Foolish Four Portfolio
Thankful Things
Including a Foolish Four holiday recipe

By Ethan Haskel (TMF Cormend)

BALTIMORE, MD (Nov. 24, 1999) -- It's Thanksgiving. I certainly have a lot to be thankful for. The Mendelssohn Violin Concerto playing in the background as I start writing this column is just one of about 10,000 things I can think of, off the top of my head. The Tom Waits CD, Beautiful Maladies, I just replaced with Mendelssohn is another. ("Shine, shine, a Roosevelt dime, all the way to Baltimore and runnin' out of time....").

With all these things, and many others, to be thankful for today, it just doesn't seem proper to spend the day expounding on our usual financial topics. Those compound annual growth rates, RP ratios, and market capitalizations can wait a week or two.

Instead, let's talk food. Specifically, Thanksgiving desserts. Thanksgiving desserts are thankful thing #6,243 on my list. When it comes to cooking, I confess it's an activity I love, but one that's been pushed aside these last few years. Another casualty of the clock.

Fortunately for my family, my wife (who's definitely up there in the top 10 on my thankful list) excels in gastronomics. It's payback time to you, our readers (who comprise thankful thing #79), in return for the education and entertainment you've given me.

The payback (or a down payment for such) is a recipe for what I'll call our Foolish Four Apple Crisp, courtesy of my wife. (Actually the recipe is courtesy of my wife's sister, passed along from my wife's sister's neighbor, passed along from... who knows where these things get started?)

Why do I call our holiday dessert the Foolish Four Apple Crisp? Simply because this treat has all those remarkable qualities that attract us to investing in the Foolish Four:

  • It uses simple ingredients.
  • It takes very little time.
  • It's inexpensive.
  • Virtually anyone, with minimal experience, can make it.
  • Most importantly, the results are outstanding!
Sure, we can thumb through the pages of November's Bon App�tit Magazine, to find the recipe for Carmelized Apple and Pear Pie. I bet it tastes just spectacular. But who's got time nowadays to shop for the 21 different ingredients (including the makings for the Cinnamon Pastry Crust), no less execute the recipe's 34 individual steps? I'd rather spend good old quality time with my family, rather than go on a treasure hunt for Applejack Brandy, dried currants, fresh lemon juice, "firm but ripe" Bartlett Pears, and "chopped, lightly toasted" walnuts.

The fuss over the Bon App�tit concoction reminds me of the overly complicated way of doing things. It's the same style often favored by the Wise men (and women) of the financial world, depicted in Investing with Rube.

Our modest Foolish Four Apple Crisp suits me just fine, thank you. So, without further ado, the recipe:

Foolish Four Apple Crisp

Granny Smith apples
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons brown sugar (packed)
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
dash of salt
1 egg
3/4 cup butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Core, peel, and slice enough apples to fill a 9 inch pie plate 2/3 full. Sprinkle apples with 2 tablespoons of brown sugar mixed with the cinnamon. Mix the remaining brown sugar, sugar, flour, and salt in a separate bowl. (Note that the above steps can be done in advance if you want to serve the dish warm after dinner.)

Add egg and melted butter to the flour mixture and stir to cookie dough consistency. Pour over apples and bake at 350 degrees until bubbly (about 45 minutes). Serve, ideally warm, with a huge scoop of vanilla ice cream.

After the meal's complete, and you've all had your share of seconds, don't forget the Maalox (thankful thing #9,491).

Have a most delightful, thankful Thanksgiving.

And please drive Foolishly.

Beating the S&P year-to-date returns (as of 11-23-99):
Schlumberger (NYSE: SLB)     +40.0%
Kimberly-Clark (NYSE: KMB)   +21.7%
Campbell Soup (NYSE: CPB)    -16.1%
Ford Motor Co.  (NYSE: F)    -10.8%
Bank of America  (NYSE: BAC)  +6.4%
Beating the S&P               +8.2%
Standard & Poor's 500 Index  +14.3%

Compound Annual Growth Rate from 1-2-87:
Beating the S&P              +25.1%
S&P 500                      +17.8%

$10,000 invested on 1-2-87 now equals:
Beating the S&P             $177,600   
S&P 500                      $81,400

Today's Stock Lists | 1999 Dow Returns

Read More Foolish Four Reports

Top Dow Stocks
( RP Order )


1. Philip Morris
2. * Caterpillar
3. * Eastman Kodak
4. * General Motors
5. * DuPont
6. Int'l Paper
7. SBC Comm.
8. JP Morgan
9. Exxon
10. 3M

NOTE: Today's Foolish Four stock selections are marked with an asterisk.

Foolish Four Portfolio

11/24/99 Closing Numbers
Ticker Company Dly Pr Chg Price
IPINTL PAPER-1/4$50.63
JPMMORGAN (JP)-2 5/16$132.88

  Day Week Month Year
To Date
Foolish Four -1.47% -3.86% -3.40% 21.68% 23.49% 25.78%
S&P 500(DA) .89% -.35% 3.97% 15.86% 15.93% 17.43%
NASDAQ 2.32% 1.52% 15.31% 56.00% 57.44% 63.79%
DJIA (DA) .11% .04% 2.59% 21.29% 21.45% 23.52%

Trade Date # Shares Ticker Cost/Share Price LT % Val Chg

Trade Date # Shares Ticker Cost Value LT $ Val Ch
  Cash: $119.51  
  Total: $4,939.51  

• S&P 500 (DA) = dividend adjusted. Dividends have been added to the total return of the index.
• DJIA (DA) = dividend adjusted. Dividends have been added to the total return of the DJIA.

The Foolish Four Portfolio was launched on December 24, 1998, with $4,000. Additional cash is never added, all transactions are discussed and explained publicly before being made, and returns are compared daily to the S&P 500 and the Dow. (Dividends are included in the yearly, historic and annualized returns.) Stocks are chosen once per year using a formula based on dividend yield and price. See The Foolish Four Explained for details.