A history of cooking with what’s available
Nov. 20, 2008
By Ginger Isham
In a small booklet of recipes from the Great Depression era, I read about the young bride who moved west with her husband’s family. Her mother-in-law helped her set up a pitiful looking apartment. Her final words went something like this: “If you need any more things, just come to me and I’ll show you how to do without them.”
This reminded me of my first years here on the farm with my mother-in-law showing me how to make chocolate pudding, graham rolls and ginger cookies without eggs. They became favorite recipes for my family as well. At that time my wages were about $1 an hour at the Mary Fletcher Hospital, and my husband made about $70 every two weeks. His parents still owned the farm and had six more unmarried children at home. Today we have corn flakes (the first ready-to-eat cereal), corn chips, corn muffins, corn pudding, popcorn and others. Try including the following recipes in some of your meals:
1 8- or 9-ounce can whole kernel corn
1 beaten egg
1 1/2 cups flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
pinch of salt
Drain the corn, saving the liquid. Add enough milk to make 1 cup. Mix in the egg and corn. Stir in dry ingredients and mix just until all is moistened. Heat 1/2 inch of oil in skillet to 375 degrees. Drop batter into oil by tablespoonful and fry 3 to 4 minutes, turning once, until brown on both sides. Serve hot with warm maple syrup.
Corn meal mush
1 cup corn meal
4 cups boiling water
1/2 teaspoon salt
Bring water to a boil and slowly stir in corn meal, stirring constantly. Cover pan and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour into a greased loaf pan and chill. Later turn out onto cutting board and slice about 1/2 inch thick. Melt butter in a skillet and fry slices until crispy, turning once. Serve with hot butter and maple syrup.
Swiss corn bake
1 can corn, drained (16 ounces)
2 beaten eggs
1 small can evaporated milk (5 ounces)
1 cup shredded Swiss cheese, divided
2 tablespoons onion, chopped
1 cup bread crumbs
2 tablespoons butter, melted
pinch of salt and pepper
Combine corn, milk, onion, eggs, 3/4 cup cheese, salt and pepper in a casserole dish. Mix the bread crumbs, rest of cheese and melted butter. Sprinkle over ingredients in casserole and bake for about 30 minutes in 350 degree oven. Can prepare the night before and refrigerate.
Ginger Isham was the co-owner of Maple Grove Farm Bed & Breakfast in Williston, a fifth generation family farm on Oak Hill Road where she still lives.