The “Thoroughbroads” experienced major life-changing events over the years as they met monthly for luncheons in Louisville. Divorces, illnesses, career changes, family crises, and such were shared over a delightful meal, tasty libation, and camaraderie. Women usually want someone to listen to them…not just hear them. We need to share our stories. It helps us to sort things out, make personal decisions, and to heal. We are not always looking for someone to solve the problem, but to show compassion, which will shore us up to meet the issue head-on and find our solutions.
For the “Broads” the meals we eat, the adult beverages we enjoy, and the setting for the get-together are just part of the big picture. The comfort of exposing your inner issues, thoughts, needs, or successes to true friends is comfort enough. Of course, if the issue is large enough, true comrades will stand with you or fight along with you if need be.
Now don’t for a minute think the gals in this group were perfect listeners. Some of us would share an opinion about your dilemma and not all of us would agree. And some of us would just listen and then get on the phone to that “special broad in the group” and maybe say something like, ” WHHHAAATTT???” But that is just normal when you have a group of gal pals together. We tend to gather all of the details and info like the large opening of a funnel and then let it drip down smaller and smaller until we find a resolution we can live with. But, sometimes that drilling down requires a gal to call a bestie in the group and express her shock just to get it out of her system.
I am happy to report that in this group of “Broads”; it always came down to supporting one another. Whether we were on board with the person’s final decision or not, we were on her shoulders…and that was always enough.
Commiserating “Te-kill-ya” Punch Recipe
Based on one of Martha Stewart’s Tequila punches
Watch yourself it can be truth serum!
16 ounces of Jose Cuervo Gold
¼ cup Cassis
¼ cup fresh lime juice
24 ounces of a ginger beer
12 ounces of Club Soda
Thinly sliced lime slices to use in an ice ring to keep the punch cold
*Margarita salt for rimming the glasses
*Lime peel curl for garnish
Stir all ingredients together in a 4-quart punch bowl then add the ice ring and garnish. **Be sure to temper the punch bowl first with cold water…if you pour super cold or hot liquid into a leaded glass it can crack! Saw this happen at an event with a borrowed antique Waterford lead crystal punch bowl …not good!
A warm November in 1990 took us to Amy’s house for a fall lunch just before she moved to Pella, Iowa. We received the recipes she had used after she moved and she had written on them “ I’ll miss all of you!” and signed them with a smiley face with blonde curly hair. That was her signature then and how we remember her to this day.
Every time we make these dishes, we think of that afternoon and we smile back.
Her kitchen was full of all things strawberry. Strawberry kitchen towels, strawberry salt & pepper shakers, teapot, pot holders, placemats, napkins, canisters, and even kitchen curtains were in the theme of Strawberries. Funny how our dessert was made with peaches!
The only time we ever saw her upset was the day of the luncheon. She was aggravated with her daughter. She had been running around getting ready for our visit when her daughter said “Mom you have elephant knees.” Were they saggy like elephant skin, were they grey or were they just flabby?
Now as the Thoroughbroads have aged out in our 60s, we all have elephant knees as we get older! Once again Amy remains in our thoughts whenever we look down in the shower or up at our legs in the bath, as we all have elephant knees.
Thank God today we can wear crop pants, leggings, and slim jeans hiding them nicely.
The painting above is by Scarlett who has found her creative side once again. It is named “For the LOVE of Amy.”
Gala Tomato Punch recipe
Her Chutney Cheese Canapes were delicious…stand watch while they broil and don’t burn
Louisville’s La Peche was know for this soup!
This is the Peach dessert she served,,,not strawberries…we were shocked
“I really like the way you blend the stories with the recipes. I suspect that Scarlett and Robyn are not the real names and one of them is named _____? I’m not much of a cookbook fan, though–I look up recipes on the Internet rather than in books, and when I read stories I prefer to just read the stories. That’s probably typical of a man. Although I’m not a typical man. Typical men don’t read and don’t cook, right? I admire your creativity!” Warren a non fundamentalist
“I need to try the chocolate cake recipe!” Alice from Alabama
“How much fun is all of this? So many nice touches & fun narrative.” Marlyn from Alabama
AND A NOTE FROM ONE OF OUR LONG LOST (until now) Thoroughbroads in Georgia…we will plan a reunion!
Robyn always felt a little down when January arrived. The holidays were over. The anticipation, the parties, the dinners, the gifts, the hustle and bustle, the sparkle. All gone! Sure, it was a new year and a clean slate. However, it was the bombardment received from every morning talk show and magazine. You know what I am talking about. New Year’s resolutions, diets, and exercise. It was constant for the whole month of January. Then it started to ease up.Why? Statistics tell us that of people making New Year’s resolutions, only 75% are still successful after 1 week. At the end of 1 month it is 64% and after 6 months it is 46%. On top of this, the hostess in January was into ‘ healthy eating ‘. The rest of us had never even uttered those words. We used butter and heavy cream quite liberally. Nevertheless, Robyn looked forward to meeting up with the broads. She knew that they would soon be laughing at something.
Our hostess, J. J. was not a bad cook. In her effort to eliminate salt, fat, and sugar things tasted a little bland. She neglected to enhance dishes with other flavors. Today’s menu of Wilted Spinach Salad and Cream of Onion Soup was a pleasant surprise. We could hardly believe it. Butter & half&half together in one recipe. There was a crusty French bread with margarine for those who wished to indulge. Instead of a rich dessert, we ended the meal with a sweet floral tea and more good conversation. It was good to know that Jan also went off the wagon for a day.
Later on, Robyn and Scarlett confided that they sometimes stopped at McDonald’s on the way home from Jan’s luncheons. Neither has been near a McDonald’s in years, nor given up that butter and heavy cream.
Cream of Onion Soup
4 yellow onions, chopped fine
½ c flour
2- 14 ½ oz cans of chicken broth
¼ t garlic powder
¼ t nutmeg
¼ t white pepper
1 t salt
2 c half & half
Sauté onions slowly in butter until soft and golden brown. Add flour, stir & cook for several minutes until golden. Add the chicken broth slowly while continuing to stir. Add spices, cook till thickened. Add the cream and heat through.
Uptown Café’s Wilted Spinach Salad with Grilled Chicken Breasts
8-8 ounce boneless chicken breasts
2 c olive oil
½ c soy sauce
¼ t ground ginger or 1 t fresh, minced
¼ c sherry
1 lb fresh spinach, washed & stemmed
8ounce can sliced water chestnuts
8 slices of bacon, crisp & crumbled
4 to 8 hard boiled eggs, quartered
Famous Dressing (this dressing is requested as holiday gifts by a few of our husbands every year!) It is simple and AMAZING!
1 c olive oil
1/3 c soy sauce
¼ c fresh lemon juice
1 t chopped garlic
¼ t fresh ground black pepper
Place chicken in a bowl or shallow pan. Combine olive oil, soy sauce, ginger, and sherry. Pour over chicken and marinate overnight.
Divide spinach among 8 serving plates. Combine dressing ingredients in a saucepan and heat. Remove chicken from marinade, grill 3-4 minutes per side depending on thickness. Slice and place on top of spinach. Sprinkle each salad with water chestnuts and bacon. Place 2-4 quarters of egg on each plate. Top with hot dressing.
We used fruit with this recipe and garnished with lemons instead of oranges
During the holiday seasons, we invited our Thoroughbroad husbands to join us for a dinner event. Hostess Madlyn provided a menu along with the recipes and each one of us selected what we would make and bring it with us along with a hostess gift. After all, the homes were decorated for the occasion and the extra steps in entertaining the husbands as well as us gals was worth a special gift.
December 19th was a memorable evening. The menu was copying a Historic Williamsburg Christmas. Our hostess named the event “Feast & Frolic” and we did both.
The house was full of Christmas décor, trees, garlands, bows, berries, packages, and the smell of a great meal to come.
All of us were dressed in our holiday finery, life in the ’80s was not as casual as it is today so men dressed in suits and ties and the women in heels, velvet, or organza holiday attire. No cut-off jeans with holes in them or scantily clad tops and bedroom slippers like people today. And if there was any writing on your shirt or blouse it was your monogram, not a sport-sponsored logo.
We were greeted at the door with either champagne in flutes or an adult beverage and ushered into the living room where a roaring fire and lit candles and soft holiday music was playing to set the mood. We enjoyed appetizers as there was plenty of seating for all to be able to reconnect with the husbands or comment on a new piece of jewelry one of the broads was wearing or a new hairstyle.
Before we got too involved with each other the “Broads” were asked to come into the kitchen and finalize their contribution to the meal and bring it to the dining table. The table was set with holiday china (which became the thing in the 80s and continues to be purchased today), sterling silver flatware, Crystal glasses, cloth napkins, and a low centerpiece so one could talk to another over the table. A toast was given along with a thank you to our hostess and then the feast began.
We adjourned to the living room to enjoy coffee and dessert and play a game called “Dirty Santa” near the fire. The game consists of bringing the ugliest Christmas item you can find, wrapping it up with no tag as to who brought it. Numbers are drawn out of a basket and the person who gets the number one selects one of the wrapped gifts, opens it and loud laughter follows based on how truly ugly that gift is. The person who draws the number two can either steal that present or take their chances that the next one may not be that ugly. If the gift is stolen then the person who got it in the first place can choose another package. A package can only be stolen once, so you have to think, “ Can I do worse?”
Well, Robyn won as everyone decided that her gift was the worst and so no one stole it. She went home with a side chair cover that looked like a dead animal. She still brings it out every Christmas and it hangs on her hostess chair at her dining table. It brings back great memories of the feasting and frolicking at Madlyn’s house that night with friends while we all lived in Louisville. Try as we might you can not duplicate memories you can only make new ones.
From the British Housewife cookbook
6 cups potato balls 2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp vegetable oil
Salt & pepper to taste
Cut balls out of large potatoes with a melon ball spoon. Place the balls in a pan of cold salted water and bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 5 minutes. Drain them on a paper towel. Heat the butter and oil in large skillet and add potatoes and saute’ over medium heat for 15 minutes tossing lightly often until they brown all over salt and pepper to taste and enjoy!
A Tea Delight (12 OZ.) :
140 calories, 3 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 80 mg sodium, 22 g carbs (22 g sugar), 5 g protein
This Earl gray tea delight had rich citrus and lavender flavors. Combined with vanilla syrup makes for a light dessert.
Spending a couple of months away from home this fall and caring for a friend recovering from hard surgery, Scarlett found herself without internet. This dilemma was due to the rural environment her friend lives in, having a farm an hour and a half from Atlanta.
Armed with a cell phone and laptop, there was little value to both. Since this friend is an avid reader and naturalist, there was no TV. Being non-connected to much outside of the farm has its perks. But adjusting to everyday electronic connections that we take for granted can throw you off your game! Robyn and other gal pals back home were difficult to be in touch with. A letter-writing campaign and an occasional text limited her weekly if not daily contact. It made her realize the value of good friends socializing in person, as opposed to FaceTiming, Zooming, or Facebooking each other. Three of the gal pals decided to bring letter-writing back.
Getting a new letter from your mailbox and sitting down with a cup of coffee or tea brings friends closer when you are far away. This is unlike the quick short electronic text bites we take for granted. Not saying that we should replace social media with the written word, but rather a letter containing a few fall color leaves for the girl in South Florida, a small gift of a handmade bookmark for the avid reader, or a flat alphabet charm that can be hidden in a letter for a friend whose name starts with a ‘B’, cannot be sent with an electronic text. Perusing the Thoroughbroads fall recipes, we find a few items Robin and Scarlett still make. We came across Scarlett’s mother’s gouda pimento cheese and her crackers, along with Robin’s big chili recipe.
Enjoy them this October and sit down and write that letter to a friend, maybe include a handwritten favorite Fall recipe for them as we are sharing ours with you today!
As we post this, we are in Alabama in the small half bath below the staircase under a TORNADO WATCH!!! We like all smart Thoroughbroads are prepared!
1 package of club crackers
1 package dry ranch dressing mix
3 tablespoons melted butter
Mix the dressing with the butter. Pour over crackers on a cookie sheet, making sure the ranch seasoning and butter get on both sides of each cracker. Place these in an oven at 350 degrees, and bake for 5 minutes. Let them cool before serving.
(You can add chocolate chips on top while they are hot for a Christmas version, or add a butter and brown sugar topping for another exciting holiday favorite!)
September in the late 80s in Louisville, Kentucky was always a combination of very warm or rather coolish days as it asked, “Am I still summer or becoming fall?”
This early fall Thoroughbroad luncheon was an opportunity to enjoy the last of the veggies in the garden, the beginnings of pumpkin season approaching, and fruity wines on a cool patio. We would enjoy all three this afternoon at Kristen’s house.
We now remember the 80s for some unique events and discoveries. Here are a few to set the mood:
In 88 the first global warming warning was announced.
In 89 the Berlin Wall fell.
The Macintosh computer was unveiled, Phil Donahue & Oprah both had famous talk shows, Sandra Day O’Connor became the first woman on the Supreme Court and Sally Ride was the first female astronaut.
Martina, Borg, and McEnroe were some of the sports stars along with Tyson & Spinks, Larry Bird & Magic Johnson…at that time Louisville was only considered a basketball town, and very few people watched football in Kentucky.
MTV was on 24/7 and Miami Vice was the first TV show to use current music of the day while Dallas ran 13 seasons and the big talk of the town was “Who Shot J.R.?
Magnum PI, the Cosby Show, Cheers, and Hill Street Blues were huge hits. M.A.S.H. garnered over 123 million viewers inits final episode and the remote control became an item all had to get.
It was a pre-cable era, pre-cell phone, and pre-social media time. Socializing was done over the dinner table at your’s or a friend’s home. If you were at a restaurant, someone you knew would stop and say hi…everyone talked on the home phone or face to face, no texting, Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter back then. Arcade games were the big hit with PacMan and Donkey Kong and you went to Blockbuster to rent a movie or game. Aerobics came into play along with the cassette player and Walkman which played Madonna, Michael Jackson, or the musical styles of Dire Straits. Big hair and Spandex along with neon clothing and high-waist jeans were the fashion and Spielberg and Lucas were the big names in film.
You get the feel of the times we enjoyed back then, but, now for the food at Kristen’s. She entertained us with a welcoming pineapple Sangria with large chunks of lemon, pineapple, and orange as a kabob to serve as a stirrer. They were just the thing to get the stories started. The recipe follows and makes 2 ½ quarts, but I am sure we each drank that much ourselves, it was that good.
Our special luncheon entrée was a layered vegetable cheesecake made the day before so that the flavors would marry each other. It was served by the slice with a lovely cucumber-dill sauce along with pumpkin muffins right out of the oven. We ate and drank until we thought we would pop when she served dessert. We enjoyed an almond chocolate mousse in parfait glasses.
Over this delicious day out we listened as Scarlett spoke about her husband’s predicament. He was experiencing severe disorientation, manic episodes, difficulty staying awake, and a lot of confusion. At that time we did not realize it would stop her from attending luncheons in the future. She was going to have to be available for doctor’s appointments, tests in Louisville and Nashville, and possibly Mayo Clinic to determine what was going on. It would be 2 ½ years later that at Mayo they stated it was a mental health issue. The Thoroughbroads provided support that day and many more days over the years. Scarlett eventually took over his job to provide income and allow for his long-term disability insurance to come into effect so that he would be taken care of.
The memory of the friendship of these women, the dishes they enjoyed over each other’s highs and lows, and the support, and encouragement have never been forgotten. Time moves on and our lives change. We take on new careers, we move from town to town, and we even may remarry, but some long-standing friendships can last a lifetime. Robyn and Scarlett are great examples of that as they continue this blog with the intent to turn it into a book. Girl power remains and flourishes if you feed the soul with a tribe of women who bring good food, great company, adult beverages, and their own stories to the table.
Women friends just flat our rock! Be a good friend to another. Someone out there needs it and will never forget it.
1 cup golden raisins
½ cup warm water
1 cup canned pumpkin
¾ tsp cloves
¾ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp salt
11/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup veg oil
1 ¾ cup flour
1 ½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
Soak raisins in water 5 min. Combine next 7 ingredients and beat in raisins and water
In large bowl combine dry ingredients make a well and pour in wet ingredient mix. Mix well fill muffin tins that have been sprayed with Pam 2/3rds full of mixture. Bake at 400 for 20-15 min.
Layered Veggie Cheesecake
1 ½ cups dry breadcrumbs
1/3 cup melted butter
2 8oz packs of softened cream cheese
1/3 cup flour
1 8oz carton of sour cream
¼ cup minced onion
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
¾ cup shredded carrots
¾ cup diced green pepper
¾ cup diced red sweet peppers
Cucumber Dill Sauce
1 8oz carton plain yogurt
1 /3 cup Mayo
½ cup unpeeled cucumber chopped
¼ tsp salt
1/3 tsp dried dill weed Combine cover and chill yields 1 ½ cups
Combine breadcrumbs and butter and press on bottom and 1 inch up sides of a spring form pan. Set aside.
Beat cheese at high speed until fluffy, add eggs one at a time and beat well, add flour and the next 4 ingredients beat until blended.
Pour ¼ of sour cream mix into pan, sprinkle with carrots top with 1/3 mix and sprinkle with green peppers Top with half remaining mix and sprinkle with red peppers then top with remaining mix. Bake at 300 for 1 hour until set turn off oven and partially open door of oven and leave the cheesecake in for 1 hour, then remove let cool cover it and chill in refrigerator. Serve with sauce above. Serves 6-8
Almond Chocolate Mousse
1 cup heavy cream
4 oz semi sweet chocolate morsels
¼ cup Amaretto
2 egg whites room temp.
Whip cream until peaking and keep in refrigerator until ready to use.
Over low heat melt chocolate remove and blend in Amaretto, then beat egg whites until stiff and fold them into chocolate then pour egg chocolate mix into the whipped cream Blend and spoon into parfait glasses chill and garnish with toasted almonds and a little of the amaretto flavored whipped cream.
1 20 oz can pineapple chunks un-drained
1 apple unpeeled, cored and cut into chunks
1 lemon sliced and quartered
1 750 milliliter of Burgundy wine
1 46 oz can pineapple juice ¼ cup brandy
¼ cup sugar
Drain pineapple reserving juice, skewer apple, and pineapple, lemon and orange chunks onto skewers
Combine reserved pineapple juice, Burgundy and all remaining ingredients into container add the skewered fruit and chill at least 1 hour. Serve over ice with a kabob skewer..yields 2 ½ quarts.
Steve and I made our first corporate move after 3 months of marriage. Two years later, a promotion sent us back to my hometown. It was at this time that we met Bob and Suz. We hit it off immediately. Every weekend we were eating together and played Hearts into the night.
In the summer, they suggested that we go camping with them. They had a Coleman pop-up camper with a bed on each side. We would camp on private property. There was a small house on the property that was no longer inhabitable but the outhouse was kept in working order. A short ride down the gas line cut in their Jeep would get us to the river for swimming and fishing. I was not sure that ” roughing it ” was my thing but I will try most anything once.
Suz and I handled the food. You would be amazed at what you can cook on a 2 burner camp stove and a campfire. A bread called beer bread was popular at that time. Suz and I decided to give it a try at the camp. The dry ingredients went into a plastic bowl with a lid and I packed a loaf pan. There was always beer in the cooler. What about an oven you ask?
We built an oven. We found an old 5-gallon paint bucket, a small piece of metal grating, and a piece of sheet metal. The bucket was placed on its side on the edge of the campfire with the piece of grating inside for a flat surface. We mixed up the bread. Huckleberries had been found on a walk in the woods and those were tossed in as well. The loaf pan was placed on the grating. We then positioned the sheet metal to close the opening. We had no idea what the temperature would be so we waited. Other than one charred corner, it turned out perfectly. We ate it right out of the oven with some butter slathered on it. Our husbands were properly impressed by our ingenuity.
Turns out I did like roughing it a little. It was a secluded spot in the mountains and I loved the serenity of it. Lots of laughing happened there. Many memories were made. Suz and I are now widows. We share those memories and laugh again. She is now an expert bread maker but we still make beer bread.
3 c. Self-rising flour
3 T. Sugar
12oz. can of beer
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Grease and flour a 9×5 loaf pan. Mix ingredients and place in the loaf pan. Bake at 375 degrees for approximately 1 hour.
Robyn sitting on the stacked wood while the coals get hot enough for cooking beer bread.
The word Bugs has many meanings from insects to crawfish (which are called Mudbugs). It was the year of Cicadas in Louisville…seems they only come out in early summer and the Brood X variety, which are in hordes and terribly loud and annoying, come out of the ground every 17 years. It was also the year the Thoroughbroads decided to have a Mudbug and cold beer event to commemorate the bug event.
Crawfish were not as abundant at the Kentucky groceries as they are now so they had to be ordered and shipped in. We found a source and would make some dishes, Low Country Boil, some seafood crepes, swig down some quality beer, and enjoy a warm evening at Scarlett’s house. Her house was built on top of a big hill where the calmer winds blew down the back patio making it the perfect place to stay cool on a July evening. The deck could be washed off after crawdad shelling, and garbage cans could be placed to hold the shells and any beer cans or plastic cups and plastic utensils and plates so clean-up would be easy. A table with an oilcloth cover was used to pour the Low Country Boil on top after it had cooked and folding chairs would be used so they could be hosed off as well after the event ended.
A keg of beer was brought by a couple whose wife told us her motto “When God was handing out legs I thought he said kegs and I told him I would take two big ones.” We have never forgotten that and to this day remember Pat every time we drink beer. Now, with the craft beer frenzy, that is quite often.
Scarlett also taught everyone to sing a southern song that goes like this…” Whatcha gonna do when the crawdads come honey…whatcha gonna do when crawdads come babe…whatcha gonna do when the crawdads die…sit on the banks and cry cry cry honey oh baby mine.” Those who attended this hot July event probably sing that song every time they eat crawfish, I know she does.
If you have never had Low Country Boil you have missed out. It can be made with all types of seafood but shrimp usually is the go-to, but in this case, we wanted Mudbugs. The recipes follow that were enjoyed that evening in the 80s and they are still popular with a few of us that live below the Mason Dixon Line.
Fill a large pot with crawfish, shrimp, or crab, along with spicy sausage, corn, and potatoes, and boil using the ingredients below, then fish out with a large strainer and place on the oilcloth table or a table with layers of newspaper on it and enjoy!
2 pounds mild or hot smoked sausage, cut into 2-inch pieces
Shrimp, crab, and crawfish leave in the shells and placed after a rolling boil in the pot.
In a pitcher add your favorite Kool Aid powder ( preferably not red so you don’t ruin your clothing as red will not come out of clothes!) add amount of water it requests less 1/4 cup. Add sugar to taste, or a simple syrup mixture then add 1/4 cup vodka or more to your liking and throw into each glass a garnish of a gummy worm…now enjoy over ice!