Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A treasure for one dollar

Here in smalltownland we have a wonderful antique mall, in a very antique building. When you live in a small town people get to know you pretty well. So well in fact that when you enter this antique store you get pointed in the direction of the best new stuff. It's some great customer service. A couple of weeks ago I was digging around in one of the upper level booths. I found a collection of cookbooks that I had never seen before. I love cookbooks and already have far too many, but who can pass up cookbooks for one dollar apiece? I found this book of Norwegian recipes. I am sure you are thinking this is really an odd choice, but when I was growing up I lived in North Dakota for several years. The Norwegian culture was very prominent and the food was awesome. I have even seen Lawrence Welk in concert. How many people can make that claim? This book was published in 1946 and was geared toward the proper housewife of the day.

Each set of recipes is set in a scenario depicting the housewife facing different occasions. One housewife is going to make dinner for her husband's boss, one housewife is going to make a special meal for her son's graduation, etc.... One interesting cookie recipe instructs the baker to place the cookies in a "rather hot oven", hmmmmm.... The book is filled with pen and ink illustrations, some of which would not be politically correct in today's society.

And while I won't actually be using the recipes for making my own caviar or pickling herring, I am enjoying the book just the same.

Since this is New Year's Eve I will leave you with a Rum Punch recipe from the cookbook. And yes, this recipe is verbatim from the book. Enjoy and have a safe New Year's Eve.

PUNCH - One bottle Myers dark rum, 2 pint cans of sweet grapefruit juice, 1 bottle of sherry wine, 6 lemons sliced very thin. Just before serving, add 1 large bottle of pale dry Ginger Ale, 1 medium-sized bottle of maraschino cherries, 1 large lump of ice. Let chill for a few minutes. After two helpings do not worry about the success of your party no matter what you serve them to eat.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

How about a little dip?

This year at Christmas, The Babs, (my mom) received an empty can of snuff as a gift. And it is such a valued piece of family history, that it was presented to her in a keepsake case. This snuff was always with my grandma, Bird. Bird started dipping snuff as a child. Although, it might be strange to some of you, this was a common way for women to enjoy tobacco back in her day. Bird would always open the container and shake some snuff onto the lid. Then, she would use the lid to insert the snuff into her lower lip. "Spit cups" were empty coffee cans lined with paper towels. They were located in various places in her home. Later on in her life, someone gifted her with a brass spittoon. She always had good aim.

The Bruton Scotch Snuff that is pictured above, is actually a nasal snuff. It is a very fine, dry powder intended to be sniffed through the nose. The Bruton brand is noted to be quite potent. Some women in the Appalachian region enjoyed snuff by dipping a stick, (with the end chewed up like a brush), into the snuff and then rubbing it onto their gums. I always saw Bird enjoy her snuff by dipping. Although tobacco is noted to be a product with all types of health risks, she is still living life well into her 90's.

Friday, December 26, 2008

A very tropical Christmas

Secret Agent Man, the chiclets, and myself, set upon a journey to the Sunshine State this past week. When we left our farm the temperature was a chilly 8 degrees. By the time we arrived at the coast, it was in the 70's. I believe I heard angels singing in the palm trees. Our journey took us to the home of The Babs and Mr. B.

And it also took us out to do a little shopping amongst all the wonderful sunshine and palm trees.

And, I must confess I had to take a spin through one of my favorite (if overly priced) kitchen stores.

The deerslayer got aquainted with his uncle's new dog, named Charlie. The Babs got aquainted with Charlie as well. It seems Charlie left a few "holiday sprinkles" on the carpet on Christmas Eve.

Christmas Eve found two grandparent dutifully on garbage patrol while all of their grandkids piled into their family room to open gifts.

We had a wonderful visit, even if it was a little too short. We miss all of the mean family already.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Monday, December 22, 2008

Christmas memories...

We always celebrated Christmas, ever since I've been big enough t'remember. When night come, we always went t' the chimney corner, pulled our stockin's off, an' hung' em up. An' Santa Claus come while we was in bed alseep. Put up a dirty sock. It's just as good in a dirty sock as it was in a clean sock. We' stick a stick in the chimney and hang them stockin's up on the stick, an' when we woke up next mornin', it'd be full of apples an' oranges and two or three sticks ' candy.

Annie Perry, Winter 1973

Well, one special gift I got was a toothbrush made out of a birch or black gum twigs. It was about eight inches long, and one end was chewed to make it like a brush. We'd dip it in a snuffbox and brush our teeth with that. It was so special 'cause it's the first one I'd ever gotten.

Lara Coggins, A Foxfire Christmas

Memories taken from, The Foxfire 40th Anniversary Book - Faith, Family, and the Land

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Sweet as sugar...

Let's examine this little gem of an antique...for just a moment. This chest is known around the Kentucky and Tennessee area as a Sugar Chest. Back in the 1800's sugar was quite expensive and prized. This piece of furniture was quite functional in the household. Sugar would have been kept in this type of chest, under lock and key. It has been said that the lady of the house knew, down to the teaspoon, just how much sugar was in the chest at any given time.

In those days sugar came molded in hard, cone shapes. Sometimes molded into loaf shapes. The sugar chest opened at the top and the sugar cones/loaves were kept inside. Some sugar chests also had a small space for the knife to be kept next to the sugar. A small ledger drawer was also a traditional part of the sugar chest.

Typically these chests were made of walnut, but I will say that in our area the few I have come across at auctions, were made of cherry. Usually they were made of four boards. This makes it special because it would have been constructed of virgin timber. In our modern times, wood furniture is made from several boards being glued together to make the top, front, sides, and back. A piece of virgin timber would have been large enough so that the entire top (or sides/bottom) would have been made from one log.

So....hey Santa Baby....I know you are all magical and stuff. You know, I was thinking that you could just drop one of these little gems down my chimney. I have an antique house, so I think it would match pretty well with an antique chest.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Ice, ice, everywhere

This morning we woke up to some fairly icy conditions here in smalltownland. In a bigger city that might not have made a huge difference. But, here in smalltownland, it can be quite tricky. Many people, much like myself, live far out in the county on small, twisty, country roads. So, the chiclets get a day off from school and I get a day to blog, loaf, bake, cook, and enjoy.

A thin coating of ice was everywhere. An elderly man, in a salt truck, came down our road. I was glad to see him, until he decided to get out of the truck to check the machine on the back. He held on to the side of the truck for dear life. I just knew he was going to fall, but he made it safely.

This type of time off means a gourmet lunch of tomato soup with grilled cheese. The chiclets will be thrilled...not!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

If you can't find a Pearl, a Ruby will do....

Several months ago I posted an entry about missing the winning bid on a nice, little Cadillac CTS. She was all pearly white with leather and power everything. Ahhhh....I was a little sad. I mean, she was going to be my mid-life crisis car. I was going to zoom around smalltownland with my hair flying out the sunroof. Alas....she was not meant to be.

So, with a certain milestone birthday ahead of me in a few days, (yes, the big 40) and Christmas looming around the corner, it was time for some action. Secret Agent Man took the day off Friday and picked up a little Ruby for me. She is quite the gem, literally. The chiclets are a little dismayed that they will not be eating chicken nuggets in the new car, but I think they will adapt.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Blogging in the boonies

See this funky little satellite dish? It has become the bain of my existence. Well, my internet existence, anyway. Most people in smalltownland know that I live in the boonies. Even Southern Fried Momma, thinks I live pretty far out in the country. Actually, I live at the dead end of a little country road. As peaceful as this sounds, it really stinks when it comes to internet service. For the longest time I had dial up service. And, was awful. When you have to wait thirty minutes to load one photograph, you know something has to change.

So, when our phone company offered internet service via satellite I jumped at the chance. I live too far out to even have DSL/Broadband service, so this would be my only chance at high speed internet service. Thus far, it has been pretty good. Except this past week when we had some dense, funky cloud cover. This meant no internet service/reception for me for three days. I could not obtain a signal and that meant no blogging, no internet surfing, and no fun while the chiclets hogged the television.

It's good to finally be back among the blogging.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Quietly contemplating

"Hope" is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul
And sings the tune without the words
And never stops at all,
And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.
I've heard it in the chilliest land
And on the strangest sea,
Yet never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.
By: Emily Dickinson

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Girls rock

I would like to announce that my girls have not let me down. Even now, in the bitter cold, one mystery chicken has laid an egg. One sassy chicken has let me know that she has got "the stuff" to do the job, even when it's chilly. Now I actually have some hope, that in the spring, eggs will be filling the hen house. The chiclets were really impressed and excited by this egg. See, they are thinking baby chicks. I am thinking omelets. They both had a true look of horror on their faces when I told them the eggs would be for eating.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

I heard it with my own ears

This Saturday morning, while listening to the "Swap Shop", I heard a most remarkable thing. Something that I am sure I have never heard before. A lady called in to the Swap Shop and said she really needed to sell her male, Yorkshire Terrier. She gave a few details about the dog and then gave her phone number. Then, it happened....
She said she would consider
trading the dog
for a.....
wanna take a guess????
She said she would trade that dog for a flat bottomed river boat. If I had not heard this with my own ears, I might not believe it. I heard is true....and that must be one dastardly dog to be traded for a boat.