At a yard sale this weekend I found a treasure trove of old handwritten recipes. Oh sure, there were many recipes cut out from magazines (Robert Conrad’s potato casserole anyone?) but it was the ones written on those 1950’s – 1970 recipe cards (you know the ones with the little flower decorations in the upper left corner) that got my attention.
I have a few of my mother’s handwritten cards and I consider them to be among my most treasured possessions. (Soon, I’ll be making those chocolate, peanut butter, rice Krispy cookies that I talked about at my mom’s funeral.)
It’s a lost art. Who writes down recipes anymore? It’s more like, if someone requests a recipe we send them the link to where they can find it, time just seems to fly a little faster these days. And even if we had the time to write down a recipe, who has the time to make it other than for a special occasion? Pizza hut to the rescue.
Well I have time (in between everything else I have to do.)
Think about it. When I grew up food was how you showed your creativity. While my mother did work (after the kids had gotten older) most women didn’t, they stayed at home and took care of the flock. Preparing food was how they nourished their families, while the recipes nourished their creativity. When received from a friend, most recipe cards began with “from the kitchen of..” Sharing recipes was the social network of its time.
My kids, who are the sons and daughters of this storyteller definitely know the potential of a good story (or two) when they see it. Helping me sort through the recipes on Saturday night and placing them into two binders, every single one of my kids knew what was coming.
What will we start with first? They asked me. Continue reading
Marc’s been out of town this week and so it’s been *just* four of the kids and me. Also School’s back in session and with it come the sports schedules and the coming home late at night on game days. Our regular routine has been interrupted. There’s no one time that we can all get together for dinner these days – meals have become “serve yourself when you get home.” I have to stay up late to catch up with a son coming home from work. “How was your day?” And with two of our other children away at college for the semester, there’s an emptiness, an opening of the house. We find ourselves with a little too much room – with everything in soft focus.
Things are always a little off balance when there’s a significant change. We’re all walking around, trying to remember what it is we regularly do and do we still do it? Eight plates for dinner, no wait, it’s only five, no wait, tonight it’s three. Trust me though, at this time of year, we are not the only household struggling with this sense of being off kilter. Continue reading
This is one of those years where we seem to have a million acorns falling from the trees. Yesterday I even got hit in my back with one as I walked to the hen house. Beware the falling acorns!
When I was younger, I was a devout follower of Euell Gibbons (pre-Gape Nut cereal days) One of his tricks for eating from the wild was to eat acorns. But as anyone who has ever eaten an acorn knows, they are incredibly bitter, mouth-puckeringly bitter. There is no way you can eat more than a few of those babies without getting a nasty stomach ache.
Euell’s work-around for this was to boil the acorns in several water baths. Eventually, the heat and water leached out the bitterness and you could eat the nuts or let them dry and then grind them into powder to make acorn flour suitable for yummy pancakes while on the trail. Continue reading
If you choose to share your life with chickens, then people tend to share chickens with you.
I was recently gifted with this little beauty. It was waiting just for me on the night table in a guest room where I stayed. I’m not sure what the wrappers used are (they seem to be very stiff), but I do know that this is an incredible example of re-purposing. Someone out there sure is clever.
It’s a little charmer that certainly sweetened my visit with great friends.
Wendy Thomas writes about the lessons learned while raising children and chickens in New Hampshire. Contact her at Wendy@SimpleThrift.com
Also, join me on Facebook to find out more about the flock (children and chickens) and see some pretty funny chicken jokes, photos of tiny houses, and even a recipe or two.
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No, this is not a chicken that has been attacked by one of our neighborhood hawks.
It’s not an injured chicken and it’s not a dying chicken.
It’s a very smart chicken who is out in the yard taking a dirt bath in a puddle of sun while she can.
We’ve had a lot of wet weather lately, showers, storms, and even tornado warnings. Continue reading
I read this little story on my Facebook feed today:
An African tribe does the most beautiful thing.
When someone does something hurtful and wrong, they take the person to the center of town, and the entire tribe comes and surrounds him.
For two days they’ll tell the man every good thing he has ever done.
The tribe believes that every human being comes into the world as Good, each of us desiring safety, love, peace, happiness.
But sometimes in the pursuit of those things people make mistakes. The community sees misdeeds as a cry for help. Continue reading
Swim meets, outdoor dinners, glasses of iced tea, and books to be read in the shade. Very busy summer, but isn’t that the way it’s supposed to be?
Just to keep you updated on some other work that I’ve done:
Here is a post I recently wrote on an interview I did with Susan McMartin who is a writer from the TV show “Two and a Half Men” (and yes, I did have a small case of writer-envy.) Susan graciously attended a Skype session at our public library (Merrimack, NH.) Our incredible library director; Yvette Couser, was Susan’s roommate in college which made things even more interesting (it was like having 2 degrees of separation from Kevin Bacon.) Susan shared her experiences of being a writer, as well as the equally important period in her life when she was a writer without work.
Susan is also the author of the incredible book “Understanding the Fall” which is a ‘kick-to-the-stomach” kind of story about growing up in an alcoholic home. She read an excerpt of her book during the Skype session and honestly, we all exhaled our “didn’t know we were even holding it” breath only when she finished her reading. Very personal and truly powerful. Continue reading