The Breathtaking Newsletter from George Rucker for August 8, 2017

Here we are for another Tuesday,

It is difficult to watch or listen to the happenings in Washington DC lately, at least it is for me, tell me again who the third or fourth candidates were.

This week I think I will try to make a pleasant letter about primarily food.  This is a topic I like, I also on occasion will watch a TV program about the subject, although it pretty much has the same plot with every show.

When I go on vacation one of my favorite things to do is eat out.  There are many parts of our country that have exceptional food types.  I will list some of my favorites.  Lets start with the old fashioned BBQ.   Perhaps 40 years ago while stationed at Goodfellow AFB Texas, the church I belonged to had a picnic out by the local river named Rio Concho. This town, San Angelo, TX was put on the map from the weekly TV show “Laugh In” It won the “Fickle Finger of Fate” award not once but twice.

I will mention the two awards as to me they were funny.  First is they built a dam to provide water to the town.  It was quite a large earthen dam.  However the Rio Concho dried up and all they made was one large hill around a dried lake bed - First Award.  Second was laying pipe so they could get water from another lake.  The second lake was about 35 miles away, however when the pipe was completed the second lake had dried up - this gave them their second award.

My daughter Marcy was born in the town of San Angelo, so it gets some points.  The only sculpture I took part in building which is on the face of their town library, a four story project and something I have always been proud of achieving, probably for eternity.  Much of the free labor came from our church.

Back to the BBQ, this picnic had something called a “smoked brisket,” the church smoked perhaps six or seven of these sort of large roast beef looking objects that were ever so delicious.  Other than the back yard grill this was my first experience with smoking beef   My grandmother did have a smoke house for bacon, ham, and sometimes fish, as fish was winter food for our cats, but she never smoked beef.  The smoked meats she cooked did not need refrigeration so it pretty much just stayed in our pantry.  Texas however still makes a great brisket and are pretty much noted for it.

If you ever look at a brisket you will see sort of an oval shaped piece of meat with one side being thicker than the other.  The thin side of the brisket would always cook faster than the thick side so Kansas City, MO sell something called “burnt ends.”  I happen to have a smoker in my back yard and last year I made my first brisket.  It is very extensive as you need to make a rub, let the meat rest and absorb it, then cook the brisket for about 14 hours at a low smoky heat, perhaps 200 degrees.  I cooked the smallest brisket I could find but it was still about 15 pounds.  I experimented with a smoked brisket soup with some of the left-overs.  Well seeing the I could order some of these burnt ends I did so and made a soup for a BBQ party this past week on the Duxbury beach at a friends cottage.

The burnt ends were from a company called: Jack Stack,
I consider this my recipe, and give it the name of Geo’s Smoked Brisket Soup.


Slow Cooker at least 5 but 6 quart is better.
2 quarts beef broth
1 pound of burnt ends
1 15 ounce can of Pinto Beans
1/4 cup of Pearl Barley
2 Tablespoons of Butter
1 small yellow onion - chopped
1/4 cup of BBQ sauce

1 cup carrots – sliced
1 cup corn - best if grilled but ok if not


Put the first seven ingredients into the crock-pot on high for six hours - check and be sure that barley is cooked - if tender continue on.

Add the last two ingredients and cook on low for two hours more.

This soup is good but better reheated on the second day, I found it did not need any seasoning but feel free if you must.


The children were lined up in the cafeteria of a Catholic school for lunch. At the head of the table was a large tray of bread slices. The nun posted a sign on the bread tray, "Take only one. God is watching."

Further along the lunch line, at the other end of the table was a large pile of chocolate chip cookies. One child whispered to another, "Take all you want. God is watching the bread."


This is a salad that keeps for about three days.  This was also for the beach day BBQ in Duxbury this past week.  It is a recipe from Southern Living, September 2011

A video is available at

Broccoli, Grape, and Pasta Salad


    1 cup chopped pecans ½ (16-oz.) package farfalle (bow-tie) pasta 1 pound fresh broccoli 1 cup mayonnaise 1/3 cup sugar 1/3 cup diced red onion 1/3 cup red wine vinegar 1 teaspoon salt 2 cups seedless red grapes, halved 8 cooked bacon slices, crumbled

How to Make It

Step 1 Preheat oven to 350°. Bake pecans in a single layer in a shallow pan 5 to 7 minutes or until lightly toasted and fragrant, stirring halfway through.

Step 2 Prepare pasta according to package directions.

Step 3 Meanwhile, cut broccoli florets from stems, and separate florets into small pieces using tip of a paring knife. Peel away tough outer layer of stems, and finely chop stems.

Step 4 Whisk together mayonnaise and next 4 ingredients in a large bowl; add broccoli, hot cooked pasta, and grapes, and stir to coat. Cover and chill 3 hours. Stir bacon and pecans into salad just before serving.


Nothing with zucchini in it tastes good.
Me: I bread to differ.


Time to move to dessert. . .  As a child I liked refrigerator cake.  It was something like my step-mother made and something my grandmother did not.  I have tried to replicate the recipe a few times but never could quite make it right.

This would not be her recipe as hers were either strawberry or raspberry.  It however does get 5 stars and takes roughly 25 minutes to make then 7 hours in the freezer.

This recipe is from Pillsbury so it will have their products used.

Icebox Cookie Cake


1 roll (16 oz) Pillsbury™ refrigerated chocolate chip cookies
½ cup hot fudge topping
2 containers (8 oz each) frozen whipped topping, thawed


1  Heat oven to 350°F. Line 2 cookie sheets with cooking parchment paper or silicone nonstick baking mats. Line 9x5-inch loaf pan with 2 layers of plastic wrap, leaving lots of overhang.

2  Drop 1-tablespoon balls of dough from 1 roll (16 oz) Pillsbury™ refrigerated chocolate chip cookies on cookie sheets. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely, 20 to 25 minutes.

3  Heat ½  cup hot fudge topping as directed on jar until spreadable but not completely melted. (If too hot topping will melt whipped topping.) Meanwhile, spoon 2 containers (8 oz each) frozen whipped topping, thawed, into medium bowl. Fold hot fudge topping into whipped topping.

4  Spread one-fourth of whipped topping mixture in bottom of loaf pan. Place 8 cookies evenly on top of mixture. Continue making 2 more layers until pan is full and using a total of 24 cookies and 4 layers of whipped topping mixture.

5  Wrap overhang plastic wrap over top of loaf pan. Freeze loaf at least 6 hours or until firm.

6  To serve, uncover pan. Place serving plate upside down over top of pan; turn plate and pan over. Remove pan; remove plastic wrap. If desired, drizzle cookie cake with additional hot fudge topping and crumbled cookies.

7  Cut while frozen with sharp serrated knife. Cookie cake can be served frozen or let slices stand at room temperature 15 to 20 minutes before serving.


A general store owner hires a young attractive female clerk who likes to wear very short skirts and thong panties. One day a young man enters the store, glances at the clerk and glances at the loaves of bread behind the counter. Noticing the length of her skirt and the location of the raisin bread, he has a brilliant idea.

"I'd like some raisin bread please", the man says politely. The female clerk nods and climbs up a ladder to reach the raisin bread, which is located on the very top shelf. The young man standing almost directly beneath her is provided with an excellent view, just as he surmised he would be.

Once she descends the ladder he muses that he really should get two loaves as he's having company for dinner. As the clerk retrieves the second loaf of bread, one of the other male customers notices whats going on. Thinking quickly, he requests his own loaf of raisin bread so he can continue to enjoy the view. With each trip up the ladder the young lady seems to catch the eye of another male customer. Pretty soon each male patron is asking for raisin bread, just to see the clerk climb up and down.

After many trips she is tired, irritated and thinking that she is really going to have to try this bread for herself! Finally, once again atop the ladder, she stops and fumes, glaring at the men standing below. She notices an elderly man standing amongst the crowd staring up at her. Thinking to save herself a trip, she yells at the elderly man, "Is yours raisin too?" "No," says the old man "....... But its startin' to twitch."


Some of our vacations have been in Tennessee.  Now there is a place that knows how to smoke pork.  They do well with ribs and are super with pulled pork.  Tennessee is also great with bourbon.  If you get a chance to take a tour of the Jack Daniel’s Distillery in Lynchburg, Tenn is worth the time.

Although both of the Carolinas do well with smoking meat, I however am not fond of their BBQ sauce, perhaps due to the use of vinegar and mustard mixed in.  I prefer to have a sweeter taste of honey or brown sugar in a tomato base.

We live in perhaps one of the seafood capitals of the United States.  Most who read my letters are from this area and are well aware of more than one restaurant that excels in seafood.

Now for the state of Maryland who make perhaps the best crab cakes in the country.  If you plan a vacation to catch a weekend baseball game with the Red Sox playing the Orioles you will be staying in the city of Baltimore.  The best hotel as recommended by Trip Advisor is Hampton Inn Baltimore-Downtown-Convention Center.  This hotel is literally across the street from the Camden Yards gate.  It has baseball themed decorations and free breakfast.  It is a perfect choice if you have children and are attending an evening game.  You will avoid the experience of marching your exhausted child through the crowds to that hotel that seemed sooo much closer on the way to the game.

The best crab cakes I have ever eaten were made in the city of Baltimore.  You can get an order shipped to your home from  from Faidley Seafood or by phone (410)727-4898

Faidley's World Famous Crab Cakes if you want to make they yourself.

These take a while to make, but are worth it. I got the recipe years ago from the newspaper.  Faidley's is in Lexington Market on Eutaw St. in Baltimore, MD.

    Crab Cakes

    1 lb large lump crabmeat, picked over
    1 cup crushed saltine
    ½  cup mayonnaise
    1 egg
    1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
    1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
    1 dash Tabasco sauce

    vegetable oil (for frying) (optional)
    clarified butter (optional) or olive oil, for sauteing (optional)

    Tartar sauce (you might want this recipe to keep for your fish dinners)

    1 cup mayonnaise
    ½  cup finely chopped dill pickle
    1/4 cup minced onion
    2 tablespoons chopped parsley
    1 tablespoon pickle juice


    Crab cakes: Spread the crab meat out in a flat pan and sprinkle the crushed saltines over the top.

    In a small bowl, mix mayonnaise, egg, mustard, Worcestershire and tabasco.

    Pour the mayonnaise over the crab meat and gently toss or fold the ingredients together, taking care not to break up the lumps of crab meat.

    Let the mixture sit for 2-3 minutes before forming the cakes.

    Form the cakes by hand or with an ice cream scoop into 8 mounds about 3" in diameter and 3/4" thick.

    Do NOT pack the mixture too firmly.

    The cakes should be as loose as possible, yet still hold their shape.

    Place the cakes on a tray or platter lined with wax paper, cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before cooking.

    Tartar sauce: In a bowl, mix mayonnaise, dill pickles, onion, parsley and dill pickle juice.  Chill for at least 1 hour.

    To fry: Pour oil into a heavy skillet to a depth of about 1 ½".  Heat oil and fry crab cakes, a few at a time, until golden brown, about 4 minutes on each side.

    Remove with a slotted utensil to a paper towel to drain.

    To broil: Slip them under a preheated broiler until nicely browned, turning to cook evenly, about 4-5 minutes on each side

    To sauté: Heat a small amount of clarified butter or olive oil, or a combination, in a skillet and sauté the cakes, turning several times, until golden brown, about 8 minutes  total cooking time.

    Serve at once with tartar sauce on the side.


John was starving!! He was stuck in a small hick town, lost and hungry. He was happy when he saw a small restaurant coming up on his right. John quickly pulled over, parked his car, and walked inside.

John noticed a blackboard with a sign written in yellow chalk, “Today’s Special: Vegetable Soup with Fried Chicken and Grilled Vegetables.”

“I’ll take the special”, said John to the waiter when he came to take his order. A few minutes after receiving his order John called over the waiter, he was fuming mad. “IS THIS THE SPECIAL!? It says vegetable soup, BUT THERE ARE NO VEGETABLES! It says grilled vegetables, BUT THEY AREN’T GRILLED THEY ARE BAKED!? And it says fried chicken, AND THE CHICKEN ISN’T FRIED!?

The waiter was not used to city folks and their attitudes and frankly he was not going to put up with this behavior. “My dear man,” said the waiter looking down at John over his glasses, “that is what makes it so special!!!”


“You name it, we’ll make it!” Was the big sign outside the new restaurant on 13th Avenue. “There is no food we can’t make for you!” “Excuse me sir”, said a man with a heavy Russian accent to the waiter, “I vould like please, A Garden Salad vith Russian dressing.” “RUSSIAN DRESSING?! Screamed the head cook, “I’VE NEVER EVEN HEARD OF RUSSIAN DRESSING! WHAT ARE WE GOING TO GIVE THIS GUY? “Don’t worry,” said the owner to the cook, “I’ll take care of everything, you just make the salad.” And that’s how it happened that two minutes later the waiter walked out with a big Garden Salad and a picture of a Russian man putting on his pants.


“Oh no! not leftovers again!” complained my older sister when she saw the leftover meatloaf on the table from last nights supper.

“Young lady” responded my father sternly, “do you know how many people would love to have a delicious supper like this?! You should be ashamed of yourself! Now before we start eating I want to hear you say grace thanking the Lord for this delicious meal!”

“Thank you Lord for this delicious supper”, muttered my sister submissively “….again!”


Jim was in a bad mood, and anyone who got in is way was going to regret it. Jim walked into his favorite restaurant and plopped himself down on a chair. “Get me a steak well done with mashed potatoes. ” Three minutes later when his order came, Jim screamed “DIDN’T YOU HEAR ME SAY WELL DONE?!” “Why thank you sir” the waitress smiled, “that was the first compliment I got all day!”


 Once upon a time, there were three kingdoms, all bordering on the same lake. For centuries, these kingdoms had fought over an island in the middle of that lake. One day, they decided to have it out, once and for all.

The first kingdom was quite rich, and sent an army of 25 knights, each with three squires. The night before the battle, the knights jousted and cavorted as their squires polished armor, cooked food, and sharpened weapons. The second kingdom was not so wealthy, and sent only 10 knights, each with 2 squires. The night before the battle, the knights cavorted and sharpened their weapons as the squires polished armor and prepared dinner. The third kingdom was very poor, and only sent one elderly knight with his sole squire. The night before the battle, the knight sharpened his weapon, while the squire, using a looped rope, slung a pot high over the fire to cook while he prepared the knight's armor.

The next day, the battle began. All the knights of the first two kingdoms had cavorted a bit too much (one should never cavort while sharpening weapons and jousting) and could not fight. The squire of the third kingdom could not rouse the elderly knight in time for combat. So, in the absence of the knights, the squires fought.

The battle raged well into the late hours, but when the dust finally settled, a solitary figure limped from the carnage. The lone squire from the third kingdom dragged himself away, beaten, bloodied, but victorious.

And it just goes to prove, the squire of the high pot and noose is equal to the sum of the squires of the other two sides.

Comment. . .

Looks like he attacked from the right angle.


A tourist is trudging through Australia’s Great Victoria Desert. …

He’s completely lost, and he’s quickly running out of water. His vision is rather impaired, and he can tell that he’s only got a few more hours before he’ll pass out.

Suddenly, he accidentally steps on a rattlesnake! Before he can jump away, it hisses, bites him directly in the leg, and slithers off. The man panics. He had read about venomous snakebites in a book, and this one was usually fatal. His vision starts to blur. He swallows dryly, and accepts his fate. Finally, he loses his balance, and passes out in the sand.

Miraculously, a local hiker finds him. He carries him back to his lodge, and tends to his wounds. When the man awakes, he solemnly asks, “Was I brought here to die?”

“Nah mate,” replies the Aussie. “Ye were brought here yester-die.”


Three contractors are bidding to fix a broken fence at the White House in DC:
One is from New York , another is from Tennessee and the third, is from Florida . All three go with a White House official to examine the fence.

The Florida contractor takes out a tape measure and does some measuring, then works some figures with a pencil. 'Well,' he says, 'I figure the job will run about $900: $400 for materials, $400 for my crew and $100 profit for me.' The Tennessee contractor also does some measuring and figuring, then says, 'I can do this job for $700: $300 for materials, $300 for my crew and $100 profit for me.' The New York contractor doesn't measure or figure, but leans over to the White House official and whispers, '$2,700.' The official, incredulous, says, 'You didn't even measure like the other guys!

How did you come up with such a high figure?' The New York contractor whispers back, '$1000 for me, $1000 for you, and we hire the guy from Tennessee to fix the fence.' 'Done!' replies the government official. And that, my friends, is how government contracting works!


George        For a copy in your email put letter in the subject line and email

as usual older copies at the bottom of with the additional pictures and video from Walter.