Daughter-In-Law Bread

November 17th, 2012

We here at Mona Faye’s Kitchen know that the most sensible Missourians stay right where they started out. There’s no reason to go anywhere else. Missouri has everything any decent person could want — rolling hills, caves, deer season, the Fox theatre, crappie fishing, the Arch, Bass Pro Shops, properly-crusted pizza. It’s all here. If it’s not here, you really don’t want it in the first place. Trust us on that one.

Occasionally, however, a pretty face turns a good Missouri boy‘s head, and he thinks that locales other-than-Eastern-Missouri might be actually livable. We are a tolerant bunch, however. We never mention his grave error, but we do know that the Prodigal will return.

While he is away sowing his wild oats for two decades raising a family and teaching some new-fangled thing, that interloper who took him away from the Show Me State might actually contribute a decent recipe to the Kitchen. It is rare. But every-so-often a person originating from an uppity city like Detroit might have a dish that is worthy of real folk here in the Middle West.

Date-Nut Bread is that dish. Granted, this is not Pat Nixon’s 1955 California Date-Nut Bread recipe. It’s not that presidential. And it’s not technically fruit cake. It’s not that manufactured. But the recipe seems to date back to the 1940s, when things were better, even in Detroit. Our Kitchen researchers can’t find another recipe quite like this one,  so it’s rather unique. But not too unique. We wouldn’t want to be radicals.

Aunt Stella, first row (kneeling), fourth from left. At Briggs Manufacturing, 4 Jan 1944.

The Daughter-in-Law’s Grandma made this for years, and then her Aunt Stella carried the bread “mantle” and made this every Christmas back in the day, proving that even non-Missourians know that tradition is always best. She ends the recipe with “Good luck,” which we know is very necessary in Detroit.

We Missourians don’t need luck, however. We live in Missouri.

Not just IMO.

December 28th, 2011

When you compare St. Louis to other cities across America, St. Louis is clearly superior in every way, as any St. Louisian will quickly explain to you. The Golden Mean between NYC and LA, between Chicago and New Orleans. The Grand Middle. We have the Arch; none of the rest of you do. We have the Cardinals; you don’t. We have Famous-Barr’s French Onion soup. You just have plain ol’ sorry soup.

Now, to be fair, St. Louis is sadly lacking, of course, when compared to any of the fine small municipalities along the Mississippi. The smaller the town, the better. If you ever see a citizen from Festus, Missouri as a defendant on Judge Judy, for instance, we here at Mona Faye’s Kitchen assure you that Little Missy moved to Festus from St. Louis. We who were born in Jeff Co know better! We keep our yards trim, and our shirts tucked. We obey every rule handed down to us better than you who imagined them.


But I digress.

Another under-reported proof of St. Louis’ superiority is its pizza. We don’t abide by that gloppy, doughy mess from Chicago. Or that floppy grease trap from New York. No, our pizza is neat, just like Missouri.

Our pizza is round, of course. We aren’t radicals!! But we cut it square. That makes it neater.

No stretchy mozzarella in sight either. No, we St. Louisians demand our own shelf-stable, Wisconsin-made Provel cheese — a combination of provolone, Swiss, and white cheddar with a touch of smoke. It has a clean bite, you see — no messy strings with our cheese. You bite it and it’s cut. That’s the way we like it. We want commitment in our cheese product.

The crust is yeast-free and rolled out as thin as a cracker. Crackers are so tidy, and yeast is just too out-of-control.

The sauce is sweet and uncooked. The seasonings are sprinkled on top where we can see them and check up on them. We are the Show-Me State after all, and that includes spices.

If you are not born and raised in Missouri, chances are that you won’t like our pizza. But that’s just fine with us. That’s how we tell if you’re from around here. Or if you deserve to be around here.

• 2 cups all-purpose flour
• 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1 teaspoon baking powder
• 2 teaspoons olive oil
• 2 teaspoons dark corn syrup
• 1/2 cup tbsps water
• 2 tablespoons water
• 16 ounces diced tomatoes
• 6 ounces tomato paste
• 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
• 1 teaspoon crushed basil
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1/4 teaspoon thyme
Italian Seasoning
• 2 teaspoons oregano
• 2 teaspoons basil
• 1 teaspoon thyme
Crust: Mix until thoroughly combined. Dough will be very stiff. Makes enough for two (2) 12″ pizza pies. The dough is ready to use “as-is” No need to rise or kneed. Divide the dough in half, shape into a round ball and roll out paper thin. In order to move the crusts around a pizza peel sprinkled with cornmeal works well.
Sauce: Combine.
Cheese: Provel only.
Bake in a 450 degree oven on a pizza stone. Check frequently until crust is a golden brown and crispy.

A (Pasta) House is Not a Home

November 26th, 2009

Ah, it’s that time of year when Mona Faye’s Kitchen is busier than ever. We’ve actually packed up our computer for a few days because there just wasn’t enough room for old-fashioned food and new-fangled falderall! We’ll be having the usual wild turkey (the real free range) and, of course, cranberry salad.

But before we put the laptop away, we wanted to share a recipe. When Mona Faye’s youngest brings his brood to Mona Faye’s Kitchen, he always stops first at Pasta House Company to get their house salad. Now we do have salad here with a lovely Fat-Free French dressing or a tasty Fat-Free Ranch dressing or yummy Fat-Free Raspberry Vinaigrette to go on your iceberg. What more do you want? But these youngsters insist that this one’s better than any other.
So for the sake of family, which is always our top priority here at Mona Faye’s Kitchen, we shall publish this recipe too. It does have all the features we like here in a dish. It’s simple, tasty, and homemade.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Pasta House Company House Salad


  • 1 head iceberg lettuce
  • 1/2 head romaine lettuce
  • 1 can quartered artichoke heart, drained
  • 1/2 medium red onion, sliced thin
  • 1 small jar pimientos
  • 2/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup Parmesan cheese


  • Toss together the lettuce, artichoke hearts, onion, and pimento in a large salad bowl and set aside.
  • Combine remaining ingredients in a container with a tight lid.
  • Shake container vigorously until well-blended.
  • Pour dressing onto salad and toss until well covered.
  • Refrigerate for about 30 minutes prior to serving to marinate.

Once You’ve Had Black . . . Walnuts

June 26th, 2009

We here at Mona Faye’s Kitchen have had such a busy few months. We’ve moved! From our large farm kitchen in Festus to our newfangled modern condo kitchen in the booming metropolis of Hillsboro. We had to get rid of our jelly strainer, but carry on we must!

Even in our new duds, however, Tradition is important in Mona Faye’s Kitchen. You peel potatoes with a knife not a gadgety potato peeler. You are supposed to use three scoops of Folgers to make a pot of coffee and. nothing. less. Christmas isn’t Christmas without applesauce cookies.

And everything tastes better with black walnuts.

Any good salad or cookie or quick bread that comes from Mona Faye’s Kitchen must have a healthy portion of homegrown black walnuts. They are right from Grandpa’s “farm” so they must be good! And we’ve always put them in!!

And they taste, oh, so good!! Mmmm. . . . just like a big crunchy moth ball.

Now Mona Faye’s brood is not so thrilled. This younger generation! The first-born insists that he has to lay out his tongue on my clean counter top and scrape it with a fork after eating them. The second-born will discretely but politely mine for each nut crumb in any slice of date-walnut bread.

Yet we will keep including them.

These silly kids love this salad they found up the road. It’s at a restaurant that is simply a Mona Faye’s Kitchen wannabe. As if!! So I’ll include this recipe here because it does taste quite good. But it would be better if it were served at home instead of an unfriendly restaurant with too-strong coffee and over-sized portions.

And with real black walnuts.

Panera’s Mona Faye’s Fuji Apple Walnut Chicken Salad

    6 cups romaine lettuce

    1-1/2 cup grilled and sliced chicken breast

    1/4 cup red onion, sliced thin

    1/3 cup Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled

    1/4 cup chopped candied walnuts or pecans

    2 oz. apple chips

Apple White Balsamic Vinaigrette

    2 Tbsp. apple juice concentrate

    1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar

    1 Tbsp. white balsamic vinegar

    1 tsp. Dijon mustard

    1/4 tsp. garlic powder

    1/3 cup olive oil


May 15th, 2009

Now, Mona Faye’s grandsons are big connoisseurs of hot dogs. Yes, their mother tries to slip them a chicken dog now and then since when she serves the all-beef, kosher franks they eat four each!

But there are limits. We all need limits, you know. We can’t do too much with wienies. Society will crumble.

On July 29, 1969, when Mona Faye’s youngest boy was just 2.5, Hunter Weiners went too far.


You wouldn’t eat a Cake called Lipstickgate!

September 16th, 2008

We here at Mona Faye’s Kitchen rarely discuss politics. It is so gauche. Such conversations just might upset your digestion! Thus, we remain completely nonpartisan. We prefer to keep a sunny outlook all the while secretly hoping for the best for our candidate of choice, never entertaining a negative thought about his temper, his declining health, or his flashy trophy wife. Even though she couldn’t fix a platter of squirrel and dumplin’s if her country’s security depended on it, that’s for sure!

So just to remind our staff of our real purpose, we like to pull out a recipe every four years that points to what really matters in America. It’s not about scandals or elections. No, it’s about manufactured hydrogenated oils and powdered milk and artificial food dyes and processed flour that’s as white and pure as the freshly driven Alaskan snow! In sum, it’s about cake.

No one knows where this lovely green slice of heaven acquired its infamous name. We don’t like to think about it. On February 26, 1976, the Washington Post reported that it had become quite a craze — probably due to the pistachio shortage that year. A few weeks later a reader surmised that the name came from President Nixon’s love of the little green nuts that inspired the dessert. The recipe first appeared in that paper the previous November:

Watergate Cake
1 box white cake mix
1 box pistachio instant pudding
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup club soda
3 eggs
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Mix all ingredients well (4 to 4 minutes). Bake in 12-by-9-inch greased pan for 45 minutes at 350 degrees.

Topping for Cake
1 box pistachio instant pudding
1/4 cup cold milk
1 (9-ounce) box whipped topping mix
Nut meats and maraschino cherries

Beat milk into instant pudding mix. Prepare topping mix according to instructions on box. Fold into pudding mixture. Spread oncake and top with nuts and cherries.

So forget the debates and the polls. Ignore the pundits and those irritating phone calls. Just eat cake and insist that life was better back in 1971, when Watergate was just a lovely confection among friends.

Railroaders’ Lunch

July 5th, 2008

We here at Mona Faye’s Kitchen have brought you third-place winners of Knox gelatin competition in 1905. We have brought you presidential favs.

And now we bring you another taste of history from . . . well, A Taste of History in Greenfield Village in Dearborn, Michigan. Serve this bread with smoked turkey, cheddar cheese, red onion, and brown mustard.

Greenfield Village Hobo Bread

2 C. raisins
1 1/2 C. boiling water
4 t. baking soda
4 t. butter, softened
1/2 C. granulated sugar
1/2 C. brown sugar
2 eggs
1 t. salt
1 t. vanilla
1 3/4 C. walnuts
4 C. flour

Pour boiling water over raisins; let cool. Stir in soda and other ingredients. Fill 6 or 7 greased and floured large soup cans to half full.

Bake at 350°F. for 45 minutes to an hour. Cool and remove from cans.

Makes 6 or 7 large loaves or 24 servings.

[tags]Greenfield Village, Railroaders’ Lunch, Hobo Bread[/tags]

“Can she bake a cherry pie, Billy Boy?”

June 15th, 2008

That ol’ Mattie Kostrya. She’s so uppity. Pies and cobblers aren’t supposed to be fussy. That’s why men like them. Save the cream of tartar for homemade playdoh, Martie, not for desserts. And keep the baked fruit and dough recognizable to our men on this their special day.

Here’s Mona Faye’s favorite and very old-fashioned berry cobbler recipe written in her own hand. It’s originally from her other daughter-in-law and from Arkansas — Missouri’s less sophisticated neighbor. That Arkansas is the exact opposite to everything uppity makes it the perfect place to discover the best cobbler recipe.

Now, if you mention berries to Mona Faye, she will tell you that her favorite are blackberries or “maybe dewberries, but I don’t get many of those. . . . if you’re going to go pick them, you have to wear long sleeves because there are stickers and long blue jeans because there are chiggers and a big straw hat because you don’t want a sunburn. You just don’t!!”

Yes, good, old-fashioned cooking has to hurt just a little bit. This daughter-in-law has made two cobblers to honor the men in her life today — blueberry and cherry. And she risked life and limb by wearing only short sleeves and capris as she picked those berries . . . right out of the freezer case.

Arkansas Blackberry Cobbler

[tags]Berry Cobbler, Vintage Recipes, Martha Stewart[/tags]

Rift in the Space-Time Continuum

June 1st, 2008


Only the Joys of Jello would dare to pair the cheapest and flimsiest of desserts with the finest of crystal. And not only that! Jello’s Joys flaunt the sanctity of all that is good and decent by asking a mere housewife to slant her best stemware in the darkest recesses of her kitchen.

We at Mona Faye’s Kitchen have tried to impress with Jello before. We ask you, Gentle Reader, do remember that no matter what you do to the Jello — no matter how joyful and no matter even how “perfect” — it still tastes just. like. Jello. Is it worth the risk for nothing more than red-flavored cow bones?

Hair Today, Still Hair Tomorrow

May 15th, 2008

Now. Now I understand why my husband cringes at anything coconut, claiming that it feels like he’s eating hair. It’s Mrs. Laflin’s fault.


[tags]Clown Cake, Coconut Hair, G. T. Laflin[/tags]