Saturday, November 14, 2009
Weekend Cooking, Vintage 1927
People who know me well will undoubtedly keel over from shock when they see me contributing to a cooking meme. After all, I'm the one who baldly states that my dream house would not have a kitchen! Truth is, I haven't won the Lottery yet, so I don't have my dream house. Casa Kittling does have a kitchen, and I am forced to use it from time to time.
When I saw Beth's description of her Weekend Cooking meme, I saw that it was so loosely structured that even an old grouch like me could obey the rules. Although you will see me posting a recipe or two in future, I'm going to start out with one of my finds as I was busy shifting books last week.
When my grandmother got married in 1935, she didn't know how to cook. To the left, you can see the spine of the book she used to teach herself how to feed my grandfather and mother without poisoning anyone. It's the 1927 edition of Everyday Foods by Jessie W. Harris and Elisabeth V. Lacey. It's her high school Home Economics textbook. It covers everything the good housewife was supposed to know in 1927.
When I opened the book, several yellowed sheets of "scratch paper" fell out. Each one contained a handwritten recipe that my grandmother considered worth keeping, and I certainly do remember eating her wilted lettuce many times.
Evidently my grandmother didn't make the transition to chef easily because my mother told me of scorched food and horrible meals when she was a child. Grandma, I feel your pain. I inherited your "I hate to cook" gene! My mother, on the other hand, thought cooking was wonderful, and she would drag a chair over to the stove to help my grandmother out. As my mother grew older, she actually taught my grandmother many cooking tips, and by the time I came along, she and my mother were the best two cooks I've ever had the pleasure to be fed by.
To end this trip down Memory Lane, I thought I'd share an illustration from my grandmother's book. While I was growing up my grandparents as well as my mother and I had large gardens. A rite of passage for me was to help when it came time for canning all the bounty of the garden so we could enjoy it throughout the long cold winters. The illustration shows a pressure cooker, circa 1927. Looks a bit like an alien spaceship, doesn't it?
Is canning a lost art now? Do any of you can fruits and vegetables, or do you remember older family members doing so? Has that homemade goodness soured you on buying certain "store bought" foods?
It has me.
One year three generations of our family gathered around a huge cauldron (large enough for the witches in Macbeth and their extended families) placed over an open fire in my grandparents' backyard. The womenfolk had been peeling and coring apples for ages, and I was one of the kids chosen to bring the apples out to the cauldron.
There was much discussion over spices, liquid and the like, but finally everything was done to my grandmother's satisfaction, and all of us took turns stirring, stirring, stirring-- all day long. By the end of the day, there were dozens and dozens of jars of apple butter. Every vehicle that left was loaded to the gunwales with apple butter. We ate the stuff (pure nectar of the gods) for years, and the memories of that day will always be with me.
I just can't eat store bought apple butter!
Thanks, Beth, for hosting this meme. If you'd like to see what other folks are cooking up this weekend, click on the Weekend Cooking logo at the top of this post to be taken directly to the source: Beth Fish Reads!
My Book Rating Scale:
A+...Don't delay, get your hands on a copy of this book!
A...I loved it!
B...I really liked it.
C...I liked it, with a few reservations.
D...I finished it, but it's not my cup of tea.
- Phoenix, Arizona, United States
- Hi! I'm addicted to books (especially crime fiction), laughter and traveling off the beaten path. In my free time, when my eyes aren't glued to the printed page, one of them is usually pressed against the viewfinder of my camera. Let's see... books, laughter, travel, photography. Anything else? Oh yeah-- my dream house wouldn't have a kitchen!
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