Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving Dinner—1943

We would have fresh churned butter on bread and green beans and a little bean broth and maybe a couple of green onions—it was a heavenly dinner in 1943. We were thankful but never called any meal or day, "Thanksgiving."

Spading the garden was one job that I didn’t like to do. But it was important, if we wanted anything to eat; to spade the garden; rake it, and plant good seeds. I used to sell World War II Victory Garden seeds to neighbors who thought they might need to try something new. And sometimes I had a package of seeds that I couldn’t sell and mom would plant them. After the garden was planted and things began to grow mom would often have me hoe the weeds before they took over.

And then one day mom would have a big kettle of beans on the table for dinner. More often than not, just plain green beans, because we didn’t have meat and no money to buy meat for the beans. In late summer we stopped eating vegetables and let the plants go to seed. We never bought seeds from a store, but saved seeds; or, somebody gave us their favorite seeds to try out. We always left a row of beans, unpicked, until they dried out and the hard, dry beans, were saved for next year.The same with pea, and even onions. Most folks saved seeds from their garden and seldom had to buy new seed.

I can still see those ball-like seed heads filled with spikes and black seeds on onions. Mother was proud of her sweet onions and she saved every single seed for next summer. When the green beans and lima beans dried up, they were shelled out and saved for seed for next summer. We either ate the harvested vegetables right after picking or mother “canned” everything we grew in the vegetable garden. That was our food for the year and the best meal was green beans and butter bread and small green onions.

The most butter we ever bought from a store was one stick at a time or 1/4th of a pound. Nobody had an ice box or a refrigerator to keep things cold in so we only bought what could be used up in a day or two. Butter was like that and so was fresh milk and cream. Sometimes the neighbor’s milk cow was giving more milk than he could use and we got the extra. When that happened, mother would make me stay at home to churn butter from the milk. I thought it took longer to churn butter than it did to make homemade ice cream—which we never did because we never had rock salt, but I helped crank a lot of ice cream for other people in hopes of getting a dish or two as a reward for my hard work. ~A. Lincoln

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