I live in Michigan, and this past winter it seemed to have snowed every day for eight consecutive months. Truly, it was endless.
When my children were little, we built snowmen and painted our snow creations with water made beautiful with food coloring.
My daughter Talya, now 17, absolutely adored the snow. Every morning after her big brother and sister went off to school, she would put on her snowsuit and run outside in the front yard. She was just a tiny girl, a few years old, and she would play by herself, making sort-of snowmen and catching snowflakes and spinning around and around in the falling snow.
Across the street there lived and older woman and her husband, Arnold, a nice man who had Multiple Sclerosis. They had many workers who came to help clean and run errands and assist Arnold with daily living. One was a thoughtful, middle-aged African-American woman who once told me, “I love watching your daughter play in the snow.”
This past winter we expanded our menu, usually reserved only for snow ice cream, to include these snow fritters. They’re delicious!
1 cup milk
½ tsp. vanilla
1-1/2 cup flour
2 cups snow
Beat egg, then add milk. Slowly mix in flour and beat for a few minutes. Add vanilla and snow, carefully stirring until everything is mixed. Fry by spoonfuls in hot oil, cooking until golden.
I found this recipe in Hadassah magazine, which adapted it from the Naomi Cookbook.
It’s very sweet, but also yummy.
According to the magazine, this candy was made in Ukrainian orphanages during WWII, using condensed milk sent by Jews from the United States.
Ukrainian Orphan Candy
1 12-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
¼ tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
2 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
Place sweetened condensed milk in a non-stick, 10” sauté pan. Add salt, then sift cocoa over pan. Stir to incorporate. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring until cocoa is dissolved, then until liquid thickens and becomes difficult to stir (about 12-14 minutes). Remove from heat, add walnuts and completely cool mixture, about 30 minutes. Working in batches, roll about 3 Tablespoons of cooled mixture in confectioners’ sugar. Form into a ball, then roll out on lightly sugared countertop, forming 1” longs. Cut logs into 1” pieces.
When you’ve got a really monstrous appetite but don’t want to consume, say, an entire woman from the 1950s, here’s a great salad (and I do mean great!) with a long history.
This recipe is more than 100 years old, and the story is that it first became popular with men working the iron furnaces in Pennsylvania. What a terrible job that must have been, spending all day in the charcoal dust and smoke and heat.
At lunch, finally, a break – and this salad would have been the perfect treat. Supposedly the name for Chomp comes from the sound made when consuming it.
2 large cucumbers, sliced
1 yellow onion, diced
2 tomatoes, cut into wedges
1 green pepper, diced
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup water
½ cup vinegar
¼ tsp. thyme
Salt and pepper to taste
Combine vegetables. Mix remaining ingredients for dressing, then add to vegetables. Chill at least an hour before serving.
Herbert Hoover was not the most popular president, but he had good taste when it came to soups.
This was one of his favorite recipes, and it’s both easy to prepare and delicious.
President Hoover’s Favorite Mushroom Soup
1 pound mushrooms, diced very small
1 cups cold water
2 cups stock, seasoned to taste
2 cups light cream
1 Tbsp. flour
3 Tbsp. whipped cream
Immerse mushrooms in cold water for two hours, then simmer over low heat for about 30 minutes. Strain liquid and add seasoned stock. Blend cream and flour with a little cold milk until perfectly smooth. Add to mushrooms and stock. Sieve through a very fine strainer. Serve cold or hot.
My grandfather fought in the Navy during WWII. One of my favorite photos shows him in his Navy uniform; he’s holding my grandmother, his wife, whose back is to the camera, and he’s winking.
He was a bit cantankerous, my grandfather. I’m sure he’d had a terribly hard life as a child, and that made him a hard man. Whenever I went to visit my grandparents, he was pretty much quiet and kept to himself. He had a favorite chair where he liked to sit, he chewed tobacco, and he loved to play Dominoes.
My grandfather had absolutely nothing to do with religion. I have perhaps never met a man who had less to do with religion, in fact. But about 35 years ago, when my brother was bar mitzvah, he wrote me a letter that included a joke about a bar mitzvah boy (from Readers Digest, I believe). It was the only letter he ever sent me.
I have two items that had belonged to my grandfather. One is a five-piece collection of his drawings on the backs of envelopes, all showing comics that I’m sure were slightly risque. He sent these to my grandmother during WWII, and he was a very talented artist.
The other is a red sweater with braided leather buttons. For many years I kept this in a closet downstairs, to preserve it. But then my eldest daughter Adina found the sweater and wanted to keep and wear it, and I said, of course.
Last night was difficult, as my middle daughter Talya is in the hospital. Adina and I went to visit her, and I noticed that Adina had on that red sweater. My grandfather would have been thrilled to know how much she loves it. And that she chose to wear it last night seemed like my grandfather was winking at me, giving me a thumbs-up, just like the photo, and whispering, “Be brave.”
Don’t you love vintage milk bottles?
I have two, and I keep my coffee creamer (I’m a big coffee drinker) in one of them.
I wish you could still get milk delivered to your home, and it would have that pure cream at the top that all the kids wanted. I imagine it would have been wonderfully sweet and rich.
There are three vegetarians in my family, so we eat many dairy dishes. Here’s an easy and delicious dairy meal that’s perfect for anyone with celiac disease, too.
5 eggs, lightly beaten
¼ cup milk
2 cups grated cheese (we like a mix of mozzarella and cheddar but really, any kind will do)
1 cup mixed veggies (we like mushrooms and broccoli)
Seasoning, to taste (salt and pepper, of course, but also dill, garlic, rosemary)
Preheat oven to 350-degrees.
Mix ingredients and bake about 45 minutes, until puffy and golden.
Isn’t it curious how some foods seem to be very much in fashion – and then disappear?
One of the most charming of these is milk toast. Popular in the early part of the 20th century, milk toast seems to have completely vanished.
(And may I add that ‘milquetoast’ is positively one of my favorite words, and that I went out with a few such unfortunate men before I met my wonderful husband. Shiver.)
Milk toast is a delicious breakfast on a cold winter day or as a late-night snack (I’m very fond of those). I like to think of children in the 1930s, perhaps having spent their Sunday afternoon playing in the snow, and then it’s late and they’re very tired, and that night they are cuddling under a quilt when their mother comes by with a bowl of steaming and yummy milk toast.
Give it a try!
2 slices white bread
2 Tbsp. butter
1 cup milk
1 tsp. sugar
Pinch of nutmeg
Toast bread and top with butter. Set in a bowl.
Gently heat milk, adding sugar and nutmeg. Stir gently.
Pour milk over toast and let stand until toast begins to swell.