Women in the mill hill villages depended on their own gardens, chickens, cows, pigs, as well as buying from the Company Store for their food. Fruit trees and pecan or walnut trees usually produced bounty to divide with neighbors. They freely shared with each other, and all had a kitchen specialty. Though they had little, the matriarchs made the best of what they had.
They cooked on a wood stove with light from the windows or kerosene lamps. Water was provided from a common well that several families shared. Wooden utensils stirred and turned food heating in cast iron skillets and bean pots (We have John’s mother’s/Lois.), and porcelain pots.
Meals were plain, uncomplicated, and similar. Any left overs were eaten at the next meal or fed to the animals. Drying and canning vegetables from summer and fall gardens improved winter diets. Nothing was wasted; even watermelon rinds were made into preserves. Though menus were sparse in variety, biscuits or cornbread topped with homemade butter and honey never grew old.
Here is one.
Choose a solid and firm cabbage from your garden, and squeeze the cabbage head to check to see if it’s ready for the table or not. Cut the cabbage off the stem. Wash cabbage, and shake excess water out. Strike the bottom of cabbage down on table to loosen the core. Twist the core to remove. Cut the cabbage to slaw consistency with a very sharp knife. Add salt, pepper, and Duke’s mayonnaise to taste. (In 1917, this favorite was created by Mrs. Eugenia Duke at Duke’s Sandwich Shop in Greenville, SC.) Stir and serve this extra for Sunday dinner or when company was visiting.
Tales of a Cosmic Possum is just weeks from being published, and I am going to share some vignettes with you.