Mother-in-law knew Karen was right one for her son
By Sandy Bond
Whether it was her radiant smile or her sparkling personality, Karen McGoldrick charmed her future mother-in-law, Karen Shrimpton, right from the start. The piece de resistance was her cooking. She knew that she had to introduce her to her son Tim. A student preparing to enter the seminary, he had lived on cafeteria food since going away to high school.
“It was a set-up,” Karen said.
The eldest daughter of Jim McGoldrick and Jane McGoldrick, she and her younger siblings, Jonathon, 24, and Lydia, 25, were born in Marietta, Ohio, and grew up in St. Marys, W. Va., where her dad was a newspaper editor and her mom was a first-grade teacher.
Her folks knew Karen was destined to be an architect from kindergarten, she said. While her counterparts were drawing stick figures, Karen was happily inventing floor plans for houses. After graduating from St. Marys High School in 2002, she chose to major in architecture at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.
Her first job the summer of her freshman year led her to Cleveland, Ohio, where Karen met the elder Karen who took the new girl under her wing. Tim, coincidently, was home from Martin Luther College in New Ulm, Minn., where he was a junior. It might have been that mother knows best or maybe it was the first meal she prepared for Tim, stuffed chicken breast in a mushroom and crème sauce upon a bed of rice. In any case, he was smitten. They fell in love that summer and thus began a long distance romance while they both were completing their studies.
For the most part, Karen’s culinary talents were legendary; occasionally, she seemed to hit a small bump in the road.
One Christmas, she recalled, her dad volunteered her to prepare a meal for several dozen of their friends. Preparations began the day before. But only after dirtying a kitchen’s worth of dishes making a layer cake and frosting did the family realize that the cook had sabotaged her own efforts. A day earlier, she had poured oil leftover from deep-frying down the sink. The kitchen plumbing was located on an outside wall. As a result of the extreme cold, the blocked pipes froze solid.
“It was horrible,” she said.
A snowstorm made it impossible for a plumber to reach their home on a steep, winding, narrow road, she said.
So the next morning the entire family loaded groceries for the meal into coolers and wheeled them down the hill to waiting cars. She was given full command of a friend’s kitchen to complete the cooking.
“In hindsight,” Karen said, “that was extremely gutsy of her.”
Then there was the time when she opened the oven to check on some baking, and the oven door came off the track into her hands.
“Tim had come home with her for the weekend to meet her family,” she said. “He swooped in to calmly save the day.”
The next day, her mom and her new boyfriend agreed that she should never be allowed to make her own wedding cake.
“And I didn’t,” she said.
Karen and Tim were married in the summer of 2006. After Tim served as vicar at Gloria Dei in Grand Blanc, Mich., they lived in Milwaukee, Wis., for a year while Tim finished his schooling. In May 2008 he was assigned to Zion Lutheran Church in Mobridge and St. Jacobi Lutheran Church in Glenham.
They and their son Alex, 2, love small-town life. They spend a good deal of time in the children’s section of the library.
“Right now, Alex loves all books written about cats,” Karen said. “Maybe because he loves our tortoiseshell cat, Cora, so much. He really loves the book, “The Library Cat.”
It’s a true story of a kitten that is placed in the book drop of a library in Spencer, Iowa, on a cold winter night in 1988. When he was found the next morning, the library decided to adopt him as their mascot. He was named Dewey Readmore Books. Alex also loves anything about Curious George.
In addition to preparing exceptional and healthy meals for the family, she enjoys baking for the Tuesday evening Bible class at church. It’s a fun opportunity to try out new recipes, she said.
“Tim maintains that cookies and bars are easy to nibble, while ‘a piece of cake and a fork’ is too much of a ‘commitment,’ whatever that means,” she said.
KAREN SHRIMPTON’S RECIPES
Harvest Pumpkin Scones
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour (can use half whole wheat)
1/3 cup sugar
1 Tbsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground allspice
1/2 cup cold butter
1 – 2 cups cinnamon chips
2/3 cup canned pumpkin
2 large eggs
Coarse white sparkling sugar, for topping
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and spices. Cut in the butter. Stir in the cinnamon chips.
In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the pumpkin and eggs till smooth.
Add the pumpkin/egg to the dry ingredients and stir until all is moistened and holds together.
Divide dough in half. Shape each half into a 6” circle on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Cut each circle into 6 wedges. Carefully pull the wedges away from the center to separate them just a bit; there should be about 1/2” space between them, at their outer edges.
For best texture and highest rise, place the pan of scones in the freezer for 30 minutes, uncovered. (Can be frozen for several weeks at this point.) While the scones are chilling, preheat the oven to 425°F.
Bake the scones for 22 to 25 minutes, or until they’re golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of one comes out clean, with no wet crumbs.
Remove the scones from the oven, and serve warm.
Yield: 12 scones.
Roasted Broccoli or Cauliflower
1 large bunch broccoli or 1 head cauliflower
2-4 Tbsp. olive oil
Salt and pepper
Pinch sugar, optional
Preheat oven to 450. Preheat large baking sheet in oven.
Wash and cut vegetable into medium wedges – quarters or sixths for broccoli, 2-inch chunks for cauliflower. Broccoli stems can be peeled and cut into strips. Toss vegetable with oil to coat, season with salt and pepper, and sugar if using broccoli. Spread in single layer on baking sheet and roast on lowest rack until well-browned and tender, 10-15 minutes.
(“Alex loves both vegetables this way – he’ll even eat leftover cauliflower as a snack before lunch!”)
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1 cup flour
Combine all ingredients. Press into greased 9-inch square pan. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes.
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 tsp. vanilla
2 Tbsp. flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 cups coconut
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts or chocolate chips, optional
Combine all filling ingredients. Pour over crust. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes longer. Let cool and cut into small bars.
(“These are probably the all-time Bible class favorite, based on the pastor’s unofficial report.”)
Cheesy Tomato Bake
1/2 small red onion, chopped
3/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 tsp. seasoned salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
2 tsp. Italian herb blend
2 cups flour (half whole wheat or white whole wheat)
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. Italian herb blend
1 Tbsp. baking powder
2 Tbsp. butter
1 cup milk
1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes, drained or garden tomatoes to cover crust, peeled if desired and sliced or chopped.
For topping, combine all ingredients.
For crust, combine dry ingredients. Cut in butter. Stir in milk until mostly combined. Pat into greased 9×13 pan.
Spread drained tomatoes over. Spread topping over tomatoes. Bake at 425 for 25-30 minutes or until browned and bubbly. Let cool for at least 20 minutes before slicing and serving.