Several years ago when my Aunt Ginny and Uncle Jack moved to Mississippi Aunt Ginny gave me a box of recipes that she said were her mother’s — my grandmother’s. I looked through the box a few years ago and planned to try a few recipes at some time in the future. I never did get around to that and since I was feeling a little lazy today, thought I would take a look at the recipes in detail. About half of the contents of the box consists of recipes clipped out of magazines or newspapers and the other half consists of booklets containing recipes that fit a theme or use a particular brand or style of cooking.
The oldest booklet, copyrighted 1941 and written by the Culinary Institute of America, is called 500 Delicious Dishes from Leftovers. The introduction begins, “Rare indeed is the day when a modern housewife could not find in her refrigerator all sorts of odds and ends in the way of food. And it is these leftovers that challenge the imagination of the alert homemaker.”
Here is a recipe for leftover ground meat and leftover noodles:
Fricadellons with Noodles
1 large onion, chopped
2 tablespoons fat
1 cup dry bread softened in 1 cup water
2 cups leftover ground meat
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1/8 teaspoon alspice
1.4 teaspoon salt
3 cups leftover noodles
1/2 cup warm milk
Brown onion lightly in 1 tablespoon fat. Press water from bread; add onion, meat, egg and seasonings. Mix well. Shape into small balls or flat cakes and saute until crisp in remaining fat. Moisten noodles with warm milk and reheat. Make a ring of noodles, fill center with Succotash and border with the fricadellons. Serves 4.
I won’t be making that — or anything else in the book — but won’t toss the book in the trash either. Let me know if you need a delicious dish recipe from a leftover, I bet I can find one for you.
Gearing up for the holiday dedicated to eating, I started thinking of where I get my food. I’d like to say I buy only organic, cruelty-free food from local farms but that would be a lie. We are beginning to do a little of that — some local vegetables during growing season, cage-free organic eggs when Clare or I purchase them, cruelty-free (until they are slaughtered) chickens when Clare is around to eat it, organic grass feed meat when Clare is around. We do make sure to buy non-farmed fish, though — but I suppose that is because I’m the only one who buys fish.
When we lived in Pittsburgh we shopped in “The Strip” most Saturdays. It was such a fun experience — getting cheese from the cheese store, meat from the butcher, bread from the bakery, pasta from the macaroni shop, coffee from the coffee store (you get the picture) that I’ve often thought longingly of those days. A couple of years ago Dean told me about an Amish market up-county that he heard had good food. We visited one Saturday and have been back many times since. It is a little like our Pittsburgh shopping experience — except we can stay warm in the winter.
The Lancaster County Dutch Market — or as we call it “The Amish Market” is housed in a strip mall in Germantown, Maryland and is usually open Thursday through Saturday each week. Within the “market” are about a dozen vendors that cover all food groups (meats, dairy, grains, fruits and vegetables, pretzels and candy). They also sell furniture and flowers. In addition you can eat breakfast or lunch (maybe dinner too) at either King’s Barbecue Pit where you order your food (including rotisserie rabbit) and take it home or sit at one of the booths to enjoy it there or the Dutch Family Restaurant — a sit-down eatery in the center of the market. We’ve not eaten at either, but it is on our to-do list. We have eaten at the Lapp’s Pretzels, however. I am willing to bet you have never had a pretzel as good as the pretzels Lapp’s sells.
Each vendor is family-run — so the person that helps you and takes your money is Amish — men and women are all in traditional dress which makes sense because they are Amish. I don’t know the story, but I think that the people that work in the market must travel down from Lancaster County Wednesday evenings and go back Saturday evenings. I don’t have any idea where they stay during their work week or how they travel the 100 or so miles from Lancaster, PA to Germantown, MD. Some of the Amish at the market seem young enough to still be in school — and I doubt they go to school in Montgomery County — so either they don’t stay in school as long as non-Amish usually do or they just look younger than non-Amish.
While it is not exactly like our Pittsburgh shopping experience, it is definitely an experience and we plan on purchasing our meats from there from now on. Their vegetables may be home-grown in the growing season, but unless they have greenhouses and grow summer fruit all winter long, I think they must import lots of their produce from afar. Still, I’d prefer buying fruit and vegetables from them than the local grocery store for some reason, at least during the non-growing season.
Last weekend we (Dean, his sister Diane, and I) visited Andrew in Oberlin, Ohio for Oberlin College’s Family Weekend. Diane joined us because we told her how much fun we had at last year’s family weekend and because she was a high school counselor and knew about Oberlin, but had never visited. Also because she’s the best aunt in the world.
If I have not mentioned it before on this blog, I love Oberlin College. It is the absolute perfect fit for Andrew and an amazing place in itself. The town and the college grew up together and from what I’ve seen, get along very well — like grown-up twins. Andrew’s rugby team is comprised of students, professors and townsmen. When we visit we stay with townspeople — in their homes with the money we pay going to various Oberlin programs.
Family weekend is full of events, from the wine and cheese reception on Friday to dozens of musical programs to many faculty-run lectures to the President’s brunch on Sunday. This year we didn’t do quite as many things as last year, but we did have a busy weekend.
On Friday we attended the wine and cheese reception after meeting up with Andrew and visiting his newly-tidied dorm room. The wine and cheese reception is held in (and outside of) the science building. Outside people stand (and shiver) while listening to a steel drum band. Inside people stand or sit and listen to a string quartet. Strangers approach each other and talk to each other with ease — like longtime friends or you approach strangers and ask them about their hats (a Scottish military hat worn to keep their head warm) or if they know someone in the orchestra embroidered on their jacket (they do) and end up talking with them like longtime friends. “Don’t you feel the love?” I asked Diane. She laughed.
For dinner on Friday after striking out at three other restaurants, we ended up at the Oberlin Inn where our waitress seemed as if she were just learning the ropes but since she was our waitress last May this was not the case. Dinner was decent and inexpensive, compared to Bethesda.
After dinner on Friday we went to an Opera called Il Mondo della Luna (The World of the Moon)which was a lot of fun, once we realized we were not going to really “get it” and just went with the slapstick humor. One of Andrew’s friends played a lead role.
On Saturday, after a breakfast and chat with our hosts, Dean went to a lecture while Andrew slept in. Diane and I went shopping — I adore a shop called Bead Paradise that sells clothing in styles I really like — and has some great sales and friendly staff. “Do you feel the love yet?” I asked Diane. Diane laughed.
Dinner was a disappointment — again all of the desirable restaurants were booked, so we went to an Italian restaurant we’d eaten at last year and vowed to avoid this year. The service was slow, the food mediocre, but the company was excellent (and we sat near someone famous in the area — maybe a former owner or manager of the Cleveland Indians?)
We’d hoped to see the Oberlin Aerialists again this year, but dinner took too long and we were tired by the time we left the restaurant.
At some point as we were leaving Oberlin, Diane turned to me and said, “Okay Dona, I feel the love now”. I smiled — I knew she would.