CULINARY THRILL SEEKING — The Okra Santas are out

Published 12:05 am Tuesday, November 30, 2021

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Okra pods painted to look like jolly old Saint Nick have been part of my holidays since the ‘90s.

The late, crafty Betty Guillory must have painted hundreds of these slender, textured guys and she gifted several to me.

This year I decided to go through all my boxes and found the Santa gourds as well. I contacted her daughter with intent to share back and it sounds her daughter and sister would appreciate having some of those memories.

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I’m so happy to give them some gourds back. I’m keeping all the Okra Santas, though.


The Unofficial Hogwarts Cookbook for Kids

Young readers will love this culinary adventure offering “50 Magically Simple, Spellbinding Recipes for Young Witches & Wizards.”

From Cauldron Cakes to Bubble and Squeak, these recipes are fun and tempting and will surely get children into the kitchen to keep learning.

Can you imagine making your own crumpet for breakfast? Or Groundskeeper’s Mystery Casserole for the whole family?

Confession: I haven’t read a Potter book, but I’m well aware of the enormous popularity.

Baker/writer Alana Al-Hatlani stresses the book is not associated with or authorized or approved by J.K. Rowling, her publishers or Warner Bros.

It says so right on the cover. But I’m sure they all approve of the within the pages.


Pumpkin Juice

One half cup pumpkin puree

2 cups apple juice

2 tablespoons brown sugar

One half teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • Start by whisking all the ingredients together in a medium saucepan.
  • Place the pan over medium heat and bring to a simmer.
  • Cook for 1 to 2 minutes, just until the brown sugar is dissolved.
  • Remove from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature.
  • Place the mixture into a pitcher to chill until cold, 1 hour.
  • Pour over ice, if desired, and enjoy!


Eat Like a Viet

This award-winning picture/recipe book from Jenny Lam has me craving dishes I didn’t know existed.

“Eat Like A Viet” may appeal to Port Arthur’s Vietnamese population. It certainly appeals to foodies into Lemongrass Chili Chicken, Lotus Root Salad and Beef Salad.

Pumpkin Update here: Japanese pumpkin and fish sauce makes a Pumpkin Soup that is more brothy than you’d expect. The next page shows Wintermelon Soup and every page before and after is another adventure.

Pumpkin Pudding has coconut milk and tapioca starch. Ready for new traditions?


One-Hour Comfort – Rough day?

Have a Prosperity Sandwich.

Panang Curry with Shrimp could spice you up quickly. There’s even time for pillowy scrambled eggs in Xihongshi Chao Jidan.

America’s Test Kitchen books thoroughly explain how you create photo-worthy meals and include “Why This Recipe Works” that tell us why we’re about to be rewarded for our efforts.

Words like “crunchewy,” nostalgic and hearty and offerings such as cheeseburger mac and green gumbo make up worlds of flavor in “One-Hour Comfort: Quick, Cozy, Modern Dishes for All Your Cravings.”

We are alike the world over – judging from the chapter called Carbs – and comfort is a global crave.

I didn’t note pumpkin in this book but sweet potato stew with peanuts makes me feel orange and warm all over. There are comfort desserts, too.



Les Chocolateries Askanya is Haiti’s first and only premier bean-to-bar chocolate company created after meeting with more tan 500 farmers. That’s detail.

Beautiful packaging for very dark chocolates and bars named Perle Rare and Bouquet Vert will make beautiful stocking stuffers.

Corinne Joachim Sanon Symietz grew up in Port-au-Prince and studied in New Orleans, then Ann-Arbor before conquering other locales and missions.

She founded her business to create jobs in Haiti and you can. Follow on social media.


Darragh Castillo is a Port Arthur area foodie hoping everyone’s holidays are full of comfort and joy. Reach her at