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hardtack and johnny cake

On April 9, 1865, the Civil War officially came to an end  in Appomattox, Va., when Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee surrendered to Union Gen. Ulysses S. Grant.

Today marks the 150th anniversary of the end of the American Civil War – a wrenching, bloody, costly conflict that took almost as many American lives as the total of all other US wars combined. The effects of this war still lurk in America’s psyche and social fabric.

But whether one wore a Blue or Gray uniform in the 1860s, there was a commonality that emphasized the humanity on either side of the line: Soldiers had to eat. I know this because I once lived through a battle. I still remember the chicken stew I ate that day in 1977 from a wooden salad bowl, with a wooden spoon, wearing a calico dress.

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peasonions

Since I’m usually a guest for Thanksgiving dinner I’ve become a champ at contributing interesting side dishes and the occasional dessert. One of these days I’ll figure out how to roast a turkey but until then, enjoy my collection of tried-and-true Thanksgiving recipes.

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Do you have a favorite muffin recipe? Use that delicious muffin to win a signed copy of “Flour, Too,” the second cookbook by Boston chef Joanne Chang that features recipes for the savory fare that have made her four cafés Boston’s favorite stops for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

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The best thing about spring is the arrival of fresh fruit. And while I enjoy a tomato-based salsa I find that fruit salsa is a little more versatile. Now that mangoes and strawberries are both in season, it’s the perfect time to combine them into a topping for chicken or serve them with tortilla chips at a backyard barbeque.

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