Three days into a brand new year comes with the usual resolutions that seem to fail for me if it has anything to do with food.

And that includes calories we knew nothing about while growing up and the memories that go with it. It also takes me back to a time when we saved our chewing gum by sticking it on the bedpost at night to chew again after breakfast the next day — an idea endorsed by a popular song. It must have had something to do with bubble gum becoming somewhat extinct during World War II when Gerhardt’s Drug Store on Atwood Avenue no longer stocked it.

What a dilemma that was. One day, while playing hopscotch in the middle of the street, someone hollered that it was back on their shelves. We ran in different directions, returned with a few pennies in our pockets, then headed in that direction to celebrate the news by buying gum.

Memories like those become tomorrow’s treasures especially when they taste as good as a fresh bubblegum wrapped in paper twisted at both ends.

Another long time ago, when I was 7 years old and on my way up north with my parents and sister to spend a week at a cottage on a lake known for its fishing, we stopped along the way for lunch on Main Street in Bloomer. At that time, the small restaurant left a huge impression on me because of the many pies they baked every day and who gave two thoughts back then to calories?

To continue with delicious memories from the past is a recipe — clipped from a 1982 newspaper — that Barry Goldwater, Republican senator from Arizona, sampled on a TWA (Trans World Airlines) flight out of Los Angeles. He liked it so much he asked the airline for the recipe and Mike Duarte, director of dining service, responded.

Cream of peanut soup

1 cup chopped celery

1 cup chopped onion

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons flour

2 quarts chicken broth

2 cups milk

2 cups light cream

1 cup peanut butter (smooth)

¼ teaspoon each salt, pepper & paprika

Simmer celery and onions slowly in butter for 10 minutes in large kettle. Make a paste of the flour and ½ cup broth and stir in celery and onions. Stir in the remaining broth. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture bubbles and thickens. Add milk, cream and peanut butter. Whip until smooth and creamy. Simmer for five minutes. Do not allow mixture to boil. Stir in salt, pepper and paprika.

Serves 8-10

One of the most requested recipes in recent years has been mushroom soup from a variety of eating establishments here in town and elsewhere. Unfortunately, none have been willing to share their recipes. Recently, while paging through “Taste of Home’s Prize Winning Recipes,” I happened to find a recipe shared by a Beverly Rafferty, Winston, Oregon, who once owned a small restaurant in Arizona where she made this recipe every day and never had any left over. I’m hoping this will please those whose requests have not been filled.

Marvelous mushroom soup

½ pound fresh mushrooms, sliced

1 large onion, finely chopped

1 garlic clove, minced

½ teaspoon dried tarragon

¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

3 tablespoons butter

¼ cup all-purpose flour

2 cans (14 ½ ounces each) beef broth

8 ounces sour cream

½ cup half-and-half cream

½ cup evaporated milk

1 teaspoon lemon juice

Dash hot pepper sauce

Salt and pepper to taste

In a Dutch oven or soup kettle, saute mushrooms, onion, garlic, tarragon and nutmeg in butter until vegetables are tender. Stir in flour until smooth. Gradually add broth; bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to low; slowly add sour cream. Cook and stir until smooth. Stir in cream and milk. Add lemon juice, hot pepper sauce, salt and pepper. Heat through, but do not boil. 6 servings

On Christmas Eve, my 17-year-old grandson Nate asked if he could stop by to make his favorite cookie with me.

It happens to be a cucidati recipe from one of my Greenbush cookbooks. As a senior at La Follette High School, he also asked how long it would take and when I responded with 2 ½ hours, plans were instantly made.

He appreciated taking a cooking class at school a few years ago and was anxious to learn more. When we finished with the frosting, he shared comments about other favorite recipes, which included a few others I’ve prepared in the past.

I thought now would be a good time to share these with others, as well.

Tomato pesto tart

½ of a 15-ounce package of refrigerated pie crusts

2 cups (8 ounces) shredded mozzarella cheese, divided

5 plum tomatoes, sliced

½ cup mayonnaise

¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

2 tablespoons basil pesto (See: Note)

½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

Unroll pie crust on a lightly greased pizza pan or roll into a 12-inch circle on a lightly greased baking sheet. Brush outer 1-inch crust with water. Fold edges up, crimp and prick bottom. Bake at 425 degrees for 8-10 minutes. Remove from oven.

Sprinkle with 1 cup mozzarella cheese; cool 15 minutes. Arrange tomato slices over cheese. Stir together remaining cup mozzarella cheese, mayonnaise, Parmesan, pesto and pepper. Spread over tomato slices. Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Remove from oven; sprinkle with chopped fresh basil.

Here is a great snack any time of the year from Kevin Roberts of Busy Bee who sells his honey at the North Market in Belmont, Ohio.

Honey-spiced nuts

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons honey

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 ½ cups pecan and/or walnut halves

In saucepan, melt butter. Stir in honey, cumin, salt and red pepper. Remove from heat. Add nuts; stir to coat. Spread in 9x13-inch pan. Bake uncovered in a 325 degree oven for 15-18 minutes or until nuts are toasted, stirring once or twice. Spread on piece of foil to cool. Store in airtight container. Makes 2 ½ cups.

And another favorite snack idea.

Italian popcorn

3 tablespoons butter

3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

½ teaspoon dried oregano leaves, crushed, or combo of dried oregano and basil

6 cups popcorn

In small saucepan over low heat, melt butter with cheese and herbs; cook 2 minutes. In large bowl, pour butter mixture over popcorn; toss until well-coated. Store at room temperature in covered container.

Contact the Cooks’ Exchange in care of the Wisconsin State Journal, P.O. Box 8058, Madison, WI, 53708 or by email at