On Sunday, November 26, 1972, Maine food writer Marjorie Standish’s column featured recipes for Ritz Cracker pizzas, broiled cheese on sesame rounds with onion salt, and Helen Robinson’s Seafood Newburg. Who was Helen Robinson? I don’t know, but I’ll find out.
The column headlined “Try These Snacks on Football Fans” and Marge said the mini-pizzas were “so delicious” that “you will find the men especially like them.” The recipe was courtesy of Mrs. Sylvester (Marion) Poor of Augusta. (I’ll find out.)
I have a sleeve of Ritz Crackers in the cupboard. I may cook up some mini-pizzas for Sunday night’s Super Bowl feasting. So what if the New England Patriots aren’t in the mix? The playoffs were relaxing and enjoyable without football’s “evil empire.” Is it the end of the dynasty? I don’t know. I had to tune out the Boston sports chatter after the team’s crushing defeat to the Tennessee Titans on January 4. I was free to cheer Mike Vrabel’s Titans past the wretched Ravens and love Patrick Mahomes like a son as the Chiefs piled on the points against the Texans. The NFC? They had teams playing too.
Countering the post-holiday torpor and tonnage, I’ve been outside every day since January 1, walking, hiking, or snowshoeing. And I just finished an intermittent fast so I can fit into my “skinny jeans” for the real Super Bowl competition, Beyoncé and Shakira. The men I’ll be watching football with “especially like them.”
Marjorie Standish was not only Maine’s first foodie, she was a football fan. She wrote about it often in her fall and winter columns. In the Ritz Cracker column mentioned earlier, she wrote that December 1, 1962 was “one of the nicest days of” her life. This was the day she and her husband George went with friends to the Army-Navy game in Philadelphia. She said they took the train from Penn Station in New York City and she remembered the picnic hampers, the thermos bottles, and heavy coats as everyone piled into the trains. She said “it would be hard to describe the color and thrill of the traditional pre-game activities. That day we watched Roger T. Staubach play for Navy – he is now with the Dallas Cowboys.”
She remembered surprisingly seeing acquaintances from home in the midst of the thousands of anonymous faces.
After the game, she recounted “then walking down the platform to our train, we saw a group gathered on the track next to ours. There was the presidential car with John F. Kennedy waving and smiling to us all. We watched the train pull out into the late, beautiful afternoon sunset.”
Marjorie Standish wrote about her Maine cooking life, simply highlighting the joy of Ritz crackers, friends, and sunsets. It was a different world, for sure. My own “get outside every day” in January project has been filled with beautiful sunrises, sunsets, and a few Ritz Crackers. Like the Norwegians, I’ve embraced the winter weather without complaint. Things like long underwear, insulated boots, and a mink coat have helped. And here we are, the last day of January, 2020.
There have been so many beautiful days in January it’s hard to decide which one was the nicest. Dear sweet January, I love you from the bottom of my Baumer’s Field heart. See you next year!