I just realized my 10 year blog anniversary was on September 16 with this post about pumpkin pie. I started quilting when I was 70, started the blog when I was 75 and started knitting at age 83. Of course, I’ve been cooking for decades and the blog has been a good way to remember old favorites and to meet new people. Thank you to everyone who has read my posts. It’s been such fun.
A PERFECT DAY FOR PUMPKIN PIE
This September Sunday morning is cool, crisp and autumn-like with trees starting to show color and fall decorations beginning to appear on front doors. It’s a perfect day for pumpkin pie. My recipe is pretty much standard except for a few variations in spices. I heard Garrison Keillor quote one of his radio characters, saying, “The best pumpkin pie you ever tasted isn’t that much better than the worst,” but I don’t agree. Homemade pumpkin pies are really good and a super-easy pie to make. I prefer to make my pie crust but certainly frozen ones are available.
I decided to make this wonderful cake for Sunday dinner – the first time since I blogged about it in 2011. It’s always been a family favorite and I wonder why I don’t make it more often. It is easy to bake, makes a large cake and stays moist and delicious for several days if it lasts that long.
NORTON’S RUM CAKE
To make the cake:
- 18.25-18.5 oz. box of yellow cake mix (I use Betty Crocker Super Moist)
- 4 eggs
- 1/2 cup cold water
- 1/2 cup dark rum (Bacardi)
- 1/2 cup oil (canola)
- 1/2 cup sour cream
Preheat oven to 315 degrees F
Grease and flour a 10-cup tube or Bundt cake pan
Place all ingredients in the large bowl of an electric mixer and beat at medium speed for 3 minutes. Pour into greased and floured 10-cup tube or Bundt pan and bake @ 315 degrees F for approximately one hour until a tester inserted near the center of the cake comes out clean.
With cake still in pan, allow to cool on a rack for 5 minutes.
Run a knife around the edges and tube portion to loosen. Invert cake onto rack.
While cake is cooling, make the Rum Glaze:
- 8 Tblsp. (1/4 lb.) butter
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup dark rum (Bacardi)
In a small saucepan, melt the butter. Then stir in the water and sugar. Bring to a boil and let boil for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the rum.
While cake is warm, poke holes in the cake with a skewer and pour the sauce over the cake. It will take several minutes for the cake to absorb the glaze – just wait a few seconds and ladle on some more sauce until it is all used.
Let cake cool completely before cutting and serving.
After my father was gone in the 1970s, my sister (a die-hard round dancer) persuaded my mother to get out more and to take up round and square dancing. Mother fought the idea for awhile, but finally got up the nerve to venture out on her own and met the most wonderful man who became her dance partner and a friend of the family for many years to come. Norton was always the perfect gentleman, soft-spoken with a dry wit, a great dancer, and a good cook.
The dances were always the occasion for good food contributed by the club members and Norton’s favorite item to bring was his famous rum cake. Although alcohol was strictly forbidden at dances, everyone looked the other way when Norton walked in with his cake. Erma Bombeck wrote about the joy of being at a PTA meeting and having someone bring in anything with…
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A post from five years ago – memories of VJ Day.
In August of 1945, I was 12 years old, enjoying the last month of vacation before entering the 8th grade at old Highland School in the East End neighborhood of Cincinnati.
I was obsessed with the Cincinnati Reds who were just terrible that year, but I followed them on the radio, listening to Waite Hoyt’s expert calls interspersed with his stories about the 1927 Yankees where he had been a star pitcher and teammate of Babe Ruth.
V-E Day (the end of the war in Europe) had occurred in May and everyone was hoping and praying for the end of the war in Japan. I remember seeing pictures in magazines of how things would be once the war was over. I was particularly impressed with a picture of a candy store display that actually had chocolate bars along with the Chuckles gum drops, taffy and hard candy we were used…
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My mother’s 100th birthday will be this November (Martha Evelyn Mount, born November 28, 1916, in Morrow, Ohio and passed away on July 31, 1991). When she was 72 in 1989, she made a taped recording of family stories for both sides of the family. In her honor, and still incredulous that she sat and dictated all of this into a tape recorder by herself, I’m going to post what she wrote along with pictures whenever possible. She had a rather rambling, random method and said whatever came to her mind at that moment, punctuated by hearty laughing. I’ll post the stories in the order she told them and will only edit the posts to keep out anything that might be offensive or embarrassing to other members of the family.
8/89 – Family Stories Tape by Martha Applegate
Transcribed 5/19/01 by Lillian – notes in blue and in parenthesis by Lillian
My mother’s family was pretty ordinary when compared to the overly exciting Applegates.
My family wasn’t very exciting. My mother was only 4 years old when her mother died and left quite a lot of children.
My mother’s mother married real well – married a rich farmer (Emily E. Creager and William Henry Conover) and they always had black people working for them – had ex-slaves working for them. But she died when my mother was only 4 years old and there was quite a lot of them in the family. She was very proud, my mother’s mother was. When she was a young lady she would ride the fox hunts side-saddle, a very proud lady. (Although Grandma and all of her sisters told this story, we have not found anything to prove this prosperity in her family.)
How she come to die so young was one of the girls was taking piano lessons and she wanted to go through the room and she wouldn’t go through the room because she was pregnant. She went through a window – jumped out of a little window – and caused her to lose the baby and she died in childbirth.
All of Mom’s brothers and sisters were well to do but Mom didn’t have very good luck – she had lost her husband so young and always had to work, but she was a very proud lady, too, and she was very strict in her way but very good to us children. She never spanked us – I never got a spanking in my life. But you knew when she said to do something, you done it – you knew you had to do it. She was a little Dutch lady to begin with – her real name was Wilhelmina. When she went to work the conductor on the railroad train when he took her ticket asked her what her name was and she said Wilhelmina Conover and he said, “Oh, go to hell and meet me Conover” and it made her so mad she changed her name to Helen. Every time he’d see her, he’d say, “Go to hell and meet me Conover”.
Mom was very strict – she talked a lot of that Pennsylvania Dutch kind of talk but you didn’t dare make fun of her, she’d say, “You know what I mean” and you didn’t dare laugh at her. I remember when Johnny, my husband, and I just got married she’d say to people, “Martha’s husband wants to make a race horse out of himself”. What she meant was he wanted to make a race horse driver, but she’d say he wanted to make a race horse out of himself. We always thought it was funny but we didn’t dare laugh.
Her husband, my father (George Dale Mount), died when he was only 28 – I was only 2 – I don’t have any memory of him at all but my sister (Alice Mae Mount) always said he liked her the best so I guess it’s good I don’t have any memory of him except he give me my name and I was always proud of that. On Thanksgiving Day he come downstairs and he told my mother, he said, “I dreamed we had a little girl and we named her Martha” and she said, “Well, you better go get the doctor because I think your dream’s going to come true” and he went for the doctor and I was born before the doctor got there. He went running down and said, “Hurry up, hurry up, doctor, the baby’s already here” and old Doc said, “There’s no use hurrying if your baby’s already here”.
My father (George Dale Mount) died of the flu during World War I and I always wondered where I got my love of dancing and Aunt Mabel (Mabel Conover) said I got it from him. He loved to dance and he would dance as long as anybody would play music and he was quite a singer, too. He died young.
My mother told me when I was little I always woke up and cried – I would cry for an hour. Nothing they would do would stop me from crying so they just let me cry until I cried it out. One day her and her sister, my Aunt Mabel (Conover), were sitting in the kitchen and I woke up from my nap and, of course, I sat at the top of the stairs and I cried. They said, “Come on, Martha” and usually I would just come down one step at a time crying all the way down. But this time I just kept crying and crying. They said, “Come on, Martha – come on, Martha” and I’d just keep crying. So, finally they come to look and see what I was doing and here I was, I was hanging by my heel on the carpeted steps that they had in those days and I was hanging upside-down and to this day I’m afraid to take that first step – I’m scared to death to go down stairs.
I remember my first little boy friend – we called them “beaux” in those days – his name was Homer Bailey. He was the prettiest little thing – he had blonde curly hair and blue eyes – the prettiest blue eyes. There was only one thing – every day in school he’d wet his pants – we were just in the first grade. And he used to walk me home from school every night and his house was beyond mine. One day he wanted to stop and play and Mom said, “No, no!” and I never could figure out why she didn’t want me to play with that pretty little boy.
Martha Mount, 2nd row, 3rd from right
Alice Mae Mount, 2nd row, 3rd from left
In the next installment, Mother describes the joys of playing in and around small-town Morrow, Ohio, with her young sister, Mabel, in tow.
It’s been five years since I posted these good St. Patrick’s Day treats. I thought it was time for a replay.
I have a very slim Irish line in my ancestry, but I married a man who was was fiercely proud of his Irish lineage. Frank used to take off work on St. Patrick’s Day so he could grab his green derby and head for the nearest pub to spend the day. One St. Patrick’s Day, he showed up on the evening news coverage at Hap’s Irish Pub with his derby slightly askew, surrounded by his cronies, waving a big mug of beer and bellowing out, “When Irish Eyes are Smiling”. His mother said, “Jesus, Joseph and Mary, I’m mortified to death” that her friends saw him in such a state, but this is the woman who was doing the Irish jig for her grandchildren well into her 80s and who said her grandmother washed her clothes on the banks of the river Shannon.
So, I raised four mostly-Irish children and…
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It’s that time of year again when we often find a few remaining Clementines and we’re tired of eating them out of hand. This is a good way to use Clementines and enjoy a bright, orange flavored dessert.
First, to prepare the Clementines:
Wash and dry three Clementines, remove stems and place in a microwave-safe dish. Cover Clementines with cold water, put a lid on the dish and microwave on high for approximately 10 minutes. Clementines should be quite soft and look something like fresh, ripe apricots. Let cool in microwave – be careful, they get very hot.
Cut the Clementines in half and process as finely as possible in a food processor or blender (remove seeds if necessary but, yes, process both rind and flesh).
Makes about ½ cup. Set aside.
Note: Clementines can also be covered with water and boiled on the stove top for two hours. Clementine puree can be frozen.
¼ cup cornstarch
½ cup granulated sugar
½ tsp. salt
1 cup cold milk
1 cup hot milk
1/2 cup Clementine puree (See instructions above)
1 Tblsp. undiluted orange juice concentrate
In a medium saucepan, whisk together the cornstarch, sugar, salt, egg and cold milk. Slowly whisk in hot milk and cook over medium high heat until mixture begins to boil. Lower heat to medium and continue cooking, whisking constantly, for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and add Clementine puree and orange juice concentrate. Stir and allow to cool in the pan, stirring occasionally to prevent a skin from forming on top.
Pour into six dessert dishes. Good at room temperature or chilled. Refrigerate leftovers.