Hospitality in the Great Southwest

Miss Scarlett, our red SUV, was chugging and bumping along  the washboard road. We were in  Navajo territory and a bit confused. “Were those the right directions? At this rate it will take us twice as long to get to Page as it should.”

My husband braked by the side of the road and began checking the map. Happily for us, a truck rumbled by, then screeched to a stop and backed up. At Bob’s query, the driver flashed a  smile. “You best go back. This way too long.”

His wife nodded and smiled. I smiled too—hospitality on a broken down road.

Our main reason for being in Arizona was to attend the premiere of “Symphony for Percussion.” The performance was at Arizona State University, and the composer was Stephen Ridley, our son.  Bravo! What a listenable work it is with a myriad of ideas to think about and during the last half, pleasing melody lines, even a marimba haiku!

(For samples of Stephen’s music, check out .

To be on his mailing list for more recordings, e-mail him at

During the afternoon following the concert, Bob and I shared a piece of creamy topped carrot cake with our son. Stephen told us a story about when he was driving through the desert and offered a ride to a Native American hitchhiker.

As Stephen drew up to the hitchhiker’s modest home, the man said, “I see you have drum in the back seat. Would you come play the drum for my family?”

So Stephen had a chance to do one of his favorite things—entertain on the drums and give pleasure to an excited audience of children and adults.

As our son spoke, we could feel the warmth of this spiritual happening in a remote place. Hospitality has a domino effect. His story inspired me to look for chances to be hospitable wherever I go.  [RuthAnn]

The Great Southwest

A New Cuisine

When we speak of the Southwest, we usually mean the territory within the states of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and Southern California with a few square miles of Colorado and Nevada thrown in. Each of these states contributed culinary elements of their own to create a new cuisine that was more  versatile than theirs alone.


Masterpieces from The Cameron Trading Post Art Gallery at Cameron, Arizona

California contributed their abundant fruits and vegetables and their penchant for putting old things together in a new way.  Texas contributed chili con carne, barbecue and chili peppers by way of Mexico. And New Mexico and Arizona gave us corn, beans, tortillas and squash. [Dale]




I’ve had calabacitas in quite a few restaurants, but none of them can compare to Dale’s. [RuthAnn]

You will need:

1 tablespoon diced green chilies (canned)

1/2 medium Yellow Onion          2 tablespoons Canola Oil

2 Yellow Summer Squash             1 cup Whole Kernel Corn

1/4 cup Milk                                     Salt

1 cup grated Cheddar Cheese          Fresh Sage


1. Chop the onion.

2. Split the squash lengthwise. If there are a lot of large seeds, dish them out with a spoon. If there are only a few, don’t bother. Now slice the squash so you have little semi-circles.


1. Saute the onion in the oil until it is translucent.

2. Add the squash, corn and chilies and saute until the squash is tender. Resist the urge to reduce the squash to mush! Your teeth should meet some resistance when you bite into it.

3. Add the salt and the milk. Turn the heat on high and reduce the milk by 1/2.

4. Take the pan off the heat and gently fold in the cup of cheese.

5. When you plate-up, garnish with a sprig of fresh sage. If you don’t have sage, use a sprig of cilantro.

I left the milk out of this, and my  husband and I loved the chunky texture. [RuthAnn]

Blessing for a Southwestern Meal

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for the creativity of the New Cuisine of the Southwest and for the hands that prepared this meal. Show us small ways to show hospitality to those around us and, when a celebration  is in order, big ways. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

A thank you celebration for Testers of our Menus

Before we left for the SouthWest I had great fun hosting a morning  party for the friends who tested meals for us. The hors d’oeurvre were  chosen from Dale’s Let’s Have a Party menu.

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