Did you happen to catch my October 2020 column in GRAND, where I announced the coming of the second edition of the famous Barnett/Baxter/Colwell/Lovel Family Cookbook? In case you didn’t, here’s a recap. 

My lifelong friend Marsha and I were born two days apart, reaching across the newborn bassinets at McCall Hospital to clink our glass Evenflow bottles and pledge undying friendship. We grew up together, navigating infancy, childhood, teen-dom, college, marriage, births, deaths and holidays within an arm’s reach of one another. These days we enjoy texting pics of our grandchildren back and forth and we sit together in church every Sunday. 

When our progeny began spreading their wings, they would ask for fondly remembered recipes. Having quickly grasped the futility of texting a recipe, we filled a photo book with sixty scanned recipes and gave it to the kiddos for Christmas in 2014. They loved it, but in no time they noticed that the recipes were in no particular order and we began to get requests for a second edition. “Please be sure to put an index in this one.”  Here’s the status of the project. 

First, a word about medium. 

Have you ever googled a recipe only to wade through screen after screen of passionately personal headnotes? I just wanted the ingredients for tzatziki sauce while I was at the grocery store and got firehosed with stories. That exhaustive prose made no sense until now. 

Are recipes copyrighted? Yes and no. A list of ingredients is not copyrightable, but if there’s a custom headnote, personalized instructions or their own photos, all that is copyrighted.  

 Of course. They’re copyrighting their recipes. You can publish a recipe from anywhere, and if you rewrite everything but the ingredient list, it becomes your own. 

I’m not gonna play that game. I work in education and embrace attribution. This cookbook will be simple. I’ll build it online and all I want is for you and the kids to get to the recipe you’re seeking while in the grocery store without having to read War and Peace. Deal? 

The standard cookbook chapters will be there: Appetizers, Breads, Salads, Vegetables, Mains, Soups, Grilling/Marinades, etc., and there will be a lovely Ode to the Iron Skillet, but there are also a couple of chapters you won’t find anywhere else, including “Just Buy It”. 

Want a sneaky-peek? 

At the risk of being accused of The Great Cookbook Cop-out, Marsha and I decided that there are some things you can buy that are every bit as tasty and nutritious as what you can make yourself. So there’s a chapter named “Just Buy It”. 

Here’s your sneak-peek: 


There could be a whole chapter on slaw and all its cabbage-y permutations. Mayo vs vinegar, celery seeds, onion vs no onion, carrots vs no carrots… I never order slaw because there’s no telling what I will get, but I do love my *own* slaw (chopped cabbage with a touch of sweet onion and mayo, salt, sugar and pepper, since you asked). 

But, what if there’s a last-minute invite and you just want to take the best you can grab on the run? 

 Scene:  Sunday rain was predicted but the sun burst forth just after lunch, so you head out to work in the yard. Your friends with a pool holler “Come on over!” but you just got started in the yard and you want to treasure the sudden Sunday sunshine, so you say “We’ll be there around three and bring a couple packs of weenies and buns.” As you pull the weeds you think about how good those grilled dogs would be with some chili and slaw, and you know your own chili and slaw would be the best. But you’re focused on yard work, not slaw-and-chili-cooking work. Think “Just buy it!” Get your weeds pulled and shower off, then snag some chili at Wendy’s and some slaw at KFC, then go jump in and cool off! The dogs will be yummy. 

Moral of the story: Don’t waste your life energy on cooking things that you can buy and that will still bring the yumms to a sunny Sunday-by-the-pool-with-friends hot dog. So what if the slaw doesn’t meet your personal slaw-standards? It’s a pool party with friends for heaven’s sake, not your long-anticipated-world-famous New Year’s Day feast! 

You take it from here. Make your own list of things you can procure that are *almost* as good as you can make yourself. Prompts to get you started but add your own*: 

Fried chicken (anywhere is better than anybody I know can cook!) 

Pimiento cheese (one word: Palmetto) 

Brunswick stew (Ole’ Timer) 

Make your own list: 









* I have no relationship with nor am I compensated by the providers listed here. But if anybody wants to send me a gift card, that would be a’ight too. 

I will leave you with two of our family recipes.  

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A while back I realized I had a surplus of Granny Smiths, so I made both versions of these Apple Dumplings at the same time. One recipe is Marsha’s and one mine, and I can’t tell you which is which. One was hand-scribed decades ago so has no source to attribute; the other was adapted from General Mills. They differ on enough points so as to be, well, different. 

I laid out bowls and spoons, and with a tub of Vanilla Bean on the table, asked the kids to judge the Great Apple Dumpling Cook-Off. Based on four criteria (ease of preparation, visual, taste, and texture), it was a draw. But both versions deliciously warmed us up inside! 

Give them a go –  enjoy! 


Apple Dumplings 1 

Heat oven to 350° 



2 Granny Smith Apples 

1 pkg refrigerated crescent roll dough 

2 sticks salted butter 

1 ½ cup sugar 

1 teaspoon vanilla 

1 can Mountain Dew 

Cinnamon (to sprinkle) 



Peel and core Granny Smith apples 

Cut each apple into 8 slices 

Butter a 13”x9” baking pan 

Unroll crescent dough and cut into 16 triangular pieces 

Roll up an apple slice in each crescent dough triangle 

Lay in buttered pan 


Melt butter, sugar and vanilla in a saucepan over low heat. 

Don’t dissolve completely; it’s better lumpy and grainy. 

Pour evenly over apple crescent rolls 

Pour Mountain Dew around edge of pan and down center 


Bake 30-40 mins until golden brown and crusty on top 


Enjoy with your choice of topping (vanilla ice cream, 

whipped cream, cheddar cheese…) 


Apple Dumplings 2 

Heat oven to 400° 



1 15 oz box Pillsbury Refrigerated Pie Crusts 

4 small (2 ½ inch diameter) Granny Smith apples, peeled and cored 

¼ cup sugar 

1 teaspoon cinnamon 

1 teaspoon water 


1 cup water 

2 tablespoons margarine or butter 

¼ teaspoon cinnamon 



Thaw one pie crust and cut into fourths (save the other for a quiche or something) 

Place an apple in the center of each pastry piece. 


In a small bowl combine the sugar, cinnamon and raisins and spoon ¼ of this mixture into each apple core cavity. 


Gently pull the edges of each pastry up the sides of the apple and press edges to seal. 


Bake uncovered at 400 for 15 minutes. 


While baking, combine all sauce ingredients in a small saucepan, bring to a boil for 2 minutes, and pour over partially baked dumplings. 


Bake for an additional 25-30 minutes or until the crust is deep golden brown and apples are tender. 


Spoon sauce over dumplings several times while baking, and serve warm or cold. 


Enjoy, my friends! 

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