Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Its Ice Cream Time... again!

They say its going to be 97 degrees today. Sunday will be July 4th. You may remember that last year I posted about my ice cream making adventures on the Fourth of July. I shared a recipe for ice cream that began, "Take the yolks of 13 eggs..." So here we are a year later, and I thought, "you know, we should have an online ice cream making contest. Or fiesta. Or whatever."

So here's the showdown throwdown. Post your old fashioned ice cream recipe here, and make it on the 4th. Then lets get back together next week and share our ice cream making (and eating!) experiences.

For those who need a little help, just google "historical ice cream recipe" or even "Jefferson's ice cream". I remember seeing Thomas Jefferson's recipe last year, facsimile photo of his original handwriting. Of course the purists will use a Mormon pioneer recipe. After all, what good are Mormons without our ice cream?

Can't wait to hear what you come up with!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Its My Birthday!

Hello again. It was nice to hear all your responses to the last post. I thank you all for the feedback. It was especially nice to hear from Annette, a colleague from my days in the museum biz.

Last week I turned the big Four-Oh. Strangely, there was no crisis attached since I used up all my crises a couple of years ago with a divorce. But I did get presents. Oh boy did I get presents! A Japanese garden pagoda, gold-toe socks, and of course wonderful hours spent with my kids. All this bores you, I know.

I also got... TWO COOK BOOKS!!! The first one was the Don Holm classic treatise on Dutch oven cooking, with notes about sourdough. I made a peach cobbler for breakfast this morning (with ice cream on the side). I also got a tasty little compilation from my sister. Regular readers here might know that I absconded with my grandmother's recipe files when she retired to the assisted living home. My sister Tawna absconded with my other grandma's cooking files when alzheimer's overpowered her. Tawna is a very motivated and energetic person. She edited the collection and self-published it on Lulu.com Its called, "Recipes from the Kitchen of Metta Hale Stauffer." Yup, the daughter-in-law from Henry Alfred Stauffer of the previous posting.

Metta (she's 92 now) is a second generation Danish American. Her mother Mary Ann Amanda Peterson came to Utah as a little girl, and they were both raised in Cache Valley and also a stint in Blackfoot, ID. In the recipe book we find a few recipes reaching back to Metta Hansen Peterson, my great-great-grandmother. One such is this unremarkable recipe for "Meat Dumplings."

1/2 lb ground meat
2 eggs
Small onion, chopped
1/2 c breat crumbs
Salt, pepper
If it needs moisture add sego milk. WOrk into small balls. Roll in flour and drop in soup.

Basically, this is Frickadeller. This Danish version of a hamburger, meatloaf or dumpling can take several forms, and might be served on a bun, stand alone, or in soup. In the course of my research I came across a very similar recipe attributed to Caroline Berg Ostermann, circa 1850. Caroline studied cuisine in Denmark before immigrating to Utah in 1868. Her frickadeller recipe came down through five generations, and is now archived in the Utah State Historical Society archives at the Rio Grande station in Salt Lake City.

Aren't I a lucky boy to receive such birthday presents?

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


So over Memorial Day I went to pay homage to ancestors at various cemetaries. One stop was to the grave of Ulrich Stauffer, my great great grandfather. He was a polygamist, and his wives are all buried around his grave. I'm descended from his wife Verena, through his son Henry Alfred.

Ulrich liked to eat a particular kind of cracked wheat cereal. I believe it has to do with his Swiss heritage. In our family, we like to tell a story that he actually invented this mush, but that's not really likely. Still, we call it Stauffer Mush, and we eat it particularly at family reunions, to affirm our heritage. The traditional preparation is that it should be made rather stiff, enough that it can "stand alone" on a plate, and it is served with sugar and half-n-half. It's not bad.

While I was at the cemetary I bumped into a second cousin that I didn't know from Adam. But he was there poking around Ulrich's grave, so I figured we were related. He's also through Henry Alfred's line, but through my Grandpa's brother, whom we had always heard called "Uncle Ree." Turns out the man's name was Henry. So I asked him if his family ever had Stauffer Mush. He replied that he remembered Henry used to make it and it was delicious, but when his mother made the same mush it was terrible. We tried to figure out why and decided maybe she didn't put salt in it while it boiled. Also, he says his mother was always stingy on the sugar, and only used skim milk. Thus died the Stauffer Mush tradition in his family.

Hope you all had a lovely Memorial Day.