Wednesday, January 25, 2012

You Say Polenta; I Say Mush!

I first took notice of Polenta while watching a cooking competition on The Food Network.  I recognized the dish, but not the name.  Back in the hollow, we called it mush.  It is basically cornmeal and water.  We would cook it up and pour it into empty tin cans.  Once it was cold, we'd empty it out and cut it into slices.  Mom would fry it up in a little butter until it was cripsy on the outside.   Most times we would put a spoon of blackberry jam on it for breakfast.  I never dreamed or heard of anything called Polenta.  But, I suppose you can charge more for mush if you call it something fancy or foreign.
Have you noticed how much they charge for rolls of Polenta in the grocery store?  Try saving some money and make your own.  Here's a vintage recipe, but you would still make it the same today.  Try experimenting with adding different spices.  Tell your family it's Polenta when you serve it, but know it as mush in your heart.


Allow one pint of yellow or white corn meal and one teaspoonful of salt to a quart of water. Sprinkle meal gradually into boiling salted water, stirring all the time. Boil rapidly for a few minutes, then let simmer for a long time. Very palatable served with milk; some people like it with butter and pepper. For fried mush let it get cold, then cut in slices, dip in flour and fry in butter until brown

Friday, January 20, 2012

Of Chickens and City Folk

I grew up collecting eggs every day from our chickens.  During the day, they were 'free range'.  In other words, the chickens roamed the yard keeping the bug population under control.  On occasion, we would have one of those chickens for dinner.  In all those years, I never once thought about the noise that chickens make or the smell involved.  There has been a big debate in the city over allowing homeowners the right to keep a few chickens in their yard.  It seems that some neighbors do not want the noise or smell.  Really?  First of all, hens lay eggs, not roosters.  Roosters crow, not hens.  So, having a few hens to lay eggs for your breakfast table won't really add to your subdivisions noise pollution.  What does add to it?  Car radios so loud that your windows vibrate when they pass blaring from the house next door...dogs barking constantly because they are confined to a small back yard...I could go on and on.  Yet, you don't hear so much about that when someone is debating your right to keep chickens.
I think the real problem is that people don't want to know where their food comes from these days.  What we buy in the grocery store is so far removed from being a live animal that it blurs the line between real food and fake food.  We don't go to the store and buy a package of cow or pig.  We buy beef and pork and that's the first step in moving away from the live animal that our food was before the slaughter house.  That package of chicken tenders used to be a live, breathing being, but a lot of people don't want to think about that or whether or not it was treated with respect during its life.  If you don't think about it as a cute, feathered fowl, then it makes it easier to think of it as food.  How in the world did we manage to eat the animals we raised a generation ago and still look ourselves in the mirror?  Easy, we were hungry.  Maybe the problem isn't the noise.  Maybe the problem is that your next door neighbor doesn't want to explain to little Johnny the chicken nuggets on his plate were once like the chicken walking around on two legs in your back yard.  Johnny might never want to eat chicken again.  Or, your neighbor could use the moment to teach little Johnny about the food chain and how it really works.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Mama's Molasses Cake

Remember how wonderful your Grandma's cake tasted? Those cakes probably included farm fresh eggs which made them good and rich. I've made this recipe over the years, but Mama made it best. If the season was right, Mama would add some hickory nuts or black walnuts to this delicious cake. You can find black walnuts in your grocery store. Soak them in water for about an hour before adding them to the recipe. The recipe doesn't say, but I usually add about a half cup. Also, you'll notice it says 'floured' raisins and currants. Before you add them to the batter, you need to lightly coat them in flour. This keeps them from sinking to the bottom of the pan.
1 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1 cup molasses
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup raisins and currants
flour to make a soft batter
1 tablespoon ginger
1 tablespoon cloves
1 tablespoon cinnamon
2 cups sour milk
1 teaspoon baking soda
Cream shortening and sugar. Add molasses and beaten eggs. Sift dry ingredients and add alternately with 1½ cups of sour milk. Mix the soda in the remaining milk and add with remainder of flour. Floured currants and raisins are added last. Bake in a loaf pan in a slow oven (325 degrees)about one hour.

Friday, January 6, 2012


We probably had these so often in the hollow because corn meal was always on hand. But, they sure tasted good on a cold winter morning so I though you would enjoy this recipe.


2 cups corn meal
½ cup flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. soda
2 eggs
2 cups buttermilk
2 tblsp. butter
1½ tsp. salt

Sift flour, corn meal, baking powder, soda and salt. Sift again. Beat eggs well, add the buttermilk and combine with the dry ingredients. Beat until smooth and add melted butter. Bake on hot, greased griddle. Serve with brown sugar or syrup.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

A garage makeover to last for years

Guest post written by Kimberlee Givens

When I go to the trouble of making some home improvements around my home, I like to make sure that they're going to be effective for a long time. There's no use spending time on something when you're not going to reap the benefits of it for a long time. So when I decided that it was time to actually start organizing our garage, I was going to get it done in one day and do it right.

I looked onlien to get some ideas about how exactly I should go about organizing my garage and when I was doing that, I ran across the site I looked through it some and decided they would be good for us to contact about getting our windows replaced. I keep hearing things about how this winter is supposed to be harsh and if that's the case, I don't want to deal with old drafty windows for another year.

I did find some really good tips for our garage makeover and actually put some of these organizational units that I bought months ago up in the hopes that the garage will stay organized because of them.