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Food for Thought

I love food! Well, really who doesn’t? Until recently I was known as someone who cooks and bakes on a regular basis. Adjusting to being and empty-nester has changed that a bit but I still enjoy baking and cooking.

My extended family can truly cook up a storm. You will never leave their house without being well fed and watered. In this case I promise you will have all the coffee your heart desires. This love of food and family is something that I have illustrated throughout my series The Cattleman’s Daughters. In all of my books you will find some reference to food and none more so than when sitting down to a meal with the James family.

Readers have commented on how lively and boisterous the Broken J Ranch is, especially at meal times. This comes directly from my experience of meal times at my grandmother’s house as I was growing up. For the newcomer, or outsider our chatter, open discussions and multiple discussions all at one time could be a bit overwhelming but to me it was the sound of home.

My mother’ family had twelve children in it and they had a fair share of their own so when we came together, (something we did often) there was food and fun and fellowship. Very loud fellowship.

These events usually went as follows. Family members would arrive in dibs, drabs and large dollops to be met with the smell of wonderful foods and a very large pot of coffee. If there was a job to be done everyone would pitch in and it would soon be finished. Food would follow in every imaginable variety along with a cacophony of conversation. Once dessert was served with yet a bit more coffee and dish duty begun. The family would then warm up their instruments and begin to play and sing.

The farm where my mother and her siblings grew up is now lovingly cared for by a family member and we still often congregate there to visit and eat.

We grew up eating what I like to refer to as farmer food. Farmers would always have things like milk, eggs, butter, and vegetables. You will see these meals prepared and served amongst the hustle and bustle of the James household.

Foods like creamed eggs and fried potatoes, that Katie served for Will. Or macaroni and tomatoes. Home baked bread was a staple and breakfast was a meal to prepare everyone for a day of hard work.

One item I highlighted in Fiona’s story was what my family calls flap jacks. Now I know that flap jacks can refer to several different things, usually pancakes, but in my home a flap jack is a bit of bread dough rolled flat and fried in a skillet. Someone pointed out that this is known as Indian Fry Bread and that is true but in my family the flap jack is what it is.