Tag Archives: Harriette Kaser

Something Fishy Here–Cooking Seafood

I told mother I was making sauteed scallops for dinner. Cooking seafood seemed alien to her.

“But don’t they just taste like rubber bands?” she said.

I was sad that she had arrived in her nineties and had never eaten a soft, sensuous sea-salty scallop–at least one that had not been overcooked.

Anything I learned about cooking seafood, I learned long after I got married. In our household, acquaintance with fish was limited to canned tiny shrimp for cocktail parties, canned salmon, and when frozen food became the rage–the go-to quick meal of busy mothers–fish sticks.

Paul Kaser in Canada 1971

Paul Kaser in Canada 1971

The one exception to the absence of fish as a main dish was fish caught on vacation. Those would be decapitated and gutted by my father, and then pan fried in the kitchen of the cabin where we were vacationing. Somehow that didn’t qualify in my mind as cooking seafood.

Maybe because of its scarcity around our house, I loved seafood. When mother was getting ready for a party, she had to chase me out of the kitchen, because I would eat the little cocktail shrimp straight out of the can before she had a chance to stick them with a toothpick and put them on a tray. Later when I met lobster, it was love at first sight, and my idea of ultimate luxury was to go out to dinner and have the lobster and steak meal.

Of course I blamed mother (that’s what daughters do) for not cooking seafood. I assumed that she was just timid about learning how to cook seafood. Upon reflection, I realize that seafood would have been rare in Northeastern Ohio on the tables of my grandmother or great-grandmother as well , unless the boys went fishing in the “crick.” Before refrigerated trucks and airplanes flying frozen fish from Alaska and Maine to the Midwest, the only sea creatures in the grocery store came in cans.

Mike Badertscher, Lake Erie 1966

My son, Mike Badertscher, Lake Erie 1966

So my own adventures in cooking seafood were slow to develop. As a young bride, I leaned on the newspaper columnist Heloise for all kinds of advice about homemaking and home cooking. Remember Hints from Heloise? (Actually, the column, which started in 1959,  is not a thing of the past. Although the original Heloise died in 1977, her daughter took over the column and added a website.)

In my timid beginnings of dealing with fish, I loved this recipe for canned salmon from Heloise. I have moved on to only accepting wild-caught salmon, but still let the butcher do the messy prep work.

Heloise’s Salmon

Heloise’s Salmon


  • can salmon
  • 1 egg
  • 1 heaped teaspoon baking powder
  • vegetable oil for cooking
  • 1/2 cup flour


1. Drain and save liquid.
2. Add egg and flour to salmon and mix.
3. Stir baking powder into liquid
4. Use iced tea spoons to shape and drop small rounds into hot fat.


I would add a bit of parsley and some lemon pepper, but Heloise's original recipe did not call for any seasoning.


The photo of cans of salmon comes from Flickr and is used with a Creative Commons license. See more about the photographer.

Road Trip Adventures With Family Travelers

It’s not enough that my ancestors hang around my kitchen while I cook. They want to go on every road trip with me, too.

I certainly had a lot of travelin’ ancestors. Of course if you live in the United States and you’re not an American Indian, you had some people somewhere in your background who were adventurous enough to leave their native lands. But once they got here, some stayed put. Not mine!

This week I’m on a car trip, and so naturally, I am thinking about the ancestors and relative who took road trips. 

Florida was always a popular destination, and I can do an entire photo essay of ancestors having their pictures taken picking oranges and posing with alligators. But here’s an interesting group. The formidable woman in black is my great-grandmother Hattie Stout. George Stout was her brother-in-law, and Maude was her daughter.

Road Trip to Florida

Dr George Stout, Maude Bartlett, Hattie Stout, Mrs George Stout, Carlos Bartlett Circa 1906

In the early days of automobiles, Grandma and Grandpa Vera and  Guy Anderson went on frequent car camping trips, tent camping trips and also stayed in cabins.  Ohio is blessed with many beautiful small lakes and wooded areas.  Grandma and Grandpa were even caretakers for a State Rest Stop between Killbuck and Millersburg for many years.  I remember riding with them up to the stop where they would sweep out the restroom, and pick up litter. Here they are in the Stutz car at a place identified as Rocky Hollow.

Road Trip

Vera Anderson Camping at Rocky Hollow, Ohio with Stutz Car. Late 1920’s

I’m no expert, and would welcome guesses from someone with more expertise, but I think this is a 1927 or 1928 Stutz, which would mean the camping took place late 20s or early 30s.

There’s a Rocky Hollow that is part of the Shawnee Forest and Shawnee State Park in southern Ohio, and also a Little Rocky Hollow in beautiful Hocking County that is now a nature preserve.  There are probably a hundred or so other places by that name, so I don’t really know where this road trip camp site was. If you know where they might have camped, please let me know in the comments below. But isn’t the Ohio Shawnee Forest beautiful?

Rpad trip to Shawnee State Park

Shawnee State Forest in Ohio. Photo by Brandon C.

The young men in our family seemed to routinely take off on long trips.  Guy Anderson left home determined to join up in the Spanish-American War, but got there too late.  My father, Paul Kaser, took a road trip to Texas with some of his friends from high school. They ran out of money and had to come home.  My uncle Bill Anderson left a note with his mother and father when they lived in Columbus Ohio and said there was no work, so he was leaving for California.  He was about 19 and at loose ends. My mother was attending Ohio State University. I don’t think he actually went, because he married Aunt Sarah not long after that, but California has been a draw to others in the family that you’ll hear about later. Ah, yes, Jesse Morgan, I’m pointing at you.

The older women were not to be outdone by the young men.  Hattie Stout traveled to New York City to visit with her son William Morgan Stout.  Grandmother Vera  took a bus to California by herself in her late 60s, and rode back to Ohio with her son Herbert Anderson, his wife and family. I was about ten and remember being scandalized that such an OLD woman would go all the way across the country on a bus. My Aunt Blanche Kaser, (Mrs. Keith Kaser) who lived in Millersburg, traveled all over by Greyhound bus, once coming to visit us when we lived in Scottsdale. She was in her early 70s when she was gallivanting by herself.

My mother loved cars and when she was in her nineties, she recited for me the list of every car she had ever owned. One of her treasured trips was a road trip to Chicago for the World’s Fair in 1933 with Aunt Sarah Anderson and my Grandmother Vera.  (Mother and Father did not marry until 1938.)  She said, “I don’t know what we were thinking. We just got in the car and went with no reservations and no idea at all of what we would do when we got there.”

Road Trip to the Smokey Mountains

Vera Marie at one year old with mother, Harriette Kaser in the Smoky Mountains. 1940

I have always loved road trips myself. No wonder. My first road trip took place when I was one year old.  My parents and grandparents and Aunt Maude Bartlett set out for The Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee.  The National Park was dedicated in the fall of 1940, so they would have been there shortly before Franklin Roosevelt inaugurated the park. (Which is a good thing, because my grandparents wouldn’t have gone near the place if FDR was around.)

Road Trip to the Smokey Mountains

My first road trip. Here being held by my father Paul Kaser. Grandma Vera on right, Great Aunt Maude on the left and my grandfather Anderson in the background. 1940

All the usual tourist attractions drew our family members. Here’s Great Aunt Maude Bartlett at Niagara Falls with her brother Bill Stout, his wife Jean and Maude’s husband Carlos. The picture was taken early in the 20th century. (Love the hats!)  And then a later picture of Maude at Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia.

Stout visit Niagara Falls

Jean and Bill M. Stout, Maude and Carlos Bartlett at Niagara Falls Circa 1905

Road trip to Williamsburg.

Maude Bartlett at Colonial Williamsburg. Perhaps same trip as Smoky Mountains.

Grandma Vera loved travel with a great fervor, and whenever anyone had a trip in mind–across the country or to a nearby lake for a picnic, they would ask Vera to go along.

Anderson Family road trip 1950s.

Top: Herb Anderson, Vera Anderson, Herb’s Wife Pat, Herb’s mother Pauline Anderson, Herb’s Daughter Michelle. Bottom: Pauline and Michelle at lake. 1961

My father once said that Vera Anderson was such a traveler that if you said “we’re going…” before you got out the where, she’d say “Let me get my hat.”  He said he suspected that when she died, if someone walked up to her coffin and said, “Vera, we’re going…” she’d get up out of the coffin.

When Ken and I moved to Arizona, my mother and father were sorry to see us leave Ohio, but more than that, they were excited because now they had an excuse to travel west.  Ken and I and our three boys drove many times from Arizona to Ohio, always taking a slightly different route and stopping at different roadside attractions.

Ironically, when Grandma Vera died, Ken and I were on yet another road trip–this one to the 1964 New York World’s Fair. We drove back to Ohio where we learned of her death and stayed for the funeral. I kept wanting to walk up to the coffin and say, “Vera, we’re going….”

Picnic Potato Salad

Favorite family memories flood back when I think of picnics. Not to mention photos of my ancestors camping and picnicking.

Mother (Harriette Kaser) never tied of telling about how on one of their expeditions to a summer cabin with friends, she wanted to bake a pie, but had no rolling pin. She used a beer bottle.

And then there was the time that she carefully packed everything for a cookout, including cans of baked beans and applesauce, but forgot the can opener.  (I recently saw a solution for that dilemma and am a little surprised my dad didn’t think of it.)

Family picnic

Kasers,Prices,Badertschers Picnic 1970s

Often when we lived in HIliard, mother would throw together a picnic and we would drive to a park along the Olentangy River in Columbus Ohio and my dad would meet us there after work. The stand-bys were Tuna salad sandwiches (or bread, mayo and a can of tuna), deviled eggs (or plain hard boiled if she was in a hurry), peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, carrot and celery sticks, and some cookies. One picnic food that was rarely eaten any other time was a little can of Vienna sausages. Another was potato sticks (they came in a can like Pringles now come in). We also might have those little glass jars (reusable as juice glasses) with pimento cream cheese to spread on bread.

Earlier family get togethers, particularly those at a cabin on one of the small lakes in Ohio would get a little more complicated. Cold roasted chicken was a must, potato salad, perhaps a lime jello salad with cabbage and carrots, someone would bring a frosted cake in a cake carrier, and of course there would be watermelon for desert. A big jug of lemonade and another of water to quench our thirst would round out the meal.

Although on the vacation shown in the slide show below–my parents and two couples that were their friends vacationing at Lake Hope State Park in Oho in 1953–the drinks were stronger than lemonade.

Mother said that Aunt Sarah made the best potato salad, but frankly, I think mine would give hers a good contest.  One key is the kind of potatoes you use. Baking potatoes are too mealy. You need new red potatoes, or my current favorite, gold.  The marinade is the real secret.  Cool the potatoes just enough to handle, then while they are still a little warm, pour over the marinade described here or any Italian salad dressing and let it soak in its flavor.

Here’s my recipe for my favorite potato salad. This recipe is very general, and takes lots of adjusting for your personal tastes.  I’m frankly not all that sure of the measurements, because I mix and taste constantly when I’m making this potato salad.  Oh, and for heaven’s sake don’t leave it sitting out in the heat! Keep it cool at the picnic.


Picnic Potato Salad Recipe


  • 8 potatoes, red or gold (Depending on number of people to serve and size of potatoes)
  • 1/2-1 cup celery (chopped)
  • 1/2 cup red or green sweet peppers
  • 1/4 cup sweet pickle relish
  • sprinkle paprika
  • dash celery seed (optional)


  • 1/4 cup olive oil (or canola oil)
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar


  • 1-2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1-2 tablespoon prepared mustard


1. Cook potatoes until you can put a fork into them, but they are not falling apart
2. Potato Salad potatoes cooling
Take potatoes off the heat and plunge in ice water
3. potato salad chopped
Dice potatoes. Leave skin on, or remove loose pieces, or peel as you wish.
4. potato saladpotato salad
Mix marinade ingredients, and pour over diced potatoes in large bowl. Refrigerate for at least an hour, up to overnight.
5. Mix mayonaise and seasonings, except paprika. Stir in relish.
6. Gently mix other vegetables into potatoes. Then pour dressing over and mix just until all potatoes are coated.
7. Chop one or two hard boiled eggs and stir in gently, or slice for garnish on top.
8. Spoon potato salad into serving dish and sprinkle with paprika

What is your go-to picnic food?