Pioneer Cookbook

Pioneer Cookbook was my first (and only) published cookbook.  The lady on the cover is my grandma (Nellie Pugh Holcom of Lawrence Kansas).  This cookbook sells out each time I do a new printing. 

But I no longer have the space available nor the printing equipment and supplies I used to have and stopped printing it completely.  Now, however, now that I understand the potential for online e-books, I am going to make this cookbook into an e-book. 

I have the entire book set up on Adobe Publisher but in a format to print front and back.  How difficult will it be to turn that material into an e-book? Have no idea.  But if I don't have it online on this blog before the end of February, then it is apparently difficult.

Ice Box Cookies

Ice box cookies were almost a staple in many families.  The recipe is easy and doesn't require any ingredients out of the ordinary but the big benefit was, and still is, that the cookies dough could be rolled into a dough log, wrapped in wax paper and then placed in the ice box or freezer (kept longer) until needed.

If company showed up unexpectedly, the lady of the house could pull out a cookie log, slice it into cookies, and within minutes, she could serve warm delicious cookies. 

I am a dough eater and when I was a little girl and found these cookie logs in the ice box, I'd slice off a couple raw cookies and run outside, climb up in my tree house (couple of pieces of lumber I'd placed over a couple tree limbs), and enjoy, enjoy, enjoy.  Here is our old family recipe which I still use today:

Ice Box Cookies

1 c sugar
1 c brown sugar
3 eggs
1/2 c milk
1 c crisco
1 t vanilla

Mix all the above ingredients together well

4 c flour
1 t baking powder
1 t salt
1 t soda

Sift dry ingredients into the beaten mixture. Note: the more flour you use the crunchier the cookie; use less flour if you like soft cookies.

Place a section of the dough on a large piece of wax paper and roll into a log.  Flatten the dough log so that cookies are rectangle shaped when cut or leave it round to make round cookies, although tradition has ice box cookies as rectangle.  Bake in moderate over until done.

Recipe Box Beauty

Even folks who seldom cook often have a recipe box.  I found this photo of an old recipe box online.  I choose it because it is identical to the one my mother used.  Mom put the recipe she was going to use in the lid, the way it looks here.  She would set the recipe box with her chosen recipe out on the counter early in the day.  Then she built her day around her choice. 
My grandma, on the other hand, never had a recipe for anything and although she had measuring cups and spoons, I seldom saw her use them.

For a long time I thought Grandma was almost magical the way she could go in her big white country kitchen, cabinet doors would open and dishes would clatter gently, then I'd smell something real good baking, and as if by magic a beautiful three-layer chocolate cake would be cooling near her west kitchen window.

Pioneer Spirit Equals Survival Mode

I remember when I first saw one of these statues of a pioneer woman with her children; both my children were by my side and they were very young then; the statue was in northern Missouri but I forget the town; I saw this statue and it struck me with awe; so huge and magnificent the statue looked. The sight of it gave me strength and at that time, I needed more strength.  My own children were only a few years older than her children.  Yes, I thought, I can make it because I too have a pioneer spirit.  And I was right.  So this entry is a tribute to whoever created this magnificent symbol of the strength of the American pioneer woman.

Spiced Peaches

What better time than during the dead of winter to think about the juicy peaches we'll have this summer.  If you are fortunate enough to have a peach tree in your yard, then the next time you pick a small basket of fresh peaches, try this old time recipe loved by pioneer families.

Peaches were especially delicious back then because if you didn't grow peach trees you didn't usually get to eat peaches.

Spiced Peaches
Peel and pit a pan full of peaches.  Cut extra large peaches in half.  Set aside for a moment.  

Mix together in a large saucepan: 1 cup of white vinegar and 2 cups sugar, add cloves, couple sticks of cinnamon, and any other spices you enjoy.

Bring the mixture to a boil.

Now add your raw peaches and simmer until they are the firmness you like.

Place in a sterile canning jar, adding the whole spices and the sauce as well.  Put the jar in the icebox for a week or so before using.  Heavenly peachy and very special treat.

Butterscotch Pudding Homemade

My grandma could whip up butterscotch pudding complete with lumps (which I always asked for) and to me, as a child, the pudding just appeared and it was the best most-flavorful pudding in the world. 

Only much later in life after she turned 70 years or so, did she even consider buying Jello Pudding packages and it embarrassed her to have the packages in her kitchen. 

Here is her recipe which she varied at will depending on what she had in the kitchen:

Homemade Butterscotch Pudding
1 c brown sugar
1/4 c cornstarch
1/2 t salt
1/3 c butter
3 egg yolks, beaten
1 c water or fresh milk
1 2/3 c fresh milk
1 1/2 t vanilla

Cook sugar and water together (note: for fluffy pudding, don't use water -- use all milk).  Stir in cornstarch, milk and egg yolks.  After it gets thick, add vanilla and butter.  Yum!

The Magnolia Bakery Cookbook: Old-Fashioned Recipes From New York's Sweetest BakeryI also found these old-fashioned cookbooks you might find interesting:
Betty Crocker's Old-Fashioned Cookbook
The Magnolia Bakery Cookbook: Old-Fashioned Recipes From New York's Sweetest Bakery
The Old-fashioned cookbook
The Pioneer Lady's Hearty Winter Cookbook: A Treasury of Old-Fashioned Foods and Fond Memories

Kitchen Garden Tips

This is the way my kitchen garden will look when I am able to give it some more time.  I have dozens of hosta plants which I have collected for at least twenty years.

I also have the wood ferns which grow wild here in the Missouri Ozarks.  Granted those are not herbs but they are great for filling in greenery in an herb garden.

I have three birdbaths which I will string out along this path and I'll plant these herbs because we use these herbs daily:
  • lemon mint for my tea
  • basil 
  • parsley which we use on everything
  • thyme
  • lavender for my tea
  • and others if I can find some.

I had to leave my herb garden when we moved six months ago and will need to start over but at least this time I know what to do to make it perfect:
  • start the garden close to the kitchen door for convenience
  • make it easy to walk through
  • make it very easy to water
  • make sure it gets at least 6 hours of golden sunlight
  • use lots of garden containers for convenience and movement

Herman 10-day Cake

The day you get the Herman starter, give it a feeding of: 1/3 c sugar, 1 c flour, 1 c milk.  Stir each day by hand.  Feed Herman again on the 5th day.  When ready to bake on the tenth day, measure out 2 c. batter.  Keep one cup of Herman starter batter for yourself and give the other cup of starter to a friend.

Herman Cake
Add and blend in the following ingredients to the remaining 2 cups of batter:
2 c flour
2t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1/2 t soda
1 1/2 t cinnamon
1 c sugar
3/4 c milk
2/3 c oil
2 eggs beaten

Beat this together thoroughly

Place this batter in greased and floured cake pans.  Now make the topping and put it on the batter before you bake it all.

1 T flour
1 c brown sugar
1 t cinnamon
1/4 c butter

Mix until crumbly and sprinkle on top of the cake batter.  Now you can bake it at 350 for 30-40 minutes.  Check with a toothpick at 30 minutes.

1/2 stick butter
1/2 c milk
1 c brown sugar
Boil this for 5 minutes.  Pour it over the cake as soon as you take it from the oven.

Herman Starter

2 c flour
1/4 c sugar
2c warm water
1 envelope yeast

Mix ingredients together and let stand overnight in a loosely covered bowl. Next day, refrigerate and stir daily.  Feed on the fifth day.  If you don't use it the tenth day, add 1 t. sugar every ten days.

Cottage Pudding with Clear Red Sauce

3 1/2 c flour
1 t salt
4 t baking powder
1/2 c lard
2 eggs
2 t vanilla

1 1/2 c sugar
1 1/2 c milk

Sift flour, salt and baking powder together. In a different bowl, cream lard, eggs, vanilla, sugar and milk. Mix dry and creamed ingredients. Add a couple cups of seasonal fruit (cherries, strawberries, peaches). Bake in moderate (350 degree) oven for half hour or so. Top with clear red sauce if you want. (recipe below)

Clear Red Sauce
1/2 c sugar, 2 T cornstarch, about 1 cup of desired fruit (usually cherries or raspberries) and 1 cup water. Bring to boil and boil one minute or so. If you have red food coloring, add a few drops to make it dark red.

Waffle Irons and Old Waffle Recipes

Waffle irons make a variety of waffle shapes and designs.  Waffle irons that make a thin waffle are sometimes used to hold homemade ice cream, thus the beginning of the ice cream cone came from a waffle iron.

Waffle irons that make thick big-pocketed waffles are known as Belgian waffle makers. The origin of waffles is often thought to be Belgium and the Netherlands region.

Below is an old waffle recipe:

One quart of flour, and a teaspoonful of salt. One quart of milk, with a tablespoonful of melted butter in it, and mixed with the flour gradually, so as not to have lumps. Three tablespoonfuls of distillery yeast. When raised, two well-beaten eggs.

Bake in waffle-irons well oiled with lard each time they are used. Lay one side on coals, and in about two minutes turyn the other side to the

I have made waffles in my younger days, back when I grew my own vegetables, canned everything, made jelly, homemade bread, and all my daughter's clothes.  But my experience with making waffles boils down to this: what is the purpose of the design?  why go through all that hassle when pancakes are so easy and easy to clean up after.  Waffle irons not seasoned properly are a nightmare to clean.

The following waffle recipe is more like the one I made.  I loved doing everything the way pioneer women would have done something.  I still do. This recipe came from Miss Leslie of Philadelphia (1849).  I kept her wording as it lends to the experience as you will see:

Put two pints of rich milk into separate pans. Cut up and melt in one of them a quarter of a pound of butter, warming it slightly; then, when it is melted, stir it about, and set it away to cool. 

Beat eight eggs till very light, and mix them gradually into the other pan of milk, alternately with half a pound of flour.  Mix it by degrees the milk that has the butter in it. Lastly, stir in a large tablespoonful of strong fresh yeast. 

Cover the pan and set it near the fire to rise. When the batter is quite light, heat your waffle-iron, by putting it among the coals of a clear bright fire; grease the inside with butter tied in a rag, and then put in some batter. 

Shut the iron closely, and when the waffle is done on one side, turn the iron on the other. Take the cake out by slipping a knife underneath; and then heat and grease the iron for another waffle. Send them to table quite hot, four or six on a plate; having buttered them and strewed over each a mixture of powdered cinnamon, and white sugar. Or you may send the sugar and cinnamon in a little glass bowl. (if you want to skip all the homemade work for good waffle, found a link to a good waffle mix -- left top)

Rocks -- Favorite Deep South Cookie Recipe

1 1/2 c sugar
3 c flour
1 c butter
1-3 c water
1 c raisins
1 c nuts
3 eggs
1/2 t cinnamon and nutmeg
1/2 t soda

Cream the butter and sugar, add eggs, then add the flour, cinnamon and soda after sifting together with the water (or milk) alternately.

Add chapped nuts and raisin.  Drop from teaspoon on greased tin and bake in moderate oven.  Should make about sixty rocks.