The Barn Door: Remembering Winter

I missed doing this last month, but remembered to post over at The Barn Door Feb. 28. If you’re not sick of looking at snow, you might want to click through to see some of the photos I posted of how winter looked in 1937.

I know, I know. Most of us don’t have to remember winter. It’s still right outside our window. But when I start complaining about the cold or the inches (or feet!) of snow, at the back of my mind I am comparing it to the winters of my childhood.

I’m sure there were probably mild winters when I was growing up, seasons that it snowed very little in my small Illinois town. When I felt sad because there were not enough opportunities to risk my life careening on a sled down the 4th Street hill.

But in my memories, winters in my childhood were always filled with three feet of snow. Huge piles of it in the corners of parking lots. Forts built from blocks of packed snow. Snow caves dug beneath the drooping branches of my grandmother’s bridal wreath bushes.

I tried to find some photos of those memories to share, but it seems we kept our camera mostly indoors in those days. So instead, I opened one of my grandmother’s 1937 Compton’s Pictured Encyclopedia to see what they had to say about winter before I was even born.

via The Barn Door: Remembering Winter.

This is the way we wash our clothes, wash our clothes…

How many recipe books do you know that also include directions for how to wash your clothes? Well, the Young Housekeeper’s Friend does that, and even tells you how to make your own washtub:

Noe_washing_toolsA large painted wash tub is expensive, and it may be convenient for some persons to know that a very good rinsing tub can be made of a flour barrel. Take one that is clean and well made; have the upper part sawed off about nine inches. See that there are no nails sticking through. Make three holes large enough to admit the fingers, in two opposite staves, to serve for handles. If there are cracks, caulk them, and fill the tub with water.The water will soon swell the staves so as to close the cracks;  and when it has once done leaking,keep it always turned down in the cellar when not in use.

Calf’s Foot Blanc-mange

If you have enough calf’s feet jelly and don’t know what to do with those four feet you have left over from butchering, try this receipt for blanc-mange from The Young Housekeeper’s Friend.

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Put four calf’s feet into four quarts of water; boil it away to one quart, strain it, and set it aside.  When cool, remove all the fat, and in cutting the jelly out of the pan, take care to avoid the sediment. Put to it a quart of new milk, and sweeten it with fine sugar. If you season it with cinnamon or lemon peel, put it in before boiling; if with rose or peach-water, afterwards; or, if you choose, boil peach leaves in it. Boil ten minutes, strain it through a fine sieve into a pitcher, and stir it till nearly cold. Then put it into moulds.

Calf’s Foot Jelly

Want a little jelly with your toast?  All you need is four calf hooves to make a little something special, according to The Young Housekeeper’s Friend.

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Scald four calf’s feet only enough to take off the hair, (more will extract the juices). Clean them nicely. When this is done, put them into five quarts of water and boil them until the water is half wasted; strain and set it away till the next day, then take off the fat and remove the jelly, being careful not to disturb the sediment; put the jelly into a sauce-pan with whites and shells of five eggs, stir them in, and set it on the coals, but do not stir it after it begins to warm. Boil it twenty minutes longer; set off the saucepan, and let it stand covered close half an hour.  It will thus become so clear that it will need to run through the jelly bag but 0nce.

Attend to Your Custard

In case you want to follow Mrs. Cornelius’s advice from last week and serve a “nice boiled custard” with your Apple Island, here’s one of her custard “receipts.”

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Put a quart of milk into a tin pail or a pitcher that holds two quarts; set it into a kettle of hot water. Tin is better than earthen, because it heats so much quicker.

Put in a few sticks of cinnamon, or three peach leaves. When the milk foams up as if nearly boiling, stir in six eggs which have been beaten, and two spoonfuls of white sugar; stir it every instant, until it appears to thicken a little. Then take out the pail, and pour the custard immediately into a cold pitcher, because the heat of the pail will cook the part of the custard that touches it, too much, so that it will curdle.

This is a very easy way of making custard, and none can be better. But in order to have them good, you must attend to nothing else until they are finished. You may make them as rich as you choose.  A pint of milk, a pint of cream, and eight eggs will make them rich enough for any epicure. So, on the other hand, they are very good with three or four eggs only to a quart of milk, and no cream.