When I was riding the Mini bus yesterday I received a “Ma’s Cookin: Mountain Recipes” book from Betty Buehler. It was published in 1966. It’s spiced with mountain customs, sayings, superstitions, and recipes.
I even found a recipe for turtle soup and how to dress it: You fix the meat like you do a stew. I know my mom put a lot of different vegetables in hers. The recipe says to dredge the meat pieces in seasoned flour (salt and pepper) and fry until browned. Drain off the grease and add water or beef broth and cook, then add the veggies.
In this book they used lard, because in the olden days they only used lard. You can still get it in the grocery stores. They still use it in Kentucky, where you could buy it in five-gallon pails. They made their country gravy out of it as well as bacon grease.
This cookbook has recipes to make wild game recipes, homemade lye soap, ink, and even old cures. When it comes to cures, I just have to take some calcium and vitamin D pills for my bones. I need to keep them built up as I walk all the time.
I recently called a childhood friend of mine. Her mom made the best fried chicken and homemade biscuits that I ever tasted — so light, fluffy, and big that they melted in your mouth. She used a lot of pepper on her chicken, which made it even better. She also made homemade butter and buttermilk — and you guessed it, lard in her cooking.
We talked about our younger days. I sure miss those days. She always had parties and we’d listen to the oldies and dance. Sometimes I spent the night, other times her mom would make homemade butter and I’d take some home to my dad. I can still taste it. I loved her buttermilk over the white cornbread her mom made.
Until next time, enjoy these recipes.
Part one (combine in pan and let set while fixing part two):
• 3 pints ripe blackberries
• 3/4 cup water
• 1 cup sugar
• 1 1/2 tbsp. margarine or butter
• 2 cups flour
• 3 tbsp. sugar
• 1 tsp. salt
• 1 egg
• 3 1/2 tsp. baking powder
Sift flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder into mixing bowl. Add egg, mix well, and then add enough milk to make stiff batter. Now place part one on stove and bring to a boil and drop the dumpling batter a spoonful at a time into the boiling mixture. Cover with lid and cook for about 15 to 20 minutes. Can be served with cream, ice cream, or whipped cream. Can be changed by using other berries.
• 1 cup flour
• 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
• 1/2 tsp. salt
• 1 beaten egg
• 1/2 to 3/4 cup milk
• 1 tbsp. melted margarine
• 1 tbsp. sugar
1 cup peeled and sliced tart apples
Sift dry ingredients together. Combine rest of ingredients and add to the dry mixture. Use right amount of milk to make right consistency batter. Fry in deep hot fat (365-375 degrees) until done, which will take about five minutes. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.
Country Fried Chicken
This recipe is for two chickens, and it can be adjusted to suit the amount.
Cut chicken into pieces for frying and was well. Roll in a mixture for: 2 cups flour, 4 tsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp. pepper. Put skillet on, put in about 1/2 inch of fat and get it hot. Place chicken in and fry until brown, turning often. Then reduce heat, cover well, and cook about 25 minutes until tender. The leavings are good to make white milk gravy.
Grind together: 4 lbs. lean pork, 3 tbsp. backbone fat, 2 tsp. ground black pepper, 1 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper, 4 tbsp. leaf sage. Package and refrigerate.
Venison or Elk Stew
• 1 1/2 pound boneless venison or elk meat cut into chunks
• 1 tsp. salt
• 1/2 tsp. paprika
• 1/4 cup flour
• 2 tbsp. fat
• 2 cups water or beef broth
• 3 tbsp. ketchup
• 6 medium each potatoes, carrots, and onions, peeled
• 6 stalks celery
• 1/4 tsp. pepper
Cut meat in small chunks, roll in seasoned flour, and fry in the fat in a heavy skillet until brown. Make sure each piece is well-browned for best flavor. Add water or broth and simmer in tightly covered kettle until meat is tender (about two hours). Then add veggies, which have been cut into fairly large pieces or chunks and continue cooking in covered kettle until veggies are tender. Add 3 tbsp. ketchup, salt, and pepper to taste and just a little flour to thicken if broth is too soupy. (Mix flour into cold water before adding.) Serve while steaming hot. Good with biscuits.
Penny Case is a lifelong resident of Wellington who loves to cook and share recipes. Send recipes to her at 22 Johns St. or at email@example.com.