Public domain photo by JJ Harrison ( — Own work, CC BY-SA 2.5,

Easy, cheesy, tomatoey pasta? Yes please! Try this social media inspired, easy pasta dish and before you can say “TikTok” the serving bowl is empty!

Before I go any further I have an admission. I don’t have TikTok and probably never will. I’m in my 50s and it just seemed that if I did, it would be weird. I actually didn’t even know that anyone was cooking on TikTok. I first saw this recipe on Instagram, then suddenly I saw a lot of recipes on Instagram for this same exact recipe. …

Karolina Grabowska photographer credit.

Chances are that you have never heard of Corn Relish. Corn relish is a traditional Southern condiment including the use of cooked corn kernels and is spiced with red and green bell peppers, mustard seed, and equal parts sugar and cider vinegar. There are various types of recipes for Corn Relish and may vary from region to region. I saw one recipe with flour put in it as a thickening agent. I am not doing that here as for me that would be ruining it.

Often Corn Relish is used at the table as a garnish or side dish to…

By Mike McCune — originally posted to Flickr as carnitas, CC BY 2.0,
By Mike McCune — originally posted to Flickr as carnitas, CC BY 2.0,
Public Domain by Mike McCune — originally posted to Flickr as carnitas, CC BY 2.0,

While I grew up eating a wide range of authentic Mexican dishes, I don’t believe I had carnitas until I was in my twenties. It was a shame to think I had been missing out on what would become one of my favorite dishes for so much of my life. The first time I had carnitas was at a taco stand in San Diego’s Old Town district. I was on my lunch break and got a plate of carnitas with beans and rice. …

Public Domain by Midori — Own work, CC BY 3.0,

Shrimp Sambal is a hot and spicy shrimp dish commonly found in Indonesian cuisine. Try this at home if you are pressed for time and serve with the coconut rice and you won’t miss the drive through.

I was recently given a lovely gift of some locally made Sambal from a friend. Sambal is a chili sauce or paste, typically made from a mixture of a variety of chili peppers with secondary ingredients such as shrimp paste, garlic, ginger and lime juice. This stuff was phenomenal and had two types, one was crunchy and the other was hot and zesty. (Both are incidentally vegan) I was over the moon. Honestly I could have eaten this with a spoon from the jar. (I did a little bit to be honest) but I decided to try it in some…

Photo by Dean Jones

Make something unique for Cinco De Mayo! This pound cake has a lot of flavor and personality!

Recently I was asked to participate in a recipe contest for Cinco De Mayo. There were no real rules or guidelines, but I didn’t want to just make something clichés like a Margarita cake or something like that. I knew I would have some stellar competition, but also didn’t want to do something so over the top it would obscure my desire for some authenticity. …

By en:User:Mrhyak — Uploaded as en:Image:1983 b.JPG on March 3 2007., Public Domain,
By en:User:Mrhyak — Uploaded as en:Image:1983 b.JPG on March 3 2007., Public Domain,
Photo by en:User:Mrhyak — Uploaded as en:Image:1983 b.JPG on March 3 2007., Public Domain

Beat, dead, burnt-out you know what I mean
My brain was racin’ but my feet wouldn’t scream.
Dee Dee Ramone

I was inspired to write this by my teenage step-daughter. She recently asked for a “Ramones” t-shirt for her birthday. This got me thinking about the Ramones and their music and the one time I got to see them in the 80s.

I was stationed in England during the mid-80s (1984–1986) when I was an Airman in the United States Air Force. My station was Lakenheath (Suffolk) where I enjoyed my time and the two years there seems like 10…

Public Domain by Michael Morel from France — Originally posted to Flickr as patti smith, CC BY 2.0,

“The air is filled with the moves of you,
All the fire is frozen yet still I have the will”

I saw Patti Smith by accident one in 1995. I was attending the San Francisco Bay Area Book Festival at the San Francisco Concourse. Patti was signing copies of her newest book (Early work 1970–1979) and I had missed her reading from it and had not even thought of attending any events. There were some well-known authors there and many of the events were sold out.

I had attended at the spur of the moment so I was not able…

By Greenapps23 — Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,
By Greenapps23 — Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,
Public Domain by Greenapps23 — Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

Be it potluck or impromptu dinner, this easy Chicken Enchilada Casserole will get dinner done and your tummy happy!

When I was in a social group that met weekly, we had regular potlucks that we were all expected to bring main dishes to share. One of the participants always brought his signature Chicken Enchilada Casserole. I was always happy to help eat the casserole. It was hot, cheesy and full of chicken. It became a favorite of mine.

I tried to replicate this casserole over time. It was good but not the same. I poured over various versions of this…

A staple of most delis to grab on your way out, the Black-and-White cookie is a classic that you can bring to your repertoire.

Public domain photo by Punkitra at English Wikipedia — Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons by Studmult using CommonsHelper., Public Domain.

“You see, Elaine, the key to eating a black and white cookie is that you wanna get some black and some white in each bite. Nothing mixes better than vanilla and chocolate. And yet still somehow racial harmony eludes us. If people would only look to the cookie, all our problems would be solved.” Jerry — Jerry Seinfeld -TV show.

Whenever I would go to the City Deli back in San Diego in the 80’s I…

By jules — originally posted to Flickr as hot cross buns — fig & pecan, CC BY 2.0,
By jules — originally posted to Flickr as hot cross buns — fig & pecan, CC BY 2.0,
By jules — originally posted to Flickr as hot cross buns — fig & pecan, CC BY 2.0,

Traditionally eaten on Good Friday the world over, Hot Cross Buns are a treat that are not to be missed! Try them tomorrow - they are easy to prepare and a nice change from pancakes or cinnamon rolls.


Hot Cross Buns! One a penny, two a penny, Hot Cross Buns! If you have no daughters, give them to your sons. One a penny, two a penny, Hot Cross Buns! (traditional rhyme)


A Hot Cross Bun is a spiced, sweet bun typically made with dried or candied fruit and marked with a cross on the top. These buns are traditionally eaten on Good Friday, and the serving of these buns marks the end of the austerity of the observation of Lent.

The traditional method for making the cross on top of the…


Dean Jones is a Librarian, Cookbook Reviewer, and writer. Dean lives in the SF Bay Area with his lovely wife and their six kids.

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