Posted 4/18/2021 23:01 (#8959781 - in reply to #8959560) Subject: RE: Great Depression cooking by Clara
Cumberland County, TN
Methinks that Clara must have been pretty well off. She said that they went on vacation to Lake Geneva. When we were home as a family we never, ever took a vacation. The closest thing I ever saw to a vacation or any form of recreation was sometimes Dad would stand at the fenceline and look out over the crops in the field.
"Boy? Did'ja ever see a better lookin' field'o wheat in yer life? No, by god... you NEVER did!" And we'd stand there for awhile and watch the wind blow waves across the heads of the grain. That was our vacation time and then we'd go back to fixing a broken down tile or repairing the flood gate across the creek so the hogs wouldn't get out.
Most times breakfast at our house was home butchered bacon and eggs. We didn't have a smoker so the bacon was salted down fresh and wrapped in newspaper and hung out in the back room off of the kitchen. It'd get kind'a rancid-smelling over time. When you cut some bacon off and fried it, it'd stink the whole house up with that rancid pork smell and your eggs would taste like that too.
I can remember my dad and my older brother killing a hog and scalding the hide. It was winter and cold outside so they set up some planks on concrete blocks in the kitchen beside the big ol' milk separator and cut it up.
Dad was getting ready to go up to the country store one evening and he said, "Maw? You needin' anything else while I'm up at the store?"
I piped up and said, "Get some bacon!"
"There's bacon hanging out there. You eat that if you want some bacon." (YUCK!)
Sometimes Sis and I would just make some "sop" for breakfast. You might not know about sop. You lay a bunch of soda crackers out on a plate - enough to cover it - and pour black coffee over the crackers. Then sprinkle some sugar over them and you've got a plate of sop.
We'd sometimes ask for some candy and upon those rare occasions when he DID buy some candy to bring home, it'd be horehound or gumdrops or worse yet... those orange marshmallow 'circus peanuts' that neither Sis or I could stand. But the good part of it was they lasted a long, long time!
For years, I hated the very thought of a fruitcake. Then, I tried some with a cuppa coffee over at some friends' house when I was in my mid-20s and it was GOOD! I checked it out to see what the difference was and I found out that what Mom made was what they call "Depression Fruitcake." The candied fruit is too expensive so it is substituted out with gumdrops. The green spearmint ones are the worst in a fruitcake. Well the black licorice ones are too. None of 'em are much account! It lasts a long time!
I was talking to some neighbors at the Dairy Queen one time and we were talking about marriage. I told 'em what my friend, Edward, had said to me. "You don't want'a marry a girl until you see her tater peelin's and see how THICK they are. A woman can throw more out the back door that a man can bring in the FRONT door."
One of the ladies there overheard our conversation and she spoke up... "Oh, I knew Edward when he was a datin' Marilyn an' I'll tell you ONE thing... HE wasn't a lookin' at her TATER peelin's!"