Ha! I bet you thought that I am going to educate you on people who refuse to accept the fact that this earth on which we live is a three dimensional sphere! Nope. I’m going to talk about travelers who are flat! Really, really flat.
Well, yes…I know. I have been remiss in posting over the past few weeks. But we have been up to our elbows in soap…200 pounds of the stuff. We are preparing for the Central Oklahoma Lavender and Herb Festival at the farm of Country Cottage Primatives on June 1st. If you would like to have a lovely day of classes, vendors and lavender picking, set aside this day and make your way to this beautiful place. Look for our canopy and be sure to introduce yourselves!! Oh! And we did have our April drawing and Janet Black of Weatherford, Oklahoma was the winner of the canning tool set. Thank you for all of the entries. Stay tuned for the next give away.
I have been working on this post for two days. That’s ridiculous. But I had it nearly finished yesterday, hit ‘save draft’ and instead of saving my draft, it got wiped out!! All of it!! There was some glitch that I have not figured out. It happened again this morning. I hit save again and it said, “You do not have permission to edit this document” and, “kerplooey!” everything was gone. I came very close to losing my normally pretty even temper with a shoe through the computer screen. But I didn’t and so third time is charm.
But back to Flat People…Facebook is awesome. There were so many people about whom I have wondered over the years, having lost touch with them for as many as 45 years. Facebook has put me in touch with those wonderful people, letting me see what they look like, what they are doing, what accomplishments they’ve made, their families and it has given me a chance to rekindle old relationships. One of those people, a former high school friend and classmate, Carol, contacted me and told me about a geography project in which her 8 year old granddaughter, Ali, was participating. The students were sending a paper doll, drawn by each student, out to as many people as they could find to be photographed at locations that would introduce the students to new and wonderful places. The doll’s name is Flat Stacy.
Mr. Fix-It and I volunteered to take Flat Stacy on our 2000 mile trip recently. It meant that we would stop along the way and take pictures of Flat Stacy in front of places of interest that we thought would be useful to the class. Now, there is nothing like watching the looks on people’s faces as a gray haired woman happily slaps a laminated, cut-out paper person that has been created by an 8 year old, up against some landmark to then step back and shoot pictures with a pretty nice camera. I figure that they wrote me off as some demented older person. But there WAS one place where a couple of young, college-age girls bounced up to ask, “That’s one of those flat people projects, isn’t it?! We did that when we were in school!” They hadn’t been out of school long enough to forget those kinds of things!! I do wonder, though, if they thought that I was somehow still in the third grade!!
Mr. Fix-It joined into the project with gusto. Normally, ready to drive without stopping until bladders are screaming for mercy, he would see a sign and say, “Heh! That looks like a good place for a Flat Stacy picture!” and we would detour from our designated route to take in a site, complete with pictures to prove it. I just love that man. Anyhow, I thought that I would share with you just a few of the many places that we visited on Flat Stacy’s behalf.
And Carol also sent me a recipe, to try, that her children, grandchildren and their friends brag about and can’t wait to eat when they are at her home. My granddaughter and I had a cooking day and tried these delicious treats so the recipe is posted below.
We stopped in Tupelo, Mississippi to visit the birthplace of Elvis Presley. Very impressive. Flat Stacy had her picture made with the “King” in front of the Tupelo City Hall.
Flat Stacy looked for the checkered flag at Talladega International Speedway in Alabama. I looked for Ricky Bobby.
In Newnan, Georgia, we found Flat Stacy’s store – or, at least it SAID it was her store! She was kinda dwarfed by the structure.
Outside of Wilmore, Kentucky, Flat Stacy had her picture made at Shaker Town, in front of a rock fence that was built before the Civil War.
Our little, long-haired dachshund, Ellie, was Flat Stacy’s traveling companion. Unfortunately, Ellie wasn’t feeling very good on this trip and when we got back and her to the vet, we were sad to find out that she is suffering from congestive heart failure. She is too young for that – just 8 years old. We are treating her with natural remedies and prescription medication to help her quality of life. We want to keep her around for a long time because she is such a joy in our life!
Near Mitchellville, Tennessee, Mr. Fix-It spotted these flat people who were just like Flat Stacy! In doing the research to find out about this sculpture, I found that the state of Tennessee has commissioned artists to do sculptures for each of the welcome stations. It just so happens that this one of the flat people was done by my former drawing professor at MTSU, Phillip Vanderweg! Small world.
Of course, we had to get a picture of Flat Stacy in Oklahoma and what better place than in front of the only working oil well in the United States that is located on the grounds of a capitol building. Our beautiful capitol building in Oklahoma City is in the background.
Those are just a few of the pictures that we took. What a fun way to make a trip! And according to Carol, Flat Stacy went as far as Afghanistan for Ali!
Here is Carol’s great cookie recipe for you to try. They are light, crisp and buttery.
1 cup butter
1 cup oil (I used coconut oil)
1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs, well beaten
4-5 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. soda
1 tsp. cream of tartar
1 tsp. vanilla
Now would be a good time to introduce our newest product: Bakewell Cream. I was actually introduced to Bakewell Cream way back in the 70′s in Maine but had not used it since because it is not available around here. Now I can have it!! Yay. It is the most wonderful baking Cream of Tartar that makes the most incredible biscuits. I have tossed baking powder and use the Bakewell Cream with soda and oh my….You can find it at our shopping page.
My granddaughter, Miss Peachy Pie, got her first cooking lesson, complete with her own “Li’l Cook” apron.” Typically, the batter wound up in her hair.
Cream butter and oil with sugar and eggs.
Sift flour, salt, soda and cream of tartar.
Stir into creamed mixture, add vanilla and mix well.
My granddaughter “helped” put the dough balls on the baking sheet. If you are wondering why I cut faces in pictures – after the photo of my mother got stolen and used for unsavory purposes, I have ceased to show the faces that can be photoshopped and misused!
Place small balls of dough on cookie sheet.
Flatten each with a small flat bottom glass dipped in sugar.
Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.
(Do not grease pan!)
Yep, they are TAAASTY! Miss Peachy Pie loved them.
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Archive for the ‘Desserts’ Category
1/3 cup butter
3 large eggs
1 cup live culture yogurt
1 tsp soda
1 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1 cup of your favorite berry jam (I used strawberry)
1 cup chopped pecans
1 Duncan Hines Moist Deluxe white cake mix
Lemon Curd from Recipe (Best if made ahead of time and chilled)
1-8oz pkg cream cheese
1 stick of butter
Beat in 1 lb box of powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
Cream the butter with a mixer and add eggs. Beat until smooth.
Add spices and blend well
Add jam and continue to beat
Add yogurt. Cream together with other ingredients
Add box of cake mix and beat well until smooth. Stir in nuts. Pour batter into cupcake papers that are supported in muffin tins or pour into a greased and floured 9 x 13 sheet cake pan. Bake at 350º for 20 – 25 minutes or until a knife or toothpick comes out clean.
While the cupcakes are warm, using a scoop or apple corer, core out a hole in the middle of each cupcake
Fill each hole with lemon curd that has been made from the linked recipe. Place in the refrigerator or a cool, dry place. Make Butter Cream Cheese Icing
It’s been rather crazy around here. Much, much traveling with back-to-back trips. One trip was to Georgia so that Mr. Fix-It could do some training while I got to spend time with my precious Aunt Lois and Uncle Ed and see the new cottage that they are building. It is next to what will be their daughter’s home. They are in a retirement home right now and all I can say is that I am THRILLED that they are getting out of there and into their own place. I am not lying. I felt 90 years old when I left that retirement home. No smiles. No laughter. No sound. No nothing. Very dismal. It is so gratifying to see how my cousins are willing to give their parents the support, encouragement and help that honors the sacrifices that my aunt and uncle made for their children over the years.
Of course, if one is in Georgia during peach season, one MUST buy peaches and that is exactly what Mr. Fix-It and I did at the most enormous peach orchard I’d ever seen. There was no end to the peach trees and it just made me tired to think of all the work that goes into dealing with that many peaches. This family-owned orchard also supplies homemade peach ice cream to perspiring customers who brave the heat and humidity to purchase baskets of huge fruit. And what fruit it was! “Like candy,” comes to mind.
Mr. Fix-It and I came home to an even hotter Oklahoma of 110º – 114º days with no rain. We watched as grasses dried to a crunchy carpet of brown and trees slowly died, even though Mr. Fix-It diligently watered everything as best he could. Fires raged in nearby areas and the thought of leaving again was not really an option. But I had a high school class reunion to attend and I am sure that y’all can imagine that Mr. Fix-It was chomping at the bit to attend it with me!! This reunion, I am willing to admit, was my 40th year shindig. Yep. My classmates are all old. I’m not old, but they are! Fortunately, we Okies got about an inch of rain to alleviate any fears of leaving home to the fires and so Mr. Fix-It got his wish to be dragged, kicking and screaming, to a party where he was to converse with people he’d never met, didn’t know and who played absolutely no part in his world.
As for my part, I agonized over what to wear. You know: “What outfit will make me look like I stepped out of Vogue even though, I don’t know what Vogue is or how one steps out of it? What jewelry will give the appearance that the Queen of England felt obliged to give me the crown jewels? Sandals or dress shoes? Heels or flats? Teeth whitening or ventriloquize through closed lips?” And my Thyroid Eye Disease tends to make me look like I’m either drunk or shocked at the sight of everything – wide, red, watery and exaggerated – how was I going to downplay that? Let me tell you, if you make it to your 40th reunion, you no longer care what the guys think. You simply want the girls…er..women..er…mature females…to look at you and gush, “Oh MY! You haven’t changed a bit! Why, you are just as cute as a bug’s ear and pretty as a peach,” while thinking, “Oh my gosh. I’d have never known her without a name tag. Her hair is platinum (remember?! We don’t say gray!) and I thought she used to be thin! I’m thinkin’ she’s eaten one buttermilk pie short of a bakery!!” And so I chose my wardrobe carefully to reflect only half a bakery and settled for a raid on James Avery for jewelry. There was nothing to be done about my eyes, except to keep them closed – along with my lips.
The trip was uneventful – 15 hours of driving through drought-stricken Oklahoma and Arkansas and a stop at Trader Joe’s in Nashville, Tennessee. Trader Joe’s is my favorite. I’ve begged them to come to Oklahoma but was told by a number of their young, geographical geniuses that it isn’t possible to get over the Oklahoma mountains. What part of “wind comes sweepin’ down the PLAINS” do they not get?? We rolled into Knoxville to the home of our dear friends, Clyde and Mary, and settled in for the evening.
It was then, that my vanity reared its ugly head. (Yes, admitting one’s flaws is a direct road to continuing them without embarrassment.) I had taken my wedding rings off. I wanted to wear these beautiful gifts from Mr. Fix-It the next day, to prove to my classmates that I had really talked somebody into sharing his paycheck with me on a regular basis, but my ring finger knuckle had swollen twenty times its normal size. Not to be deterred, at 11:30 that night, with Mr. Fix-It and our host and hostess already in bed, I decided to make sure that I could wear the rings. I don’t know why. Don’t even ask me. All I know is that I was determined. I slathered a ton of hand cream all over my hand and finger and got the rings to the knuckle and then, with tongue stuck out between my unwhitened teeth, I forced them the rest of the way into place. There!! They were on. And as I happily looked at them, my finger began to swell more. Oh no. I knew that my finger was going to turn blue.
I tip-toed in to Mr. Fix-It, at midnight, and woke him up to inform him that my rings were stuck. You can imagine the sense of compassion and urgency he felt. He said, “I really wish you hadn’t done that. It’s midnight.” Long story short, he watched as I walked around the room with my hand over my head, stuck my hand in the freezer, ran cold water over my finger and tried another round of lotion to no avail. Clyde and Mary, stayed asleep, I think. By 12:30 am, the swelling had at least stopped and since my finger had not fallen off, Mr. Fix-It chose sleep over panic and I slept on the couch with my hand on the back cushions to keep it elevated. About 2 am, Mr. Fix-It came in to check on me, scared me to death and said, “I really wish you hadn’t done that. It’s 2 in the morning.”
The next morning, finger still immensely swollen, our friends recommended their family jeweler, Lamon Jewelers, for rescue and I was driven to a very painful experience of getting my rings cut off of my sausage finger. It hurt!!!! And when my precious jewelry had finally been removed, it lay in a bent and twisted heap of metal and jewels that looked nothing like a set of wedding rings. I didn’t cry, but I wanted to. However, this afternoon, I signed for a FedEx package that contained my repaired and glistening rings, shipped all the way from Tennessee and they look just like new. Thank goodness for skilled craftsmen!!!
The day of the reunion was full of fun, including a luncheon with a group of my former girlfriends and an afternoon spent with my friend, Robyn, traipsing through old neighborhoods to find the homes in which we had grown up. We found them and shot pictures of ourselves in front of the structures and even met the people who currently live in them. I found out that my old home is haunted – yep – that’s what they tried to tell me – and Robyn traded email addresses with the lovely woman who now calls her place “home” in order to send photos of the house from 50 years ago. The reunion was grand and I so enjoyed seeing the gang that I ran around with in high school, some of whom read this blog and were eager to meet Mr. Fix-It to verify that he is truly the wonderful man portrayed! They were in agreement. The trip back to Oklahoma the next day was also uneventful except for the moment that I came out of a restroom stop and calmly entered the car, wondering where Mr. Fix-It had gone, only to see him sitting in another car nearby. I was in the wrong car. He was laughing his head off. 1900 miles in four days is a bit rough, but it was worth it and I will treasure the memories of seeing so many people from my past.
I thought that I would show those of you who haven’t ever made a peach pie before, how I do mine if I am not using my homemade peach pie filling. That was the case with the peaches from Georgia. I froze them in slices and thawed a gallon to make a pie, but I also use fresh. I figure that I’ll be ready for the next reunion where they can say that I only look like I’ve been eating one peach pie short of an orchard. Much healthier, I think.
1 gallon sliced peaches
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 double pie shell
2 pats butter
Make your pie crust. My recipe for multiple pie crusts is great for a quick pie.
Put peach slices into a large bowl with flour, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg and toss until pieces are coated.
Pour coated peaches into an unbaked pie shell
Wet the edges of the bottom crust with ice water and lay top crust on top.
Roll bottom and top crust edges together to form a coil around the edge of the pie.
Flute the edges by using a floured knife end and pushing the pie dough into the pinched fingers of your opposite hand
Cut slits in the top of the pie dough to vent the pie
Sprinkle cinnamon/sugar over the top of the pie crust and dot with butter. Bake in a preheated 400º oven for one hour or until golden brown and filling is bubbling. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a rack for an hour before cutting.
(Don’t forget to comment to enter our newest giveaway for this heavy, heavy, marble and wooden rolling pin and package of a Made In Oklahoma mix to roll out! Winner will be announced Labor Day weekend.)
Those of you who have been reading this blog over the past four years – yes, y’all! Four years! – know that I am a little crazy. Well, not certifiable, just nutty. Sometimes, I wonder if God wired my brain differently from other people so that it operates just a tad off-the-wall. It just seems that I look at my situations, circumstances and just plain life with the oddest revelations. I can’t just say, “Oh! Look! Fresh corn is on sale!” No. I have to ponder the price, calculate how many ears it will take to fill 50 wide-mouthed pint jars, and, though it’s June, immediately plan who I will be inviting to Thanksgiving dinner in order to determine if 50 wide-mouthed jars of corn can meet the yellow vegetable requirement on the menu! And a simple act of compassion in nature of taking in an orphaned raccoon to bottle feed until it is old enough to make it in the wild on its own, turns into an emergency room visit with a leg broken in five places and a doctor who doesn’t believe I wasn’t up in a tree with the raccoon. OK. So who does that anyway?
So, this past weekend, I made Mr. Fix-It a pretty, darned good buttermilk pie, if I do say so myself. And the kitchen smelled heavenly. If you haven’t ever had a Buttermilk Pie, you HAVE to try it! According to Wikipedia, it was originally a British desert that became a standard here in the deep south. Evidently, it offered a sweet alternative to fruit pies when fruit was out of season. However, Wikipedia also said that you just don’t hear about these pies anymore. I don’t know what they are talking about, because Buttermilk Pie is served in restaurants around here, and Texans claim that, of course, their’s is the best there is! There is a drastic difference between a Buttermilk Pie and a Chess Pie as there is no corn syrup or corn meal in a Buttermilk Pie, and individual cooks like to add their own touches of extra nutmeg and cinnamon, or cloves, lemon extract and rind, or other various flavorings to this versatile custard pie. Anyway, I’m guessing you won’t be surprised that as I made my pie, rolling out the pastry, beating the eggs and such, even though I had no clue that this was a British confection, my brain had a 1960′s British Invasion, and I couldn’t stop singing the Beatles’ Uncle Albert song. You know – “so I had a cup of tea and a butter pie (you have to pronounce it ‘buttah’); the butter wouldn’t melt so I put it in the pie”. And I’m STILL singing it. ~Sigh~ Parts of the tune are hauntingly beautiful and the lyrics are harmless enough, although those boys must have had way too much pie as they came up with that song – or maybe something else. Here, you can click on the song so that it will rattle around in YOUR head for a week.
Here is my recipe for Buttermilk Pie. It’s a pretty ancient one. I sure hope you enjoy it as much as Mr. Fix-It. And as you munch on it, just contemplate what a special man he is to patiently endure my crazier side!!
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened (1 stick)
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 eggs beaten
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1 9″ pie unbaked pie shell
variations: Add 1 tsp cinnamon and 1/4 tsp ground cloves or
Add 1 tablespoon lemon extract and 1 tsp lemon zest
You can use any pie crust recipe. Of course, I use my recipe! I like my recipe because it has butter in it instead of just shortening. Flaky and buttery! Roll out your crust and place it in a 9″ pie tin. Of course, you CAN use a store bought pie crust..cough..cough.
Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the flour and mix further.
In a separate bowl, lightly beat the eggs.
Add the beaten eggs to the creamed butter and sugar mixture
Add the buttermilk and vanilla
Add the nutmeg. If you want to add cinnamon, cloves, more nutmeg or any other flavorings, you would do that here. Mix until well incorporated and creamy.
Pour the creamy custard into the pie shell. Dust the top of the custard with cinnamon. Bake in a 425º oven for 15 minutes and turn down to 350º to continue baking for 30-40 more minutes or until top is golden brown and center is firm, not liquid. It will jiggle a bit but won’t be sloshy. The center will solidify as it cools. Chill and serve cold, but some people like it at room temperature.
Serve with whipped cream and unhook your belt!!
Happy July 4th week. We had such a special day. We got to spend it with the oldest daughter, her husband and their little girl – yep – that grandbaby again!! We ate and talked and ate and watched old home movies and ate and shot off fireworks (since we live way out in the country) and then stopped eating. The grill got fired up for bratwurst, hot dogs and luscious hamburgers infused with olive oil, liquid smoke, garlic powder, salt and worchestershire sauce. Dinner was good. But dessert was better!
Now, I have to interject here that I have never – and I seriously mean never – made a decent batch of homemade ice cream. In fact, I can truthfully say that I’ve never EATEN a decent batch of homemade ice cream. I grew up on the stuff and, I suppose I need to apologize to family, but I always hated it. Just hasn’t ever been my cup of tea – well – bowl of ice cream. It was always so fragile that it turned into soupy stuff too fast, was grainy with ice crystals and was just too, too sweet. Putting chocolate syrup on top of that made it sickly sweet. And then, when leftovers were frozen, the result was a brick the shape of the container that no jackhammer could chip! Just a big waste of ice, salt and electricity to me!
Last Father’s Day, we got Mr. Fix-It a fancy, schmancy wooden ice cream freezer that can either be used with a hand crank, or made so much easier with an electric crank. Sadly, the gift had never left its box and so on the 4th, Mr. Fix-It announced that he wanted homemade peach ice cream, made with peaches from our trees. I was bound and determined to find a recipe that would knock his socks off. AllRecipes.com came to my rescue!!
In order to make this recipe, you have to plan ahead because the base needs to chill in the frig overnight. That is very important. I made the base at about 9 in the evening on July 3rd, poured it into a bowl and allowed it to cool for 20 minutes, putting it in the refrigerator to cool thoroughly all night and even about half of the next day. When we poured the custard mixture into the hopper of the ice cream freezer, Mr. Fix-It was a little nervous at the amount. It looked like there was very little in the barrel. However, as it churned, that amount doubled and then tripled and believe me, we had plenty of ice cream!
When the ice cream freezer stopped, we packed the canister in ice for two hours before serving. I was amazed at the result. It was the creamiest, most solid, not too sweet confection I’ve ever tasted. I was ecstatic. My daughter and son-in-law had two helpings each and oohed and ahhed over its creamy texture. However, Mr. Fix-It was not a happy camper. I had not made the fragile, soupy, ice crystal laden, ice milk with which we had all grown up. He was so disappointed. He was visably disappointed. But tasting that creamy peachiness, I just couldn’t feel bad. I was so excited over my results that I just couldn’t feel bad. However, I guess that next time, I’m will get two machines going: one with junket-style, old-fashioned, ice milk style stuff and the other with this new recipe!! I can tell you ahead of time which one will disappear first! Mr. Fix-It will be happy to have one ice cream freezer all to himself! So, try this out on your next hot weekend and let me know what you think. Thanks, AllRecipes.com!!
1 cup heavy cream
3 cups half-and-half cream
8 egg yolks
1 cup white sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 tbsp vanilla (I added 2 tsps Mexican vanilla because it is so strong)
Optional: 1 cup pureed fruit like peaches, apricots, strawberries, raspberries, bananas, etc.
or 1/2 cup cocoa can be added to the egg mixture in the second step for
flavored ice cream.
1. Pour the heavy cream and half-and-half cream into a heavy saucepan, place over medium-low heat, and heat until barely simmering, stirring frequently. Turn the heat down to low.
2. In the meantime, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, and salt in a large bowl until thoroughly combined. (Make any additions here)
3. Slowly pour about 1/2 cup of hot cream mixture into the egg yolk mixture, whisking constantly. Repeat three times more, for a total of 2 cups cream added, whisking thoroughly before adding each additional 1/2 cup of hot cream to the egg yolk mixture. Pour the egg yolk mixture back into the saucepan with the remaining hot cream, and whisk constantly over medium-low heat until the mixture thickens and will coat the back of a spoon, 5 to 8 minutes. Do not let mixture boil.
4. Pour the ice cream base into a bowl and allow to cool for about 20 minutes; place in refrigerator and chill overnight. The next day, pour into an ice cream maker, and freeze according to the manufacturer’s directions. Remove the ice cream, pack into a covered container, and freeze for 2 hours or overnight before serving. At this point, I removed the paddle and packed the canister in ice instead of removing the ice cream to another container. I only put the leftovers into a plastic container to store in the freezer.
Even after freezing overnight and the next day, it is still just as creamy as can be.
I’ve been posting some hand-written recipes in my grandmother’s 1931 issue of the Rumford Cookbook as I am trying them out, myself. It is just too neat to see my grandmother’s penmanship on favorite recipes and to know that I am mixing what she used to mix up for her family, including my dad and my Aunt Lois.
In my last post, I gave you a little tidbit of my father’s memories as recorded in his book, Sailing Down The River Of Memories. I thought that I would post a few more of those memories here, that I thought you might enjoy:
“We churned our own butter. Lois and Dad liked the buttermilk, but I never developed the taste for it. We never used Oleo margarine (called Oleo) although we sold it in the store. During the thirties, oleo came in a clear sack and looked like white shortening because the butter industry had a law passed to keep it from being colored yellow and looking like butter. A small package of yellow food dye was included in the package. The oleo had to be kneaded with the dye until it turned yellow. Sometimes a person didn’t do a good job kneading it because there would be reddish-yellow streaks throughout the oleo. Some mothers didn’t take the time to color it so it looked as if they were serving lard. As I said, we had butter to go with Mom’s jellies and jams as well as wild honey. I don’t remember anyone in the community with a bee hive, but Dad or some farmer might find a bee tree down by the river that they cut down and then divided the honey among friends. Wild honey was dark, strong and delicious on hot biscuits…
Mom was a woman ahead of her time. During the summer of 1940, she got the idea of freezing strawberries so she wrapped a couple of quarts in waxed butcher paper and put them in the ice cream freezer [at the store]. Then, she served them for Christmas. Why was this ahead of her time? Because frozen food didn’t come to the rest of the country until 1945 when frozen orange juice and Swanson and Sons frozen chicken and turkey came to market. People really thought she was smart. Oh yes, one winter we put some snow balls in the freezer and had a snow ball fight the next summer. Unfortunately, they got icy and never thawed out, so they sort of hurt when we got hit…
Eating in a restaurant was a big event because we didn’t do it very often, but when we did, we went to family types, not the more expensive ones. Dad and I ate at the stockyards where we took cows and hogs. We ate at the ‘dime store’ such as Woolworth or Kresses or Newberry when Mom took us to Joplin. My favorite was the ‘blue plate special’. It was sliced roast beef on a slice of bread with mashed potatoes covered with gravy, slaw and a coke. A real special was a three-decker club sandwich at the Crown Drugstore. Man, was that good. Down at Pawhuska we went to a pig stand for pork bar-b-que and limeaid or coke…The first fast food place I remember was in Joplin out on Seventh and Maiden Lane during the late 1930′s. It was called “Chicken in the Rough” and had a logo of a rooster with a golf club. We got a paper plate with fried chicken, shoe string potatoes, a dish of honey and hot rolls. We sat in the car and ate it with our fingers which is why it was called “in the rough”. The Checkerboard Cafe’ with the outside walls painted red and black like a checkerboard was noted for coney islands. We sometimes ate at Chili King who served the best chili but he would not serve milk to drink because according to him, it would make a person sick. Oh yes, we did not drink milk when we had fish either. Why? Because. That was explanation enough!”
There are 362 pages of memories, geneologies and photographs for us to cherish! And as I posted last time, one of the recipes that my father mentions as a favorite, was my grandmother’s Red Devil Food Cake. I found it in the tattered pages of the Rumford Cookbook, written quickly and precisely. However, there are no baking instructions at all! I had to elaborate on my own. In looking in our family cookbook, I saw that my Aunt Lois also included this recipe and with the note, “(The cake I learned to bake as a child and it was served often at family get togethers)…Note: There are no baking instructions included in my recipe”
So here is the recipe and my decision to bake the cake layers at 350º for 20-25 minutes.
1/2 cup sour cream, lard or butter
2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp soda
4 Tbsp Cocoa
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup buttermilk or sour milk
1/2 cup boiling water
chopped pecans (optional)
Sift together flour and soda and set aside.
Place sour cream, butter or lard into a mixing bowl. I decided to try sour cream. Next time I am going to try butter.
Cream until smooth
In a mixing cup, place cocoa and whisk as 1/2 cup boiling water is slowly added to dissolve. When the mixture is nice and smooth, add to the creamed mixture.
Add flour/soda mixture and stir and then add buttermilk or sour milk. You can sour milk by adding 1 tbsp vinegar into a mixing cup and then pour 3/4 cup milk into the vinegar. Allow to stand for 20 minutes and it will curdle. Pour out 1/2 of the thickest curds.
Add one egg and mix until batter is smooth and uniform
Add vanilla and mix. Unlike the batter in the last cake recipe, this batter is runny. My dad and his family also referred to it as “gravy cake”.
Divide the batter between two greased and floured cake pans. Bake at 350º for 20 – 25 minutes. Use a toothpick to check for doneness at 20 minutes to make sure you do not over bake. Invert pans onto cooling racks and allow to cool completely. Ice with recipe in the last post or use your own. Sprinkle with chopped pecans.
Here’s something neat. I am keeping the cake in my Grandmother T’s cake keeper in which she used to house the same confection! And generations of cooks continue on!
Previously, I showed you photographs of the worn and ragged Rumford Cookbook that served as my grandmother’s journal and recipe collection. She evidently never cooked out of the book, but used it to record family events and geneologies and favorite recipes which consisted almost totally of desserts! Now I know where I get my sweet tooth.
It is a precious thing to have this book with my grandmother’s writing scribbled throughout, but to make it even more special, my father, who will be 84 on July 4th, wrote a book about his early life in Missouri and his experiences in Germany during the WWII era and it includes the story of the Rumford Cookbook. Dad’s book is a volume of memories that I can pass on to my grandchildren and great-grandchildren in a way that my parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, aunts and uncles will never be forgotten. They will always be alive in words and photographs.
Here is an exerpt from the book that I thought you might enjoy:
According to the old saw, some people eat to live, meaning they aren’t particular about what they eat or how it is prepared. Well, I think it is fair to say my family “lived to eat.” We enjoyed food!! It may not have been prepared in a fancy way, but it was fixed with love. Don’t ask me why but the folks said “fixed” instead of “prepared” as in “I’ll have supper fixed directly.” Mom, Grandmother Hightower and other members of the family prided themselves on being good cooks and well they should. Light rolls were high and light. Fried catfish was crisp on the outside and moist on the inside. Steak was tender enough to cut with a fork. And who could stop with just one piece of red devil’s food cake with fudge icing?
1/2 cp butter
2 cups sugar
5 tsps cocoa
1 cup mashed potatoes
2 eggs, separated (beat whites to fluffy)
1/2 cup milk (I used half and half)
2 tsps vanilla
1 cup nuts
2 1/2 cup flour
4 tsp baking powder
2 squares chocolate
2 cups sugar
2 tbsps syrup (I assume Karo White but I used plain old pancake syrup and it was great)
1/2 cup milk (I used half and half)
2 sticks butter
1 tsp vanilla
powdered sugar to thicken if needed
Cream sugar and butter until fluffy
Separate eggs and place egg whites into a bowl to be whipped.
Add yolks to the sugar and butter mixture and mix
Add potatoes and beat
Add cocoa and milk and mix thoroughly
And nuts..I used English walnuts, but pecans would be great too.
Add the flour that is mixed with the baking powder. Now here, I will caution that because of all of the different flour types, the 2 1/2 cups may be too much with certain types. If you grind your own wheat and are using a soft, white wheat pastry flour, you will definitely not need the full amount. I suggest that you add the flour 1/2 to 1 cup at a time until the consistency is smooth and not too dry. This batter is not a thin batter like we are used to with boxed cakes. It is almost the consistency of whipped icing.
Beat the egg whites until stiff and fluffy
Fold in the egg whites with a spatula by gently turning the batter over on top of the whites again and again until the egg whites are incorporated into the batter.
Divide the batter equally between two greased and floured 9″ round cake pans. Bake in a preheated 350º oven for 30 – 35 minutes. Test with a toothpick or sharp knife to make sure it comes out clean. DO NOT OVERBAKE. Check at 30 minutes and if it is not quite done add a minute at a time.
Invert cakes onto cooling racks and allow to cool
Meanwhile, place two squares of Baker’s Chocolate into a 1 1/2 quart saucepan.
Add sugar and milk or half and half and stir, with a whisk, over low heat until sugar is dissolved. Turn up the heat and, continually stirring, as the chocolate melts and the mixture comes to a low boil.
Stop stirring mixture and allow to boil for 2 full minutes.
Remove from heat and add butters and vanilla. Stir until butter is melted and incorporated. Cool until the icing becomes hard. Stir to whip to spreadable consistency. If you want a thicker spread then you feel you are getting, add powdered sugar, 1/4 of a cup at a time until you reach the consistency you want.
I like to place my bottom layer of the cake onto a piece of wax paper. Then, I can slide the cake onto a cake plate after I am finished icing, for a nice, clean look. Ice the top of the bottom layer of the cake with a thick layer. Place the top layer of the cake onto the bottom layer and make sure they are centered on top of one another.
Ice the tops and the sides of the cake
Garnish with a strawberry or chocolate shavings.
Of course, I had to use my vintage cake cutter that I found at an antique store. It is just like the one that I grew up with that my mom used to cut her cakes. It beats a knife to smithereens!! The cake is tasty, especially with strawberries and the longer it sits, the more most it seems to get. Next time, I’ll do the Red Devil Food Cake that Dad talked about and we will see what it is like!
Don’t forget to leave a comment to enter the Bread Pan Giveaway to win two unique bread pans. The winner will be chosen on St. Patrick’s Day
I’ve had an interesting week and it isn’t even over yet! My sister, from the Dallas area, flew here to spend time with me and to meet my little granddaughter for the first time. We had a blast taking care of my granddaughter for two solid days. She is three months old, is grinning from ear-to-ear and is making every sound in the world in an attempt to communicate. And as all grandmothers are supposed to do, I worked hard to teach her the kinds of things that three month olds are supposed to know, especially how to make a sustained “ahhhh” while grandmother bounces a finger over baby’s mouth to make a vibrating “ahhhh”. Of course, I made a video and of course I put it on Facebook for the family.
It is amazing to me that I am a grandmother. I remember my times spent with my grandmothers and it is just mind-boggling how time marches on from one generation to another. Someday, this little, budding personality in my arms will be a grandmother too and I’ll be long gone. However, my name and my memory will carry on just as my grandmothers’ names and memories carry on for me in my memories, my stories, my pictures and in my cooking. It is such a daunting task, but such an honor, to be able to pass on faith, values and lessons to the little ones.
Recently, my cousin sent me a treasure from the past that is most dear. She had, in her possession, the Rumford Complete Cookbook that my grandmother (on my father’s side) had used from the early 1930′s until she died in the early 1970′s. The funny thing is, there is not one, single recipe in that cookbook that any of us remember my grandmother fixing. She did not use those recipes! She used the book, and its many blank pages, to record in her distinctive pen, her own favorite recipes, accounts of everyday life, and geneologies. When family would come for a visit, family members wrote their own observations of the time too. It is a precious collection of moments in time.
On the inside of the front cover is a combination of my grandmother’s handwriting recording the first snow in 1939 (December 23) and the first snow in 1971 (November 22) and then below, my great-aunt Suzie wrote the oddest entry: “Sept 16 1942
We all took supper with Chas. and Frances [my grandparents], of course. Chas did a lot of griping but after all I told him he was the only one working so we would just not [illegible]. Don’t know if he appreciated it or not. We wrote down all the nieces and nephews ages after several arguments finally had to finish up correspondent for Frances. Don’t forget Elmer ate the chicken feet and all – don’t know where they scratched.” Elmer was my great-uncle Elmer and he was worried about where the chicken feet he’d just eaten had been while on the chicken!!
I decided that since I did a series on my mother’s mother’s cookbook of 1914, I would do one on my father’s mother’s cookbook of 1931 as well. Only, instead of using the recipes printed in the book like “Codfish Fritters” and “Perfect Fish Balls”, I’d use the tried and true recipes that my grandmother recorded and actually made. And since today is “Pi Day” (It’s March 14th – 3.14 – silly!!) I thought that I would make Grandmother Thurman’s lemon pie. I can remember her whipping one out at the stove while I watched. She dearly loved anything lemon, especially lemon sour candy, but her pies were not to be outdone.
1 Pie shell, baked
I keep my pie crust mix in the freezer, take out enough to make however many pie crusts I plan and let the mix thaw for a little while before mixing with water. Having it cold makes it much flakier. Roll out your pie crust, of course on an Oklahoma Pastry Cloth™! Place the pie crust in your tin. I am using a tin that you can find at the shopping page that has a perforated insert to keep the crust from shrinking.
I like to flute my crusts
When using the additional perforated tin, it is placed into the pie tin over the crust. Bake the crust at 400º for 15-20 minutes and allow to cool
In the meantime, place sugar and flour into a medium saucepan and stir to mix
Add cup of boiling water very slowly and stir to make a creamy mixture and heat to boiling
Slowly add beaten eggs, whisking as you pour.
Add lemon juice and lemon zest.
Stir until thickened to a pudding texture
Pour the custard into the baked pie shell. Chill in the refrigerator until cold all the way through. There will be enough room in the pie shell to also add a topping
Slice and serve topped with freshly made whipped cream or canned whipped cream. I don’t like the flavor of Cool Whip with it. Or you can make meringue to place on top and bake until lightly browned. I’m not a big pie meringue fan but lots of people are!
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I have been doing a series of posts from my grandmother’s high school, 1914 edition of “Domestic Science” and visualizing working in a vintage kitchen with wood cook stove and Seller’s or Boone kitchen cabinet complete with sifter and flour drawers. Included in each lesson have been etiquette rules that follow each recipe in the book. Many of these rules have been passed on to the children of today, (I hope!!) but there is one issue of etiquette that I know they did not consider back then. That rule concerns the public use of cell phones.
Friday, I was sitting in the waiting room of a certain preventative testing clinic for women, minding my own business and not really caring about anybody else’s, when the woman sitting across from me accepted a call on a cell phone that was playing some really annoying jingle. She was on oxygen and so her conversation was a series of loud words stilted by the short gasps of her oxygen machine. In a voice equal to what we used to call an “outdoor voice” she carried on a conversation with the person on the other end and gave all of us in the room the inside scoop of what she was planning for the day. Meanwhile, the cellphone of the women to my left and right simultaneously whined different songs and both women loudly answered, “Hello?” Then the woman to my left said, “You’re going on a cruise?! When are you leaving? Alrighty! They kind of keep everything in and she’s the one asking about the birds and she’s just going to snap. I’m at the place to get a mammogram.” Oh my. That word and the picture it paints. Is nothing secret anymore?
All three women continued to converse in mucho decibels when the Latino man across the room, waiting on his wife, made a call and in Spanish yelled over the other voices to explain something. I caught “Mañana” and “ocho” but that was the extent of my eavesdropping since the only other language I know is French. The other bored husband in the room accepted a call, about that time, and made an order for decking and something else in frustrated tones. But it was when the lady to my right took it up a notch and put her phone comrade on speaker phone that I almost lost it in gails of laughter at how ridiculous this situation was. I couldn’t hear myself think and it amazed me that these people could concentrate on what they were saying with all of the other conversations going on. I stifled a giggle as this woman said, “Oh, you know. She told us that her father kicked her out, but I found out that was a lie. I think she must be drinking.” (we REALLY needed to know that!) And the lady on the other end squawked out a reply. But I guess the fact that I was taking notes by that time, thinking, “Blog material!!”, that I got noticed because the speaker phone got cut off quickly.
My name was called at that point and I sauntered into the tiny dressing room, still snickering at the sitcom into which I had just been dumped. I sat to wait my turn because I was in that place to get a you-know-what (I still have Victorian limits). A muffled voice came through from the dressing room next door, “Oh I know!! You should have seen what she made. She didn’t do it the way she was supposed to, but it turned out cute. Looks like snowflakes. I’ll show it to you tomorrow.” I had to smile at that one. Obviously a young mother or a grandmother proud of her little daughter or granddaughter.
And so, before I move on to the next vintage recipe, which is to die for, by the way, I will insert a modern code of manners into the mix by reminding all that while we like to stay connected, there is a limit to that connection when it comes to public places. Those around us really don’t care about our personal lives – unless they are robbers who are taking down your plans. There is a reason for texting!!
Mr. Fix-It insisted that I try this recipe next. Oh my gosh. Incredible doesn’t even come close. As I looked at the amount of chocolate used, I thought that it couldn’t be enough. I realize that back then, chocolate was really, really special and expensive and so I upped the amount a tad. Also, while I am including the original hard sauce recipe, I decided to use MY hard sauce recipe that’s a bit – harder – shall we say? Yes, it has rum in it, but it’s cooked and it made an already wonderful dessert, something to brag about. Here you go:
2 cups dried bread crumbs or 4 slices 3/4″ thick bread, dried and sliced
4 tblsp butter (1/2 stick)
3 cups scalded milk
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup melted chocolate (I used 1/3 cup chocolate chips)
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
dash of cinnamon
1/3 cup butter
1 c powdered sugar
2/3 tsp vanilla
Sauce Directions: 1. Melt and cream the butter thoroughly. 2. Very gradually add the sugar, creaming constantly. Add the flavoring and set aside to cool.
My Hard Sauce
1 stick butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg beaten
1/8 tsp vanilla
1/2 to 1 jigger of rum according to taste
Directions and photos to follow..
Melt butter in a skillet.
Dredge bread crumbs or sides of bread stips in the butter until all butter is gone. Note: I am using homemade whole wheat bread here. I toasted 4 thick pieces, sliced and then put in the oven on 200º for about 30 minutes to dry it out. This really made a good pudding because the bread has such body. And you can convince yourself that this is healthy because there is fiber?!
Place the bread on a plate and set aside
In a large double boiler (mine is too small so a stainless steel bowl over a pan of boiling water works great) pour the milk and scald to just under boiling.
Pour bread into milk and allow to soak until bread is soft.
The directions say to spoon the bread into a buttered or greased ‘pudding dish’, but I looked up what that would be and I do not have one. It is made of ceramic or pottery and can be either oval or round and has a design on the bottom. So, I used the tried and true Corningware casserole dish! I sprayed my dish with spray olive oil.
Pour leftover milk into a bowl and set aside. Place chocolate into the bowl.
Melt chocolate or chocolate chips in the bowl over boiling water.
Add just enough of the scalded milk to the melted chocolate to blend into a smooth mixture.
Add rest of the milk and blend. Add dash of cinnamon.
Add half the sugar and blend
In another bowl, beat two eggs and add salt, sugar and the rest of the sugar and beat until creamy
Gently pour, little by little, the egg mixture into the chocolate mixture whisking continually to keep the eggs from curdling. Stir until the mixture is smooth.
Pour chocolate mixture over bread pieces in the baking dish. Now this is where I had to do some guessing because it said, “Bake in a moderate oven until done.” I figured 350º for 45 minutes. That worked great. I have to remember with these recipes that the old stoves were more of a guess than a thermostat!
Test with a sharp knife or toothpick to come out clean. Allow to stand for a few minutes. The sides of the pudding will pull away from the sides of the dish. Serve warm with warm hard sauce that follows.
In a clean bowl over boiling water, or in a small double boiler, melt butter and add sugar and vanilla.
Stir until mixture is smooth and then gently add beaten egg, whisking continually to keep the egg from curdling.
Add rum and stir.
Cook for about 10 minutes until sugar is completely dissolved and sauce is thick and smooth
Spoon each serving of warm chocolate bread pudding in a bowl and ladle sauce over it. I promise, you will sit there and just sigh with joy. Leftovers of both sauce and pudding may be reheated.