My recent quest into Nan-Nan’s (Grandmother Louise Osborne’s) recipe tin has resulted in a plethora of cravings and treasures. Along with my grandmother’s various food tips and tricks, she had an entourage of vintage Maysville postcards. These photos captured our beautiful river city town in a variety of angles and moments of treasured time.

Although she had several different careers throughout her life, it was while I was growing up in the 1990’s in downtown Maysville that I experienced my grandmother’s zest and love for Maysville as a tour guide. At the time, the Maysville tourism industry was booming. River boats docked daily and large busloads of folks pulled into the valley and loaded up on our city’s treasured trolley. Nan-Nan was a proud guide, and took many guests throughout the countryside to explore covered bridges, tobacco barns, historic battlefields, and Kentucky sunsets, to name a few. My grandmother loved history and loved Maysville. The detailed walks throughout our town always taught me something new, whether it was a visual detail about our area or just interesting bursts of random information. But most of all, my grandmother’s love of tourism in Maysville taught me to take pride in the city I call home. Adulthood has shown me what a rare quality this is. Maysville may be small, but we know that playing it small will never be our style, and it certainly won’t help anyone.

For whatever reason, one of those Maysville postcards had her treasured fried chicken recipe on the back of it. It looked like she had intended on mailing it out, but for whatever reason it never made it to the post office. The Southern staple has its own unique crunch and flavor, but also strikes the right note with most everyone. Nearly every culture in the world has a similar bird dish, dredging a bird through seasoned flour and frying to crunchy perfection. It is hard for anyone to resist.



Company for Sunday lunch or a week day dinner would easily mean Nan-Nan would have her cast-iron skillet nice and hot, filled with bone in meat getting a shallow fry, and a paper grocery bag sitting on the counter covered in chicken. She would make sure each piece had air and space around it. Crowding only meant the chicken wouldn’t reach full crispy potential, and that was her favorite part.

When it was time to eat, Nan-Nan loved to watch. She’d usually eat a little plate, but mostly gaze at us with a big smile of satisfaction on her face.

“Well, Barbara, why don’t you just put your foot on it and growl,” was always declared by Nan-Nan at the table. But she wouldn’t have had it any other way.

To be honest with you, I never even attempted to make fried chicken until I was well into my 30’s. Why mess with perfection, and Nan-Nan’s was perfect. But, bound and determined to make sure that taste lived on, Nan-Nan taught me how to make her simple and delicious fried chicken. As far as I’m concerned, my fried chicken will never taste as good as hers did, but like many things in life, our association of memories is captured in food. Those moments, those bites and chews, bring a precious time capsule of bliss on our plate that nothing else can recreate.

Fried chicken just brings something out in folks. My favorite is seeing the most proper of ladies getting greasy, bone sucking, skin crunching delight with this hands-on food. We’ve all seen friends attempt to eat fried chicken with a fork, but that’s about all it shapes up to being, an attempt. I had a girlfriend tell me the other day she won’t eat fried chicken in front of her mother-in-law, and after seeing her eat fried chicken that might not be a half-bad idea.

Nan-Nan didn’t make a lot of fried foods, but she never held back on making plenty of fried chicken. She always said, if you’re making it, you may as well make sure you have enough for leftovers. Who doesn’t love cold fried chicken? Sometimes that’s even better. Don’t be fooled by the simplicity of today’s recipe. It’s gonna make your taste-buds dance and possibly even cause your eyes to roll back in your head.

Buttermilk (Quantity will vary depending on bowl you are soaking meat in. If you don’t have buttermilk, add one tablespoon of vinegar per cup of milk.)

(Canola oil, duck fat, lard, are also delicious to use. Meat cooked in meat oil is never a bad thing. Just remember, your skillet frying and need a shallow fry.)

Cut chickens evenly into serving pieces. Make sure you leave the skin of each piece attached and as intact as possible. Rinse under cold running water. Place chicken in a bowl and pour buttermilk over meat, submerging in the buttermilk. Let soak for at least 30 minutes.

In a brown bag or plastic bag, combine flour, salt, and pepper. Shake til blended. Remove chicken from buttermilk and put in bag with flour mix. Shake so that each piece is coated evenly. Tap excess off of each piece. Place chicken on a wire rack with a paper bag underneath. Allow chicken to sit for 15 minutes. This will help the crunch really stick and coat the meat. Make sure the pieces are not touching.

Heat shortening/oil, in a large cast-iron skillet. Skillet should be about 1 ½ inches deep. When oil reaches 365 degree, it is ready to begin frying. Remember, dark meat cooks longer than white meat and meat on bone cooks longer than non bone. Place meat in skillet and make sure the pieces are not over crowded or touching.

Fry until golden brown and crisp, around 15 minutes on each side. Rotate sides of meat with tongs, carefully making sure not to splash oil. Chicken only requires being turned once. Drain on another brown paper bag, using a wire rack if you have one. Repeat until all chicken is cooked.

Sprinkle with salt and pepper after placing hot chicken on bag. This will help the additional flavor stick to the chicken and really absorb into the bites.

Whatever you do, don’t cover chicken; this will just make the crunchy coat soggy. And nobody likes soggy chicken. Serve warm or at room temperature. If taking on a picnic, transport in a paper bag. Plastic will make it mushy. Fried chicken is best when it’s getting air.

Variations: Add one more of the following to the flour – ¼ teaspoon of paprika, chili powder, curry powder, 1 tablespoon rosemary, 1 tablespoon tarragon. Try eating with a pancake or waffle and honey butter.

The photo and recipe used in today’s article are from the kitchen of Chef Babz ([email protected]), with a little help from her grandmother, Louise Osborne.

NATIVITIES FROM NEAR AND FAR — Through Jan. 4, sponsored by Trinity Lutheran Church, featuring over 300 Nativities scenes at the Kentucky Gateway Museum Center, Calvert Gallery, 215 Sutton Street, Maysville. Open Tuesday thru Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

CHRISTMAS TRAIN DISPLAY — Now on display in the windows of the Omni Office Bldg., Seceond Street, downtown Maysville. Display provided by the Blakefield, Hendrickson and Mann families, open until after New Years.

ORANGEBURG COMMUNITY CHOIR — Presents “Messiah, Heaven’s Glory, Dec. 8, 3 p.m. at the Mount Olivet Christian Church. Both free. Light refreshments served immediately after performances.

MASON COUNTY HOLIDAY BENEFIT GALA — Music of the Season, Thursday, Dec. 5 and Saturday, Dec. 7, featuring the Mason County Concert Choir and Orchestra under the direction of Charlie Hunter, 7:30 p.m., at the Downtown High School Auditorium, E. Second Street, Maysville. Box Office opens one hour prior to the benefit concert.

MAYSVILLE TWILIGHT CHRISTMAS PARADE — Dec. 6, the parade will begin at 7 o’clock with lineup under the train trestle at 6:30.

ANNUAL CRAFT BAZAAR — Maysville Nursing and Rehabilitation Facility, Saturday, Dec. 7, 7 a.m. – 3 p.m. Chili and sandwich lunch, silent basket raffle, crafts, Christmas crafts, wreaths, tobacco stick trees, primitive decorations! All proceeds benefit Resident Council Fund.

BROOKSVILLE CHRISTMAS PARADE — Dec.7, lineup 4:30-5:30 p.m., parade begins at 5:30 p.m., 3:30-4 p.m., grand marshal reception at Haley House Museum.

VANCEBURG CHRISTMAS PARADE — Dec. 7, Lineup 5 p.m., at Central Elementary, parade at 6, Santa at George Morgan Thomas Home, 7 p.m.

GEORGETOWN CHRISTMAS HOME TOUR — Sponsored by the U.S. Grant Homestead Association, Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019, noon to 5 p.m. Tickets $10, available at Donohoo’s Pharmacy, by phone at 937-378-3087, or at Grant Boyhood Home on day of tour.

MAYSVILLE MASON COUNTY AREA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE — Open House, 210 East Third Street, Friday, Dec. 13, 8 a.m., refreshments will be served.

SEASONED GREETINGS — Dec. 13 and 14, 7 p.m., Dec. 15, 2 p.m., a Christmas cabaret featuring Maysville Players, Limestone Chorale, Makenzie Thomas, Washington Opera House.

LOVE AND LIVE LOCAL WEEKEND — Dec. 13 and 14. 10 a.m.-7 p.m., Dec. 15, noon-4 p.m., downtown Maysville.

RIPLEY HISTORIC HOME TOUR — Dec. 15, 1-5 p.m., tickets $15, available at Ripley Museum beginning at 12:30 p.m. Tour features eight homes.

KENTUCKY GATEWAY MUSEUM CENTER presents THE OLD POGUE EXPERIENCE — Showcasing the history of Maysville’s Bourbon Industry and the Old Pogue Distillery. Exhibits in the Limestone Building,corner of Second and Sutton Streets in Downtown Maysville, Tuesday to Saturday, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. For tickets visit KYGMC at 215 Sutton Street, Downtown Maysville. For additional information phone 606-564-5865.

Despite the stress of the season, one factor remains decadently insistent, the food. My favorite holiday food items have always been those that are good any time of day. I’m talking in the middle of the night snacking, waking up in the morning craving, can’t get enough of treats. Those delightful tems we find ourselves sneaking so folks around you don’t see how bad your being with ooey-gooey carbohydrate delight. Finding the perfect balance of sugary, doughy, crunchy, and chewy in one bite isn’t the easiest. Especially, when it’s in a dish meant for sharing. upside-down cake is the dish that won’t disappoint any of these taste bud needs or experiences.

My first upside-down cake was like many of yours. It was pineapple with little bits of maraschino cherries adorning the caramel sauce. My grandmother would make them for us after school every once and awhile. Usually it took someone winning an award, or celebrating an occasion, but sometimes they were just because. The caramel would crunch in a way that only an upside-down cake baked in a cast iron skillet could accomplish .

Although this delicious cake is a tradition of our grandmothers, and even great-grandmothers, pineapple upside-down cakes were not popular until pineapples began to be available in cans in 1903. The cake truly rose in popularity around 1925 when what was the Hawaiian Pineapple Company, now Dole, asked for creative ways to cook the popular canned treat. They were shocked to receive over 2,500 different upside-down cakes. The next year the company had a national campaign in which they featured the top recipe. This ad campaign made a delicious recipe even more popular.

However, this single layer basic yellow butter cake has been popular since cooking in skillets began in the Middle Ages. Cultures all over the world have taken caramelized fruit and made different variations of this anytime treat, their own. The appeal is universal. Children and adults can’t help but smile with taking a bite of this fabulous dish.

This week’s dish will be something I guarantee you won’t be able to make just once. The first time I made it, I thought of so many things I wanted to add or change, I made another the next day. Make this cake your own. Put your own spin on this upside-down delight. Colorful pomegranate seeds, citrus fruit, fresh herbs, nuts, and seeds are some of my favorite flavors to interchange. But the one thing I never change is the brown sugar. The crunch it cooks onto the sweet yellow cake is unlike anything. It tastes like childhood memories and yet consumes your thoughts and memories with the deep craving for another bite, and another bite.

(This is the recipe for the top part of flipped cake, but not to be confused with the sauce. That recipe is listed below.)

Melt butter for topper in a ten inch cast-iron skillet. Once melted, press brown sugar against base of pan so that pan is lined with a thin coating of sugar. Add pears, cut side down and arranged as you will want it to flip (this is the time for any pattern or festive decor with the pears or fruit). Make sure you have the middle seeds and stem scooped out of the pears. But keep in mind when arranging pears in the pan that these are also wonderful pockets for holding sauce and bourbon when fully assembled. Bake until juices of the pear begin to release (about 7 minutes). Remove from oven. Sauce will be melted around pears.

While pears are baking, add all of the ingredients for the cake mixture together in a mixer on medium speed. Pour mixture over pears, leaving plenty of room for cake to rise. The trick is to have the pears still thin enough in size. It’s not too hard to cover them completely. If your worried the cake will overflow your pan, place another pan or tray underneath so that the bits don’t mess your oven. Bake for around 45 minutes, keep an eye on it so that it does not burn. Check to make sure the cake is completely done before removing. When finished (golden brown and a fork comes out clean), run a knife around the edges of the cake to loosen. Allow to cool for only a few minutes, and immediately flip onto desired surface. I recommend a plate, cutting board, or aluminum lined board. Depending on your delight, add about a shot of bourbon to the top of the cake. While cake is cooling, make the sauce in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Once sauce has begun to boil, take off heat immediately. Keep an eye on it or it will overflow. Cake is to be served with Bourbon sauce poured on top.

The recipe and photos used in today’s column are from the kitchen of Chef Babz (babzbites@gmail.com) with a little help from her grandmother, Louise Osborne.

Like many of my readers, scheduling the who what when and where of Thanksgiving feels like a growing challenge every year. As my immediate family and friends have begun new chapters with additional family and in-laws in locations across the state, the past few years have brought more and more scheduling conflicts. And yet somehow we make it work, or attempt to make it work, year after year after year. But why? Some dishes are prepared and frozen weeks ahead of time, others are rushed day of. One of my favorite hurdles is realizing the morning of, that a key ingredient was never purchased at the grocery. Some dishes aren’t even created for the first time until the day of. The time spent sitting down at the table together and breaking bread is priceless. The only consistent thing every year is that the dinner table changes in some way. Regardless of the pace we are experiencing in life we all need to remind ourselves and each other that no matter what we are experiencing, we have thanks to give. I really did start today’s article with every intention of doing a specialized piece showcasing a main ingredient and several optional recipes for the ingredients. But as I dove farther and farther down the rabbit hole that is Thanksgiving menu food, I couldn’t help but get more and more excited about the holiday and hungry for all of the dinner table options. Whether you are a planner or a procrastinator, there is something on the menu today for you. Check out a few of the vegan and vegetarian options so everyone can be included at the table. Good luck and enjoy!

Small- 4-10 pound turkey (4 months old). Medium- 10-19 pound turkey (5-7 months old). Allow 2 days of thawing for a 12 pound turkey.

-Purchase wild turkey if you can. The breast meat isn’t white, but cream colored. The taste is stronger and adds rich smooth flavor.

4 spicy chilis (My favorite are calabrian chilies that come in a jar.) Scrub and wash potatoes. Lightly glaze in olive oil and salt. Bake for about an hour and a half, maybe more, or until a fork will go directly through sweet potato easily. Rotate potatoes in oven and on pan about every 30 minutes. Remove from oven and slice into any style of pieces you prefer, cube, circular, halfs, whatever sounds good to you. In a cast iron skillet or large casserole pan place butter and potatoes. Spread potatoes so that they may get crispy when baking. Return to oven and bake for about 10 minutes or until you are satisfied with texture and cook. While potatoes are cooking, take honey and peppers (stems removed) and place in blender. Blend thoroughly. Honey or syrup will take on some of the peppers color.

After removing potatoes from the oven, dress with spicy honey/syrup, papitas, squeeze limes (you can leave the lime pieces in the potatoes.)

For added flavor, add some of your favorite cheese. This pairs wonderfully with parmesan, feta, and even ricotta. May be served in a large casserole dish, decorative plate, or plated for each guest. Whatever is best for your meal.

Cooked celery, garlic, and onions in chicken broth. Add sage, salt, pepper, and butter. Mix cornbread and biscuits. Add beaten eggs. Once cooked vegetables have cooked through, slowly add to crumbs. Mix thoroughly. It will be moist and easily stick together. With an ice cream scooper, scoop out balls and place on a greased pan in rows. The dressing will expand a little, so leave space between the balls. Bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes, or until balls are crispy on the outside and thoroughly baked on the inside.

Boil 2 cans/bottles of root-beer. Add 2 cups peeled and sliced carrots. Reduce heat and cook over medium for about 10 minutes. Add butter (or olive oil), salt, and pepper to taste. For a tangier sauce, remove carrots and continue to heat until liquid is reduced. Add carrots. Mix. Remove, and serve.

Mix all ingredients together except lettuce. Layer a regular baking pan with a thin layer of lettuce. Cover with mixed ingredients in a thin layer. Repeat above steps until either ingredients run out, or there is about a half inch left for icing. Icing

Mix 2 cups mayonnaise with 2 tablespoons sugar. Smooth over top of salad and sprinkle 2 cups grated cheddar cheese on top.

Combine sugar and flour, add to milk and continue to stir. Add chocolate. Cook over hot water, stirring until mixture thickens. Cover. Cook for five minutes. Combine yolks, salt, and water. Add to the cooked mix slowly, stirring constantly. Add butter. Cook one minute. Cool. Add flavoring. Pour into baked pie shell and cover with meringue.

Fold sugar and salt into stiffly beaten egg whites. Pile lightly on pie. Bake at 325 degrees for around 20 minutes.

The recipes used in this article are from the kitchen of Louise Osborne and by Chef Babz Goldman Nartowicz (babzbites@gmail.com).

NATIVITIES FROM NEAR AND FAR — Nov. 26-Jan. 4, sponsored by Trinity Lutheran Church, featuring over 300 Nativities scenes at the Kentucky Gateway Museum Center, Calvert Gallery, 215 Sutton Street, Maysville. Open Tuesday thru Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

CHRISTMAS TRAIN DISPLAY — Now on display in the windows of the Omni Office Bldg., Seceond Street, downtown Maysville. Display provided by the Blakefield, Hendrickson and Mann families, open until after New Years.

ORANGEBURG COMMUNITY CHOIR — Presents “Messiah, Heaven’s Glory,” Orangeburg Methodist Church, Dec. 1, 3 p.m. and Dec. 8, 3 p.m. at the Mount Olivet Christian Church. Both free. Light refreshments served immediately after performances.

KENTUCKY GATEWAY MUSEUM CHRISTMAS MEMBER RECEPTION — Tuesday Dec. 3, 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m., 215 Sutton Street, Maysville.

MASON COUNTY HOLIDAY BENEFIT GALA — Music of the Season, Thursday, Dec. 5 and Saturday, Dec. 7, featuring the Mason County Concert Choir and Orchestra under the direction of Charlie Hunter, 7:30 p.m., at the Downtown High School Auditorium, E. Second Street, Maysville. Box Office opens one hour prior to the benefit concert.

MAYSVILLE TWILIGHT CHRISTMAS PARADE — Dec. 6, the parade will begin at 7 o’clock with lineup under the train trestle at 6:30.

GEORGETOWN CHRISTMAS HOME TOUR — Sponsored by the U.S. Grant Homestead Association, Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019, noon to 5 p.m. Tickets $10, available at Donohoo’s Pharmacy, by phone at 937-378-3087, or at Grant Boyhood Home on day of tour.

MAYSVILLE MASON COUNTY AREA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE — Open House, 210 East Third Street, Friday, Dec. 13, 8 a.m., refreshments will be served.

SEASONED GREETINGS — Dec. 13 and 14, 7 p.m., Dec. 15, 2 p.m., a Christmas cabaret featuring Maysville Players, Limestone Chorale, Makenzie Thomas, Washington Opera House.

LOVE AND LIVE LOCAL WEEKEND — Dec. 13 and 14. 10 a.m.-7 p.m., Dec. 15, noon-4 p.m., downtown Maysville.

RIPLEY HISTORIC HOME TOUR — Dec. 15, 1-5 p.m., tickets $15, available at Ripley Museum beginning at 12:30 p.m. Tour features eight homes.

KENTUCKY GATEWAY MUSEUM CENTER presents THE OLD POGUE EXPERIENCE — Showcasing the history of Maysville’s Bourbon Industry and the Old Pogue Distillery. Exhibits in the Limestone Building,corner of Second and Sutton Streets in Downtown Maysville, Tuesday to Saturday, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. For tickets visit KYGMC at 215 Sutton Street, Downtown Maysville. For additional information phone 606-564-5865.

AUGUSTA ART GUILD — Needle felting workshop at Augusta Art Guild, 116 Main Street, Augusta. Choose either Friday, Nov. 15, 6-9 p.m. or Saturday, Nov. 16, 9 a.m.-noon, $15 per person payable at the door, contact Theresa Barnes at 513-310-5652 or email skiwoman@live.com.

ORANGEBURG COMMUNITY CHOIR — Presents “Messiah, Heaven’s Glory,” Orangeburg Methodist Church, Dec. 1, 3 p.m. and Dec. 8, 3 p.m. at the Mount Olivet Christian Church. Both free. Light refreshments served immediately after performances.

MAYSVILLE TWILIGHT CHRISTIMAS PARADE — Dec. 6, the parade will begin at 7 o’clock with lineup under the train trestle at 6:30.

MAYSVILLE MASON COUNTY AREA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE — Open House, 210 East Third Street, Friday, Dec. 13, 8 a.m., refreshments will be served.

RIPLEY HISTORIC HOME TOUR — Dec. 15, 1-5 p.m., tickets $15, available at Ripley Museum beginning at 12:30 p.m. Tour features eight homes.

KENTUCKY GATEWAY MUSEUM CENTER presents THE OLD POGUE EXPERIENCE — Showcasing the history of Maysville’s Bourbon Industry and the Old Pogue Distillery. Exhibits in the Limestone Building,corner of Second and Sutton Streets in Downtown Maysville, Tuesday to Saturday, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. For tickets visit KYGMC at 215 Sutton Street, Downtown Maysville. For additional information phone 606-564-5865. Dec

Engineering. Industrial maintenance. Robotics and automation technician. Machinist. Calibration specialist. Quality assurance. These are just a sampling of the many tremendous careers available in the field of manufacturing. Over the past several years there has been a concerted, coordinated effort to raise awareness as to the tremendous job offerings in the manufacturing sector. Kudos to regional workforce boards and groups like KAM (Kentucky Association of Manufacturers) for their work in spreading this message. We are a state of makers and manufacturing will continue to be a hugely important piece of our economy for decades to come.

Unintentionally, however, while promoting wonderful manufacturing careers, I think we may have forgotten about the ongoing need for healthcare professionals. In the early 2000’s, the cry for more young people to explore careers as educators, teachers and registered nurses hit a fever pitch. And the emphasis worked. Kentucky and the United States were able to make significant progress in closing the gap between openings and available candidates. With that problem addressed, the workforce community seemed to turn their collective attention to other high-demand sectors like manufacturing and logistics. This kind of thing happens in business and in our personal lives…it’s human nature. Thinking we have “fixed” a problem, we turn our attention and allocate our resources elsewhere, failing to realize that maintenance and regular attention is still required.

Through my recent work as a Talent Pipeline Champion, in conjunction with the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, we’ve engaged in the challenging process of workforce forecasting with about 10 regional healthcare facilities. We have guided Meadowview Regional Medical Center, St Claire HealthCare, Fleming County Hospital, Hospice of Hope, Kings Daughters Medical Center, Sterling HealthCare, and others through the process of utilizing internal data related to turnover, promotion, current openings, age of workforce / retirement eligibility, and other factors to determine the most in-demand, hard-to-fill positions for their organizations. We also look forward several years to see what the needs are going to be. By mapping out where current employees received training, we are able to draw conclusions about the quality of that training experience and determine whether or not there is enough available education capacity to train for the jobs that are (or will be) open.

Here is one of the things we have learned over the past year during our TPM collaborative exercises: the RN need is still significant…and that isn’t going to change anytime soon. Regionally, we have determined the need for registered nurses to be at least 500 positions by 2021. These positions aren’t so much projected as they are verified. The companies who employ RN’s are telling us that this is what they need. Now it’s up to me and my fellow workforce development professionals to tell this story and do our part to help meet this need.

There are lots of great reasons to consider registered nursing as a career. First, the training capacity in the area is adequate. KCTCS (Maysville, Bluegrass, Ashland) each have RN programs, so do regional four-year universities like UK, EKU, and NKU. There is also flexibility of achievement within these programs. Students can pursue an Associate’s Degree (about 2.5 years), Bachelor’s Degree (4 years), or Master’s Degree (6 years). One can stop and go to work at any point in the pathway and/or continue education while working. The wages are excellent, as well. According to several wage surveys and a study done by Nightingale College and Nurse.org, the average Kentucky RN earns about $30/hr. Those who achieve BSN status can expect to earn about $35/hr. Both those figures can certainly rise above $40/hr as experience and training is gained through the career path. The RN degree “travels’, as well. Registered nurses are not just in-demand in Kentucky, but all over the United States. Licensure to practice in other states can be obtained relatively quickly and affordably. A good RN can work almost anywhere…choose your preferred location.

An In-demand, high-wage, accessible, respected career that offers educational flexibility with credential-portability…sounds like a pretty amazing career option worth exploring!

It’s hard to believe we are a little bit shy of three weeks away from Thanksgiving. Truly one of my favorite holidays, this festive day is about more than just breaking bread, it’s about taking the time to sit together and give thanks.

Lately, I have gone at such an electric pace it’s been hard to find the time to even speak with my family on the phone, much less enjoy each other in person. I’ve found myself at 38 helping in a kitchen where I am by far the oldest. What began as me expecting to go into the kitchen with a bounty of knowledge has truly been eye opening and humbling. Not to belittle what I do bring to the table, but recognizing there’s a lot of different ways to go about something. The whole experience has left me questioning so many things from cutting to potatoes to what my purpose in this crazy food world is. It has reminded me how much I have left to learn and how badly I want the knowledge and knowhow. Many times the reminder has come from mistakes, and other moments it has been in asking my peers a thousand questions.

Why do we put ourselves in these positions? Or better yet, why don’t we put ourselves in humbling positions more often than not? Every day I open my computer to facebook or instagram and am faced with what seems like a thousand quotes on growing out of discomfort. And although many of the quotes are fluffy, ridiculous, or even misspelled and punctuated, they are right. Sometimes we have to put ourselves in a humbling position to grow into the person we are aspiring to be.

The decadence of the kitchen I have been working in has been sensational, and yet I have come home craving the most basic of food. Today I have included my favorite recipe for classic humble pumpkin pie. Pumpkin pie is funny. It is so simple, and yet you find it on the most lavish of tables throughout the November season. The smooth taste and flaky pastry leave us simply wanting more. And of course, because you all know I enjoy a little extravagance I have included a variety of classic whipped cream recipes to go with the pie. I encourage you to take the time to savor these recipes and these moments.

Combine first six ingredients in small bowl. Beat eggs in large bowl. Stir in pumpkin, then sugar mixture, then milk. Mix well. Pour into pie shell.

The secret to this pie is the baking. Bake for 30 minutes in lower shelf of oven, then move to middle shelf for an additional 30 minutes…or until filling has soft, but firm texture. Cool. serve with whipped cream.

Using a mixer, or a water bottle (clear so you may see inside), hand beater, or even hand mixer, whip at medium speed. If the bowl you are using is chilled, it will beat faster and more easily. Beat just until soft stiff peaks form. Don’t look away for long because it will quickly over whip. When that happens, the cream will curdle and turn to butter. If it’s really hot outside, chill the beater you are using.

For each cup of whipped cream, add one to two tablespoons of sugar, and one teaspoon vanilla extract. I also enjoy almond extract, bourbon, and dry sherry. A little goes a long way, so start with ¼ a teaspoon of those sweets. Follow the above instructions for whipped cream.

Beat cream as listed above until soft peaks form. Fold in drained and crushed fresh berries. If they aren’t overly watery, the process will be easier. Remember folding in is a gentle step, not aggressive and forced. Best choices for berries include strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries.

Mix two tablespoons sugar and two tablespoons cocoa in a bowl (or use instant cocoa mix, 2 tablespoons). Add one cup heavy whipping cream. Mixing at low speed, beat just until soft peaks begin to form.

Beat heavy whipping cream (or any of the versions listed in today’s article with the exception of berry), just until stiff peaks form; spoon into pastry bag with decorative tip. Force cream through tip onto cake or dessert.

Place 2 teaspoons instant coffee powder and two tablespoons sugar in a small bowl. Add one cup heavy whipping cream. Mix at medium speed, beat until soft peaks form.

The recipes and photos used in today’s article are from the kitchen of Chef Babz (Babzbites@gmail.com) with a little help from her mentor in many ways, Ila Calton, in addition to little help from The Good Housekeeping Cookbook, Zoe Coulson, 1973.

RUMBLE — The Indians Who Rocked the World, free screening, 6:15 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 7, at Mason County Public Library.

EMPTY BOWLS — Nov. 9, 11 a.m., Cox Building, downtown Maysville. Sponsored by ORVAG, benefits food bank.

VETERANS DAY PARADE — Downtown Maysville, Nov. 10, line-up at 1 p.m., parade begins at 2 p.m., sandwiches and drinks served after at Rotary Clubhouse.

YEARS OF FARMING — Presents Jeff Parker & Company, Sunday, Nov. 10, 2 p.m., at Double S Entertainment, 150 Foster Street, Flemingsburg. Back Up And Push opening band. Tickets $15 available in advance or at the door. Children 12 and under accompanied by an adult free.

AUGUSTA ART GUILD — Needle felting workshop at Augusta Art Guild, 116 Main Street, Augusta. Choose either Friday, Nov. 15, 6-9 p.m. or Saturday, Nov. 16, 9 a.m.-noon, $15 per person payable at the door, contact Theresa Barnes at 513-310-5652 or email skiwoman@live.com.

KENTUCKY GATEWAY MUSEUM CENTER presents THE OLD POGUE EXPERIENCE — Showcasing the history of Maysville’s Bourbon Industry and the Old Pogue Distillery. Exhibits in the Limestone Building,corner of Second and Sutton Streets in Downtown Maysville, Tuesday to Saturday, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. For tickets visit KYGMC at 215 Sutton Street, Downtown Maysville. For additional information phone 606-564-5865.

It will begin to look a lot like Christmas in downtown Maysville over the weekend. The second Love & Live Local weekend is planned for Nov. 8-10, and the historic district will turn into one big Christmas Open House.

Most of the businesses are planning sales, specials, giveaways, refreshments or a combination of them all.

“This is the perfect time to either begin or step up your holiday shopping,” said Main Street Director, Caroline Reece. “I know it always seems to get here more quickly all the time, but it’s really true this year with Thanksgiving being so late.”

Reece, Tourism Director Lacey Holleran, and Economic Development Director Owen McNeill teamed up with local merchants to try and stress the importance of staying open a bit later to accommodate those who may have a harder time getting downtown due to regular workday hours. The restaurants and bars regularly keep later hours, but most shops will be open 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and from noon until 4 p.m. on Sunday.

“With the extra opportunities to shop local for the holidays, you are sure to find unique, from-the-heart gifts for all your loved ones, “ said Holleran.

“If you have not shopped in downtown Maysville since last Christmas, you need to come and check it out,” McNeill added, “There are quite a few newer stores that were not here last holiday season.”

If the shopping, music, and sales aren’t enough to get folks hurtling into the holiday season, Santa Claus will make an appearance at the Cox Building on Sunday afternoon from noon-2 p.m. Children can visit with St. Nick, and parents are welcome to take photos and get a jump on their Christmas cards.

In addition to the extended hours and merchant specials, there are quite a few other happenings in the entertainment district during the same time. The March of Dimes annual March for Babies is Saturday, Nov. 9. Starting at Limestone Landing at 9 a.m., this year’s theme is a color run dubbed Purple Palooza Fun Run. Registration beings at 8 a.m., or you can register online at racersignup.com/march-of-dimescolor-run-/register.

Later that day, Empty Bowls takes place in the Cox Building. For a $20 donation, guests can choose a bowl, handmade by a local artist, and enjoy a meal of soup, bread and dessert. Advance tickets are available at deSha’s, Local KY 68, ORVAG at the Cox Building, and Washington Hall. The event benefits the Mason County Food Bank and is sponsored by the Burnette Family Charitable Foundation.

Coincidentally, the Love & Live Local weekend coincides with the annual Veteran’s Day Parade. The parade begins at 2 p.m., Sunday with a lineup under the train trestle starting at one o’clock. This year’s grand marshal is marine Jason Arndell, who walked the Appalachian Trail and ended his journey on Veteran’s Day 2018.

For more information on Love & Live Local events, follow the Facebook pages VisitMaysvilleKY and Maysville Main Street. You can also call Lacey Holleran at 606-563-2596 or Caroline Reece at 606-564-5624.

Time change have you feeling a little nuts? Me too. It was nice to see the sun hanging a little higher this morning, but I dread how early it goes down every year. The shorter days, colder temperatures and crunch of the fall leaves under our feet makes it feel November is really already here. But what a delicious month to be in!

November has easily been one of my favorite cooking months. It excites a spark in home cooks, professional chefs, and eaters; large and small. It’s the prelude to the holiday season. Honestly, the biggest challenge I face every year, there are so many delicious options and only so much time and space in my tummy.

This year has proved no different. My desk is covered in tall stacks of cook books, fabulous fall magazines, colorful computer printouts of recipes and ideas, and what little space remains for my laptop has been filled with too many open pages and bookmarks to count. These days there are so many options and so little time, it’s hard to decide what we actually want to sit down and cook.

When feeling overwhelmed about what to cook for others or for yourself the best advice I can give you is to keep it simple. One of my friends and cooking companions would always tell me that. He would hear me brainstorm a thousand ideas but if I didn’t keep it simple, or start with something simple I would quickly become overwhelmed or be all across the place with no continuity. In the fall, regardless of what I’m cooking, there is always a theme that for me personally seems to fall into place, toasted nuts.

Cooking with nuts just smells right in the fall. The aroma fills the air and just beckons in whomever is within any radius of the kitchen. The variety of food that utilizes pecans and walnuts never ceases to amaze me. If you are not cooking with these simple touches, you are giving yourself the short end of the stick. Today I have included recipes you are gonna go nuts over. These simple dishes will add a crunch to your November bites or feasts. Good luck and enjoy!

– All nuts except cashews may be purchased with the shell on or off. Shelled are available chopped, ground, halved, slivered, plain, toasted, or salted.

– When exposed to air, due to their fat content, nuts will become rancid when exposed to air and left out for long periods of time. Heat also has this effect and quickens the process. Shelled nuts, especially the ones that have been chopped or ground, are affected the quickest.

– Shelled or unshelled nuts may be stored at room temp in a cool dry place for usually about a month. However, this can be extended if kept within the refrigerator or even better, the freezer in a dry and sealed bag or container.

1 pound cashews (Soak cashew overnight or for at least three hours before using. Completely cover. Drain after.)

1 cup water (This is for the blending process. May use water cashews soaked in but make sure to only use one cup per pound cashew.)

Vitamix or blend in blender. Use plunger or stir about halfway through. Be careful not to burn out motor. Add cashews last.

Heat butter in a small saucepan over medium heat for six minutes or until light brown and fragrant. Stir occasionally. Remove from heat and stir in walnuts, swirling to coat.

Blend cream cheese with milk. Add beef, onion flakes, seasonings and bell pepper. Fold in sour cream. Spread into a shallow oven-proof dish. Heat pecans in butter. Sprinkle pecans over cheese mixture. Bake for 30 minutes. Serve hot with Melba rounds.

Combine the sugar, corn syrup and water in three quart sauce pan. Cook and stir until sugar dissolves. When syrup begins to boil, blend in butter. Stir frequently after mix reaches the syrup stage of 230 degrees. Add nuts when the temperature reaches the soft-cracking stage or around 280 degrees. Stir constantly until the temperature reaches the hard cracking stage or 305 degrees. Remove from heat quickly and stir in soda, mixing thoroughly. Pour onto two cookie sheets or two 15 1/2×10 ½ x one inch pans.

Mix all ingredients thoroughly and pour into unbaked pie crust. Bake for 40 minutes. Remove and allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving. May be served at room temperature or hot.

2 cup fresh or thawed frozen cranberries 1 cup chopped walnuts, toasted (Any other nut will also work.)

Mix cranberries, walnuts, and 1/2 cup sugar in a bowl. Spoon into a sprayed, 9×0 inch baking pan. Combine flour, butter, and 3/4 cup sugar and almond extract into a bowl and mix until blended. Stir in eggs and mix. Spoon the batter over the cranberries in baking pan. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until golden brown. Best served hot. Delicious with a scoop of ice cream or homemade whipped cream.

The recipes and photos used in today’s article are from the kitchen of Chef Babz (babzbites@gmail.com), with a little help from The Good Housekeeping Cookbook, 1973, Zoe Coulson. Please excuse my error, but last weeks recipe for caramel corn has one correction: one teaspoon, not tablespoon of baking soda. Thank you for reading and cooking!

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