A country girl’s great memories


Hi everyone. Here it is, the last of August, which means summer is almost gone.

With the approaching month of September our gardening is coming to an end which brings memories of my family’s garden.

Part of my youthful years I lived in the Dayton area. When I was 9 my grandmother passed away and we moved to the Kingman area to live with my grandfather.

With this move, a whole new life opened up to me … I was now a country girl.

We had chickens that gave us fresh eggs and even a couple of pigs. Although my grandfather was in his mid 70s he still worked on my Aunt’s small farm doing her gardening. We were very fortunate as each day he brought fresh farm products.

We had fresh milk which we now know as “skim” milk because the cream was skimmed off the top of the milk. There was always hand-churned butter along with buttermilk unlike the thick product we find in the dairy case today.

In the summer on special occasions our family churned “homemade ice cream” made with the thick cream he brought home. This is a real treat that most of today’s young people have never tasted.

Twice a year my Aunt would share fresh butchered beef and pork products that was raised on her farm. You have never eaten hamburger like the ground beef that was processed from these farm fresh beef.

My favorite meal was the chicken that we got from her farm. Sometimes I helped her “pluck” the feathers which was not fun, but oh how good it tasted for dinner that night. Nothing tasted like my Mom’s fried chicken with mashed potatoes and gravy.

My grandfather always had the most beautiful garden in Clinton County.

I loved going in the garden and picking a bright read tomato. I sprinkled it with salt and ate it like an apple.

The green beans were picked, broken and cooked in a cast-iron kettle along with fresh ham or bacon cured in Aunt Hazel ’s (Carr) smoke house. This wonderful farm is now under water at Caesar Creek Lake. I am never on the lake that I don’t reminisce about all of the memories of Aunt Hazel’s farm.

This week my recipes are for vegetables that my family always enjoyed when they became available.

CARROTS AU GRATIN

If you are tired of cooked carrots I suggest you try these.

1 cup thinkly sliced fresh carrots

1 c. chopped onion

1 stick butter (divided)

1 1/4 cup Ritz crackers (crushed)

1 1/4 cup grated cheddar cheese

Grease 1 1/2 quart casserole baking dish. Cook carrots until slightly tender (don’t overcook) and then drain. Using the same saucepan, melt 5 tablespoons butter. Saute’ onions until tender crisp. Add carrots to onion and butter mixture. Stir. Layer mixture in casserole dish as follows:

Layer of carrot mixture, layer of cheese layer of crackers, repeat layers again making sure you end with crumbs. Melt remaining 3 tablespoons of butter and pour over crackers. Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes or until brown on top.

FRIED CORN

This is a great way to enjoy the last of your corn crop when it is no longer tender and fresh. It was always a treat for my family even though it meant that corn season was over.

2 ears of corn per person

1/2 to 1 stick butter (depending on how much corn you are frying)

Salt and pepper to taste

1 tablespoon flour per 2 ears of corn

Cut corn kernels off the cob. Be sure to scrape the cob to remove all corn and juices. Melt butter as above in a heavy skilllet (I use a seasoned cast iron). Add cut corn and juices to the skillet and fry, stirring occasionally until it is tender and starts to darken in color. Add 1 tablespoon (for each 2 ears corn) and continue stirring until corn gets golden brown. (The flour will cause the corn starches to caramelize and create a brown and crunchy corn kernel.) Serve hot!

I hope you enjoyed some of my summer memories and recipes … Sheryl.

Sheryl Sollars, a Clinton County native, is an accomplished cook and homemaker. She contributes her column Welcome to My Kitchen out of her love of homemaking and of sharing her thoughts with her readers. If you have cooking questions or a recipe you want to share, please contact Sheryl at kitchenlady44@yahoo.com.

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Sheryl Sollars

Welcome to My Kitchen