Saturday, May 7, 2011

Back Then

So, the other day I took a detour in my thoughts and went down memory lane a bit. I was thinking about when I was in Jr. High and High School. Not to date my self, but that pretty much took up the last half of the 70's. Now I don't know why I started thinking about it. Oh yes I do. I took a trip to the restroom, grabbed a cook book to take with me. It was an old cook book that was my mom's, published in the 70's. One of the recipes listed a roll of garlic cheese as one of the ingredients. I remember these well. Ate many, oh so many of them. They had a little plastic ring on the back, you would cut two slits in the tube where that plastic ring was and then squeeze out the cheese. Or just cut the end off, stick a spoon in and go for it.

They are no longer available as Kraft quit making them. Personally, I think they should bring them back. But hey, who am I to be talking. At least this was a great sensible product.

Not like some of the other things that were on the market. Take the milk shake for instance. Anyone remember these babies? I always got chocolate. The vanilla wasn't bad either. They were pretty innovative for the time. Take out a cup, they were about the same size as the small McCafe Shakes, put it in the microwave and then you had a shake. Or more like thick chocolate milk, unless you left it a little too long, then you got warm hot chocolate. Of course, when you think about it, in the grand scheme of things and all, how hard is it to make a milk shake?

I mean really, we had a microwave and what did my use it for? Warming up her coffee and warming a wash rag to clean the grand babies faces. After all these years, and all those babies faces, she has gotten a little braver with the microwave, she will soften her ice cream so it is easier to scoop and make pop corn. Okay, I admit, she got to where she was heating up left overs in it too. At any rate, that trip to the bathroom with the cookbook (reading material is reading material and all I have around here is cook books, cooking magazines or craft magazines) just kind of started my mind running. Yes, it doesn't take much to get me sidetracked, I admit.

So, back to the cook book. I found another one, this one published in 1944 titled The Good Housekeeping Cook Book. It is really pretty interesting to look through, a little look inside the minds of people of the time. The country was in the midst of WWII. Rationing, blood drives, women would make bandages and most larger towns had USO dances. Especially those close to any bases. My mom and aunts would talk about those dances and the soldiers in their uniforms. Talk about your recycling efforts. How about going with out your nylon hose so all the nylon could be used for parachutes? Mom would tell me about drawing hose lines on the back of the legs for the dances and hoping you didn't sweat it off. Women were suddenly having to work the many jobs that the men normally did. There wasn't any leave back then for home visits. My dad was in the national guard, his unit was called in to the army right after Pearl Harbor. He went to Ft. Hood, had a little training, then sent out to war. His group went to Bataan, his home town lost most of that group. God took care of daddy though. He had been on a week end pass, just came back to find his outfit shipping out. They had all gotten their shots while he was gone. Instead of going to Bataan he was shipped to Africa, worked his way up to go through Anzio, Salerno, ended up in Austria. He saw Africa, Italy, France, England, Germany, Austria and a lot of places in between. The people at home pitched in valiantly. My parent's families were all farmers, living on farms, so they had it a little easier I think. People that lived in the towns weren't able to raise their own meat. Granny made sure that every family in their little town had meat to cook when their son's came home. No matter which way they came home. Dad was serving overseas for four years.

The cook book tells you what was important. A whole section, several pages, is devoted to making proper coffee. Tips and info on how to stretch your meat, stretch your butter, two egg cakes with sugar, three egg cakes in case your low on sugar. Desserts that have no eggs or sugar in case you situation is such. If even talks about a fairly new product called margarine. The first products looked a little like a block of lard, all white, and the package contained a pill that was crushed and stirred in to the margarine to give it a yellow color, to look like butter. Some of the products or ingredients called for are totally unknown to me. What is a bottled thick meat sauce? Or even Condensed Mock Turtle Soup? I get the shin bones, but you just can't go buy meat bones any more. I can tell you this much, after looking over those recipes I am so glad that we have blenders and food processors. I mean, I know what a food sieve is and remember using one to help my mom make grape jelly with it. From those brief experiences, I am so totally thankful that I don't have to sieve my bananas each time I use them for bread. Also thankful I don't have to make broth all the time. It was also a little humorous to see the description of the can sizes, jarred food sizes as compared with today's version. Of course, seeing the recipe ingredients - bottled milk - really sent me back to when we had milk delivery. Then, when we moved to a new town, we first rented a house way out in the country. A dairy was just down the road and dad would take us there to get milk, took the glass bottles back to refill them. But that was in the 70's. I imagine that in the 40's, it was all delivered if you lived in town. I almost forgot, the most wonderful thing about that cook book...found three of my most favorite recipes that my wonderful aunt would always make. All these years we were told they were her secret recipes. When ever she would give us a copy of her recipe she would leave one little something or other out so that when we made it, the recipe just didn't quite taste like hers. I am just in awe that after all these years I have them now, and didn't even know that we had them the whole time. I can tell I am going to be busy next week.

Enough of memory lane. I could easily get lost in that era, think sometimes my former life was during the pioneer days or the depression. You know, Little House on the Prairie meets Walton's. Life was simpler then, more patriotic, more faith, everyone helped each other. Right was right and wrong was wrong and every one knew which was which. Your life was built around God, family, country. Women didn't wear pants, mom's were home, life was just simpler.

Well, tomorrow is Mother's Day. Of course, once again, my husband has not planned anything. I will never forget the Mother's Day that I was 9 months pregnant with my oldest son, big as a barn, and sweet hubby goes to the store for some milk on Saturday evening, comes home with diet chocolates. Yeah, you got it. At any rate, their is a little whisper that the same oldest son is bringing me fried chicken tomorrow. I had told them that I would rather have their dad go get some KFC as opposed to going out to eat. But not really sure about that. I just know that I am not doing a thing in that kitchen but pointing tomorrow.

Thanks for stopping in to visit. Check back and see what else I find in that cook book, may even make a few of those dishes. Will try to get some photos of my little attempt at container gardening. Now that I found one of the recipes my aunt would make, that calls for lots of tomatoes, I may have to try and plant some more some where.

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