Me: Hello, Olive. Nice to meet you.
OA: Nice to meet you, as well.
Me: I understand that you are a character in Lucky Change.
OA: Yes, I am in charge of Relief Society meetings, you know, the ones that we used to call Homemaking and then Enrichment. I preferred Homemaking meeting myself, but that is probably because I am partial to homemaking and housekeeping.
Me: I hear you are a wonderful housekeeper.
OA: Oh, thank you! I'm so glad somebody noticed. Sometimes I feel that Arthur just doesn't appreciate all that I do.
Me: Many women probably feel that way about their husbands. We probably forget to notice all that they do for us as well.
OA: I suppose so.
Me: I understand you are in the same ward as Karen Donaldson.
OA: Oh my, yes. Don't remind me!
Me: Is there a problem between you and Karen?
OA: Earlier this month we had our regular meeting, you know the one. I don't know why they had to change the name, especially when they didn't change it to anything. I don't like it when they change things. I like a place for everything and everything in its place. I marched into Rex's, I mean Bishop Parley's, office and asked him what my calling was now. I used to be Enrichment Leader. Now I don't even know what to call myself. Person who plans Relief Society meetings that aren't on Sunday? I feel as though an important part of my identity is missing.
Me: I can see how that could be distressing for someone who doesn't deal well with change. Acutally, I sort of understand. That is the calling I have right now, although I'm sure my meetings are very different from yours. I live in Hawaii. We just did an evening we called "Going Coconuts" where we learned how to husk a coconut and all about the history and uses of coconuts. We displayed crafts made from coconuts. Then we had recipes the sisters brought with coconut in them. You should try Lani's Coconut Curry. Good stuff! I made homemade Mounds Bars. They were a little sweet.
OA: So at our last evening Relief Society meeting, which is what I've decided to call them, I had a wonderful fall recipe, Caramel Apple Bread Pudding. The sisters loved it. I had made recipe cards for everyone, hand-done scrapbooked 3-D recipe cards with individual apples and autumn leaves on them.
Me: Of course, those 3-D recipe cards fit so nicely into the recipe file box.
OA: (raising eyebrows) They are meant to be esthetically-pleasing as well as functional. If you have a recipe card holder, they add a decorative touch to your kitchen during the fall season. I swap out a different scrapbooked recipe card in my card holder each month. This one looks very elegant on the counter next to a cornucopia of decorative gourds.
Me: Sounds lovely. So was the meeting a success?
OA: Oh, as always, Karen was there with her outbursts. I am trying to encourage our sisters to eat healthy, so I had the fat-free version of this recipe prepared. Karen, of course, had to comment on that.
Me: What did she say?
OA: She said something like "Oh you take all the fun and the fat out of everything, Olive." All the sisters laughed, of course. They always laugh at Karen. She needs to slim down considerably, but she seems oblivious to that fact. Karen is oblivious to just about everything, come to think of it. Then the next week she came to me and told me she had revised the recipe and put the fat back in it and made a double recipe. She told me how over the course of a week, she ate an entire pan herself--a 13 by 9 pan, mind you. Not an 8 by 8.
Me: So are you going to share the recipe?
OA: Certainly. In a large bowl, combine 1 cup of unsweetened applesauce and 1 cup of fat-free milk, 1/2 cup of brown sugar, and 1/2 cup of egg substitute, 1 teaspoon of vanilla, and 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon. Fold in five cups of cubed day-old bread and 1/2 cup of chopped peeled apple. Pour into an 8 by 8 baking dish coated with cooking spray. Bake at 325 degrees for 35 - 40 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Serve warm with fat-free whipped topping and fat-free caramel ice cream topping.
Me: Sounds delicious, but I have to admit, Karen's version sounds interesting as well.
OA: She used 2% milk, two eggs instead of the egg substitute, Hawaiian sweetbread, and whipping cream and regular caramel sauce. And I think she said she threw in some chopped pecans.
Me: Olive, I would love to talk with you further, but I just got an urge to go the grocery store and pick up a few ingredients.
OA: The fat-free version was really quite tasty.
Me: I'll let you know which one I try.
OA: Well, that's fine. Arthur should be arriving home soon, anyway, and I really must go get dinner started.
Me: Perhaps we can chat again. I'd love to get more homemaking tips from you.
OA: Oh, my files are very full. I've got every issue of Martha Stewart Living.
Me: No wonder your home is so lovely.
OA: Why, thank you! Here, let me give you one of the recipe cards. I always make a few extra, for those who don't make it to the meetings.
Me: I understand Karen never misses a meeting.
OA: Oh, I live for the day I can give a housekeeping hint without Karen heckling me with her tips on how to avoid housework.
Me: I'll have to ask her about that.
OA: Prepare for an onslaught. She never runs out of ideas for how to be more of a slob. Oh my goodness, look at the time. The meat has been marinating far too long on one side. I didn't realize we'd been chatting for so long. I must go. I simply must go.
Me: Thank you for your time.
OA: Perhaps we can talk again. I could use somewhere to vent about Karen.
Me: Okay, I'll be in touch later. Enjoy your dinner.
OA: Thank you. I'm sure we shall.