Sunday, May 22, 2011

They're Back!!!

Little red eyes and enough noise to drive you crazy...cicadas are back! This is the 13-year swarm in Tennessee. And, boy are they loud! I can even hear the roar above the air conditioner. I know some areas are not as loud as not everyone is surrounded by trees. This one posed for a long time on the porch.

Different types of cicadas actually swarm every year, but the big swarms occur with the 17 year and 13 year cicadas. Want to know more about them? Check out Cicadas bring back the buzz or Cicadas.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Fried Potatoes

Fried potatoes are a guilty pleasure. They didn't used to be. Once upon a time, they were a staple at the supper table. But, over the last few years, the potato, particularly fried, has almost become a four letter food. These fried potatoes found their way unto the breakfast table too. Often the leftover potatoes found their way into a sandwich if meat was scarce. I had forgotten about those long ago sandwiches until I read these recipes. This is exactly how I was taught to prepare fried potatoes in the Hollow. Hope you enjoy them!

Thin Fried Potatoes.

Pare and cut raw potatoes very thin, with either the vegetable slicer or a sharp knife. Put them in cold water and let them stand in a cold place (the ice chest is best) from ten to twenty-four hours. This draws out the starch. Drain them well. Put about one pint in the frying basket, plunge into boiling lard, and cook about ten minutes. After the first minute set back where the heat will decrease. Drain, and dredge with salt. Continue this until all are fried. Remember that the fat must be hot at first, and when it has regained its heat after the potatoes have been added, must be set back where the potatoes will not cook fast. If the cooking is too rapid they will be brown before they have become crisp. Care must also be taken, when the potatoes are first put in the frying kettle, that the fat does not boil over. Have a fork under the handle of the basket, and if you find that there is danger, lift the basket partly out of the kettle. Continue this until all the water has evaporated; then let the basket remain in the kettle. If many potatoes are cooked in this way for a family, quite an amount of starch can be saved from the water in which they were soaked by pouring off the water and scraping the starch from the bottom of the vessel. Dry, and use as any other starch.

French Fried Potatoes.

Pare small uncooked potatoes. Divide them in halves, and each half in three pieces. Put in the frying basket and cook in boiling fat for ten minutes. Drain, and dredge with salt. Serve hot with chops or beefsteak. Two dozen pieces can be fried at one time.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Vintage Game Recipes

Cute and cuddly, but also tasty. Wild game can be an acquired taste, but in the hollow it was a way of life. Here are some vintage game recipes from a late 1800's cookbook.


They are cooked similar to rabbits, are excellent when broiled or made into a stew, and, in fact, are very good in all the different styles of cooking similar to rabbit.

There are many species common to this country; among them the black, red, gray and fox. Gophers and chipmunks may also be classed as another but smaller variety.


A very close relationship exists between the hare and the rabbit, the chief difference being in the smaller size and shorter legs and ears of the latter. The manner of dressing and preparing each for the table is, therefore, pretty nearly the same. To prepare them for roasting, first skin, wash well in cold water and rinse thoroughly in lukewarm water. If a little musty from being emptied before they were hung up, and afterward neglected, rub the insides with vinegar and afterward remove all taint of the acid by a thorough washing in lukewarm water. After being well wiped with a soft cloth put in a dressing as usual, sew the animal up, truss it, and roast for half or three-quarters of an hour, until well browned, basting it constantly with butter and dredging with flour, just before taking up.

To make a gravy, after the rabbits are roasted, pour nearly all the fat out of the pan, but do not pour the bottom or brown part of the drippings; put the pan over the fire, stir into it a heaping tablespoonful of flour, and stir until the flour browns. Then stir in a pint of boiling water. Season the gravy with salt and pepper; let it boil for a moment. Send hot to the table in a tureen with the hot rabbits. Serve with currant jelly.


Clean two young rabbits, cut into joints, and soak in salt and water half an hour. Put into a saucepan with a pint of cold water, a [Pg 103]bunch of sweet herbs, an onion finely minced, a pinch of mace, half a nutmeg, a pinch of pepper and half a pound of salt pork cut in small thin slices. Cover and stew until tender. Take out the rabbits and set in a dish where they will keep warm. Add to the gravy a cup of cream (or milk), two well-beaten eggs, stirred in a little at a time, a tablespoonful of butter, and a thickening made of a tablespoonful of flour and a little milk. Boil up once; remove the saucepan from the fire, squeeze in the juice of a lemon, stirring all the while, and pour over the rabbits. Do not cook the head or neck.


After the rabbit has been thoroughly cleaned and washed, put it into boiling water, and let it boil ten minutes; drain it, and when cold, cut it into joints, dip into beaten egg, and then in fine bread crumbs; season with salt and pepper. When all are ready, fry them in butter and sweet lard, mix over a moderate fire until brown on both sides. Take them out, thicken the gravy with a spoonful of flour, turn in a cup of milk or cream; let all boil up, and turn over the rabbits. Serve hot with onion sauce. (See SAUCES.) Garnish with sliced lemon.


This pie can be made the same as "Game Pie" excepting you scatter through it four hard-boiled eggs cut in slices. Cover with puff paste, cut a slit in the middle, and bake one hour, laying paper over the top should it brown too fast.


After skinning and cleaning the rabbits, wipe them dry, split them down the back lengthwise, pound them flat, then wrap them in letter paper well buttered, place them on a buttered gridiron, and broil over a clear, brisk fire, turning them often. When sufficiently cooked, remove the papers, lay them on a very hot platter, season with salt, pepper and plenty of butter, turning them over and over to soak up the butter. Cover and keep hot in a warming oven until served.


This is a nice mode of serving the remains of roasted game, but when a superlative salmi is desired, the birds must be scarcely more than half roasted for it. In either case, carve them very neatly, and [Pg 104]strip every particle of skin and fat from the legs, wings and breasts; bruise the bodies well, and put them with the skin and other trimmings into a very clean stewpan. If for a simple and inexpensive dinner, merely add to them two sliced onions, a bay-leaf, a small blade of mace and a few peppercorns; then pour in a pint or more of good veal gravy, or strong broth, and boil it briskly until reduced nearly half; strain the gravy, pressing the bones well to obtain all the flavor; skim off the fat, add a little cayenne and lemon juice, heat the game very gradually in it, but do not on any account allow it to boil; place pieces of fried bread around a dish, arrange the birds in good form in the centre, give the sauce a boil, and pour it on them.


To prepare a haunch of venison for roasting, wash it slightly in tepid water and dry it thoroughly by rubbing it with a clean, soft cloth. Lay over the fat side a large sheet of thickly-buttered paper, and next a paste of flour and water about three-quarters of an inch thick; cover this again with two or three sheets of stout paper, secure the whole well with twine, and put down to roast, with a little water, in the dripping-pan. Let the fire be clear and strong; baste the paper immediately with butter or clarified drippings, and roast the joint from three to four hours, according to its weight and quality. Doe venison will require half an hour less time than buck venison. About twenty minutes before the joint is done remove the paste and paper, baste the meat in every part with butter, and dredge it very lightly with flour; let it take a pale brown color, and serve hot with unflavored gravy made with a thickening in a tureen and good currant jelly. Venison is much better when the deer has been killed in the autumn, when wild berries are plentiful, and it has had abundant opportunities to fatten upon this and other fresh food.


Venison steaks should be broiled over a clear fire, turning often. It requires more cooking than beef. When sufficiently done, season with salt and pepper, pour over two tablespoonfuls of currant jelly melted with a piece of butter. Serve hot on hot plates.

Delicious steaks, corresponding to the shape of mutton chops, are cut from the loin.


Wash the saddle carefully; see that no hairs are left dried on to the outside. Use a saddle of venison of about ten pounds. Cut some salt pork in strips about two inches long and an eighth of an inch thick, with which lard the saddle with two rows on each side. In a large dripping-pan cut two carrots, one onion and some salt pork in thin slices; add two bay-leaves, two cloves, four kernels of allspice, half a lemon sliced, and season with salt and pepper; place the saddle of venison in the pan, with a quart of good stock boiling hot and a small piece of butter, and let it boil about fifteen minutes on top of the stove; then put it in a hot oven and bake, basting well every five minutes, until it is medium rare, so that the blood runs when cut; serve with jelly or a wine sauce. If the venison is desired well done, cook much longer, and use a cream sauce with it, or stir cream into the venison gravy.

Venison should never be roasted unless very fat. The shoulder is a roasting piece and may be done without the paper or paste.

In ordering the saddle request the butcher to cut the ribs off pretty close, as the only part that is of much account is the tenderloin and thick meat that lies along the backbone up to the neck. The ribs which extend from this have very little meat on them, but are always sold with the saddle. When neatly cut off they leave the saddle in a better shape, and the ribs can be put into your stock-pot to boil for soup.


The neck, breast and shoulder are the parts used for a venison pie or pastry. Cut the meat into pieces (fat and lean together) and put the bones and trimmings into the stewpan with pepper and salt, and water or veal broth enough to cover it. Simmer it till you have drawn out a good gravy. Then strain it.

In the meantime make a good rich paste, and roll it rather thick. Cover the bottom and sides of a deep dish with one sheet of it, and put in your meat, having seasoned it with pepper, salt, nutmeg and mace. Pour in the gravy which you have prepared from the trimmings, and a glass of port wine. Lay on the top some bits of butter rolled in flour. Cover the pie with a thick lid of paste and ornament it handsomely with leaves and flowers formed with a tin cutter. Bake two or more hours according to the size. Just before it is done, pull it forward in the oven, and brush it over with beaten egg; push it back and let it slightly brown.


Cut the meat in nice small slices, and put the trimmings and bones into a saucepan with barely water enough to cover them. Let them stew for an hour. Then strain the liquid into a stewpan; add to it some bits of butter, rolled in flour, and whatever gravy was left of the venison the day before. Stir in some currant jelly, and give it a boil up. Then put in the meat, and keep it over the fire just long enough to warm it through; but do not allow it to boil, as it has been once cooked already.


Cut a breast of venison into steaks; make a quarter of a pound of butter hot in a pan; rub the steaks over with a mixture of a little salt and pepper; dip them in wheat flour, or rolled crackers, and fry a rich brown; when both sides are done, take them up on a dish, and put a tin cover over; dredge a heaping teaspoonful of flour into the butter in the pan, stir it with a spoon until it is brown, without burning; put to it a small teacupful of boiling water, with a tablespoonful of currant jelly dissolved into it; stir it for a few minutes, then strain it over the meat and serve. A glass of wine, with a tablespoonful of white sugar dissolved in it, may be used for the gravy, instead of the jelly and water. Venison may be boiled, and served with boiled vegetables, pickled beets, etc., and sauce.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Same Time Last Year

 Bridge over Tennessee River Paris Landing May 2011

I never thought that I would be posting flood pictures again this year.  While Nashville was spared this time around, West Tennessee has been hit hard.  This is a view of the Tennessee River at Paris Landing.  Normally you can drive all the way down to the end of the trees.

Paris Landing Boats May 2011

Another view of Paris Landing. 

Tennessee River Paris Landing May 2011 Flood 

This is the picnic area at Paris Landing.

Paris Landing Swamp May 2011

This reminds me of pictures I’ve seen of Reelfoot Lake. 


Paris Landing Picnic Area May 2011

Another view of the picnic area.  Those are actually picnic tables almost covered by the river.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Chicken Feathers

'If we have chicken again, I'm gonna grow feathers!' That was a favorite saying in the hollow and and pretty much true. Back then chickens were cheap as you raised your own. I still think the reason we have so much trouble with ticks now is because we don't have a yard full of chickens taking care of the bugs. While not for the squeamish, it doesn't get much fresher than dressing your own chickens. I thought you would enjoy these chicken recipes from a late 1800's cookbook.

Rub the chicken on the inside with pepper and half a teaspoonful of salt; place in a steamer in a kettle that will keep it as near the water as possible, cover and steam an hour and a half; when done, keep hot while dressing is prepared, then cut up, arrange on the platter, and serve with the dressing over it.

The dressing is made as follows: Boil one pint of gravy from the kettle without the fat, add cayenne pepper and half a teaspoonful of salt; stir a tablespoonful of flour into a quarter of a pint of cream until smooth and add to the gravy. Cornstarch may be used instead of the flour, and some cooks add nutmeg or celery salt.


Cut up two young chickens, put them in a stewpan with just enough cold water to cover them. Cover closely and let them heat very slowly; then stew them over an hour, or until tender. If they are old chickens they will require long, slow boiling, often from three to four hours. When tender, season with salt and pepper, a piece of butter as large as an egg, and a little celery, if liked. Stir up two tablespoonfuls of flour in a little water or milk and add to the stew, also two well-beaten yolks of eggs; let all boil up one minute; arrange the chicken on a warm platter, pour some of the gravy over it and send the rest to the table in a boat. The egg should be added to a little of the cooled gravy before putting with the hot gravy.


Dress a full-grown spring chicken the same as for roasting, seasoning it with salt and pepper inside and out; then fill the body with [Pg 88]oysters; place it in a tin pail with a close-fitting cover. Set the pail in a pot of fast-boiling water and cook until the chicken is tender. Dish up the chicken on a warm dish, then pour the gravy into a saucepan, put into it a tablespoonful of butter, half a cupful of cream or rich milk, three hard-boiled eggs chopped fine, some minced herbs and a tablespoonful of flour. Let all boil up and then pour it over the chicken. Serve hot.


Boil four chickens till tender enough for meat to fall from bones; put meat in a stone jar and pour over it three pints of cold, good cider vinegar and a pint and a half of the water in which the chickens were boiled; add spices if preferred, and it will be ready for use in two days. This is a popular Sunday evening dish; it is good for luncheon at any time.


Mince up finely the remains of a cold chicken together with half the quantity of lean, cold ham. Mix them well, adding enough white sauce to moisten them. Now have light paste rolled out until about a quarter of an inch or a little more in thickness. Cut the paste into pieces, one inch by two in size, and lay a little of the mixture upon the centres of half of the pieces and cover them with the other halves, pressing the edges neatly together and forming them into little rolls. Have your frying pan ready with plenty of boiling hot lard, or other frying medium, and fry until they become a golden-brown color. A minute or two will be sufficient for this. Then drain them well and serve immediately on a napkin.


Mince up fine cold chicken, either roasted or boiled. Season it with pepper and salt, and a little minced parsley and onion. Moisten it with chicken gravy or cream sauce, fill scalloped shells that are lined with pastry with the mixture, and sprinkle bread crumbs over the tops. Put two or three tiny pieces of butter over each, and bake brown in a hot oven.


After dressing and washing the chickens as previously directed, split them open through the backbone; frog them by cutting the cords under the wings and laying the wings out flat; cut the sinews under the second joint of the leg and turn the leg down; press down the breast-bone without breaking it.

Season the chicken with salt and pepper, lay it upon the gridiron with the inside first to the fire; put the gridiron over a slow fire, and place a tin sheet and weight upon the chicken, to keep it flat; let it broil ten minutes, then turn and proceed in the same manner with the other side.

The chicken should be perfectly cooked, but not scorched. A broiled chicken brought to the table with its wings and legs burnt, and its breast half cooked, is very disagreeable. To avoid this, the chicken must be closely watched while broiling, and the fire must be arranged so that the heat shall be equally dispensed. When the fire is too hot under any one part of the chicken, put a little ashes on the fire under that part, that the heat may be reduced.

Dish a broiled chicken on a hot plate, putting a large lump of butter and a tablespoonful of hot water upon the plate, and turning the chicken two or three times that it may absorb as much of the butter as possible. Garnish with parsley. Serve with poached eggs on a separate dish. It takes from thirty to forty minutes to broil a chicken well.


Prepare the chicken as for fricassee. When the chicken is stewed tender, seasoned, and the gravy thickened, take it from the fire; take out the largest bones, scrape the meat from the neck and backbone, throw the bones away; line the sides of a four or six quart pudding-dish with a rich baking powder or soda biscuit dough, a quarter of an inch thick; put in part of the chicken, a few lumps of butter, pepper and salt, if needed, some cold boiled eggs cut in slices. Add the rest of the chicken and season as before; a few new potatoes in their season might be added. Pour over the gravy, being sure to have enough to fill the dish, and cover with a crust a quarter of an inch thick, made with a hole in the centre the size of a teacup.

Brush over the top with beaten white of egg and bake for half to three-quarters of an hour. Garnish the top with small bright celery leaves, neatly arranged in a circle.


Wash and cut up a young chicken, wipe it dry, season with salt and pepper, dredge it with flour, or dip each piece in beaten egg and then in cracker crumbs. Have in a frying pan one ounce each of butter and sweet lard made boiling hot. Lay in the chicken and fry brown on both sides. Take up, drain it and set aside in a covered dish. Stir into the gravy left, if not too much, a large tablespoonful of flour, make it smooth, add a cup of cream or milk, season with salt and pepper, boil up and pour over the chicken. Some like chopped parsley added to the gravy. Serve hot.

If the chicken is old, put into a stewpan with a little water and simmer gently till tender; season with salt and pepper, dip in flour or cracker crumb and egg, and fry as above. Use the broth the chicken was cooked in to make the gravy, instead of the cream or milk, or use an equal quantity of both.


Make common batter; mix into it a cupful of chopped tomatoes, one onion chopped, some minced parsley, salt and pepper. Cut up young, tender chickens, dry them well and dip each piece in the batter; then fry brown in plenty of butter in a thick-bottomed frying pan. Serve with tomato sauce.


Put a cup of cream or milk in a saucepan, set it over the fire, and when it boils add a lump of butter as large as an egg, in which has been mixed a tablespoonful of flour. Let it boil up thick; remove from the fire, and when cool mix into it a teaspoonful of salt, half a teaspoonful of pepper, a bit of minced onion or parsley, one cup of fine bread crumbs, and a pint of finely-chopped cooked chicken, either roasted or boiled. Lastly, beat up two eggs and work in with the whole. Flour your hands and make into small, round, flat cakes; dip in egg and bread crumbs and fry like fish cakes in butter and good sweet lard mixed, or like fried cakes in plenty of hot lard. Take them up with a skimmer and lay them on brown paper to free them from the grease. Serve hot.


Take any kind of fresh meat or fowl, chop very fine, add an equal quantity of smoothly mashed potatoes, mix, and season with butter, salt, black pepper, a little prepared mustard, and a little cayenne pepper; make into cakes, dip in egg and bread crumbs and fry a light brown. A nice relish for tea.


Beat up two eggs in a deep bowl; roll enough crackers until you have a cupful of crumbs, or the same of fine stale bread crumbs; spread the crumbs on a large plate or pie-tin. Have over the fire a kettle containing two or three inches of boiling lard. As fast as the croquettes are formed, roll them in the crumbs, then dip them in the beaten egg, then again roll them in crumbs; drop them in the smoking hot fat and fry them a light golden brown.


Clean and cut up your chickens. Stew in just enough water to cover them. When nearly cooked, season them well with salt and pepper. Let them stew down until the water is nearly all boiled out, and the meat drops easily from the bones. Remove the bones and gristle; chop the meat rather coarsely, then turn it back into the stew-kettle, where the broth was left (after skimming off all fat), and let it heat through again. Turn it into a square bread pan, placing a platter on the top, and a heavy weight on the platter. This, if properly prepared, will turn out like a mold of jelly and may be sliced in smooth, even slices. The success of this depends upon not having too much water; it will not jelly if too weak, or if the water is allowed to boil away entirely while cooking. A good way to cook old fowls.


Cut a young chicken down the back; wash and wipe dry; season with salt and pepper; put in a dripping-pan and bake in a moderate oven three-quarters of an hour. This is much better for traveling lunch than when seasoned with butter.

All kinds of poultry and meat can be cooked quicker by adding to the water in which they are boiled a little vinegar or a piece of lemon. By the use of a little acid there will be a considerable saving of fuel, [Pg 92]as well as shortening of time. Its action is beneficial on old tough meats, rendering them quite tender and easy of digestion. Tainted meats and fowls will lose their bad taste and odor if cooked in this way, and if not used too freely no taste of it will be acquired.


Strip the meat from the bones of a cold roast fowl; to every pound of meat allow a quarter of a pound of butter, salt and cayenne pepper to taste; one teaspoonful of pounded mace, half a small nutmeg. Cut the meat into small pieces, pound it well with the butter, sprinkle in the spices gradually and keep pounding until reduced to a perfectly smooth paste. Pack it into small jars and cover with clarified butter, about a quarter of an inch in thickness. Two or three slices of ham minced and pounded with the above will be an improvement. Keep in a dry place. A luncheon or breakfast dish.

Old fowls can be made very tender by putting into them, while boiling, a piece of soda as large as a bean.


Divide a fowl into joints and boil till the meat leaves the bone readily. Take out the bones and chop the meat as small as dice. Thicken the water in which the fowl was boiled with flour and season to taste with butter and salt. Fill a deep dish with alternate layers of bread crumbs and chicken and slices of cooked potatoes, having crumbs on top. Pour the gravy over the top and add a few bits of butter and bake till nicely browned. There should be gravy enough to moisten the dish. Serve with a garnish of parsley. Tiny new potatoes are nice in place of sliced ones when in season.


Prepare young chickens as for fricassee by cutting them into pieces. Dip each piece in beaten egg, then in grated bread crumbs or rolled cracker; season them with pepper and salt and a little minced parsley. Place them in a baking pan and put on the top of each piece a lump of butter, add half of a cupful of hot water; bake slowly, basting often. When sufficiently cooked take up on a warm platter. Into the pan pour a cup of cream or rich milk, a cupful of bread crumbs. Stir it well until cooked, then pour it over the chicken. Serve while hot.


Broil the usual way and when thoroughly done take it up in a square tin or dripping-pan, butter it well, season with pepper and salt and set it in the oven for a few minutes. Lay slices of moistened buttered toast on a platter; take the chicken up over it, add to the gravy in the pan part of a cupful of cream, if you have it; if not, use milk. Thicken with a little flour and pour over the chicken.

This is considered most excellent.

Monday, May 2, 2011



I Would Live in Your Love

I would live in your love as the sea-grasses live in the sea,
Borne up by each wave as it passes, drawn down by each wave that recedes;
I would empty my soul of the dreams that have gathered in me,
I would beat with your heart as it beats, I would follow your soul
as it leads.