Monday, July 18, 2011

Children's Pioneer Recipes

A simple Pioneer Day celebration involving children and families, could revolve around pioneer stories and pioneer recipes prepared for tasting. While people are sharing pioneer stories, the children could pass around a jar of cream and shake it. Butter could be made ahead to insure that there would be enough ready to spread on whole wheat bread (or saltine crackers).

Some people disliked the job of churning so much that they invented a dog-driven churn! An ideal way to show children how long and hard adults and children had to work to make butter in the olden days would be to demonstrate an actual butter churn. A good description of churning butter is found in Chapter Two of Little House in the Big Woods, by Laura Ingalls Wilder. 

Baby food jars could be used for each child to churn their own butter. Fill each jar 2/3 full of refrigerated heavy cream (not light or must be heavy!). Fasten jars securely. Shake up and down vigorously. While shaking, or churning, sit in a circle and talk about where the cream came from, and how in the olden days cream would rise to the top of a bottle of milk.

To pass the time while churning, children often used to recite this traditional chant: "Come, butter, come! Come, butter, come! (Peter) standing at the gate. Waiting for a butter cake...Come, butter, come!" Go around the circle, give each child a turn to substitute his or her name in the chant.

After about 10 minutes of shaking, the children will notice a change--no more sounds of sloshing cream inside the jar! At this point, what they have made is whipped cream! Encourage them to keep just another minute or two, a round ball, surrounded by liquid, will begin to form inside the jar. This round ball is the butter, and the liquid is buttermilk.

Children should then drain off the water into a cup--some adventurous children may enjoy drinking the rich buttermilk. If you find you have more cream than you need for each child's butter jar, use the extra to fill a larger jar 2/3 full, and proceed as above, but stop the process when you reach the whipped cream stage. Serve with fresh berries and a bit of sugar.

"The Olden Days" ("Science World," November 5, 1993)

Homemade Butter
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 tablespoon sour cream
pinch of salt, optional
Put both creams into a jar with a tight-fitting lid; shake vigorously.  After a lump of butter forms (about 15 minutes), pour off the remaining liquid (whey).  Place the butter on a plate and press it gently with a spoon to remove the remaining liquid.  If desired, sprinkle with salt.

Navoo Ginger Cookies
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup molasses
1/3 cup oil
1/3 cup water
1 egg
3-1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt
In a large bowl, mix together the sugar, molasses, oil, and water.  Beat in the egg.  In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients.  Add the dry mixture in three parts to the wet mixture, stirring well after each addition.  Shape the dough into 1 inch balls and place them on a greased cookie sheet.  Bake at 350 degrees for 8-12 minutes.

(A favorite dish of the Prophet Joseph Smith)
1 cup cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg, beaten
1 cup milk
1/4 cup honey
1 tablespoon molasses
1 tablespoon butter or margarine, melted
Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl.  In a separate bowl, mix together the remaining ingredients.  Blend this mixture into the dry ingredients, mixing just enough to combine.  Put the batter into a greased 8 inch square pan.  Bake at 425 degrees for 25-30 minutes.  Serve hot with Homemade Butter.

Old-fashioned Pickles
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 large cucumber
1 cup vinegar
2/3 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
pinch of pepper
Put the onion slices into a one-quart glass jar that has a lid.  With a fork, scrape down the length of the cucumber; repeat, going all around it.  Slice the cucumber and add it to the jar.  Combine the remaining ingredients in a bowl, then pour into the jar.  Cover the jar and refrigerate for at least 24 hours before serving.  
"Kitchen Krafts," Friend, July 1993

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