It’s all Midtown

I taught one of my favorite lessons this week, maybe because I don’t really get to teach at all, but see how well my students actually listen to me!  I took my Housing & Interior Design class on a walking field trip through our Midtown Neighborhood on a beautiful Fall day.  This unit we have been discussing American Housing Styles, from Colonial to present day architecture.  Teaching this stuff can get really stuck in your brain, and I warned them this might happen.  They’ve been complaining about not being able to drive around town anymore without thinking, “What a great example of a Greek Revival”.  Oh, how that makes me smile when I hear that!

Central High School Est.1893

We have the great privilege of having our school in the midst of Ozarks architectural history, our actual building being at the core.  To apply their knowledge and review for the test, we oohed and awed at the neighborhood homes, in which some are over a 100 years old.  I loved hearing them scream, “Mrs Dameron, did you see the sweet turret on that house?” and “Look at the pediment and pilasters on that one!” Too fun!

Queen Anne Style- Benton St.


September 28, 2011. Interior Design. 1 comment.

A Glimpse Into the Past

For the past 2 weeks my Fashion Design students have been researching and creating presentations on a particular fashion decade.  This is one of my favorite projects to facilitate and to grade.  The girls have so much fun looking through websites to find examples of Fashion Icons, Make Up and Hair trends, and are even inspired to dress in reflection of their time period.  I always have to break up the fights over who gets the 60’s and pull teeth to get anyone to research the 90’s!  Come on, the 90’s were a terrible decade for fashion……… which makes it all the more fun to look at!

This year I have the special treat of bringing in an actual vintage dress from 1950 to show them.  My grandmother has been divvying out her prized possessions to any grandchild who will take them off of her hands, and of course is always taking requests.  My latest plea was to own her stunning pink floral chiffon dress.  Even as a little girl I saw the absolute beauty of this simple little dress my grandfather bought her when they were first married.  Always a tom-boy, my grandmother claims to have only worn it once (maybe!).   I certainly got more use out of it than she did, since I insisted on playing dress up in it every time I spent the evening at her house. 

I’m inspired to keep a few of my favorite garments as keepsakes, no matter how out of style they become.  Who knows, maybe one day my grandchildren will argue over the right to inherit my “Softball Babes” uniform t-shirts.  But, probably not.

September 21, 2011. Fashion, I love my job!. 1 comment.

Safety 1st!

Before we let any student get their grubby little hands on our kitchen equipment, we…well, teach them why their hands shouldn’t be grubby!  The last 2 weeks I have said the words, “Trichinosis” and “Staphylococcus” more times than I can remember (the kiddos love it when you say big funny words).

As Home Cooks, there are a few essentials that we all need to remember.  We get into the groove of how our own kitchens run, and we can sometimes overlook dangerous violations of safety and sanitation.  So, as a reminder to keep our families and  friendly patrons safe, here are few friendly reminders from my lesson plans this week. 

1. NEVER thaw meat in a warm water bath.  OK, I admit I am guilty of this one when dinner needs to be made in a pinch.  But, bacteria breed like bunnies between the temperatures of 41*-135*, and putting frozen chicken in a sink full of warm water for an hour is just asking for it.

2. NEVER leave food at room temperature for more than 2 hours.  This is an important rule to remember with the holidays coming up.  The same principle of the “Danger Zone” as mentioned in #1 applies.  Only, after 2 hours the bacteria have grown SO MUCH that it can be almost impossible to get rid of them, even after re-heating.  Don’t let grandpa talk you into taking a nap in front of the TV after lunch, get your booty in the kitchen and pack up that turkey!

3. NEVER throw water on a grease fire.  Don’t tell me you’ve never had a little grease fire before!  And if you haven’t, you will!  I’m astonished by the number of students who look at me like I’m nuts when I tell them not to throw water on it.  Scary.  Basically, water and oil don’t mix and dousing water on the fire will throw the flaming grease all over the kitchen. Bad news.  Suffocate the flames with a lid or cookie sheet, then throw on Baking Soda.  Not salt, not flour…Baking Soda.  If you want to ruin your pans and cook top, try the salt or flour.

Happy & Safe Cooking!

September 15, 2011. I love my job!. Leave a comment.

Comfort Food: Mom’s Hamburger Supper


The first unit of most FACS classes begins with a unit about “WHY ARE YOU LEARNING THIS?’, so I’ve been talking a lot of about why we wear clothes (Fashion), live in houses (Interior Design), eat in restaurants (Culinary Arts) and today………..choose to eat certain foods (Nutrition).  One of those reasons being for Psychological reasons.  A big reason we eat certain foods is for the way they make us feel emotionally.  We can simply smell the food circling around the kitchen and it can take us back to a different time.

I made my favorite comfort food the other day after a friend gave me a whole lot of ground beef!  I never buy beef, so I took the opportunity to reminisce my favorite childhood meal: Mom’s Hamburger Supper.  She calls it Hamburger Dinner for 2 since she and my dad made it up when they were newlyweds and were flat broke.  That should answer the question of ingredients, there aren’t many!

Since I have never done things exactly the way my mom told me to, here is my version of her yummy, comforting meal!  Her version calls for a can of Cream of Mushroom soup instead of making the gravy from a roux: but that’s how I roll.

Hamburger Supper
1/2 pound ground beef
1 T flour
1 cup milk
1. Season the ground beef with Worcestershire sauce, chili powder & garlic powder.  Form into thin patties.
2. Fry patties in a skillet (cast iron preferably) on Medium heat until cooked thoroughly.  Remove to a paper towel lined plate.
3.  Remove enough of the grease until only 1 tablespoon or so remains, keep all the yummy crispies!
4. Make a roux: That’s fancy for stir in the flour until it forms a paste.  Keep stirring it around until you smell a nutty aroma and the paste is a little darker.Whisk in the milk and stir like crazy while the mixture heats up and thickens.
5.  Add the patties back to the skillet and let simmer 5 minutes.
6.  Serve with veggies and mashed potatoes!


September 1, 2011. Family Life, Recipes. Leave a comment.