Tuesday, November 20, 2012

In the Event You're Feeling Overwhelmed About Now

I must admit, my contribution to the Thanksgiving meal is minimal (in light of the size of it).  I've made my three pies (two pumpkin and one grape) and a batch of muffins for us to eat on our way out of town.  But for some of you, you are on the cusp of amazing feats- providing friends and family with a bounty I can only imagine. God bless your giving hearts.

Along the lines of my theme of encouragement this week, I thought taking a look at another menu might make you feel a bit better.  I've shared this before, but it came to my mind again tonight as I thought about all those dedicated cooks out there.  Below you will find the words written by Mary Emma Showalter that can be found in the back of the Mennonite Community Cookbook (copyright 1950).

May you feel encouraged.  Unless it makes you feel more overwhelmed...oh, dear.  I hope I didn't make things worse.

"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."

Pin It


  1. I've been reading you for quite some time, although I'm not sure I've ever commented. But this post is so incredibly timely! I love it! I hope you and yours have a bountiful and lovely Thanksgiving.

  2. One thing that surprised me with the list... where are the green beans? Where are the vegetables? I see apples, prunes, raisins, beets, white & yellow potatoes, but nothing green....

  3. I remember when you posted this before, and I'm still just as shocked reading it again. Craziness. I can barely manage one dish to take along... Happy Thanksgiving!

  4. Yikes! That was a serious week of cooking..oh, my. I feel much better now:) Blessings to you.

  5. I read The Canned Quilter's blog and she had a link to your blog. After reading your post I clicked on your Home button. When I saw the name Mary Emma Showalter, I thought I have one of her books. Mine is titled Pennsylvania Dutch Cooking and under that A Mennonite Community Cookbook. Copyright 1950, 1957, 1978 by Mary Emma Showalter. In the back, in a chapter called Miscellaneous it has the "Food for a Barn Raising". The book is filled with tons of recipes that our Grandmothers used instead of buying at the store. Lots of great recipes, if not for making they make great reading.

  6. I keep thinking about this article again and wondering how did they manage the kitchen when they were preparing the food? I know a lot of the food was likely brought along. But enough was probably prepared at the home on site to astound anyone in today's day when are kitchens are so much more luxurious. I'm in awe and I wish I could peek into the past and gain some much needed secretes and insights.


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:-).

Please choose the Anonymous option if you prefer not to sign in to comment.

Related Posts with Thumbnails