the years I gained weight and I have no one to blame except myself
and the local newspaper.
Really, if I hadn't pigged out umpteen years with Baytown Sun co-workers,
devouring homemade treats, takeouts and fund-raising edibles, maybe
I would have stayed skinny.
Or … maybe not.
Ranking at the top of our Things-to-Devour list were homemade tamales,
and they were the best. The local ladies who made the tamales would
take orders and deliver dozens of the spicy treats to the newsroom,
supposedly for us to take home for supper. However, not one tamale,
that I know of, ever made it to a car to go home with anyone. By
quitting time, our to-go tamales were long gone.
It seemed as though every time I would commit to a diet, here would
come the little girl from St. Joseph Catholic School selling chocolate
bars. To support the school's fund-raiser, I usually bought one
or two bars. Well, OK, maybe three or four. After all, it was for
a worthy cause.
One might think that, since I worried about my weight, I would have
shared the chocolate bars with others. I don't think so.
Speaking of chocolate, on one fine day Vivian Blevins, then the
dynamic president of Lee College, made a huge pan of fudge for the
chowhounds in the newsroom. How was the college presidential fudge?
Can you say Magna Cum Laude?
When I did the police beat, I dealt daily with Peggy Power, the
chief's secretary who - like the president of Lee College -- happened
to be a terrific cook. All kinds of desserts and snacks made it
from Peggy's kitchen to the cop shop. I never cut in line for the
Peggy Power-packed buffet -- the officers needed to eat first so
they could get out there and solve crimes -- but after they left,
I would munch out. Back at work, I had trouble at times reading
my notes with all the little smudges of food amidst notes on current
felonies and misdemeanors. Shades of crime and cuisine.
Mack McMorrow, a volunteer with the Police Reserve, liked to cook
and his main deal was jalapeno cornbread. Mack would make cornbread
for the police officers and the Baytown Sun bunch on the same day.
He'd call in advance to remind us to have plenty of margarine on
hand to spread on the cornbread. And Mack strongly advised potential
cornbread cookers: "You gotta use an iron skillet. That's the only
way to make the best cornbread."
Our proof reader, Ruth Foster, made the best banana pudding. After
former Houston Oiler football star Dan Pastorini spent a half-day
hanging out at The Sun with his buddy, feature writer Jim Kyle,
we named Ruth's specialty, "Pastorini Pudding." The quarterback
went back for multiple helpings.
There's no way I could name all of the good cooks in the newsroom
spanning more than four decades, but I must mention Karen Perry.
That lady ought to be featured on the Food Network. Karen's toffee
candy, in particular, rated five stars. Another fine cook was Nancy
Hawks, whose blueberry cheesecake drew raves on food day at The
Sun and top awards in various cooking contests.
The Sun receptionist, Mildred Rosamond, brought so many wonderful
goodies to work that we made her an honorary member of the news
staff. One example: Mildred's mincemeat cake with cream cheese frosting.
(Are you hungry yet?)
At social events I frequently seek recipes for outstanding dishes
and desserts, and one such incident occurred at a Boy Scout leaders'
potluck dinner many years ago at the Baytown Refinery Community
House. After the dinner, I tried in vain to locate the person who
brought the scrumptious chocolate cake.
Next day I cried "Help!" on the front page of The Baytown Sun via
the Around Town column. "Whoever made that chocolate cake at the
East Harris Boy Scout District dinner please contact …"
Soon afterward the cake baker arrived in the newsroom with the sought-after
recipe, and I've been baking that cake ever since.
As for losing weight, I'm retired now and don't have to worry about
food temptations at the workplace. I'm too busy cooking.
© Wanda Orton
Baytown Sun Columnist
18 , 2017 column