The Richmond Register

November 7, 2012

Dinner table most interesting place in the house

Table Talk

By Arritta Morris
Register Food Columnist

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.

Moon craters

While working at EKU as a food service manager in Martin Hall, I had a student worker who misread the recipe for brownies one day.

The recipe called for a marshmallow icing. He used the brownie cake mix we had on hand, but instead of making the marshmallow icing, he mixed the miniature marshmallows in the brownie mix.

When the brownies baked, the marshmallows came to the top and burst, thus creating a crater.

The students named this treat “moon craters.” It was a hit for many years on our serving lines.

The marshmallows give the brownies a different taste. I wonder if that student is still making brownies this way.

Diabetes a growing problem

Diabetes is a growing problem in this country. From time to time, I would like to give you some recipes for the people who have needed recipes to help with the daily living with this disease.

Kim Decoste, diabetic educator for the Madison County Health Department, provided me with this recipe:

Chocolate syrup


1/3 cup of Splenda        

1 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch

1/3 cup of cocoa powder (not drink mix)

1 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch

1-160 ml. of evaporated milk 2 percent or fat free milk (not condensed sweetened milk because it contains high amounts of sugar)

1/3 cup of water


Heat water. Add cocoa, stir until dissolved. Mix together remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Simmer one minute

1 tablespoon = 9 to 10 calories

1 tablespoon =  2.5 gms carbohydrates

Class for diabetics

The Madison Country Health Department will be starting a new class for diabetics. Please contact Kim Decoste at 623-7312 to register. These classes are free.

Also don’t forget Diabetes Day 2012 on Saturday, Nov. 10, at the First Presbyterian Church, 330 W. Main St. in Richmond, from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Lots of free information and screenings will be available.

Hope to talk to you again next week around our table.

Arritta Morris has a bachelor’s degree in nutrition from Eastern Kentucky University and a master’s degree in counseling. She is certified as a Food Service Specialist by the School Nutrition Association.