Published on July 27, 2021

Put your high tech cap on before shopping for refrigerator

By Shirley Prihoda
The Bulletin

Our refrigerator has reached the age that we are considering long-term care options.

It has served this house faithfully since the mid 1990s, but it’s beginning to show its age. The ice maker has developed a steady drool, and icicles are forming that have to be broken loose on a daily basis. We went to the local hardware store to assess the current options in refrigerators.

We were not adequately prepared for the features that are now available. There are models with computers that maintain the inventory, see-through doors, side-by-side doors, and freezers on the top or bottom. Long gone are the familiar colors of harvest gold, avocado green or almond. Now, its black stainless steel, dark brushed metal, or stainless steel, that’s actually not stainless at all since it was full of fingerprints.

Our first new car didn’t cost that much, and it came with four tires! We were in an information overload and needed Sonic’s Happy Hour. Getting something half-price always has a calming effect on us.

We sat there, sipping through our plastic straws that also seemed to be on their last leg. I feel certain the advocates of paper straws didn’t grow up using them. If they had, they would remember how hurriedly you had to finish a coke before the straw turned into a mushy mess!

As we sat there reminiscing about when a refrigerator was an ice box, and every house had an ice pick, we found ourselves traveling down nostalgia lane again.

You don’t have to travel far down that road until you’re back to what it was like to be a kid then, and also how exciting it was when the cousins came for a visit.

We lived in East Texas in a small town between Center and San Augustine called Sardis.

Sadly, all that’s left of the town today is the sign. It was a five-hour drive for the relatives to get to our house, so they usually arrived around midnight. If it was cold, mama kept the fire going in the fireplace until they arrived, and we stayed up laughing and talking into the wee hours of the morning. We could hardly wait for breakfast to be over so we could go outside and play.

My sister and I were limited in the games the two of us could play, usually jacks, pick-up sticks, or Tiddlywinks. But, when the cousins came, we played Annie Over, Red Rover- Red Rover, hide and seek and King of the Mountain until it was too dark to see. The only breaks were for the outhouse and drinks from the dipper at the well.

There were never enough beds for everyone, and pallets were made on the floor for the kids. We didn’t mind at all because we were so tired from playing, we were asleep before we had time to feel the old wooden floor.

I have often wondered if my grandchildren could find ways to amuse themselves if a power outage took them totally off the grid. But then, they wonder why we don’t have a Smartwatch. I don’t want to tell them that even if we had one, we couldn’t see anything on the dial.

This week’s recipe is for Creme Fraiche (pronounced krem fresh).

Some things in life have become so highbrow they’re too funny for words. Crème Fraiche fits quite nicely into this category. It sounds pretentious; when in fact, in my childhood, it was a common ingredient in most East Texas cabinets and sideboards!

Although crème fraiche looks a lot like sour cream, it’s different in several ways: It’s slightly thicker and tastes less sour. Another big difference is that it contains more protein and less fat, so in hot soup, it holds its texture instead of falling apart or curdling. Making it is simple, but you’ll need to plan your day to allow time for the healthy bacteria cultures to work their magic.

2 Tablespoons Buttermilk
2 Cups Heavy Whipping Cream
Glass container

Combine the buttermilk and cream in the glass container and stir. Cover the container and let it stand at room temperature until the mixture thickens. Not to worry, it won’t spoil at normal room temperatures. It’ll take from 8 hours to a full day to thicken. Allow the mixture to thicken to a consistency slightly thinner than what you want. When it’s at that “slightly too thin” stage, stir, cover and refrigerate. It will thicken more as it cools.

Use it to add depth of flavor to a variety of dishes, both savory and sweet - extra-creamy scrambled eggs (add some into the eggs just before cooking), or in place of milk or cream in mashed potatoes for a rich, nutty flavor, on fresh berries, or alongside a slice of cake.

So, if you tilt your head slightly upward, squint your eyes, and say crème fraiche with a pained look on your face, you’ll appear to be a world traveler who has eaten their way across Europe, or at the very least, read their cookbooks!

(To contact Shirley, please send emails to john.bulletin@gmail.com or write to The Bulletin, PO Box 2426, Angleton, Tx. 77516)