From Book of Home Medicine, 1884: “To relieve itching from hives and temporary skin irritations, bathe for an hour in hot water with one cup of oatmeal and one cup of baking soda.”
Attributed to women’s rights advocate and noted suffragist Susan B. Anthony: “Cautious, careful people, always casting about to preserve their reputations . . . can never effect a reform.”
Austinite Sally Ward passes along this month’s recipe for a tasty Czech cookie that’s been a people-pleaser in her family for generations:
· 2 cups flour
· 1 teaspoon baking powder
· ¼ cup salt
· ½ cup butter
· ½ pkg. of dry yeast (1½ tsp)
· 2 tablespoons warm water
· 2 eggs, separated
· ¼ cup sour Smetana cream
· ½ teaspoon Watkins vanilla
· ½ cup granulated sugar
· ½ cup ground walnuts or pecans
· ½ cup Watkins almond extract
· Regular or powdered sugar
Measure flour and sift. Add baking powder and salt in bowl. Cut in butter. Dissolve yeast in warm water. Stir in the egg yolks, sour cream and vanilla. Blend into flour, mix well. Will be a hard dough. Refrigerate one hour.
Preheat oven to 400. Beat egg whites until foamy. Add granulated sugar a little at a time. Beat until stiff. Fold in nuts and almond extract.
Divide dough in four parts. Roll each in 9-inch circle. On board sprinkled with sugar, cut each circle in 12 wedges. Aunt Mary pinched dough in size of a walnut and rolled in circle. Put one heaping teaspoon of filling in center and spread. Roll up. Bake 10-12 minutes until golden brown on a lightly greased baking sheet. Cool on wax paper and serve.
From Modern Medicinals, 1876: “Take two spoonfuls of honey to stop a cough; gargle with salt water aforehand if the throat is sore.”
Attributed to President Ulysses Grant: “Cheap cigars come in handy; they stifle the odor of cheap politicians.”
Pflugerville resident Jen Buchanan sent this recipe for a “winter soup” that, family history has it, belonged to her great grandmother who settled north of Austin after the Civil War. “It’s delicious and easy to make,” she informs.
· 2 slices of bacon
· 1 medium sized onion
· 1 small green pepper
· ¾ cup of Navy beans
· 1 medium sized potato
· 1 carrot
· 1 outside stalk of celery
· 1 ounce of butter
· 1 quart of meat stock
· 2 tomatoes, peeled and diced
Soak Navy beans in cold water for 4-6 hours. Fry bacon for one minute in a saucepan, add the butter, carrot, onion, celery and pepper after cutting them in small dices. Cover pan and cook slowly for about 10 minutes or until vegetables are soft. Add Navy beans and meat stock, cook for one hours, then add raw potato cut in quarter-inch dices and tomatoes. Season to taster until the ingredients are well done. If soup is too thick, add more meat stock.
From Home Remedies, 1882: “Add ground ginger root to bone broth, and drink three times a day for two days, to cure a cold with nasal congestion.”
Attributed to President Abraham Lincoln: “You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.”
More than a year ago, Austinite Carolyn Peters sent this recipe for wassail that she says was served for years at Pioneer Farms’ Candlelight Christmas events. “It came from someone’s grandmother who served it for years at the First Baptist Church,” she notes, “but you can add a little hooch to liven it up, if you like.” With numerous requests that we reprint it for the Christmas season, we do so.
· 2 quarts apple cider
· 1 ½ cups orange juice
· ¾ cup pineapple juice
· 1 tablespoon brown sugar
· ½ teaspoon lemon juice
· 2 cinnamon sticks (3 inches)
· Dash ground cinnamon
· Dash ground cloves
In a large saucepan, combine all of the ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes. Discard cinnamon sticks. Serve hot in mugs.
From Home Remedies, 1882: “A tablespoon of apple cider vinegar added to a cup of hot water, with two drops of honey, will cure allergies and related ailments.”
Attributed to President Ulysses Grant: “I know only two tunes. One of them is “Yankee Doodle” and the other one isn’t.”
For those who have been in Austin for at least 30 years, this long-lost recipe will bring back memories of the popular Fall Festival at Pioneer Farms — when volunteers served up bowls of this sumptuous chili to visitors. It’s one of three original recipes for the famous chili.
· 2 pounds ground beef
· 2 cloves garlic, chopped
· One 8-ounce can tomato sauce
· 2 tablespoons chili powder
· 1 teaspoon ground cumin
· 1 teaspoon ground oregano
· 1 teaspoon salt
· ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
· ¼ cup masa harina (corn flour)
· One 15-ounce can of kidney beans, drained and rinsed
· One 15-ounce can of pinto beans, drained and rinsed
· Shredded Cheddar and chopped onions
Place the ground beef in a large pot and add the garlic. Cook over medium heat until browned. Drain off the excess fat. Add the tomato sauce, chili powder, cumin, oregano, cayenne and salt. Stir together well, cover and reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. If the mixture becomes overly dry, add ½ cup water at a time as needed.
After an hour, place the masa harina in a small bowl. Add ½ cup water and stir together with a fork. Dump the masa mixture into the chili. Stir together well, and then taste and adjust the seasonings. Add more masa mixture and/or water to get the chili to your preferred consistency. Add the beans and simmer for 10 minutes. Serve with shredded Cheddar, chopped onions.
From Home Remedies, 1882: “To clear the system, pumpkin seeds should be eaten twice a day with ample amounts of water.”
From Harper’s Weekly magazine, attributed to President James Garfield: “If the power to do hard work is not a skill, it's the best possible substitute for it.”
From Texas Agriculturalist, 1890: “October planting should include collards, garlic, lettuce, summer squash and winter (white) turnips . . . Plant early enough in the month to harvest before the first hard frost.”
Rene Williams offers this month’s recipe, a treat she says her family has enjoyed every October for years.
· Small fresh pumpkin, 8-12 inches tall.
· 1 12-oz. can evaporated milk
· 3 eggs
· ¾ cup sugar
· ½ teaspoon salt
· 1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
· 1 teaspoon ground ginger
· ½ teaspoon nutmeg
· ½ teaspoon ground cloves
Wash pumpkin, remove seeds, place in bowl and set aside. Cut pumpkin into pieces small enough to fit into metal colander. Place into large pot that holds colander. Fill bottom with water, put on lid. When water boils, reduce to a simmer. After ½ hour, check with fork until pumpkin is soft. Cool, then remove pulp from skin with spoon, place in a bowl. Mash or puree the pumpkin pulp.
Measure out 2 cups pumpkin for pie, put into bowl. Place the rest into freezer containers for later pies, and bread or cookies.
Add sugar, salt, spices, eggs in bowl and mix well, adding milk. Pour into pie shell, place on foiled, cookie sheet and bake 350°F for 50-60 minutes — until knife comes out clean.
From the Home Journal, 1890: “Spread table salt in corners and near doors where ants enter the house, to keep them away.”
From Harper’s magazine, attributed to Theodore Roosevelt: “Believe you can and you’re halfway there.”
From Texas Grower, 1892: “For a fall and winter harvest of delicious vegetables, the following crops can be sown or transplanted: beets, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower (plants), collards, garlic, lettuce, mustard, parsley, peas, radish, spinach and turnips.”
Jan Anderson offers this month’s recipe, a treat she says her family has enjoyed for years “just like the pioneers.”
· 2 pounds beef, top round, thinly sliced
· ¾ cup Worcestershire sauce
· ¾ cup soy sauce
· 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
· 1 tablespoon honey
· 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
· 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
· 1 teaspoon garlic powder
· 1 teaspoon onion powder
Mix sauces and dry ingredients together in a bowl. Add beef to bowl and turn to coat beef completely. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and marinate overnight in the refrigerator. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and place a wire rack over the foil. Dry the beef slices on paper towels, then arrange them in a single layer on the wire rack. Bake for 3-4 hours at 175 degrees F. Cut into bite-size pieces and serve.