Stocking Up for Thanksgiving

Time to buy the turkey or ham and all the trimming for the holiday feast. I’m sure your list on the week before Thanksgiving includes cranberry sauce, stuffing, sweet potatoes, and other traditional foods. The Publix Supermarket that I use was so busy today, there were no shopping carts in the cart area. My husband hunted around the parking lot and returned triumphantly with one.

retro-1950 shopping pixabay

Shopping for groceries in the 1950s

Much of our Thanksgiving meal was homegrown in my childhood years. We didn’t raise our own turkeys but the mashed potatoes and the green beans came from our bountiful garden. Gail Lee Martin would have shopped at the local IGA market for the cans of cranberry sauce. We always had the jellied kind that you served in slices. Now, I opt for the whole berry, but still from a can.

The pies were homemade with Gail rolling out the pie crust in the farmhouse kitchen. There would be pumpkin pie and whipped cream to go on it. Someone would assemble the 5-cup salad with the luxury of mandarin oranges, tiny marshmallows, shredded coconut, pineapple, and a sweet creamy sauce tying it all together. So the shopping list would include those.

Gail wrote about the Thanksgiving meals from her childhood. The 1930s holiday didn’t necessarily include a turkey. Read the details at We Gave Thanks Prairie Style. The description shows how times change but the family gathering was still special.  The desserts included a gooseberry pie made from berries they picked along the Cottonwood River. Sometimes pumpkin wasn’t available so a faux pumpkin pie was made with other ingredients.

Clyde and Gail Martin just finishing Thanksgiving dinner_Shanno

Thanksgiving in the 1970s – Clyde and Gail Martin.

What special dishes are you serving this Thanksgiving? I hope you don’t forget any of the special ingredients while shopping.

 

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I Found the Carrot Cookie Recipe!

I was afraid the carrot cookie recipe was lost. I’d found one recipe labeled Helen King’s carrot cookies, but I wanted Mom’s recipe. She started making these after we were all grown up. She had a batch of the tasty cookies ready when I visited one time from Baltimore. They became my new favorite cookie.

It turns out that I had a copy of the recipe all along. I found it as I cleaned out my over-full, seldom used recipe box. As I tossed dubious-sounding jello recipes and any baked goods that called for Bisquick, I found the carrot cookie recipe written in Mom’s handwriting.

carrot cookies

Gail Lee Martin’s Carrot Cookies

  • 1 cup finely grated carrots
  • 3/4 cup shortening or oleo
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix the ingredients, then drop by teaspoon onto a baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes. (She doesn’t mention greasing the baking sheet, but I’d recommend it)

Icing for the Carrot Cookies

  • powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup finely grated carrots
  • orange juice

Mix these together to use as a glaze. Wait for the cookies to cool first.

What is lurking in your recipe box? Take a look to see if some heirloom recipes are there. Treat your taste buds to a trip down memory lane.

 

retro fifties foods pixabay

Graphic from Pixabay

 

More about Pie Crust Scraps

Yummy Pie Crust Scraps.

Did your mom ever make these?

My sister started me thinking of these, when she said, “Tonight I’m remembering the cinnamon and sugar pie crust scraps Mom used to make for us.”

kk pie dough scraps

The pie dough scraps ready to go into the oven. (photo by Karen Kolavalli)

This is a follow-up of an earlier post here on my mother’s memory blog, Discovering Mom – Pie Crust Scraps. If you like nostalgia and memories of the good old days, nip back to read this one and other posts.

It inspired quite a discussion among my friends on Facebook, so apparently, Sis and I are not the only ones with fond memories of pie crust scraps.

 

pie crust pixabay

Fitting the crust to the pie pan. Looks like some will be leftover. (photo from Pixabay)

 

Here are the memories generated among my friends:

Peggy – “Oh yeah. Mom rolled them up like little cinnamon rolls. Yum!”

Nan –  “and I’ve made them for my kids (and me)”

Shirley – “My grandmother and mom made them as little crispy cinnamon rolls too. I still make them. Those, and the family pickle recipe, and jam. I try to keep the family recipes alive to pass down but unfortunately, I think they’ll end with me.”

When I suggested that she make a little recipe book to save these for the grandkids someday, Shirley said, “I have the recipes saved. I just think there’s something special in passing the recipes down through sharing the process itself. I remember making root beer in a big new Rubbermaid trash can with my mom when I was young. That’s the stuff memories and legacies are made of.”

My aunt, Cj commented too, “Indeed, I enjoyed them as I was growing up. Mother would brush the pieces with butter (that we churned from our own cows), then sprinkle on the sugar and cinnamon. No throwing away any left-over crust! I always wanted her to make just the pie crust strips, and forget the pie!”

My second cousin, Cheryl said, “I don’t particularly remember my mom making them, but she must have because I got the idea somewhere when I became a mother! I always made them when had leftover pie dough! Kids loved them and so do I!!!”

How about you? Did your mother make these pie crust scraps?

 

apple-tart pixabay

Here’s another way to use the leftover pie crust. Add apple slices to make little apple tarts. (photo from Pixabay)

 

Pumpkin Drop Cookies

Several of Gail’s daughters and a number of grandchildren like to cook. Here’s a recipe invented one autumn day by her oldest daughter who had a craving for cookies. If you love pumpkin flavors in the fall and want an easy baking project, try this recipe.
pumpkin spice cookies

Susan’s Easy Pumpkin Drop Cookies

1 yellow cake mix

1 can pumpkin

2 eggs

1/2 t. cinnamon

1/4 t. nutmeg

1/4 t. allspice

1/4 t. cloves

Mix all together and drop by teaspoon onto greased cookie sheet.  Bake 350 degrees until when touched doesn’t leave an impression.

 

Susan shared this recipe via email and I’ve saved it for 9 years. I’m getting that fall craving for pumpkin-flavored foods so I might have to get out the spices and a mixing bowl to give this recipe a try.

cookie-pixabay

Pumpkin Drop Cookies (photo from Pixabay) – You can add macadamia nuts or craisins, but those aren’t really necessary.

She said that she was taking the cookies over to the folks so she wouldn’t have them around the house tempting her. Mom and Dad enjoyed visits from their daughters and looked forward to their daughters’ cooking and baking binges.

“Sister Karen must have been in the same mood as she took them beans and ham. It is hard to cook for one.”

meme pumpkin drop cookies

Remembering Pies from the Good Old Days

My sister and I both commented when a friend posted a recipe for raisin pie. She called it a funeral pie.
Here’s what Karen had to say, “First, I’ve never heard the expression “funeral pie”! Raisin Pie was probably my least favorite as a kid, but it’s a favorite now (with vanilla ice cream). I like to try out old-fashioned pie recipes–so I’ve tried vinegar pie (my Dad supervised–said his Mom used to make it when he was a kid), chess pie, buttermilk pie, and something called Osgood pie, which is sort of a buttermilk pie with nuts and raisins. I think it’s a Texas recipe.”
More recently, Karen wrote about transparent pie on her Kentucky Day Trips blog. That’s an old-fashioned pie for sure and a good “make-do” kind of recipe.

blueberry pie

My comment was, “You never could tell how my mom’s baking would turn out. With six kids underfoot, she was a distracted cook. We ate the results, good or bad. My favorite part was the leftover pie crust. She would cut it into strips, sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon, bake them, and we got to eat those while the pie cooked.” We already shared here how to make cinnamon pie crust strips.

The pie above reminds me of Mom’s. She would flute the edges like that. The few times that I made my own pie crusts, I made my edges that way too. You just put 2 fingers on the edge to hold the crust in place. Then with your other hand, use 1 finger to indent the edge between the 2 fingers. Continue on around the whole pie.

Mom used Crisco to make her pie crusts. Further back, our grandmother’s used lard, I’m sure, to get the flaky crusts that tasted so good.

Hulling Black Walnuts

It’s just a few days to Clyde Martin’s birthday. He was born in 1924. In the fall, he collected walnuts and pecans which he laboriously processed to sell to people for holiday snacks or baking. Gail Martin recorded his process for hulling black walnuts and posted it on the eHow site. Here it is for you to use his know-how.

How to Hull Black Walnuts

My husband is quite ingenious and came up with this method for removing the hulls from black walnuts. It’s a lot of work, anyway that you do it, but the techniques below are the most efficient and least messy way.

Things You’ll Need:

  • silage fork
  • 5-gallon bucket
  • large plastic trash bin
  • rubber gloves
  • a wooden block
  • a cement mixer
  • a rack and tub
  • burlap bags
  • a fan

FIND A SOURCE OF NUTS

The black walnuts are falling in our part of Kansas. My husband, Clyde Martin has his own system of gathering and handling this great treasure from Mother Nature. First, we watch for walnuts that have fallen in someone’s yard. Then we stop and introduce ourselves and ask if they would like for us to clean the nuts up for them.

A black walnut in its hull

Inside this hull is a delicious balck walnut

 

The round nuts can be dangerous to walk upon in your yard; they will roll and could make you fall. They especially make a yard unsafe if there are small children in the home that like to play outside. The black stuff from the hulls can also ruin a good pair of shoes. Or if you are mowing falling leaves, the walnuts can shoot out from under the mower like they were shot from a cannon. Most people are glad to be rid of the unsightly mess in their yard and driveways. Many people don’t have the time or the knowledge to do anything with the nuts but rake them up and haul them to the dump. It is easier to buy the nutmeats from a store.

GATHER THEM UP

Clyde scoops the nuts up and dumps them into a five-gallon bucket, using an old silage fork like he used as a kid on his folk’s farm. The wide fork allows the leaves and other debris fall through but the nuts stay on.
When he has a bucket full he dumps them in old zinc tubs he carries in the bed of his pickup. When he has the area cleaned up, he heads for home.
old-fashioned laundry tubs - photo from pixabay

Tubs like Clyde Martin used when gathering black walnuts.

USE CARE NOT TO GET STAINED

At home, he puts on heavy rubber gloves to protect his hands from the stain of the black interiors and the acidity in the hulls.

REMOVE THE OUTER HUSK

Then he goes to work hulling the nuts using a 2-foot long piece of rough cut 4X4 inch wooden block to push each nut length-wise to break the hull that he twists the rest off.
The hull goes into the tall, plastic collapsible tub to be hauled off to the city’s yard waste area. The nut is tossed into the five-gallon bucket.

WASH THE NUTS

When the bucket is full, Clyde dumps them into a cement mixer full of water. This is a noisy process but cleans the nuts of all the black debris that is stuck in the cracks and crevices of the nut’s shell. Usually, fifteen to twenty minutes will clean the nuts but some nuts take longer.
Clyde Martin's walnut husking machine, a cement mixer

Clyde’s walnut husking machine, a cement mixer

DRAIN THEM

Clyde dumps the mixer of nuts into a round rack stationed over another tub to drain the water.

DRY THEM

The nuts are then spread out on the garage floor to dry. A fan can be used to hurry up the drying process. When the nuts are dried Clyde scoops the nuts into burlap bags and hang them from the rafters where the drying can continue and the squirrels that come to our pecan trees can’t help their selves to our hard earned black walnuts.

I keep track of the donors of the nuts and we return with a thank you gift of fancy nutmeats arranged in a metal tin with lids. We make spiced nutmeats and also chocolate or vanilla coated clusters separated in the tin with the silver or gold foil cupcake baking cups. This usually assures us of a call the next year when the black walnuts come tumbling down.
Tips & Warnings
  •  Use care as the walnuts hull contains a powerful stain.

Making Flint Hills Cheese Soup

flint hills cheese soup pixabay meme gail
This recipe was shared by Gail Lee Martin on the eHow website some years ago.
This cheese soup is a great way to use lots of garden vegetables. Get some at the farmer’s market, if you don’t grow your own. It’s really a lovely soup with the cheese in it. Serve the soup with warm, home-baked bread.

Flint Hills Cheese Soup

Ingredients:
* 1 stick of butter
* 1 quart of milk
* 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
* 2 tablespoons of butter
* 6 tablespoons of flour
* 1 teaspoon of salt
* 2 cups cubed cheese
* 1/2 cup chopped onions
* 1/2 cup chopped bell pepper
* 1/2 cup chopped celery
* 1/2 cup chopped carrots
* 2 cups chicken broth
Cut the cheese into cubes. I use an American cheese like Velveeta, but you might prefer another kind.
Wash and chop the vegetables.
Make a rich cream sauce by melting 1 stick of butter in a 4-quart saucepan stirring constantly. Add 1 teaspoon of salt, 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce, 2 cups of cheese and the 6 tablespoons of flour.
Gradually add 1 quart of milk, stirring constantly. Set aside (off the burner) when thick.
Sauté the chopped vegetables in the 2 tablespoons of butter. Add the chicken broth and cook very little. The vegetables are best a little crunchy. Combine this with the cream sauce.
Flint Hills Cheese Soup Recipe Postcard
Flint Hills Cheese Soup Recipe Postcard
Here’s the recipe on a postcard that you can order and sent to your friends