Celebrating Life

snoopOn my way home from coaching basketball yesterday, I was listening to WGN; my favorite talk radio station out of Chicago. I could tell right away that there was something wrong by the somber mood of the speaker. There had been a plane crash. Two small planes collided into each other over a northern suburb of Chicago. What made the story hit close to home was that Bob Collins, the morning show man for WGN, was the pilot of one of the planes and had been killed. (I’m sure that many readers have tuned in “Uncle Bobby” on their car radios in the Midwest.)

Later that night, as I made my 40 minute drive to my third shift job, I listened as the station reminisced and paid tribute to a man who was loved by many. They told story after story, describing him as the ultimate friend, and a man who had lived life to the fullest. Genuine love and affection poured in from all over the country. The more I listened about how this man had influenced those around him, the more discouraged I became.

Why you ask?

I was discouraged because I wanted to know why we as a culture, wait until somebody has passed away before we1 human tell them how much we love them? Why do we wait until someone’s ears can’t hear before we let them know how much they mean to us? Why do we wait until it is too late before we recall the good qualities of a person? Why do we build someone up after they have gone into eternity? What good does it do then! We share memory after memory, as we laugh, cry, and think back about what was positive in a person’s life. Yes, it does help us cope with the grief of losing someone that was special to us. And yes it does bring those who are coping, closer together.

But as we lovingly remembered this person, our words fell short of the ears that most needed to hear them. – Bob Collins.

1 friendsJust once I would like to see a celebration of life, instead of a gathering of death. A celebration where stories are told, eyes mist over, laughter rings out; and as the speaker concludes his or her loving tribute, the person they are honoring rises from their chair and gives them the biggest bear hug! Wouldn’t that be something! The special person gets to hear the stories and come to the realization that they have made a difference on this earth. And all this is done well before they leave their earthly bodies and go into eternity. And when the inevitable funeral finally comes, we can say good bye with the knowledge that they knew exactly how people felt about them while they were here on earth.

I now have a stronger resolve to tell those around me how much they mean to me. I am going to let my wife know just how loved and appreciated she is, not only by my words, but also by my actions. I am going to play Batman with my four year old more often, and in the middle of our romping, I am going to grab him, hug him tightly, and tell him how thankful I am that he is my son. I am going to sneak into my sleeping toddler’s bedroom, place my lips on his chubby cheek, and thank God for the bundle of joy he has brought into my life. Each day I will make a point to tell both of my boys how much I love them, whether they are four or eighteen! From there, I am going to let family and friends know the tremendous impact they have had on my life. And last but not least, I am going to let the high school players I coach know that I look forward to each and every minute that I get to spend with them in the gym.

1 sweet 2Do you love someone? Then tell them! Has someone been an influence in your life? Then give them a call! Has someone made a difference in your life? Then write them a letter or send them an email! Don’t let another day go by without letting that person know. There is something special about a written letter that expresses feelings of love towards another. I don’t know about you, but I have letters and cards from people that I have saved for years, and from time to time, I get them out and reread them. They can turn a depressing day into one where you realize just how blessed and loved you are.

Life is too short to leave kind words unsaid. The words you say, or the letter you write, might just make all the difference in the world.

Author Unknown

Featured Recipe:   Bubble and Squeak



For some reason we Americans think a corned-beef dinner is Irish. However, according to Wikipedia the origins of corned beef is really not known, but are probably actually English, not Irish.

St. Patrick’s Day Menu

Since Bubble and Squeak  uses both potatoes and cabbage I always think of Bubble and Squeak as Irish.  So I am sharing it with you today in case you are looking for something a little different from the usual Corned Beef for St. Patrick’s Day next week.

Bubble and Squeak, like Corned Beef,  is a traditional English dish made from the vegetable leftovers of a pot roast dinner.

I don’t care if it is English! I am going to be eating Bubble and Squeak next Monday in honor of St. Patrick and the Irish and their great contribution to American life and culture.

The name Bubble and Squeak comes from the bubbly squeaky sounds the dish makes as it cooks. [See below where the squeak comes from. You may be surprised!]

I have tried a dozen or so Bubble and Squeak recipes. Most are dreadful. Avoid the ones using mashed potatoes. If you have leftover mashed potatoes just make potato cakes.

two 1But my absolute positively favorite Bubble and Squeak recipe is from the old cooking show, Two Fat Ladies Cook. This show was immensely popular back in the days when the Food Network was really about cooking and food and not about game shows and cut throat cooking.

The two fat ladies are Jennifer Patterson (now deceased) and Clarissa Dickson.

They loved strong flavors like anchovies and garlic like I do. And. AND. They were not shy about cooking with lard. The food police were not as active then as they are today.

Both my maternal grandmother and my mother cooked with lard. They saved beef drippings too and used it in their cooking. It really does impart great taste. And since the two fat ladies  recipe calls for lard it is THE best Bubble and Squeak around.

This is Clarissa Dickson’s recipe from Cooking With the Two Fat Ladies, Clarkson Potter Publishers, 1996.

The squeaky sounds mentioned above will ONLY be heard if you cook the vegetables in real lard or beef drippings.

If you object to using lard read the Quote of the Day at the bottom of the page.

This is what you need for 3-6 people:

3 cups cold cooked potatoes (about 6 medium potatoes)*

¼ cup drippings or lard** (4 tablespoons)

1 onion minced

1½ cups chopped cooked cabbage or Brussels sprouts

Salt and pepper

* Can use left over potatoes. Or cook the night before to make this recipe quicker.

** Lard can be purchased in most grocery stores.


Here is what you do:

Peel and cook the potatoes in water that covers them. About 20-30 minutes should be fine, but use a knife or long toothpick to test the potatoes. You don’t want them too soft but more on the hard side; so don’t over cook.


Completely cool the potatoes. You might want to cook the potatoes the night before and then you will have a quick and easy meal to fix the next day. Or use up left over potatoes.


When completely cooled chop the potatoes into medium chunks.


Chop the onions.


Then melt half of the lard/fat in a large frying pan and lightly fry the onions until edges start browning.


While the onions fry chop the cabbage. I use a medium chop.


Gently mix  the potatoes  unto the onions.  Add half of the remaining lard. Then top the potatoes with the cabbage. Season with the salt and pepper.



Press the bubble into the hot fat with a large spatula and fry over moderate heat until browned underneath – about 15 to 20 minutes. Press the vegetables often with  he spatula. This will ensure the potatoes will brown.


Turn the bubble over (This will have to be done in sections.) add the last of the lard and fry until the other side is browned, again about 15 minutes and pressing down with the spatula.

Serve with tomatoes and seven grain bread.



Bon appétit!!!


As a side dish this can easily serve 4-6 people.

As a complete meal this can easily serve 3 people.

3 cups potatoes                                 $1.38

¼ cup drippings/lard                          $0.28

1 onion minced                                  $0.99

1½ cups chopped cabbage                 $1.45

Salt and pepper

Total cost = $4.10
Per person cost as side dish = $0.68
Per person cost as a meal = $1.37

This is a very budget friendly dish no matter how you serve it.

Quote of the Day:

There is no substitute for lard or beef drippings – if you object, eat something else.

Clarissa Dickson


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3 comments to Celebrating Life

  • The Two Fat Ladies used more lard than made sense and when they weren’t using lard they were using butter. I loved them to bits though. I knew Bubble and Squeak was English and I’ve eaten it here quite a few times. I don’t recall them using cabbage down here. It’s always leftover veggies and an egg. I need to try your recipe.

    I want you to know how much you mean to me. Your positive posts and information are a constant inspiration. You’ve always got a kind word for everyone and that means a lot.

    • Roberta

      Yes, the history of Bubble and Squeak is that ANY left over vegetable was and still is used in this tasty dish. I did not include that in my post for brevity’s sale.

      Thank you for your very kind words Maureen. 🙂 Blessings to you and your wonderful family.

  • Lovely recipe. I was thinking of making something like this for St. Paddy’s Day.
    As far as love and death… I agree. We always need to tell the people we love that we love them. I never hang up the phone without saying “I love you” to my parents, my kids, my cousins, my husband, my friends.
    It’s really important because we can lose everything we love in a heartbeat.