I have just finished reading The Dirty Life, On Farming, Food, and Love by Kristin Kimball. And today my blogger friend, Susan Nicholls, has posted a piece entitled “Canned” complete with appetizing photos of the canned goods, stored on shelves for savory eating on wintry days like these.

Kimball’s book describes how she trades a life in the publishing world of Manhattan for growing vegetables, raising pigs and cattle on the farm of a man she had interviewed just months earlier. The story is told with the backdrop of the old/new movement toward local food, community-supported agriculture, a network of consumers and farmers who share the benefits (and risks) of food production. Consumers pay at the beginning of the growing season for a share of the anticipated harvest and then receive honey, eggs, meat, and dairy products, fruits and vegetables, whatever is in season.

Susan’s blog post “Canned” is a reminiscence on the stored wealth of nourishment in the cellar of her childhood. In her post today she recalls her grand-parents’ farmland and the “garden” of one and one-half acres her own family cultivated when her children were little. She reminds us of so much we take for granted in our land of abundance. Read it above!

S.K. Nicholls

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I was in the grocery store yesterday and browsing the local produce…much of it not so local, being shipped from Chile, Spain, Costa Rica, California, and Mexico, but fresh nonetheless. Fresh watermelon and cantaloupes year around!

It is January and there were fresh beans, peas, broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce, asparagus, squash, cucumbers, cabbages, snow peas, avocados, apples, pears, oranges, tomatoes. We take so very much for granted in this global economy. I am not talking smartphones, computers, and tablets, but simple luxuries, like fresh food.

My grandparents had a huge farm, and they had a garden that covered three acres. They taught me about gardening and harvesting.

When my own children were growing up, we had an acre and a half that was garden space.

I can’t say that we grew organic, because pesticides and herbicides were used. I can’t say it was better or worse for us, but it…

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7 Easter Memories

1. Quiet time for Mom 12 – 3 p.m. on Good Friday afternoon to correspond to time Christ hung on the cross.

2. Easter jackets fully lined in pastel tweeds or plaids made by Aunt Ruthie. Easter dresses by Mom, sometimes with smocking or embroidery.

3. Home-made peanut butter and coconut eggs covered in glossy chocolate. (See recipe in “Mom’s Kitchen” blog post.)

4. Fancy lady hats donated by Grandma’s dear friend, Mame Goss, who worked in a millinery shop. No, we didn’t wear them to church!


5. Easter eggs hidden under the pear tree, lilac bushes, behind the chicken house, in the tulips, wherever.

6. Deep voices singing full force “Up-from-the-grave-He-arose” from the hymn Christ Arose.


7. Aunts, uncles, cousins surrounding a huge table groaning with ham and all the fixings.

What are your memories of this season?

Grandma’s Kitchen: Recipes & More


Grandma’s Kitchen: Recipes and More

Grandma Longenecker’s kitchen was many yards long with the necessities for cooking at one end where an old cook-stove squatted and the comforts of dining on an old oak table at the other end, bounded by three bay windows.

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One of my earliest memories is seeing flames leaping out of Grandma’s old cook-stove as she used her metal tool to lift the burner, just as you see in the drawing.

Everything Grandma made was from scratch. From sauerkraut to pot pie—even cakes of lye soap, “Homemade is best,” she’d say.

                             GmaSauerkrautArticle Grandma & Sauerkraut Crock

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I have vivid memories of helping Grandma make potpie. We rolled out the dough and cut it into squares. Then, standing on a chair beside her at the stove, I would spot a hole in the chicken broth seething in the kettle and try to drop in a square of dough without singeing my fingers. It was warm and steamy and more fun than mud-pies, plus the results were edible. Often served with her yummy coleslaw, tart with vinegar, and made with cabbage from her vegetable garden.

Table set for Christmas Dinner 2004:

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What soul food do you connect with your Grandma, other relative?

Up next: Mom’s Kitchen, Aunt Ruthie’s Kitchen

© Marian Beaman