I am very happy to welcome Tori Whitaker today in support of her new book, Millicent Glenn’s Last Wish, now on tour with TLC Book Tours. Please read on to learn all about the novel and then check out this exclusive guest post with a recipe for Chicken Fricassee.
About Millicent Glenn’s Last Wish:
Three generations of women—and the love, loss, sacrifice, and secrets that can bind them forever or tear them apart.
Millicent Glenn is self-sufficient and contentedly alone in the Cincinnati suburbs. As she nears her ninety-first birthday, her daughter Jane, with whom she’s weathered a shaky relationship, suddenly moves back home. Then Millie’s granddaughter shares the thrilling surprise that she’s pregnant. But for Millie, the news stirs heartbreaking memories of a past she’s kept hidden for too long. Maybe it’s time she shared something, too. Millie’s last wish? For Jane to forgive her.
Sixty years ago Millie was living a dream. She had a husband she adored, a job of her own, a precious baby girl, and another child on the way. They were the perfect family. All it took was one irreversible moment to shatter everything, reshaping Millie’s life and the lives of generations to come.
About the Author:
Tori Whitaker grew up in the Midwest. She now resides outside of Atlanta, Georgia, where she and her husband of more than forty years live near their two sons and their families. Tori belongs to the Historical Novel Society, and her feature article, “Multi-Period Novels: The Keys to Weaving Together Two Stories from Different Time Periods,” appeared in the Historical Novels Review. Tori graduated from Indiana University and is chief marketing officer for a national law firm. She is also an alum of the Yale Writers’ Workshop. Millicent Glenn’s Last Wish is her first novel.
Authentic Post-WWII Fare
My debut novel shifts between the modern day when Millicent Glenn is 90 years old, and the late-1940s-1950s—the post-war baby boom. As a young housewife, Millie prepares full meals every night. She tries to decide what celebratory menu she’s going to make to announce her long-awaited pregnancy to her husband, Dennis. She considers cooking Chicken Fricassee but decides on an elaborate picnic in Cincinnati’s Eden Park instead. Too bad Millie’s pesky sister-in-law Abbie had other ideas. Let’s just say the celebration didn’t come off as planned. While I was researching the historical period in ladies’ magazines of the era, I came upon the following recipe. As it happens, in the late 1970s, my maternal grandmother had cooked an updated version of this dish when I was home from the hospital with my first newborn son. I recall her using Campbell’s Cream of Chicken Soup, thinly sliced onions, and button mushrooms. But no doubt, Grandma had once cooked the recipe from scratch. The phrasing here is interesting, don’t you think? It’s clearly a recipe from another time.
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Source: Ladies’ Home Journal Magazine, October 1951
- Get as large a fowl as possible and have it cut into pieces for serving.
- Cover with 7 cups boiling water, add 1 tablespoon salt and cook until tender.
- If you use a pressure cooker, give it 20 minutes at 15 pounds.
- If you use a stewing kettle, bring to a boil, lower heat, cover and cook gently until tender, about 1 ½ hours.
- Let chicken stand in broth overnight in a cold place—either the refrigerator or out of doors. The fat will congeal on the top. Remove it, but don’t throw it away, because it’s excellent for frying. Potato pancakes fried in chicken fat are really something.
- Take out the pieces of chicken, scrape off the jellied broth which will cling to them and arrange them in a shallow casserole.
- To make the sauce for the chicken, melt 3 tablespoons butter or margarine and 1 tablespoon chicken fat, stir in 4 tablespoons flour and cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
- Add 1 cup chicken broth and 1 cup top milk and cook, stirring constantly, until mixture has boiled briskly for 1 minute. Add salt if needed, and ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper. A few pinches of saffron will give the sauce a lovely yellow color as well as a delicate flavor all its own. If used, the saffron should be added to the flour and fat with the liquids.
- Spoon the sauce over the pieces of chicken in the casserole.
- About half an hour before serving time, put casserole in a moderate—350 degrees—oven.
- Before serving garnish with parsley and paprika. Serve with hot cooked noodles.
Chicken fricassee is a popular meal and has several different methods of preparation. I have a recipe that I use that is one of our favorites around these parts. It’s wildly different from the one above and the first time I read it I was sure I wouldn’t like it because of one ingredient – anchovies.
But the little fish melt down into an amazing sauce. This chicken recipe takes a while to make but it’s worth the time investment. When I make it, I serve it over rice. So try one or the other but either way you will be making a recipe that has been around for a long time.
You can read Millicent Glenn’s Last Wish while you enjoy your old fashioned dinner.