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,
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 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
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
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
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
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!
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
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.
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
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.