Sunday, December 17, 2017

Archive for March, 2004

Home Made Noodles

I am up early this morning, writing. I have real cream for my coffee this morning and it tastes so good. At our local grocery store, if milk, etc. is almost outdated, they will sell it for half price. So I got two little half pints of cream for 40

The Romance of Thrift

Don’t ya know, dear kitchen saints, that it is very romantic to make things from scratch for your beloved and his seeds? To have a home that is a love nest and to live out of your own garden. To plant seeds in your private garden and to delight your husband with the flowers you grew in your flower bed and set on the table.

It’s a feeling of back to the land … back to what is real and natural. To set a table with what you have grown yourself in your garden is a very romantic, creative display of love for your husband.

Some women think that the low cut outfits are romantic but, no, that is not true. The truly romantic wife is one who will work for her husband and put him first in all that she does. She puts the Lord above everthing and everyone … but her lord on the earth is her husband. She is forever true to him and she rises and falls with him. She knows his mistakes and yet, she covers them in her heart and doesn’t reveal them.

Her children watch her, and she continually praises her husband and keeps his place open as priest of the home. Mother is quiet. Papa can stand up for himself. She doesn’t excuse him to the children. And yet, she continues to remember that he is to glorify God, and the wife is to glorify her husband.

The children are to honor their Father and Mother. Mother is more sensitive to the family, and she is often the family conscience. Husband learns from her to be tender hearted, to notice the heart and soul of the home. Often Father doesn’t learn this for many years, but it is the saintly mother’s job to continue on in silence and good works and faith.

Without a word, she wins her husband to Christ by her behavior. Mother stands against the storms of life when they hit her family, but Father wants to double up his fist and fight it. He learns to wait upon the Lord as he watches his wife as she continues in faith and soberness. He looks at her and admires her from afar off. He thinks about her and her walk with the Lord. He ponders her godliness as he sits in the house and as he goes to work in the world. Who is this woman he loves? Who is this woman who has prayed him from one difficulty to the next?

1 Peter 3 says that this man beholds his chaste wife coupled with fear. It means that her actions are so holy, that it causes her husband to fear God. This is how she brings her unsaved husband to Christ through her prayers. It’s her actions that cause him to fear the true and living God.

As Mother works obediently in her place as Keeper at Home, the true and living Holy Spirit can be free to teach the family. It is only His Holiness that can break the bondages of sin in a family. As mother works with her hands and plants her garden in silence, the Holy Spirit is free to convict the sinners, whether they be the children or the husband or the Mother herself. Her holy silent work causes the conviction of the Holy Spirit to fall upon her home. She becomes like Jesus on the cross. She gives her life to her family and, when she is accused, she doesn’t try to excuse herself. She remains silent in front of her accusers. She commits herself to God who, she knows, will rightly divide the word of truth. The one who will judge righteously.

This is a picture of a true wife of the Bible. She is a door mat. She is the servant who is often misunderstood. She shows her family a picture of Christ and she acts out the heavenly order. She is the church, the temple where Christ lives. She carries the word of God in her heart; she acts it out through her silent, holy behavior as keeper at home. And the wife who says, “Well, ya know the Lord didn’t call me to have a meek and quiet spirit.” Well, He called all the rest of us to one. No, Darlin’, you are only ignorant of the word of God.

You need to get away from the unholy women and learn a servant’s heart.

My Cooking Spoons

A kitchen item I love to collect is cooking spoons. I have the enamel spoons? They are the steel red or blue ones with the white speckles in them. I pick them up at the Amish villiage, for about two bucks, or at garage sales in the summer. Some spoons are as small as regular spoons, then some a bit bigger. Then you run into the big stirring spoons. Yet, lately I found a spoon that is bigger than the little spoons but not as big as the long stirring spoons. It is now my favorite; it fits well in my hand, and it is great for mixing up pancakes or muffins. It just fits for what I like and I love it. I have the end of a rake that I nailed to my kitchen wall, and I display my spoons on this, on the prong part.

I get my mixing bowls at the Dollar Store. A few years ago I needed new mixing bowls and I looked all over town for some I could afford and that I liked. They were so expensive! But then at the Dollar Store, I got nice crock bowls for a song. The big mixing bowl, to make bread in, was like six bucks. Then, the next in size was $5 … then the next smaller was $4 … then the smallest was, I think, $3. I had birthday money and got them all. Now my daughters and daughters-in-law all say they love these and would like some like them. They are dark blue crocks, and I use them almost every day for something. I like them, as they are deep, and the next to the smallest bowl is great for pancakes — and my new cooking spoon fits great into it.

I don’t really like to get out my electric mixer for stirring cakes and cookies. I like to stir things. In the evening, I often get out my medium sized cast iron skillet and stir up gravy for Papa. There is something therapeutic about standing quietly in the kitchen in the evening, stirring, listening to my large enamel spoon gently stirring against the frying pan.

A lot of our chores as housewives involve running after little ones during the day or running to put the dog or cat out. So the evening in the kitchen, alone, stirring gravy is a nice way to end the day. With gravy, you can’t let it go for one minute and the family knows that, so you can’t run here and there. You yell from the kitchen, “I can’t come now. I am stirring Papa’s gravy.” The family is forced to be patient as Mother stirs and stirs.

When I was a young mom, in the 60s and 70s, the cooking things were expensive. I couldn’t afford to buy it. Yet, now in this age, as a whole, not many families cook at home. So the really nice simple cooking untensils have gone down in price. In the 60s, I longed for those crock canisters … the mushroom ones for flour, sugar, tea, and coffee. Mercy! They were probably fifty bucks or so back then. Well, now the same things like them at the buck store would be so much lower, percentage wise. If you are a young homemaker, you can pretty much have what you need for hardly a song. Also, we didn’t have the host of garage sales that you all have now. I mean, it was one or two, here and there.

Anyway, right after Jim got saved and we were adding three more children … mercy, I ran out of dishes. The older children helped with the dish washing and broke dishes on a regular basis. (John accidently hit David in the head with the frying pan as he was swinging it around to let it air dry — David had to get a few stitches.) But, anyway, I could barely afford dishes, so when I would go to a garage sale or wherever, I would pick up a dinner plate here and there. One day Jezabel looked in my cupboard. “Well, you don’t have one matching plate in this cupboard.” And I didn’t.

But, ya know, I always set a nice family table for my loved ones. None of my flatware matched, as the kids used the spoons to dig to China in the back yard, and to feed the cat. (Mary always fed the cat with a spoon in the highchair.) One time, I had Jez over for pie. I forgot to give her a fork to eat with. I asked the kids to get her a fork, and I wasn’t paying attention, and I think they got her the B-B-Q fork. Later on, she brought over new silverware, as she said she had to eat her pie with a cooking fork the last time she was here. She said the prongs were all bent, too. I am glad I don’t know, to this day, which fork the kids gave her to eat her pie with.

And the kids would play under the table with the dog when Jez came. She would ask me politely, as she would lift the tablecloth and look under the table, “Are you sure those kids are alright under there?” I would say, “Oh yeah, they are ok.”

But ya know I didn’t have much as a young mom to set my table with, but I just did my best. I had some nice cotton tablecloths and I would iron them and put them on the table. Then, I got some plastic place mats and put them down at each chair. And, if I didn’t have paper napkins or couldn’t afford them, I used some cloth ones. One time I bought some pretty dish rags and used them for cloth napkins. I always had some flowers to put on the table in the summer, and I would light a candle, if I had one. Sometimes I would use my kerosene lantern.

But the family table time was the time when Jim prayed over all of us before each meal, so I tried to make the table setting as nice as I could. Papa started out every prayer the same way. Back then, and to this day, he starts out always, “Dear Lord, please bless my darling wife Connie and keep her safe.” And then he prays for the children and granchildren, and then, if we have company, Papa prays for our guests and their families.

But, dear Mothers, I say all of this to say … just set a nice table for the family meal. It doesn’t have to be with fancy expensive things. Just make sure everything is neat and clean and that the children have napkins to use. Teach them how to pass the bread plate and to be polite at the table. If Husband isn’t used to eating at the table, just put a plate at his place by faith, and you and the children just sit at the table and eat quietly. Don’t fight with your husband about coming to the table to eat. Maybe his mom worked and he never learned to eat at the table. But the family table is important and has a lot to teach the children about manners and serving.

A Baking Mix

Ya know, I know Wal-Mart has taken over a lot of the little Mom and Pop stores, and I used to never shop there. But we went the other day and I loved the family atmosphere. Ya can’t fight city hall, I guess. (Well, sometimes ya can.) But all said and done, I love Wal-Mart.

As Jim and I thread our way through the store, I see so many young families. I love to minister to the Mothers with little ones. The little boys love running through the clothes racks and the Mothers are telling them to settle down. I will visit briefly with the Mother and tell her I had 4 boys and I know what it is like. Hopefully, my few words bless these Moms a little. So many seem so condemned … I can tell an older feminist mother has put them down and it has made them overly nervous about their children being children. They tell me that their little one is hyper. I say, “Oh, they are just being children — all children love to play and run around.” They run into me and Jim and we love it and would love to run and play with them. But of course we may get kicked out of Wal-Mart. Yet, any store that welcomes families, I love.

I get this one baking mix there that I haven’t seen anywhere else. It’s called Pioneer Brand. You find it over by the baking stuff. It is a baking mix and it has all kinds of simple recipes on the back with pictures, etc. It has simple old fashined recipes. Of course, I have made my own baking mix for years, but I buy this mix to use for the canister it’s in. It’s so cute and costs less than the Bisquick Mix. If you learn to bake biscuits using this mix, then you could start making your own mix later on. I had to always use a recipe in the beginning. Of course, now I know what a biscuit dough or muffin batter is supposed to feel like, so I don’t need a mix. But it takes a while to learn the feel of a pie dough or the feel of a bread dough.

I used to knead so much bread, and then I would try to knead a pie dough or biscuits. Well, any dough short of a bread dough doesn’t need to be kneaded a lot. With pies and biscuits, you have to use a quick hand and a hot oven. You want to make your pies and any quick breads quickly. Noodle dough, you have to knead, but roll-out cookies should be made quickly … don’t add a bunch more flour or they will be hard. But as you go, you learn to know if a dough is good by the feel of it.

I honestly never got the feel of a pie dough until the past few years. I followed a recipe, but I would knead it too much and add too much flour. My pie crusts were like cardboard. They looked good — perfectly sculptured with designs — but, boy, they were tough and hard. I would make the crust really thin as to attract as little attention as possible to my mistakes. I finally learned I had an obsession with flour, so I put in more shortening than what the recipe says, to make up for all the flour I seem to have to use. Now my pie crusts are tender and crumbly like we like them. When I cook and bake, the flour just flies like clouds of a snowstorm. I get a lot on the floor and always have to vacuum, once I am done.

I roll out pie dough on my table here in the dining room and the flour goes all over the chairs and the floor. My kitchen hasn’t any counter space to roll dough out on — well, about as much space as an ironing board would have — so I cook and bake on my big wooden table here in the dining room. This is why I always cover it with plastic tablecloths and, even for just Jim and me, I have two leaves in the table. We have meals at one end and I use the other end to cook on. But then, when we have company, I put everything away and use the whole table for dining. The table seats 8 comfortably and 10 very uncomfortably, and if we end up with more guests than table, we seat some in the living room at the coffee table.

Comfort Foods

I have to go to the store this morning after Jim wakes up. I am out of hamburger and have to buy some canned items. I was going to again write down some of things I fix our family.

Papa came from of a family of thirteen children. He was the twelfth. I came from a family of three children and I was the oldest child, then two younger brothers. My Dad had been in the war and when he came home, I was born. So my folks were young as they raised me and they were jet setters. Mom was a Modern Millie. But Jim’s folks were older and very old fashioned, so when Jim and I married he asked me to make things like bread pudding and creamed eggs. Well, I had never heard of such things.

My Dad and Mom were very prosperous. Dad had a good factory job with all the benefits. In the spring, we all got new wardrobes and in the summer, again, new clothes. Then for fall, all new clothes and then new winter clothes. For family meals after Dad got off work late afternoon, we always had a meat, potatoes and gravy, and a vegetable — every evening. Mom would fix fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, and a vegetable for Sunday dinner after church. Yet, for weekday meals Mom fixed meats like pork chops, or steak, or a roast … whatever … but it always had to be a meat, potatoes, and a vegetable.

I seriously never had a casserole until I got married and made one myself. Mom never made a casserole or a homemade soup. (Most of the housewives I was around never did.) For lunches for us children, she made Kraft macaroni and cheese or Campbells soup, or just lunch meat sandwiches. Mother made biscuits once in a while, but probably only made a yeast bread a few times. She made a lot of pies and cakes and cookies. But the women around me never made bread, even though they were stay at home mothers.

I had never seen a vegetable garden in town until I got married. I had never planted a seed in the ground before. Dad and Mom were just very prosperous and we just lived very financially well.

So when I got married and I saw Jim tear up a piece of bread, put it in a bowl, and pour sugar and milk over it, I thought I was seeing things. I had never heard of such a thing.

But, ya know, I wanted to please my husband and wanted to cook for him. So my Mother had bought me a Better Homes and Gardens cookbook, and I started to learn to cook the old time foods. Now, I mention the Better Homes and Gardens CookBook because it covers a broad range of foods, as opposed to like a Chinese cookbook. I would recommend that girls who are just starting out in homemaking get this book or some of the Betty Crocker cookbooks. They have lot of kitchen hints and ideas. You could probably find one at the library or at your local book store.

As a young homemaker, I loved my cookbook and I still use it. Mine had notebook rings in it, and I would copy other recipes and punch holes in the paper and put them in my cookbook. But I had to really sit and study cookbooks of all kinds to learn the art of of old time cooking. Once I got the hang of it, I must say, I love it. But ya know, I never had anyone to teach me. (Well Jim did, a little bit.)

I have loved collecting the old time cooking pans, etc. I have a nice collection of the cast iron skillets of every size and the Dutch oven with the bale handle. Also, the gem pan and the pancake grill that goes over 2 burners. I have a round pancake skillet and a square one that I make corn bread in. I wouldn’t give up my cast iron for anything. It’s an art, just learning to cook and bake on them. I had a dinner a few months ago for the older kids, and I made goulash in a plain pan. Dan (21) said, “Mom, I am used to eating goulash out of a black pan. I don’t like it out of a plain pan.”

Makin’ Groceries

We are called to be keepers at home, and I really believe the Lord wants us to be cooking from scratch and to keep the junk out of our homes. (Junk like pop and chips and all the worldy stuff.) Because I really believe it is the preservatives that makes a person fat. I think if you get down to cooking only from scratch, then this cuts out most of the poisons in our foods.

I like to cook like the pioneers did. In the spring, like about now, they would be eating the rest of what was in the root cellar — things like potatoes, carrots, onions … maybe beets or turnips and apples. These mostly root vegetables were stored all winter. They made soups and stews out of these vegetables. Apples were as much a staple as potatoes.

The pioneers went to the store a few times a year. What if we only went once a month and tried to cook from just what we had in our pantry? I think this would cause us to lose weight.

I mean, why not try making all of your own salad dressings? I used to make a lot of mayonnaise when the children were little. We ran out of it so often in the summer, I made mine in the blender with oil and eggs and mustard. I had to cook like this, as we had five children at home and Jimmy was in the Navy. But all of my children were very healthy. Really all those dips and dressings are loaded with stuff I can’t pronounce.

And how about just plain coffee and tea, and grow your own herbs for herb tea? I grow about 40 herbs in my yard. The more we eat from the land, the less fat we will be.

We need to plant gardens and eat from them and can and freeze our foods for the winter. I used to glean from my brother’s garden when they were done with it in the fall. This was when all the children were home. I couldn’t seem to grow enough food in my own garden. In my brother’s garden, when he was done with it, I would pick many over ripe tomatoes. I would make gallons of tomato sauce and can it or freeze it. In the gleaning of the tomatoes, I would find bits of other things my brother forgot to pick … like peppers of all kinds and onions. Of course, all of this went into the sauce.

Our neighbors had a gorgeous apple tree and they just let the apples fall off and rot. One year, I needed food for my children and I asked the neighbors if I could pick from their tree and they let me. They were glad someone could use them. I brought them home and made applesauce and pies. If you have room to plant an apple tree or two, they aren’t hard to grow. We never sprayed ours. They got bugs, but I just cut the holes out of the apples.

Rhubarb is so easy to grow. and so easy to freeze for winter pies. I used to use mine early in the spring and I would use it all, and more would grow and I would use this midsummer. I kept my rhubarb bed clean and would pull all of the stalks each time. Then, in the fall, I would use it all again. If you pull out all of the stalks, they will grow up again.

If we learn to eat from our gardens we will be healthy and lose weight. I think it’s the worldy stuff that makes us fat and lazy. This stuff that says low fat on it? Well, it may be lowfat in their estimation, but those preservatives make you retain the water, I think, and this makes you fat. I don’t go much on all of that stuff.

And, ya know, have your gardens in the summer and in the winter, make all of your own breads and biscuits. I mean, what I am saying isn’t going to make you thin overnight, but it is a lifestyle. And this is what we need, a wholesome lifestyle. It’s silly to jog and all of that for nothing. Why not work in the garden? That is hard work and gives you a good workout. It feels good to work outside and get dirty in the sunshine. (Well, actually, I love to plant my gardens in the rain. I get out there barefoot and get nice and muddy.)

So how should the virtuous woman look at diet and exercise? The virtuous woman wouldn’t got to the world for help, I don’t think, or out of her sphere as Keeper at Home. I know she didn’t stay in the house all the time, but she did stay pretty much on her land. So I think she got exercise under her cover as Keeper at Home. She got plenty of exercise having babies and caring for them and doing her work, like gardening and cooking and weaving and sewing, etc.

The older women were helping with the grandchildren, so they stayed trim and healthy, too. Baby Rose is coming to visit this afternoon. She is a sweet baby but I get my exercise taking care of her, and will more as she gets older. Not to mention Baby Romeo, almost two, will be around more this summer.

Today, I am making groceries. We have to go the grocery store on Wednesday, so I am making things today and tomorrow so I won’t buy anything I don’t need.

Anytime I have a lot of extra cooking to do, or cleaning, I make vegetable soup. This way, I can clean through the vegetables in the refrigerator and put them in the soup and get them used up. Like today, I am using up some left over beef roast for the meat for the soup, and some potatoes, tomatoes, onions and cabbage… whatever other vegetable I happen to think about, as I work around here this morning. The spices I use in the soup are garlic powder, black pepper and salt, and parsley. Also, I will make bread this morning, and cookies. I have plenty of eggs, so I will make some egg noodles. I will use some for the soup and some to freeze to use for another meal.

We Mothers should learn to eat from the supplies our husbands give us the money to buy. If we have a kitchen and the money to buy shortening, flour, sugar, and spices, etc., then we should be making our own biscuits, breads, pies, cookies and crackers, cakes, etc. Why should we go to the world for these groceries? This is our job as Keepers at Home. We should make what we can with what we have. The works of our hands are precious to the Lord.

No, I know maybe the white flour isn’t good for ya, or the sugar. But it’s all fresh as we can get it all. Right? And I think if we are being obedient to cook what we can and make it as fresh as we can, then the Lord would give us a blessing. I mean, all of us don’t have a grinder to grind up wheat berries, etc., or can’t afford all of this. But the Lord knows this and He will bless us as we use the white flour to make our breads and biscuits. It’s the spirit on the food, I think, is what I am trying to say. I mean, God looks on the heart, not on the labels.

I think we really have to be set free of this stuff about diets and all of the lowfat stuff. If you look at all of that with the Bible in the background, it almost seems like hocus pocus to me. I mean, the Lord has called us to make a home, not to be a scientist. He calls us to our place of duty as Keepers at Home, and we shouldn’t feel condemned if all we can get done in a day is to bake the bread, and we don’t get any other baking done. The Lord knows our hearts. But we should strive to do as much at home as we can.

I think the women of the Bible were always beautiful, and I think it is because they cooked at home and lived at home under the covering of God and their husbands. These women were strong and virtuous and were full of the life of God.

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