You can do it just right too!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


While scrambling to feed the family, we forget that our family isn't the only hungry bunch on the you ever wonder about those who defend our freedom?
The military troops must be fed as well. Usually, when we hear the word "troops" we picture fighting, and explosions...but how do they fuel themselves with the strength that they need to withstand war? Who does that? what do they eat? How does the food get to them?

I will have stories about today's Military Mess Halls-but while searching,I stumbled upon Bob Hersey's K Troop, 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment site. He answered most of my questions about military dining experiences.

He is also featured here:

Bob Hersey's stories put me right in the mess hall with him and his connoisseurs, even though it was years and years ago-during the Vietnam War. Bob's cooking experiences, (from the time he was 12 years old!), warmed my heart, made me laugh, and brought tears to my eyes. To my delight, I found a useful recipe! Large quantities, yes. But it won't take a rocket scientist to figure out how to down-size the portion.
The longer it cooks, the better it is:

My Not So Famous "S-O-S"
"Shucks-On-A-Shingle" - you translate. Every GI since Hannibal crossed the Alps has eaten or at least encountered SOS. It is best described as a plate of mouse droppings in wallpaper paste served over burnt toast. It's actually quite good (but remember I lost my taste buds in the war).

Start with 10 pounds of ground beef (hamburger). The fatty kind is best. Brown the beef in a large saucepan with salt, pepper, finely chopped onions and a splash or two of Worcestershire sauce. This next ingredient isn't in any of the Army's cookbooks but I always added a generous portion of cooking sherry. If I didn't have sherry I would add cognac. Once browned, add a cup of water, a cup of whole milk and bring to a boil. Slowly stir in 1/2 cup of bread flour. This thickens the mixture. Lower the heat and cook slowly for about 5 minutes. If the sauce is too thick add more milk. If it's too thin add more flour. Hint: It's best if the final product is a little on the "thin" side because as it sits in your mermite can, it will thicken up. Serve over toast or better yet, hot biscuits. Any leftovers may be used as brick mortar by the engineers.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Live, Love, Laugh

"Live, Love, Laugh!" This is always my theme when feeding my family. We may not always get along, or agree with each other-but the one thing that I insist upon, is that everyone enjoy the meal.

This year, for Thanksgiving, we were blessed by several generous people who brought food, made dishes, and came to share it with us. While we had our meal at 7 p.m. here at the house, we began the day of feasting at 11:30 a.m.-at a little Pub up the road who puts on a free meal each year. We played pool, met new people, and hung out and laughed with old friends.
Then, we moved on to the next pub-which is a large, new log building...this dinner was fancier and more hushed-even candle-lit...but not as much fun-however, the food was unreal!

Back at home-we forgot how long the potatoes was ok, by the time they were ready, we really did have an appetite again.
Three hams, a huge turkey, tons of sides and pies...
Caos, noise, loading of the plates...talking with full mouths and going back for seconds...loading pans to send home with guests.

I looked around me and gave thanks for my crazy, loud and noisy life :)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Feed the Crowd

A friend of mine, Stephen, came by today and made the BEST meal for our family! It was fast & easy-but the best part-SOOOO GOOD!! AND for the mess hall-this recipe can be multiplied unlimited!


FRY: 1# Bison Burger or Beef Burger (drain if needed)
Add and Warm Through: 1 pt of salsa non-chunky (hot,med.or, mild)
1 can of Ranch Style Beans with Jalapeno

Sprinkle tortilla with shredded cheddar cheese; microwave for a few seconds to melt. Smear a spoonful of sour cream or yogurt on tortilla & add a few spoonfuls of meat mixture.


Monday, June 15, 2009

Open Your Home

No matter if you "feel" adequate or not, have someone in this week. Offer baloney sandwiches and lemonade if you have to! ask a friend who doesn't care, and build a memory that you both will cherish. The food will probably be forgotten- but your hospitality will lodge in their heart forever.. Keep it Simple!

It's your Hall! Make your Mess, and your friend will be blessed!

A refreshing summer sparkler for even the hottest days. Needed:
7 Lemons
7 Limes
1 c Sugar

1 c sugar
1c water
bring to SIMMER while stirring (in small saucepan)until sugar is dissolved

6 strips off a lemon
6 strips off a lime

Slice in circles:
1 lemon
1 lime

lemons to get 3/4 c juice
limes to get 1/2 c juice...reserve them

lemon and lime peels PLUS 1 c water to the saucepan; let sit 2 min

Transfer to a picture along with reserved juices, and slices

1 c. Seltzer

Chill & Serve in Ice-filled glasses

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Dog Food

Recently, my daughter's bull dog had two mishaps-with one requiring surgery. Both times, the vets told us to make him table food and do NOT feed him any kind of dog food during his healing process; and to eventually get him back on dog food but a little mixed with table food every day.

"Why?"But we thought that table food is forbidden! (even though we never listened to that, and have always given our large outdoor dogs left-overs just like grandma did).

The Vet explained that, table food is much easier to digest, and more nourishing than dog food. We were to make sure that it was full of protein (unlike many dog foods) such as, eggs; cottage cheese; and meat mixed with vegetables. Now, why didn't I go to vet school?


I didn't have the heart to tell them that I had already knew that, and that I did plan to do it. You see, I have always had large outdoor dogs. Since they eat so much dog food, I have always purchased cheap dog food for them, and then fed them nourishing table food and leftovers. The only large dog that has passed away on us was 17 years old and way beyond old-age (119 years old in people-years!).

So, what am I getting at? what does this have to do with cooking for your family? EVERYTHING.

If you feed junk food to your family, as do way too many American households, and then you turn and feed that table food to your dog, then your children will not be healthy, and your dog will die.
Animal advocates do not trust us to know the difference between healthy and unhealthy because Americans have proven that we are a but confused about the subject.

Healthy food has never killed anyone.
Nor has it killed a dog!
Junk food, has and is killing people, and dogs, every day.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Cool Blog Discovery

What have we been doing the last 3 months? Living without internet, working to pay the bills, and researching for our 'Mess Hall Chef' cookbook...
Mercy ME can our plate have one more thing on it? Can our cup runneth over any more than that?

While "mess"ing around on the internet, we stumbled upon a really cool site-and this blog really could use your input for good summer recipes for kids...

Larger Families (More dishes, more kises, more laundry, more laughter) is a very busy blog written by very busy Mommies:

Check them out, be encouraged and contribute your input!

The Mess Hall Queen

Saturday, January 31, 2009

A Modern Mess Hall

Mess hall dining dates back to the beginning of time when everyone gathered around a fire to eat the latest kill.

Today however, we have buildings and organizations that house the hall that the mess is made in: Soup Kitchens are charitable mess halls, there are restaurants serve mess hall style, colleges, schools and some corporations make use of large eating areas called, "cafeterias" and, of course, the Military is all-famous for the mess hall life.

Although in many of the examples above the focus is to, "get the job done", there are some who work at making the dining experience fantastic in a mess hall setting. So take heart, you can do it at home as well.

My favorite example of a traditional style mess hall diner which boasts hospitality and menu variety is, 'The Mess Hall', located in Springdale Township in Pittsburgh, PA. Their grand opening was, of course, Veteran's Day, 2006. Following is an excerpt from the debut article written by, Rebecca Killian for the Pittsburgh Tribune Review:

When a restaurant is called The Mess Hall, one might expect the items offered to be bland and uniform in military-like fashion. That's not the case. Each item the Lunch Bunch tried went beyond the call of duty.

Owner Sam Lane, who was in the military for 22 years and was a cook in the Army's mess hall for 17 of those years, fulfilled a lifelong dream when he opened his restaurant. He says the military ate well while he cooked for the troops and he takes the same pride in offering good quality and service to his customers.

The mess hall is decorated military-style, with stars in the wainscot and camo and Army jeeps in a wallpaper border. Even the servers and cooks wear flag-oriented clothing or their camo fatigues...

[examples from the menu]

Homemade soups are available, with different varieties featured every day. We sampled the Uncle Sam's Potato Soup ($2) and found it to be pretty much how we make the soup -- a thick, creamy base with a hint of onion and celery and chunks of potato. We also had the Southwestern Soup ($2), which was a tasty version of chili with kernels of corn mixed in. This would make a meal in itself.

The signature meal -- served for breakfast or lunch -- is the infamous S.O.S. Special ($3.95). You have to be in the military to know what it stands for (hint: It's not the signal for help), but hey, this is good stuff. It's ground beef (Lane says he uses only Black Angus beef) mixed with a mushroom sauce, spices and Worcestershire sauce...

Who would expect to see Crab Cakes ($6.95) in a mess hall? This lunch special included two thick crab cakes that were moist, tasty and lightly fried to a golden brown...

The Unkempt Joseph (more commonly known as Sloppy Joe) ($4) was another great lunch choice. A large, fresh bun is overloaded with a tasty, homemade concoction of ground beef, chunks of green pepper and a delicious sauce. Although Sloppy Joes are supposed to be sloppy, this one didn't soak through the bun and make a mess of things...

Appropriately, the Mess Hall celebrates its grand opening this Saturday -- Veteran's Day, of course.

Compiled by Rebecca Killian. Meals are paid for by the Valley News Dispatch and are unrelated to advertising.

So, you, too can make a mess of your kitchen and do it in style!


Mess hall dining dates back to the beginning of time- when everyone gathered around a fire to eat the latest kill.