Wednesday, May 23, 2018
News Roundup

Generosity, kitchen tips captured in San Antonio woman's new cookbook

SAN ANTONIO

As an army major's wife in Yokohama, Japan, Louise Clift needed to feed her four boys from a hot plate on an end table in the living room. German Marrow Ball soup with dumplings, barley and vegetables became a staple. Only on Saturdays would they splurge on sweets. They had fun frying fresh doughnuts in the bottom of a double boiler while melting icing in the top half. With limited supplies Clift got creative. She covered cardboard with tin foil for cookie sheets and used an ice pick to poke holes in a mayonnaise jar lid for a lemon grater.

"I had to improvise to accomplish my role," Clift, 92, said. "When my husband was recovering from malaria in Tokyo, I learned the art of Chinese cooking from the Benedictine nuns of Peking."

While stationed in the Mojave Desert she practiced cake decorating and picked up more approaches to cooking in New Jersey, Arkansas and Tennessee. The Clifts returned to Florida in 1966 when Graydon retired from the military.

It became her chance to serve. A native of San Antonio and a registered nurse, she grew up during the depression with a vegetable garden and fruit trees. When she moved back as an adult, she earned an army of friends and supportive neighbors by spreading comfort to the sick with her homemade dishes and offering culinary contributions to local fundraisers.

Firefighter Ted Stephens recuperated from complications of rheumatoid arthritis while eating Clift's precious gems and pound cake for nearly five years.

"It was the only thing he wanted to eat," his wife, Anne, said. "He retired and is doing great now. I have to say that Louise is like the Rock of Gibraltar. She's our everything and her cooking is just inspirational."

Sue Davis has been Clift's hairdresser for 12 years. Her silent auctions attracted many more than regular salon customers, thanks to Clift's baked goods.

"Louise puts her heart into everything and at the same time is embarrassed by it," Davis said. "Her hummingbird cake brought $65."

Enter Connie Reynolds, who had the know-how to get Clift published. In November 2012, at her mother Pat Reynolds' funeral, Reynolds admits to craving a piece of Clift's pecan pie.

"That's when I knew I needed to honor my mother's friend by publishing her cookbook," said Reynolds, a 58 year-old psychotherapist. "We started compiling Louise's favorite recipes last September."

Reynolds found publisher Morris Cookbooks, chose a template and printed 300 copies. Together they launched Food by Louise Clift. They had a book signing at the St. Charles Inn Bed and Breakfast, owned by the Stephenses.

Clift's secret for her pastries is texture. She rarely uses a modern food processor or watches television cooking shows. She can't live without her KitchenAid mixer or her hand-cranked Mouli grater. She only fries with Crisco, always uses extra-large eggs and prefers butter over oleo.

One of her special ingredients is baking ammonia as a substitute for baking soda. A precooked teaspoon can be used as smelling salts. But along with nutmeg, sherry, rum and brandy, it frequently flavors her pastries.

Graydon, a veteran of the Battle of the Bulge and the Korean War, died during their 65th year of marriage in 2010 at 95. His portrait in dress Army uniform hangs in Louise's favorite room, the kitchen.

She deflects praise for her cookbook toward Reynolds. "I never toot my own horn," she said.

Reynolds insists, though, that while it's all fun for Clift, "the time for feedback for all her years of generosity has finally come."

Comments
Ex-wife said heart attack, but court record says Hillsborough developer was strangled in North Carolina home

Ex-wife said heart attack, but court record says Hillsborough developer was strangled in North Carolina home

A prominent Hillsborough County developer who died last month in North Carolina was strangled and police are investigating his death as suspicious, court records show. William "Bill" Bishop died in a hospital three days after his 16-year-old son repo...
Updated: 7 minutes ago
For starters: Rays vs. Red Sox, with Archer facing Price

For starters: Rays vs. Red Sox, with Archer facing Price

The Rays are set to take on the Red Sox again tonight with a bit of a student-mentor framing as Chris Archer takes on former Tampa Bay ace David Price.The Rays announced they are putting RHP Jake Faria on the 10-day DL due to the oblique strain he su...
Updated: 23 minutes ago
Stock up for hurricanes, Buckhorn warns, or ‘we may be coming for you in a body bag’

Stock up for hurricanes, Buckhorn warns, or ‘we may be coming for you in a body bag’

TAMPA — Stuff that hurricane kit full of batteries, pen that emergency plan and, for goodness sake, get as many gallons stored in the garage as possible while the skies are blue and clouds are fluffy white. That was the message Tampa Mayor Bob Buckh...
Updated: 24 minutes ago
‘I didn’t care if they cut my leg off or not’: Kilauea lava bomb survivor describes agony

‘I didn’t care if they cut my leg off or not’: Kilauea lava bomb survivor describes agony

The sheer force of the lava bomb was what Darryl Clinton remembered feeling first, more powerful than any waves he had ever encountered in the ocean surrounding Hawaii.It knocked him backward on the third-floor lanai of his neighbor’s home on the eas...
Updated: 28 minutes ago
Mother fatally struck while pushing stroller on Bayshore Boulevard in Tampa

Mother fatally struck while pushing stroller on Bayshore Boulevard in Tampa

TAMPA— A mother was killed Wednesday when she was struck by a vehicle while pushing a stroller on Bayshore Boulevard, according to the Tampa Police Department.The mother and 2-year-old girl were struck by a northbound car around 11:43 a.m. near W Kni...
Updated: 29 minutes ago
State softball: Land O’Lakes advances to second straight title game

State softball: Land O’Lakes advances to second straight title game

VERO BEACH — Land O'Lakes had just finished a hard-fought 5-0 victory over Clay in the Class 6A state semifinal. Callie Turner threw a no-hitter. Jolene Bodner had a two-run single.The win was big, clinching the Gators' second straight champion...
Updated: 1 hour ago
State baseball: Carrollwood Day comes up a run short in semifinals

State baseball: Carrollwood Day comes up a run short in semifinals

FORT MYERS — One swing.That's all it took for Carrollwood Day's historic season to come to an end.With two outs and two runners on in the third inning of the Class 3A state semifinal against Tallahassee North Florida Christian, Patriots starter...
Updated: 1 hour ago
No. 2-seeded USF falls to Wichita State in AAC tourney opener

No. 2-seeded USF falls to Wichita State in AAC tourney opener

Second-seeded USF was greeted Wednesday morning at the American Athletic Conference tournament by a bright sky and bracket poised to burst.Yet on a day the Bulls (32-19-1) could've made real noise in this eight-team event, their bats elicited nary a ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
NFL policy: Players can stay inside during anthem if they won’t stand

NFL policy: Players can stay inside during anthem if they won’t stand

NFL owners passed a new policy Wednesday with the hopes of moving on from boycotts and political turmoil related to some players protesting by not standing during the national anthem before games.Under the new policy, NFL players are not required to ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Top 5 at noon: Gasparilla Bowl moving to Tampa; Lee Roy Selmon’s closing in Tampa; and more

Top 5 at noon: Gasparilla Bowl moving to Tampa; Lee Roy Selmon’s closing in Tampa; and more

Here are the latest headlines and updates on tampabay.com:GASPARILLA BOWL MOVING FROM TROPICANA FIELD TO RAYMOND JAMES STADIUMThe Gasparilla Bowl is heading across the bay. The annual college football bowl game is moving from Tropicana Field to Raym...
Updated: 2 hours ago