Archive for the ‘Recipes’ Category

November 25, 1953

Tomorrow is big Thanksgiving Dinner. Dale is coming up. Goody. Barbara is staying here all nite. We worked helping Mom – I made 2 salads & some other stuff & Mom made a prune cake.

Preparing some things ahead of time for the big dinner tomorrow. Sounds like they will have plenty to eat!

While Prune Cake never sounds very appetizing, at least to me, it’s surprisingly delicious! It’s a great cake for fall. Here’s Hazel’s recipe for it, from her very own little red recipe box, written in her very own handwriting:


I can only assume she got this recipe from her mother, and that this is the one they made for Thanksgiving Dinner, 1953. I served mine with homemade whipped topping (recipe below). Here it is, updated, and with a bit more instruction than originally given . . .

Prune Cake

2 1/4 cups dried pitted prunes
1/2 cup butter
2 cups sugar
6 eggs, separated
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
2/3 cup sour milk
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 cup chopped nuts

Grease a 9″ x 13″ cake pan.

Place the prunes in a small saucepan, cover them with water, and boil them for 5-7 minutes. Drain, let them cool, and chop them with up scissors.

Beat the egg whites until stiff. Set aside.

Cream the butter and sugar together. Add the egg yolks and beat until smooth.

Sift the flour, measure and sift again with the baking powder, baking soda, salt, cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

Add this mixture to the creamed mixture, alternately with the sour milk (see note below), beating until smooth. The batter will be pretty thick.

Add the lemon juice, prunes, and nuts.

Fold in the stiffly beaten egg whites. Stir until smooth. The batter should seem more like cake batter at this point!

Pour batter into prepared pan, and bake at 300° for 40-45 minutes, or until cake tests done. This is a pretty dense cake, so you want it to cook slower, so it gets done in the middle without burning the outer edges, and so that it stays moist.

Serve with whipped topping.

Note: To make sour milk, put 1 1/2 teaspoons of white vinegar into your measuring cup, then fill it to the 2/3 cup mark with milk.

Whipped Topping

1 pint whipping cream, very cold
3 tablespoons sugar

Add the sugar to the cream in a large mixing bowl, and whip it until it’s stiff. This is so much better than whipped topping from a carton, and I also tell myself it’s healthier, since I know exactly what’s in it! Never mind that I’m plopping it on to a cake that has butter, eggs, and sugar in it!

My Cowboy refused to even consider eating one single bite of this cake, simply because it has prunes in it. So if you have squeamish ones in your household, just don’t tell ’em what’s in it (until after they’ve tried it and asked for more)!

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November 6, 1953

Dale came up tonite & we went to Valenicia. Shows were pretty good. I’m dead tiried. My hands are chapped & real sore. I worked today & washed my hair. Made a jelly roll for supper.

I guess the drive-in is closed for the season. They’re back to going to the regular indoor theater for now. She doesn’t say what shows they watched.

Apparently, she’s trying to use up some of the jelly she made the other day by using it in a jelly roll. My sister has our grandmother’s cookbook, so we found Mildred’s Jelly Roll recipe, and I tried it out, but since I don’t like jelly in mine, I used a different filling. You can use whatever you like to fill yours, but here’s the recipe for the cake part of the jelly roll, followed by the recipe for the filling I used in mine.

Cake Roll

4 eggs

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

3/4 cup sifted cake flour

Preheat the oven to 400°.

Line a jelly roll pan with waxed paper or foil and grease it well.

Beat the eggs with the baking powder and salt until thick and light.

Add the sugar and vanilla.

Fold in the cake flour.

Spread the batter in the prepared pan, and bake at 400° for 12-15 minutes.

Turn the cake out onto aluminum foil. Roll the cake and the foil up together, and let it cool.

Once it’s cool, unroll it, spread it with the filling of your choice, and roll it back up (without the foil).

Sprinkle the top with powdered sugar, and you’re ready to slice and eat it.

While jelly is just about the easiest filling you could use, I am not a jelly fan, nor is My Cowboy, so I made this cream cheese filling for mine.

Cream Cheese Filling

6 ounces cream cheese, softened

4 tablespoons butter, softened

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup powdered sugar

Beat the cream cheese and butter together until mixed well.

Add vanilla.

Mix in the powdered sugar until the filling is of spreading consistency.

This would probably work as frosting, too! It sure is yummy! And it would make a really good filling for a cake roll that is spice or pumpkin flavored. The one above is just a plain cake, so you could also flavor the filling — for example, put in a few drops of orange flavoring for an orange creamsicle cake roll. Yum, yum!

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October 22, 1953

Judy invited me to the band party tonite but I didn’t go. I’m simply dead tonite. Mr. Shotwell is about to kick 3 girls off the B.B. team. Play Bevier tomorrow nite. Mom didn’t work today & she fixed spaghit & meat balls.

I wonder who’s being so bad they’re about to get kicked off the basketball team?

Her spelling of spaghetti makes me laugh, but a big mess of meatballs sounds really good. As far as I can tell, they didn’t have any special family recipe for meatballs. But Hazel also had a recipe for meatballs served with vegetables that is really good. It’s called “Porcupine Meatball Supper”, and you can find that recipe right HERE.

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October 17, 1953

Am at Grandma’s today. Boys have picked up walnuts all day. Had chile for supper. I’m up to Doris’s to stay all nite tonite. I’m kind of tired because of ballgames. Bob & Donna were together last nite.

It’s that time of year. The walnuts have been falling like crazy around here! And it’s good chili weather, too. My Cowboy made us some for supper just a couple nights ago. He makes good chili. If you’d like his recipe, click HERE.

Bob and Donna seen together . . . hmmm . . . maybe Harley was just a passing fling? Will they get back together?


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August 3, 1953

Me, Mom, Puz went to Marceline tonite watch Buck play in the Little League. His team lost 12 – 6. Buck got 2 doubles. Had a pretty good time. Made divinity today.

Lost the game in spite of his doubles — poor Buck!

It seems like it’s too hot to be making Divinity, but what do I know? If you’re interested in making some your ownself, the post with the recipe in it is HERE.

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June 17, 1953

Stayed home all day & tonite. I’ve finished my yellow & gray backless today. Made a fresh cherry pie for supper tonite. Wrote to Dale & Shirley. Puz walked in his sleep last nite.

She made it yellow and gray — sounds very pretty and stylish! I wonder how many of those she’s going to make?

So Puz is a sleepwalker. I wonder where he went? My older brother was (may still be) a sleepwalker, and upon occasion, was even known to leave the house. Daddy would just follow him around to make sure he didn’t hurt himself . . . scary, if you ask me!

Hazel’s being quite the little domestic goddess these days. Sewing, cooking, ironing, rugmaking, baking, stocking her Hope Chest. Here’s her recipe for cherry pie. You’ll need the pie crust recipe from HERE to go along with it.

Cherry Pie

1 to 1 1/4 cups sugar

4 tablespoons corn starch

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon butter, melted

1/2 cup cherry juice

1/4 teaspoon red food coloring (optional)

1/4 teaspoon almond extract

3 cups pitted tart red cherries

1 recipe pie crust (link above)

Combine the sugar, cornstarch, and salt.

Stir in butter, cherry juice, food coloring, and almond extract.

Add cherries and let stand while you make the pie crust.

Roll out the bottom crust, and line your pie plate with it.

Fill it with the cherry mixture.

Dot with some more butter, if you wish. (I always do.)

Roll out the top, or make a lattice crust, and put on top. Crimp the edges.

Bake at 425 degrees for about 40 minutes.

Enjoy warm with vanilla bean ice cream. It’ll disappear fast!

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May 22, 1953

Sonny went home this morn. My baby didn’t come up tonite & I’m awfully lonesome. Wrote to Mary Ann. Washed my hair today. Finished my dress. I like it. Made cobbler for supper. Bye.

What a busy day she’s had! How did she even find time to be lonesome?

She doesn’t say what kind of cobbler she made, but it’s sure making me hungry for cobbler right now. If it’s working on you that way, too, here’s the family pie crust recipe you can use to get started. What sounds the best — blackberry? peach? apple? cherry? one of each?

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March 7, 1953

Sunday – Me & the boys went over to Grandma & Grandpa’s today at 7:00. Watched T.V. most all day. Helped Grandma fix dinner. Had a ghram cracker pie. Wisht Dale had come up. I love him very much.

Well, there’s an admission: “I love him very much.” How cute!

They’re hanging out at Grandma and Grandpa’s, watching TV, waiting on the folks to get back from the city.

And it’s not really Sunday — March 7 was a Saturday. She’s still not gotten herself back on track since Leap Day . . . wonder when she’ll finally figure it out?

I couldn’t find a family recipe for Graham Cracker Pie, but I did find this one that sounds pretty good (if you like graham crackers and meringue): Aunt Irene’s Graham Cracker Pie. I personally didn’t try this recipe because I don’t like graham cracker crust or meringue . . . If you try it out, let me know what you think!

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January 24, 1953

Saturday nite & we’re staying home. The boys are listening to “Tarzan”. Made a sponge cake for sup. I’ve been reading a lot today, as I did yesterday. Hope Dale comes up tomorrow.

You can listen to the actual Tarzan episode the boys did by clicking HERE. It’s episode 49, “Trail of Death”.

I will have to say Hazel is quite the adventurous cook, because a sponge cake is no easy feat. Well, it’s no easy feat for an impatient cook such as myself, I guess is what I should really say. But she did this on a Saturday with no other plans, so evidently, it didn’t bother her.

This is my own recipe for sponge cake, adapted and tweaked from a mixture of other sponge cake recipes. In other words, I’ve “moderned it up” a bit because I like easy recipes, and I’m usually in a hurry to get out of the kitchen and back to quilting.

Light as a Feather Sponge Cake

6 eggs

1/2 cup cold water

1 1/2 cups sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 teaspoon orange extract (or lemon extract)

1 1/2 cups cake flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Get your 10″ round tube pan out and ready. Don’t grease it.

Separate the eggs. Put the whites in one large mixing bowl; put the yolks in a separate large mixing bowl.

Sift the flour with the salt 3 times. Set it aside so it’s ready for when you need it.

Beat the egg yolks until they’re thick and lemon-colored; add the water and continue beating on high speed. This process takes a while, so be patient. It will eventually stop being foamy, and start to thicken back up. It’ll get to the consistency and color of thin vanilla pudding.

When it’s at this stage, gradually add in the sugar while still beating. It’ll get even thicker.

Switch to a slower mixing speed, and stir in the vanilla and orange extracts.

At this same slow speed, mix the flour into the egg-yolk mixture a little at a time. It gets even thicker.

In their separate bowl, beat the egg whites till foamy. Add the cream of tartar and continue beating until they form moist, glossy peaks.

Fold this mixture into the egg-yolk mixture, turning the bowl gradually and making sure it’s all fully incorporated. This lightens the batter back up some so it’s not so thick.

Pour the batter evenly into your 10″ round tube pan, and bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour.

Remove the pan from the oven, and invert it to cool.

When cool, loosen the cake around the edges of the pan, and turn it out onto a cake plate. Frost with the frosting of your choice.

I weaseled out and bought a can of Fluffy White Frosting for mine, but it was good.

What I like about this cake over an angel food cake is that it uses fewer eggs and I’m not stuck with yolks it doesn’t use, and the orange extract imparts a good hint of flavor to the cake.

So don’t be afraid to try it. If I can do this, anyone can!

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January 17, 1953

Mom is sick from the flu. We stayed home tonite. I made some oatmeal cookies this aft. Real good. Frank Cox died. Donald Cox’s grandpa died a few days ago. Bye

Frank Cox had been in the hospital recently, but was dismissed on January 8. Maybe it was because there was nothing more to be done for him? She doesn’t say what was wrong with him. She also doesn’t tell (and I don’t know) how (or if) he was related to Donald Cox.

The grandfather that died was 80-year-old Uriah Cox, a lifelong resident of Macon County who had lived in Macon for his last 38 years. He left behind 7 grandchildren, one of whom was Donald.

So it is a full-blown case of the flu that Mildred has. Luckily, Hazel can cook and keep the rest of them fed . . . and supplied with cookies. Here is her Oatmeal Cookie recipe, if you’d like to try it for yourself.

Oatmeal Cookies

2 sticks butter, softened

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup granulated sugar

2 well-beaten eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

3 cups quick-cooking oats

1/2 cup chopped walnuts, optional

Thoroughly cream butter and sugars. Add eggs and vanilla; beat well.

Sift dry ingredients together and add to creamed mixture.

Add oats and nuts; mix well.

Refrigerate dough for 1 hour to chill.

Roll dough into 1″ balls and flatten them.

Place on an ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake in a 350-degree oven for 9-11 minutes.

I don’t like oatmeal at all, but I love these cookies. Does this count as getting my servings of oatmeal instead? Please say yes . . .

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