Recovering The SelfA Journal of Hope and Healing

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Reminiscing With Recipes: Homemade Hobos

by Patty Fletcher

We’ve all got great childhood memories about learning to cook with someone. Whether a parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle or favorite family friend the majority of people cooking today are doing so because someone in their lives inspired them.

Growing up as a blind child meant I spent years alternating between public school and a school for the blind. This gave me a variety of experiences.

I was also fortunate to have a mother who believed I could learn to do anything if I applied myself. So, she made a point of teaching me some great things in the kitchen.

But one of my favorite memories from my youth comes from the summers I spent with a blind college student who lived just a couple miles from my house.

I’m not absolutely certain how she and my mother met but mom ended up reading for her while she attended college. So, when school let out for the summer and I returned home, mom introduced us.

Two things happened. First, I began to realize that when I grew up, I could live independently, and I had my first experience with a Guide Dog.

All that summer Bettie, her Doberman Mitzi, and I hung out together. We did everything from spending time in her kitchen with her teaching me to cook to going to a local concert the tickets for which I won by entering and winning a contest held by our local AM rock station.

Bettie had some of the neatest cookbooks I ever saw and one of my favorite recipes came from that treasure trove of Brailed information.

I remember coming into her house one evening after having spent the day at the pool with a friend I’d met while attending public school, plopping down at the kitchen table and asking, “What’s for supper?”

Turning from where she’d been measuring out Mitzi’s food she answered, “Whatever you want to cook. I had a full day of summer classes and all I want to do is flake out on the bed and listen to a book that has nothing to do with school.”

I sat quietly for a moment and then asked, “You’re just going to turn me loose in your kitchen?”

“Why not? You’ve been helping put supper together for half the summer. You know where things are and if you need anything I’ll be in the next room.” And with that she sat Mitzi’s bowl of food onto the floor and left.

After sitting there for several uncertain moments, I climbed to my feet, went to the little table by Bettie’s chair in the living room and began thumbing through the cookbooks wondering what on earth I’d gotten myself into.

Soon, I’d found something I believed I could make. Bettie and I had made them together several times so armed with the cookbook and the confidence Bettie had given by entrusting her kitchen to me, I began putting together homemade hobos.

Going to the freezer, I removed a pack of hamburger patties we’d put together the last time Bettie and her mom had gone to the store. While they thawed in the microwave, I went to the cabinet and carefully reading the Brailed labels on the can goods stored there selected a couple of cans of mixed vegetables.

Then, just as the bell on the microwave sounded, I went quickly to the frig and found a huge onion and then set to work.

After laying everything out in a tray on the counter and slicing the onion, I began assembling the meal.

I started by making a large square of foil and laying it flat onto a cookie sheet. Then, taking a patty from the pack and laying it in the middle. After draining the water from the cans, I piled spoons of veggies overtop and finished it off with a large slice of onion.

Once everything was piled in the middle of the square, I sprinkled spices over the mound of food and carefully folding the corners of the foil together created one hobo.

I repeated this until I’d created two apiece and then placing the cookie sheet into the oven I’d preheated while putting everything together I sat the timer and began cleaning up the mess I’d made.

Soon everything was back as it had been, the table was set, and I was playing tug-of-war with Mitzi who was filled with energy after a long day of sleeping through Bettie’s classes.

When the timer went off signaling the food was done, I proudly announced, “Supper!”

After Bettie took her first bite, she demanded, “These are excellent. What extra thing did you add?”

For a moment I said nothing and then answering with a bit less confidence than I’d had whilst creating my masterpieces I said, “Garlic salt.”

“Yummy! That’s a great idea. I’ll have to make a note of it.”

After we’d finished eating and our few dishes were washed and put away, we settled in for what would be an enjoyable evening of listening to music and chattering until the wee hours left us snoozing.

Since those long-ago days, I’ve changed up the recipe a bit, but the concept is still the same.

Here’s the recipe for what’s baking in my oven as I type this to you.


  • Two quarter pound pre-made beef patties
  • One bag frozen fireside mixed vegetables
  • Garlic powder and onion salt
  • Two large squares of foil

Let’s Get Cooking…

While preheating your oven to 350 Degrees F. place a beef patty in the center of a square of foil. Pile one or two large hands full of veggies overtop; sprinkle with garlic and onion salt or any other spices you choose; fold the corners of the foil together making sure to tightly wrap each mound of food into a sealed bundle; place onto a cookie sheet and pop into the oven for one hour.

Then, settle in with a good book or your family and enjoy.

About the Author

Patty Fletcher is a single mother with a beautiful daughter, of whom she is enormously proud. She has a great son-in-law and six beautiful grandchildren who live in New Albany Mississippi. Patty lives in Kingsport Tennessee where she works full time as a Writer with the goal of bridging the great chasm which separates the disAbled from the non-disAbled. She is Also a Social Media Marketing Assistant. Visit to learn more.

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