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When I was growing up in Glenfield, the way a farm's kitchen smelled was as unique as the farmer's fingerprints. It was as distinctive as the wallpaper above the wainscot or the view from the window over the sink. Day after day, the aroma of fried meat and garden fresh vegetables, homemade pickles and preserves, and baked goods from old family recipes, along with just a hint of wood smoke, mixed together and lingered to create smells that were both welcoming and distinctly personal.

On the whole, kitchens no longer have their own distinctive smells, and many of the old recipes are all but forgotten. However, we will occasionally bake a pot of beans and mix up a pan of gingerbread, and for that day, I am once again in the kitchen of "Fieldstone Farms," my childhood home.

Below are a few truly "old time" recipes. We invite you to fill your kitchen with the smells of a Glenfield farmhouse and encourage you to relax, enjoy the taste and savor the moment.

My Grandmother's Basic Muffin Recipe

During the harsh Maine winters of my youth, my mother was always awake long before the sun. So by the time I opened my eyes, the house was warm and already filled with the sweet smells of hot muffins. The aroma of breakfast would embrace me like a warm hug, while gently nudging me into the new day.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees
2 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
Optional Items:
Fresh berries or chopped fruit (up to 2 cups, depending on taste)
Fruit or berry preserve

Mix the egg, milk and vegetable oil together. In a separate bowl, mix dry ingredients together forming a hole in the middle. Into the hole, pour the wet ingredient mixture. Stir until only small lumps remain. (Don't over stir, the muffins will be tough as nails.) If you wish to add fruit or berries, gently stir in now. Pour batter into greased muffin pan or cupcake papers. If you are adding a fruit preserve, fill the muffin well half full, add 1 teaspoon of jam, then add enough batter to cover the jam. Bake 20 - 25 minutes, or until golden brown. Makes 12 muffins. Best when eaten warm and shared with someone you love.
Note: For a slightly sweeter treat, sprinkle a little brown sugar on each muffin before baking.

Saturday Night Johnny Cake

Two events happened each Saturday that I viewed as my reward for making it through a week of household chores and grueling farm work. In the afternoon we would go into town for groceries and socializing. Then for supper, we would have baked beans and Johnny cake. I was allowed to eat all that I could hold, and there were no restrictions on the amount of butter. Not surprisingly, someone almost always stopped by for a visit just as we were sitting down to eat.

Preheat Oven to 400 Degrees
Grease 9 inch baking pan
1 1/4 cups flour
3/4 cup corn meal
1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 egg

Mix dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, beat egg. Stir in wet ingredients, mixing until dry ingredients are evenly moist. Pour into greased pan and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden brown and tests done with a toothpick. Makes nine 3-inch squares. Best eaten warm, and don't spare the butter.
Note: If you have children, make enough so they can have all they want!

A Typical Glenfield Gingerbread

You could be sure of two things in every farmhouse kitchen around Glenfield: a wood cook stove and a pan of ginger bread. My mother could mix up the batter in less than five minutes, and she made a fresh pan every other day (except on Sundays). We ate it with our meals, for dessert and as a snack. Because we had a small herd of dairy cows, there was always plenty of fresh cream to pour over the cake and cold milk to wash it down. We took it for granted, and my father called it "the poor farmer's caviar." Now when we make ginger bread, it is a special treat. And having tasted both, I would choose it over caviar any day of the week.

Preheat Oven to 350 Degrees
Grease 9 X 13 cake pan
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger
1 pinch of salt (about 1/8 teaspoon)
1/2 cup butter (or margarine), softened
1 cup molasses
1 cup boiling water
1 egg

In a large mixing bowl, cream the softened butter and sugar. Then add the egg, followed by the molasses. Sift in the dry ingredients and mix until batter is smooth. Stir in boiling water. Pour batter into greased pan and bake for 20 - 25 minutes. Gingerbread is done when inserted toothpick comes out clean. Makes about twelve 3-inch squares. Cool before serving, then cover loosely.
Note: Gingerbread tastes the best when you serve it to friends on a front porch, especially if you are generous with the whipped cream.

Copyright © Fieldstone Farms, Inc., 2008
All rights reserved.


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