When The Drum Major Died - Anjuelle Floyd, Author

12:02 PM Posted by Martha A Cheves


A Dinner for Two in thirty Minutes
by Anjuelle Floyd


2 to 4 ¾” cuts of filet mignon
butter
basil
parsley
1 white onion, chopped
salt
pepper
1 bag of leaf spinach
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 bag of salad of your choice
salad dressing(s) of your choice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  While oven is warming, place cuts of filet mignon on a sheet of aluminum foil.  Salt and pepper both sides of each cut of filet mignon.  Place 1-2 squares of butter on each cut.  Add basil and onions.  Once temperature reaches 350 degrees, place in oven and cook for 15-20 minutes turning once.  While filet mignon is cooking, sauté spinach in olive oil for 5-6 minutes adding salt, pepper and garlic as desired.  Remove filet mignon form oven when 20 minutes is up or earlier.  Serve with sautéed spinach and salad with dressing, both of your choice.


When The Drum Major Died – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat; Think With Your Taste Buds; A Book and A Dish

“The thick jungle, and the heat.  It was too much.  They had to cut their way through vines and over growth.  No path had been laid out like usual.  It was native tropical forest, untouched.  They had been through their own war.”  Clifford lowered his head.  He teared up, redness swallowing the whites around his irises.  “Towards the middle of the night the Viet Cong heated up their firing.  We thought it was all over, that in the next moment their entire company would descend on us.  I lost track of Ennis.  Like me he was trying to keep focus on his men amid the fighting and keep them alert.  Firing died down about one the next morning.  We began to hope.  Then one of my men reported seeing a soldier dragged off.  By morning twenty-five men lay with their necks slit.”  “Not more than ten yards from me Ennis lay dead.”…. “I never got to say “Good-bye,” Clifford said, barely audible.  Neither had Florina.

Florina had met Ennis while in college.  They found themselves deeply in love and married just before he left as a First Lieutenant in the US Army on his way to Vietnam.  Many saw him as a white man but Ennis’s mother was of both Negro and Cherokee heritage.  This was no problem for Florina since she was of the Negro race but very light skinned.  But due to his heritage, she decided to keep both Ennis and their marriage a secret from her family until after her graduation.  This never took place.  Ennis was killed in action while in Vietnam.

Life goes on for Florina.  She found a great man and husband in Dr. Redmond Austin, one of only 3 black doctors in the small North Carolina town of Poinsettia… Redmond, his father and Macon Elders.   But as  all lives come with baggage...hers was in continuing to keep Ennis and their marriage a secret, Redmond’s baggage came in the form of Agnes, Macon’s wife as well as their next door neighbor.

Now and then I run across a book that has a story that simply tugs at my heart with its love/hate relationships.  This is one of those books but this is more than just a love story.  I grew up with boys I went to school with being drafted to fight in the Vietnam War.  I grew up with segregation going on all around the little town where I lived just outside of Atlanta.  I also grew up confused as to the way both white and blacks treated the one boy that was admitted to my high school.   He wasn’t accepted by either race.   Why?  He was light skinned.  I never understood the problem.  As I read, When The Drum Major Died, after all these years, I have begun to understand.  If you grew up as a baby boomer, especially in the south, this is a book I recommend you read.  It is beautiful, educational and simply a wonderful book to read.


Stalk Me - Richard Parker, Author

11:34 AM Posted by Martha A Cheves


Barbecue Shrimp
A Richard Parker Special

(This is a great communal appetizer best served on newspaper spread over the dining table.)

8 lb. Large shrimp, unpeeled
2 sticks butter
1 cup Olive oil
8 oz. Chili sauce
3 Tbsp. Worcestershire Sauce
3 Tbsp. Smoky Chipotle Tabasco
2 Lemons sliced
5 Cloves garlic, chopped
3 Tbsp. Lemon juice
1 Tbsp. Parsley, chopped
2 Tbsp. Smoked paprika
3 Tbsp. Oregano
1 Tbsp. Cracked black pepper
1 Newspaper

Wash shrimp and spread out in a shallow pan.  Combine ingredients in a saucepan over low heat for about 10 minutes and pour over shrimp.  Once cooled, refrigerate, baste and turn shrimp every thirty minutes for a couple of hours.  When guests arrive pour some oil in frying pan and cook shrimp for five minutes.  Spread newspaper over table and pour shrimp in center.  Serve with beers, lemon wedges, raucous company and plenty of napkins.
 
Stalk Me - Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat; A Book and A Dish; Think With Your Taste Buds

Beth tried to look up and along the curving road, but her aching spine only allowed her to raise her vision enough to glimpse the bottom half of the skewed camper in front.  The chocolate-brown back doors were mangled and the French license plate lay in the other debris that had been smashed from it, but the vehicle was still the right way up.  In the gap between its underside and the road, she could see a pair of feet moving.  Dark navy trousers and black boots.  She cried out, not recognizing the mournful howl that emerged from her, but hoping it would be loud enough to attract their attention.  Her face dropped into the puddle a second time and she had to blow a few bubbles of air into the water before she could raise her head again.  Beth fought unconsciousness, and when she cracked her eyes and blinked the water from them, somebody was standing beside her, a smudgy black silhouette against the failing daylight.  She opened her mouth, fighting oblivion to alert them to Luc's predicament.  The foot swung back and kicked Beth squarely in the face.  Before the impact embedded her deep into unconsciousness, she heard the squeak of her teeth and a flat crunch as her jaw fragmented.

When Beth woke to find herself in the hospital, the doctors informed her that her jawbone had been in fragments when she was admitted and had to be replaced with plates.  She also learned that she had been in a coma for over eight weeks.   Her first question - "Luc?"  Where is he?  Did her survive the crash?  Unfortunately, the answers weren't what she wanted to hear.  But Beth was soon to learn that this was just the beginning of what awaits her as she travels from France to America in search of answers to the last word Luc uttered to her... "sorry" and the one word she was told he uttered to the emergency nurse at the site "Allegro." 

Author Richard Parker has a knack for writing books that will keep you not only on the edge of your seat but also finding it impossible to put down .  This book is no exception.  Each chapter fills the reader with nail biting action that draws you tightly into the story.   And with the chapters being 1 - 2 pages long, you'll find it hard not to read 'just one more.'  I can never get enough of his books.