by Weston Johnson

Hi Grandma!
What's new in Missouri? Is it springtime down there yet? Definitely not here. I woke up to a fresh blanket of white snow, and it was still coming down when I drove to work today. Oh well, I guess it always seems to snow a lot in March up here, so I better get used to it.

My entertainment for this past weekend was going back to Ashby to play in the annual basketball tournament. Wyatt and I were both on the same team with a bunch of other guys we went to high school with. Most of us weren't in the best shape and we hadn't played together as a team at all, so the results were pretty ugly. We lost our first game by over 50 points.

The second game was a little better. I think we kept it within 40, although I kind of lost track by the end of the game. It's not a good sign when you consider a 35+ point loss your "good" game.

Oh well, we still had a lot of fun and it was my first chance to see the new addition at the Ashby school. It was nice to finally see the new school, especially after hearing my dad's updates from his building committee meetings over the past several years. I finally got to see the more or less finished product.

Thanks for the update, Weston---better luck next time in competition!!

We have no snow for the present. It all went today with the breezy 50 degree weather--who knows with the present weather patterns we may have another winter session before this is over ---but I surely hope not. The paragraph about rationing is to be addressed in my question and answer section.

Your Grandma the Editor

by Leona Anderson

Well, this semester I don't have any "hands-on" projects, but I do have quite a few papers to write. The biggest one so far is for my Congressional Politics class. I'm to write a 10 page paper on how term limits may affect an incumbent's representation of his constituency. In plain English, that means "do term limits affect how the guy in office will represent what his voters want?" So far, I haven't found much on the subject, but I was just given the assignment last week.

Other than lots of papers to write, I have tons of reading to do...literally, my bookshelf may collapse at any moment under the weight of books I had to purchase this semester. Thank goodness I work at the local Barnes and Noble bookstore (I was able to get all of my books there this semester for a nice discounted price). For example, this week from Tuesday to Thursday, I had to read Meridian by Alice Walker (220 pages) not to mention the rest of the readings for my other three classes.

Eric is always asking whether or not I'm ever going to be done; poor Eric, I'm always asking him to turn down the TV.


Let's Ask Mom or Grandma
Or Grandpa

I have a question for you. Some of your stories and replies to other questions have mentioned rationing during WWII. I think people from my generation have a hard time imagining what that was like when WWII was going on. Could you please give a description of that phase of the war?


You have probably guessed, I am going to turn that over to be answered by Grandpa.

I have been asked to tell a bit regarding the rationing in the world war two days. I do remember them quite well.

Shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor Dec.7, 1941, it became necessary to ration what resources we had to support the war effort. Some of the items that became short were rubber,sugar, gasoline and cheese.

January 1, 1942, automobiles were in short supply. The auto industries changed over to war vehicles. Chevrolet & Ford did not produce a civilian auto in 1943-44-45. Only a limited quota was offered in 1946 and only to high priority people. My experience was, I got a veteran's certificate in 1946 to buy a new pickup. I didn't get it until 1947, a 1947 Dodge one half ton, my name came up after a year of waiting.

Gas rationing came May 1942 followed by the chance of getting new tires as they were rationed. One had to apply to OPA (Office of Price Administration). One had to prove a new tire was necessary. The tires were checked on your car before a certificate to purchase was issued. If you needed 4, you got only 2.

35 miles per hour was the speed limit during the war years, mostly to conserve gas and tires. A sticker on your windshield authorized you to buy according to what rationing coupons you possessed. I had an "A" card, entitled me to 4 gallons a week. If you were lucky enough to get a "B" card you got 6 gallons per week. The "C" card I believe got 10 gallons.

With restrictions that prevailed, at the war's end most of us were driving old autos, some still in the 1920 vintage. With the supply of gas available,one could not go very far and there was no unnecessary driving then.

Sugar, coffee and other items in short supply were sold on ration stamps. Candy bars were unheard of. They were shipped to the armed forces. Cigarettes were rationed; they too were sent overseas. "Lucky Strike green has gone to war." Meaning to say the cigarette company shipped their product overseas. For the smokers in the USA, pipe smoking become popular.

A couple of elderly ladies were discussing the shortages, coffee, sugar etc. when one said to the other "no longer toothpicks." The other replied, "OH MY! What next, no longer toothpicks?" to which the other said, "They will stay the same length!"

There were many hardships because of shortages. Many made do with what was available. There was a lot of repairing bald tires. My old bike had tires that would no longer hold air, so I made a small cut in them and filled them with oats, it ran quite a while but as the oats ground up it was necessary to refill them.

Farm equipment was impossible to get, you should see some of the home made equipment some farmers built. My dad made over horse drawn machinery to last out the duration and there were a few pieces of that standing on the farm when I left home.

I obtained a Veteran's certificate in 1947 for a new Farmall "M" tractor. No tractors come into Wahpeton. One day a neighbor came over and said John Deere in Breckenridge is unloading a car load of new John Deere "G" s. I beat it to Breck, and gave then my certificate and got a new "G" tractor. $1100.00 brand new.


I received two questions in a telephone conversation with Daughter Patty H. I will address one of those questions: Who wrote the story about the Kitty Experiment?

I have asked the author to give you the background on the assignment:

The kitty essay, originally titled "A Scientific Experiment With Kitty," was the first essay (and, I think, the best) of several written for English 1101 (Creative Writing) via the Internet that I took in 1999 from Fergus Falls Junior College. (Mr. Wes Lundburg was the instructor).

This was the first time the course had been offered on the Internet, so we were all learning as we went along. At the end, there were only about a half-dozen of us left, so we had lots of input from Mr. Lundberg.

We only had to be at the college for admissions testing, mid course test, and final exam. (I was the only non-traditional student there, was said to be the first student ever to ace the English part of the admissions test; may or may not be true -- trying to make an old guy feel good?).

We received our assignments via the Internet, attended lectures using Realplayer, did peer review on webboards, and turned in assignments electronically. The assignment was simply to "write a narrative essay about an event or person who has had an impact on you, minimum 500 words". At Mr. Lundberg's urging, I entered the essay in the college's writing contest, where it won first prize in the category of creative writing. Unfortunately, I also gave up publication rights to the essay...but it sure was fun!

What was really interesting was the computer generated letter I received from the college after completing the course. I had attended the college in 1968-69, not very interested in going to school and knowing I would be going on active duty in the Air National Guard as soon as the school year was over. The upshot was, I was put on academic probation at the end of 1969. The computer averaged my grades from 1969-70 with my grades from 1999, congratulated me on my good work, and said that if I kept up the good work, I could eventually be reinstated as a student in good standing!


Chanticleer: Confidential
True Confessions of an Executive Chef
Installment Eight: My Favorite Chanticleer Recipes

Since it has been my honor and privilege to compile the last three menus at the Chanticleer restaurant, I thought I would share some of my favorite menu entries, and then walk you through the recipes, instead of trying to overwhelm and confuse you, although that might be fun, too.

My first menu for The Chanticleer came in the fall/winter of 2002. Here is my favorite entree from that menu:

Chili-Crusted Atlantic Salmon Over a Sweet Potato and Yukon Gold Ragout with Spicy Remoulade and Wilted Mustard Greens.

First, find a good supplier of fresh fish. Fresh Salmon should be a vibrant orange, not a dull rust color. The gills should be red to purple on the inside, not brown or black. Salmon is best when grilled, but don't overcook the fish; it is best when medium to medium rare. If this grosses you out, don't eat salmon.

After you have found good salmon, cut it into 7-8 ounce pieces, if it is not already portioned. Slather olive oil over both sides and season with cracked black pepper and sea salt. Set aside, and prepare the ragout and remoulade.

Sweet Potato and Yukon Gold Ragout
(Serves four)

First blanch and shock two large sweet potatoes, or three small ones. Then julienne and set aside. (There is a glossary at the end of the recipe, if you are already lost.) Fry 10 slices of bacon and chop into small pieces.

Any potato will work, but do yourself a favor and go through the extra work of finding Yukon Golds. They are the Rolls Royce of potatoes, as you will see. Yukon Golds are usually pretty small, so I'm going to say buy at least eight of them for this recipe. Repeat the same procedure as with the sweet potatoes, submerging them in the boiling water slightly longer before julienning them. Mince one shallot, one clove garlic, set aside.


Remoulade is a condiment, not a sauce, which means it is served cold or at room temperature. Basically, it's just tartar sauce that knows somebody, so don't let the fancy name put you off. If you had a lot of time on your hands, or maybe the Queen was coming to dinner, you might make your own mayo by emulsifying egg whites (like I do) but store-bought will work just as well. Start with eight teaspoons of mayo in a large mixing bowl and add the following: Four baby gherkins, (sweet pickles) minced, 10 sprigs of fresh parsley, chopped, 10 sprigs fresh chervil, chopped, a pinch of dried tarragon, and 6 or 7 drops of oil from a can of anchovies. Then whisk your ingredients vigorously, until blended well. You will notice that my remoulade is "spicy," meaning I added finely chopped Vietnamese hot peppers to the classic ingredients, but you can leave them out if you're a wuss.

Now you are ready to start operations. Toss your salmon on the grill while simultaneously throwing your ragout ingredients into a preheated saute pan, leaving out the shallots and garlic.

Add a tablespoon of olive oil to the pan as you throw in the julienned potatoes and bacon pieces. After the julienned potatoes cook for about six minutes, add the garlic, shallot and a dash of good vinegar. (I prefer sherry vinegar.)

In the perfect world, the salmon and the ragout should finish in 12 to 15 minutes, but you might want to turn off the flame under the ragout after about ten, as it will continue to cook after the heat is off, and there is nothing worse than mushy vegetables.

You will need to keep the boiling water you used to blanch your potatoes to "wilt" the mustard greens. Blanch the greens for about a minute, right before you are ready to serve. Presentation is easy; Slap your wilted greens in the middle of the plate, set the salmon on top of the greens and the ragout around the outside. Dollop the remoulade on top of the salmon, or use a pastry bag if you're feeling cheeky. Garnish with some colorful vegetables, and voila, you're a chef!


Blanch and shock: See installment four.

Julienne: Cut into thin strips. 1/8 inch square x 1 inch is standard.

Ragout: Pronounced, "ra-goo," Traditionally, ragouts were different kinds of meat, fowl or fish, cut into pieces of regular shape and size. Now it means any combination of foods, cut into pieces of regular shape and size.

Remoulade: A classic French condiment, a variation of mayonnaise.

Wuss: A person who is scared of life, i.e. a big, saggy-diapered baby who should never leave the house.

This Week's Cooking Tip: Instead of using dried thyme and rosemary in your soups, stews and stocks, "infuse" fresh herbs the classic French way, with the Bouquet Garni. Empty a tea bag and secure fresh herbs inside and tie with butcher's twine to make a little "herb satchel." Then submerge in your soup, stew or stock and watch the magic happen!

Next Week: More Chanticleer Recipes


Good day from "In a Jam(b)." First of all, the name "Mr. Fixit" was already taken, and "Mr. Brokeit" might well enough apply but the attorneys thought it would be best to stay away from that one too.

I need to begin by giving you some history... the name, "in a jam" is derived from a name we have called ourselves for years, "Mr. & Mrs. JellyJam." This 'virtual friend' of Heidi's from childhood has been around for a long time. We even have considered naming a company after it. Furthermore... the "Mr." and the "Jam" seem to go together! We males... well, it just seems we can't keep from getting into 'situations' with the "better 1/2" ... and... as far as the "Mrs." and the "Jelly" well, it just doesn't seem to fit, and I better not go there!

We have a question!!!! and before it gets answered I will preface the fact that the questions will be sent out for round table discussions, and the answers will be multiple choice.

Q:Caity's bedroom is 7 x 8, is there anything to be done to make it have more floor space? I'm picturing a whole section above to make it a loft area for a bed and shelving. There is one long window in the room. Any brainy ideas?

Joe: Here's a not so "brainy" idea, does this "Caity" plan on growing up? (as in height?) if so than a full 'mezzanine' area would not be a long term fix!

Pete: well, Joe that wasn't what she was wanting, "A full mezzanine" the question suggested having part of the room covered by mezzanine.

Sam: listen to both of you! We need to come up with “helpful” ideas, like busting out walls, or something, maybe paint the whole bedroom black for a year, than next year at this time when you paint it white again it will FEEL bigger.

I know, is this bedroom over the living room?? If so, then any living room addition could incorporate. No?

Oh well, lunch is almost over ... so we need to wrap up this discussion here soon! Oh, I know, maybe put mirrors on all four walls, this would work magic! But there are always drawbacks. There would be more than 1 child to share this new space!

I would go with the partial loft idea! Sounds like a great idea to me!!

The authors are now members of our staff and are listed with that group!!


Hello! Just checking the mail from this week -- found TWO newsletters! Thank you! I printed them off and when I finish up on here, I'm going to take them with me to the rocking chair and relax and enjoy them. They look very, very interesting and I'm going to have some good reading! Thank You.


And on a serious note. I received this letter from Shari ... hope all goes well ... and Mike is soon home!!!!

Hi Aunt Dorothy,

As you can imagine . . we are in shock mode right now . . we knew that Mike (Kelly's husband) was scheduled to be called to active duty . . however, they had been told it would be to go to some "non-active" area . . maybe Germany or even somewhere in the US . . so that full-time Army units could go to the Mideast . . hmmmmmmmm . . well, the military with it's wisdom has seen fit to activate Mike's unit . . and of course it is classified information as to where they are going . . but they have been told they will be going overseas, and camping in the sand . . Mike is a medic with an Army Air Defense unit.

Mike & Kelly celebrated their second wedding anniversary yesterday (3/3) . . their sons Nathan and Devon are 16 months and 6 months old . . so it looks like Kristi & Jim, and "Grandma Shari" will have plenty of opportunity to help Kelly (who is the ripe old age of 20) raise the boys for the next year or so.

I'm not sure if Donna shared this story from Mike's last active duty in the months following 9/11? Mike was one of the military guards assigned to airport duty. He was posted in the Tampa airport . . their shifts were 10 hours a day 6 days a week, with only two breaks per day. They stood guard with a gun over their shoulder and were not allowed to go more then 10 feet from their post.

One long day .. a man caused the walk through scanner to go off . . it was a harmonica in his shirt pocket . . when he was cleared through security . . he stopped in front of Mike and the other Army guard . . put his harmonica to his lips and played God Bless America . . everyone in that corridor stopped what they were doing, faced Mike and his friend and sang to them . . then gave them a warm round of applause . . It really touched Mike and his friend . .

We are all pretty apprehensive . . will be so glad when we are looking back on this time period.


If you can start the day without caffeine,
If you can be cheerful,ignoring aches and pains,
If you can eat the same food everyday and be grateful for it,
If you can understand when loved ones are too busy to give you time,
If you can overlook when people take things out on you ,
If you can take criticism and blame without resentment,
If you can face the world without lies and deceit,
If you can conquer tension without medical help,
If you can do all these things,
* contributed by Elaine

Our Present Staff:
EDITORS: Mom, Grandma, Dorothy, etc.
Beaver------Ashby Correspondent
Doug -------St. Cloud Correspondent
Rich---------Mr. In-A-Jam(b) &
Kim------and his assistant