Heart of the Home


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Making money was tough for young girls

There were not many opportunities for a young girl to make money on a farm in the late 1940s and early '50s. We were too far from town to be able to get a job as a waitress in a café. Farm wives did their own cleaning, so cleaning houses for other people was not an option. Dad wouldn't let me work for any neighboring farmers doing field work, because he said they should have their own children doing it. I knew they asked me to do it because I was good at it, since I disked, mowed hay and planted corn at our farm.

The only job available for outside money was baby-sitting, and that wasn't usually feasible. There were only a few neighbors who had small children without an older one to take care of them. One family had five small boys - all under 5. Another had three. All they ever paid was 25 cents an evening. If they were out past midnight, they might give me another quarter. Dad made me stop baby-sitting when one couple didn't come home until 3:30 a.m. on a school night - and only paid me 25 cents for an 8-hour job.

My folks didn't pay me for the jobs I did either. Children were supposed to help and do what they could at home for the good of the family, but I never felt overworked or abused. I may not have been paid in money, but I had all the love I needed - as well as other benefits.

If I needed a new dress, I would choose the fabric, and Mother would get it for me. I would then cut out the pattern and sew the dress in a couple of days. If I needed a new pair of shoes, my folks made sure I got them.

If I wanted to go to a movie, go roller-skating or attend a dance with my friends, I was given the price of admission, plus a little extra for a hamburger and a soda.

My parents didn't have a lot of money, and I didn't always get to go with my friends, but I had a good life. I was never told that if I didn't work hard I wouldn't be given money for extras, but that knowledge was part of what I absorbed without it being put into words.

I knew jobs needed to be done in a timely manner and done well. The work ethic I learned at home put me to good stead later in life.

Monticello, Iowa

Kids earned money running a carnival

Sitting under the apricot tree and in need of money to buy candy at Doud's dime store, my friends and I were trying to figure out how to make money for those sweets. Doud's had Tootsie Rolls and Coke in small wax bottles, which were my favorites.

The ideas started coming fast after we decided to hold a penny carnival. We made a photo booth, which consisted of a highchair with a blanket draped over it. The photographer would get under the blanket and pretend to snap a picture. A photo that had been cut out of a catalog was handed to the customers.

The carnival also featured bobbing for apples, races from one tree to another, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, Kool-Aid by the glass - as well as packages to buy. Once a package of Kool-Aid was purchased, the owner could lick his or her fingers and stick them in the packet to enjoy that sweet taste. We also had a balance beam our customers could walk, in an effort to win a prize.

The girls up the street gave an acrobat performance with cartwheels and somersaults. They could even walk on top of the big old iron barrels as they rolled across the yard.

Most of the neighborhood kids were involved with our penny carnival, so we had to hop on our bikes and pedal around town to let the rest of the kids in town know when we were going to open for business.

We always made enough money at our carnival to head into town for those treats, and boy were they good.

Mt. Pulaski, Ill.

Gophers meant spending money

When I was a child my parents were just emerging from the Great Depression, and they were struggling to pay for their farm. Times were hard, so my brother and I trapped pocket gophers in the spring for spending money.

The county paid 25 cents for a pair of gopher's feet. I saved my money so I'd have some when we went to the county fair in the fall. I was very careful with what I spent my money on, and I made sure I didn't spend too much of my hard-earned money at the fair.

One summer I ordered two new dresses from the Montgomery Ward catalog for school, which was very nice because most of my clothes were hand-me-downs or made-over things.

We had to spend wisely, but we were happy.

Lime Springs, Iowa

What's in a name?

Lots of people have nicknames. Some people have more than one. Did you have a nickname when you were a kid? What was it? Who came up with it? Was it a name that only one person called you, or did everyone know you by that name? Did that name stick with you into adulthood?

Maybe you didn't get a nickname until you were an adult. Who gave you your nickname, and why? Or, maybe you were the one who gave someone a special nickname? What made you come up with that nickname? What did the person think of his or her nickname? Tell us your stories about your own nicknames or of the nicknames you've given to others. Send your letters to CAPPER'S, Kate Marchbanks, 1503 S.W. 42nd St., Topeka, KS 66609-1265.

Chickening out in Alabama:
50 contestants compete for $100,000

Story and photos by Jean Teller

WINNERS: The top five winners at the 47th National Chicken Cooking Contest were, from left, Sally Sibthorpe, Susan Scarborough, Michelle Anderson, Susan Cortesi and Jennifer White.

Ethnic and regional influences were evident in Birmingham, Ala., at the 47th National Chicken Cooking Contest. Fifty-one contestants from the 50 states and Washington, D.C., vied for a top prize of $100,000.

Thousands of original chicken recipes were sent to the sponsors - the National Chicken Council and the U.S. Poultry & Egg Association - and the top 51 recipes were selected. For more details and recipes, visit www.ChickenCookingContest.com and www.EatChicken.com.

Zesty Ginger Beer BBQ Pulled Chicken Sandwiches

Jennifer White, of Columbus, Ohio, took home fifth-place honors - and a check for $1,000 - with this delicious recipe.

Sweet Potato Bacon Biscuits:
1 tablespoon olive oil                  
1/4 cup chopped yellow onion                      
1/4 teaspoon sugar      
2 cups flour                
2 tablespoons brown sugar        
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup crisp, chopped bacon
3/4 cup cold sweet potato purée
1/3 cup buttermilk

2 cups ginger beer           
1 cup ketchup
1/2 cup hoisin sauce                             
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice     
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon Chinese 5 Spice
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 rotisserie cooked chicken, skin removed, meat shredded

To prepare Sweet Potato Bacon Biscuits:

Heat oven to 425°F.

Place oil, onion and sugar in a small skillet over medium heat. Reduce heat; cook for 10 minutes, or until onions are caramelized. Cool.

Place flour, brown sugar, salt, baking powder and baking soda in a food processor; pulse to combine. Add butter and pulse until mixture is mealy.

Place mealy mixture in a large bowl; fold in bacon and completely cooled onions. In a glass measuring cup, mix together sweet potato purée and buttermilk; stir into flour mixture. Form a soft dough; place on a floured surface and pat to 1-inch thickness. With a 2-inch cookie cutter, cut out biscuits. Place in a buttered skillet; bake for 25 minutes.

To prepare chicken: Place all ingredients except chicken in a saucepan. Simmer for 15 minutes on low heat. Add chicken; remove from heat.

To serve, split biscuits in half. Place 1/2 cup chicken mixture on bottom halves of biscuits; cover with top halves. Yields 6 servings.

Editor's Note: Ginger beer is a carbonated drink like ginger ale, but with a stronger flavor obtained from fermented ginger

Chicken Paillards with Asian Salad

Susan Cortesi, of Northbrook, Ill., won fourth place, earning her $2,000.

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (6 oz. each)
1/4 cup white miso paste
1/4 cup mirin
2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons thinly sliced green onion
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 teaspoons sesame oil
2 teaspoons brown sugar
8 wonton wrappers
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
4 cups baby lettuce mix
1/2 cup grated carrot
1/2 cup diced red cabbage
1/2 cup peeled, thinly sliced English cucumber
1/3 cup diced red onion
1/4 cup thinly sliced radishes
2 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted
Lime slices
Cilantro sprigs

3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar                        
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
1/2 teaspoon Thai chili garlic paste
1/4 teaspoon seasoned salt

Place chicken between 2 sheets of plastic wrap; pound to 1/4-inch thickness. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together miso paste, mirin, rice vinegar, soy sauce, green onion, garlic, sesame oil and brown sugar. Pour mixture over chicken; cover and marinate in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Brush wonton wrappers on both sides with vegetable oil; cut in thin strips and place on parchment paper. Sprinkle with kosher salt; bake at 350°F. for 8 minutes, until crisp and brown. Cool on paper towels.

Place a ridged grill pan over medium-high heat; spray with cooking spray. Remove chicken from marinade and place on the pan, 2 at a time; discard marinade. Cook chicken for about 5 minutes on one side; turn and cook for 4 more minutes. Cover with foil to keep warm.

To prepare dressing: In a medium bowl, whisk together vegetable oil, sesame oil, rice vinegar, lime juice and soy sauce. Add sugar, cilantro, chili garlic paste and seasoned salt. Whisk to mix well.

To serve, toss together lettuce, carrot, cabbage, cucumber, red onion and radishes in a large bowl. Sprinkle with half of the wonton strips. Add dressing and mix well.
Place chicken on a serving platter and mound salad on top. Sprinkle with remaining wonton strips and sesame seeds. Garnish with lime slices and cilantro sprigs. Yields 4 servings.

Pecan Chicken Sticks with Collard Couscous

Susan Scarborough, of Fernandina Beach, Fla., won third place - worth $5,000 - with this tasty dish.

8 medium chicken drumsticks
5 tablespoons maple syrup, divided
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
3/4 cup finely ground pecans
1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon spicy Cajun-style chicken seasoning
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 cups frozen chopped collard greens, mostly thawed
1/2 cup chopped yellow onion
1 3/4 cup chicken broth
1 1/3 cups couscous
2/3 cup cooked, crumbled bacon bits
2 tablespoons grainy mustard
1/4 cup toasted pecan pieces

Cut meat off bone on bottom 1/2 inch of drumsticks to form a small 'handle.' Brush chicken with 2 tablespoons maple syrup; sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Place ground pecans, flour and chicken seasoning in a large plastic bag. Add drumsticks; shake to coat.

Place oil in a large heavy, ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add drumsticks and cook, turning to brown on all sides. Cover and place skillet in a 375°F. oven. Cook for 10 minutes; uncover, turn chicken and cook for another 10 minutes, or until chicken is done. Remove to a plate; keep warm.

Add collards and onion to skillet; stir-fry for about 3 minutes over medium-high heat. In another pan, bring chicken broth to a boil. Stir in couscous; remove from heat. Cover and let stand for 7 minutes, then fluff with a fork. Stir couscous and bacon into collard mixture; cook for 3 minutes to heat through.

In a small microwave-safe bowl, mix together remaining maple syrup and mustard. Microwave on medium for 1 minute.

To serve, place equal portions of couscous on each of 4 plates. Arrange 2 chicken drumsticks in the center of each and drizzle with maple-mustard mixture. Garnish with pecan pieces. Yields 4 servings.

Warm Chicken Black Bean Salad with Mango Mojo Dressing

Second-place winner Sally Sibthorpe, of Shelby Township, Mich., took home $10,000 for this mouthwatering dish.

Mango Mojo Dressing:
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1 small hot red chile, stemmed and seeded
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 mango, peeled and cubed
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1 cup jasmine rice
2 cups chicken stock
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
2 cups chunked rotisserie chicken
1/2 cup sliced scallions
1/2 cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup diced avocado
1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
2 rings red bell pepper
Sprig of cilantro

To make Mango Mojo Dressing: In a skillet over medium-high heat, toast cumin seeds until fragrant, 2 minutes. In a food processor, grind cumin seeds, garlic, red chile and salt to a coarse paste. Add remaining ingredients. Put mixture in skillet and heat until warm.

To prepare salad: Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add and sauté almonds until golden. Add rice; cook for 1 minute. Stir in chicken stock; cover and simmer for 20 minutes, until rice is tender. Add cilantro, chicken, scallions, beans, avocado and diced pepper.

Drizzle chicken mixture with half of the Mango Mojo Dressing; toss gently. Spoon mixture onto a serving dish; garnish with pepper rings and cilantro. Pass remaining dressing at table. Yields 4 servings.

Thai-Inspired Stuffed Chicken Breast and Slaw

WINNING DISH: Michelle Anderson's Thai-Inspired Stuffed Chicken Breast and Slaw was the winning dish at the 47th National Chicken Cooking Contest.

This dish won Michelle Anderson, of Eagle, Idaho, the top prize of $100,000.

Thai-style Slaw:
3/4 cup chunky peanut butter
1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar
Juice of 1 lime
1 finely minced Thai chile
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 cup chopped basil
1 Napa cabbage, finely sliced
1 English cucumber, coarsely grated
1 carrot, grated
1/2 red onion, finely diced

1 cup cooked jasmine rice
1/2 cup shredded coconut
2 green onions, finely sliced
1/2 cup finely chopped Thai basil
1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons Thai chili sauce
2 limes, juice and zest, divided
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
1 can (14 ounces) coconut milk
1 cup chopped roasted peanuts
3/4 cup panko
1/4 cup white sesame seeds, toasted
1/4 cup black sesame seeds, toasted
1/2 English cucumber, thinly sliced
Lime wedges

To make Thai-style Slaw: Mix peanut butter, rice vinegar, juice and chile. Add remaining ingredients; refrigerate.

To make chicken: Combine rice, coconut, onion, basil, cilantro, chili sauce, 1 tablespoon lime juice and all of zest of 1 lime. Place chicken between 2 sheets of plastic wrap; pound to even thickness. Divide rice mixture between chicken; wrap chicken around filling; secure with wooden pick. Heat oven to 350°F.

In a pie plate, mix flour, zest of 1 lime, salt and pepper. In another pie plate, mix coconut milk with 2 tablespoons lime juice. In a third pie plate, mix peanuts, panko and sesame seeds.

Roll chicken in flour mixture, then coconut milk mixture, then peanut mixture, coating well. Place, seam side down, in a pan; bake for 30 minutes, or until juices run clear. Remove picks.

Place slaw on a serving platter; add chicken. Garnish with cucumber, lime and cilantro. Yields 4 servings.

Together With God

Who didn't have a lemonade stand? We didn't. We lived five miles outside of town, in a small rural community of about 12 families. We didn't mow lawns for money, because every family had their own kid to mow the yard.

Instead, my brother came up with the idea of starting a small business selling wreaths, which made us enough money to last through summer. It all started one Christmas when I didn't have money for presents. My friend Patsy showed me how to make a running pine wreath using a wire clothes hanger.

My brother was impressed, saying that it had quality, and he could sell quality. I made the wreaths, and he sold them. He sold two large ones, special ordered, for the doors on the Town Hall. Mom made the big, red bows to dress up the simple greenery.

We ran our little enterprise for four years, and those years were the best of times. I enjoyed working with my brother, and I was more than impressed with his ability to aggressively make a business deal. It was an ability my shyness denied me.

There's a lot to be said for small business enterprises, including those ever-famous lemonade stands, in what kids take away from it. Almost always, it's more than just money. The lessons and memories far outweigh any other gain, and who can resist the smile on the little face of the lemonade stand owner when you hand him or her your money?

Father, thank You for summer dreams of greatness, of a country filled with lemonade stands and backyard enterprises. Keep the lessons of our lives filled with warm memories, and bless us with the smiles of children forever. Amen.

- D. Susan Rutz

A Letter from Kate

Dear Readers,

As a child, I never received an allowance from my parents. They provided me with the things I needed, and I was expected to earn the money for the things I merely wanted. For years, my sisters and I complained that this system was unfair. However, we now look back on our money-making adventures with a smile - and memories that will last a lifetime.

From lemonade stands to miniature rummage sales, earning money as a child was always a creative and exciting event that taught money management and responsibility.

When I was a kid, I couldn't wait to grow up and have a 'real job.' Now that I've been in the game awhile, I find myself daydreaming about the simple days of my childhood - a time when pocket change was more than enough and a 'Bill' was my father's boss.

As adults, our lives are often wrapped so tightly around our bills, 401(k) and pension plans, that we don't take enough time to enjoy the money we have worked so hard for. This summer, take a step back from your financial commitments and enjoy the money you've worked so hard to earn. Take a vacation, go shopping or spend a weekend on the lake. Give yourself enough time to completely enjoy the money-making process that made you smile so big as a child and reminisce so fondly as an adult.

Kate Marchbanks