Ann Lemons Pollack, who recently contributed article has passed away

UPDATE: Ann Lemons Pollack, the poplar St. Louis food critic passed away suddenly. Ann was involved in many things and had an abundance of friends. Her death was unexpected, due to a fall.

Several months ago she combined on an article for around the Super Bowl. She was eager to add a recipe which was the favorite of her late husband, food writer icon Joe Pollack. In memory of Joe and honor of Ann, we made the meatloaf and it was great. We may have meatloaf again this week in memory of Ann. Rest in peace.
Here is what her family wrote on social media:
On behalf of the Lemons and Pollack families, we want to express our deep thanks to so many people. Ann Lemons Pollack was the center point of our lives, a person full of passion, drive and commitment. We have been touched by the beautiful stories conveyed about her…
St. Louis has been blessed with many gifted journalists through the years, including her late husband, Joe Pollack. Mom had quite a journey to join the writing community — a far cry from the 1970s when she was a single mother on welfare, raising two kids while putting herself through nursing school at Mineral Area College in St. Francois County.
Her path eventually took her to the Barnes Hospital ICUs and many other stops in St. Louis, eventually trading in her work as a Registered Nurse to write about “food, glorious food” as well as theater and many other things — during her partnership with Joe and beyond. She was active in many groups, including the St. Louis Media History Foundation, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, her beloved “Knitting Posse,” working at her local voting precinct and so many others.
We will plan a celebration of her life later this summer.
In lieu of flowers, people may make donations on her memorial page at the St. Louis Media History Foundation or to any of the groups she was involved with. She would also embrace tipping generously when enjoying a good meal, taking time to attend a live theater performance or really doing anything to help make a difference to someone in these trying times. She meant the world to us, and we are deeply touched by the stories so many people have shared with us. We cannot thank you all enough, and as Mom would so often say, “Consider yourself hugged.”
To make a donation in Ann’s memory to the St. Louis Media History Foundation CLICK HERE.
Original Article: (Feb. 2022)

Food For the Big Game: Soup Treats and Super Treats

Compiled by Sally Tippett Rains, with Ann Lemons Pollack
The Big Game will be here before you know it– and according to the local weather-casters so will the snow. Are you looking for a good hearty soup to serve in the cold weather? Are you thinking ahead to your Super Bowl spread?  We’ve got a few interesting dishes you could try. We’ve added soups and chili to the mix and two contributions from special guest  award-winning food writer and author, Ann Lemons Pollack.
The game will be played at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles, California on Sunday, February 13, 2022.
Super Bowl Sunday has long been a day where all football fans and even non-football fans can agree on one thing: good food is important. Whether you are a Cincinnati Bengals fan or a Los Angeles Rams fan, the choice of foods on the buffet is a key ingredient in a good Super Bowl party.
Who could be better to contribute to a football food article than a food writer (Ann Lemons Pollack) who was  married to a sports writer (Joe Pollack) turned foodie.
Joe Pollack, who passed away in 2012 was a newspaper icon in St. Louis for many years, having started as a sports writer at the Globe-Democrat, moved on to become public relations director for the St. Lous Football Cardinals (now Arizona Cardinals) and then the St. Louis Post-Dispatch in 1972, where he served as a film, theater and restaurant critic and a wine writer.
Ann Lemons was already an accomplished food writer having been published in the Post-Dispatch, St. Louis Magazine, New Orleans MenuSauce Magazine, and Ladue News, among other publications when the two met. Ann and Joe wrote three books together and since then, her latest book is  Iconic Restaurants of St. Louis.
They are shown in the photo, left (by Herb Weitman). With this unique background, we asked her for some Big Game suggestions. There was one dish that immediately came to mind that Joe loved.
“We loved doing a meatloaf which we often turned into fat hamburgers on the grill,” she told “Joe loved them so much I sometimes referred to him in print as ‘Mr. Meatloaf.’  He was also very fond of my soups, and there is a tomato soup that would be good sipped from mugs.”

With the temperatures hitting the single digits these days, and snow on the way, soups would be a welcome addition to any meal planning.

“I am not a fan of canned tomato soup, one of the remnants of my picky-eater childhood,” she said. “Not even grilled cheese sandwiches could persuade me otherwise. So it’s a source of private amusement to me that this soup is one of my favorites. It’s rich, creamy, deeply satisfying and an absolutely fabulous first course for a fancy dinner or a main course for a Sunday night with a good salad and the legendary crusty bread or a grilled cheese sandwich, haute or ordinaire.”

Ann and Joe Pollack are shown in the photo, left (photo by Herb Weitman). She even had a Super Bowl story to share.

“One of the best jobs we did together was when the NFL called Joe to write a piece for the Super Bowl program.  The game was being played in New Orleans, and the article was to be about the food and nightlife there,” she said. “We got to spend two hours with Emeril Lagasse. This was back when he was very popular but pre-television years. He was a really smart man, by the way.”

Emeril was telling them all about New Orleans, however Ann Lemons Pollack knew a lot about the city.

“We both knew New Orleans but in different ways,” she said of Lagasse and her. “I had actually gotten started in food writing because of one of the restaurant critics there, and it was a fabulous serendipity.”

Super Bowl Treats

Meatloaf- Ann Lemons Pollack

1 Tbs. cooking oil

1/2 c. minced onion

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp. freshly-ground pepper

1 tsp. cayenne

1 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. ground cumin

2 lbs. ground chuck or a mixture of beef and pork

1 1/2 c. dry bread crumbs

1/4 cup tomato-based barbecue sauce plus more, if desired

3 Tbs. plain yogurt plus more

1 Tbs. Worcestershire sauce

1 egg

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Heat the oil in a small skillet. Add the onion and garlic and cook until they’re softened. Stir in the black pepper and cayenne, salt and cumin and cook an additional 2 or 3 minutes.

Spoon the vegetable mixture into a large bowl. Add the meat, bread crumbs, barbecue sauce, yogurt, Worcestershire sauce and egg. Mix well with your hands.(This is a good job for kids; squooshing things around is infinitely satisfying.) Add as much more yogurt as necessary to make the mixture moist but not soupy.

Put the mixture into a greased loaf pan or a 1 1/2 quart casserole. Bake uncovered for 40 minutes. Raise the oven temperature to 400 degrees and continue baking another 20-30 minutes. If you wish, brush with additional barbecue sauce the last 10 minutes.

Serves maybe 6 people; also makes great burgers to go on a grill.

Note: The meatloaf can also be made into small ‘fat’ burgers, served with buns–although Joe after grilling them liked them just plain on the plate.


Crock Pot Meat Balls – Sally Hanson

30 oz. jar of grape jelly

18 oz.bottle of Sweet Baby Ray’s barbecue sauce

Frozen meatballs like you buy at Sams

Place one half of a jar of grape jelly (30 oz jar-generic brand is fine) and half of an 18 ounce bottle of Sweet Baby Ray’s barbecue sauce in the bottom of the crockpot.
Place 1/2 bag of the frozen meatballs and then top with the rest of the BBQ sauce from the bottle.
Cook it on low about three hours, stir it a few times, and then if it needs more time, cook for another hour.

Note: Use a regular sized crockpot liner to avoid extra work cleaning up!

We always took these to potlucks to be sure our kids would eat something with protein in it.

Cheese Football – Tara McMahon

8oz tub cheddar cheese
8oz cream cheese
1 TBS Worchestershire sauce
1 TBS onion juice
1 tsp garlic powder
Dash of Tobasco sauce
Directions: Allow cheese to come to room temperature to soften. Add all ingredients to a bowl and mix well. On a large piece of wax paper shape the cheese mixture into the shape of a football. Refrigerate until firm.
When ready to serve garnish the ball with pretzel pieces or black olives sliced to make the lace. Serve with an assortment of crackers.

Smoked Queso- Ann Mandernach

9 x 13 pan

1lb of chorizo – cooked and drained

2 – 10oz Rotel original (can use spicy if you like it spicy)

32 oz Velveeta

8 oz cream cheese

Set temp on smoker at 225

Stir after 30 minutes, then every 15-20 minutes until done.

Cook time is about 1:30.

Serve with taco type chips.


Top Notch Guacamole- Ann Mandernach

5 ripe avocados

1 large tomato, chopped

1 small red onion, chopped

½ cup chopped cilantro

Finely grated zest of 1 lime

3 tbls freshly squeezed lime juice

2 cloves of garlic

1 jalapeno pepper – finely chopped

1 tsp salt (plus more to taste)

Mash Avocado in large bowl.  Stir  in tomato, onion, cilantro, lime zest and juice, garlic, jalapeno, and salt.  Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.  Serve with taco type chips


Karen’s First Down Dip – Karen Henington

Jar of salsa

Container of sour cream


Knorr’s dry vegetable soup mix

Mix one small jar of chunky salsa, one small container of sour cream and then equal part mayonnaise mixed with a package of Knorr’s dry vegetable soup mix.

Note: It is better to make a day or a couple of hours ahead, so all the flavors come out.

This dip is great with large Fritos but also goes with tortilla chips, potato chips and could be the dip in the center of a veggie tray.


Italian Roll-Ups- Joan Spink

¼ pound genoa salami

¼ pound sandwich pepperoni

¼ pound prosciutto

¼ pound picante provolone

2 tablespoons mayonnaise

¼ cup shredded lettuce

1/2 of a small red onion, sliced

¼ cup sliced black olives

¼ cup red wine vinegar

¾ cup olive oil

2 teaspoons Italian seasoning

¼ teaspoon salt


Lay  meats and cheese down in order from largest (at the top) to smallest (at the bottom).

Spread mayonnaise along the center of the chain in a thin layer.

Sprinkle lettuce, onion, and black olives onto the mayonnaise.

Begin rolling the chain tightly from the bottom (smallest meat/cheese) up toward the biggest one. Roll them tightly so they won’t become undone. Once it’s all rolled up, put a toothpick in the center to hold it in place.

When ready to serve, make the dressing: In a small bowl, mix the vinegar, olive oil, Italian seasoning, and salt. Dip the roll-up into the dressing and enjoy!

Note: This is great for a low carb (keto) addition. Makes five.

Super Sausage-Egg Balls
(And they are great for those who like low-carb)
1.5 lb. breakfast sausage
4 eggs
1 package cream cheese
1 cup shredded cheese
2 cups of almond flour
2T Baking Powder
Brown the breakfast sausage, drain, and set in large mixing bowl. Add the cream cheese to the bowl and mix well.  Set it aside for a few minutes to let the cheese melt as well as letting the mixture cool so as not to cook the eggs when you mix them in.
Add the eggs, flour, baking powder and cheese. Chill the mixture a few minutes to give the flour time to absorb the moisture.
Use a small cookie scoop or large spoon to get the mixture out and form into balls.
Placed on a greased (or sprayed with Pam) baking sheet.
Cook at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes (or until they look done).
Each ball is about one net carb. The sausage balls can be cooked ahead of time and frozen. Just take them out as needed and either microwave them for a minute per one ball or put on tray and warm up in the oven.
Note: They can be made smaller as a game time snack or larger to be eaten for breakfast.

Stuffed Bacon Wrapped Steak Bites – Tara McMahon

8oz Fillet Mignon
1 Bottle of Italian Dressing
1 8oz package of Cream Cheese
20 slices of Bacon
1/4 cup minced jalapeños
Small skewers
Directions: Slice steak into 1/2-inch wide strips. Pound strips to about half original thickness. Place steaks in bowl. Add salad dressing. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours. Preheat outdoor grill. Mix cream cheese and jalapeños. Set aside. Remove strips of steak from marinade and lay on flat surface. Spread 1 teaspoon cheese mixture on each strip. Roll strip in a ball. Wrap bacon slice the opposite direction and secure with skewer. Cool on preheated grill until bacon is crispy. About 4 mins per side.

Toffee Bugles- Sue Hyde

3/4 cup light brown sugar
6 tablespoons butter (real butter)
3 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
7/8 cups bugles (1 bag)
Put bugles in large mixing bowl Add butter, brown sugar, syrup in saucepan. Stirring constantly until it starts to bubble, add baking soda. Pour over bugles and stir. Put bowl in microwave and heat 1 minute. Take out and stir repeat 2 more times. When finished spread out bugles on lined baking sheet to cool.

Ranch Snack Mix with Oyster Crackers- Joan Spink

3/4 cup vegetable oil

1 packet dry ranch dressing mix

1 9 oz package oyster crackers

1 11.5 oz box of reduced fat Cheez-its

8 oz (half of a normal bag) waffle pretzels

1 tsp onion powder

1 tsp garlic powder

2 tsp dill weed


Preheat oven to 250 degrees.  In large bowl combine the snack ingredients. Drizzle with vegetable oil, mix in dried ranch dressing packet, onion powder, garlic powder and dill weed.  Spray two cookie sheets lightly with non-stick spray.  Spread mixture evenly on the cookie sheets. Cook approximately 30 minutes, stirring after about 15 minutes  Store in an airtight container.  Will keep for about 2-3 weeks.

Note: Everyone loves this snack mix. I always bring it to the winery and serve it whenever I have a party.

Editor’s note: The Ranch Snack Mix would go great with these soups…

Soup Bowl Treats

Tomato Bisque- Ann Lemons Pollack

1/2 c. chopped onions

1/2 c. unsalted butter

1 1/2 tsp. dill

1 1/2 tsp. oregano

5 c. tomatoes 

4 c. chicken stock

2 Tbs. flour

2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper (she suggests white; I use white or fresh-ground black)

1/4 c. chopped parsley

4 tsp. honey

1 1/4 c. heavy cream (see milk discussion in note below)

2/3 c. half-and-half

In a large pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add onions, dill and oregano and cook until onions become translucent, or sort of clear. Add the flour, stir it in and cook 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the tomatoes, stock, salt and pepper. Stir and raise the heat to high. Continue stirring until the mixture comes to a boil. Drop the heat to a simmer and cook for another 15 minutes.

Add parsley and honey Remove from heat, let cool, a little or a lot, and puree. Add whatever milk/cream you’re using and reheat. This makes about 9 cups, so figure on it serving 6, but, as always, who knows? People often want seconds.

Note: The recipe calls for heavy cream and half and half. I almost never make it that rich; my usual combination is a cup of heavy non-ultrapasteurized (it tastes better) cream and the rest lowfat milk. It actually comes out to 5/6 of a cup, but you can be a little casual about the exact amount.

Touchdown Taco Soup- Sally Hanson

A crockpot recipe
1 (15 oz.) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15 oz.) can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 (14.5 oz.) can sweet corn, drained
1 (12.5 oz.) can white chicken breast (drained)
1 (10.75 oz.) can of cream of chicken soup
1 (10 oz.) can green enchilada sauce (optional)
1 (14 oz.) can chicken broth
1 packet taco seasoning (use as much as you think your taste would want)
Dump all ingredients into a crock pot and cook on low for several hours or you can use a regular pan on the stove: Mix all ingredients together  in a large pot. Heat until warm, stirring occasionally, Serve with tortilla chips.


Turkey Soup- Holly Reimer



vegetables (onion, carrots, celery, whatever you choose)


bay leaves, sage, salt, pepper

Directions: This is a homeade soup made from the remains of your turkey. You can add bits of turkey to it if you have some. Take the turkey carcass with the juice in the pan and put it in a big stock pot. Add water and chicken broth. Cover it. Add vegetables vegetables of your choice, bay leaves, sage salt and pepper


Ham and Bean Soup- Barbara Tippett

1 pound dry great Northern beans

8 cups water

½ teaspoon salt

1 ham hock (or you can use pieces of ham)

1 cup chopped onion

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 teaspoon mustard powder

2 cups chopped ham

½ teaspoon ground white pepper

Rinse the beans, sorting out any broken or discolored ones. In a large pot over high heat, bring the water to a boil. Add the salt and the beans and remove from heat. Let beans sit in the hot water for at least 60 minutes. After beans have cooked an hour, add the hamhock and onion for another hour. Remove the hamhock and add the chopped ham.

Note: This soup should be made in a pot on the stove but can then be put in a crock pot (as shown right) to serve later. We always ate it with a little vinegar and ketchup added to our individual bowls– always with cornbread as the side.

As with most soups and family recipes you can improvise. If you have extra ham but don’t have the ham hock and you want to make the soup just dump it all in at the beginning. You really can’t go wrong with this basic soup.


Mom’s Easy Chicken Noodle Soup

(Person who submitted it wanted to remain anonymous)


2 ½ cups shell noodles

1 teaspoon vegetable oil

12 cups chicken broth

1 ½ tablespoons salt

1 cup chopped celery

1 cup chopped onion

⅓ cup cornstarch

¼ cup water

3 cups diced, cooked chicken meat

Directions: Cook the noodles-  Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add noodles, and boil for 8 minutes. Drain and rinse.

Bring to boil in saucepan: broth, salt, celery and onion. Reduce heat, cover, Simmer 15 minutes.

Make the thickener: mix cornstarch and water together in separate bowl until cornstarch is completely dissolved. Slowly add to soup, stirring constantly. Stir in noodles and chicken, and heat through.

This can be put in a crock pot at low until time to serve or eaten as soon as made.


Joan’s Buffalo Chicken Chili- Joan Turner

2 cans of chicken drained

1 can white navy beans (drained and rinsed)

1 can (14.5 oz.) Hunt’s fire roasted tomatoes (drained)

1 cup frozen corn

2 cups chicken broth

1/2 cups Frank’s Hot Buffalo Sauce

1 packet ranch seasoning

1/2 tsp garlic powder, onion powder and dried cilantro flakes

1 tsp. salt

1.8 oz. cream cheese

Put all ingredients (except the cream cheese) in crock pot. Put cream cheese on top. Cook on low for eight hours. Stir together before serving.

Note:This chili is award winning, lol. I won my department chili cook off. Now I usually shred my own chicken instead of cans. It’s comfort food for sure

Smokey Chicken Chili- Ann Mandernach

2 pounds ground chicken (can use turkey)

2 16oz cans of black beans

16 oz crushed tomatoes

Red/Orange/Yellow peppers (any color will do)(you only need to use 2)

Large onion


Small can of green chilies

Smoked paprika

Sweet red pepper – powder

Chili powder

Ancho Chili powder

Pepper flakes


Brown chicken in olive oil (I use Pam to spray the pan).  Remove from pan and add to crock pot.  Sauté onion and peppers in Pam/olive oil.  Add garlic and sauté with the onion and peppers.  When done, add to crock pot.  Add tomatoes with liquid, chilies, beans with liquid and spices to taste.  Salt to taste.  Add additional spices as you like.  I like to add a lot of smoked paprika for that smokey taste.

Easy Gumbo- Pam Melvin

A gumbo soup mix kit

Diced tomatoes

Andouille sausage

Shrimp- medium shrimp, peeled and deveined


Buy a gumbo soup mix and prepare it in a large pot. I use the mix shown in the photo, right.

Add diced tomatoes, as many as you want. Then add andouille sausage and shrimp.

Note: This soup is really easy to make but it is a hit.

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