Remembering when there was just strawberry shortcake for dinner

This scribe and his wife were sitting, having breakfast, and started discussing what they had for breakfast when they were kids. This prompted the scribe to email the OFs to find out what they had for breakfast when they were kids and young adults. The replies came and included what they had for breakfast, and some just stated what they had then that they liked but not confined to breakfast.

Most of the OFs are in their eighties, or close to it, but they should be dead based on what they ate back in the thirties and early forties. That is more than eighty years ago.

To start, many mothers saved grease in a can on the back of the stove for cooking; the primary grease was bacon fat. One OF mentioned he can still smell buttermilk pancakes cooked on a grill covered with bacon grease. Then smother the pancakes with real butter and maple syrup, with two or three eggs on the side and bacon to boot.

Many of the OFs drank whole raw milk. One OF mentioned ground-up left-over popcorn for breakfast.

Another OF said they poured chocolate syrup on their cereal, with sugar on top of that. Still another said that quite often their main meal was breakfast and they had potatoes and bacon or ham, or fried Spam, or even fried bologna, eggs, whole milk, and real butter on toast.

The OF added, “Of course we had to load up before going out in the fields for the day, but many OFs loaded up the same way before going to school.”

Hamburger gravy on toast was another meal an OF said they were served, and this was good.

It was surprising how some of the OFs had the same thing for a snack. This snack was bread with butter and sugar on it, and the scribe remembers having black molasses on bread as a snack.

This scribe also remembers eating “from the land” as his mother used dandelion greens in salads. There were wild strawberries from the fields; raspberries grew rampant in the manure pile; currants behind the hop house, and blackcaps down by the little creek.

When strawberries were in season, there was just strawberry shortcake for supper. That was it! Strawberry shortcake with real whipped cream. The scribe thought he was alone in this, but he found out other OFs ate the same thing.

Then there are the Schoharie County Jumbles. There are two legends of how this cookie came about. One story is that it is an old recipe that dates back to the 1700s; the other is that the recipe was developed during the Great Depression because it used so few ingredients and is so darn good.

It is hard to find the jumbles outside of Schoharie County. Outside the county, no one seems to know what the OFs are talking about when talking cookies and the OFs mention jumbles.

Because three OFs mentioned these cookies, this scribe checked into the matter. This scribe’s mother did the same thing — made jumbles. Jumbles with milk! How good is that?

The scribe decided to check it out and in a recipe book, from Esperance (reprinted recipes for the village’s bicentennial in 2018) titled “Recipes and Remembrances.” A section called “Jumbles” was, in fact, just facts about Jumbles. Briefly, the cookie was brought over by the Europeans over 200 years ago, and since then there have many variations of the same cookie. So there.

All this talk about food brings to mind that the scribe’s wife grumbled about having to cook another meal without a restaurant break. The scribe told her that he would make dinner that evening.

The box of mac and cheese with frozen chicken nuggets was made for her and she was happy since she didn’t have to think about doing any cooking that night. She did complain the nuggets were a little hard, but I don't know why the scribe said. The bag said, “fully cooked, keep frozen.”


Flying Eagle

Well it is nice weather, which brings an OF major event — the launching of the Flying Eagle. This eagle has landed in the water. The ship has been taken out of dry dock and is now berthed at its summer dock on Thompson Lake Road.

The crew did not fare so well; they seem to be much thinner. Even the crow (he was the mascot) who is now the captain of the ship, had slim pickings.

Over the winter, the crew gathered and laid out its plans for pilfering and plundering for the summer campaign of 2020. Due to circumstances beyond the control of this raucous crew, and their new fearless leader, the pickings have become even more drastically slim.

Nobody seems to be out and about, and the crew can’t tell who is rich or poor because they all look alike. Everybody is wearing masks, and it would take all day to make a good plunder of a group because “plunderable groups” are standing so far apart to plunder them ain’t worth the time.

The captain bellowed, “The heck with this. Let’s go and pick on Jack Sparrow and call it a day.” This crow has been on too many campaigns with the OFs.