Monday, December 18, 2017

Bein’ Frugal

Good Morning! I wanted to write down some more meal ideas. You got the ones yesterday, right? The ones about cooking ideas for large families?

I was talkin’ to Jim yesterday about some of the big meals we used to have when all the children were home. Jim said he still loves hamburger gravy. I would fix this gravy and have peas and mashed potatoes. Mary, our youngest, tells me that my ground beef tastes better than any she has ever had. She says that’s my specialty … fried hamburger. I will have to have that put on my gravestone if I get rich enough to buy one.

Here is how ya make hamburger gravy. Just get out your cast iron skillet and fry a pound of hamburger. (By the way, that is a good way to season your new cast iron if ya need to. Just fry hamburger in it.) Anyway, just crumble the meat up with your spatula. You could add onions or whatever and fry it together. Put on some black pepper and salt. And drain the meat if you have tooo much fat … but leave a bit in there. Then, after it is fried up good, just start adding flour to the meat and goosh it up with your spoon. Add like a fourth cup of flour. Then slowly pour in about 2 or 3 cups of milk or water, and start stirrin’ like a hound dog. Stir the gravy until it bubbles and thickens.

I have always loved makin’ Papa’s gravy in the evening for supper. It’s a quiet time to stand at the stove and just take my time and stir the gravy. Our kids always loved this gravy, too, and heaped it on mashed potatoes, and then they put the peas on top of it all.

And, ya know, when Jim and I first married, I didn’t drink much coffee. But even though we didn’t have much at times, I always made sure Papa had coffee. I just always wanted to make sure that I had this for Papa. I just wanted him to feel comforted. Now, over the years, I drink more coffee than he does. But, ya know, I just had coffee on the stove and it warmed a lot of my guests in the cold weather. Old friends would stop and we would have coffee. I mean, nothin’ fancy, just the “Whatever was on Sale Special.” And if the pot got low, and I was needin’ to save what fresh coffee I had for Jim’s breakfast, I would just add water to the pot and keep on visiting.

Jill and I used to add water to everything. Her daughter, Shelly, never had soda pop without water in it until she was about 16. Jill would add water to the milk until you could see through it. She added water to anything and everything. To the shampoo, the conditioner … well, if she reads this she will give ya a list of stuff she added water to.

Hair conditioner was expensive. We didn’t have the stuff for a buck like today at the Dollar Store. I remember getting a sample bottle of fabric softener in the mail when the kids were little, and I used it for hair rinse. It worked so good. Folks asked me if I had used a new hair conditioner … my hair just glowed. Of course, I only had to use a few tablespoons. That sample bottle lasted a good long time.


In the cold weather, I would make a lot of soups. I made homemade potato soup and vegetable hamburger soup and chili. Also, a lot of chicken vegetable soup with homemade noodles or dumplings in it. Usually, when I made soup on a winter evening , I had a homemade bread to eat with it. And often, just for fun, I would make a big dishpan of popcorn to put on the table to eat with the soup. It made the meal festive and fun. Then the family would snack on the popcorn for the evening. I would cut up apples for the table, too. On the nights I would make homemade pizza, I would make popcorn, too, to go with it. And we didn’t eat the microwave popcorn — we ate the kind ya make on the stove.

Jim makes good popcorn — better than mine. We don’t like air popped pop corn. The pioneers used to eat popcorn with milk on it in a bowl … probably with honey on it. In the evenings for a snack, Jim will take homemade bread, tear it up in a bowl, and eat it with sugar and milk over it. Like a cold cereal. You need crusty homemade bread for this, as store bread would gum up.

Also, I used to make an Italian dish with homemade noodles. I would make my own noodles with eggs and flour. I would cook them up, put cooked hamburger in them, and put spaghetti sauce on them. Then, of course, fresh herbs from the garden. Then I put parmesan cheese over them when I served them. I would make my own lasagna noodles, too. I made whatever I could so I wouldn’t have to go to the store. I didn’t make all of my own noodles, but I made a lot of ’em.

My children had to help with the chores so I could cook, and they did … they were always good helpers.

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