Thursday, December 25, 2008

Mom's Recipes

My mother was a great person -- but not a great cook. Given the choice, she would always rather be outside than in the kitchen; visiting than cooking. Her recipes were imprecise; "use a pat of butter the size of an egg;" a pinch of salt; season to taste. If she didn't have the right ingredients, she would substitute freely; sometimes with good results, sometimes not.

So, it was with some surprise that I read the email from my sister, Seester, suggesting that for our family get-together this Christmas, we make recipes from my mother. There were groans all around. As it turns out, almost nothing anyone is making for our family feasting is one of Mom's recipes, except that Seester made Mom's oatmeal cookies, and they are really good (of course, Seester has the advantage of not having burned them because she got distracted by the cow getting into the garden.) So, in case anyone is interested in really good, old fashioned Amish oatmeal cookies, here's the recipe:

4 cups oatmeal
2 cups brown sugar
1 cup melted lard (really. Seester tried other shortenings and came back to lard.)
2 eggs
1 cup coconut
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
pinch salt

(No instructions on degrees of heat or time. In all likelihood, when this recipe was put together, the cooks were using wood stoves without precise oven temperature control.)

Seester has Mom's recipe book, complete with stains, mis-spellings and odd recipes for things like "salting beef steak," making cheese, "to fix pickles," "swell cure for lung fever," and these pediatric concoctions.

Children's Medicine

2 oz. glycerine
20 drops aconite
2 oz. rain water

Receipt for Making Drops for Children

1 quart old rye whiskey
1 oz. ground cinnamon
1 oz. cloves
1 oz. opeum
12 cents wroth safron

Put together in bottle and shake once a day for 6 days and then it is ready for use. Give a child at night when going to bed. 1 drop for every week of age. Give more than once a day if necessary. To older persons 50 to 60 drops may be given.

1 comment:

rdl said...

all sounds good to me!