ham) and a thermos of soup (usually Campbell’s tomato) our mother made for us, how we would’ve loved that concession stand—and even more so if it were selling Moxie!

© 2021 by Ruth Doan MacDougall; all rights reserved

   JEEPS

January 31, 2021

           In Snowy, as our heroine is racing after a herd of cows that’s aimed straight for her garden, I wrote: “An old green Jeep braked at the mailbox.”
And thus Snowy is introduced to Tom’s Jeep. It was inspired by the Jeep that Don and I once owned, and I’ve been thinking about it because in the February/March issue of Reminisce magazine there’s an article about Jeeps: “Over Hill, Dale and Everywhere: The drab green vehicle that powered through wars turns 80 this year.” It was written by Russ Maki, who tells us:
           “Gen. George Marshall called it ‘America’s greatest contribution to modern warfare.’ GIs called it the Jeep, a nickname of obscure origin that may have come from a Popeye cartoon or a light tractor Minneapolis-Moline sold to the Army before World War II . . .
           “The original concept came from American Bantam, a manufacturer of small vehicles that occasionally served as props in movies (Donald Duck’s cartoon roadster was a Bantam) . . . Willys trademarked Jeep after the war and hired designer Brooks Stevens to adapt it to civilian use.”

           In 1962 we were living in Sharon, Massachusetts, where Don taught English at the high school, but we were hankering to return to the New Hampshire countryside. One of Don’s job interviews that spring was at the high school in Lisbon, NH, north of Franconia Notch in the White Mountains. He was offered the job, he accepted, and then he contemplated our car, a secondhand Volkswagen bug. He mused, “That damn thing won’t make it through the notch, especially in winter.”
On our trip north to the interview he had noticed (of course) a Jeep dealership in Plymouth.
           So we bought a Jeep. A brand-new Jeep, our first new car.  We couldn’t afford it but we convinced ourselves we were being grown-up and virtuous; it was for our safety. (Not to mention fun.) It was green with a white canvas top. Two bucket seats. In back, no seats; metal shelves on the sides. Don had also noticed a sign at a garage in Meredith advertising the installation of another thing new to us, seat belts (lap belts). So he had those put in for our safety. A couple of months later we acquired a border collie puppy, and Don built little wooden fences across the shelves so that Heathcliff (as I’ve mentined before, this was what we named our puppy; ah, English majors!) would be safe in whatever shelf he chose for a seat.
           In Henrietta Snow I wrote:           
           “Into the White Mountains Tom drove, his venerable Jeep chugging along the familiar route up through Franconia Notch. He turned west toward the setting sun.”

           He reaches his and Joanne’s house:

           “He drove on past a field of clover and Indian paintbrush and turned up his driveway between another field and a lawn. When they moved to Newburgh they had rented the old run-down house and barn on the knoll.”

           This was the way we’d drive home to our rented house from, say, a visit to our parents’ homes in Laconia. And up through the notch in all varieties of weather the Jeep took us home—most memorably one time in sudden snow when some of the other vehicles were off the road and we went chugging along.

© 2021 by Ruth Doan MacDougall; all rights reserved

   POEMS AND PAPER-WHITES

January 24, 2021

           After Amanda Gorman read her “The Hill We Climb” poem on this cold Inauguration Day, I basked some more in such welcome good emotions of the day and thought of watching John Kennedy’s inauguration when Robert Frost read his “Gift Outright” in the frosty snow. The young president; the old poet. The reverse of Joe Biden and Amanda Gorman!
           Poems had already been on my mind—and one poem in particular because I’d seen in my five-year diaries that on January 19, 2014, I’d posted a piece here about E. B. White’s poem “Window Ledge in the Atom Age,” his musings on the paper-white narcissus in his window.
           I sometimes have had a paper-white or an amaryllis blooming in the kitchen on the little red-checked-oilcloth-covered table that serves as an extra counter in front of a window. This hadn’t happened this year, so instead I’ve been concentrating my enjoyment on the three pots there, basil and rosemary and lavender wintering over. The basil was a present from Penny. The other two plants I rescued at a garden center last summer, runts of the litter left behind after everybody’s pandemic rush to buy plants. They’re still puny but seem determined.
           In 2014 I wrote:

“When I planted paper-white narcissus bulbs in a pot this winter, I recited what I could remember of E. B. White’s poem on the subject of paper-whites . . . It’s as much a joy as the paper-whites themselves. Complete with hilarious rhymes for ‘narcissus’!
“Strange that the paper-whites, blooming white against the snowscape out our windows, can bring such hope of spring. Wouldn’t colorful blossoms be a better harbinger? But before the paper-whites bloomed, Don and I watched their green stems and leaves sprouting from the bulbs and we even measured their growth. And that growth of green was the hope.”

           Here’s an excerpt from the poem:

I have a bowl of paper whites,
   Of paper-white narcissus,
Their fragrance my whole soul delights,
   They smell delissus.
     (They grow in pebbles in the sun
           And each is like a star.)

I love this day, this hour, this room,
   This motionless narcissus;
I love the stillness of the home,
   I love the missus.
     (She grows in pebbles in my sun
          And she is like a star.)

© 2021 by Ruth Doan MacDougall; all rights reserved

   PEANUT BUTTER

January 17, 2021

           When I saw that in the January/February issue of Smithsonian magazine there was an article about the history of peanut butter, the very first peanut-butter memory that leapt into my mind was my history of peanut butter with Don. During our— er — courtship, when we were — er — cozy enough with each other so we didn’t just say goodnight at the door of my house, we’d go indoors into the kitchen. My parents and sister were asleep upstairs. I’d fetch bread and peanut butter and a plate from the pantry, a knife from a utensils drawer, and we’d sit at the table beside the toaster, me on his lap, and toast the bread, apply the peanut butter, and restore our energy. Quiet laughter; well, from me, giggles.
           The article, written by Kate Wheeling, is titled “Going Nuts: the bizarre sanitarium staple that would become a spreadable obsession.” I thought I sort of knew peanut butter’s history, but the article filled in several blanks. She begins, “North Americans weren’t the first to grind peanuts—the Inca beat us to it by a few thousand years—but peanut butter reappeared in the modern world because of an American, the doctor, nutritionist and cereal pioneer John Harvey Kellogg.” He created “an easily digestible paste for patients at the Battle Creek Sanitarium.”
           Soon Joseph Lambert invented “machinery to roast and grind peanuts on a larger scale.” The peanut-butter business had begun! “A 1908 ad . . . claimed that just 10 cents’ worth of peanuts contained six times the energy of a porterhouse steak.” Meat rationing during World War I increased consumption. Then in 1921 came a big breakthrough when “a Californian named Joseph Rosefield . . . [who] went on to found Skippy” came up with a process of hydrogenation, so at last you didn’t have to stir the oil in.
           I remember my mother’s doing that stirring, so some peanut butters still needed it in the 1940s. Don and I returned to stirring in the 1980s when we began buying peanut butter in whole-foods stores. Then we got lazy and lapsed, but later, searching for salt-free peanut butter in supermarkets, we discovered Teddie’s All Natural Unsalted Peanut Butter and we returned to stirring. And I continue stirring Teddie’s nowadays. But there’s a jar of Skippy in the larder for emergencies.
           Kate Wheeling concludes by telling us that peanut butter even has a role to play in the pandemic: “Yale University’s Dana Small devised a smell test” for Covid-19. “‘What food do most people have in their cupboards that provides a strong, familiar odor?’ Small asks. ‘That’s what led us to peanut butter.’”
           We all associate peanuts with George Washington Carver, and in a sidebar titled “Sustainable,” Emily Moon writes about how he “developed hundreds of uses for them” but his “greatest agricultural achievement [was] helping black farmers prosper, free of the tyranny of cotton.” I remember reading about him in a children’s book from the Laconia library, one of a series I loved, little biographies that had orange covers and silhouette illustrations.
           Ah, peanut butter, with or without grape jelly or marshmallow fluff! I don’t recall doing any cooking with peanut butter except cookies. Maybe fudge? Once a friend made a peanut-butter pie for a get-together, and I was astounded at how good it was, but I didn’t ask for the recipe. However, the other day as I was puttering in the kitchen, the Food Network on the TV, I heard someone mention peanut-butter crostini? What? Later, I Googled and found recipes.
           So my ruminations have come full circle, back to peanut butter and toast.

© 2021 by Ruth Doan MacDougall; all rights reserved

     LAST WEDNESDAY

January 10, 2021

          Despite the foreboding feeling that was intensifying before last Wednesday, the scenes were still such a shock, weren’t they. We all are struggling for words — unbelievable, sickening, heartbreaking.
          The next day when I was talking with a friend, she said that her mother had mentioned she’d been thinking about World War II lately; she was in high school back then. I’d been thinking the very same thing! Mine are childhood World War II memories, which I’ve described here before, and the one foremost in my mind is my mother listening to the radio, the sound of a voice yelling, ranting in a foreign language, and a crowd roaring, roaring, roaring.
          Over the past four years I kept having a thought that I’d jokingly summed up by the title of the book All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten. Actually, my thought was more about subsequent school years—history lessons in elementary school and history classes in high school and college. I found myself repeating one particular term that, we were taught, had been vitally important to our democracy, “The Great Compromise,” which had created the way the states were represented in the House and Senate. In my memory, teachers had gone on to emphasize the importance of compromise in general. What has happened to this?
          Well, to turn to another and lighter subject, last week I finally had a chance to read the December 24th issue of The Meredith News that had got lost under my paperwork over the holidays. In it I found an update on what was happening to Laconia’s dear old Colonial Theater. I’ve mentioned here before that the Colonial had inspired the movie theater in The Cheerleader:

          “When Snowy was younger, the theater had seemed to her like a palace, its chandeliers and gold scrollwork and dark-red curtain and plush seats so rich and wonderful that she couldn’t believe she was allowed in for just twelve cents, and although now it cost seventy-five cents and she saw its shabbiness, she still retained some of this feeling and tonight the awe was mixed with the trembly excitement of being here with Tom.”

          After the 1950s, the Colonial was eventually chopped up into a “multiplex” and later it closed. Then restoration began, and now in the December newspaper I read the news of its new life: “The Belknap Mill ( . . . a center for award-winning cultural and educational programs) is happy to announce that its new theatre program, Powerhouse Theatre Collaborative, will be hosting virtual opportunities to introduce Spectacle Management to the Lakes Region community. Spectacle Management is the company that will be managing the Colonial Theatre when it opens in 2021. Powerhouse . . . will be the resident theatre company at the Colonial and will be helping Spectacle get to know the local arts community.”
          Let us hope, knock on wood, that there’ll be more good news in the New Year.

© 2021 by Ruth Doan MacDougall; all rights reserved

     HOODSIES AND ANIMAL CRACKERS

January 3, 2021

             Last week as I was reading the table of contents in the January-February issue of Yankee magazine, I saw a word I hadn’t seen in decades: Hoodsie. And I was instantly back in childhood, walking down the street from our house to Walter’s Market trying to decide what treat to buy with part of my weekly allowance of twenty-five cents, a candy bar or a Hoodsie.
             Quickly I turned pages to the Hoodsie piece: “Prized Cup: In a world of glamorous specialty ice creams, the no-nonsense Hoodsie keeps a hold on New England’s heart,” by Jessica Battilana. She begins by describing New Englanders’ “beloved ritual: Grabbing the paper tab at its edge, we pull the lid from a Hoodsie Cup, lick it, then scoop the chocolate and vanilla ice cream from the paper cup using the paddle-like spoon.”
             New Englanders! Years ago, I was quite surprised when the editor of my first novel, The Lilting House, gently asked me to rewrite “Hoodsie” in my manuscript because nobody outside of New England would know what I meant. So I either deleted it or changed it to something blah like “individual ice-cream container.”
Jessica Battilana tells us that “HP Hood has been headquartered [in Massachusetts] since its founding in 1846.” And she mentions that “When Hoodsie Cups debuted in 1947, the cups cost a nickel.” Wow, I could have bought a Hoodsie five days a week with my wealth of twenty-five cents! In the magazine’s illustration of Hoodsies, the little spoon looks plastic.  They used to be wooden ones that gave the ice cream a faintly woody taste.
             I hadn’t realized that Hoodsies still existed. But Jessica Battilana told me that “Today you can purchase Hoodsie Cups from ice cream trucks and grocery stores in every state in New England and parts of upstate New York.” Well, the next time I’m in our grocery store I must browse farther in the ice-cream case than just Ben & Jerry’s.
             So I didn’t have a Hoodsie in the house, but I did have another childhood favorite, a box of Animal Crackers, a Christmas present with other fun treats from my niece. I’d forgotten that the box has a little handle, so you could carry it like a pocketbook. But I hadn’t forgotten an “Animal Crackers” poem by Christopher Morley. It’s about having cocoa with them; by some inexplicable oversight I didn’t happen to have cocoa in the cupboard (another note to make on the grocery list after “Hoodsies”), but I did have tea. I opened my copy of Silver Pennies, the children’s anthology, and with my Animal Crackers and tea I began reading:
             Animal crackers, and cocoa to drink,
             That is the finest of suppers, I think;
             When I’m grown up and can have what I please
I              think I shall always insist upon these.

             What do you choose when you’re offered a treat?
             When Mother says, “What would you like best to eat?”
             Is it waffles and syrup, or cinnamon toast?
             It’s cocoa and animals that I love the most!

  © 2021 by Ruth Doan MacDougall; all rights reserved


ARCHIVES INDEX

2021

No-Recipe Recipes (February 28)
Libraries and Publishers Weekly (February 21)
Party; Also, Pizza (February 13)
Groundhog Day (February 6)
Jeeps (January 31)
Poems and Paper-Whites (January 24)
Peanut Butter
(January 17)
Last Wednesday  (January 10)
Hoodsies and Animal Crackers  (January 3)

2020
Welcome, 2021 !
 ( December 27) 
Cornwall at Christmastime
 ( December 20) 
 Mount Tripyramid ( December 13) 
New Hampshire Pie ( December 6)   
Frost, Longfellow, and Larkin ( November 29)
Rocking Chairs ( November 22)
Thanksgiving Side Dishes ( November 15)
Election 2000 ( November 8)
Jell-O and Pollyanna ( November 1)
Peyton Place in Maine  (October 25)
Remember the Reader  (October 18)
Sandwich Fairs In Our Past  (October11)
Drought and Doughnuts  (October 4)
Snacks (September 27)
Support Systems, Continuing (September 20)
The 85 Best Things to Do in New England (Sept 13)
Dessert Salads?! (September 6)
Agatha Christie's 100th Anniversary (August 30)
Poutine and A Postscript(August 23)
Pandemic Listening and Reading (August 16)
Mobile Businesses (August 9)
Backyard Wildlife (August 2)
Maine Books (July 26)
Garlic (July 19)
Birthday Cakes (July 12)
A Collection of Quotations  (July 5)
Best of New Hampshire (June 28)
Hair (June 21)
Learning (June 14)
Riding and "Broading" Around (June 7)
Sunday Drives, Again (May 31)
The Passion Pit (May 24)
Schedules & Sustenance (May 17)
Doan Sisters Go to a British Supermarket (April 5)
National Poetry Month 2020 (April 12)
Laconia (May 10)
Results (May 3)
Singing (April 26 )
Dining Out (April 19 )
Red Hill (March 29)
An Island Kitchen (March 22)
Pandemic and Poetry (March 15)
Food for Hikes (March 8)
Social Whirl in February (March 1)
Two Audiobooks and a Magazine(February 23)
Books Sandwiched In   (February 9)
Mailboxes February 2)
Ironing (January 26)
The Cup & Crumb  (January 19)
Catalogs  (January 12)
Audiobook Travels  (January 5)

2019

Christmas Weather  (Dec. 29 )
Christmas in the Village  (Dec. 22)
Marion's Christmas Snowball, Again  (Dec. 15)
Phyliss McGinley and Mrs. York  (December 8)
Portsmouth Thanksgiving.  (December 1)
In the Dentist's Waiting Room, Again.  (Nov. 24)
Louisa and P.G.  (November 17)
The First Snow  (November 10)
Joy of Cooking  (November 3)
Over-the-Hill Celebration  (October 27)
Pumpkin Regatta  (October 20)
Houseplants, New and Old(October 13)
Pumpkin Spice  (October 6)
Wildlife  (Sept 29)
Shakespeare and George  (Sept 22)
Castles and Country Houses  (Sept 15)
New Hampshire Apple Day  (Sept 8)
Maine Woods and Matchmaking  (Sept 1)
Reunions  (August 25)
Sawyer's Dairy Bar  (August 18)
Old Home Week  (August 11)
Summer Scenes  (August 4)
Maine Foods (July 28)
Out of Reach  (July 21)
This and That, Again  (July 14)
The Lot  (July 7)
Pizza, Past and Present (June 30)
Setting Up Housekeeping (June 23)
Latest Listening and Reading (June 16)
Pinkham Notch (June 9)
A Boyhood in the Weirs (June 2)
The Big Bear (May 26)
It's Radio! (May 19)
Archie (May 12)
Department Stores  (May 5)
Spring Is Here!  (April 28)
Dorothy Parker Poem  (April 21)
National Library Week, 2019  (April 14)
National Poetry Month, 2019  (April 7)
Signs of Spring, 2019 (March 31)
Frost Heaves, Again (March 24)
Latest Reading & Listening (March 17)
Car Inspection (March 10)
Snowy Owls & Chicadees (March 3)
Sandwiches Past and Present (February 23)
Our First Date (February 17) 
Ice Fishing Remembered (February 10)
Home Ec (February 3)
A Rockland Restaurant (January 27)
Kingfisher (January 19)
Mills & Factories (January 13)
Squirrels (January 6)

2018

Clothesline Collapse   (December 2)
Thanksgiving 2018
(November 25)  
Bookmarks
(November 18)
A Mouse Milestone (November 11)
Farewell to Our Magee   (November 4)
Sistering (October 28)
Sears (October 21)
Love and Ruin (October 14)
A New Furnace (October 7)
Keene Cuisine September 30)
A Mini-Mini Reunion (September 23)
Support System  (September 16)
Five & Ten  (September 9)
Dining Out Again  (September 2)
Summer Listening (August 26)
Donald K. MacDougall 1936-2018  (August 19)
Update--Don (August 12)
Telling Don (August 5)
Don's Health (July 29)
Seen and Overheard (July 22)
Donald Hall  (July 15)
Fireworks (July 8)
Off Season (July 1)
A Clean, Well-Lighted Place (June 24)
2018 Motorcycle Week (June 17)
Springtime Sights (June 10)
Seafood at the Seacoast? (June 3)
Lilacs (May 27)
Going Up Brook, revisited  (May 20)
The Weirs Drive-In Theater  (May 13)
The Green and Yellow Time, (May 6 )
Recipe Box and Notebook (April 29)
Henrietta Snow, Second Printing (April 21)
Miniskirts and Bell-Bottoms (April 14)
The Poor Man's Fertilizer (April 7)
The Galloping Gourmet (April 1)
The Old Country Store (March 25; First  FB entry)

Earlier: :Ruth's Neighborhood
(multiple entries, 2011 - 2017)