Grill Kitchen Cool

The Deli-Style Pasta Salad is a combination of two recipes that I tried and liked. Besides being attractive, it's easy to make and is a favorite at "pitch-in" dinners.

My Aunt Lalah, an excellent cook, gave me the recipe for Blueberry Snack Cake, which I've made literally hundreds of times since I was a newlywed.

The crisp sugar topping is inviting, and the delicious cake keeps people coming back for "just another sliver."

When I was a child, we picked blueberries every summer and froze nearly 100 pounds annually.

I do a bit of canning, and last year my daughters-in-law and I canned applesauce together. It was the first time they had ever canned, and they learned how wonderful it is when you hear those lids "pop" when the jars seal.

My first job as a teen was working as a kitchen girl in a German restaurant. There, I learned how to make many foods from scratch and in large quantities. I used to tell people I cooked in "vats."

That early training came in handy when my three oldest boys were all teenagers. Actually, I still cook large amounts, freezing or giving away the extras.

Several years ago, I self-published a family cookbook, which is a compilation of all my recipes plus some from my relatives. I have treasured childhood memories of my Grandma Bachellor in her apron, stirring up gravy or making a delicious spice tea. 

My cookbook has a special section on whole-grain breads. I have a small electric flour mill and grind my own grains to make wonderful good-for-you breads and rolls. 

Besides cooking and baking, I am a consultant for Sonlight Curriculum, a literature-based home-school curriculum. Also, I love to garden and have learned to build traditional dry-rock flower beds with Kentucky limestone.

With the children and my in-laws all living nearby, we often get together for family meals.

We keep the extra table leaves close by, pull up stools and folding chairs and have a rather loud, fun time filled with laughter, stories and good-natured teasing. Good food is the foundation of those memorable gatherings.

As I plan meals and cook for family and friends, I am thankful for my childhood lessons in the kitchen, especially knowing that I can try anything—as long as I clean up!