Ann Bonney’s Popcorn Balls


  • 2 Cups molasses
  • 2 Cups granulated sugar
  • 1 Cup water
  • ¼ Cup vinegar, plus additional seen notes
  • ¼ Cup butter
  • 1 Cup raw popcorn, popped


  1. Combine molasses, sugar, water, and vinegar in a saucepan.
  2. Cook liquid ingredients to soft boil, 255F on a candy thermometer.  Fine bubbles will form, and the liquid should form a soft ball when dropped into a glass of water.
  3. Remove from heat, and add butter, stirring until it is completely incorporated.
  4. Pour mixture over popped corn and form into balls.
  5. Wrap individually with plastic wrap.


  • Do not make on inclement days
  • Use vinegar on your hands to keep the mixture from sticking to your hands when forming balls.
Source: Ann Bonney, Portland, Maine, circa 1960

Merry Christmas

Christmas tree with blinking lights

A Visit from Old St. Geek

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a hard drive was whirring, nor clicking of mouse;
The PC’s were unplugged from the network with care,
In hopes that a new version soon would be there;

The users were safe at home in their beds,
While screenshots of a new interface danced in their heads;
And the sys admin in his jeans, and I in my suede,
Had just hunkered down for a version upgrade,

When from the hard drive there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the seat to see what was the matter.
It clanged and it ground and smoke it did spew
And I swore I could smell the NIC frying too.

I reached for the keyboard and those magic three keys
But not in time could I get to “CTRL-ALT-DELETE”
The hard drive kept charging like some renegade
And I knew we were at the mercy of this version upgrade.

So outside I went for a nicotine binge
Knowing my job on this upgrade did hinge!
The vendor had promised this software would work!
But now where was he? At home, like a jerk!

The moon shone bright on the two cars in the lot
Just mine and the sys admin’s, that sorry sot.
When what to my wondering eyes should appear
A man in a VeeDub, smiling from ear to ear.

In his bag he carried books of languages of yore,
Pascal, Fortran, Cobol, Basic and more.
With a pocket protector and a shirt that was untucked,
I knew my problems were solved; I was no longer in trouble.

Yes I knew in an instant tho I could hardly speak,
I had been blessed by a visit from old St. Geek.
His clothes were unkempt; his shoes could have been cleaner,
But I was just happy to see his calm demeanor.

I stood there staring like a stop for the door
When he snapped his fingers and said, “Quick! To the raised floor!”
So I led the way down the halls to the IT server room
I led him in the door and not a moment too soon.

He jumped to the console and had nary a query,
The sys admin was nervous but I said, “Don’t be leery,”
“This man is exactly the resource we seek,”
“This man is none other than old St. Geek!”

With sweat from his brow and fingers that blazed,
He tickled the keyboard o’er the floor that was raised.
He got to a dialog where I thought he should click “OK”
But he knew the renegade software would say, “No Way”

With skill and aplomb he rescued our server,
He answered each prompt with incredible fervor.
The noise from the hard drive began to slowly subside,
And I could tell he’d be successful in turning the tide.

The server stopped groaning, and clanking and clinking
Not long after that the right lights were blinking.
He glanced at us over his shoulder, never missing a command,
And with a wink and a nod, said, “Who’s your Geek, man?”

He cleaned up the evidence of our upgrade gone awry,
And I knew in the morning the CIO would not cry.
My job would be spared and I am eternally glad,
For old St. Geek and the bag of tricks that he had.

He returned to his VeeDub and opened the moon roof
And ‘ere we could snap a picture to claim as our proof
He punched it and laid rubber but I did hear him say,
“Happy Holidays to all, and to all, safe upgrades!”

©Gordie Zeigler 12/2004, NewVa Corridor Technology Council
Obviously inspired by Clement Clark Moore via Canonical List of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas Variations

A cogent review of the holiday season…

A cogent review of the holiday season via @wordpressdotcom Anatomy of the holidays

Merry Christmas

Avoid romanticizing what it would be like to be in a relationship with someone who truly understood who you were deep down, laughed at your jokes, held you every night, and placed your happiness above everything else in the entire universe.

From: How To Navigate The Holidays Alone, The Onion

The Creamery Chocolate Pumpkin Pie



  • 1½ cups flour
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup sifted unsweetened cocoa power
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 6 Tablespoons ice cold butter, cut up
  • 5 Tablespoons ice cold water


  1. Sift together dry ingredients.
  2. Cut cold butter into the dry ingredients to the consistency of coarse meal
  3. Mix in cold water to form dough.
  4. Refrigerate for one hour before pressing into a 10-inch pie plate.



  • 1 can (1 pound) solid pack pumpkin
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 (1-ounce) squares unsweetened chocolate, melted
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup half-and-half
  • Whipped cream, optional


  1. Preheat oven to 350F
  2. Place all ingredients except whipped cream in a blender and blend until smooth.
  3. Pour into prepared pie shell.
  4. Bake 65 minutes or until a knife inserted in center comes out clean.
  5. Chill well before serving.  If you wish, top with a dollop of whipped cream.


  • It will continue to cook after removing from the oven, so mostly clean will probably do, I would err on slightly towards underdone instead of over cooking, and perhaps check at 60 minutes.
  • Serves 8.

Nutritional information per serving

  1. Calories … 440
  2. Carbohydrates … 66g
  3. Protein … 7g
  4. Fat … 14g (Saturated 11g)
  5. Cholesterol … 85mg
  6. Sodium … 230 mg
  7. Calcium … 66mg
  8. Dietary fiber … 5g
  9. Weight watchers points+ … 11
Source: Star-Tribune, circa 1984-2000

Herbed Leek Gratin


  • 3 pounds slender leeks, trimmed
  • ½ cup whipping cream
  • ½ cup chicken broth
  • 3 Tablespoons snipped fresh marjoram, or 2 teaspoons dried marjoram, crushed
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1½ cups fresh French or Italian bread crumbs
  • 3 Tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3 Tablespoons butter, melted
  • Fresh marjoram sprigs (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 425F.  Generously butter a 2 quart au gratin dish, or rectangular baking dish.  Trim roots of leeks leaving pieces 4 to 5 inches long with white and pale green parts.  Cut the leeks in half lengthwise and clean thoroughly under running cold water; pat dry.  Arrange leeks just side down in the baking dis, overlapping as necessary to fit.
  2. Combine the cream and broth; pour over the leeks  Sprinkle with half of the snipped marjoram, salt and pepper.  Cover the dish with foil; bake 15 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, in a small bowl combine the bread crumbs, cheese, melted butter, and remaining snipped marjoram.  Uncover leeks and sprinkle with bread-crumb mixture.  Bake uncovered for 10 to 15 minutes more or until leeks are tender and crumbs are golden brown.  Top with several marjoram sprigs, if desired.


Makes six servings. Nutrition facts per serving:

  1. Calories… 237
  2. Fat… 15g (Saturated 9g)
  3. Cholesterol… 46 mg
  4. Sodium… 476mg
  5. Carbohydrades… 23g
  6. Fiber… 2g
  7. Protein… 4g


  • Always a favorite with my brother-in-law, Jack at Thanksgiving.
  • Fresh sourdough bread makes a good choice for the breadcrumbs also.
Source: Better Homes and Gardens, December 2000