Fried Bologna Sandwich

Fried Bologna Sandwich

After reading a Rick Bragg short story in Southern Living magazine in which he describes in salivating detail the assembly and devouring of fresh garden tomato sandwiches, my memory returned to lazy summer days eating fried bologna sandwiches with my brothers.  My mother worked as a county social worker so when we were home alone on summer vacation, she left lunches up to us to prepare.

Sandwiches were our specialty including:  tuna melts, peanut butter and jelly, and margarine, brown sugar and cinnamon — all slathered on soft Wonder white classic bread.  Later, mom learned about the importance of fiber and switched us to whole wheat.

One of my favorite combos in those days was a fried bologna sandwich with mustard and catsup (my mom always spelled it catsup, not ketchup). We didn’t toast the bread, it was better soft so it could absorb the grease.  We took pre-sliced bologna, usually Oscar Meyer (those ads even got to our frugal Mom), melted margarine (no real butter existed in our home in those days) in a frying pan, placed the bologna slices carefully in the grease to fry gently on both sides.  We made tiny slits on the edges of the bologna with a knife so it would lay flat in the pan and not curl.  I liked my bologna very crispy (SPAM too but that is for another blog).  We put one or two slices of fried bologna between slices of bread, spread liberally with mustard and catsup, and enjoy.  I liked mine with a side of baked beans or fruit cocktail (always wanted the single cherry in the can) if we had any in the pantry and always a dill pickle spear.  It is not a prize sandwich without a pickle on the plate.

Delicious, yes?

I don’t eat bologna sandwiches anymore in fact I don’t remember the last time I ate one.  Most likely, I last consumed one in my youth or maybe in desperation during my college days when I lived off bad dorm food and free happy hour tacos.

I doubt if I made a fried bologna sandwich today it would taste as good as I remember.  Like in Rick’s experience, when he described his tomato sandwiches to kids today, they say “yuck”.  They would rather slather avocado on multi-grain toast, top it with flaxseed and microgreens and call it a meal or go by Starbucks and order a latte with a tomato basil panini.  We couldn’t even purchase avocados in Kansas in those days, they were not part of the produce section, neither was kale, flax seeds or microgreens. And we made our own coffee, on the stove, in a percolator.  What the hell is a panini?

Back in the day, bologna was so cheap, lasted forever in the fridge, and filled the bottomless pit of my brothers’ tummies with salty, fatty, cured meat parts. The catsup added sweetness and mustard that spicy, tart compliment. It was all we had at the time. Which explains why we learned to love bologna sandwiches

If you want to read more by Rick Bragg, check out some of his stories and books at Rick Bragg Southern Stories



My brood and I are traveling to Amsterdam for the holidays.  Amsterdam is the same size as Fort Worth, Texas, about 800,000 citizens, and it lies on the same latitude as Saskatchewan province in Canada.  Brrr…   Amsterdam is famous for canals and cannabis cafes and is considered a most liberal place — free, open and permissive.  Just what we need after the last few months living in the land of “make America great again.”  The city is also architecturally unique and culturally important to us in the United States.  New York City was originally called New Amsterdam.

It is also the land of herring.  The Dutch cornered the herring market and this led to an unusual degree of cooperation around water management.  Building up dikes and dredging canals were massive communal activities.  Herring merchants demanded the local government to get involved.  Hence, the canal systems in Amsterdam are often compared to Venice. About 1500, as Michelangelo was working on his David statue, Amsterdam was a lively shipping port and one of the most Catholic cities in Europe.

Amsterdam’s tolerance attracts people with alternative lifestyles, even way back then in the 1500’s.  After many wars and much strife including some gruesome beheadings, Calvinist worship was permitted and then in turn the Catholic priests, monks and nuns were brutalized.  Between 1500 and 1700,  those were dark times in the city’s history with many conflicts, wars and changes in governance.

Rembrandt got his start by painting scenes from the Bible that were highly sought and fairly affordable to homeowners in Amsterdam at the time, particularly women.  Rembrandt even painted himself into the compositions. At the Rijksmuseum,  we can see not only the largest but also the most representative collection of works spanning his entire career.  I look forward to spotting him in these paintings when we visit.  We can also tour his historic home and workshop in the heart of Amsterdam. Dutch born painter, Vincent Van Gogh, has many of his masterpieces, including my personal favorites of sunflowers and Wheatfields with Crows, showcased at the Van Gogh Museum.  No doubt, I am attracted to these particular pieces due to my Kansas upbringing.

Shipping played a huge role in the economy of Amsterdam and made the city rich in the 1800’s. Shipping companies, like the Dutch East and West India Companies, sought resources by sea from places like Indonesia, West Africa as well colonies around the world including a party that landed in an area that would become New York. Multatuli wrote Max Havelaar in 1860 in protest against colonial policies told through the eyes of a coffee merchant. It was an instant success at the time and quite influential in Dutch literature and politics of the day.  I have it downloaded to my Kindle to read during our travels.

These explorations resulted in a large population in Holland who identify themselves as Indisch, Indo-European or for short, Indo.  After the Indonesian revolution, hundreds of thousands of these people, who held Dutch passports, were given the choice:  renounce Dutch citizenship and become Indonesian or leave the country.  Many left Indonesia and settled in the Netherlands.  Indisch now means yummy food while eating in Amsterdam including rijsttafel, the Indo version of an Indonesian multicourse feast.  I am seeking out such a feast as I don’t care for pickled herring.

The Nazi occupation essentially channeled Amsterdam people into distinct categories.  There were the hunted Jews, Gypsies and other undesirables.  There were collaborators, who out of either conviction or self-preservation aided the occupiers.  There was a small section of society, numbering probably in the tens of thousands who formed active resistance. Most people just tried to protect themselves , their families and their property.  Approximately 80,000 Jews were in Amsterdam at the start of the war, an estimated 58,000 were dead by the time it was over, most of them in concentration camps.

The story of Anne Frank and her family weaves in and out of this narrative and provides insight about a surreal world and time that must never be forgotten.  Especially as we listen to influential leaders censoring legitimate news outlets as “fake news” sources. We will visit Dam Square where the Canadian forces arrived after the German surrender as well as a visit to the Anne Frank House where she went into hiding and wrote her diary.

Currently, the social welfare system in Amsterdam reflects a real commitment to individual rights with a nod to the understanding that what is good for the whole must be part of the national priority. Amsterdam has found a way to blend economics with social liberalism.  And it helps that it is small and according to writer, Russel Shorto, a bit of a “pokey place”.  I look forward to a week of poking around and trying my best to be a bit more pokey myself with my dear family in the Venice of the North.

If you want to learn a lot more about the history of Amsterdam, please read Amsterdam:  A History of the World’s Most Liberal City by Russel Shorto.

Why I Played

Why I Played

I fell in love with basketball when I was a very little girl of six or seven, maybe even younger.  I still love it and plan to play a game of HORSE with RM this week-end if the weather cooperates.  If you don’t know what HORSE is, I am sorry because you have missed out.   I have probably played a thousand rounds of HORSE in my lifetime.  Such fond memories of time spent with my dad out on the concrete basketball court shooting hoops. He always had a court poured immediately,  at each house we lived in, before he thought to remodel the bathrooms or applying a fresh coat of paint.

dad's team Newton
Dad – third tallest.
Basketball was a big deal for my dad and for our small Kansas town. The grownups started us early learning to dribble, pass and do layups from either side (left or right).  I played with my brother and their friends which improved my game considerably.  I practiced all the time on our court and started playing on teams as soon as that was an option.  Coach Groves focused on the fundamentals and we practiced those skills over and over again until we mastered them.   We didn’t have select teams back then but Dad would get the keys for the Jr. High gym so we could get in and shoot around during the summer and on school breaks.  He challenged me to make 25 free throws without missing and I eventually developed such an accurate shot that I was asked by coach to shoot most technical foul shots for my hometown team. Older girls from the high school team mentored us early on and we scrimmaged against them when we were in middle school.

My dad paid for me to go to basketball camps during the summer where I developed my skills even further and also made new friends and learned from other girls. These camps were held on university campuses.  It was a blast but I don’t know if I have ever been as tired as I was after a week of basketball practice all day long for a week. And the blisters on my feet proved it.


But what I now appreciate from the years I spent playing point guard is what it taught me for life.    I played and learned to:

  • be physically active and fit
  • develop life skills like leadership and resiliency
  • have fun and provide for emotional well-being
  • be with my friends (boys and girls)
  • be on a team

Playing basketball helps young girls learn basic coordination and team-building skills with an added bonus of making new friends along the way. My father and I have passed the love of the game onto my family as we are in the middle of March Madness with our beloved University of Kansas Jayhawks on the road to the Elite 8.

So if you have a young girl in your life, pump up a basketball, find a basketball court, and play a game of HORSE with her.  It may change her life, like it did mine. Thanks, Dad.

Combining love of basketball with love of travel

H-O-R-S-E is a game played by two people on a basketball court. The idea of the game involves matching baskets. The player who makes shots that the opponent does not duplicate, wins the game. Example: The second person shooting must duplicate the first person’s shot, if it is made. If the second shooter misses, he/she receives the letter “H”. If the first person’s shot is missed, the second shooter may attempt any shot. If his/her shot is made, the opponent is obligated to duplicate it. Each time a shooter misses a shot that he/she attempted to duplicate, a letter is “awarded”. The game continues until one person accumulates 5 letters or H-O-R-S-E. The Rules 1. The person who will shoot first will be determined by coin flip or basket shot. 2. Shots can be attempted from anywhere on the court. No dunking or stuffs. 3. Shots may be “slop” shots or “called” shots. “Called” shots must be made as the call indicates or counts as a miss. “Called” shots must be called before the shot. “Called” shots are as follows: a. Bank – off backboard and into basket, may touch rim. b. Bank Swish – off backboard and into basket without touching rim. c. Straight In – must go into basket without touching backboard or rim. d. Swish – directly into basket without touching backboard or rim. e. Opposite Hand – if shooter is right handed the shot is attempted with left hand and vice versa. f. Jump Shot – both feet off court when ball is released. g. Set Shot – both feet in contact with court when ball is released. h. Hook Shot – ball is released in arch over the body. 4. Trick shots involving spins and ball movement prior to release are not allowed. 5. No shot may be attempted twice in a row from the same spot to give the opponent 2 consecutive letters. 6. All games will be self-officiated on the honor system. 7. Match – best 2 out of 3 games.

Casserole Queen

Casserole Queen

Not everything retro needs to return and the highly processed casserole or hot dish is one that needs to remain in the past.  My mom was the casserole queen of Main Street (we really did live on Main Street) in Anytown, USA in the 1960’s and 1970’s. Give mom a pantry stocked with Campbell’s Soup, a freezer full of Birds Eye vegetables and a protein and she had a hearty meal on the table in 30 minutes or less.  Oh, yeah, don’t forget the carb (rice, noodles, or biscuit).

Queen of the Casserole

Casserole was her nightly “go-to” for this busy working mom due to its versatility, as well as the time-saving aspect of literally throwing everything in the ingredient pool at once. But most importantly how economical these oven-baked creations were for her raising a family of four kids, three of the growing boy, eating machine variety.  Casseroles were everywhere back then.  In school lunches, at potluck dinners and always at church suppers. Taste was never the point, it was how quickly and cheaply, it could get to the table.  These dishes were so full of salt and other highly addictive, unnatural, preservatives that we soon grew to love, crave, the comforting taste of the goo.

Recipes from Attendees at my Wedding Shower

I still love the stuff. Green bean casserole anyone?  But I no longer use canned soup (RM still tries to slip celery and mushroom soup into the pantry), use more fresh vegetables and limit the fat, sugar and salt content in our dishes. I still make some of the old dishes especially the ones from my hand-written or typed recipe collection but I have found ways to lighten them up and get rid of all the preservatives.

The first dish I learned to make in my youth was a goulash casserole.  Mom’s recipe went like this:

Brown two pounds of ground beef.  Add one can of tomato paste, one can of mushroom soup, one can of corn, 1 /2 lb. of Velveeta, liberal dash of salt, pepper, paprika (it’s why we called it goulash) and cooked egg noodles.  Place in your Corningware French White casserole dish (still have one) and bake at 350 degrees until hot and bubbly.  What’s not love?  It’s a heart stopper!

Other favorites from her recipe box included tuna casserole with canned peas, tuna, celery soup and generous amounts of Miracle Whip with those same egg noodles and bake it until heated through. Or my personal favorite — hotdog casserole made with cut up hot dogs, chopped bacon, canned baked beans, dollops of catsup, mustard and Worcestershire (say that three times fast) sauce, and topped with slices of American cheese. Bake until processed cheese is melted and browned. Takes less than 30 minutes. Good gracious those hot dishes were good. Good eating!  Easy fixing! As the ad below reinforced. And so bad.

To my mother’s credit, she learned that cooking like this was harmful to our health and she changed our diets considerably in the late 70’s with weekly, scratch made bread, Czech-style noodles and yogurt, seeking out local, farm raised eggs and chickens, and lots of dark greens from her garden including tons of fresh herbs.  So like her, let’s leave these greasy gratins and other overly processed colon clogging combinations behind us, where they must stay, for the sake of our hearts, and only in our memories.

Memorial Day Memories

Memorial Day Memories

Memorial Day week-end is officially the start of summer for most of us, especially for kids.  I have so many fond memories of this relaxing three-day week-end including some that I am sure I share with you. Here goes!

  • Boating and water skiing on a nearby lake.  Our favorite was Lake Perry outside of Topeka, Kansas.  One time I camped there with a childhood friend and nearly drowned in our tent from a torrential thunderstorm and a nearby tornado.  We barely escaped to sleep the night away on higher ground.
  • Swimming at the Holton public swimming pool, trying to learn to do a one-and-half, and listening to the radio always set to V100.
  • Working as a grocery clerk and thinking everyone else was outdoors having so much fun without ME!
  • Visiting graves of relatives and leaving bouquets of peonies.
  • Churning homemade ice cream and brain freezes.
  • Visiting my grandmother in the assisted living apartment in Newton – taking her out to lunch at the local truck stop.
  • Spending the entire day at the Lockheed pool, catching my girls off the side, over and over again.  Remember the concrete turtle in the wading pool?  Remember my sore arms the next day?
  • Playing my flute in the city’s  memorial park to honor our veterans.
  • Flying the flag and decorating the house in red, white and blue.
  • Hoping I will one day attend the Memorial Day Concert in D.C.  But we often watch it on the telly.
  • Working in the garden.
  • Making Texas sheet cake.
  • Spending quality time with family.

This year, RM’s older brother and his wife are visiting us and we plan to vacation in Fort Worth enjoying the Botanic Gardens, our great museums and restaurants, and walking along the Trinity River.  What are your plans?  Be safe, use bug spray, and wear sunscreen.  Happy beginning of summer 2016.  What adventures will it bring?

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The days leading up to December 25th are some of my favorite times of the year.  I love the anticipation and my child like excitement always catches me by surprise in the days leading  up to the eve and Christmas morning activities. Here are some special memories…

A loud ho, ho, ho and jingling sound on the porch on Christmas eve 1969, then a loud bang against the door.  My brothers and I open the door to a bag full of board games like cribbage and 3-D checkers. Hauck kids played together until midnight.  Funny how dad was MIA during the Santa surprise visit.

Waking up first in the house and sneaking out of my bed to see what was in my stocking. Always a 4 piece Whitman sampler and a new toothbrush.  Point counter point.

Vespers at the University of Kansas singing hymns with friends and holding hands with RM.

Making egg rolls and peanut butter balls

All outdoor holiday lights and driving around our neighborhood and checking out all the decorations.  Singing off key in the car with the kids and guessing who will get car sick first.

Our first christmas tree purchased the last few days before the big day when RM and I lived at Jayhawk  apartments.  We decorated it with popcorn strings and hand made decorations before DIY was so chic.

Parties and dressing up and seeing friends–lots of glitter and pretty sweaters, please!

Skiing with my three girls on a snowy morning in the Rocky Mountains — perfect weather and perfect day with Mother Nature.

The office door decorating contest at work and the competitive, creative team spirit of my colleagues.

Memorizing a new dinner prayer to surprise my grandparents.

Caroling with my MYF teenage friends–lots of raging hormones and fun flirting.

Seeing Santa for the first time in the arms of my dad at a packed community celebration and getting a brown bag filled with hard ribbon candy and I didn’t have to share with my brothers.

I wonder what memories we will make this year? Can’t wait!



My maternal grandmother, Katherine Calahan Murrison, was born just after the turn of the century in 1902 and lived her life in and around Topeka, Kansas, until the late 1950’s when she and her retired and ailing husband, Earl, picked up their belongings and moved to Washington State. C1 is named after this woman.  Legend has it that Calahan is the name of the nurse wife that help to birth my grandmother.  The name Katherine is found frequently in our family lineage and is the surname of both my mother and one of her niece Katie.  It is binding to have this common connection in a name like Katherine and Calahan and Katie and Callie.

My grandmother was a big woman with those upper arms that feel like warm bread dough just perfect for putting in the oven.  She always brought us store-bought cookies which my mother would never buy for us Hauck kids.  Grandma was born into a large family of seven girls and one under achieving boy, Andrew (he aspired to town drunk).  The girls were named  Flora Ellen, Gertrude Viola, Katherine Calahan, Effie Estella, Leo Francis, Mary Regina and Esther Georgia.  These were my crazy and wonderful aunties.  Flora died before I was old enough to  know her.  Gertrude was the wise auntie that lived out in sunny California with her partner in a beautiful Cally style home with a yard full of exotic flowers, lemon trees and  hedges of jade.  We would visit her during school breaks and go to Disney and take in at least one Hollywood  television show like Name that Tune or Hollywood Squares.  I wear her platinum and sapphire ring on my right finger.  She also passed on to me some of her delicate dishes which I cherish to this day.  Aunt Gertrude (never Gertie) lived with her sister (my grandmother) before she moved to California for work and love so my mother and her were quite close.  Aunt Gertrude always wore her hair up in a tight bun.  Mom told me when she was in her teens she used to help Gertrude with her hair by washing the long braids and combing them out.  She said it took several hours of her concentration to do it right.  Mom always wondered what happened to the ivory brush and comb set.

Aunt Effie and her husband and children, lived on a tiny farm outside of Topeka and worked the soil day and night.  Aunt Effie had been bitten on her face by a mad dog as a small child and that scar always fascinated and scared me at the same time.  She was a tiny women and quiet but loved her husband and kids and was a good woman.

Aunt Leo and Aunt Mary on the other hand were free spirits — they both divorced husbands when that was considered unattractive at best.  After their divorces, they lived together in a ranch style house out on the outskirts of southeast Topeka.  We visited them often in that home particularly at Easter and Memorial Day.  When Earl died, this home is where we all gathered to pile into the limos for the ride to the funeral home to the graveside service and then back for the comforting site of a table full of corn casseroles and scratch rolls.  The family meals at Mary and Leo’s always included baked ham and homemade pie.  Leo and Mary loved animals — in particular cats and parrots.  They had a colorful and noisy parrot that lived in a cage in their well-appointed dining room and made crazy talk until one of the aunties covered his cage for the night.  He especially liked to squawk out “Leo” repeatedly.  When I stayed the night sleeping on their nubby green 1960’s mid-century modern couch, I would wake to the loud bark of the parrot greeting me “Good, Morning,”  “Leo, Leo, Leo!” The aunties also had a pet cemetery in their back yard before this idea was as keenly posh as it is now.  My mom and I thought it was kind of creepy and giggled together whenever we were requested to visit a recent cat demise and the new quirky headstone.  Where did they get these personalized pet headstones back in the 1970’s?  They daily fed the birds that lived in their backyard trees high out of reach of the ever-expanding, co-existing cat population.

But every Saturday night when there was a scheduled match, my aunties headed to the Topeka Capitol City Convention Center to watch professional wrestling.  They always dressed up like they were prepared to sing in the choir at their church with little pill hats, hose and heels.  Leo and Mary loved to shop for new dresses and everything always matched to perfection.  Girdles were MANDATORY.  My dad thought their infatuation with professional wrestling was hysterical and was always trying to get them irritated by questioning the authenticity of the stage performances.  Between matches at the center, they would keep up with the sport on television.  When a match was televised, they would demand that all of their house guests watch along with them.  My dad would snicker when one of the wrestlers would throw his body on top of an opponent’s face.  HH would ask not-so-innocently “if this violence is real how did that act not possibly kill the opponent”?  Aunt Leo and Mary would get really defensive and basically just chew dad out for even questioning the professionalism of these aficionados.  Dad always said that the aunties “got off” on the wrestling just a bit too much.  Looking back, why ruin the fantasy they were living out? — it didn’t hurt anybody.  In their older years, when unable to drive to the matches, they hired my oldest brother, Mike, to chauffeur them to the center in their land yacht of an ancient Cadillac.  Mike probably has insights about these fight-nights that would curl your hair.

Aunt Esther was the baby of the family and lived a quiet life with her devoted mate, Art Tolbert, in a small town outside of Topeka.  She was busy raising her kids and grandkids and always gardening.  She and her husband always showed up for family gatherings when my grandmother came back for a visit from her new home in Washington.  Below is a picture of the four last surviving aunties taken at my grandmother’s 80th birthday in 1982. From left to right in back:  Esther, Leo and Mary.  Front and center:  Katherine.