What's For Supper

| 9/29/2017 9:40:00 AM

farm signWhen I was a child, we had three meals a day, just like all other families. But here in the Ozarks, we called them breakfast, dinner, and supper. Breakfast was always a large meal consisting of homemade biscuits, white gravy, eggs, bacon or sausage, whole rolled oatmeal or pancakes, honey or molasses with butter, and fresh milk to drink — coffee for my parents. Sometimes we had pork tenderloin strips (with red eyed gravy) or salted fatback instead of the bacon or sausage.

Every morning, mother would put a pot of beans on the gas cookstove (she used the cast iron wood stove in winter. The picture is of the actual stove she used). Mother only cooked with cast iron, stainless steel (the real heavy duty stuff), or glass bakeware. No aluminum pans (or tin pans as we called them). The beans simmered until noon and were flavored with used "grease" she kept in the grease bucket. This began as home rendered lard, and the bacon, sausage, pork, fatback, etc, added to it. She reused this grease for every frying, as well as seasoning the beans. We had fried potatoes every day, and mother said that frying those potatoes "refreshened" the grease without detracting from the flavor. After a few weeks, she poured the grease out and started over.

stove 2

Daddy came home every noon for dinner. It too was a big meal consisting every day of beans, cornbread (baked in a cast iron skillet) and fried potatoes. Added to this were two extra sides, either two vegetables or one vegetable and macaroni and cheese (not from a box), a salad made from our garden, or potato or macaroni salad. And there was always a fresh homemade loaf bread. We always had meat — home raised chicken, pork, beef, or squirrel, quail, or fish from our pond. And of course there was always a dessert. Mom made wonderful pies and cakes. My favorite was Mom's custard pie, and Daddy loved raisin pie.

Cookies were Granny's specialty, though she was also an excellent cake baker. I used to sit on the counter and watch her make the cookies. She would take the flour container from the shelf, make an indention in the flour (she called it a "well") and start by cracking two eggs into it. Then she added sugar, vanilla, butter or lard, honey, molasses or peanut butter, and sometimes cinnamon, some baking soda, a little milk, and began to mix it with her hands. She would rake in a little flour from the sides of the well as she went until she got the dough the consistency she wanted, then lifted the whole thing out onto a large board. The flour was left completely clean without any trace of dough. Then she simply put the lid back on the flour container and either rolled out the cookies to cut, or made balls of them. They were absolutely the best!

Supper was a lighter meal. Leftovers from the noon meal, omelets, or cornbread in buttermilk. We ate this way because of the life we led. Daddy got up at 4:30 every morning to milk, then on the road by 7 a.m. to run the bus route. Working in the bus shop was physical labor, sometime lifting heavy parts and machinery. Then he was back in the barn by 6 that evening. He needed the strength and energy those big meals gave him. So did Mom. Mom was a meticulous house keeper. She not only swept the floors every day, but the front porch as well. She cooked, she baked, she did laundry nearly ever day and hung it on the line. She ironed that laundry and worked in the garden. She sewed by hand — quilts, patched clothes, and even some simple dresses for me. They believed a simple light evening meal would provide a good night's rest so they could start again the next day.

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