This is a post from September, 2014 – Because so many of you enjoyed the recent post Tips For Your Household From my Great-Grandmother, I wanted to repost this one for anyone who may have missed it. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.
I was blessed as a child and, as children do, I took it for granted. I not only knew my maternal and paternal grandparents, but I knew my mother’s grandparents (my grandmother’s parents) and one of my paternal great-grandmothers, Grandma Ellzey, she is the one who named me. I have fond memories of them all. Ma Horton’s kitchen smelling like molasses cookies, of Pa Horton playing “itsy bitsy spider” and “how the horse bites the pumpkin” with us, and of Grandma Ellzey always having a German Chocolate Cake ready for me when I arrived for a visit (still my favorite cake).
- I have a rich farming heritage, not because it was trendy like it seems to be today, but because it was just who they were. It is how they provided for their families, how they lived their lives. It is who I am. We are farmers, homesteaders, country folk, whichever term you like to use, and I wouldn’t want it any other way.
I wanted to share some of Ma Horton’s kitchen tips. They were handed down to us by her daughters who put them in a family cookbook. I picked the top ten that I use in my own kitchen, to share with you.
- A teaspoon of apple cider vinegar and sugar added to soup or vegetables that are too salty will remedy the problem.
- To determine if an egg is fresh, immerse it in a pan of cool, salted water. If it sinks, it is fresh; if it rises to the surface, throw it away.
- Use a whisk to stir the water into the flour when making gravy, this will eliminate lumps.
- For a meringue that will never fail or be weepy, add a teaspoon of cornstarch to the sugar before beating it into the egg whites.
- To keep waxed paper or plastic wrap (I don’t use plastic wrap or aluminum foil now, I use parchment or butcher paper) from sticking to the top of your pie, butter it before placing over the pie.
- A cloth dampened with apple cider vinegar and wrapped around your cheese will prevent it from drying out. I prefer to use cheesecloth.
- Your cream will whip better and faster if the bowl and utensils are chilled also. If your whipped cream is soupy, add an egg white and chill thoroughly. Then beat it to fluffiness.
- Place a slice of apple in with your brown sugar to keep it from hardening. If your brown sugar does get hard, place a piece of fresh bread into the container with it for a couple of hours.
- To keep your bacon from curling up, place it in a bowl of cold water for just a couple of minutes before frying, drip dry and place on a hot skillet (she used cast iron of course, so do I). Now I have found that this only works for thick sliced fresh bacon. It doesn’t work with store bought bacon – maybe the processing and preservatives?
- Before measuring honey or any other syrup, oil the cup and then rinse it with hot water. The honey/syrup will pour right out.
These helpful hints were used by my great-grandmother, grandmother, mother, and now me. I am sure you have such treasures from your family. Please share them and your memories with us. Maybe, maybe, maybe… I’ll share my grandmother’s buttermilk biscuit recipe with you one day, maybe. 🙂
You can see more tips from Ma Horton in Tips For Your Household From My Great-Grandmother
Safe and Happy Journey,
Rhonda and the Pack