Tuesday, February 28, 2006


The Dubai port deal has isolationist hackles rising all over the political spectrum. It has generated an opportunity for Senatorial grandstanding, with a presidential gleam. It highlights the worst aspects of the Administration's communication strategy. In short, it's illustrative of the worst sort of "short game" thinking that effects all Americans. Rich Lowry at National Review Online looks at this:

Put this all together and you get a national-security policy based on doing more to seal ourselves off from the world; spending more on homeland security, including the ports; emphasizing our independence from Gulf sheikdoms; and forswearing serious attempts to reform Arab countries. President Bush would be left with the politically delicate task of explaining why we need to go out of our way to court some Arab allies, even if they are imperfect, and why trying to liberalize the perpetually tumultuous Middle East — rather than turning our backs on it — is so important.

There are problems with Democrats adopting this approach. It would be irresponsible, and there are some Democrats left — Sen. Joe Biden comes to mind — for whom that still matters. It would reject the post-World War II Democratic tradition of internationalism, to which the party (thankfully) still has a reflexive commitment. Finally, Democrats would inevitably mix their message. They can't be the homeland-security party and oppose the Patriot Act and the National Security Agency eavesdropping program. They can't be the hardheaded, let's-take-care-of-our-own party and still be best friends with the global elite at Turtle Bay and Davos, Switzerland.

Americans are isolationists at heart. Immigrants to this country now and in the past were seeking to escape from something to something else. Those "huddled masses yearning to be free" we looking for the new, and the United States provides it. Breaking from the squabbles of the old world, rich in resources, a large country, there was a time when the US could isolate itself from it's neighbors, but not anymore. If Pearl Harbor did not illustrate this point than 9-11 did, or should have. Now, I do not have a burning desire to go and stick our collective noses in every's business, neither can we follow the "just leave them alone" policy that seems to be gaining momentum.

The United States is not Micronesia. It's wealth, power and influence effects the entire world whether we choose to exercize it or not. It is not our military influence alone which provokes envy, hatred, and awe. It is not the exporting of our culture or businesses, either. It is the entire package of who we are as a people. This observation is not new but bears repeating over and over again.

The Bush Administration is also practicing isolationism, only with the press instead of foriegn policy. Determining that the press is either an overt enemy or antangonistic at best, the administration has shut them out as best they can, preferring to
talk as directly to the people as they can. The problem is-they don't. Not anywhere near as much as they should, as effectively as they should. If the administration is going to treat news organizations as adversaries they need to get out their message twice as effectively than if they were not. The administration can get their message out, they do so in campaigns and when they realize the importance of the situation. Half of the press fallout they receive and deal with could be minimized if they kept at it.

Look no one likes to do the dishes in my house, but you don't want them to pile up either. The longer they sit there, the more work it's going to take to get them in order. The administration let's the dishes pile up, then makes some poor sod go in there with the SOS pad. The White House's influence doesn't just go away because they are not exercizing it effectively. The US can't pretend it's Micronesia and the White House can't pretend it is the Sunnydale Mayoral House either.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

I Woold Like Zee Hombooguuurrr

Saturday night Dear Husband and I went to see The Pink Panther (2006), starring Steve Martin, Jean Reno and Kevin Kline. The audience was filled with 9 year old boys and their dads, which was about the speed of the film. I must say a laughed myself silly. Steve Martin is hilariously funny, to me he is one of those people who is funny just by being there. The plot is thin, really just a vehicle for Martin's over the top "french" accent and the superb Jean Reno as the straight man.

The plot: A famous soccer coach is killed in the middle of a crowded stadium and his famous diamond, "the Pink Panther" goes missing. the Chief Inspector assigns his least capable gendarme, Clouseau, as a distraction for the press while he covertly puts together his own investigation.

Kevin Kline portrays the pompous Chief Inspector Dreyfus with such perfection that the slapstick violence unwittingly dished out by Clouseau (Martin), seems entirely merited.

When Clouseau trails a suspect to New York, they set up for the funniest bits of the movie. it is Steve Martin saying the word "hamburger". I can't wait to see the outtakes. Yes, this is a guilty pleasure one that I will enjoy along with Sgt. Bilko, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, and Three Amigos.

Carnival of Recipes 80

Welcome to the Carnival of Recipes! Many delicious delights will be presented to please your palate. On a very special note to my regular readers, this is the payoff for coping with the surgery, plane crash and pnemonia posts this week. Everyone is home and well, and I can only salute the fortitude of my brother who flew on 3 more planes the same day he crashed in the first one.

So as a tribute to him and in honor of his heritage first off is a Kosher Carnival from me-ander. This is chock full o' good looking stuff.

Speaking Carnivals, Life in a Shoe submits an Easy kid dessert and announces a Kid Story Carnival. Definately, a dessert first kind of week for me.

In that spirit, me autem minui has a yummy looking cobbler recipe.

Next, bothenook at Geezer's Corner has dried apricot pie. One of the all time best pies I have ever had was an apricot pie, this is a must try for me.

Triticale's hot fruit salad features apricots and all kinds of fruity goodness.

Marietta from In the Headlights smacks down a rich looking chocolate icing recipe. Do you say icing or frosting? I tend to say frosting, icing implies a pictoral decoration. Remember, the beaters are mine to lick.

Morning Coffee and Afternoon Tea, a must go-to place for desserts, posts Orange Lace Cookies. Experimentation can produce mah-velous things, when that doesn't work - go back to the original recipe.

Satisfied those sweet teeth yet? Ok, let's move on to more savory things. David at Daily Pundit has a scrumptious Beef Lo-Mein recipe, which he says is very easy.

third world country has a two-fer, Cornbread and BBQ beans.

BBQ General has Smoked Rack of Lamb with a Marmalade Glaze. Mmm, my mouth is watering.

Prochein Amy has a pot roast recipe involving soda. (what?-Dear husband) Cola. (really?) Yup.

ArmyWifeToddlerMom presents Drunken Noodles (look ma, no alcohol!). I don't know how that can be with no alcohol. Personally, my noodles take at least three beers before they get tipsy.

They've got Mardi Gras in mind at the Glittering Eye with Chicken Etouffee.

Dubious Wonder also picks up the Mardi Gras theme with Shrimp and Sausage Gumbo.

Memento Moron continues with the seafood with Calimarinara (say that fast three times), I always thought squid was great and this looks excellent.

Rounding us out here, A Weight Lifted has a zippy looking Curry Chicken recipe.

Couple of quick soups, sauces and dips. These all look dynamite. Life in a Shoe is back with a Broccoli Cheese Soup (Ooooh! - Dear Husband). Everything and Nothing - a Carmalized Onion Dip. The Common Room has indispensible recipes for Salad Dressings. Leslie's Omnibus Leek and Potato Soup will warm you up.

Next week the Carnival moves onto Egoist and emphasizes a Danish theme. I think I will submit a recipe for Freedom Roses of President Bush, otherwise known as delicious red, white and blue pinwheel Danishes. Just to get you in the mood, I've saved the best for last with this week's Danish themed recipes. Mensa Barbie has a wicked looking 4 Cheese Danish Tart. KeeWee has Danish Dumplings called Bleskiver.

Thanks for stopping by. Submit recipes through Conservative Cat. Happy Eating!

Friday, February 24, 2006

Murphy is Cruel

My brother's flight from the ship to Norfolk crashed. He's OK but the only thing I can say is: what a bitch of a week.

Thursday, February 23, 2006


"Do you know what I am saving up for?" inquires the Verbalist at his most engaging. "It's really cool. It's a vehicle which shoots ooze on Shredder."

"Uh that doesn't sound good," replies the Dear Husband.

"Oh Dad," says the Verbalist striving for carelesssness, "It's a table toy, you can just wipe it off."

Update from Monday

It's been a craptacular week. First Sis is rushed to the hospital where she has emergency surgery to remove her gall bladder, second we find out that her husband (who is stationed on the USS Eisenhower) has pnemonia and a temperature of 105 degrees F. Third, a beloved grandparent has gone into decline and is not expected to make it through another week. So I may blog but don't count on anything unti Sunday when I am hosting the Carnival of Recipes!!! Yay!!!!

In the mean time let me share some life philosophy courtesy of Finding Nemo (2003).

Dory: Hey there, Mr. Grumpy Gills. When life gets you down do you wanna know what you've gotta do?
Marlin: No I don't wanna know.
Dory: [singing] Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming. What do we do? We swim, swim.
Marlin: Dory, no singing.
Dory: [continuing] Ha, ha, ha, ha, ho. I love to swim. When you want to swim you want to swim.
Marlin: Now I'm stuck with that song... Now it's in my head.
Dory: Sorry.

When I feel like Marlin I try to be Dory. (And no not all my life philosophy comes from Disney movies but sometimes they pithily encapsulate things.)

Monday, February 20, 2006

Family Stuff

My sister underwent an unexpected surgery this morning, so no blogging later today. Sorry.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Shameless Promotion

I have submitted a short story to Jim Baen's Universe Magazine. Under the title, Djinn It Up. If you are interesting in checking out my first submission to adult fiction you can read it in the Universe Slush pile on Baen's Bar.


Dear Husband got a TIVO. I'm actually surprised that it took my techie spouse so long to surrender to the siren's call. He has spent most of the day pulling apart our entertainment system and putting it back together with the TIVO integrated. The Verbalist has been avidly watching and "helping" Surprisingly he is helping. He is very technically savvy and can read letters and very simple words. He's good at identifying what plug goes with what port and could probably set it all up himself if he were stronger and could read just a hair better.

The Muralist, while excited that the routine has changed up, is less fascinated by what it going on. After satisfying her on burning question, will the TV still work?, she moved onto other activities. As Dear Husband got nearer the finish line, the Verbalist got more and more agitated, when would the TIVO actually work and when could he set it to record endless episodes of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles? His fingers began the twitch I have seen so often in his father's - that of the techno junkie aching to fill an itch, a remote control itch. The array of tempting buttons, the satisfaction of fresh batteries, the lights which magically blink on or off on the machine, they call to him.

So he has spent the evening asking the question: When is it my turn to TIVO Dad?

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Open Letters

Dear Mr. Willis,

Please give back John Bolton's lip caterpillar, it doesn't suit you.

Dear Betty Crocker,

Can you please alter the food coloring shades added to your Garlic and Cheddar Instant Mashed Potatoes? I already know I am earning time in Purgatory for consuming them, and the color frightens my daughter.

Dear Men's Olympic Ice Skaters,

Must you soulfully grab and pull to yourself thin air in every routine? Do you imagine missing a beer thrown to you to perfect that look of soul scorching angst?

Dear Seattle Weather Bunnies,

Will you please stop treating a few late season snow flurries as the "Storm of the Year?" It's February we have alot of year left.

Honey Wheat Rolls

I purchased a lovely bag of wheat flour the other day and have been perusing my recipes and came to a lovely bread.

1 cup of milk
1/4 cup honey
2 tsp shortening
2 cups wheat flour

1/2 cup bread flour
1/2 cup sourdough starter
3/4 tsp salt
dash of cardamom
1 tsp active dry yeast
1/2 cup dried currants (optional)
1/4 cup toasted walnuts (optional)

Combine honey, yeast, warm milk, and starter. Sift together flours, salt and cardamom. Add half the flour mixure, then shortening, currants, and walnuts, then remainder of flour mixture. Let rise, portion into 2 oz rolls, let rise again then bake at 350 until lightly brown. The tang of the sourdough perfectly balances the sweetness of the honey and currants, while the cardamom and walnut add a toasty warmth.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006


Movie of the Week: Zathura (2005) The tagline: "A new adventure from the world of Jumanji" was not particularly inspiring. I only mildly enjoyed Jumanji(1995), and my tolerance for bratty cinema kids is not particularly high. I found to my surprise that I really enjoyed this movie.

It begins with the set up, Dad (Tim Robbins) is coping with kids he is often absent for. The eldest, Lisa, a teen daughter, wants to be left alone. The second, Walter is nasty and dismissive to his little brother, Danny, because he claims Danny is responsible for the parents' divorce. Danny feels inept and just wants some attention from anybody. Dad is absent once again and Danny finds a space game, Zathura. Once they boys begin the game (about 10 minutes in) the movie picks up the pace and doesn't let up. It cracks right along with meteors, a homicidal robot (voiced by Frank Oz), lizardy aliens, goats with four eyes and a stranded spaceman.

As in Jumanji, the kids find a mentor in the stranded kid (now adult) from a past game, who helps Walter, Danny, and Lisa navigate the dangers of the universe. Also as in Jumanji, there are plot devises around losing the gameboard or pieces of the game. What makes the difference between Zathura and Jumanji is in the reconciliation of the siblings. Perhaps because there is not the distraction of Robin Williams, perhaps because the dynamic is primarily about two brothers versus a brother and a sister; but the relational reconciliation is not slow and dragging as in Jumanji.

Forget everything you know about science for this movie. Walter makes some comment about worrying if there will be enough air to last them, ignoring the big gaping hole into vaccuum. Ignore the fact that they would be incinerated long before they fell into a star's gravity well. If you are OK with 4 eyed goats, ignore the total lack of science in this fiction, and enjoy the killer robot-he does not disappoint.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Marine SGT. Eddie Ryan

Yesterday on the Tony Snow Show I heard this soldier's story for the first time and cried tears of amazement. Tony was interviewing his father and it was the most amazing story of love:

The first bullet struck Cpl. Eddie Ryan above the right eyebrow and bored through the frontal lobes, the seat of personality and memory in his brain.
Traveling at about a half-mile a second, the bullet generated a shock wave that widened as it went. The pressure crushed brain cells into jelly. The hunk of metal slammed into the left side of his skull and shattered. A second bullet came from the opposite direction. It sliced through the back of his lower left jaw and burst out his chin.
Ryan collapsed on the Iraqi rooftop in Ramadi where he and two fellow snipers crouched. The Ellenville native was bleeding, unconscious, and bullets rained down around him. It was 7 a.m. April 13. Eddie Ryan was as good as dead. He was 21.

His parents were told he was a good as dead. That if he did miraculously live he would be a vegetable. If he did wake up he would never be able to speak, if he was able to speak he would be unable to remember them. Sargent Ryan's father said that he looked so bad that they could only recognize him by the tattoos they had deplored him getting.

They did not give up though. They talk to him all the time and prayed over him. A friend of theirs who became a pastor gave them some scripture to hold on to. Matthew 19:26: "With man this is impossible; but with God all things are possible." and a Psalm.

Later he recognized his dad and told him he loved him. He's doing well, and his goal? To get back into uniform and rejoin his unit in Iraq. My quick recap here can not recapture the deep faith and trust in God, or the pride love and gratefulness of Mr. Ryan when speaking about his son.

Monday, February 13, 2006

And now for this:

I was out most of the day. The Infant had a doctor's appointment and then we spent some time with Sis and Niece. Her husband, the Navy guy, just deployed on the the Eisenhower and Niece is upset. So, so, so a long day filled with emotional highs and lows filled with bitter tears when we left. Infant is doing well and will soon rush headlong out of Infanthood, at which point i will have to call her something else, the Gurglist? Not to worry, something will break free and she will announce her Personality.

Caught little news and mostly it was Olympic ice skating. Yes, scoff if you wish, but I'd like to see you do a quadruple flip and not fall on your butt in time to Mahler's 2nd. When you can do that - then you can deride it as "not a sport". I did see press wolves treeing McClellan about The VP's hunting accident. What struck me most about the coverag was the imbecility of the talking heads. I know nearly bupkis about hunting and rifles and even I know that bird shot is rarely lethal to lawyers. Unless it's silver bird shot, lawyers I am reliably told fear silver and garlic.

Heard a FABULOUS story on the Tony Snow today and I will dig out the story and post about it tommorrow. It's late. Ta ta for now.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Overheard on the Olympics

"That was so wonderful, I almost have tears of happiness in my eyes."

Yeah, but not quite.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Strawberry Tarts

About mid-February, early March I start eyeing the berries and melons in the grocery store. I know deep in my heart that they are not good, they are at best acceptable. The salivatory glands do not remember this. They remember the heady sweetness of summer berries, the refreshing juicyness of a cold watermelon on a hot July day. Thus far it has been easy to pass them by. I think they had the loan applications instead of price tags for the blueberries last I looked. Until yesterday, my mind had been closed to the possibility of strawberries until may at the soonest. Then mom came by and brought a carton of strawberries with her.

Wow. I knew they would not be the best, but they were darn good for February. The Infant ate 5 in rapid succession. I picked her up and smelled her sweet strawberry breath and was done in. I bought more at the store today. If I do not gorge myself on them (a big if) I plan on making the following recipe, which will boost even the saddest strawberries to dizzying heights.

Strawberry Tart

1 9 inch baked tart shell (or pie crust. I am really tempted to use Emeril's almond one here
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 1/2 tbsp cornstarch
pinch salt
1 cup apple juice
3-4 cups strawberries, hulled and sliced

In medium saucepan blend sugar, salt and cornstarch then mix in applejuice combining thouroughly. Cook over medium heat until thickened, then allow to cool. Take 1/3 cooled glaze and spread it over bottom of tart, place sliced strawberries on top then cover with remaining glaze. Chill for two hours. Serve with:

Clotted Cream

1 cup heavy cream
2 tbsp sour cream
1 tbsp powdered sugar

Whip heavy cream until stiff peaks form then fold in sourcream and sugar. Refrigerate until used. Yum!

Thursday, February 09, 2006

A Cure?

Hat tip to Ace: AIDS and potentially every other virus, will recieve a KO punch from Mormans. Well, I don't know the actual religious affiliation of the scientist but he's a professor at Brigham Young, you do the math. The implications of this are staggering, to use a trite phrase.

"We are encouraged . . . that CSAs may provide a completely unique family of anti-infectives, potentially active against a wide range of viral, fungal and bacterial targets, including those resistant to current therapies," he said.
Assuming continued positive test results in animal and eventual human trials, Porter estimates it could be three to seven years before the compound is available by prescription. That transition could be accelerated, however, if the Food and Drug Administration should decide to fast-track the drug.
That day is still a long way off, though. First, researchers plan to publish their results in scientific journals, seeking peer review and independent confirmation of their findings. Assuming no flaws are found, several rounds of testing would follow.

An amazing world we live in. Still no flying cars though.

Cross Posted at Wizbang Bomb Squad

Wednesday, February 08, 2006


The Muralist dropped the F-bomb last night. I was so surprised that my jaw literally dropped. It was out of the blue. Keep in mind that thus far the epithets of choice in our house are "dang it" and "moo cow". (No, I have no idea how that got to be a phrase indicating frustration.) There was no hesitation, no sense that she was testing it out, just an, "Oh, F***"

I gave her a quick, "That's a no-no word; bad manners." schtick and dropped it. Don't make too big a deal of it or it will get pulled out in a real fury. At that moment though I had a brief but horrifying senario running through my head. You see my kids frequently play with the pastors' kids and I don't want my children to teach them the f-bomb. The Muralist gleefully infecting her whole Sunday school class with the f-word. Like that scene in The Christmas Story when Ralphie says Schwartz taught him the word; I don't want to get an upset call from another parent and have to administer the swift hand of karmic justice.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Depictions of Sacred Figures

Not to beat a dead horse, but I want to chime in the comparisons between fundementalist Christian reaction and fundementalist Muslim reaction to depictions or parodies of their sacred symbols and personages. Let me quote Island Passage a Christian blogger here in the Northwest.

Exhibit B: I find it very interesting that during this weekend of Islamic riots, the Fox television network re-ran it's Simpsons Christmas episode. I don't keep up with the Simpsons these days, but out of curiosity I had Tivo-ed the episode and watched about 15 minutes this morning as I munched cereal and gulped my morning coffee.

In this episode, the Christmas story is re-enacted with the Simpsons as the Holy Family: Homer is Joseph, Marge is Mary, Lisa is the angel Gabriel, and Jesus is portrayed by Bart! The depiction (as far as I saw it) was rather harmless, but as far as depicting the center of your religious beliefs in a cartoon, it did make the Danish cartoons seem small beer.

His entry is a response to a query from a non-Moonbat leftist about how Christians would respond to similar provocation. I think it is telling that even a non rabid leftist is so innured to what could constitute something offensive or blasphemous to a devout Christian that the answer is not self apparent. Sure they might dredge up "Piss Christ" or any other so called art which uses bodily excretions as a medium, but the everyday offenses to Christians are so pervasive that the Christian community praises things that don't actively offend or at least is even handed in the presentation.

Consider this: What if Muslims were presented with offensive depictions of co-religionists, the Prophet, and Imams so often that a TV show that didn't immediately villify them seemed a breath of fresh air?

Cross Posted at the Wizbang Bomb Squad.

Monday, February 06, 2006


At 3 am Saturday morning, the windstorm which had been blowing in off the Pacific took out our electricity as well as that of another 100,000 homes in Western Washington. We regained our electricity at 6 am Sunday morning. Since then we have received continual updates on the state of our poweredness by the Muralist. "Hey we have power again!" Yes, yes we do.

On a related note, you have not witnessed schadenfreude until you have played cutthroat High-Ho Cherry-o with a bunch of pre-schoolers. The glee at which they annouce you have spun the "spilled bucket" option is distressing to the faint of heart.

Friday, February 03, 2006

TBR Mountain

Current books on the top of the To Be Read Mountain:

Self Made Man by Norah Vincent

At All Costs by David Weber

Sunshine by Robin McKinley

Drowned Wednesday by Garth Nix

American Sphinx: The Character of Thomas Jefferson by Joseph Ellis

Thursday, February 02, 2006


Via KLo at the Corner (not John J., strange)

Prince Caspian is to be released Christmas 2007 along with the next installment of the Harry Potter movies. To which I repeat : Huzzah!

For those following the Potter saga, Delores Uxbridge is played by the same woman who played Violet DeLessup's nurse in Shakespeare in Love. A good cast, exactly the face type I pictured.

Code of the Woosters

Lots of annoying ads and popups but:

I am Jeeves!!! I must eat alot of fish.

Strapping on the Waterskis?

This week's Speak Like A Geek article is about Google and China. Encapsulating the problem:

What should have Google done in this situation? That is a hard question. One the one hand they have a duty to the shareholders to maximize their return and that means growing the business. Had they decided to not enter the Chinese market that could have been seen as a bad business move. One the other hand Google has made a lot of hay on their corporate image of being the good guy. By agreeing to comply with China’s demands for censorship they have crossed that line to being a not-so-good guy and directly violated one of their corporate values in the eyes of many observers, this one included.

Carnival of Comedy

Welcome to the Carnival of Comedy! I get a daily dose of comedy from my kids, some intentional, some inadvertant. They are going through a phase of knock-knock jokes.

Knock, knock. Who's There? Banana. Banana Who? (Repeat 4 more times)

Knock, knock. Who's There? Orange. Orange Who? Orange you glad I'm going to stop this pointless anecdote and throw you some links?

Political Humor

The Right Place offers a pictoral tribute to Democrats.

Conservative UAW Guy speculates on Justice Alito's influence on the Court.

Conservative Cat has an adventure with Bruce (watch out, Ted Kennedy advisory)

Radioactive Liberty liveblogs the SotU. (I really hope this is a parody.)

Resistance is Futile with a glimpse into the Left's mind.

Either Orr has some career advice for the junior Senator from Davos.

Miriam's Ideas (her first entry) appraises us on NPR shows.

Peacemoonbeam is in love.

Laughing at Terrorists

Point Five examines Hamas' forward thinking strategy.

Vox Poplar has the newest Zawahiri tape.

Dr. Phat Tony explains Hamas' new legislation.

Random, Just Random

The Skwib with the first cheese centric post. (NFWS image)

SquirtCheese with the second cheese centric entry.

Big Picture Small Office has an intriguing story about sniffer dogs.

Dimmer Switch needs a theme song.

The Pungeoning crafts haiku.

Boston Gal's Open Wallet has a product I need.

Nose on Your Face is part of the 24 craze.

Miriam's Ideas second entry musing on age perspective.

As always, get your daily funny from IMAO. Your podcast funny from IMAO podcast. (Hey spacemonkey, are ya'll gonna get your keisters on that anytime soon?) Don't know is hosting next week, but Bakerstreet is hosting the week after. (Which is good because the last post I see is almost a month old. Who does he think he is Jim Treacher?)

UPDATE 1:03: D'oh! I forgot Tommy at Striving for Average funny pics, BAM!

UPDATE 3:07 Correction to Vox Poplar from popular, she can be taught!

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Milky Way Cake

For my first anniversary a very good friend of my mother's gave me a church cookbook. For those of you familiar with these kind of publications, you are nodding, you probably have one somewhere among your cookbooks. For the uninitiated, a church cookbook is a spiral bound affair filled with recipe contributions from the church's womens groups. Women's church groups usually sell them as a way to fund a retreat, or missionary, or community outreach. The proceeds from the little book I have sent care boxes to overseas missionary families, full of humble comforts like Dole fruit cups, gummi bears, and new toothbrushes.

Church cookbooks are a cornucopia of recipes that snapshot not only the diverse origins of the average US citizen, but the Americanization of traditional recipes. A brief perusal of the Main Dish selections includes: Chicken with Sauerkraut, Pulgogi, Moussaka, Tamales, and yes, Tuna Noodle Casserole.

In the nearly 11 years I will have had the book there are some recipes I have been too chicken to try, like Hot Sauce Jello Salad. Some recipes I have never gotten around to but meant to, like this next one.

Milky Way Cake

2 cups sugar
4 eggs, well beaten
8 Milky Way bars (3/4 oz size)
1 cup butter
1 cup buttermilk
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla

Beat eggs and sugar together and set aside. Melt candy and butter over low heat (candy will not completely melt). Add to eggs and sugar and thoroughly combine. Combine dry ingredients and add alternately with buttermilk and vanilla to above mixture. pour into a greased bundt pan. Bake 1 hour at 300 degrees. Cool then remove from pan.

Sounds wicked. The kids liked the idea of candy bars in cake.