Last week, Longview lost a fine person who was a talented, superb cook. My good friend and a friend to many people in East Texas, Linda Graham, was seemingly doing fine, when suddenly she was struck down with a brain tumor.

We were sharing recipes, joking around, as usual each Thursday when I visited with her at Creative Images Beauty Salon where I go each week for a hair and therapy session. She was there three weeks ago. Suddenly, she was gone. It happened so quickly.

Linda Graham had been my friend for more than 40 years, and some of my favorite often-made recipes are from her. The first recipe of Linda’s that I am going to share with you is one that is a favorite of my friends and family. It is very easy to make, but so hard for me to keep up with. In fact, I know I called Linda at least 10 times to get the recipe. The last time I did, she said,”You’d better keep it this time because I am NOT going to give it to you again.” I keep it posted on my bulletin board. Her sister and daughter both agreed that we know she really would have patiently given me all 4 ingredients again.

Linda’s Pineapple (Can be sugar-free) Pie

1 small package instant vanilla pudding

8 ounces sour cream

1 can (14 ounces) crushed pineapple, including juice

8 ounces frozen whipped topping

Shortbread crust

Mix pudding with sour cream and pineapple. Stir in slightly thawed frozen topping.

Pour into shortbread crust (Linda was the first to tell me about these.)

Chill before serving. You can use sugar-free pudding, pineapple in natural juice, low-fat sour cream and frozen whipped topping.

Another recipe of Linda’s that she often brought to the salon is her pimiento cheese. It is really good, and spicy, but not too much.

Linda Graham’s Pimiento Cheese

1 pound cheddar cheese (Linda said that it is much better if you grate it yourself, and I agree.)

4 ounces chopped pimiento, drained well

1 can Rotel tomatoes, drained well

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 cup mayonnaise

Mix well and serve for sandwiches or on crackers. Will keep in refrigerator for at least a week.

Another of my favorites of her recipes also is sugar free. This has been served at her church, First Lutheran, for many years as a “standby” punch. (She was very active in her church, as a member of the bell choir and on the hospitality committee.)

Sugar-free “Any Flavor” Punch

1 small container strawberry-kiwi Crystal Light mix (or any flavor)

1 (2 liters) bottle Diet 7-up

Pour 7-up in a pitcher and mix in Crystal Light. Serve chilled over ice in punch bowl. An ice ring can be made from this, adding fresh fruit such as lemon or lime slices, fresh strawberries, or maraschino cherries. Then put in punch bowl just before serving.

Treasure your friends. Think of them often, and remember them through their recipes.


Isn’t technology wonderful? Well, most of the time. Well, sometimes! Last week a little technology gremlin got into the computer and changed all the “1/2” and “1/4” signs into something that looked like crosses or plus signs. Here are the recipes again:

Uncooked Chow-Chow

3 medium heads of cabbage

8 medium carrots

12 large onions

4 red bell peppers

4 green bell peppers

1/2 cup salt

3 pints white distilled vinegar

6 cups sugar

Grind all vegetables in food grinder. (I use a food processor to finely chop.) Place vegetables in large glass or plastic bowl, or crock and let stand for two hours. Place in large colander lined with a clean dish cloth. Let drip for 30 minutes. Mix vinegar and sugar, bring to boil, and pour over vegetables which have been put back in large bowl. Mix well, and seal in jars. Keep in refrigerator. Makes 14 pints. You can half the recipe.

Many years ago my friend Libby Novy gave me this very good and practical recipe for dill pickles. It makes 1 jar at a time, therefore, you can make as many as you want or as many as you have available cucumbers to use.

Crispy Dill Pickles

For each quart of pickles use:

Enough medium –size cucumbers, washed, to fill jar (wide-mouth jars are easier to use)

1 piece dill

1 tablespoon salt

1 teaspoon sugar

1/2 cup white distilled vinegar

1 jalapeno pepper, if desired

2 or 3 cloves of garlic, if desired

Enough cool water to fill jar

Put clean lids on jars, tighten and shake well. Place jar or jars in deep pan or kettle of cool water so that jars are covered. Bring to boiling point. When water boils, remove jars and tighten lids to seal.

Many of us have an abundance of jalapeno peppers. Here is a good way to use them.

Pickled Jalapeno Peppers

Wash peppers and place in 2 pint jars

1 cup white distilled vinegar

1/4 cup water

1/4 cup olive oil

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon mixed pickling spices

Mix ingredients and bring to boil. Cover peppers and seal jars. Place in deep pan. Cover with cool water. Bring to boil and remove. Tighten lids.

If you have questions, please email me at the address at the bottom of the column.

-Barbara Richardson McClellan is a longtime food columnist and has written three self-published cookbooks. Her column appears in the News-Journal’s Taste section each Wednesday. write her at or in care of the Longview News-Journal, P.O. Box 1792, Longview, TX. 75606.