When I was little my mother read the Little House books to my sister and me. Looking back, I wonder if those books were part of what predisposed me to liking traditional foods, hunting, and farming. We had The Little House Cookbook as well and I remember being intimidated by the receipes, which called for things like lard.
I feel that it's a major accomplishment in my life that the recipes in this book now seem so normal to me. Lard? No problem, I've got plenty in my fridge.
One thing I'll always remember is the heart-shaped cakes that Laura and Mary got for Christmas. Back then such desserts were truly special. They each got one teeny tiny little cake to treasure and the fact it was made with white flour and sugar was unusual.
The cakes were too pretty to eat. Mary and Laura just looked at them. But as last Laura turned hers over, and she nibbled a tiny niblle from underneath, where it wouldn't show. And the inside of that little cake was white!
What else was in those cakes? Lard and cultured buttermilk. Not something to eat every day, but made with some good ingredients at least. Being a holiday today, I try to be mindful of such an eating philosophy. If you are going to eat something that's not the pinnacle of health, it might as well be good. Grandma's pie? Yes. Costco pie? No thanks, I'll have more turkey.
When I lived in Sweden I had the pleasure of having a very large kitchen and many friends who couldn't afford to go home, as well as interested Europeans. I helped cook both American and Canadian Thanksgivings. One of my goals in life is to once again have a really big kitchen where I can entertain my family and friends for meals like that. But for now it's just my small family and we are keeping it mostly paleo besides some candied walnuts. Disorganization is on our side— a good homemade pie crust is hard to make!
Another goal is to cook more of the recipes in this book. Blackbird pie anyone? First I need to practice shooting.
He cut into the pie's crust with a big spoon, and turned over a big chunk of it onto a plate. The underside was steamed and fluffy. Over it he poured spoonfuls of thin brown gravy, and beside it he laid half a blackbird, browned, and so tender that the meat was slipping from the bones. He handed that first plate across the table to Ma..."It takes you to think up a chicken pie, a year before there's chickens to make it with," Pa said. He ate a mouthful and said, "This beats a chicken pie all hollow."
Have a great Thanksgiving! Thank you for reading this blog!