The Richmond Register

Lifestyles & Community

November 7, 2012

Dinner table most interesting place in the house

Table Talk

RICHMOND — I want to invite you to my new column. I thought Table Talk would be a great way to sit down with you and share many ideas and ways to make meals interesting.

Growing up on a peanut farm in West Texas (Gorman, Texas), I learned as a child that the most interesting place in the house was at the dinner table. Many ideas were shared there over the years. There are talk shows, such as The View, on TV and most of the discussion takes place around a table.

So, I invite you to join me each week around my table to discuss and learn new ideas in the world of cooking and nutrition.

My first subject is the one I love … CHOCOLATE.

The first recipe comes from the area around Letcher County. I was a program consultant for over 20 years for the School and Community Nutrition Division in the Department of Education.

One of my many jobs was to review the cafeterias across the Commonwealth.

One early morning, I had to review an elementary school in Letcher County. I was so upset that the cooks had burned the gravy on the breakfast line. I insisted that they take it off the line.

Much to my embarrassment this was a real, well-known mountain treat for kids called “chocolate gravy.” Please enjoy this recipe.

Chocolate gravy


1/4 cup cocoa    

3 tablespoons flour (a.p.)

3/4 cup of sugar

2 cups of milk

1 tablespoon butter, softened

2 teaspoons vanilla


Beat the cocoa, flour, and sugar together in a bowl until there are no lumps. Pour milk into the mixture and beat until smooth. Transfer this mixture to a sauce pan and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the consistency is similar to gravy, 7 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in butter and vanilla until the butter is melted. This is poured over biscuits for a really good treat.


Another favorite Chocolate item from the school lunch program is:

No-bake chocolate cookies

Servings: 36


2 cups of white sugar        

3 cups quick-cooking oats

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 cup of milk

1/2 cup margarine

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 pinch of salt    

1/2 cup chunky peanut butter    


In a saucepan over medium heat, combine sugar, cocoa, milk and margarine. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Boil for 1 minute, then remove from heat and stir in the vanilla, salt, peanut butter and oats.

Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto waxed paper. Allow cookies to cool for at least one hour. Store in an airtight container.

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