This easy recipe is my version and isn’t the traditional Hungarian dish where bone-in pieces of chicken are used (that recipe is below), but we prefer the skinless, boneless cuts to not have to deal with the bones. It is still cooked in a delicious sauce loaded with paprika and sour cream. Using Greek yogurt is certainly not traditional either, but is definitely a workable substitute for lower fat and calories.


2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts
½ cup all-purpose flour
2-3 tablespoons QUALITY Hungarian paprika (see notes)
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper
3 tablespoon butter
1 cup sweet onion, chopped
⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
2 cups homemade chicken bone broth
1 cup sour cream or Greek yogurt

  • Combine flour, 2 tablespoon paprika, salt and pepper in a dredge pan.
  • Dredge the chicken in the flour mixture. NOTE: DO NOT THROW OUT FLOUR you will use it later.
Heat butter in large Dutch or skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Add chicken pieces and brown 3-4 minutes per side.
  • Remove chicken and set aside, keeping warm.
  • Add onion, cayenne pepper and 1 tablespoon paprika, saute 2-3 minutes until the onion is tender.

  • Add chicken stock.
  • Bring to SLOW boil and then reduce heat, cover and simmer 5-10 minutes or until chicken is completely cooked through. 

  • To the leftover flour, add ½ cup sour cream and ½ cup of liquid from skillet. Mix until smooth.
  • Add mixture back into pot and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasional.
  • Return chicken pieces to the sauce.
  • Turn heat off and add remaining sour cream, stirring constantly.
  • The sauce should be a very pale orange color.
  • Serve immediately.


  • Chicken thighs contribute another layer of richness to the dish.
  • Regular paprika has almost no heat level whereas Hungarian paprika has a serious kick to it. Adjust the type and amount of paprika based on your tolerance for the heat level.

CHICKEN PAPRIKASH Yield: 6 servings slightly adapted from MOLLY YEH

Level: Easy Total: 35 min Active: 35 min

4 tablespooel.ns unsalted butter
2 large onions, thinly sliced
FRESH ground Kosher salt and black pepper
4 cloves garlic, FINELY minced
2 tablespoons Hungarian SWEET paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
2 tablespoons WONDRA flour
1 1/2 cups homemade chicken bone broth
Pinch of sugar
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken thighs, trimmed and cut into 3/4-inch pieces
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
Crusty bread, for serving, optional

  • Melt 3 tablespoons of the butter in a large saucepan.
  • Add the onions, season with salt and pepper and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until golden and tender, about 10 minutes.
  • Add the garlic, paprika and cayenne and cook, stirring 2-3 minutes, until dark red in color.
  • Add the flour and the remaining 1 tablespoon butter and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.
  • Stir in the broth and sugar and cook2-3 minutes until the sauce is thickened.
  • Add the chicken to the sauce and bring to a SLOW simmer.
  • Cook over medium-low heat 10-15 minutes until the chicken is tender. Stir in the heavy cream and vinegar.
  • Taste and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Serve with crusty bread if desired!


Good Morning friends. I hope this second week of 2024 finds you healthy and happy. We’re doing well, but there has been a major resurgence of COVID here in our little rural town and MANY people we know are down with it so as a precaution we have not strayed far from home this past week nor will we this week. I read that there is a new strain that is rearing it’s ugly head all over the country, so please be careful.

Be sure to join us for Happy Homemaker Monday and link up with our hostess, Sandra at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom

It is still really cold here (highs in the low 40’s and lows in the 20’s), breezy and REALLY wet here with snow the last 2 nights that didn’t stick here on the valley floor, but did on the local hills so we can see it all around us. It is predicted to be in FULL swing later this week as we are on winter storm watch now. The weatherman can’t make up his mind as to when the snow will actually hit though – it keeps changing hourly so I guess we’ll have to wait and see as the storm actually hits. Honestly I’d prefer the snow to the rain most days.

I did get a new really warm and cozy hoodie that I’ve just about been living in along with comfy Levi’s and UGGs.

I have a bit of my normal winter sinus issues due to the atmospheric pressures being all over the place with these storms, but doing well otherwise. I’m thinking about how to adjust all my schedules due to COVID closures and such and still meet commitments. The only real appointment I have this week is for a haircut tomorrow and to pick up a few groceries on the way home.

  • LAUNDRY & CLEANING I’ve still been de-decorating from Christmas and packing things away. Will do a deep clean later this week since I’ll be home.
  • GROCERIES & ERRANDS Haircut tomorrow and groceries.
  • PAPERWORK, PHONE CALLS, PROJECTS & TRAVELS Hoping to finish a few things up this week and start with a clean work area.
  • RECIPE RESEARCH & MENU PLANNING I’m supposed to cook at the Eagles several times in the near future, but right now I’m taking it a day at a time since things are so up in the air with closures.

  • YAY! New shows for the season are slowly coming back. I’m enjoying the KID’S BAKING CHAMPIONSHIP and catching up on some old movies. We watched A League of Their Own last week and STRANGE WEATHER, a Holly Hunter movie which was pretty strange itself.

I finished Marie Force’s State of Bliss last weekend and finally started Canary Girls by Jennifer Chiaverini. I also got caught up on all the stray magazines I had around, but there are a couple cookbooks to finish up.

BREAKFAST is always a work in progress for me – it will generally be hot water and a fruit yogurt 😀


In order to take favorite photos, one must first leave the house. That hasn’t happened this week, so here’s a favorite from New Year’s Eve of my winning charcuterie board. And of my white Christmas Cactus that’s blooming up a storm.


Menu Planning a balanced diet for the whole family doesn’t have to be stressful. It also doesn’t have to be a budget breaker. I’ve been doing it for years. While it started as a way to stay on budget and save time because of our busy lifestyle and work schedules, not to mention that we both worked 2 jobs and had work commutes (mine was 130 miles round trip) at the time, it became a way of life that just makes things easier!

It’s no longer about just making it through the work week for me. These days for me it is all about the artistry and adventure of making interesting and pretty meals. Hubby and friends love being my guinea pigs!

There is more to menu planning than just deciding what to make for dinner, at least for the average family. We we’re a military family used to getting paid once a month when I started and trying to make it last. So for me, menu planning also encompassed recipe scouring and coupon clipping, we loved to read the Sunday papers back then while we had our coffee.

Back then one of the things I looked for first was the coupons to see what I could save for us – hubby always laughed when I got excited at a large coupon for something already on the grocery list, then I scoured the local sale ads reading and logical common sense planning. I used to participate in Menu Plan Monday, but that became a defunct meme and I actually prepared my menu for the entire month all at once and then just break it up for posting. So while it gave me a few ideas, it wasn’t an end all for me. If you read my WHERE I LIKE TO PARTY tab at the top it shows you a few party memes that give me some ideas these days.

When I menu plan I start the last week of the previous month with checking out what I already have in the freezer inventory and then the ads for my local markets for the upcoming week. I used to see what meats would be going on sale and then scour my recipe file for recipes to match. These days because of where we live I order most of my higher end cuts of meats from Butcher

These days I start with considering my calendar, what holidays or special events will be happening and pay more attention to the season that may need more attention for appetizing color combinations and or decorations.

My planning now a days also encompasses specific flavors combinations and food textures that will complement each other well. You don’t want to serve dishes that fight each other. Spicy or bold main dishes require a mildly seasoned vegetable side or even a delicate fruit salad. The sides and sauces even play a large part when planning your menu.

Be sure and read your recipes all the way through also. There is nothing worse than planning a menu and then realizing the meal you planned for tonight should have been marinated overnight yesterday! Having a “schedule” working backwards from the longest cooking dish for preparation and execution helps tremendously at having a successful and enjoyable meal that will be served all at the same time.

One of the biggest things I do to help not only with cost of ingredients, but also waste time and food is to make sure to back up recipes to each other that use similar ingredients that I can buy in bulk. For example if a recipe calls for half an onion for Monday night’s recipe, I make sure Tuesday night’s recipe uses the other half.

I also note which meals we’ll probably have leftovers for so I plan to either freeze part of it for a future meal or plan a C.O.R.N. (clean out refrigerator night) within my plan if there is only going to be a little of this and that leftover. Over the years I added YOYO (You’re on Your Own) for the nights we have meetings or events that pull us in two different directions.

I write my shopping list and then I match up any coupons I may have especially for staples (flour, sugar, eggs, butter, etc…) that I need and then the luxuries if there is room within the budget. If there is a really good sale I buy in super bulk for the following month also. Now I know this sounds like a lot of work, but the whole process takes less than an hour and then it’s done for the month.

I have every scrap of a recipe I ever saved as well as many of my grandmother’s too, though I do eliminate them after I try them and get them posted on the blog. It’s like an obsession with me. If a recipe sounds good in a magazine, I figure I can make it better based on my family’s likes and dislikes and tuck it away to try and manipulate at a later date. I recently decided it was time to clean-up this mess.

Years ago I found an old metal LP file box at a garage sale for 50 cents and dressed it up a bit so it didn’t look like a trash bin on my kitchen counter, it was a beat up lime green with stickers everywhere originally. I have since retired that box, but kept the system. 😀

Years ago I wrote 2 different family reunion cook books which helped some with eliminating the scraps of paper and I’m also in the midst of writing another Tastebook to use as family Christmas gifts that is helping to clean up this mess on a permanent basis.

I have a perpetual list on the counter and every time we use something or run out of something, everyone is trained (finally) to list whatever they used or ran out of on an ongoing basis.We keep a pretty concise calendar with everyone’s activities, appointments, meetings and such on it. I also write what we will be eating on each day so they’ll know what to expect. If for some reason we have to cancel a night I will rearrange the week so that the meal actually canceled is one using something from the freezer, not the fresh ingredients I’ve already purchased. When I do the shopping I buy in bulk to cut the cost and since I have my menu plan ahead of time, I break down the bulk package into meal appropriate sizes before freezing when I get home.


Hubby loves a “plain” cheesecake so I FINALLY created a recipe that satisfies us both! Vanilla bean for the cheesecake and flavored glazes for me. This one was for Christmas so it had a cranberry pomegranate glaze.

1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs**(see notes)
1/3 cup melted butter
1/4 cups sugar

  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Stir all together until well blended.
  • Spread evenly into a 9 inch spring form pan, pressing into the bottom and up the sides.

16 ounces cream cheese, softened
8 ounces sour cream
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1 vanilla beans, split and scraped for seeds
2 cups whipping cream
8 ounces white chocolate, chopped small

  • Add 2 packages of the cream cheese, sour cream, cornstarch and sugar to a large bowl and beat on low until well combined and sugar is dissolved.
  • Add butter and vanilla bean paste, mixing until smooth.
  • Pour over graham cracker crust.
  • Bake 40-45 minutes until top is light golden brown.
  • Turn off oven and let cheesecake sit for 30 minutes in the oven.
  • Remove from oven and cool COMPLETELY on a wire rack for 2 hours.

2 cups heavy whipping cream
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 vanilla beans, split and scraped for seeds

  • Beat whipping cream in a chilled bowl until you have soft peaks.
  • Gradually add powdered sugar, beating until you have stiff peaks. Chill until needed.
  • Microwave white chocolate for 30 second increments until smooth.
  • In another bowl beat cream cheese until smooth and fluffy.
  • Beat in melted chocolate and vanilla bean paste until blended.
  • Fold in chilled cream.
  • Spread over cooled cheesecake.
  • Chill, covered until firm.


  • Crisp ginger snaps make a flavorful alternative to the graham cracker crumbs.
  • This is best made 1-2 days in advance.

2023 END OF YEAR UPDATE ~ BLOG 366.2 ~ with 2024 NEW YEAR GOALS

Can you believe 2023 IS OVER? LOL ,There are only 359 days until Christmas! 🙂 All kidding aside I want to make the most of 2024. I don’t make resolutions per se, but I want to do more this year. I LOVE the idea of embracing my age… living more, being better, having more joy, happiness, sharing your life, getting back to basics and being led by Christ in EVERYTHING because it sounds like the perfect attitude for a GREAT 2024. Happy New Year my friends. May it be our best one yet! We even get and extra day to make it that way!

When I took that silly Facebook game last December it said my word was RESILIENCE, but I liked PROGRESS better and I was wrong. 2023 truly became the year of RESILIENCE as I dealt with the adversity of a truly narcissistic witchy woman and multiple family health issues. So deciding on using both words for RESILIENT PROGRESS was better. I was only wishful thinking though! But seeing that the meme spoke to me I decided to add BALANCE which was insightful and very helpful in the end! I truly believe all three words worked hand in hand to make life easier and happier in the long run for me.

In 2024 I have new words, but I don’t want to “throw out” the old words. I decided to ADD to them to last year’s words. This year I’m adding SURVIVAL and CONTENTMENT. But, the story doesn’t end there. Day 1 of 2024 threw yet another curve ball at me with some Eagle’s issues and such so I’m adding yet another word – FLEXIBILITY!


I no longer have a word, but a sentence to live by!

Oh, and that witchy woman? We ALL persevered and she’s now being nice to MANY people 😀

Update to MY list for 2023 WAS:

  • Do a Happy Homemaker Monday post each and every week and link up with Sandra over at Diary Of A Stay At Home Mom. This keeps me more on track and organized about my home life. Doing Happy Homemaker Monday so extensively helps keep me on track as it summarizes the past week and lays out a fairly concise plan for this week. DONE I haven’t missed one in years I’m proud to say.
  • I joined Sandra over at Diary Of A Stay At Home Mom for her Blog 365 challenge. A blog post every single day of 2023! This task became VERY challenging during the summer from hell, but I did it (for the most part)! Sometimes the post was a full one, but other times it was simply an inspirational picture. I may not always have gotten the logo in! This was a HUGE endeavor last year with the summer from hell with the water main break and rebuild of the EAGLE’S lodge. 2024 brings a new opportunity to try again and even adds in an extra day with leap year 😀
  • Do a devotional every day. This category was serious wishful thinking and I tabled it to a 2024 goal. I seriously need to get better in this category. When time falls short and there is so much to do, personal time AND pampering time always take a back seat 🙁 I chose “100 days of FAITH over FEAR” devotional to begin 2024 with.
  • Follow a nightly skincare regime. This has become habit and has been working really well.
  • Complete 4 quilts – at least 1 for each quarter. 2023 started off right with these 2 Christmas beauties being bound. I have several others that are 90% done, but need bindings and I’m STILL hoping to get to them in 2024. The plan for 2023 had been that my girlfriend and were going to do 8 table runners for the Eagle’s Lodge, but that was before we were overloaded with the great rebuild. We’re going to try and get those done in 2024.
  • Make a better effort to reach out and connect with friends and family more regularly. This category was going well, even pretty good before it took a dive, but I took the fall/holiday season to improve! Now to just keep it going in 2024.
  • Learn YOGA or Pilates or both! I can’t seem to find the time to do these, but will keep working on it.
  • Take at least a 2 mile walk daily. While I USUALLY get this done in just my daily routine, it is something I need to be more conscious of accomplishing. Once again with the cooler weather this will become a more accomplished category.
  • Continue to downsize and declutter EVERYTHING. DONE TO DATE As we continue to go antiquing I have added more questions to my thought process about whether I really need and/or will use something before I buy it.
  • Clean out photo files that date back 13 years! I’m working on it, but it’s really hard. This is a serious work in progress that will ALWAYS take ALL year, EVERY YEAR, mainly because I keep taking pictures 😀
  • Create Shutterfly photo albums for 2023,2022, 2021, 2019, 2018, 2017 and 2016. These have been in the works for awhile, but I’m going to get them done this year. 🙁 I’m hoping to use the January rainy indoor time to accomplish this category.
  • Do more drawing and painting – at least one per every other month. NOT so good last year as it was filled with working on the estate sales with a friend as well as our own garage sale through the horribly long and cold/wet winter and spring followed by the summer of excessive work. Hubby and I did schedule a date night paint class last October and a I gave a friend a gift certificate for the paint class of her choice for a girl’s day out. I did this guy done as a pillow and want to another on the backside of the pillow soon. And hubby and I did do a date night for the black and white wolves.
  • Focus on rewriting more recipes to work for only 2 people with NO leftovers. This is a work in progress, but doing REALLY well still. It has been seriously complicated by the increase in grocery prices 🙁 A friend loaned me her mom and grandma’s recipe boxes which was fun for some new recipes. It also helped with the “clutter” since I only photoed those recipes I REALLY wanted to make – so I only “rented” them and I am still making my way though those recipes with GREAT success.
  • Volunteer at least once a month for a community project. Since I’ve gotten more involved in the Eagles this is a category I SERIOUSLY accomplish regularly and enough for the both of us. 😀 2023 included the the weekly shopping for the Lodge, the Chili Throwdown, Blackberry Festival, Trunk or Treat, Timber Town Parade and I’m now helping write some grant proposals and do some fundraisers to get the Eagles building updated externally, a paved parking lot and a few other beautification projects.
  • Do a date weekend once a month – exploring a new place we’ve never been before. In February we planned a Valentine’s couples painting class that didn’t happen but in March we went for a special romantic dinner to TRUE KITCHEN for hubby’s birthday and it was fantastic. In January we were going to go to the beach antique shopping and a special dinner out at Waterfront Depot, an old train depot on the bay, but weather was been so bad and medical appointments didn’t line up so we postponed that until later. In April we finally made it to the coast and did some antiquing also. We have done several dinner nights and out to see a popular local oldies band several times including New Year’s Eve. And we did go to a paint class in October that was a bit challenging being all black and white. We have the same plan for this year of once a month date night, but have yet to decide on specifics.
  • Clean out old files and recycle or destroy old papers. This is still an ongoing work in progress, but I’ve made seriously good progress in 2023 and so far through 2024 and will finish through next winter.
  • Eat at least 1 piece of fruit daily. 😀
  • I’m all about leading a positive life and carrying the Christmas spirit year round. There is no better way to do that than to do at least 1 random act of kindness every time I leave the house no matter what year it is!
  • Read 36 books which I fell a bit short of. I was hoping for double this year over last year! 36 WAS a realistic goal and I actually reached 59 in 2022 which made me REALLY happy, but yet life took over in 2023! I read an article just today about how reading is good for your mental health.The ones I read in 2023 were:
    1) The Last Summer at Chelsea Beach by Pam Jenoff
    2) Undertow by Jana DeLeon
    3) Someone to Love by Marie Force
    4) State of Bliss by Marie Force
    5) A Vineyard Lullaby by Katie Winters
    6) A Vineyard Vow by Katie Winters
    7) At the Coffee Shop of Curiosities by Heather Webber
    8) The Menu Match by Philipa Nefri Clark
    9) The Christmas Match by Philipa Nefri Clark
    10) State of Denial by Marie Force
    11) Fortune Teller by Jana DeLeon
    12) A Vienyard White Christmas by Katie Winters
    13) A Vineyard Thanksgiving by Katie Winters
    14) August Sunsets by Katie Winters
    15) Firefly Nights by Katie Winters
    16-19) House Above the Bookshop by Sage Parker

    20) Clue Krewe by Jana DeLeon
    21) The Long and Winding Road by Marie Force
    22) August Sunsets by Katie Winters
    23) The Sunrise Cove Inn by Katie Winters
    24) The Heart Match by Phillipa Nefri Clark+ a few cookbooks and several magazines
  • Here’s a list of the books I have in queue for 2024 – a double baker’s dozen+ to get this year started. When I’ve actually read them I’ll change them to green in color. This category suffered tremendously from July-September 2023 during the 7 day work weeks I was too tired to read at the end of the day and I was slow to get back into the habit so we’re rolling them into 2024.
    1) A Fire Sparkling by Juliane Maclean

    2) The Honey Bus by Meredith May
    3) When It Falls Apart by Catherine Bybee
    4) The Brighter the Light by Mary Ellen Taylor
    5) The Lost Girls of Willowbrook by Ellen Marie Wiseman
    6) The Woman with Two Shadows by Sarah James
    7) The Silent Woman by Minka Kent
    8) Waking Kate by Sarah Addison Allen
    9) Real Bad Things by Kelly J. Ford
    10) The D’Angelos by Catherine Bybee
    11) Brewed Book #1 in the Cozy Coffee Shop series by Heather Sage
    12) Cauldrons Call by Kristen Proby
    13) The Resistance Girl by Mandy Robotham
    14) Someone to Hold Wild Widows #2 by Marie Force.
    15) State of Shock, First Family #4 by Marie Force
    16) Summer Magic #1 The Thorne Witches by T.M. Crom
    17) Find Her by Chris Patchell
    18) On The Market (Texas BBQ Brothers #1) by Audrey Wick
    19) We Begin at the End by Chris Whitaker
    20) A New Choice (The new Beginnings Series #1) by Michelle MacQueen
    21) The Copperfield House (A Nantucket Sunset series #1) by Katie Winters
    22) Under the Maui Sky #1 Maui Island by Kellie Coates Gilbert
    23) Justice, A Rocky Mountain Thriller by Ann Voss Peterson
    24) The Alice Network by Kate Quinn
    25) Girl One Murder ~ FBI Suspense Thriller #1 by Maya Gray
    26) Lost & Found ~ A Clean Small Town Romance #1 by Lucinda Race
  • I had added a “SEASONAL” list too. I started with fall that you can see here. And a simple winter list is here. I’ll work on a spring list if it ever happens 😀 – never got around to the spring list and it turned into the summer list which is primarily figuring out and solving the irrigation and water issues around here. I never got around to a spring, let alone a summer list so this category has been a COMPLETE dud!
  • Finish indexing the recipes on my Food blog, Savory Kitchen Table. This is a serious work in progress and hold over from 2022 that WILL take ALL year LOL NEXT year.
  • Finish indexing the recipes on my Life blog, Chasing MY Life. When I merged my old blogspot blogs into this single blog it duplicated many things and added an “ALL” category that I am having to eliminate one by one so it’s taking a LONG time. This is a serious work in progress and roll over from 2022 that WILL take ALL year into the next again.


And after being out on New Year’s Eve last night for the first time in MANY a year, I really have no intention of doing much – other than staying in my PJ’s and relaxing today. Be sure to join us for Happy Homemaker Monday and link up with our host, Sandra at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom

Surprise, it’s cold, gray and rainy here in the Pacific North West. We’re still JUST a bit above normal which is not predicted to last, but it’s a wet cold in the low 40’s during the day with night time lows of mid 30’s. The years we don’t have snow for Christmas usually bring snow in the new year and this year won’t disappoint evidently. We have a dip in temperatures predicted at the end of the week with snow predicted for the weekend on.

Hubby got me several new flannels for Christmas so I’ll be trying those out this week with Levis, turtlenecks and my favorite UGGs.

I’m starting off 2024 FRESH with a new look here on the blog, but also my outlook on what I want to accomplish in this new year. The blog look may change a few times as I adjust to the color combinations 😀

I’m even attempting a new way to combine all my different lists, calendars and planners into one place. I found an easy to use calendar/planner from a company called Fringe that is compact, yet full size and to all appearances will allow me to keep ALL my planning in one place instead of multiple planners, whether it’s birthdays, appointments or meals. WISH ME LUCK 😀 I’ve used the same brand and style of calendar/system for so many years now I’m just not sure if I’ll be able to do it, but have high hopes in eliminating all the multiple planners.

  • LAUNDRY & CLEANING/GROCERIES & ERRANDS This week I’ll be cleaning up from the holidays and doing a deep cleaning all around. I actually have no appointments and did all the shopping last Friday other than the Eagles shopping on Wednesday afternoon. I’m even starting off with NO laundry besides what we wore to the party last night.
  • PAPERWORK, PHONE CALLS, PROJECTS & TRAVELS I’ll be cleaning up the end of year files and boxes of receipts and trying to get rid of all the stray notes on my desk so I can start the new year off less cluttered.
  • RECIPE RESEARCH & MENU PLANNING I’m deciding which cookbook to cook from for the remainder of the month after I finish a few leftover recipes, but leaning towards a new one from Taste of Home, the all-new MOST REQUESTED recipes” that came in my last quarterly box. I have a list of some “scheduled” to post recipes I want to use this month also.

  • We just finished the 2nd season of REACHER on Prime and will watch the Kid’s Baking Championship on Food Network that begins tonight and football of course. Besides that not much is worth our time.

I’m about halfway through Marie Force’s current book STATE of BLISS, book #6 of the First Family series.

BREAKFAST is always a work in progress for me – it will generally be hot water and a fruit yogurt 😀 Jean did suggest some coffee yogurt and I was able to find it, but it just wasn’t the same 🙁

There were so many meals in December that were altered or downright canceled that I’m rolling many of them over into January. I was able to end the year with a cleaned out refrigerator and am looking forward to cleaning out the freezer and pantry this next month.

My plan is to then pick one cookbook each month and cook all the “tagged” recipes from that book before donating the book. I’ll only keep the recipes we REALLY liked and will add them to my actual recipe box.

CORN clean out refrigerator night
 probably nothing as there are still plenty of holiday treats around 😀

Usually the sunsets are the gorgeous ones, but this was midday to the east a couple days ago.

MAYA a thought provoking idea & THE MAN YOU PROBABLY NEVER KNEW EXISTED – RAYMOND LOEWY the Father of Industrial Design ~ BLOG 365.365B

I read a SUPER interesting article earlier this year called What Makes Things Cool by Derek Thompson about a man I’d never heard of, Raymond Loewy (1893-1986) and his ability to sell just about anything with a simple principle, MAYA. I decided to research him further.

Raymond Loewy was a French-born American industrial designer who achieved fame for the magnitude of his design efforts across a variety of industries. Known as the Father of industrial design, Loewy was recognized for this by Time magazine and featured on its cover on October 31, 1949.

The four-letter code to selling just about anything. MAYA stands for: “Most Advanced, Yet Acceptable” and is a principle that provides users with enough familiarity, tapping into a person’s present skill level with enough new features that are easy to adopt.

Raymond Loewy boarded the SS France in 1919 to sail across the Atlantic from his devastated continent to the United States several decades before he became the father of industrial design. His French army service ended and he’d lost his parents to influenza pandemic/ So, at the age of 25 he was looking for a fresh start as an electrical engineer in New York where his older brother Maximilian lived.

Maximilian picked him up in a taxi and they drove straight to 120 Broadway in Manhattan, the Equitable Life building which was one of New York City’s largest neoclassical skyscrapers, with two connected towers that ascended from a shared base like a giant tuning fork. Loewy rode the elevator to the observatory platform, 40 stories up, and looked out across the island.

“New York was throbbing at our feet in the crisp autumn light,” Loewy recalled in his 1951 memoir. “I was fascinated by the murmur of the great city.” But upon closer examination, he was crestfallen. In France, he had imagined an elegant, stylish place, filled with slender and simple shapes. The city that now unfurled beneath him, however, was a grungy product of the machine age—“bulky, noisy, and complicated. It was a disappointment.”

In the 20th century Loewy would do more than almost any single person to shape the aesthetic of American culture and world below would soon match his dreamy vision.

His firm would soon design mid-century icons like the Exxon logo, the US MAIL, Hoover, Shell, TWA, Nabisco, Canada Dry, Coca Cola, the Lucky Strike pack, the Greyhound bus, the International Harvester tractors that farmed the Great Plains, merchandise racks at Lucky Stores supermarkets that displayed produce, Frigidaire ovens that cooked meals, and Singer vacuum cleaners that ingested the crumbs of dinner. These are but a few of his logos and designs.

In 1958, acclaimed designer Raymond Loewy created new and unique shapes to add to the world-renowned range of Le Creuset cast iron cookware. Internationally famous for his designs on some of the most well-known consumer brands, Loewy’s skillet for Le Creuset is now recognized as an icon of mid-century design.

The famous blue nose of Air Force One? That was Loewy’s touch, too. After complaining to his friend, a White House aide, that the commander in chief’s airplane looked “gaudy,” he spent several hours on the floor of the Oval Office cutting up blue-colored paper shapes with President Kennedy before settling on the design that still adorns America’s best-known plane. “Loewy,” wrote Cosmopolitan magazine in 1950, “has probably affected the daily life of more Americans than any man of his time.” And Loewy’s Starliner Coupé from the early 1950s—nicknamed the “Loewy Coupé”—is still one of the most influential automotive designs of the 20th century.

But when he arrived in Manhattan, U.S. companies did not yet need his ideas because they had yet to embrace style and elegance. The capitalists of that era were shorter sighted and efficiency was their only goal. American factories with their electricity, assembly lines, and scientifically calibrated workflow were producing an unprecedented supply of cheap goods by the 1920s, and it became clear that factories could make more than consumers naturally wanted.

It took executives like Alfred Sloan, the CEO of General Motors, to see that by, say, changing a car’s style and color every year, consumers might be trained to crave new versions of the same product. To sell more stuff, American industrialists needed to work hand in hand with artists to make new products beautiful and appealing to consumers.

Loewy had an uncanny sense of how to make things fashionable. He believed that consumers are torn between two opposing forces: neophilia, a curiosity about new things; and neophobia, a fear of anything too new. As a result, they gravitate to products that are bold, but instantly comprehensible. Loewy called his grand theory “Most Advanced Yet Acceptable”—MAYA an acronym that many of us have always lived by, yet never heard of. He said to sell something surprising, make it familiar; and to sell something familiar, make it surprising.

One of the oldest and hardest to answer questions in both philosophical and aesthetics is – Why do people like what they like?

Mystic Ancient thinkers proposed that a “golden ratio” of about 1.62 to 1, as in, for instance, the dimensions of a rectangle—could explain the visual perfection of objects like sunflowers and Greek temples. Many other thinkers were deeply skeptical of this idea. David Hume, the 18th-century philosopher, considered the search for formulas to be absurd, because the perception of beauty was purely subjective, residing in individuals, not in the fabric of the universe. “To seek the real beauty, or real deformity,” he said, “is as fruitless an enquiry, as to pretend to ascertain the real sweet or real bitter.”

In the 1960s, the psychologist Robert Zajonc conducted a series of experiments where he showed subjects nonsense words, random shapes, and Chinese-like characters and asked them which they preferred. In study after study, people reliably gravitated toward the words and shapes they’d seen the most. Their preference was for familiarity so over time, science took up the study and this discovery was known as the “mere-exposure effect,” and it is one of the sturdiest findings in modern psychology. Hundreds of studies and meta-studies later, subjects around the world prefer familiar shapes, landscapes, consumer goods, songs, and human voices. People are even partial to the familiar version of the thing they should know best in the world: their own face. Because you and I are used to seeing our countenance in a mirror, studies show, we often prefer this reflection over the face we see in photographs. The preference for familiarity is so universal that some think it must be written into our genetic code. The evolutionary explanation for the mere-exposure effect would be simple: If you recognized an animal or plant, that meant it hadn’t killed you, at least not yet.

But the preference for familiarity does have limits. People do get tired of even their favorite songs and movies if they’re repeated too often. They develop deep skepticism about overfamiliar buzzwords.

The preference for familiar stimuli in mere-exposure studies is lessened or negated entirely when the participants realize they’re being repeatedly exposed to the same thing. For that reason, the power of familiarity seems to be strongest when a person isn’t expecting it, BUT the reverse is ALSO true.

A surprise seems to work best when it contains some element of familiarity. Consider the experience of Matt Ogle, who, for more than a decade, was obsessed with designing the perfect music-recommendation engine. His philosophy of music was that most people enjoy new songs, but they don’t enjoy the effort it takes to find them. When he joined Spotify, the music-streaming company, he helped build a product called Discover Weekly, a personalized list of 30 songs delivered every Monday to tens of million of users.

The original version of Discover Weekly was supposed to include only songs that users had never listened to before. But in its first internal test at Spotify, a bug in the algorithm let through songs that users had already heard. “Everyone reported it as a bug, and we fixed it so that every single song was totally new,” Ogle told me.

But after Ogle’s team fixed the bug, engagement with the playlist actually fell. “It turns out having a bit of familiarity bred trust, especially for first-time users,” he said. “If we make a new playlist for you and there’s not a single thing for you to hook onto or recognize—to go, ‘Oh yeah, that’s a good call!’—it’s completely intimidating and people don’t engage.” It turned out that the original bug was an essential feature: Discover Weekly was a more appealing product when it had even one familiar band or song.

Several years ago, Paul Hekkert, a professor of industrial design and psychology at Delft University of Technology, in the Netherlands, received a grant to develop a theory of aesthetics and taste. He believed humans seek familiarity, because it makes them feel safe, but on the other hand, people are charged by the thrill of a challenge. This battle between familiarity and discovery affects us “on every level,” according to Hekkert and not just our preferences for pictures and songs, but also our preferences for ideas and even people. When they began their research they weren’t even aware of Raymond Loewy’s theory. They were later told that their conclusions (MAYA) had already been “discovered” by a famous industrial designer.

Raymond Loewy’s aesthetic believed, “One should design for the advantage of the largest mass of people”. He understood that this meant designing with a sense of familiarity in mind.

In 1932, Loewy met for the first time with the president of the Pennsylvania Railroad. Locomotive design at the time hadn’t advanced much beyond the basic Thomas the Tank Engine model with pronounced chimneys, round faces, and exposed wheels. Loewy imagined something far sleeker—a single smooth shell, the shape of a bullet. His first designs met with considerable skepticism, but Loewy was undaunted. “I knew it would never be considered,” he later wrote of his bold proposal, “but repeated exposure of railroad people to this kind of advanced, unexpected stuff had a beneficial effect. It gradually conditioned them to accept more progressive designs.”

To acquaint himself with the deficiencies of Pennsylvania Railroad trains, Loewy traveled hundreds of miles on the speeding locomotives. He tested air turbulence with engineers and interviewed crew members about the shortage of toilets. A great industrial designer, it turns out, needs to be an anthropologist first and an artist second: Loewy studied how people lived and how machines worked, and then he offered new, beautiful designs that piggybacked on engineers’ tastes and consumers’ habits.

Soon after his first meeting with the president of the Pennsylvania Railroad, Loewy helped the company design the GG-1, an electric locomotive covered in a single welded-steel plate. Loewy’s suggestion to cover the chassis in a seamless metallic coat was revolutionary in the 1930s. But he eventually persuaded executives to accept his lean and aerodynamic vision, which soon became the standard design of modern trains. What was once radical had become maya, and what was once maya has today become the unremarkable standard.

But, could Loewy’s MAYA theory double as cultural criticism? Have some things become too familiar? Loewy’s theory applies to many a field, including the entertainment industry, cultural arts and academia. Scientists and philosophers are exquisitely sensitive to the advantage of ideas that already enjoy broad familiarity.

In 2014, a team of researchers from Harvard University and Northeastern University wanted to know exactly what sorts of proposals were most likely to win funding from prestigious institutions such as the National Institutes of Health—safely familiar proposals, or extremely novel ones? They prepared about 150 research proposals and gave each one a novelty score. Then they recruited 142 world-class scientists to evaluate the projects.

The most-novel proposals got the worst ratings. Exceedingly familiar proposals fared a bit better, but they still received low scores. “Everyone dislikes novelty,” Karim Lakhani, a co-author, explained to me, and “experts tend to be overcritical of proposals in their own domain.” The highest evaluation scores went to submissions that were deemed slightly new. There is an “optimal newness” for ideas, Lakhani said—advanced yet acceptable.

This appetite for “optimal newness” applies to other industries, too. In Silicon Valley, where venture capitalists also sift through a surfeit of proposals, many new ideas are promoted as a fresh spin on familiar successes. The home-rental company Airbnb was once called “eBay for homes.” The on-demand car-service companies Uber and Lyft were once considered “Airbnb for cars.”

But the preference for “optimal newness” doesn’t apply just to academics and venture capitalists. According to Stanley Lieberson, a sociologist at Harvard, it’s a powerful force in the evolution of our own identities. And it ALL began with one man, Raymond Loewy.