Posted in Depression Food, Pork, Soups & Stews, The Hungry Hen, Veggies w/ Meat

Split Pea Soup

0e0ebc60-aa8c-4fce-9548-60eac4bcbd5e Not everyone makes this anymore but when I was growing up, it was one of very few things my mother threw together. She learned it from Grandma and Grandma learned it from those before her. Its really simple to make. Inexpensive. Not the prettiest dish, which is why I didn’t even bother putting a picture of my own on here. I used one from Betty Crocker, although the recipe I am using comes from an old, vintage Cookbook called, Cookbook: Nutritious Cooking the Waterless Way. This was put out by Ekco Prudential back in the 1950’s. One of my favorite yard sale finds. Anyone who frequents this blog knows, I dig the vintage cookbooks because the ingredients were simple, as were the instructions, and everything was from scratch. Verses now, we have all of these processed ingredients, which I’d rather get away from.

And while this particular recipe can look kind of unappealing in a pot, I think it’s important to include. Its simple, filling, great for the frugal and easy to make from scratch. It does taste great and to be honest, you can jazz it up as far as looks go by adding big chunks of carrots, celery or whatever your heart’s desire. My Grandmother and them weren’t into pretty. They were into filling the stomach in a way that was as cheap as possible. My Grandmother, who grew up during the Depression, was famous for cooking on a dime. This may have been one she would have called Depression Food.

 

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Dried Split Peas
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 quart Water
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 2 cups Milk
  • Small Ham bone, Bacon Rind or Salt Pork
  • 1 Onion, Chopped
  • 1 Carrot, chopped

Directions

Wash and pick over dried peas. Cover with water and allow to stand and soak over night. (If salt pork is used, it should be cut in small pieces and browed.) Place soaked peas with an additional 1 1/2 cups of water in a 3 quart vegetable pan, over MEDIUM heat until cover vibrates or vapors escape, then reduce heat to LOW and simmer 2 hours. Remove ham bone and put remainder through a steamer – strainer pan, using masher to puree. Add milk and a dash of pepper to puree. Heat and serve. 8 servings.

 

Note: Now days we have hand mixers, etc. instead of steamers or strainer pans. You also don’t have to puree this. My Grandmother never did.

 

 

Posted in Back in the Day, Depression Food, From Scratch, Historical, Pork, The Hungry Hen

How to Cook an Aged, Country-Cured Ham

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Funny, how one day I noticed just how popular Country Hams were. I was standing at the concessions stand at my daughter’s softball game. Waiting on my Fries, a kid beside me looked up at his mother and said, “Mom, did they make the Country Ham sandwiches again?” Over Hot Dogs, Burgers or Fries, some freckled faced boy wanted salty, country pork. And my slap to attention didn’t stop there. I was at the local, summer Carnival when I seen a lady I had not seen out our way before. I asked what drug her out of the city limits and she replied, “Oh, my husband and I try to stop in every year just to get us a Country Ham Sandwich.” When my Great Aunt Joyce came down to visit not long after, I asked if she was hungry and wanted a sandwich. “Do you have any Country Ham? I haven’t had that for ages. I am just dying for some!”

Country Ham is most certainly right up there with Fried Chicken and Sweet Ice Tea. The problem is, not many folks make one anymore. They wait till they hit up a Family members house, a carnival or, well, as I learned, a ball game somewhere in the South. I suppose one reason could be the size of a Ham. They are rather large and most folks don’t have the freezer space to store the left overs. Most can’t even eat a third of one on their own. But the biggest reason, I think, people make them less and less at home is because they don’t know how. Honestly, it takes a bit of doing and many have lost the know-how.

The trick to a Country Ham is, you want to soak it overnight. You want to soak it for at least 12- 18 hours. You want to cover it in water—and folks, sometimes I change my water out a few times, depending on how salty you want it. I’ve also have soaked mine for two days, as well, before. And, I have actually soaked mine in a five gallon bucket. Not everyone has the sink room, ya know?

Next, and this is a part many forget because the “knowing’ has been lost between generations. Get yourself a pot. Drain the Ham from the water you have been soaking it in, place it in the pot and cover over again with fresh, cold water. You are going to want to SIMMER the Ham for ONLY TWO HOURS. I don’t care if that thing is the size of a watermelon, only SIMMER for TWO HOURS. DON’T BOIL. SIMMER. 

When the two hours is up, pull the Ham off the stove and just let it sit in it’s own juices – that pot of water—and completely cool down. Once it has, cut off the rind and clean it up. You can glaze it…

Honey – Just drizzle Honey over the Ham.

Brown Sugar – 1 Cup Brown Sugar (I like Dark), 1-2 tsp. Dry Mustard and 1/2 tsp. Cloves (optional)

Or whatever Glaze you want to invent. I’ve seen some people make Glaze out of Jams like Orange, Apricot, Apple Butter, whatever. It’s you’re world, so roll with it.

Last, place it in a preheated oven at 400 degrees and Bake (about 30-40 minutes). When you cut Country Ham, don’t cut thick slices. It should be cut in super thin ones. Not unless you are into thick. Freeze any extras in pieces to make Beans or whatever you desire or to pull out when company comes over to make Red Eyed Gravy or Biscuits.

Posted in Back in the Day, Canning & Preserving, Depression Food, From Scratch, Seasonings, Sauces, Dressings & Mixes, The Hungry Hen

Sugar Cure From Scratch

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Here in the South, we are no strangers when it comes to raising hogs. While less and less people seem to do it now days, some of us know nothing else. In fact, if you ever tasted fresh sausage, you’d know exactly why we bother holding onto a tradition deeply rooted in our Past and Present.  And, since we live in an Age where so many of us are trying to make our own, anything, below is a recipe to make your own Sugar Cure.

My Uncle Eddie is the King of Raising Hogs and always will be in my eyes. Come butchering day, the family, or what’s left of us, all goes out to help. My husband helps cut the males when it’s time. He helps cull and hang them. He helps cut up the meat and we all, in some way, play a part because Uncle Eddie doesn’t send his Hogs off to Butcher. In the back of his house, he has a little building. Over the years, he has added equipment as he has found it to make the entire process easier. On one side, the men work up the meat and on our side, I help my Aunt T to wrap it up for the freezer.

They use everything they can of the Hog and even make their own Lard for the coming year. This recipe is dedicated to them because we all know how Uncle Eddie loves his Sugar Cure—and what he makes, he adds to my favorite Green Beans, which I will gladly fight over.

(Makes enough, roughly, for five hogs)

25 Ibs. Courses Salt

20 lbs. Brown Sugar

2 boxes Red Pepper

1/2 box Black Pepper

2 boxes Salt Peter

Mix everything together. If you want it more fine, toss it into a Food Processor. Rub into the Hog meat as needed or until all of it is gone.