The Ottumwa Courier


September 22, 2006

Eastern cook ‘adapts’ recipes when beaches are not available to pick up clams

Ottumwan's recipes featured

OTTUMWA — The moment she speaks, you know she is not an Iowan, though she has been here quite awhile and has been around the country. There is an English (almost British) accent here!

Valerie Godfrey grew up in Rhode Island and her ancestors are English and followed many of the customs of the early settlers of our country and still do. Like drinking tea from bone china cups (with milk) at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. each day. This practice Valerie still follows in her own home, too. She prefers Lipton’s orange pekoe tea and uses about 100 bags per week.

“I really like English breakfast tea from Celestial Seasonings, but feel it is too expensive to use every day,” she says.

Her husband does not share this activity with her “because he doesn’t like tea and calls it swamp water,” Godfrey says.

A graduate of Rhode Island College in Providence, R.I. she was teaching second grade at Maryville, in North Providence when she attended a dance one night and met a young man in the Navy Officer Candidate School in Newport. He also was a teacher. The year was 1964 and before he finished the officer training school and many outings later, Roger Godfrey had asked her to marry him and accompany him to Florida to Officer Flight Training School.

Valerie Godfrey says she did not start cooking until after she was married, though she had watched her mother cook. Her father had heart problems and required care, so Valerie had much of the responsibility for her younger brother and sister. One of the things the children liked to do was to clam and she often took them to the beach, which she says, “no one is ever very far from the beach in Rhode Island.”

After marriage, she used the Betty Crocker Cookbook for Two. After raising two daughters and two sons, she says she is now back to that original cookbook. As she would taste other foods at dinners or potlucks, she would ask for the recipes and has collected quite a file of good foods over the years. Fortunately, she says, Roger is not a picky eater. The first dish she made (often) was chicken and noodles, she says, laughing, “and Roger’s mother made the noodles.”

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