A Southern Cocktail for a Snowy Week

Cocktail - snow
One snowstorm down, two more to go this week (forget the Groundhog Day prediction for an early spring). For a diversion, I pulled out Charleston Receipts (Junior League of Charleston, 1950) from my shelf full of Southern cookbooks. The “Simons’ Special” looked like the right potency Continue reading

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Stewed Groundhog: ‘The Cleanest Meat One Can Find’

groundhog wikipediaGiven this year’s warm winter in New England (so far, so good), I expect that Punxsutawney Phil will predict an early spring on Groundhog Day. The American version of the holiday, celebrated February 2, is 130 years old. In the 19th century, American farmers used to say, “Groundhog Day, half your hay.” February 2 is halfway through winter, and careful farmers kept half their hay to see their animals through the rest of the season.

Punxsutawney Phil, the groundhog that comes out of his burrow each year, probably enjoys special, protected status because he’s a celebrity. But the groundhogs in West Virginia have no such luck. I recently found a recipe for stewed groundhog in the Best of the Best from West Virginia Cookbook (Quail Ridge Press, 2002), which I bought during a visit to Charleston, my father’s hometown. The recipe originally came from the Pocahontas County Hunter’s Cookbook. The introductory note claims the groundhog offers “the cleanest meat one can find.” I’ll take their word for it! Besides, where would I go groundhog hunting in Boston?

Groundhog w va cookbookGround Hog (1980s)

After the ground hog is skinned, remove every bit of fat from the meat. Cut meat into pieces, wash and drain. Use only the meaty pieces if you like. The good pieces of 2 ground hogs make a nice platter of meat.

Parboil the meat in plain salt water and 1/2 teaspoon baking soda. In the parboiling, watch the pot, as it is bad to foam up and run over. Drain and wash meat.

Put the meat in a large cooking pot. Add 2 quartered onions and 2 or 3 carrots. Boil gently until meat is tender.

Remove meat, roll in flour and brown in a heavy skillet in margarine or butter, adding salt and pepper, and if desired, any other seasoning that you might use on any meat.


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Pecan Pie to Honor Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Luther King 1964 wikipediaIn his too-short lifetime, Martin Luther King Jr. traveled more than 6 million miles and gave over 2500 speeches, according to a story in the Huffington Post.  To keep going, he often reached for fried chicken or pecan pie Continue reading

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‘Tossed Salad Superb’ for a Healthy Start

Salad Good HousekeepingPre-washed greens make for the simplest salad possible: open the plastic container, put the leaves in a bowl, and add dressing. In the middle of winter, when the only produce on the shelves comes from greenhouses or countries on the other side of the equator, it’s tempting to serve this side dish every night. Good Housekeeping’s Book of Salads (1958) pushes back against this kind of complacency Continue reading

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Christmas Welcoming Bread

Michie biscuits doneTake ordinary baking powder biscuits, top them with a sugary fruit and nut mix, and suddenly they transform into Christmas bread. That’s what the Michie Tavern in Charlottesville, Virginia served in the 1700’s, Continue reading

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6-4-2-1 Equals a Family Cocktail

6-4 family drink 2The recipe paper-clipped inside one of my grandmother’s cooking pamphlets sounds like a scientific formula: 6 orange juice, 4 ging, 2 vermouth, 1 lemon. Continue reading

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More Joys of Jell-O

JellO done

Take the ingredients of a typical Christmas dessert (dried fruits, citron, nuts, cinnamon), mix them with Jell-O and what do you get? Jell-O Plum Pudding, of course! Continue reading

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