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I am a simple country girl who loves life and lives it to the fullest. I cook for one of the greatest families ever. Cooking is my passion and I consider it as well to be my gift.

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Friday, November 19, 2010


A simple pleasure in life, canning in todays modern world of convenience has become more of a hobby than a necessity, as it was in days gone by.
I use to love to go into my grandparents damp and musty cellar under the house when I was growing up and stand and marvel at the number and varieties of jars filled with every imaginable shape and color of the earths bounty.
My grandfather had a garden on each side of the house and they were his pride and joy. You name it, he grew it. He loved to share with others what he had helped the land to produce. He was a tall, handsome, gentle, yet firm man, who always worked in the garden wearing a long sleeve khaki shirt and pants, complete with a tie and wide-brimmed hat. It didn't matter how hot the weather was, his attire never wavered. The grandchildrens job was to keep the rows weeded. I hated it with a passion. That may possibly be the reason he always sent me back to do mine over.
His wife, my Mama Joe, canned each and everyday it seemed the entire summer long. Whatever was "coming off" got "worked up" and then put in a mason jar. My sister Nan and brother Bill and myself got to help "tote" the jars to the cellar and line them up in orderly rows. These are precious memories to an old country girl who has not forgotten where she came from.
"His house was perfect, whether you like food, or sleep, or work, or storytelling, or singing, or just sitting and thinking best, or a pleasant mixture of them all."~J.R.R.


This was my Mama Joe's recipe and she had written on it: Arlene's Receipt-verry verry good-made my first in 1978." (Arlene being Mama Joe's brother Thomas Wright's wife.) It is simple to make and wonderful on a hot buttered biscuit-or use it to make an old-timey stack cake.

13 cups applesauce
12 cups sugar
2 boxes strawberry jello
1/4 cup vinegar

Have applesauce bubbling hot. Stir in sugar. When well dissolved, pour in vinegar, bring all to a bubbly boil. Stir frequently. Have jars ready and can. (15 to 20 minutes in a boiling bath).


This also came from Mama Joe's handwritten recipe books which I inherited. It was dated 1975 and she had written on it 'verry good" as well. Serve with soup beans and cornbread.

8 red sweet peppers
8 green sweet peppers
3 lbs. cabbage
2 hot peppers
1 gallon green tomatoes
1 pint onions

Chop all ingredients and sprinkle with 1/4 cup salt. Let stand overnight. Next day: drain off salt water, add enough boiling water to cover. Boil 5 minutes, let cool.
Squeeze out with hands. Add 1/2 gallon vinegar and 8 pounds sugar. Let come to boil. Add while boiling 1 cup cornstarch, 1 tablespoon dry mustard, 2 1/2 tablespoons tumeric, 1 tablespoon white mustard seed, 1/2 teaspoon celery seed and 1 gallon cucumbers, cut fine. Pack in jars and seal.


My Mama Joe was known far and wide for her dill pickles. My grandfather, Paul Madison Vance, whom we affectionately called "Buddy", delivered them to friends all over Newland and they were considered a rare treat to recieve. This recipe is written in her own words. she had evidently written it out for my mother Dot, or her sister Nan.

"Alma's receipt-good! good! Put cucumbers in jars. Place a half head of dill in bottom of jar first then add the rest of dill down side & on top of jar after packed.
Dissolve 1 1/2 cups salt in 13 cups boiling water and 1 cup vinegar. Bring this to a boil and pour over cucumbers and seal. If dill heads are not large use two small heads. Use new lids and tighten just like other canning-use my quart jars-and most all my jars have new rings but get new lids-and you can get dill at Howard Turbyfill's mothers at Elk Park. June Lecka got mine for me some 2 years ago. Split cucumbers almost into if they are from 4-inches and over."


"Poor Old Harvey" was my Mama Joe's brother. He was a true character.

1 gallon vinegar
1 cup yellow prepared mustard
1 cup salt
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon saccharin

Mix all together and pour over cucumbers-do not heat-can add hot peppers if desired.


"Myrtle Hodges Receipt-1968"
1 quart water
1 cup vinegar
1/4 cup pickling salt

Mix together and pour over cucumbers. Process 20 minutes in hot water bath-can add a hot pepper.


Dated "1949-Miss Molly Braswell's Receipt"
Cook corn on cob; when done, cool. Then place in stone jar. Pour cold water over corn; add enough salt to taste. Put weight on it and place in a very warm place. It will pickle in about two weeks. If a scum comes on it, take it off. Leave corn in the same water and use right out of the jar. Heat and serve.

"Summer cooking implies a sense of immediacy, a capacity to capture the essence of the fleeting moment."~Elizabeth David

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