The boxes are eating me.
Okay, not exactly, but the attack of the boxes continues as I try to, finally, get unpacked around here seven months after moving. What with goats and chickens and giant puppies, spring and summer zipped by without completing the “moving” part of moving into our new farmhouse. A lot of these boxes contain things I haven’t seen in nearly three years. The old farmhouse came furnished, in fact jam-packed, so I only brought necessities with me there, leaving the rest in storage.
It’s entertaining to open boxes that I packed so long ago, I don’t remember what’s in them, and discover things I had forgotten I had.
The cats enjoy the process, too.
Buttercup totally snarled at me when I made him get out of this box, which I hadn’t even finished unpacking before he took up residence.
Meanwhile, Spice nabbed another box.
There was a waiting list to get in there when she was done.
In case you’re new here, I have eight cats. I’m the crazy cat lady. Whew. Glad that’s out in the open.
A lot of the stuff in the boxes is semi-boring. Glasses, odds and ends, a cookie jar, teapots. (I like this cute Beatrix Potter one.)
It was fun to find a few remnants of my kids’ baby dishes and silverware. I can just see them eating their little spoonfuls of oatmeal out of that ABC bowl…..
Then I found some cookbooks I hadn’t seen in a while, and some well-worn recipe cards holding old favorites. Yay!
Then I hit the motherlode. The Butterick Book of Recipes and Household Helps.
It was published in 1927.
Inside, handwritten, is my great-grandmother’s name.
Jessie Woodall was my great-grandmother on my mother’s side, the flatlander side of my family. My father was, after he completed his bombing missions during World War II, stationed in Oklahoma. He made off with my mother and took her away to the holler, just as Jessie’s husband took her away when they married, hauling her off to Oklahoma before it was even a state. (Trivia: Oklahoma didn’t become a state until 1907.) My great-grandfather claimed land in part of the government’s effort to settle the area, making him one of the state’s early pioneers. My great-grandfather had to haul lumber back and forth across the prairie, by lantern-light when necessary, to build them a house.
Jessie was a good cook, by all accounts, and I like having her cookbook. I like to imagine her turning its pages, and I wonder which ones were her favorites. There’s an X by the recipe for Little Chocolate Cakes. I wonder if that means she didn’t like it?
There are plenty of tips included for the domestic goddesses of the time, such as this one for how to make it easier to see things inside your oven while you’re baking–paint the inside of the oven a light color with aluminum paint. Hmmm. I think I’ll stick with that lightbulb thing….
I bet Jessie always had her table set properly.
“The handles of all of the flat silver placed to the right and left of the plate must be in a perfect line with the edge of the table.” Or your table will explode!
I’m not sure about this whole personal hygiene section belonging in a cookbook.
But now that I know how to shampoo correctly, I can be clean as the prairie sky.
I’m excited about trying out the wonderful old-fashioned recipes in this cookbook, and you can bet I’ll be posting some of them soon!
And, I’ve got a lot more boxes to unpack. No telling what else I’ll find, but whatever it is, you can rest assured….
….the cats will be the first to know.