Saturday, August 9, 2008

Food for a Barn Raising

After lunch today, after Sadie was down for a nap and Sam sat mesmerized by a Magic School Bus video, Grandma and I sat on our front porch in the porch swing. Our conversation led to food and recipes (of course). We discovered that we share an uncanny love for Raisin Pie. So, sometime while she's here, I plan to make one. While we reviewed the recipe in my Mennonite Community Cookbook (copyright 1950), I was reminded of a page in the back of this cookbook that I often read when I'm feeling overwhelmed with food projects. After reading it, I always feel better and in awe of my heritage.

This cookbook was written by Mary Emma Showalter. On this particular page, she writes,

"This bit of information was found in a quaint, old handwritten recipe book from my Great-grandmother's day. It is included here mainly for the purpose of giving us a peep into the past. As many of us know, a "barn raising" was quite an event during those early years. When a new barn was built, all the friends and neighbors came on the specified day to help put up the framework of the barn. This policy is still carried out in some communities where neighbors are neighborly. Homemakers of our day will no doubt be astounded at all the food consumed in one day. What is more difficult to believe is that it was all made in Great-grandmother's kitchen.

Here is the list I found:

115 lemon pies
500 fat cakes (doughnuts)
15 large cakes
3 gallons applesauce
3 gallons rice pudding
3 gallons cornstarch pudding
16 chickens
3 hams
50 pounds roast beef
300 light rolls
16 loaves of bread
Red beet pickle and pickled eggs
Cucumber pickle
6 pounds dried prunes, stewed
1 large crock stewed raisins
5 gallon stone jar white potatoes and the same amount sweet potatoes

Enough food for 175 men."

Rock on.
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Just a friendly reminder, if you know me personally please try to refrain from using my name. There are those who may try to locate me, break into my pantry and steal my pickled beets. Thanks:-).

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