Wednesday, December 17, 2008
The Pioneer Lady's Country Kitchen
Being a mother has taught me amazing new skills, one of which is cooking. I always liked to cook before I was married. In college I would occasionally make huge pots of chili and invite everyone nearby to eat. I even did a Thanksgiving dinner once, roast turkey and all. But if it were not for my family I would not know my own possibilities.
I like to cook, mostly, but I get bored with the same old recipes so I also like cookbooks. I generally find them at garage sales and thrift stores because the old ones are much more interesting (scary). They give you a view into what regular women were doing for their families 50 years ago or more. They also don't have trendy ingredients like chevre (have you ever smelled goat cheese?, or goats?) or pesto or pomegranates or whatever the cool ingredient is this week.
This one I found just after my neighbor gave me four packages of deer meat. The venison recipe I found inside was wonderful. My kids ate it! (Until my second son, the picky one, found out it was deer meat, then he didn't like it any more.)
The format of this one made it a bit more interesting than just a list of foods. It was arranged from March to Feb. with the types of foods a farm family would eat around the year. Some meals were described, and the work it took to get them to the table. I like the idea of providing your own food. I have a garden and I'm learning to can. But I am way to lazy to even think of being a real farmer's wife. Which is good because my husband has no intention of ever being a farmer.
One of the interesting things was a recipe for sun-cooked peach preserves. You take the peach halves and instead of sticking them in a jar with sugar-water, you roll them in powdered sugar, fill the pit with more powdered sugar, then set them in the sun, under glass, for two days. Then you pack them in your canning jar. It makes me hope they come out sort of like candied ginger, only with peaches. Doesn't that sound good, especially if they come from your own tree and are nice and ripe? We have lots of sun here so when our peach tree starts producing I'll have to try it.
The Pioneer Lady's Country Kitchen: A Seasonal Treasury of Time-Honored American Recipes. Jane Watson Hopping. Villard Books. 1988