Grandmother, Grandson Enjoy Cooking Together
RANDOLPH — A return visit to retired teacher Judy Stevens home found her baking an Upside-Down Apple Pie with her grandson, Wesley Sluga, who was home for a break from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York.
“I enjoy cooking with Grandma,” says the college senior who is studying Environmental Engineering and who has been on the Dean’s List for four semesters. “I love coming back to big family gatherings.”
“Randolph is a wonderful school for scholarships,” his grandmother interjects. “There are all kinds of scholarships available.”
Mrs. Stevens, a Randolph native, spent many years living away from the area. A temporary move to Albany in order for her late husband, Dixon, to continue his education, turned into a much lengthier stay than the planned two years. They both found jobs, friends and a new life in the area.
She retired from Guilderland School after 34 years of teaching, having taught mentally handicapped children and fifth and sixth grades, including time at C.C. Ring and Rogers Elementary Schools in Jamestown, prior to the move to Albany.
After their daughter relocated to Randolph to help her grandparents, met and married her husband and settled there, the couple decided to move back to the area. They moved to Mrs. Stevens’ hometown in 1994 to not only join their daughter and her grandmother Avis Milliman, but to live in close proximity to Mrs. Stevens’ brothers Jim, Chuck and Fred Milliman and their families.
When the retired educator was last seen on this page on Nov. 11, 2000, the couple were hosting their fifth Spring Street neighborhood brunch. The menu that year was asparagus, crab, ham and plain varieties of quiche, along with fresh fruit salad and buttermilk pancakes. She also served blackberry cobbler, pecan bread, cinnamon-sourdough muffins and chocolate chip bread. The brunch was topped off with coffee, tea and orange juice.
Little Wesley happened to be visiting his grandmother on the day photographer Jack Berger was taking Mrs. Stevens picture, catching the three-year old snatching a banana from a bowl of fruit salad. Even though the college student is 22 years old, she was able to convince him to pose for another banana-snatching picture.
Over the course of the last eighteen years, Mrs. Stevens has lost her husband and the Post-Journal has lost Jack Berger, a well-known, well-liked photographer.
Sluga has worked at Camp Onyahsa for four years as a counselor and more recently as special program director and hopes to be able to go back for a fifth summer to the job he enjoys. He interned at Bush Industries for three weeks in December of 2017, where he worked in product design, purchasing, assembly and human resources. He recently returned from Costa Rica, where he served as a volunteer working with disadvantaged youth.
When her husband was living, the Stevens did mission work and volunteered at the Jamestown Audubon Society.
The grandmother is a member of the East Randolph United Methodist Church where she sings in the choir and is a lay leader. She joined the Randolph Lions Club after her husband, who had been a member, passed away and is a Randolph Free Library and Marvin House board member. She is on the Chautauqua Homes board for United Methodist Women and the Leon Historical Society board.
She enjoys reading and exercising. Travel is another passion. She has been on an Alaskan cruise, a Rhine River cruise, to Ireland and on several trips to Florida.
Her daughter and Wesley’s mother, Janell Sluga, still lives in Randolph and works at Lutheran Social Services where she is in charge of Senior Life Matters. Mrs. Stevens returned to Randolph a year after her daughter’s marriage and was able to watch both Wesley and his brother Wyatt grow up. Her son, Tom Stevens resides in Holliston, Massachusetts where he is a financial officer at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, in Boston. He and his wife have two daughters, Antonia and Lucy.
The recipe for Sharon’s Fruit Batter Cobbler was one of the recipes Mrs. Stevens shared in 2000. It can be made with berries or peaches.
“Uncle Red’s Barbecue Sauce was a big secret. We were allowed to have it after he passed away. We realized it was the Cornell recipe. He had just added eggs.”
The active retiree hopes the readers will enjoy her submissions as much as her family does.
Sharon’s Fruit Batter Cobbler
2 c blackberries, blueberries or peaches
1 T lemon juice
3 T butter
1/2 c milk
1 c flour
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 c sugar
1 T cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt
1 c boiling water
Grease a 9-inch by 13-inch pan. Place fruit on the bottom. Pour lemon juice over fruit. Combine flour and baking powder. Add butter and milk. Pour batter over berries. Combine sugar, cornstarch and salt and sprinkle evenly over batter. Pour boiling water over batter and bake at 375 degrees for one hour.
Uncle Red’s Barbecue Sauce
3 eggs, well-beaten
1 pt cooking oil
1 qt vinegar
1/3 c salt
1 tsp pepper
2 T 1 tsp poultry seasoning
25 chicken halves
Precook chicken. Cool. Place cooled chicken in a sealed container. Try to marinate at least 24 hours, turning chickens several times. Grill chicken.
Aunt Louise’s Baked Beans
1-2 bags dried Great Northern beans
Small handful brown sugar
Soak beans overnight in water. Change water. Cook until beans are tender. Add brown sugar and mustard. Place in baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees approximately 2-1/2 hours or until done, for 2 bags of beans.
Pastry for double-crusted 9-inch pie
5 c sliced fresh peaches
1/4 c sugar
3 T flour
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp cinnamon
1 T almond extract
Mix all ingredients and place in pie shell. Grate nutmeg over ingredients. Adjust top crust and crimp. Bake at 400 degrees for 45-50 minutes.
10 oz frozen broccoli
2 T onion, chopped
1 c chicken broth
3 T butter, melted
3 T flour
2 c milk
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 c sharp cheddar cheese, grated
Cook broccoli and onion in chicken broth. Do not drain. Ion a large pot, blend butter and flour. Stir in milk and cook until thickened, stirring constantly. Add salt and pepper. Stir in cheese and continue stirring until melted. Add broccoli, onion and broth and continue to cook 10-15 minutes.
9-inch unbaked pie shell
4 eggs, whisked thoroughly
2 c thin cream or half and half
1 c Swiss cheese, grated
Dash sugar and cayenne pepper
Cooked bacon, ham, broccoli, asparagus, crabmeat, optional
Pour optional ingredients into pie shell. Combine remaining ingredients and then pour into prepared pie shell (may rub butter inside pie shell) and bake at 450 degrees for 12 minutes and then 325 degrees for 25-30 minutes. Knife will come out clean when inserted, if done.
Upside-Down Apple Pie
1/2 c sugar
3/4 c cold, unsalted butter
5 apples, peeled and quartered
2 1/2 c favorite sweet dough
3/4 c buttered, room temperature
1 c brown sugar
2 T cinnamon
Heat sugar in a non-stick pan, stirring until it is caramelized and golden brown. Stir in cold butter. Stir in prepared apples and continue stirring for five minutes. Remove from heat. Arrange apples, rounded side down, in a cake pan. Set aside.
Split dough in half. Roll each half into a 1/4-inch thick rectangle. Spread with the soft butter. Mix sugar and cinnamon and then sprinkle evenly over buttered dough. Cut each rectangle the long way, into four even strips. Roll first strip, adding the next and the next, until all make one large cinnamon roll. Place on apples. Cover and let rise for 30 minutes. Bake with foil cover, in 350 degree oven for 30-40 minutes. Remove foil and cool for about 10 minutes. Turn out onto platter or board while still warm.