I have been going through my mother’s old recipes, looking for things to include in the notebooks I’m putting together for my daughters. It certainly brings back memories. We were poor as in we lived in a dreadful tenement in Stafford Springs and there was not alway enough to eat when I was a kid. My mom used to stuff the crackers between the floor and walls with rags soaked in ammonia to keep the roaches out. This is where I am supposed to say that we were happy anyway and the food was always wonderful and that was sometimes true. But the truth is, there was not enough food and it’s no fun to be cold at night because you couldn’t pay the oil bill. There was no fuel assistance and no food stamps in those days but there was government food. I do recall a canned pork that was dreadful and a canned chicken that was pretty good. We ate something we kids called Puffed Air. It was actually Puffed Rice. A huge bag was something like $.17 cents. Graham crackers were a big treat and we only got one a day. One thing that was cheap was eggs. We got them from friends of our parents who had a farm and I am pretty sure they gave them to us for free. Naturally, we ate a lot of eggs and eggs dishes. I remember one night we only had a little bit of flour and some canned milk and a couple of dozen eggs. My mother made a kind of pancake out that was a bit like a popover. We had no syrup but we had picked some wild blackberries and she stewed those with the last of the sugar. It was delicious. Having had only a bowl of puffed air with powdered milk for lunch would have made much worse fare taste pretty good.
Beat six eggs slightly. Add a can of evaporated milk. Add 1/2 cup flour to make a very thin batter. The recipe card says to cook in a hot, cast iron fry pan until puffed and browned. I can’t remember if mom baked it or fried it and the recipe isn’t clear. I think she baked it but you could probably fry it too. Served with a fruit sauce, this makes a filling supper for hungry children.
I think it’s harder to be poor now than it was 50 years ago. There is so much out there now to cause wants that we had no idea about as we had no television and all of our neighbors were poor too. I remember that my mother still managed to hand out crackers and watered down Kool-aid to the children in the project and seeing that bit of charity made me feel rich and generous. I do not recall ever resenting the food my mom gave away nor do I recall being ashamed of talking those free eggs.
On a different note: It took hours but I got my seeds cataloged and organized. I really don’t have to buy much. I still need carrots, sweet green peppers, onion and sweet potato sets and Sungold tomatoes. I purchased some craft sticks and I already have indelible markers. I’m going to make plant markers today and coat them with a light layer of wax to keep them from rotting too quickly. I also have to redesign the herb gardens now that I see what I have. A number are perennial which pleases me. I also have watercress, winterberry and bayberry that I want to naturalize down by the stream area.
One of my goals is learning to save seeds from plants I have never bother to save from before. It’s one thing to save dried beans but I want to save from annual herbs too. I got some small manilla coin holders that are just the right size for this.