Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Old Cookbooks

Old Cookbooks
I have a love affair with old cookbooks. I can find myself lost
in the recipes. I read the old ads, remembering what it is like
to buy everything at one store, not the malls of today, but
little country stores, where you could buy coffee, tea, sugar,
flour, spices, and a pair of overalls to cover your rear. I remember
the two and three story ones from my childhood.
I went to the flea market yesterday and found a treasure,
an old cookbook, 1931, Dungannon Community Cook Book
 from VA. I have really enjoyed looking over the old recipes,
love it when it reads to "use some lard the size of a hen's egg". 

I read the recipes, remembering as the hog was butched, how
we scraped the hair off after it was immersed in a drum of boiling
water, how the head was saved to make head cheese, and the
rendering of the lard,and the love of fresh cracklins and cornbread.
Pages of memories open to me as I read them.

"Scald one-half pint of  sweet milk", and I remember the old cow,
Bessie. She loved to switch my face with her tail, and a time or
two, I got kicked in the ear. I remember grandpa squirting a stream
of milk towards the cats, as they meowed loudly, each wanting a
lick of milk.

"Cream butter till fluffy" and I can picture grandma sitting on a stool,
the old butter churn beside, up and down with the paddles, until the
tiny golden dots began to appear, and soon, there was sweet, churned
butter, and buttermilk to drink. The butter was put into wood butter molds
so it would look pretty. Memories, down memory lane I go.

"Stone the dates".....or break a tooth, reminds me of cleaning the beans,
and when we would string almost dry beans for leather britches, I can
remember the little spiders that would pop out and run across grandma's
floor, giving me shivers, and her laughing at me. Where has time gone?
How many years has grandma been gone now? Memories, still alive, remind
me of her, and if I close my eyes and breathe deep, I can smell her lilac
perfume. She is always close, as close as I breathe. Her love always remains
around me.

"Everything is level measure"....."For measuring, use a cup larger than
ordinary size such as a glass goblet". There aren't many of them around these
days, but I still have about a dozen ice tea goblets found at garage sales,
their big bowls and frosted grapes on the outsides. Old timey tea glasses.
I remember the homemade sun tea with fresh mint or fresh lemon slices.
I remember grandma standing on top of the hill, we lived at the bottom
of the hill, and she would wave the teapot back and forth, time to climb up
to the top of the hill and have tea and biscuits with grandma.

"Do not stop folding the egg whites in until the cake is at the oven door"
Priceless advice, "Get the cake in the oven at once and do not open the
oven door for 20 minutes, and do not jar the stove". Sage advice from
the years past speak to me. I delight in the writings, knowing the love
special ladies have passed down from years ago. How precious they seem
to me, caring, loving , great cooks, teaching, helping, measuring, and baking.

"Line pie tins with pastry"...how many of us still love the old cooking utensils
and pans of the past. Some of my old pie tins have names of by-gone
products embossed on them. I love the old things. Cooking from "scratch"
used to be a way of life. You had to grow your own food, have your own
gardens, grow your own livestock, or have a hunter in the family.

There is a recipe in the book from THE WHITE HOUSE, WASHINGTON,DC.
It is for Spaghetti Croquettes.....the recipe from Mrs. Herbert Hoover.
I laugh to myself, as I have saved recipes myself from Mrs. Jimmy Carter,
Hillary Clinton,(and even Ann Landers). They have to be good, look at
the prestige from these recipes, they were used in THE WHITE HOUSE !

"These pickles will never wither or become white or pithy". I read the
recipes for cucumbers with a smile. "Wash carefully without removing
the prickles". I definitely want a pickle with a prickle, and I remember
trying to grow gherkins, and what a disaster that was !

Who knew, a cook book could bring such a flood of memories. We cook
on our stoves, gas, butane, electric,wood, we are all kinswomen with
heart, cooking and sharing our recipes to the next generation, wanting
the best only for our friends and family.
And I end this little story with
my favorite quote.....'You can sprinkle it with sugar and bake it in the
oven with love, but a cow pie is still manure". My deceased Uncle
Arthur Leo acturally covered a cow pie with icing, and sent it to the
neighbor's daughter, Annie Papcun, on her birthday. Talk about a
feud ! My poor grandmother never could understand why Mrs. Papcun
threw it over the fence back at her. My mother still laughs about it.

Small town ....USA

Only in Small Town USA

Just a few miles from us is the little town of Cottonwood.It is a beautiful little town, great people live there, and lots of history. The fire department needed a new building for the fire trucks, and everyone pitched in to make their dream a reality. This little town really worked. They had everyone, people, businesses, who ever could or would, donate something to be auctioned off for a huge benefit. They sold tickets in freezing weather, they had bake sales, you name it, and finally the big night all the towns around had waited for....the prizes would be given away. They had a catering service do all the meals, catfish,chicken strips, french fries, hush puppies, coleslaw, ice tea, and at $6  a plate, there was standing room only. Then after we ate, we all went into the big room they have set up for musicals and other programs. There were so many tickets sold, they could not fit them into the drum, so one of the local firemen brought his patriotic red, white, and blue cement mixer up on stage and all the tickets were put into it and turned on to mix them up. Another drum held the ninety prizes to be given away, and a wonderful young marine made our night by calling out all the numbers. It was a joyous time, full of laughter, yells, and as each number was called, the name, number of the ticket, and gift, was posted on a huge piece of paper. There were at least 6 or 7 sheets by the time they were through. Only in little town USA could a guy named Lamb win the prize of  the  registered Long Horn cow. That brought all kinds of laugher. The name of the fire chief is so hard to pronounce, every time the prize he donated was called, it was referred to as the fire chief. He had at least six cooked briskets and his little daughter won one of them. There was a registered Boar goat given away, a youngster won that, a computer with children's games was won by an oldster like us, and everybody laughed. There were flashlights, radios, a set of new tires, oil changes, a beautiful tiled table, and for those who had little money, they donated four hours of handy man work, or four hours of back hoe work, a load of sand, cords of wood, a beautiful homemade quilt, pillows, a John Wayne Pocket Knife, four hours of fishing at Roland's fish tank, Trees were donated, to be planted, and won as prizes,Restraunts offered meals for four, Hair stylists offered haircuts as prizes, even the barber had haircuts (10) as a prize...and the best prize was the last....it was for all of us who bought tickets but did not win a prize...we were told we were encapsulted ....our tickets would be put in a box and sealed over with cement at the new fire station...who could wish for anything better than that !  I can tell everyone I have been covered in cement.  I just don't have a star !  But I can wish upon one, and ask God to bless every one of these wonderful firemen, to keep them safe when fighting all these fires, and keep them in the Palm of His Hand. 

Update...the local newspaper stated that $22,223.00 was raised for the new fire station .


Foster's Dairy

I was reading through threads this morning and this one tickled my
funnybones: (seen on a milk truck)

 Get High.......Drink Milk......Our Cows are on Grass !

 I have laughed all morning. It made me think of Foster's Dairy. It is out
of town a little ways from us...God fearing, hard working, cow loving
people. They work so hard to keep the milk flowing. I love a good glass of
ice cold milk, cold buttermilk, and Purple Cows, { A purple cow is a
milkshake made with grape juice and vanilla ice cream, so frothy, so cold
and soooooo gooooood! } . It reminded me of Old Bessie, my  Grandpa's cow.
I can still see Grandpa sitting on the milking stool milking her, the cats
would circle around him, he would give a good squeeze and send a stream of
milk shooting through the air with dead accuracy....all over the cat's
face...and he would laugh. I would sit down to milk, and I got swatted
with the cow's tail, Old Bessie would aim her hoof and manage to get me
along the ear at times, or the milk would be spilled on the floor. I was
hopeless. However, I can milk goats without problem. Grandma would save
the thick cream as it rose to the top of the containers, and later in the
day, we would sit and churn butter, up and down, up and down, till the
golden flecks begin to appear, and soon they cling together to form that
beautiful yellow butter. Then we would put the butter into molds. Our
molds were not fancy, just plain little wood squares that held about a
pound,pack it in, push down the handle, and there was a square of butter
to be put in the refrigerator. It also reminds me of this little saying I

 If a black cow can eat green grass and give white milk that makes yellow
butter, you know God is in charge.

 The years have come and gone, rules have changed, you can no longer go to
the dairy to buy your milk in your own container, we used to buy baby
calves to raise, many times they were so weak with the scours, they would
give them to you as they had a small chance of thriving. We used to have
bottles everywhere to fill with powdered milk formula for them, and hang
the bottles on the fence. They were hungry little buggers. The funny
memories that linger are a calf pushing against a bucket with a nipple on
it, and pushed Benny into the hot wire. They both got it. I laughed till I  cried. Memories,Memories, what a blessing the Lord gives us to recall the
happy times. Life is short. Enjoy each moment.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Emmit the Coon Dog

There is something sacred to old moonlight hunters, and that is their dogs. They are upheld as idolic critters of the night, their eerie baying at unseen spirits of the dark, and noses that can sniff out a coon in the next county. At one time, we had thirteen of them, each named, each special, each with an inborn sense of finding that coon and treeing him. Benny loved to go out with the boys, they roamed the hillsides, the thickets, and valleys all over this county. Oh, the funny stories they would tell, each one boasting on his dog, but our friend Ray takes the cake. His old dog Emmit was one of the best around, and dearly envied by all of the coon hunters. Even old Sammy, with all of his trophies, did not compare to the skill old Emmit had in his nose. We ran into Ray and Ava at the cafe yesterday, and of course the stories began..and this one is surely one of the best….Ray, the dogs, and the rest of the guys went out hunting south of town, in the thick thickets, you can’t even squeeze through them, and they spent hours treeing the coons and taking care of the over-population of the night critters. They called the dogs in and all of them returned to the dog boxes except Old Emmit. Ray called and called, and became more distraught as the hours wore on, searched the tank to see if he was there, no Emmit, searched the surrounds, no Emmit, and finally, in the wee hours of the morning, and with a heavy heart, he made the distressing call to Ava…."Hon, we lost Emmit, can’t find him no where, I am going to stay out here till light, I gotta’ find him" Ava replied, "Well, you didn’t loose him, he’s right here with me, he came home about 10:30 PM"….and now the rest of the story…..Old Emmit had indeed taken off from the pack, and he ended up at some lady’s house. She found his name and phone number on his tags, and called Ava. She offered to bring the dog to her if Ava would meet her half-way, as she did not know how to find her house and it was dark. Ava drove down to the main highway and waited for the lady to bring Old Emmit home. The lady turned the dog over to her and told the funny story of bringing Emmit back home. She stated that Emmit knew every turn of the road, and if she made the wrong turn, he would start barking at her, she would retrace her route and continue on, and he would wag his tail. Ray now has a big brag……"My dog not only knows how to hitch-hike, he knows how to tell them to get to my house !"