The Family Cookbook
Culinary Heirlooms
volume eighteen
by Doug Anderson
Reprinted from Bulletin 54, August 3, 2003

      This week's edition will be a bit of a departure from what you are used to, since my recipe file is empty. I'm not trying to make you feel guilty, but I really would like to hear from you...
      Enough solicitation. This week I have decided to hand over the reins to our Assistant Food Editor, Elaine. Elaine was probably there when food was invented, so listen up. (That wasn't meant as a comment on her age, either, just her abilities!) Get out your Notebook (either kind) and prepare for:

Conversations with the North Dakota Gourmet

We always had a lot of rhubarb on the farm and we kids got so tired of rhubarb sauce, but it was economical and available, so we had a lot of it, growing up. However today, there is nothing I like more than an ice cold dish of rhubarb sauce ... or some jam. This is jam that Cleo used to make. I can almost smell it cooking.

Combine 4 cups of rhubarb and 3 cups of candy orange slices with 1 cup sugar and 2 cups orange juice. I remember her just using water here if no juice available. Bring to boil, stirring constantly, and cook until desired thickness. Pour into containers, cool and seal with paraffin ... if there's enough to preserve, instead of eating fresh!

In the spring we had lots of garden lettuce. We loved Wilted Lettuce she would make with the drippings of some bacon in a fry pan. Add a little chopped onion to the drippings, cook until soft and yellow. Stir in a quarter cup of vinegar, then add a quart of leaf lettuce, washed and cut. Cover and heat a few minutes, until lettuce wilts. Salt and pepper. I think she sometimes added a snitch of sugar also. I know she always added a snitch of sugar to gravy and soup, too.

At the Historical Society, the lunch ladies often had such good pickles. Found out they made them from dill pickles. Drain a quart of dill pickles and quarter them lengthwise. Add one and half cups sugar (and red pepper, if desired.) Put in a bowl for a day or two, as you refrigerate and stir often. Then return to jar and refrigerate.

      Wasn't that fun? Thanks Elaine, for saving the day again! She didn't get to be Assistant Food Editor by sitting on her hands, that is clear.
      I will be taking a little break while my recipe file fills up, but I hope to be back in a couple of weeks, or so. Until then, keep your thermometer calibrated and may your whisk be true!

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