Sun. June 6, 2021 – more rain? yeah, probably.

We did have most of the day without rain yesterday, then in the late afternoon, something blew in. 30-40 MPH gusts, heavy rain squalls, temperature drop, the whole deal. And it passed just as quickly. Today the national forecast looks a lot like yesterday’s did, so I expect similar. We’ll see 😉

Did my errands. Didn’t do much around the house. Got a bunch of stuff for the household. I guess the canning jars qualify as preps, although I currently have more than I’m using. If things got bad, that wouldn’t be true. They were in very short supply after the lockdown started. It’s a traditional prepping item (along with the infrastructure and the rings/lids) and I’ve got more than I need. Right now the only thing I’m canning is bacon fat, and I just put it in the jar, seal it, and freeze the whole thing. I’m generating more than I use, and it seems very wasteful to just throw it out. It’s about $7 a pound in the store, and I’m recovering part of the cost of the bacon, so it’s a win-win.

Some of the old recipes start out “melt 5 pounds of fat…” so I may use it yet.

I like collecting and reading old recipe books. My “go to” book is an older Joy of Cooking, and I’ve talked about recipe books several times, so I won’t repeat that part. I’ll just add that I’ve picked up a couple more old books, and I am a sucker for the ‘Church Lady’ books, or the ‘Woman’s Service Organization’ books*. If there is anything at all special about them, I’ll grab it and read through it. Lately I’ve picked up some from very rural Texas in the mid ’50s, and New Orleans, and other parts of Louisiana, from the same time frame. I really like the recipes because they tend to use canned ingredients (good for preppers), are often fairly simple, and they don’t require a lot of specialized equipment or a lot of time. The service organization books are often very funny too, as a ‘slice of life’ from the time and place. One I remember in particular called a punch that was essentially 100 proof rum with a bit of fruit juice, “a great punch for the ladies”. One book has a section of “men’s” recipes and they are VERY loose compared to the ladies’ directions. Several are on the order of “do some general thing, and when done, do something else” which the lady editors gently mock in the commentary and introductions…good fun!

I find it interesting to see that the older books use a lot of different flavors compared to modern cooking, use a lot of gelatin (which led me to consider that I don’t have a single gelatin mold, and my mom had several), and use canned ingredients. They also have recipes for local favorites, using local veg and fruit in season, and wild game in the area. If you want to cook squirrel, the book from the First Church of Bugtussel Ladies Auxiliary probably has a couple of recipes to choose from. If you need five different ways to make a cake without xxx or yyy or zzz, times were tough, and there is probably a good recipe for each. If you need to make anything for 25-50 people for a church social (or a disaster kitchen) some of the books are right there with (presumably) tasty choices.

Right now, we can go to allrecipes.com or some other site, and get several choices, some even based on what food you have available for a dish, but that might not always be true. I also find the constant nagging about health and lifestyle to be tedious in any modern book or recipe site (add salt if you wish, substitute real butter if you want a richer flavor, etc….) and I LIKE the personality of the old books. Those books are filled with the recipes that were the best that Momma Jones knew, the ones all the other ladies asked for, and they were proven crowd pleasers. They are also a window into the past, and a link to the land and the area. Pick one up next time you see one, or get out the one from your church or civic association, (or your parent’s anyway.) Read through it. Try a recipe.

Add it to the pile of knowledge, and stuff. Keep stacking.

nick

* the absolute BEST ones have little slips of paper sticking out to mark someone’s favorites, and food stains on the pages. Those books got USED, and someone LOVED those recipes.

(and just for completeness, I’ll add RBT’s wisdom, ALWAYS use the newest canning guide, the same way and for the same reasons you’d use a newer First Aid book.)