Category Archives: Cooking

Have Salsa….Wanna Be Friends?

This is by far our smallest production year of the super secret salsa.  Due to our move, we made no effort to plant a garden.  However, after this weekend’s visit from my parents, we ended up with a bumper crop  of tomatoes and a fully functioning kitchen sink.  And so….Saturday was Salsa Day!  It involves big, steaming pots, lots and lots of jars, and bags of good tortilla chips.  Thankfully, our children love salsa because that’s all that we eat on Salsa Day – maybe adding some cheese if we feel frisky.

Salsa day is an almost twenty year tradition that began in Osmond, NE.    Chris traded a good friend a basket of tomatoes for her salsa recipe.  Chris also became known as the tomato man at church, and all the little ladies LOVED him and his bumper crop of vegetables. I still have the original printed copy of that recipe.  It is now stained and brown from seasons of use.  I treasure that friendship which continues today and the love that was passed in one piece of paper. That first trade provided us with some roots and a sense of community.  Years later, after another move to another school district, that salsa recipe and its subsequent jars of fabulous-ness paved our way to friendship with many people we have come to cherish. Traditionally, Chris would insist on some type of trade for the secret information.  As a librarian and believer in free speech, I pretty much just gave it to people I liked and trusted.

Our nephew grew up in our house eating salsa.  As a husband and dad, he has carried on the salsa tradition, but prefers to steal as many jars as possible from our house.  “Cause yours tastes better….” I have given him jars to take home, only to find three additional jars of contraband stuffed into the diaper bag.

Now, in a new community, salsa has again paved the way to new friendships.  Chris has hauled jars to school to share with teachers and fellow administrators. It has become a conversation piece and provided a treat to share over meetings and preparations for the new school year. The famed super secret recipe had a moment of fame on Twitter as it was bartered and shared with some of our Twitter network. We ended up with a smashing snickerdoodle recipe! It has also strengthened those old bonds from Osmond as we shared memories with the children of the original recipe owner through Twitter.

I started thinking about how  in Osmond, we had no smart phones and social media wasn’t even on the horizon. But this one recipe, like many others shared around the world, seems to bring us together over some spicy goodness that transcends technology and all our challenges.


Cocoa and Candy Canes

Snowman Cocoa
Snowman Cocoa

Christmas is over and the tree and trappings are put away.  We left twinkle lights up to keep things looking cozy until spring returns – someday.  Today is January 1st and I am thinking about the new year to come.  My resolutions seem to get fewer and simpler as I get older because I have learned that life seems to happen regardless of what my plan happens to be. 

Be that as it may, some things don’t change.  The massive piles of snow linger despite the 40 degree weather over several days. We keep a supply of Swiss Miss Dark Chocolate Sensation cocoa on hand (Don’t skimp and don’t substitute) and the teapot ready for a quick batch after digging and playing in the snow.  We can also highly suggest some whip cream and shaved chocolate on the top.  That always seems to thaw out the little snow people when they come in from the cold.  It also makes a good ending to a busy day for Mom.