9: That Spaghetti Dish “Dirty Rice” Pasta

This recipe is…. interesting. The name totally makes sense once you see the ingredients. But the flavor? Eeeeeeeeehhhhhh. Double the salt and it’s pretty ok? Not one of the best.

Category: Entree

Rating: 2 out of 10

Make Again? Not so much

8: Beef Tip Stroganoff

This recipe brought back so much nostalgia! I used to love when my mom made beef stroganoff. I did mess it up just a *wee* bit. I didn’t have any sour cream, but I have two giant tubs of green yogurt atm because costco had a sale, what can I say. So I used that and mixed it when the beef was still really hot, so it curdled. User error notwithstanding, it was delicious. Not like show-stopping delicious, but it was a good comfort food recipe. I do recommend this one!

Category: Entree

Rating: 6 out of 10

Make Again? Yes, if I need some comfort food!

7: Pok Loin Franchese

This recipe was boring. Was it good? Yes. So I guess it’s good to keep around for a quick weeknight dinner, but it honestly was just not THAT great. Very standard. This short review pretty much sums up how I feel about it.

Category: Entree

Rating: 3 out of 10

Make Again? Nope

6: Pecan-Crusted Sweet Potato Pone

This recipe was definitely very interesting. I love all of the ingredients, but they didn’t blend together as well as I was hoping! I’m not sure that I would make it again, but if you’re into cake-style desserts, this is a Southern classic that you will enjoy!

Category: Dessert

Rating: 3 out of 10

Make Again? Eh, not so much

5: Chop Suey Soup

To be honest, I was not that excited about this recipe. Compared with the other ones, it was not that exciting and pretty simplistic. I guess it’s true that the best things in life are the simple ones!


This soup is life-changing. It’s inexpensive, SO easy, and SO delicious. I am going to be making this for a long time, y’all. And OMG. Fried ramen. Let’s talk about that for a second. What a brilliant idea. It’s like eating ramen out the package before you cook it, but warm and crispy and with a delicious fried flavor, obviously. WHAT. It’s so good. Drizzled with hoisin sauce, I’m in heaven.


Category: Entree

Rating: 10 out of 10


4: Creme Anglaise

Fancy pudding. That’s what creme anglaise is, essentially. This recipe is a little putsy because you have to cook the cream over the stove, but other than that it is fairly simple, and I think any cook could be successful with this recipe! The result is a very creamy dessert that has just a hint of the brandy and vanilla flavors. There was no recommendation for serving, but I jazzed it up a bit with lemon wafer cookies and morello cherries. It was a satisfying little dessert, but I would only make it again to accompany something a little more show-stopping.


Category: Dessert

Rating: (this is the first of this category, so….) 5 out of 10

Make Again? Maybe?

3: BLT Salad

My mom is always telling me about “recipes” that she invented. Salad dressing, mixing dip mix in sour cream… sure, you made something, but that doesn’t quite qualify as a recipe. That’s kind of how I felt about this salad. It’s just a salad of BLT ingredients. Of course, it was really good, because I love a BLT, but I don’t think I’d search for the book on my shelf to make it again. That said, the dressing (which really was a recipe with some interesting ratios I’ve never seen before) was PHENOMENAL. The herbs gave it a rich and almost sharp flavor, and I found myself using the leftover dressing on everything from fish to crackers. That part I would definitely make again!

Category: Entree

Rating: 2 out of 10

Make Again? Just the dressing

2: Baton Aubergines

Aubergines = eggplants


These little fried sticks of eggplant were so easy and so delicious! I was a little skeptical of the toppings. The recipe suggests to serve them topped with powdered sugar and parmesan cheese. It was delicious! The sweet and the sharp savory from a very high quality parmesan had a very full flavor and it was exceptional. However, the batons themselves were not terribly great. If you have the cookbook and are making this recipe, I would suggest adding a little more seasoning. Otherwise, they were very good!

Category: Side Dish

Rating: (this is the first of this category, so….) 5

Make Again? Yes!

1: The “Eloquent” Oyster

You’re as eloquent as an oyster

This recipe proved to be quite a challenge for my first choice from this cookbook! Do you know how hard it is to get oysters – let alone GOOD oysters – in Colorado?! VERY HARD. Praise Whole Foods.

I had a nice long chat with the seafood guys about what would be the closest to gulf oysters, and they gave me these freshwater oysters that were about similar in size. They offered to shuck them for me, but I’m never one to shy away from a challenge, so of course I planned to do it myself. After scouring the seafood section, I finally found some escargot and even the caviar that it called for. But it was $17 for about a Tablespoon so… sorry, Tennessee, not worth it. With my car smelling overwhelmingly of seafood, I headed home.

Let me be frank. I don’t have an oyster shucker. This should have registered in my mind as a problem, but I wanted to MacGyver it. Second problem, where was my flathead screwdriver. About thirty minutes and a handful of choice words later, a table knife from Walmart had done the trick for most of them. The shells of two just cracked and wouldn’t budge, so they got chucked, not shucked.

The escargot really was not my jam. I’ve never been a huge fan of it, but I dealt with it anyway. The recipe came together really easily, and it was on the table in no time.

Overall comments: the butter flavors were intense and super rich. With the escargot, the dish was heavy but not too overwhelming. The delicate flavors of the oyster were a little lost, which is a bummer because those were my favorite ingredient.

I’m going to rank each because I’d like to know my overall opinions by the end. Since this is the first one, I’ll give it a 5 as a benchmark for the others. But would I make it again, not really.

Rating: 5

Make Again? No.

Why I’m Having Dinner with Tennessee Williams

I think part of the problem is that I have no idea if people want to read what I write. Are blogs even a thing any more? I mean, I still read them and follow recipes. That’s part of why I was so inspired to learn to cook and write my own recipes. But in a world of tweets and snaps and nonchalant shares… does anyone CARE?

Even if I’m my only reader (and occasionally mom, hi mom), I suppose it serves as an adequate chronicle of this snapshot of my life.

I feel like I’m in a serious funk. I don’t complain a lot, but I need to. Let’s see…

  1. Work. I became a teacher because I wanted to change the future. We have serious education deficits and achievement gaps in this country, and I wanted to do something about it. But, at the same time, I’m feeling the pressure of people expecting more. I was raised to be a doctor or a lawyer or…. I don’t know, not a teacher. And I’m tired of telling people I’m a teacher and either getting the reluctant “oh…. wow… (subtext: really, that’s kind of lame)” or the “wow that’s so noble, that must be so hard.” PSA: you sound so fake when you say shit like that. Please stop. And yes, this is what I want, but…. we live in a society that pushes and pushes. Get better. Move up. Make money. Now more. Haven’t you built that picket fence yet? Well, no, I haven’t, and will I ever with a teacher salary that barely changes? Shouldn’t it be valued to be getting better and better at educating our future generations? Isn’t that enough? And who am I even asking.
  2. Health. I like to flippantly joke that I’m really 80 years old. Well. Sometimes I feel like I might as well be. And sometimes I wish I just gave up a little more because it would be easier to explain. “But you run marathons!” they always say. Yes, I do, and you should see the number of pills that makes that possible. You don’t see the other days of agony or how quickly my smile drops when I turn my face away from the kids or my colleagues. I was always a good actress. That has never changed.
  3. Personal Life. I moved. I did that to myself. I thought it would be worth it. Was it? I have friends here now. But I miss my best friends like crazy. Also, of course, everyone is falling in love and getting married and having babies. Sigh.

So I needed something to distract me. Then I read Julie & Julia on the bus to a field trip. So many similarities. The health, the work life, the funks. So I decided I would cook through a cookbook.

I considered many options. I have a TON of cookbooks. I though about doing a bunch of technical experiments. Of cooking sentimental heritage recipes. Of making so many cupcakes I would no longer like sugar.

But then my eyes landed on Dinner with Tennessee Williams. I first saw this cookbook at my favorite store ever, Roux Royale, in NOLA. I saw it again when I was there with my grandparents, and lo and behold, my grandma got it for me for Christmas that year! It was such a nice present! I adore the works of Tennessee Williams, New Orleans, and Southern food. Since I am finishing the final classes along my educational trajectory, I thought it would be very poetic to cook all of the recipes of this literary and culinary masterpiece while getting back into reading by enjoying all of the plays mentioned therein.

So, here we go.

72 recipes. 84 days.

You’re invited to dinner with Tennessee Williams.