Henry and Margaret review 8 months of recipes (Part I)

I’m turning this post over to these two…

H&M9416b copyHenry and Margaret Coombs.

I was going to do this myself, but Margaret wrote and told me she and Henry have tried all the dishes and recipes I’ve blogged about since late December last year, and were happy to add their two cents about them. So I’ll sit back and keep pressure-canning my potato-leek soup, and work on my pasta sauce tomorrow. Here’s Margaret and Henry:

• It’s mostly me, Margaret, but Henry adds a note from time to time. Let’s start with seafood, which is easy for me to talk about since I make a lot of it:



Baked Oysters

I tried these a few weeks back. Added bacon, chopped onion, and grated parmesan. Came out very good. I give it 4 out of five “thumbs up,” like this (even if they’re not quite thumbs) —


Fish ‘n’ Potatoes (House Bankin’)

3779031204_ed883e32af_zHad a great uncle, since gone by, who fished out of the outports along the southern part of Newfoundland. I know his wife made this supper often. Henry and I do it maybe twice a year.

Henry: a little plain-tasting, but filling.

3 thumbs out of 5 from both of us —



Deep South Cajun Gumbo

Henry: when she did this, I couldn’t talk to her for two hours, for all the stirring she had to do!

Don’t mind Henry. This is worth it, and people can’t get enough of it, over rice or straight. All thumbs!



Best-ever Baked ScallopsDSC_9687 copy

This is my own recipe, so 5 thumbs from me, with or without mushrooms. I got held up a bit on the cooking, because I was in town buying sherry for it when Martin Chase called me and said somebody had switched around his plug wires on his small block 350 in his old truck in the supermarket parking lot, maybe it was the Narnlinger kid, and did I know the firing order by any chance, and I said to him I’ve had


to memorize it as 1-8-4-3-6-5-7-2. and start at 1 o’clock on the distributor and you should be fine. But I had to stay on the phone till I know he had it right and the engine ran smoothly. I could’ve done it myself but he shops at a different market, a few miles across town, so I had to talk him through it.

Henry: I like it with mushrooms.

Me: No never mind to me, and you liked it without mushrooms, too. Mushrooms make it pretty rich.


Smoked Mussels

Henry did this one, smoked with apple chips instead of hickory. It’s good to eat them within a few days, because even if they’re smoked they don’t keep forever.

Henry: Good as an appetizer.

Both of us like it.


Sauteed soft-shell crabscrabs and shrimp

I think this looks better than it tastes. Shrimp were fine. Crabs were squishy.

Henry: I didn’t eat them.

Me: They were okay, not great.


Grandma’s Quahog Chowder

littlenecksWell, this is a picture of clams on the half shell, and not chowder, but I did make the chowder once, when I was down seeing my sister in Rhode Island where they’ve got quahogs practically coming up out of drainpipes, and I made it the same way even though I hadn’t seen the recipe, so it seems if you want a broth-y chowder this is the way it’s been done for a long time. 4 thumbs this time.


Henry: Wish you’d brought some back with you from your sister’s.

Me: Well, I would’ve but we ate it all. Remember, Joey and Sadie were with me and they got into it like you wouldn’t believe.

Henry: Well, maybe next time then.

Some Soups

Let’s get started on some soups, and then I have to clean out the fuel filter on the splitter because she keeps revving and coughing, and I think we got some sawdust in the tank that’s causing the problem. First the onion soup.

DSC_5328 copy

Best-ever French Onion Soup

Plenty of onions, plenty of beef stock, and I agree it’s okay to cheat and throw in some onion soup mix to crank it up. But most important is the gruyere cheese, or in an emergency a strong swiss or something akin to that. Gruyere is best.

Henry: And don’t hold back on it. Let it drip over the sides.


Perfect five thumbs up!

Henry: Wish I could help you with the splitter.

Me: You will, when your back gets better.

Henry: Yep.


I guess we’ll hear more from H&M next time… thanks to them for checking in.

There it is, for now.

Ned White

About Ned White

Ned White is a writer, novelist, crossword puzzle constructor, traveler through 49 states, and at times a danger in the kitchen. He lives with his wife in South Thomaston.