Using ground meat in some way usually comes to mind when one thinks of creating a cheap make-do kind of meal. There's untold ways to use it- from patting it out into hamburgers to slathering it with spaghetti sauce.
A few years back Blind Pig reader Ethel shared her make-do recipe for using ground beef with me.
Grandma's Cooking by Ethel Mertz
I was taught to make this dish when I was a bride thirty years ago. My husband lost his job and we moved in with his grandparents shortly after our wedding.
Brown the ground beef and onions, drain fat. Add beans and sugar, stir to combine. Heat through. Serve on buns.
A lady I used to work for made the dish Ethel described, with the only difference being she used a can of pork-n-beans instead of baked beans. Sometimes when I pulled out my packed lunch to eat she would insist I eat some of her hamburger hash-that's what she called the dish.
If you're familiar with the recipe or a variation of it, please tell us what it's called around your place.
p.s. On Thursday March 2, 2017 6:30 p.m. Don Casada will be presenting a history of the Bryson City Cemetery and stories of some of those who are buried there. Many of these people as well as the cemetery itself have played a significant role in the history and development of WNC. Info about the preservation and maintenance of the cemetery by Friends of the Bryson City Cemetery will also be included—Swain County Business Education Center 45 East Ridge Drive, Bryson City 28713 Conversation and Refreshments Following. All are welcome—No admission charge
I didn't used to be a fan of cooking cubed steak. I always fried it like Granny did and like Granny's, sometimes it turned out good and sometimes it was so tough you could barely chew it.
A few years back my friend Pam shared her secret for cooking cubed steak with me and I've been cooking it that way ever since.
There isn't a firm recipe, but I've found it to be a practically fool proof process.
First flour and season your cubed steak as you normally would to fry it.
Pour olive oil or whatever oil you like to cook with in a frying pan and heat.
Place floured seasoned cubed steaks in hot pan and brown on each side, but don't worry about cooking it through.
Once both sides are browned place cubed steaks in a crock pot.
Add a tablespoon or two of flour to the frying pan like you were going to make gravy from the drippings. Cook and stir flour for a few minutes and then pour in chicken stock. Continue to cook and stir while gently scraping the cooked pieces off the bottom of the pan. After a few minutes of cooking, pour chicken stock over the cubed steak in the crock pot and cook on low for a several hours or until done.
I aim for having enough chicken stock to almost cover the cubed steak in the crockpot. The last time I used about 4 cups of stock for about 3 lbs of cubed steak.
The meat turns out super tender and the broth makes a gravy that is perfect for putting over mashed potatoes or rice.
The first time Pap ate Pam's Cubed Steak at my house he loved it. He said it reminded him of the cubed steak and rice he used to eat at the truck stops when he trucked up the eastern seaboard. And The Deer Hunter loves it too, actually we all do!
p.s. Typepad found an issue with my music player and I had to remove it...probably for good. But I made direct links to playlists full of our music on youtube. Look over in the right side-bar and you'll see a photo to click on and listen to Pap and Paul and one to listen to The Pressley Girls.
saucer noun, verb
B verb To pour (esp coffee) into a saucer to let it cool before drinking.
1981 Whitener Folk-ways 82 Mine's already been sassered and blowed. 1994-95 Montgomery Coll. (Ogle); He always sassers his coffee so it can be more comfortably drunk (Cardwell).
I remember my Great Aunt Pearl sitting at Granny Gazzie's kitchen table 'saucer and blowing' her tea. And I've seen Granny saucer and blow her coffee over the years when it was too hot for her. I never seen Pap use a saucer to cool his coffee, although he would often steal a piece of ice from someone's drink to cool it.
B.Ruth had this to say about the technique for cooling coffee:
Dad would sometimes dip his biscuit in his hot saucered coffee, maybe that helped cool it off somewhat. Mom just hated when he would saucer and blow his coffee and then slurp it from the saucer! Not that she was so refined, she said the only one left in her family that boiled coffee, saucer, blow and slurp was her aged grandmother before she passed! We finally got some of those green Fire King cups, so Momma's china cups and saucers went to the back of the cabinet! Oh the memories!
PinnacleCreek remembered this:
In those days coffee cups always came with a saucer, and I have seen them drink from the saucer. This was probably due to the coffee was actually boiling hot in those days. Even as a youngster nothing smelled quite as good as the aroma of coffee percolating on the stove.
Shirla said this:
Dad always saucered and blowed his strong black coffee. It was brewed on top of a coal stove and got extremely hot.
ncmountainwoman remembered this:
My grandpa took his coffee in a big white cup. His saucer was actually a small bowl. He poured the coffee from the cup into it and then sipped it piping hot.
Charles Fletcher said this:
Always did this while growing up and especially for the the time in the Army from 1942 --1946 using the Aluminum cups. I did a lot of HUFFING & PUFFING.
Suzi Phillips said this:
I still love JFG and I remember being SHOCKED to discover saucering and blowing were "ill mannered"!
Lois Tootle reminded me of this:
There was an episode of Gomer Pyle USMC in which Gomer asked a high ranking officer if he would like him to saucer and blow his coffee. The officer replied he hadn't heard that since he was a young man back home.
Garland Davis had a so much to say about saucering and blowing your coffee that he wrote a guest post for me a few years back.
Saucered and Blowed written by Garland Davis
I can remember my Granny Salmons, Mama, and various Aunts and Uncles pouring a cup of boiling hot coffee from the pot that sat on Granny’s wood cook stove. They would then pour a little into the saucer, blow on it and then sip it from the saucer. I also remember us kids being given highly sugared white coffee and pouring it into the saucer and blowing it.
I was in third grade where the teacher taught a weekly session on manners. I distinctly remember her saying that no ‘lady or gentleman’ poured their coffee or tea into the saucer. I was actually embarrassed for my family because of this method of drinking coffee. I stopped drinking from the saucer. After we moved from the wood cook stove to the electric range I don't recall anyone drinking coffee from the saucer.
It was many years later, while reading a novel by the late Robert Heinlein that I came across the term “Saucered and Blowed”. He explained that it was a custom inherited from the Danish, the Scots, the Germans, et. al. He said it grew from the early use of a shallow bowl or ‘saucer’ to drink tea’.
Our pioneer ancestors cooked with wood or coal as fuel. They boiled the coffee and served it boiling hot. One source that I read said, “My Granny served coffee so hot the only reason that it didn't catch fire was because it was wet.” Pouring the coffee into the saucer created a larger surface area and permitted the coffee to cool to drinking temperature quickly.
In many trades the term “Saucered and Blowed” has come to mean the completion of a job or the thorough study of a problem, as in, “That new manufacturing process is ‘saucered and blowed.’”
That about does it. This article is "Saucered and Blowed."
I hope you enjoyed all the comments and Garland's old post. If you have something to say about saucering and blowing coffee or tea I'd love to hear it-so please leave a comment.
Since several of you mentioned crumbling bread in coffee on last week's Chocolate Gravy post, I thought I'd re-share this post about soakey that I published back in 2011.
Several months ago, Vera Guthrie sent me a cook book she had published-called Vintage Vera a Collection of Old Timey Recipes. The book has recipes from Vera and her family members. As I paged through the cook book I found recipes I was familiar with and a few I had never heard of, one being Soakey.
The recipe is easy-1 cup hot black coffee; saltine crackers; and sugar to taste. Pour Coffee into large mug, crumble crackers into coffee, sprinkle with sugar to sweeten.
Vera said Soakey was a favorite snack for her and the other children when she was young. Once my curiosity was roused I asked for more details about the recipe. Phyllis, Vera's sister, checked with other family members for me.
Phyllis and Vera's cousin Ellen offered this:
Mama was just talking about this the other day. We never knew it had a name but she used it on us when we had a upset stomach and she still uses it till this day for the same purpose. She crumbles up crakers in a saucer, pours coffee, a little milk and sugar. Makes me want some right now. ha-ha".
Garland, their brother had this to say:
I ate something similar, but instead of crackers, a cold biscuit was used. A biscuit was halved and placed into a saucer and soaked with coffee, sugar was sprinkled over it. Truthfully, I don’t ever remember eating crackers and coffee. Not saying I didn’t eat it, just don’t remember.
Another cousin, Clara, remembered this:
The cracker and coffee thing at home was we just put the cracker in the coffee and ate it….not crumbled in the cup. That was a favorite of mine.
After reading the information Phyllis provided, I wondered if soakey was a family thing or a recipe that was widespread. My post on coffee put that thought to rest. Two Blind Pig readers left a comment about soakey.
Robert Loftis said:
I remember pouring coffee in a saucer,cooling it with my breath, then drinking it. Also I remember while I stayed with my grandparents on Buck creek in McDowell County. We would pour sugar on a biscuit then pour cold coffee on it and eat it. We called it a "soaky".
There used to be ( and probably still is ) a brand of coffee called Luzianne. It had chickory in it. There was a white label and a red label. My great Grand Ma always drank that brand. I don't know maybe I was a sissy but, I thought it was so bitter when it was black that it would make a hog shake its foot if it got in their trough! We used to - when the grown-ups weren't around - would take a cup and fill it with sugar and cream and get a biscuit and make SOAKIE BREAD. Hey look, when you are a little poor boy ain't nothing wrong with that. We thought it was good ( after we had changed its original chemistry ).
I asked Granny if she knew about soakey she didn't, but she did remember spending the night with a girl who put crumbled cornbread in her coffee.
Phyllis did a bit more research about soakey for me and found: eating crackers or biscuits with coffee along with brown or white sugar and sometimes butter was a depression era breakfast dish called coffee soup.
Ever had soakey?
p.s. A special THANK YOU to Vera and Phyllis for helping me!
Each of us have memories that are connected to food. Typically those remembrances are directly related to our childhood, you know the things we ate around the family table like the chocolate gravy I told you about earlier this week.
A few years ago I shared my thoughts about memories which are connected to food you put up yourself. Here's a portion of that old post:
"Recently I watched the rain come down in sheets while I ate apples I dried back in the fall. As I munched my tasty apples, I realized there's another reason why things we put up are good.
On a yucky dreary day my dried apples gave me sunshine; a slice of crystal clear Georgia sky; and the sounds of 4-wheelers and giggling girls. In other words my apples gave me a swirl of good memories from the day I dried them.
I've long realized we have memories and emotions tied to certain foods-like how we can taste a certain food and instantly be taken back to childhood. But I've never before thought of food in connection to the actual day it was made.
I'm positive the next jar of tomatoes I open I'll smell the hot summer sun shining on the green leaves and the next time I cook a jar of greenbeans for supper I'll think of the early summer days when we planted them together in Pap's big garden with friendly banter back and forth among us all."
I've kept pondering on the idea of food I put up being tied to the memory of the day I put it up.
I couldn't seem to care about none of my growing things after Pap died. But last fall as The Deer Hunter and I harvested the largest crop of apples we've ever grown I felt hopeful. Hopeful that all those apples would make some delicious applesauce for us, hopeful that I would dry apples from them for snacks and for a Christmas apple stack cake, hopeful because I knew Pap would be so proud of those apples.
So in some weird, maybe even silly way my canned applesauce became wrapped up in my grieving process for Pap. Now each jar I open reminds me of the hope and sunshine that came after the greatest rain of my life.
p.s. Mark Davidson will be speaking in Bryson City, NC this Thursday night at 6:30 for the monthly meeting of the Swain County Genealogy and Historical Society. The meeting will be held at the Swain County Business Education and Training Center. If you live close enough, go out and hear him-I know you'll be glad you did!
A few weeks ago Granny called me one Saturday morning to tell me she had sausage, eggs, biscuits, and chocolate gravy ready if I wanted to come down and eat. It tickled her to death when I told her she was calling me too late - I had already made and eaten my own ham, eggs, biscuits, and chocolate gravy.
I grew up eating chocolate gravy on Granny's biscuits. We didn't have chocolate gravy every time we had biscuits, Pap and the boys preference was for gravy made by using the sausage or bacon drippings. Looking back I guess Granny and I are the only ones who ate the chocolate gravy she made.
Way back in the day when The Deer Hunter first heard about chocolate gravy he told me it was an abomination. Pretty strong words right? Well over the years he says I've weakened his constitution because now he eats as much chocolate gravy as I do.
Granny Gazzie and Granny
Granny learned to make chocolate gravy from her mother Gazzie. The Jenkins were a family of 11 children, 9 of which lived to adulthood and beyond.
When there wasn't much milk nor any meat for frying for gravy, Granny Gazzie fed her family chocolate gravy and biscuits for breakfast.
Since there wasn't many sweets back then, Granny said it seemed like a treat to get chocolate gravy. I'd say Granny Gazzie was a pretty smart lady. She made them think they were getting something special when actually it was a way of making do when there wasn't much else to eat.
Mix the dry ingredients well. Gradually add water to the mixture, stirring constantly. Continue to add water till the mixture thickens to your liking, just like you would do for any other type of gravy.
Have you ever had chocolate gravy?
After my post last Monday about Aunt Faye's Chocolate Cream Pie, more than a few of you asked for my Butterscotch Pie Recipe so I'm re-posting this recipe I shared back a few years ago. I'm still making the pie these days and it's still yummy!
One of the first things I learned to bake was Butterscotch Pie. Granny often made cream-pies for us kids. Most of the time, she used a box of pudding and a store bought crust so that she could whip up one in a hurry. But sometimes Granny made homemade Butterscotch pie and I fell in love with its rich nutty sweet taste.
I've made lots of Butterscotch Pies since the first one so many years ago. Sometimes my filling would run right out of the crust onto the plate when I cut a slice, but that didn't keep me from making them. Over the years, I tried various recipes but didn't have much luck with them setting up either.
I like to make homemade Chocolate Cream Pies too-more specifically I like to make Aunt Faye's Chocolate Cream Pie-which always comes out perfectly. One day it occurred to me, all I needed to do was ditch the cocoa in Aunt Faye's pie and swap the white sugar for brown sugar and I'd have me a Butterscotch Pie that set up like it was supposed to. I gave my theory a try, and it worked. I've been making Butterscotch Pie that way ever since.
Tipper and Aunt Faye's Butterscotch Pie
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 3 tablespoon plain flour (all purpose)
- 3 tablespoon cornstarch
- 3 cups milk
- pinch of salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 egg yolks beaten (reserve whites for meringue)
- baked pie shell
Mix brown sugar, flour, cornstarch, and salt in a large pot. Gradually add milk while stirring constantly. Cook over medium heat until mixture begins to thicken. Stir mixture often to prevent scorching.
Once mixture has thickened, add a spoonful or two of it to the eggs to temper them. Add tempered eggs back to pot and stir until mixture is very thick. Stir in vanilla.
Remove mixture from heat and beat well. Aunt Faye said beating the mixture made the pie filling light and fluffy. Pour mixture into a prebaked 9 inch pie shell. Use the 2 reserved egg whites along with a little sugar to make meringue for the topping and brown it in the oven. Or you could whip up a batch of whipped cream and serve the pie with a dollop of it.
Chill pie in refrigerator before serving.
Print Tipper and Aunt Faye's Butterscotch Pie (right click to open link and print recipe)
Butterscotch Pie and a glass of cold milk is definitely one of the good things in life.
Aunt Faye was Granny's oldest sister. She was the second born child of Gazzie and Charlie Jenkins-and she was their first child to live. Faye married Woodrow Rogers.
Faye and Woodrow were fixtures at Granny Gazzie's house. They lived nearby, but as Granny Gazzie got older they stayed with her more and more. Pretty much anytime we ever visited Granny Gazzie they were there.
Granny's father (Granny Gazzie's husband) died when she was pregnant with me, so in my lifetime there was never a grandfather on the Jenkins side of my family. Well I should say there was never a grandfather in the strictest sense of the word, but there was a grandfather-it was Woodrow.
Since he and Aunt Faye stayed with Granny Gazzie I always thought of them as grandparents too. Woodrow was like the Papaw and Aunt Faye was like a slightly younger Granny Gazzie in my mind.
Aunt Faye always met us at the door with a hug, a smile, a kiss on the cheek, and a “How are you doll?”
I remember being shocked when she died suddenly.
The week before she died, Granny and I went out to visit-a thing I did less and less once I became a teenager.
I don't remember how, but Granny convinced me to go with her out to Granny Gazzie’s on a weekday. I'm positive I drug my feet and went on about all the important teenage things I needed to do, but like always I enjoyed the trip once I got there.
As I sat in a chair and listened to them visit, Aunt Faye brought me a poem she’d cut out of the back of a local tv circular that used to come in the mail. She told me she really liked the poem and thought I would too. I still have the poem tucked away.
I’ve heard Pap say on more than one occasion "Faye Rogers was one of the finest women I ever knew." Pap's statement sums up all you need to know about Aunt Faye-other than she was a fantastic cook too.
Many of Granny's hand written recipes say "Faye's" at the top of the card. One of my favorite Aunt Faye recipes to make is her chocolate cream pie.
Cream pies are tasty for sure, but there's something else about them. When I think of cream pies I think of comfort. I remember how excited I'd get when I came home from school and Granny had made cream pies. She almost always made 2 flavors when she was making them-one chocolate and one butterscotch.
Aunt Faye's Chocolate Cream Pie
- 1 cup of sugar
- 3 tablespoons sifted flour (plain)
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/3 cup cocoa
- pinch of salt
- 3 cups milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 egg yolks beaten (reserve egg whites for meringue)
- 1 prebaked pie crust
Mix sugar, flour, cornstarch, cocoa, and salt in a large pot. Gradually add milk while stirring constantly. Cook over medium heat until mixture begins to thicken. Stir mixture often to prevent scorching.
Once mixture has thickened, add a spoonful or two of it to the eggs to temper them. Add tempered eggs back to pot and stir until mixture is very thick. Stir in vanilla.
Remove mixture from heat and beat well. Aunt Faye said beating the mixture made the pie filling light and fluffy. Pour mixture into a prebaked 9 inch pie shell.
Use the 2 reserved egg whites to make meringue for the topping and brown it in the oven.
Place pie in refrigerator to chill…if you can resist eating it! As you can see from the photo we can't resist cutting into the pie before it's cooled. This recipe is one that firms up very nicely if you give it time to chill.
Print Aunt Fayes Chocolate Cream Pie (right click to open link and print recipe)
I got some snow over the weekend-and I'm still excited about it. We got 4 inches of white and everything was just beautiful!
I usually don't make snow cream when it snows now, but we always did when I was a kid. We'd sled till we were tired out and frozen till we couldn't feel our fingers and toes then we'd come inside to sit in front of Pap and Granny's big oil heater and warm while we ate snow cream.
We never had a recipe, Granny added milk or cream along with a little vanilla and sugar to a bowl of clean snow till it looked and tasted right. If it was us kids doing the mixing and adding we sometimes ended up with a drink instead of a cream. But it was still tasty after a day of sledding.
The first time I remember eating snow cream was with Mamaw, Pap's Mother, Marie. She babysit me for Granny so I spent lots of time with her, but she died suddenly of a heart attack when I was in 5th grade so my memories of her are sparse.
As I think back to my snow cream memory, I wonder where the other kids were? Mamaw took me by the hand and led me around the side of the house. While we walked carefully through the snow she told me it was important to remember the first snow of the year was poison and I wasn't to ever eat it. I held tightly to her as we looked for good clean snow to fill our bowl.
Once our bowl was full, we went back to her tiny kitchen, and she let me sit in the special chair to watch her make snow cream. The chair was like a swivel office chair except it was covered in a bright yellow floral pattern. All us kids wanted to sit in that chair because it turned fast like a merry go round. Mamaw and I ate the snow cream and I decided it was very good, and somehow even though I was very young, I believe I knew staying with Mamaw when no one else was around was very good too.
A quick google search will turn up all sorts of snow cream recipes. I like thinking about the smiles snow cream has brought to children through the years and it's nice to know it's still bringing smiles today.
If it snowed at your house-leave me a comment and tell me how much you got.
After all the heavy eating of the holidays I find myself wanting simple meals in weeks that follow. You know things like eggs and toast, grilled cheese sandwiches, and cornbread and milk.
I'm sure most of you are familiar with cornbread and milk, but just in case your not, the dish is crumbled cornbread in a glass with milk poured over it. Some folks prefer regular sweet milk and others like Granny and Pap prefer buttermilk.
Over the years more than a few folks have left comments about cornbread and milk here on the Blind Pig and The Acorn.
- Janet said: Of course, I like cornbread and milk together sprinkled with pepper. As someone else said, I also like to mash up saltine crackers in a cereal bowl and pour milk over them. It is delicious. And, we had potato cakes tonight made from left over mashed potatoes we ate last night.
- Kat remembered eating it with her Daddy when she was young and said she still likes to eat it.
- Farmchick said: I don't like them mixed up together. I prefer my cornbread with a lot of melted butter between a nicely sliced layer! My Papa always had a big glass of cornbread with milk before he went to bed. It always seemed like so much to eat!
- Wanda in NoAla said cornbread and milk was a sure cure for the munchies.
- Norma said her grandfather thought the perfect Sunday night supper was to crumble cornbread into the biggest glass he could find, then pour in either homemade buttermilk or Borden's buttermilk, which had big chunks of butter in it.
- Carlton GA Boy said: I grew up in a Cotton Mill town (Carrollton, GA) in the late 30's and early 40's. My parents and other kin worked different shifts and so most of the time we had fresh cow milk and left-over cornbread (from noon dinner) mixed in a glass for supper. Talk about being good, this combo would beat cornflakes any day of the week. Kids of today don't know what good dishes they are missing.
- Trish said: Memaw introduced me to this as a little girl! always have some when I'm feeling down. Simple, but such a delicious treat!
- Frances Masuda said: Hi Tipper, I ate cornbread and milk when growing up, and I still like it, and eat it when I fix cornbread. Married for 50 years, and whenever I do it this, my husband still teases me. He doesn't know what he's missing!! Ha I like to eat it while warm with butter on it before putting in my glass of milk. Yummy!!!!!!!!
- Ken said: Tipper, That ole snuff glass filled with cornbread and milk sure brings a lot of memories back. I guess my grandma's Bruten Snuff glasses is where we accumulated ours. But I enjoy cornbread crumbled and with milk poured over it or just a chunk broken off a cake and washed down with sweet or butter- milk. Kinda makes me happy, with the Blind Pig Gang playing in the background.
- Bill Dotson said: Tipper, I have ate cornbread and milk for as long as I can remember, I also like light bread and milk and soda crackers and milk. Years ago I started dicing up an onion in my bread and milk and crackers and milk. I guess you can tell I am rather fond of onions, I like them every way I can think of even on crackers and peanut butter, I may be weird in that way.
- Rachel said: We grew up with cornbread and milk. I prefer the sweet milk. It is a wonderful treat! Just crumble the bread in a glass or cup and then pour the milk on. I worked with a man years ago that ate milk and crackers the same way. I always said it sounded awful, but he convinced me to try it and it's good too. Not as good as cornbread and milk though!
- B.Ruth said: Tipper, As I have posted before my Mom ate black walnuts in her cornbread and milk...if she had them... My husband likes his with buttermilk...as did my Mom and his Mom... We never ate cornbread n' milk in a bowl ....always in a glass...and I'll have mine with sweet milk please...never buttermilk...ewwww... Could I mention one more thing about make do meals... When we had mashed potatoes we always made enough to save for the next day...and we had the best potato cakes in the world...left a lot of time out on the stove for kids to grab for a snack...Thanks Tipper
- Don Casada said: Try putting a spoonful of sourwood honey in with your cornbread and milk, Tipper - I bet you'd like it then. Of course I'm pretty bad to like honey - especially sourwood - so I'd probably even like sheep sh** tea with some sourwood honey mixed in. By the way, if you've never done anything on sheep sh** tea - which was applied externally (as far as I know!!!) and similar remedies for skin ailments, you might want to look into it.
- Mike McLain said: One of my favorite things EVER. I love it with sweet milk, especially if the cornbread is made what I call the old southern way - corn meal, buttermilk, egg, and some melted bacon fat (oil works, too). My mom had an old corn stick pan (not the ones that make the cornbread look like an ear of corn). It made plain sticks about 8 inches long and roughly 3/4 inch diameter. I loved them because there was plenty of crust. I wish I could find a pan like that one. Mom's got broken and after she died, it disappeared - my Dad probably just threw it away. Unfortunately, cornbread means extra weight, so I have to go easy on it, but it will always be one of my favorite treats, especially crumbled up in a glass of sweet milk.
I gave cornbread and milk a quick google and found this site that has some interesting tidbits about cornbread and milk.
If you need to know how to make a good cake of cornbread-you can see how we cook ours here.
Hope you'll let me know if you like cornbread and milk!
p.s. Chitter is having a huge sale to move out her inventory-go check it out: Stamey Creek Creations.