Wednesday, September 30, 2009

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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Pictures on a recipe card...Priceless!

As I continue to make my way through the recipe boxes, I am finding all kinds of things to cook and write about.  Today's recipe isn't one that I could see myself making but for the fact that it was in one of my Grandma's recipe boxes.  In fact, I'll admit, I went in to preparing this recipe thinking I would make it, see how it turned out and dispose of it before Bubba ever laid eyes on it. Obviously I didn't have high expectations for my abilities or for the actual taste of the "Golden Sausage Roll".  What drew me to this, first and foremost, was the accompanying instructions or more truthfully, the picture that was included with the instructions. I mean really, how could you not see the picture below and not smile and think "Gee, I think I know what to do with this".  Now, I don't know if my Grandma actually drew this or her friend Merle did (As you can see on the card, she notes that this is Merle's recipe.)  but either way, the image is priceless.

Golden Sausage Roll
2 lbs pork sausage
3-4 golden delicious apples, pared, cored and diced to measure 3 cups
1 onion, chopped
2 cups soft bread crumbs
1 egg slightly beaten
1/2 tsp salt

1 onion sliced
2 golden delicious apples
1/4 c butter
pitted ripe olives
dash of pepper

Roll out sausage between 2 sheets of heavy waxed paper into a 12 inch square.  Mix together diced apples, chopped onion, bread crumbs, egg and seasonings.  Spread on sausage and roll up.  Place in a baking dish seam side down and bake 350 degrees for about 1 hour and 15 minutes until browned.

Core remaining apples, but do not pare and slice into rings.  Saute apple rings and sliced onion in butter until golden.  Garnish baked roll with onions, apple rings with olives in the center, and parsley.

I used Jimmy Dean sausage and since I wasn't planning anything fabulous with this recipe, I omitted the olives as you can see in the picture. Actually, when I look at this picture it reminds me of some of the pictures in the old red checkered Better Homes and Garden's Cook Book. If you don't believe and you have an old cookbook, take a look, you'll see what I mean.  Honestly, this was a rather tasty dish if you like pork sausage and stuffing.  The combination of the apples, onions and the flavor from the sausage did come together nicely.  Bubba, tasted it and gave it a 7+ on our scale and he wouldn't let me get rid of it as I had planned...guess the Golden Sausage Roll will be making an appearance as a left over this week.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Where to begin?

Now that I have a couple of recipes under my belt, I think I need to figure out how to go about this in some sort of organized way.  My Grandma does have some organization to each box, for example, the box I am looking at now has pies, preserves, rolls, salads, sandwiches, sauces, soups, and vegetables sections (very 1st grade teacher appropriate).  So I think I am getting the flow, but wait...the next section after vegetables is pancakes; waffles.  OK, now why wouldn't she put pancakes & waffles before pies?  And it get's even crazier, after that she has the chicken dishes section, oh,  and now I see the pickle section, yep, an entire section dedicated to pickles (I'll save that one for later).  I don't even know where to begin.  I think I'll just start cooking based on what my taste tester (he has informed me he would like to be known as "Bubba" in this process ) is hungry for. I am thinking this approach will lead to higher ratings so it's just fine with me. So here's a good one to tackle on a Saturday morning, Oatmeal Cookies. Once again I found multiple recipe cards for the same recipe.  I think she has multiples because even she was confused about the organization of her recipe box.

Oatmeal Cookies
3 c. rolled oats                                5 tsp. milk
3 c. flour                                        1 tsp. cinnamon
2 c. sugar                                       1 c. raisins
2 tsp. soda                                     1 c. nuts
2 eggs                                           1 c. melted butter
Dissolve soda in milk.  Beat eggs separately adding yolks to milk. Mix flour, oatmeal and sugar.  Drop by spoonfuls or roll in small balls and place far apart in tins. Bake in moderate oven.

As you look at this recipe, you will see there are probably some details missing.  At least I thought so.  Today's recipes usually provide step by step instructions which makes it easier for any of us to turn out a decent dish.  Well, I had to leverage some of my experience to pull this one together, so let me tell you a little about the details I used.  I beat the eggs, added the sugar and mixed on a high speed for about 30 seconds.  Then I added the milk and soda mixture.  Then I added the cinnamon and melted butter, mixed this together,  added the flour, oatmeal, nuts and raisins. I also added about a tsp. of salt since I used unsalted butter.  I set the oven at 350 degrees and cooked them for about 8 minutes.  As you can see, the cookies are somewhat large (about 6 cookies to the cookie sheet).   Bubba was on his way to the airport to pick up some recruits so I got his rating on the way out the door (with a cookie in his mouth). He gave them an 8+ (at least we kind of stayed to the rating scale this time). This recipe is quite different from the one on the Quaker Oat box.  I think I like this one better and agree with Bubba's rating.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Same dish, different name

You might recall in an earlier post that I mentioned the "simplicity" of many of the recipes in my Grandma's recipe boxes.  This one is no exception. I found several "aliases", captured on one card as "Hamburger Recipe" and as "Ground Chuck Hamburger Casserole" on another.  It sounds like from talking with my mom there was a time when this may have been a very popular recipe that was passed around by many which would explain the multiple recipes for it. I wanted to include a photo but several things converged that prevented this...comfort food like this wouldn't be classified as pretty, I have no photography skills to supplement a bland looking subject and my taste tester wanted to eat it while it was hot (imagine that!)

Ground Chuck Hamburger Casserole
1 1/2 lb ground chuck - break hamburger up put in 9/13 pan. Season with salt, pepper, thyme and celery salt.  Cover with 1/2 c. chopped onion and 1/2 c. green pepper, 1 can cream chicken soup, 1 can mushroom soup.  Cover with frozen tater tots.  Bake 35 to 45 minutes or 1 hr at 350 degrees.

I used the last green pepper of the season out of my garden (well, I really don't have a garden, I just grow stuff in pots and hope I produce something now and then I can call "my own home grown food".)  I didn't have celery salt so I used some Mrs. Dash, the thyme is what really made this taste so good and my taste tester "would eat this again".  (We're having trouble sticking to the 1-10 rating system).  Clearly this is simple and just good old fashioned comfort food.  I originally was thinking that this recipe might not be "that old", given that it included tator tots and I assumed that they hadn't been around all that long.  After a Google search, I found the following from about Tator Tots. I thought you might find it interesting.

"Tater Tots were first created in 1953 when Ore-Ida® founders were trying to figure out what to do with left over slivers of cut up potatoes. They came up with the novel idea of chopping up the potato slivers, adding flour and seasoning, then pushing the mash through holes and slicing off pieces of what came out on the other side. Tater Tots® were born.. [1] They created bite-sized treats from slivers of potatoes and branded them "Cracker tots” shredded potatoes. They first became available in stores in 1954. Today, Americans consume approximately 70 million pounds of "Tots" per year.[4]

Tater is slang for potato (origin: 1750–60; America; by aphesis, tato, and substitution of -er for final -o, tater); Tots may have been derived from their diminutive size, or because they are often served to children.[2][3]


  1. a b Ore-Ida Fun Zone - Fun Facts
  2. ^ tater - Definition from the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary
  3. ^ tot - Definition from the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary
  4. ^ "Culinary Corner: The Fries Have It". WSOC-TV. Retrieved 2009-02-08.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Back of the Envelope

Speaking of back of the envelope, the recipe I am including here is from the back of the envelope in the picture below.  It was addressed to my Grandpa and it is from the County Superintendent, who knows how or why this particular envelope contains this recipe for Date Nut Bread.  One conclusion I have made as I have looked through the recipe boxes is that my grandparents didn't waste paper... the back side of anything was just as good as a blank piece of paper for capturing a recipe, a party plan or anything else.  I don't recall her ever making this, but as I remember the foods they liked to eat, I suspect they enjoyed this one on more than one occasion. It reminds me a little of fruit cake and I seem to remember my Grandma being one of the few who actually "liked" fruit cake. This recipe for Date Nut Bread doesn't have any oil or butter (maybe that makes it low fat), it's made with a few simple ingredients, and tasted "OK".  My official recipe taster gave it a 5 on a scale of 1-10 (Ten being good).  If you put a little butter on it, it probably moves up to a 6.

Date Nut Bread
Sprinkle 1 tsp soda over 1 c. chopped dates
Pour 1 c. hot water over this.  Let stand a few minutes
Mix with the following:
3/4 c sugar
1 egg well beaten
2 c. flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 c chopped nuts
Bake one hour in a slow oven.  275-300 degrees

As I sorted through recipes after making this, I found a second version of Date Nut Bread. The second recipe was a newspaper cut out, it didn't have a date (no pun intended), but on the back of it are some of the following radio shows : "Our Miss Brooks", "Doris Day Show", "We Women of Today", "Panhandle Roundup", and "Arthur Godfrey"  to name a few.  This recipe would likely be a little more appealing to some as it includes: 1 tbs of shortening, 3/4 cup of brown sugar (instead of the regular sugar), 1/2 tsp of salt and omits the vanilla.  Instructions are the same and references that the bread tastes better a day or so after baking, letting the ingredients mellow.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

About my Grandma

While I am anxious to start cooking and sharing pictures and recipes with you, I think you need to know a little about my Grandma.  There wasn't anything she loved more in the world than her grandchildren.  I know what you're thinking, "what grandma doesn't?"  Precisely the point!  But she had a few other loves in her life as well, she loved my Grandpa (although she sometimes had a funny way of showing it), her first grade students (I'll tell you more about that in a minute), playing bridge (and cooking for the bridge club), driving, oh did she love to drive. In fact, she would've driven anybody just about anywhere they needed to go. Born in Woolworth, Nebraska in 1906, Goldie Fyrne spent most of her life in the town I grew up in.  She was married to my Grandpa (Edgar) in 1926,  he worked for the railroad as a depot agent and they lived atop the train station (I guess keeping the trains running was a 24/7 job). She taught 1st grade in our small rural town for nearly 35 years, retiring after my sister moved on to the 2nd grade.  To this day, I remember being a small girl and people passing through town stopping by the house to see her (that's what we do in small towns, we just "drop by" and visit), and she remembered EVERY student she ever had, which over the span of her career I believe had to be hundreds. She was my 1st grade teacher too! Do you know how hard it is not to call your Grandma "Grandma" at school?  It wasn't easy!! And of course, I didn't have to take one note home to my parents the entire 1st grade, on those days when I wasn't the perfect student, she could drive me home and deliver the news of my daily indiscretions directly to my mom! Despite being busy with school, her church and her community, she loved playing cards and cooking for anyone who would eat.  Now she wasn't a gourmet cook and as I look at her recipes, most "foodies" will probably cringe at the simplicity, but no one ever left her house hungry and she always had a dish or two to contribute to the church or school pot luck.  Her table was always "set", no matter how many of us there were, and I don't think she ever, ever used a paper plate.  It's apparent by the contents of her recipe boxes that she loved cooking and would "capture" a recipe any way she could.  There are recipes in the box that are "contents" of letters from my Great Grandmother, newspaper clippings, written on bridge score pads and of course, the ever popular "back of the envelope" recipes (literally). In this age of computer recipes and cook books, I have to stop and wonder if the beauty and the essence of the "recipe box" will be lost forever, there's something about that recipe being written in your Grandmother's or mother's handwriting that changes everything.  All I know is I am looking forward to the journey....It's going to be fun!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

How it all got started

Recently, while corresponding with an old friend and high school classmate, the inspiration for my blog finally  came to me.  She was cleaning out her recipe box and her daughter was concerned she was going to throw away one of her favorite recipes.  You know, the one that everyone knows will make an appearance at Easter Dinner or Thanksgiving or Christmas or the 4th of July family picnic.  The one that no one else can make but your mom or your grandmother.  It might be the one dish that on the way over to Grandma's you all joked about, but if it she didn't make it, the whole meal wouldn't be complete. Lime Jello with pineapple and cottage cheese on a couple of iceberg lettuce leaves comes to mind.  Well any way, thinking about their exchange reminded me of the numerous recipe boxes I inherited from my grandma Fyrne and how much joy I have found reading them, imagining who she cooked for, remembering her serving them and how much she loved cooking for us and that's when it hit me "Why not do my own Julie and  Julia?"  So, for however long it takes me, I am going to cook up dishes from her recipe collection...I am going to write about them and share them with should be fun, funny, sentimental and uplifting.  Who knows, you might even find a recipe you make yourself!
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