Sunday, February 22, 2009

But that's not all folks! There's MORE

I remember the day I opened what I perceived to be the best gift in entire universe. I was in the fifth grade. It was the winter of 1995.

Insert wavy lines and submerge yourself in a flashback, wait for it, wait for it... NOW.

It's 6:30 in the am. I have quietly (about as quietly as a claustrophobic bull in a china shop the size of an elevator) slunk down the stairs to the recreation room. The glow of the TV illuminates the room to reveal dark wood paneling, fire engine red shag style carpeting, and to complete the look- a pea green couch with a satin sheen. I am the awkward preteen girl in the over sized "DARE" shirt with my bare legs tucked under me Indian style. I try to make myself one with the couch as I wedge myself in for a morning of channel surfing before my older brother awakens from his slumber to take control of the much coveted remote control.

It all began innocently enough. I was surfing the channels with more freedom than I had ever known. Then I heard it. Those words that sealed my fate, "But that's not all folks! There's MORE" That's all it took. I was officially sucked into the the infomercial. I watched and like the little sponge I am, I soaked it all in.

When the commercial was over, I ran upstairs to share my newly acquired knowledge of all things culinary with my mom. I stood in front of the coffee pot where my mom groggily reached around me for the carafe and I proudly announced I knew what I wanted for Christmas this year. I wanted the Ronco Dehydrator. I am fairly certain she put the pot back, pulled her green bathrobe a little tighter, and tried to stifle the laughs that were swelling up inside her. She simply told me to put it on my list and perhaps Santa would bring me (add a small giggle here) a dehydrator.

Well, I waited. And waited some more. On Christmas morning after all the "torture" was over we would open gifts. The torture involved my mom and dad getting coffee, eating breakfast, reading the Christmas story from the Bible, and my dad doing the jumble in the newspaper. A chain of events that most likely took no longer than 25 minutes from start to finish.

There it was, tucked in the very back of the tree. A box that was just about the right size and shape. I tore into it as fast I could. (Cue the heavenly choir) There, in all its glory, was a Snackmaster Jr. Dehydrator. I was the happiest girl in the entire universe.

I think my mom to this day still giggles when she looks back on my choice for the "best Christmas gift ever!" Of course the year I got a sewing machine does rank up there pretty high... and the year I got my very own traditional lefsa making supplies.... or the year I got the "Cheese Bible"... OR the year.....

Well, let's just say it is one of the most memorable gifts I have ever received.

One of the first things I made was homemade steak jerky. This is my base marinade I use often when making a batch. I say base because I like to play with it and make variations depending on what type of meat I am using.

Becca's Jerky Marinade Base

1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/3 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup liquid smoke
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 TBS hickory salt
2 TBS dark brown sugar
2 cloves minced garlic
1 tsp onion powder
3 TBS ketchup
1/2 TBS franks hot sauce

Mix together in a large resealable bag. Allow your choice of sliced meat to marinade at least 4 hours, preferably over night.


  1. We made FAR more turkey jerky than anything else, remember? Ground turkey and liquid smoke. And then we got an extruder to make the ribbons of turkey onto the grid. That was good jerky, too.

  2. Yea, and I still have my jerky gun. But the very first thing I made was steak jerky. And that is what I often make here. I made some turkey and steak jerky yesturday. With turkey breast and top round steak. Turned out yummy!