The loving offering of prepared meals has sustained military families throughout U.S. history, and Carolyn Quick Tillery has documented this phenomenon in “The Military Wives’ Cookbook: 200 Years of Traditions, Recipes and Remembrances” (Cumberland House Publishing, 2008, $22.95).
Growing up as the daughter of a U.S. Air Force officer, Carolyn Quick Tillery remembers the countless relocations — domestic and international — that her family experienced.
“Cooking was the one constant in a sea of variables,” said Tillery of Tampa, Fla., wife of a retired Air Force veteran. “We thought about where to live, when to move in, where to go to school, when the furniture would come. My mother always had a way to have a hot meal on the stove. The kitchen was the first thing out of the moving van. Her meals were the heartbeat of the family.”
The loving offering of prepared meals has sustained military families throughout U.S. history, and Tillery has documented this phenomenon in “The Military Wives’ Cookbook: 200 Years of Traditions, Recipes and Remembrances.”
“One wears the uniform, but the whole family serves in sacrifice to the country,” said Tillery, chief of the U.S. Central Command Family Readiness Program, which prepares military families for wartime deployment and helps them adapt to a mobile lifestyle. “Military members have a place to go, but the family has to find their place when they are uprooted.”
There are 2.5 million military spouses in the U.S. (active, retired and reserve). Many of their favorite dishes reflect an international influence.
“The American military family averages a move every two to three years. Spouses often collect recipes and give them to someone else. She adds her own twist and gives it to someone else. That person adds a secret ingredient and gives it to someone else. These recipes evolve as they find their way around the world and to the American table,” said Tillery, a third-generation military wife.
“Each individual leaves his or her mark on a recipe. And as these recipes filter through many creative, innovative hands, they change and evolve, culminating in truly memorable meals.”
Recipes from “The Military Wives’ Cookbook”:
Roasted Rosemary Chicken
1 (3-pound) roasting chicken
2 lemons, quartered
2 tablespoons seasoned salt
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon onion powder
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon dried rosemary, crushed
1 teaspoon rubbed sage
2 stalks celery, washed and halved
3 small cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1 large onion, grated
1 large bell pepper, seeded and quartered
1 (16-ounce) can chicken broth
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Thoroughly wash and rinse chicken. Pat dry. Rub chicken inside and out with lemon juice (reserve used lemon quarters).
In small bowl, combine seasoned salt, onion powder, garlic powder, rosemary and sage; season chicken to taste (Tillery generally uses all of the seasoning mix). Stuff cavity with celery, onion, bell pepper and reserved lemon quarters.
Bake 1 1/2 hours, basting periodically with broth. Serve with gravy or Creamy Horseradish Sauce.
Makes 6 servings.
Creamy Horseradish Sauce
1 cup sour cream
3 tablespoons horseradish
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1/8 teaspoon paprika
2 tablespoons minced parsley
In small bowl, combine all ingredients. Mix well and chill until ready to serve.
Makes about 1 cup.
Honey Glazed Carrots
3 cups frozen baby carrots, cooked
3 tablespoons honey
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
3 tablespoons butter
Cook carrots according to package directions, drain and set aside.
In medium saucepan, combine honey, sugar, nutmeg and butter. Cook over low heat until sugar is melted and the mixture begins to bubble. Add carrots, mix well to thoroughly coat, and serve.
Makes 6 servings.
Broccoli in Butter Lemon Sauce
2 pounds fresh broccoli spears
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
Salt to taste
1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Place broccoli in boiling salted water; cook until bright green and crisp-tender (10 to 15 minutes).
Remove from the pot; drain well and place on warmed serving platter.
In small saucepan over medium heat, melt butter; blend in flour, salt and mustard to form a smooth paste. Gradually blend in milk. Stir constantly and continue to cook until mixture thickens and begins to boil. Stir in parmesan and lemon juice. Spoon over broccoli prior to serving.
Makes 6 to 8 servings.
Chocolate Amaretto Cake
2 cups sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup cocoa
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 cup water
2/3 cup amaretto liqueur
1/2 cup sour cream
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup sugar
1/8 cup water
1/4 cup amaretto
1/4 cup butter
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a Bundt pan.
In large mixing bowl, combine sugar, flour and salt; set aside.
In small saucepan, bring the butter, cocoa, cinnamon and water to a boil. Remove pan from heat. Add amaretto and pour into the dry ingredients; mix well. Add sour cream, eggs, baking soda and vanilla, stirring after each addition.
Pour into prepared pan and bake 50 to 55 minutes or until a pick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Glaze: In a small saucepan, combine sugar, water, amaretto and butter. Cook over medium-high heat until butter has melted and sugar is dissolved. Drizzle over cake.
Makes 10 to 12 servings.