Island Epicure – Interview at 99
March 2024, Recipes

Island Epicure – Interview at 99

By Marjorie Watkins and Suzanna Leigh

Suzanna: Marjorie, you are almost 100 years old!

Marjorie: This is true. A few months away from 100.

Suzanna: And you are healthy, too. You say you never have a headache or the flu. How is that?

Marjorie: Magic potion. It is a very tasty solution. It is cloves and cinnamon; the cloves are to kill viruses and the cinnamon is to kill ordinary … germs. One day at the clinic, they gave me just enough anti-viral medicine to last for 7 days. It was a good thing I had my own remedy at home. When theirs ran out, I just took my magic potion. That’s why I’ve lasted so long. I never get headaches. I’m just a healthy person.

Suzanna: You used to get really bad headaches, I remember. Then you changed something in your diet, I think.

Marjorie: I used to get headaches from wheat that was brought from Russia.

Suzanna: How did you know it was that?

Marjorie: I read it in the Oregon newspaper.

Suzanna: But how did you know it was the Russian wheat you were eating that gave you headaches?

Marjorie: My son-in-law was working for a wheat distributor, and he took me to the silos. I was fine when I was in the silo with Oregon wheat, but as soon as I got into the silo with wheat from Russia, I began to get a horrible headache. I don’t eat wheat at all now.

Suzanna: Are there other foods that you eat that keep you healthy, or that you avoid?

Marjorie: I avoid soy, because although its a fine food for people who can eat it, it’s not good for me.

Suzanna: So, it sounds like you are very aware of your body’s reactions.

Marjorie: You bet! And sugar. I stay away from sugar as much as I possibly can. I don’t eat ordinary sugar, even brown sugar. I eat coconut sugar, and not very much of that.

Suzanna: I remember you saying that God does not take away from your life the time you spent creating art.

Marjorie: Oh, I probably did. Something like that. I probably read it somewhere. It gives your spirit a lift.

Suzanna: So, how long do you expect to stay around this world?

Marjorie: Oh, I should live to be over 100. I told my doctor that my father lived to be 105, so I expect to live a long time. She said, “You’ll make it!”

I always take a 4 o’clock nap. It is important to get enough sleep.

The recipe for the magic potion is available in a previous column of “The Island Epicure” in the Vashon Loop, but quickly: Put 2 sticks of cinnamon and 1 tsp to 1 tbsp whole cloves in half a saucepan of water; bring to a boil and simmer for awhile, until the color of tea.

Here is a gluten-free recipe for Quinoa Sour Cream Scones, for a good gluten-free vegetarian breakfast with plenty of protein (contains dairy):

Makes 8 large or 12 small squares. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.


1½ cups quinoa flour

½ cup garbanzo flour or almond meal

½ tsp baking soda

½ tsp salt

2 tbsp coconut sugar

Work in:

½ cup soft butter


1 egg

⅓ cup sour cream

2 tbsp honey

Stir liquids into dry mixture. Turn out onto a floured board or counter. Knead into a ball. Flatten or roll into a disk ½ inch thick. With floured knife, cut into wedges or squares. Place on a baking sheet.

Bake 12-15 minutes until golden brown and tests done (stick in a toothpick; if it comes out clean, it is done). Cool slightly on a rack. Serve with tea, hot milk, or coffee.

Note: This recipe is from “Wholegrain and Gluten Free, An Island Epicure Cookbook,” by Marjorie Watkins. The book is currently out of print, but a new edition is in the works.

Marjorie Watkins – age 99
March 7, 2024

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