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Cooking With Myra: Meeting the parents

By By Myra Starkey
Feb. 21, 2012 at midnight
Updated Feb. 20, 2012 at 8:21 p.m.

Savory Cheese and Chive Bread

Bacon Cheddar Quick Bread

5 bacon slices, chopped 1 cup coarsely grated extra-sharp cheddar cheese, plus 1/2 cup 1/4-inch cubes extra-sharp cheddar cheese (about 6 oz. total) 1/2 cup finely chopped moist dried pears (about 31/2oz.) 1/3 cup walnuts, toasted, chopped 1 Tbsp. minced fresh sage 13/4 cups all-purpose flour 1 Tbsp. baking powder 1/2 tsp. salt 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper 3 large eggs 1/3 cup whole milk 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Generously butter 81/2

Combine bacon, all cheese, dried pears, walnuts, and sage in medium bowl. Whisk flour, baking powder, salt and black pepper in large bowl to blend. Whisk eggs, milk, and olive oil in another medium bowl to blend. Pour egg mixture over flour mixture and stir just until dry ingredients are moistened. Add bacon-cheese mixture and stir until incorporated (dough will be very sticky). Transfer dough to prepared loaf pan; spread evenly.

Bake bread until golden on top and slender knife inserted into center of bread comes out clean, about 55 minutes. Cool bread in pan 5 minutes, then turn out onto rack and cool completely.

Savory Cheese and Chive Bread

13/41 Tbsp. baking powder11/21/43 large eggs1/31/31 cup coarsely grated Gruyere or cheddar cheese1/21/21/3Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a loaf pan (glass Pyrex is also OK). Whisk flour, slat and pepper together. Put the eggs in a bowl and whisk, then add milk and olive oil. Whisk together. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry and gently stir together with a spatula. Incorporate the cheese, herbs and walnuts. Your dough will be sticky and thick. Do not over stir. Spoon into a buttered loaf pan. Bake for 35-45 minutes. Test to make sure the bread is baked throughout. Remove and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Invert and serve.

Spencer is our youngest son, almost 21 years old, and a junior at Baylor University. He may have noticed that his grandfather, John, met and married a Baylor girl (O'Neill, in 1953) and that his father met and married a Baylor girl (Myra in 1982).

I have heard Taylor say to him with a grin that he didn't necessarily need to study 100 percent of the time, that Baylor might be a good place to find a wife, only I'm not sure whether he was kidding when he said it.

Just like lots of college campuses, Baylor has many cute and eligible females. Spencer has been a keen observer of that fact. He has had a lot of dates. His major is environmental studies and his minor is female sociology . or maybe I have that backward.

When we went to Waco last fall to visit Spencer, we were sitting in a restaurant, and he pointed to a cute young co-ed who was eating with her family at a corner table. He told us that he was just starting to date her.

In our day, we called that going steady. We asked Spencer to text her so she could come over to meet us. We reminded Spencer that fine parents such as us would probably be a real plus in his efforts to win the affections of his new girlfriend. He only rolled his eyes and said that it was way too early for her to meet the parents.

Fast forward to last week. Spencer called home and asked if we wanted to come to Waco for a visit. He thought it might be a good time for us to meet Rachel. In addition, the mighty bears would be playing basketball, and Baylor was also having their annual student sing and dance review.

There would be plenty to do. Actually, even if nothing else was happening, I was eager to meet his new friend. They have been going together for about four months, so I guess they are getting rather serious, especially since Spencer has not ever been one to settle down with just one girl.

We went to Waco last weekend and did get to meet Rachel. She is a nice, young lady who most parents would probably approve of their son dating. She is either fairly quiet or more likely was just nervous to be around a couple of middle-aged parents like us. We did our best to keep our questions light-hearted and non-threatening, such as "What's your major?" and "How was it to grow up in Longview; and have you ever wanted to live in South Texas?" and "How long have your parents been married?" and "Do you go to church regularly?" and "We would really love to have grandkids someday. Do you think you would like to have lots of kids?"

Actually, we did not really ask her all these things, at least not directly or all at once.

It was very cute and amusing to watch the two of them interact. Young love or what may be better known as infatuation looks a lot different than the mature love that I am familiar with around my house. I am not saying that Taylor and I don't have moments in which our relationship has the spark of early romance, but when you have been married for almost 30 years, love just looks a little different than when a couple first meets.

The two of them seem to want to be together most all their waking hours. When she talks, he is smiling and looking at her and vice versa. They almost eagerly anticipate the next spoken word of each other as if they cannot wait to hear what the other has to say.

She laughs a lot at what he says even though it may not be all that funny. They sometimes hold hands when they are walking. He occasionally pats her on the knee when they are sitting side-by-side. He often opens her car door. She got out of the car to stand by him when he was filling up with gas, just to be next to him. He finds joy in thinking of romantic stuff for them to do.

For example, on Valentine's Day he got the keys to the rooftop of a tall building and took her up there for a surprise windy picnic overlooking Waco. Oh, the simple joys of young love.

We had a fun weekend eating out and just hanging around the campus. I can still remember some of the fun times that I had when I was a student at Baylor, but since it has been 30 years, some of those memories are getting a little hazy. One thing I do recall clearly is a first date I had my junior year at Giovanni's Italian Restaurant with a young pre-med student from Victoria named Taylor.

I prepared a couple of quick breads to serve with cheese as appetizers. These would also be good served as a dinner bread or toasted in the morning for a savory egg and toast breakfast. Enjoy.

Myra Starkey lives in Victoria. Write her in care of the Advocate, P.O. Box 1518, Victoria, TX 77901, or email myra@vicad.com.

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