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Grams Image

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Little House on the Prairie Recipes

I read a story today about someone who cooked like the 1940's for a year, so I thought I might steal their idea and try something similar. I am more interested in cooking like the 1870's though. I have a cookbook that is written about the Little House on the Prairie foods and recipes along with the stories about the recipes. I thought the movie Julie and Julia was very interesting and I don't see any reason I couldn't do the same with Laura Ingalls Wilders mother's recipes. I really loved the series and I read almost everything I could find about her family and Almonzo's family. That period of time is when my family was pioneering into Illinois and Iowa and later into Nevada and Montana. I have always thought that the country cooking that the Ingalls and Wilder's cooked would have been very similar to what my family would have cooked. The Ingalls ate a little more rustically than the Wilders did because the Wilders lived on a large successful farm and the Ingalls lived on a homestead that had to be proven just like Laura and Almonzo did later in the series. I know that my ancestors would have eaten on the rustic side because they were pioneers and moved west in wagons with little worldly possessions. So I will pull my cookbook out and start trying the recipes one at a time. I won't be cooking just those recipes but will be trying them added with some of my family's other favorites. I will tell you about the trials, failures and successes. I will keep the recipes in a notebook with notes on the successes to use during lean and scary times since they are simple recipes with few ingredients. I would love to hear about others testing of old and inherited recipes. Have a great day! Gram

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Storage room revisited

Well, it is 90% done now so I have been in Hog Heaven. The only thing left to do is to build a small shelf under the window to put my Country Living Grain Mill on and then all I will have left is to pack some more buckets of rice, popcorn, flour, wheat and beans that I never got around to packing.
My food storage room is dedicated at the moment to commercially canned foods and #10 cans of dehydrated foods. I have dedicated my kitchen food pantry to home canned/jarred foods of meats, vegetables and Excalibur dried foods. I have started using my home jarred meats because there are some left that were canned at the end of '09. I don't want to lose any of it to spoilage. Now I have to make sure I can enough meats to replace those jars that I am using.
I want to thank my handy son for doing 90% of the work for me in my food storage room. He did a beautiful job and I am very proud of it! I still have to do the inventory but I think I will put it off until the weather is colder and I have someone to do the pencil pushing for me while I climb and count. I found out I have way too many green beans so I will have to find some new recipes to incorporate green beans in other than stews, soups, and as a simple side dish. We aren't crazy about the bean casserole for Thanksgiving since so many of my family can't eat milk products.
Well folks, how is your food storage coming along? I hope everyone is consistently buying their food for storage and rotation. Have a great Fall!

1800's Food Pantry

I was on Hillbilly Housewife today and I read about the bulk storage items that would be important for the pantry to help us save money today and I thought I would post it here for people to read but this is info from Hillbilly Housewife.

Ever wonder how our ancestors always seemed to have food on the table even in lean times? When we are visiting the grocery store every week to the tune of hundreds of dollars, we long to know their secret. In fact it isn’t a secret at all. It is actually good planning and preparation on their part. Once we realize this and begin doing as they did, we too will see our dollar stretch further.

The items that we have on hand are what determine how far our food will go. Filling your cabinets or pantry with a few useful staples can be the difference between a trip to the grocery store each and every week versus once or twice a month. Stocking just a few choice items is all you need to create wonderful meals.

1. Flour. Flour is a starter item for many recipes. You can add it to some water and make gravy in the pan for many meat dishes. Flour is used to make bread (biscuits, rolls, loaves) and to coat chicken. It can also be used to coat a round or square cake pan to prevent the cake from sticking. Of course, one of the favorite uses for flour is in cookie recipes that make scrumptious desserts.

2. Rice. My husband loves rice so much that we once bought a fifty pound bag from a grocery store in his hometown. Fifty pounds! Rice is a side dish, but it doesn’t have to be plain. It can be jazzed up with veggies to accompany dinner. My mother uses leftover rice for a dessert called sweet rice. Just add evaporated milk and some sugar to a bowl of rice and warm it in the microwave. It is a tasty treat for after dinner. Another popular dessert is rice pudding. Rice can also be mixed with leftover meat and a cream soup to form a casserole. Rice has many uses and your sure to find a few that your family will love.

3. Pasta. There are many different pasta choices and all have great uses. Manicotti can be stuffed with tomato sauce and cheeses. Macaroni can be used to make a creamy salad and also is great combined with cheese or spaghetti sauce. Spiral pasta is used in many different pasta salads. Spaghetti can be used in a casserole topped with cheese or in the traditional way with tomato sauce and meat.

4. Spices. There are other ways to season food besides salt and pepper. In fact, many spices taste better than salt. Even diehard salt-a-holics won’t miss the salt in foods if other seasonings are used. Cayenne pepper, chili powder, nutmeg, cinnamon, oregano, and garlic powder are all useful tools in your flavor arsenal to give foods a fresh new taste.

5. Beans. There go those beans again. Beans can top your salad (edamame), make an awesome dip (black beans), and go well with grilled foods (baked beans). They provide a good source of protein with very little fat. Beans are good in soups, stews, and over rice for a simple yet filling meal.

Do you have these staples in your kitchen? You can probably think of several more that will enhance your pantry and save money. Start with these and grow your own list of basic kitchen staples that are versatile and economical. (The end of their post.)

My comments follow:
I am from the south so I vote for Grits, baking soda, baking powder, yeast and vinegar to keep on hand in the pantry. The flour and cornmeal would be hard to make into much without these things. I can think of hundreds of things to make with these ingredients and the rice, flour, beans, cornmeal, sugar, salt, pasta and spices. Think about what they made in the 1800′s! Pancakes, hoe cakes, breads, cakes, cookies, baked beans, rice and beans, bean patties, bean soup, dumplings, hoppin’ john, gumbo’s, and many other dishes. Add in some meat, eggs and fresh garden vegetables and they ate very well. They just didn’t have Hamburger helper or frozen dinners but convenience food for them was to go out to the garden and pick a few vegetables like squash or onions or to go to the root cellar to get their carrots, apples, and potatoes in the winter and spring. They were in hog heaven to be pulling a ham out of the meat shed in the winter. They could eat for a week or two on one small ham. Meat was rarely a large part of the meal. It was a treat. Today we are all backwards with our cooking and purchases. Me included. We need to all learn the old ways of purchasing the basics and being creative with them and having the family meal together as the important part of day. Our families would be much better off, I believe. Sorry for the history lesson.

I thought someone else might find this as interesting as I did. Would love comments on the subject. Visit Hillbilly Housewife and check out their wonderful site and recipes.