Saturday, February 28, 2009

Old Bay recipe at Dutch Girl blog

I generally only stock my pantry with three commercially produced spice blends. The rest -- blends like taco seasoning and rub for ribs -- are made and stored in old one-pound spice containers.

I find that you get better quality spice blend when I make them at home or in the camp kitchen. Plus, it's much easier to avoid MSG, anti-caking agents and excessive salt content when you make your own.

I just recently re-discovered Old Bay Seasoning. According to Wikipedia, the commercial spice blend was first developed by German immigrant Gustav Brunn in the 1940s as a crab seasoning in the Baltimore area.

Since I rarely purchase fresh crabs, I like to use Old Bay as an all-around seasoning. I typically use it on broiled chicken. It's also good in salmon or crab cakes, tater sauce and cocktail sauce.

Then today, I saw a recipe for an Old Bay reproduction on the Kayotic Cooking blog. This authentic Dutch cook and artful photographer produces some wonderful recipes on her blog from her home in Gouda, Netherlands. (My favorite recipe: Dutch split pea soup, a recipe that I've made for about 10 years.)

Here's what she has to say about Old Bay:

A couple of years ago a friend sent me a big can of ‘Old Bay Seasoning’. I instantly became hooked! It’s been a staple in my home ever since. Since this spice mix can’t be bought in the Netherlands (is it a typically American item?), I’m doing my Dutch (and European?) buddies a favor by giving the ingredients for a faux old bay seasoning!
Please let me know if you try her recipe. I have 6-ounce can in my cupboard, but will have to try Dutch Girl's recipe when my supply runs out.

My other two purchased spice blends? Chili powder (typically Gephardts) and Pappy's Choice Seasoning, a regional blend produced in Fresno, California. I buy 32-ounce containers of the blend from my butcher. Pappy's is a versitle barbeque and grilling seasoning.

Time for more cake

Here's another bake shop photo ...

PACIFIC OCEAN (Feb. 23, 2009) Culinary Specialist 3rd Class Alexander Boone, from Baltimore, places icing on the edge of a cake in the bakeshop aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74). Stennis is on a scheduled six-month deployment to the Western Pacific Ocean.

U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Kenneth Abbate.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Kitsap sailors honor veterans

This story touches me on two levels: First I have family that lives in the Kitsap Peninsula area of Washington State. It's of note that they live is such proximity to men and women who've given so much to their country. Second is the quote from Chief Penaranda, a leader in the galley at the Bangor submarine base.

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (AW) Maebel Tinoko, Navy Public Affairs Support Element West, Det. Northwest

RETSIL, Wash. (NNS) (2/23/2009) -- More than 100 service members and veterans attended the 99th anniversary ceremony at the Washington State Veterans Home in Retsil, Wash. Feb. 20.

Alphonso Knight, superintendent of the Washington State Veterans Home welcomed and thanked guests for their attendance.

"Thank you for joining us as we celebrate 99 years of serving those who served at this state-of-the-art institution," said Knight. "We are here to recognize the veterans and honor what they've done for our country."

The history of the Washington Veterans Home begins on the battle fields of the Civil War, as this home was constructed for the survivors of that conflict.

The keynote speaker for the event was Army Lt. Col. Karl C. Bolton, commander of Madigan Army Medical Center's Warrior Transition Battalion.

"Today we are giving back to those who served because Soldiers deserve only the best," said Bolton. "America has a long history of taking care of our veterans and it's important for them to receive the most excellent resources."

On Feb. 22, 1910, the veterans home was opened, and today the home is a state-of-the-art, non-institutional facility providing a "Resident Centered Care" concept that focuses resources around the individual resident. The home serves more than 292 veterans needing both skilled-nursing and assisted-living care.

"It's important to celebrate America's history with veterans to carry on their traditions," said Chief Culinary Specialist (SW/AW) Sherwin Penaranda, Naval Base Kitsap Bangor galley. "Being here gives me a chance to see how the military has evolved over the years."

For Command Master Chief Myron A. Roshto, of Navy Operational Support Center Kitsap, it was important to honor veterans.

"We are paying a tribute to veterans for the sacrifices they have made; it helps me appreciate the freedom and rights we have today," said Roshto. "I think everyone should thank a veteran for what they've done."

Monday, February 23, 2009

Recipe set sold

A quick note: The 1963 Navy-Marine Corps Recipe Service set that was for sale on eBay was purchased this afternoon.

This is the first time that someone purchased an eBay item as a result of this blog.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

10,000 pies later

Over the years I've read of more than one man who turned to cooking after a lifetime of heavy work. No longer physically able to punch cows or fell trees, these workers often saw the camp kitchen as a worthy alternative.

Ramon F. Adams, author of Come An' Get It: The Story of the Old Cowboy Cook (Amazon link), talked of "broken-down punchers whose riding days were over, but who could not endure life away from cattle and horses ..." Such a cowboy, one who often traded his horse in for a chuckwagon, finished his days behind the kitchen range.

It makes sense. The rancher retains a valuable employee, one who's served him well for years. And the cowhand-turned-cook continued his career in an industry that he'd come to love and thrive.

I recently ran across an article about a much younger cook in the Atikokan Progress, the hometown newspaper for the town of Atikokan in southern Ontario, located about 50 or 60 miles west of the shores of Lake Superior.

The article tells the story of how Joe Gordon became a camp cook after a life-threatening accident cut his short logging career short.

The career-changing injury occurred as Gordon and three buddies drove logs down a river in New York State. He emerged from a three-month hospital stay unable to roll logs down the river at the young age of 24.

While that event, which killed the other three loggers, might have ended any chance at working in the woods, Gordon's "bosses looked around for a place to put him, since he was unable to do any more log-rolling. He was put to work in the kitchen peeling potatoes."

Gordon toiled in the camp kitchen for the next 47 years. By his recollection, he baked "10,000 pies," "plying his art at mining and lumber camps and on the sidewheel boats of the Mississippi."

I don't know if Gordon intended to make the kitchen his new career or to just peel potatoes until something better came along. Whether intended or not, Gordon soon found himself responsible for feeding the whole camp.
“That was the start of my cooking career,” says Joe. “I'd only been at the job a short time when the regular cook decided he'd take a holiday. He said he'd show me how to make pastries and pies and so on before leaving. Well, he was just supposed to be gone for two weeks but he never came back and I found myself as the cook.”
The Atikokan Progress first printed 58 years ago, one week after Gordon turned 72 on April 19, 1951. That means he started baking pies in 1903 or 1904.

Gordon had to "bake about 60 pies and 90 loaves of bread" to satisfy a camp with 250 loggers when he worked in the Rainy River district of Ontario. That's one pie for every four loggers, a hefty portion when you consider restaurants cut each pie into eight slices.

And what about Gordon's claim to have baked "10,000 pies" in his 47-year cooking career? Divide 47 into 10,000 and you get 217 pies per year. I think he grossly understated his pie-baking activity.

Assume Gordon baked 60 pies four times each week during a three-month logging season. By my conservative calculation, he probably baked 150,000 or more pies in his long camp cooking career. That number could double if he baked pies for lunch and dinner!

1963 US Navy and Marine Corps recipe set for sale on eBay

I occasionally receive an email like this one:
Hello, my name is Robert. I served in the Navy from 1985-1989. During that time I was a cook. I served at GTMO and the USS SAIPAN. Recently I purchased a disc with military recipes. While this has been helpful, it doesn't seem to be the same as the cards from the old days. My memory from that time tells me that some recipes are not on the disc. My question is this, is it possible to obtain a set of recipe cards from that time frame? And if possible how would I go about purchasing them?
You're right, Robert. The Armed Forces Recipe Service on CD-ROM is an electronic copy of the current version of the famed military recipe cards. All the manufacturer does is download the Adobe PDF files from a U.S. Government website and package it into a format the most computers can read.

I often use my copy of the CD recipes to plan for event. I print each recipe so I can write purchasing, production and serving notes right on the recipe.

Since I rarely cook for exactly 100 persons (and the fact that US military serving sizes can be hefty), I also make adjustments to ingredients and note that right on my printed sheet. After the event, I save all the printed recipes in a file as a record of the event.

In addition to giving you standard ingredient amounts and instructions, the big advantage with AFRS is purchasing. Anytime you need to know how many pounds of an item serves 100 persons, just look it up on AFRS. (Remember that servings per hundred is always tied to serving size.)

Once you have a basic understanding of ingredients, amounts and method, you can easily add that special ingredient or two that sends the recipe "over the top."

In case you're interested in a piece of Navy and Marine Corps history, I found a set of 1963 Navy-Marine Corps Recipe Service recipe cards for sale on eBay. The seller is asking just under $60 for the set, which appears to be complete (although individual recipes could be missing).

Friday, February 20, 2009

Engine 74 at the museum

ECF E74 at the museum
Originally uploaded by SeabeeCook
This isn't exactly earth-shattering news, but El Dorado County firefighters stopped by the El Dorado County Historical Museum this afternoon to help with a fire alarm issue.

We're still not sure what happened, but think one of the heat sensors in the engine house or machine shop malfunctioned. We weren't doing anything in either building that would've set the alarm off.

I'm not sure why E74 responded as the engine is houses at Station 74. The station is located in the community of Lotus, about 10 miles northwest of Placerville. Maybe the closest engine, Engine 25, was out at the time.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Time for cake

The Navy often uses cake to celibrate ...

YOKOSUKA, Japan (Feb. 13, 2009) -- Culinary Specialist 3rd Class Paul Valdez serves birthday cake to Sailors aboard the aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) during a ceremony in honor of George Washington's birthday.

U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Apprentice Rachel N. Clayton.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Loss of a dear friend and brother

Yesterday we attended the memorial service for Donald Keith Hopper, a dear friend and one of the older members of our church. It was the first such service that I had the honor attending since my father's service 16 month ago.

I say "honor" because Don was one of the pillars of our small congregation. His focus was always to serve God and to mold his life -- and the life of the church -- after the pattern set in the Bible.

The service was a hard one for me. As I mentioned it was my first since my father's passing on October 12, 2007. But also because Don, in many ways, reminded me of Dad.

As the service progressed, I felt for Dick, sitting in the front row of pews. Dick, like myself, is Don's the oldest child.

And like my father, Don was a veteran of the U.S. Navy. I held it together until the honor guard slowly marched up both aisles, folded the ensign of the United States of America and presented it to Mrs. Doris Hopper.

Don Alexander, former evangelist of the Pollock Pines-Camino church of Christ, gave the obituary at his service yesterday:

In sadness we report the passing away of brother Don Hopper of the Pollock Pines-Camino, California church of Christ, on February 9, 2009, after a brief illness.

Known to many endearingly as "Hop," he was 80 years old. He is survived by his brother Dennis, sister Waythena Peters, wife Doris, two children, Dick Hopper of Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Melody Dickey of Folsom, California; six grandkids and six great-grandkids.

He served his country for four years in the U.S. Navy in the Korean War. He worked for 35 years for PG&E before retiring in 1988. He was born in Strang, Oklahoma. He and Doris lived in various places from San Diego, Oklahoma, Marin County, California; Napa and Fresno, California, before moving to Camino, Calif. upon retirement.

Of greatest interest to brother Hopper was his spiritual life. He obeyed His Lord in baptism in 1951, later served as a deacon in the Fresno area, and we all rejoiced to see him appointed as a elder for the Pollock Pines-Camino church of Christ which he served for several years.

I was especially encouraged by brother Hopper during the eleven years I worked with the congregation in Pollock Pines-Camino. His foremost spiritual quality was his desire to serve the Lord and His people by doing what was right. The principles of God's Word formed his approach to living and his legacy is seen in his family, his brethren's love, and his quiet strength.

Like so many of God's people, his quiet strength was the glue that holds together the faithful when times are tough. He was a stand-up Christian who struggled with the challenges of the sinful world while keeping his sights clearly on serving God "right, by the Bible."

He will be greatly missed and his death will not escape the notice of His Heavenly Father.

Chicken and gravy with steamed dumplings

Chicken and dumplings is the quintessential comfort food dish. Although I didn't grow up on the dish, I now enjoy it. I've prepared the dish twice this month by stewing a chicken fryer.

Moist dumplings, stewed in a rich gravy go with chunks of freshly stewed chicken. It's a favorite that can be a hit among campers.

The only problem with dropping dumplings into a large pot of stew at camp is that the process is cumbersome. You have to drop dumplings into the stew one at a time. After they're cooked to perfection, you must fish them out while avoiding pieces of chicken and vegetables.

This process works for a family or in a small restaurant where it can be accomplished with little trouble. Once you add 50 or 100 campers that must eat at the same time, you need a better plan.

To resolve the need to cook a large quantity of dumplings, I like to set up one or more steamer rigs with standard 12- by 20-inch hotel pans. First pour about two inches water into a 4-inch hotel pan. Place the pan on the range top and bring the water to a boil.

Meanwhile, scoop dumplings into a lightly oiled 2-inch perforated hotel pan. About 28 dumplings fit inside each perforated pan. Scoop them into four rows of seven each with a No. 24 disher.

Set the perforated pan inside the pan with the boiling water. Cover and steam for 10 to 15 minutes. Watch the dumplings closely. Over steaming produces them rubbery, dried out dumplings.


If desired, prepare a chicken stew with carrots, celery, potatoes and peas. Ladle stew over the dumplings.

8 ounces butter, melted
8 ounces all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 gallon hot chicken stock

2-1/2 pounds all-purpose flour
3 ounces baking powder
2 tablespoons salt
10 ounces eggs, beaten
5-1/2 cups milk

12-1/2 pounds hot cooked chicken

To make the gravy: Add flour to fat and blend in medium saucepan. Stir in salt and pepper. Cook 5 minutes. Add stock gradually. Cook, stirring constantly, with wire whisk. Cook until smooth and thickened.

To form dumplings: Combine dry ingredients in mixer bowl. Using flat beater, mix on low speed until blended,. Combine eggs and milk. Add to dry ingredients. Mix on low speed only until blended.

Pour 2 inches water into a 2 (2-inch) hotel pans. Boil water in each pan over 1 or 2 burners on the range top.

Portion batter with No. 24 dipper onto lightly oiled 2-inch perforated hotel pans. Place perforated pan over 4-inch hotel pan with boiling water. Steam covered 12 to 15 minutes.

For each serving: Arrange 2 dumplings, 3-1/2 to 4 ounces meat and 1/3-cup gravy on each plate. Garnish with parsley. Makes 50 servings.

  1. If chicken base is used for stock, delete or reduce salt. Use chicken drippings for fat if desired. Makes about 1-gallon gravy.
  2. Dumplings may be dropped onto hot meat or stew mixture in counter pans and steamed. Makes 100 dumplings.
  3. Approximately 33-37 lb chicken (AP) (about 8 fryers) will yield approximately 12-1/2 pounds cooked meat. In a large stockpot, cover chicken with cold water and add 2-pound mire poix (rough chopped onion, celery and carrot at a 2:1:1 ration). Bring to a boil and let simmer for about 40 to 60 minutes until cooked through. Let cool and remove chicken from bones.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Diamond Springs and snow

For the second time today, Diamond Springs has been blanketed with a layer of heavy, wet snow. The first storm passed through the town around sunrise. The roads were cleared by mid-afternoon as the mercury inched up toward 40 and the sun broke through the clouds. At dusk, there was little evidence that it had snowed.

Then the second wave of the day slammed into the El Dorado foothills late this evening. This (the third storm since Wednesday) may be the last snow for now. Forecasters are saying the next two or three storms will be warmer.

The nice thing about living the 2,000-foot mark in the foothills is the blessing of snow. Most years we get enough snow to enjoy its beauty without being burdened by the threat of constant shoveling. About the time you wish you had more, it's melted away.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Snow on the tail track

Snow on the tail track
Originally uploaded by SeabeeCook
A heavy snow storm slammed into the Placerville-Diamond Springs corridor last night.

As I drove home around 5 p.m., I could see mixed rain and snow blowing over the hood of my truck. Within 15 minutes I was in the middle of a full-blown snow storm.

By 5:30, large, heavy snowflakes blanketed the El Dorado County foothills at the 1,600-foot elevation and higher.

As the two-hour weather system moved eastward, the heavy flakes stuck to everything in their way. By the time I left the house at 6:30, all the roads were covered and CalTrans had set up chain control just east of Placerville on US 50.

A layer of snow still covered the tail track out of the engine house at the El Dorado County Historical Museum this morning. It's all gone now.

Other duties as assigned

You learn in the U.S. Armed Forces that your leaders often invoke the "other duties as assigned" clause in your job description. As a young commissaryman seaman on board the USS Cocopa (ATF-101) I was the sight setter on the ship's 3-inch 50-caliber dual purpose gun during general quarters. I also cleaned the Supply Division berthing compartment and maintained the division's fire fighting equipment -- all during my "off duty" hours.

The U.S. Navy has very few "professional" firefighters on its ships. These men and women -- members of a rating called damage controlman -- form the core of the ship's damage control teams. The teams are filled with "volunteers" -- like the culinary specialist pictured here -- from the crew.

SOUTH CHINA SEA (Feb. 2, 2009) -- Culinary Specialist Seaman Jermaine Jefferson braces for shock during a general quarters drill aboard the amphibious dock landing ship USS Harpers Ferry (LSD 49). Harpers Ferry is en route to participate in Exercise Cobra Gold 2009, an annual Thailand and U.S. co-sponsored multinational exercise designed to train Thai, U.S. and Singaporean military personnel.

U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Matthew R. White.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Working small to medium camps

I'm most attracted to small to medium camps, those serving up to 200 campers and staff per meal. This gives me the opportunity to work with an intimate group of campers. You know everyone, and they quickly learn who you are.

I found after seven years as the chef for the Northern California FC Camp that you get to know many of the campers and counselors. It's encouraging to watch young campers enter the program as young fourth graders and leave eight years later mature Christian adults ready to face the challenges of living in the world.

Of course, the food is my reason for working at a camp. Small to medium camps give me an environment where I can easily tailor the menu to the likes and dislikes of the campers. It's always much easier to react to special dietary needs and special requests when you know the kids.

The aspect of a small camp that attracts me most is that I get a chance to keep my hand in all segments of the kitchen. Unlike large institutions, where you typically supervise one department or work through a team of chefs to produce the meal, you're the main cook (and chief bottle washer!).

A camp chef is much closer to the action. When you write the menu, you know what will work and what won't because you're the cook who'll cook all those dishes. Feedback is immediate.

A small dedicated staff of cooks and assistants gives me a chance to personally develop each person's talent and to mentor as he prepares for the next step in the kitchen. I can follow the daily progress of each person, partially because you're working in a moderately-size kitchen.

Since I love to teach, I can tailor a program for each cook and assistant, both based on their career needs and the needs of the camp. And my love for teaching also applies to the campers, especially when the topic is outdoor cooking.

I could go on, but will close for now. I have a lot more to say about my passion for camp cooking. I'll cover the outdoors, salary, living with reduced income and the need to be flexible in your job search in coming posts.

More to come ...

Monday, February 09, 2009

A Grizwold 20-inch skillet is worth ...

Last Monday I asked if a Griswold 20-inch skillet was worth $340. As the auction ended tonight, the answer came in at a resounding no!

It's worth $510 ...

Sunday, February 08, 2009

New Navy Food Management Team integrated training facility opens in Norfolk

By Bob Anderson, Fleet and Industrial Supply Center Norfolk, Office of Corporate Communications

CAPT Ruth A. Christopherson, Commanding Officer, FISC Norfolk, and CW05 Paul Jones, NFMT Team Lead, cut the ribbon opening a new state-of-the-art training facility. Also pictured are the NFMT instructors MMCS Douglas Miller; CS1 Michael Hamer; SFC Donald Fennell, USA; CSCS Kevin Pitre; CSCM Carol Anderson; CSCS Catrina Cain; and CSCS Stephen Wyrick

A new Integrated Navy Food Management Team (NFMT) training facility was opened recently in Norfolk, Va.

After three years of planning, and 18 months of construction, Fleet and Industrial Supply Center (FISC) Norfolk Commanding Officer, Capt. Ruth A. Christopherson, and CWO5 Paul T. Jones, NFMT Norfolk OIC, cut the ribbon in Building W-143 marking the opening of the new state-of-the-art food preparation and classroom facility.

Excellence in food service is essential to the health and morale of Navy members and to the overall readiness of the operating forces. Because food is a major item of expense, use of the best food management practices (conservation, preparation, and serving) is necessary.

“Our new galley provides a facility that resembles a galley on a ship in terms of the equipment configuration and will allow us to work as though we are on a ship,” said CWO5 Jones. “Our classrooms have the capacity to train up to 42 students and 19 students in the FSM lab at any one time. Additionally, as we conduct our main mission, providing training and assistance to the 104 commands assigned to our area of responsibility (AOR), the new facility also gives us fully functional and operational office spaces to conduct our business from,” he added.

Although the NFMT course of instruction is not a Navy school nor does it provide any type of NEC, the training significantly improves the overall Navy food service program.

The mission of the NFMT is to aid ships and ashore activities in raising the quality and standards of food service. “Sailors and civilian food service professionals located throughout the Hampton Roads area along with any Sailor transiting our AOR needing assistance or training can receive training from us,” said CWO5 Jones. “Additionally, we partner with the Military Sealift Command by providing access to our facilities to support the training of their food service mariners. Our facility will also accommodate training and conference requirements with the area TYCOMs,” added Jones.

A total of 28 seminars are taught each year by the Norfolk NFMT. The seminars include Watch Captain, FSM/ Recorders Keeper, Cake Decorating, Menu Planning/ Nutrition, FSO/Leading CS Afloat, Knife Handling/Basic Garnishing, Food Service Sanitation, Basic Records Keeping, and a Prime Vendor QA course. All NFMTs are partnered with the International Food Service Executive Association (IFSEA). IFSEA provides a course of instruction to Navy food service professionals and can certify the service members in several of their industry recognized certifications. They also partner with the National Restaurant Association and certify Sailors in sanitation through a course of instruction called SERVSAFE. The SERVSAFE certifications are taught about 6 times a year.

In addition to its food service training seminars, advancement exam study sessions are conducted twice a year for petty officers E4-E7.

Much of the help provided by the NFMT comes from their participation as an advisor in managing food service programs. This is done by working along with food service personnel. Their training also motivates food service personnel toward increased efficiency and effectiveness.

This new training facility will allow NFMT instructors to provide on-the-job training to food service personnel through the “do as I do” method of instruction, employing advanced training aids and techniques, placing special emphasis on high-quality food preparation, progressive cookery, proper serving techniques, food service safety precautions and operating procedures, fire prevention, sanitation, and personal hygiene. Inducing and stimulating professional pride in food service personnel.

As of June 2008 NFMT Norfolk had trained 483 people and expect to train approximately 900 this year.

Requests for Navy Food Management Team Assistance visits are highly encouraged. A team visit usually lasts for 2 weeks. Shorter visits may be arranged if operating schedules or scope of food service operations dictates. An example is a ship desiring a visit to address specific problem areas. Team visits normally should not be requested during yard overhaul, while underway, or before shakedown periods.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Chili and beans for museum railroaders

I cooked chili and beans for the crew at the El Dorado Western Railway engine house last Saturday.

This recipe was originally posted at by Joanne, host and moderator of the year-old gathering place for outdoor cooks.

Here's Joanne's introduction to the chili recipe from
This is a pretty simple chili but we get a lot of great reviews every time we serve it. It may sound obvious, but the quality of chili powder you use will determine if it's good chili or great chili. I like to go to the Mexican market and buy various bags of ground chili powder, then mix them to my liking. Of course an oven full of corn bread goes great with it!

The full-sized recipe makes enough for 25 hungry campers. Cook the chili in a 14-inch deep Lodge oven or 8- to 10-quart stockpot. You can cut the recipe in half for a 12-inch Dutch oven.

3 pounds ground beef
2 pounds country sausage
3 cups chopped onion
3 cups chopped green bell pepper
3 tablespoons minced garlic
5 bay leaves
1-1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
3 ounces chili powder
2 tablespoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
3 tablespoons paprika
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 to 3 quarts beef broth
2 (28-ounce) cans pinto beans
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes

Brown ground beef and sausage meat in a 14-inch deep Dutch oven over medium heat. Drain excess fat. Add onions, green peppers and garlic to meat and cook until vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes.

Add bay leaves, oregano, chili powder, cumin, cayenne, paprika and flour to meat mixture. Cook for about 5 minutes while stirring to develop flavor.

Add 2 quarts beef broth and crushed tomatoes to meat mixture. Cover and simmer for about 2 hours. Add additional beef broth as needed to thin chili to desired consistency. Add beans and heat.

This recipe makes about 25 (8-ounce) portions with a little to spare.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Food For Fifty recipes posted to PantryWorks

I have used the classic quantity cookbook, Food For Fifty (published by Prentice Hall), since I purchased a copy for a college class in 1979.

Although I recommend the book to all cooks when feed large groups, it has always carries a hefty price tag. The 12th edition currently sells for about $87 on (discounted from the $114 list price).

If you occasionally need large quantity recipes and don't want to purchase the book, many (or all?) of the recipes have been posted to the I ran across the recipe website today while searching for a recipe for dumplings. You can access the Food For Fifty recipe listings here.

I don't know if Prentice Hall has given PantryWorks their blessing to post the 735 recipes. PantryWorks has posted recipes from numerous other cookbooks. But feel free to use this recipe resource as long as it remains.

Monday, February 02, 2009

San Antonio culinary specialist serves as individual augmentee

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class (SW) Brian Goodwin, Iwo Jima Expeditionary Strike Group Public Affairs

USS SAN ANTONIO, At Sea (1/21/2009) (NNS) -- A Sailor from amphibious transport dock ship USS San Antonio (LPD 17) volunteered for individual augmentee service in Iraq.

Chief Culinary Specialist (SW/AW) Renrick Adams, San Antonio's Supply Division 2 leading chief petty officer, served as an IA with Navy Provision Detainee Battalion 3 in Iraq from May 2007 to January 2008.

Adams' emotional attachment to N.Y. and the 9/11 attacks drove him to volunteer for IA duty when the opportunity presented itself.

"I went IA because I'm a New Yorker, and I took it personal when the 9/11 incident happened," said Adams. "I guess after it happened, I just felt like I had to do something. So when a chance to go IA became available at my last command, I threw my name in the hat."

Adams was required to have preliminary training before leaving for Iraq.

"I had to get a lot of Navy Knowledge Online courses done prior to leaving for training in El Paso, Texas," stated Adams. "Once I got to El Paso, I qualified in 9 millimeter pistol, M16 rifle, combat life support, Humvee training and convoy training. I also had to be medically screened and had to make sure my shots and medical record were up to date."

After El Paso, Adams went to Kuwait.

"I went to Kuwait for more weapons training along with hiking 10 miles with our gear," explained Adams. "We practiced various formations with our weapons and setting up a combat area before hiking some more."

Adams arrived in Camp Bucca, Iraq after two weeks in Kuwait.

"I was chief of the guard, running the compound that monitored almost 2,200 detainees," said Adams. "I normally had the noon to midnight watch, and made sure that the detainees were safe and secure until their release."

Adams remembered the people he watched over while in Iraq.

"The people in Iraq aren't too different from Americans," said Adams. "I learned that most Iraqis want good homes, good families, and want peace, not war. One of the most significant things I remember from being in Iraq were the peaceful people."

Adams credits the experience he gained from his time in Iraq to his current leadership skills with junior Sailors.

"I try to paint a picture of what life is like for the young Sailors and Soldiers on the ground that might be under attack on a daily basis and use that for when I have Sailors on my mess decks who are troubled about minor things," explained Adams. "I want them all to know that if they think they have it bad, they should think about the guys we have on the ground."

Adams offered advice for Sailors wanting to go IA.

"You always have to be open-minded and be a team player," Adams said. "Everyone relies on each other and you have to know that any mishap could cost you your life. If you keep that in mind, you'll be very successful."

San Antonio is deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility supporting maritime security operations. MSO help develop security in the maritime environment. From security arises stability that results in global economic prosperity. MSO complements the counterterrorism and security efforts of regional nations and seek to disrupt violent extremists' use of the maritime environment as a venue for attack or to transport personnel, weapons, or other material.

Is a Griswold #20 cast iron skillet worth $340?

Although a serious collector may disagree, $100 is my limit for just about any cast iron any piece. Even then it has to be a larger Dutch oven or skillet that I can use to feed a hungry crew of railroaders.

Any cast iron in my modest collection is going to be put work. I don't collect cast iron to use them as show pieces. Each will be used to cook great meals, whether it's for personal camping or for large groups.

I'd love to own this 20-inch Griswold cast iron skillet. But it's current $340 price tag takes it out of my league. Bid if you must, but I suspect that the final selling price will peak at over $400.

All I can do now is watch the auction and dream of the day that I locate an Lodge 20-inch skillet. Although Lodge stopped making the round skillet several years ago, I see them advertised from time to time. I will break my $100 rule when I locate one.