Category Archives: Food

Ohio State Buckeyes–The Guaranteed Winner in PB and Chocolate

Will a plate of Buckeyes affect the outcome of a football rivalry? A guaranteed winner.

Ohio State Buckeyes

Ohio State Buckeye Cookies

Are they cookies or candy?  Whatever Buckeyes are–the ones we are baking and eating today are NOT the Buckeye nut.  That nut, related to the Hickory, can be eaten by deer and squirrels, but not humans.  They look kinda like the little cookies/candy on the plate.

This weekend the whole state of Ohio vibrates with excitement. It is the weekend of THE BIG GAME.  The Buckeyes play against “That state up North”.  If that is not enough of a clue for the football clueless, team _e_bers are cautioned against using the 13th letter of the alphabet for a week. (Which can be tricky when you are addressing Coach Urban _eyer).

The rivalry goes WAAAAY back.  In fact, even before the first football game the two schools played, in 1897, way back before 1837 when Michigan became a state, the two states were skirmishing on the political field.  What is now called Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, belonged to Ohio.  A complicated deal traded the city of Toledo and the Toledo Strip to Ohio and the Upper Peninsula to Michigan, after a war of words known as The Toledo War.

Harriette Anderson Joins the Buckeyes

Ohio State University stadium

The Ohio State “Shoe” in 1923–one year after it was built.

My mother was attending Ohio State in 1923 a year after the “Shoe”, the massive new stadium, opened.  The second game in that stadium in 1922 was against Michigan Wolverines and announcers said the crowd was 72,000.  That in a stadium with 62,210 seats!  Crowd sizes measure the enthusiasm even that far back for the rivalry game.

Family Tradition Continues

I arrived at Ohio State in 1956 and promptly joined “Block O” a section of students who made pictures out of cards they held up.  Ten years later, my sister also became one of the Buckeyes.  She has never recovered from the fact that Ohio State’s marching band, TBDBITL–The Best Damned Band in the Land, was all male until AFTER she graduated, so she never got to play her trumpet out on that hallowed field.

Here’s a page with all the skinny  on the rivalry. When I was a student at Ohio State, we won two and lost two, but recently, the state up north as not been doing so well.

Game Time Sweets–The Recipe

But on with the Buckeyes cookies–or candy if that’s your category for this peanut butter/chocolate treat.

According to a December 1972 recipe in OSU employee newsletter, the Buckeyes recipe was invented in 1967 (just seven years after I graduated from Ohio State).  The “original” contains paraffin, which I wouldn’t want to put into the chocolate coating even if I had any on hand. But if you want to try the original–be my guest.

Instead, I surfed for a different version of Buckeyes, and found this slightly lower-sugar, lower-fat recipe on the Smitten Kitchen site.  Rather than repeat it here, I suggest you follow the link to Smitten Kitchen.

However, I must warn you that the volume amounts and the measurements by weight did not compute on my scale.  For instance, I found that a 1-pound jar of Jif Creamy Peanut Butter made a generous cup and a half, which equals 454 grams, not 145, and was definitely enough peanut butter for my taste. I don’t know why she thought 190 grams would be necessary.

Also, the air is dry here in Arizona, which may have accounted for the dough being too dry to form into balls until I added another couple of tablespoons of melted butter.  So play it by ear.

I used dark chocolate chips instead of chopped chocolate.

Finally, getting the dough dipped in the chocolate so that only a little spot of peanut butter filling shows was much harder than I thought it would be. It would be a snap to just cover half the ball, but that doesn’t look like a buckeye to me.  Smitten Kitchen’s methods didn’t work for me. Let me know how you cope with that step.

I’m hoping we will win tomorrow, but on the list of unpredictability–the outcome of the annual Ohio State Buckeye/Michigan Wolverine game stands out.  You never know what will happen.  Wish us luck.

But peanut butter and chocolate is a guaranteed winner. Have a cookie.

Ohio State Buckeyes. Great football team. Great cookie. Fitting pillow.

Buckeyes and pillow

Buckeyes with the never humble pillow for THE Ohio State University alumni.

Roasted Root Vegetables and Thanksgiving Reprise

Are you looking for some Thanksgiving basics, or maybe some new ideas, like root vegetables?

Gravy

Killer Cornbread

Turkey Dressing

Cranberry Orange Relish

Scalloped Corn

Pickled Eggs and Beets

Pumpkin Cranberry Bread

and my most popular recipe ever:

Perfect Pie Crust

Today, I offer a quick recipe that would work on the Thanksgiving table,in addition to the reminders of earlier Thanksgiving recipes.

Our grandmothers would have loved this one, because in the middle of the winter, vegetables were scarce.  Poking around the root cellar, they might find a colorful array to brighten the table.

Roasted Root Vegetables

Roasted Root Vegetables

For this dish, I used one parsnip, two rather small rutabagas, five medium carrots and four beets. I peeled or scraped off the tough outer skin on each, cut the rutabagas in quarters and the parsnips in 2″ sticks.  The beets were smallish, so I left them alone.  The idea is to try to make the longer-cooking vegetables smaller, and the quicker cooking ones a bit larger.

I mixed the rutabagas, parsnips and beets with a tablespoon of olive oil, and put them on an aluminum-lined cookie sheet.  The carrots went in later, since they were thin and would cook fast.

I set the oven at 400 degrees and baked the vegetables for 20 minutes, then pulled out the pan and added the carrots and turned all the vegetables on the pan. From here on, you just need to stick the root vegetables with a fork every 5 minutes or so, and start removing the ones that are done. (The fork goes in easily.)

When the root vegetables were all heaped in the serving dish, I sprinkled garlic salt over them, and scattered dried thyme and parsley over the vegetables.  The top of my stove stays hot when I’m baking, so the dish stayed warm. If that doesn’t work for you, you may want to pop them in a microwave for a minute or two just before serving.

(By the way the green-ish wedges are some Japanese eggplant pieces that I had left over.  I happen to like them, but they definitely are not root vegetables, so feel free to ignore them.)

Grandma Vera Cooking on the Grill in 1910

Eating roasted chicken in 1905

These ladies having fun eating chicken at their picnic. Vera Anderson top right. Early 20th Century.

Hattie Stout

Harriett Emeline Morgan Stout

Isn’t it fun reading these old letters and getting a peek at my ancestor’s every day lives?  In a letter from Great-Grandmother Hattie Stout to her daughter, Maude, she makes two mentions of food. She writes the letter on Thursday, May 12, 1910.

Vera is going to have a grilling tomorrow and will put in two grills – She has one in now & wants to put another in as soon as I get it there with the lining and bottom as she has asked about 10 or 12 and they all could not get around one grill to any advantage.

 

The food mention that particularly interested me was this reference to her other daughter, my grandmother Vera Stout Anderson who was going to be grilling.  How? What would she be grilling? Was it for a large crowd?  So many questions, and only some of them came with answers.

Outdoor cooking over direct fire is nothing new to humankind, of course.  Our Neanderthal ancestors (whom, alas I have yet to document in my family tree) started the whole thing.  In Colonial days, cooking outdoors over an open fire would more efficiently feed a crowd, like say, for the original Thanksgiving meal prepared by the Pilgrims in Plymouth. In the Midwest, the most frequent use of grilling would come when my ancestors cooked a large pig over an outdoor fire.

But the invention of portable barbecues for family use did not arrive until the early 1950s. Which explains the wildly popular back-yard barbecue tradition and my favorite grilled chicken recipe that I wrote about here. Unfortunately,  the history-of-barbecue articles I found jump right from colonial days to the 1940s and 50s. I am left to guess at what Grandma Vera used.

Grandma Vera Anderson did not have a pre-built cooking tool like a Big Boy barbecue, as is made clear by Great-Grandma Hattie’s letter.  She had a grill installed and had to get another one. I picture a pit dug in the ground that held the slow-burning wood. Metal grids to lay the meat on covered the pit. But what was the lining and the bottom that Hattie was going to loan her along with a spare grill?  However the grill was constructed, it came together easily, because Hattie planned to go to Vera’s house in the morning, and Vera would be grilling that day.

What did she cook on those grills?  Could be the pig. But maybe it was the chicken those young women in the top picture are enjoying. The picture comes from the right era.  Hattie mentions in her letter that Vera will have 10 or 12, and there are 11 women in the picture. The only thing that mitigates against that assumption is that the house probably belonged to one of the women in the picture, the town milliner. It is not the farm house that Vera and Guy lived in earlier, and it is not the house that they lived in when they moved to town.  Nor is it the house that Hattie lived in. I can tell by the decorative work along the roof edge of the porch.

So while the chicken in the picture might have been cooked on a grill, I have reluctantly accepted that since Hattie was getting up early to go to Vera’s, Vera probably still lived out in the country, I  do not know what her grill looked like,and I do not have a picture of the food she cooked on that grill. And most maddening of all, I don’t know why everyone had to gather around the grill. Roasting marshmallows?

You can read more about the history of grilling and barbecue on Tori Avey’s site.

Reminder: if you want to cook something delicious on the grill, try that marinated chicken recipe from the Big Boy Barbecue cookbook.