From the Home Remedies, 1888, via Alabama Pioneers: “Pound some gum camphor and fill a wide-necked pint bottle one-third full. Fill with olive oil and set away until the camphor is absorbed. Excellent lotion for sore chest, sore throat, aching limbs.”
From the Homsteaders’ Almanac, attributed to Davy Crockett: “We must not permit our respect for the dead or our sympathy for the living to lead us into an act of injustice to the balance of the living.”
From the Texas Farmer's Digest, 1899: “Plant tomatoes, peppers, squash, bush and pole beans, peppers, watermelons early in the month; okra, peas and other summer vegetables late in the month . . . Apply manure in side rows when plants are one hand high.”
Temple resident Dallas Simpson offers this month’s recipe for cake that her grandmother used to make, straight from a Milton Hershey recipe she got a century ago.
· 2 cups sugar
· 1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
· ¾ cup Hershey's Cocoa
· 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
· 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
· 1 teaspoon salt
· 2 eggs
· 1 cup milk
· ½ cup vegetable oil
· 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
· 1 cup boiling water
Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans.
Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla. Beat until smooth. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Pour batter into prepared pans.
Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans. Cool completely. Frost with chocolate frosting.
From the Home Remedies and Medicinals, 1882: “ “For a cough, slice wild of garden onions, place then in a pan, cover them with honey and bake them until they are clear. Strain the resultant mixture, please in a bottle and take one spoonful for coughs.”
From the Homsteaders’ Almanac, attributed to Abraham Lincoln: “No man has a good enough memory to be a successful liar.”
From the Texas Farm Digest, 1896: “Till in winter cover crops and wait two weeks before planting . . . Sow most vegetables, beans, beets and other kitchen crops after the final frost.
Pflugerville resident Jenny Sturgis sends along this recipe for a yummy stew that’s like the one her grandmother made.
· 1 ½ lb. cubed beef stew meat
· ½ cup flour
· 1½ teaspoons salt
· ½ teaspoon pepper
· ¼ cup vegetable oil
· 1 finely chopped onion
· 1 finely chopped carrot
· ¼ cup finely chopped celery
· 1 tablespoon dried parsley
· 1 pinch thyme
· 3 ½ cups of beef broth
· 2 diced medium potatoes
· 2 diced carrots
· 2 diced onions
Put flour, salt and pepper in a large plastic bag. Place meat in bag with the flour and shake until well coated. Heat oil in a large Dutch oven. Add meat pieces to the oil and stir until slightly browned, Add remaining flour from the bag and the chopped onion.
Stir until well browned. Add finely chopped carrot, then celery, parsley, thyme and beef broth. Cover and cook over low heat for 1½ hours, stirring every 15 minutes. Add diced potatoes, carrots, and onions, cook for another 45 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
From the Home Remedies and Medicinals, 1880: “ “To cure a cold, drink a cup of milk or water, spiced with cayenne pepper or ginger, every three hours. Repeat no more than twice in one day.”
From the Texas Farm Digest, 1896: “Sow beets, carrots, lettuce, mustard greens, peas, radishes, turnips and spinach in beds well worked and cultivated. Plant herbs in protected area from last frost. Ready beds for later spring planting, working the soil to a depth of at least four inches. Prune shrubs, hedges and fruit-bearing trees.”
Longtime Austinite Claire Keller sends along this recipe from her grandmother, who she says used to dip seasonal berries in chocolate for a special treat throughout the year.
· 1 pint medium-large strawberries
· ½ cup semisweet chocolate chips or white vanilla baking chips
· 1 teaspoon shortening or vegetable oil
Gently rinse strawberries and completely dry on paper towels. Line cookie sheet with waxed paper.
Melt chocolate chips and shortening in 1-quart saucepan over low heat, stirring frequently. Remove from heat.
Dip lower half of each strawberry into chocolate mixture, allowing excess to drip back into saucepan. Place on waxed paper-lined tray or cookie sheet.
Refrigerate uncovered about 30 minutes or until chocolate is firm. Store covered in refrigerator. Serve with milk or cookies as dessert or afternoon treat.
Austinite Donald Krueger sends this recipe a special “lucky dish” that his grandmother used to serve after the first of each New Year. “Eat it anytime in the month and you will have luck during the year,” he advises.
· 1/2 cup olive oil
· 1/3 cup sugar
· 1/3 cup white wine vinegar
· 1 teaspoon chili powder
· 1 teaspoon salt
· 1 pound Roma tomatoes, seeded, diced
· 1 (15 ounce) can black-eyed peas, rinsed
· 1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed
· 1 (11 ounce) can sweet corn, drained.
· 1 red onion, diced. Can use sweet onion.
· 1/2 cup diced green bell pepper
· 1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
· 1 cup chopped cilantro (from 1 bunch)
In a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil, sugar, white wine vinegar, chili powder, and salt. Add tomatoes, black-eyed peas, beans, corn, red onion, and bell peppers. Stir to combine. Stir in cilantro. Cover and chill at least 1 hour or overnight to blend flavors. Serve chilled or at room temperature.
From the Home-Steaders’ Almanac, 1872: “Harvest greens as soon as they are ready. Plant onions after the first moon phase, about midway through the First Month. Dig over empty garden borders and pile manure on top. Garden areas should be fallow for the winter.”
From the Farmer’s Almanac, 1876: “To cure a winter cold, take one tablespoon of honey and a quarter teaspoon of cinnamon power, lukewarm, once a day for three days. Will also a chronic cough and will clear sinuses.
Longtime Central Texas resident Belle Harper submitted along this month’s recipe from her great grandmother, which she says was used by her forefathers when they first arrived in Austin before the Civil War. “It makes a great breakfast with eggs and bacon on a cold winter day, just like the pioneers would have had, ” she says.
· 1 cup milk
· 2 eggs
· 1 tablespoon honey
· 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
· 1 ½ cup cornmeal
· 1 teaspoon salt
Beat milk, eggs, honey and oil together in a large mixing bowl. Add cornmeal and salt, and stir until moistened.
Drop batter onto a hot greased skillet (a cast-iron skillet works best) in large spoonfuls. Cook both sides like pancakes until golden brown. Or the batter can be cooked like a cake in the skillet, then sliced into equal pieces and served at the table.
Serve with maple syrup, molasses, fruit compote or applesauce.
From The Southern Gardener, 1896: Soil should be tilled but not plowed, and should be turned in advance of precipitation . . . Manure and other boosters should be added before tilling, or can be bunked near but not against plants to warm the soil as decomposition occurs . . . Planting should be done after the threat of frost is past . . . Crops should not be planted all at once . . . Beets and radishes grow in all months . . . Beans and snap peas make a good cover crop and improve the soil for later crops, but the peas must be grown from seeds that are germinated in water for a few days prior to planting . . . Leafy lettuce grows well in cooler temperatures, as do carrots and many varieties of onions . . . Some tomatoes will grow well in an area protected from wind . . .
With the cold and flu season upon us, third-generation Austin resident Janis Walton sends along the following family remedies that she says have worked for generations:
· To sooth a sore throat and dissipate phlegm from a bad cold, sip the following: Hot water, 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar and 1 tablespoon of honey.
· Or, for the same symptoms, add a bit of hot pepper, 1 tablespoon of honey and the juice from a lemon to a large cup of tea.
· If you have nausea from the flu, rub 5 drops of peppermint oil around your navel. And if you have congestion, put a drop on your tongue and inhale.
· Gargle salt water three times in 5-second intervals, four times a day, to relieve a sore throat or nasal congestion from a cold.
· For winter ear aches, put one drop of warm garlic oil or a small garlic clove in in each ear for 30 minutes a day.
Cedar Park resident Dominique Simonescu sent along this month’s recipe from her grandmother. “Wassail is an essential for a happy holiday season,” she says.
· 1 gallon apple cider
· 4 sticks Watkins Cinnamon
· ½ teaspoons Watkins Cloves
· ½ teaspoons Watkins Allspice
· ½ teaspoons Watkins Nutmeg
· 1 whole orange, sliced with rind
· 1 whole lemon, sliced with rind
· 4 cups orange juice
· 1 cup sugar, to taste
Combine all ingredients in a large kettle. Steep just below boiling point for two hours. Remove cinnamon sticks. Serve hot in heat-safe cups or mugs.
Austin resident Fern Donnecker sent along this month’s recipe, which she says comes from her grandmother, an early-day Austinite. “It came from her mother. It’s the best turkey you’ll ever eat,” she says.
· One 17-pound whole fresh turkey, rinsed well & patted dry
· 1¼ stick (10 tablespoons) unsalted butter, slightly softened
· 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh sage
· 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
· 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
· 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
· Salt and Watkins ground black pepper
· 3 large carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces
· 3 large stalks celery, cut into 1-inch pieces
· 2 large onions, quartered
· 8 cups chicken stock
· Turkey neck
· ¼ cup fresh sage leaves
· 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
· 3 tablespoons flour
· 1 cup white wine
· Salt and Watkins ground black pepper
· 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh sage
Remove the turkey from the refrigerator 1 hour before roasting. Combine the butter, sage, rosemary, thyme, and parsley in a food processor and process until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Season the cavity of the turkey with salt and pepper and fill the cavity with half of the carrots, celery, and onion. Rub the entire turkey with the herb butter and season liberally with salt and pepper.
Put 4 cups of the chicken stock in a medium saucepan and keep warm over low heat.
Place the remaining vegetables on the bottom of a large roasting pan. Put the turkey on top of the vegetables, put in the oven and roast until lightly golden brown, 45 minutes.
Reduce the heat to 350 degrees F and continue roasting, basting with the warm chicken stock every 15 minutes, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thigh registers 160 degrees F, about 2 to 2 ¼ hours longer.
After that, remove the turkey from the oven, transfer to a baking sheet, tent loosely with foil and let rest 20 minutes before slicing.
For the gravy, strain the cooking liquid from the roasting pan into a medium saucepan (should be about 4 cups, if not, add more stock to make 4 cups). Add the neck, bring to a boil, add the sage leaves, remove from the heat and let steep for 15 minutes. Remove the sage leaves.
Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the flour and cook for 1 minute. Add the wine and cook until reduced. Whisk in the sage-infused stock and cook until thickened and smooth, about 5 minutes. Season with the salt and pepper and chopped sage.
Triana Gebbe submitted this month’s recipe, which she says she got from her grandmother many years ago. Her take: Scrumptous.
· 3 lb. Boneless skinless chicken breasts, cooked and diced
· 1 cupDiced celery
· 1 cup Seedless red or green grapes, halved or quartered
· 1 cup Real mayonnaise
· 1 8-oz. cartonDairy sour cream
· Salt and ground Watkins black pepper
In a very large bowl stir together the chicken, celery, grapes, mayonnaise, sour cream, and salt, and pepper to taste until combined. Cover and chill 2 to 24 hours. Makes 8 cups salad.
Serve with Sweet Gherkin pickles, carrots and other garnishments. Can be served on biscuits sliced in half.