Island Voices

Barley Cranberry Scones and Introducing Marj Watkins

By Marj Watkins

Many people, like me, are allergic to hard wheat. It’s the gluten in it that makes us sick. For a high price, you can buy gluten-free bread and pastries at the stores. But why buy, when for a much lower cost you can make your own? Try this recipe.

Barley Cranberry Scones

Preheat oven to 350°F

1 cup barley flour

2 tbsp coconut sugar

¼ cup craisins (dried raspberries)

2 tbsp soft butter

3 tbsp coconut sugar

3 tbsp almond milk

1 egg, fork-beaten

In a mixing bowl, stir all dry ingredients. Mash in soft butter.

Combine almond milk and egg. Stir into above mixture.

Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment.

Drop dough by tablespoons onto the lined baking sheet. Bake until faintly golden. Makes 5 or 6 servings.

We would like to introduce Marj Watkins, writer of “Island Epicure” in the previous edition of “The Vashon Loop.” From Marj:

I began writing the Rockaway column in the Tillamook Oregon newspaper, “Headlight Herald.” I had just entered high school, and had sent an anecdote to a little magazine called “Grit.” My story was accepted and I received a check for $5. Back then, $5 would buy a pair of good shoes and socks. My mother had typed my story using two fingers. Later, as a sophomore, I was allowed to learn “real typing.”

Mother believed my story-writing skill would bring in enough money to pay my high school expenses. She asked me, “Would you like to write a column for the ‘Headlight Herald?’ I believe I can get them to give you a try. You stay here, and I will talk you up to the Tillamook newspaper publishers.”

Mother told the paper’s office woman, “I notice you have no news coverage of Rockaway Beach. My high school-age daughter writes well, and has even sold a piece to a small magazine. Would you like to give her a try?”

They agreed to try me as a news writer for one month, so I began. I gave them the story of Otto and the bear. Otto Shearer was our neighbor and a dairy man. He had planted a young peach tree on the bank of the stream that ran past his house. My father shook his head, in the belief that peaches didn’t ripen in our near-ocean location.

No matter. A peach loomed. A curious black bear came to investigate. He ate Otto’s one peach. This infuriated Otto. Otto borrowed Dad’s rifle and stationed himself an an upstairs window.

The bear hoped that a second peach had formed. Predictably, the bear came to see if it had. Otto aimed carefully, shot and brought down the bear. He shared with us. The bear meat tasted terrible, but not as bad as the muskrats my brothers trapped.

At the end of my trial month, I went to Tillamook to collect my pay for the four weeks I’d been sending the newspaper true stories of Rockaway events. For the first time, the Herald staff got a look at their Rockaway correspondent. As a high school student who had not reached her full growth, and would never be tall, who could blame the Herald staff woman who exclaimed, “That’s our correspondent from Rockaway? She can hardly see over the counter!”

“Hush! Don’t offend her!” the other woman said. “We’re getting new subscriptions from as far away as Cloverdale. People really like to read her column!”

Whew! I thought. They’d keep me. I’ve got a job!

When I’d saved enough money to buy a camera, I did so, and set out for bigger game. The Portland, Oregon paper bought my photos and gave me $25 each and a byline. I became editor of the high school newspaper. This eventually led to working in the advertising department of Fred Meyer, including for Fred Meyer himself, who was a good boss.

October 25, 2022

About Author