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More notes from a country kitchen.

By Vicki Christianson

Fri, Apr 12th, 2013
Posted in All Arts & Culture

The other night I got out my Silverstone cooking pan and lightly sprayed it with Fat Free Pam and thought, “boy, have we come a long way in the frying area!” When I was first married I only owned a great big black cast iron fry pan that had been a wedding gift. I used left over “grease” whenever I fried something - and back then the only thing you usually did was “fry.” When it came to “grease,” well that could be left over fat drippings, rendered lard, Oleo, Crisco, cooking oil or butter.

Lard was the most common thing mom had when we were kids. She usually bought it in a tin pail or in one pound blocks. After you fried your meat or potatoes in the lard you poured the drippings into a tin can that was sitting on the back of the stove to be used again at a later date.

Mom even used lard when she made her “lard/sugar” cookies. They pretty much were made up of everyday ingredients that you had on hand in the cupboards - especially lard - and were cheap to make. She used a drinking glass that had been dampened and dipped in white sugar to press down each cookie ball on the cookie sheet before baking. The sugar is what made the cookie special! Without that sugar they were pretty blah!!

When mom wanted to be “fancy” she used a dampened fork dipped in white sugar or colored sugar to smash down the balls. The fork left pretty colored ridges in the cookies. Oleo was always bought by the case. We never had butter, just Oleo for baking, cooking, and spreading on our bread or toast. Didn’t always melt the best on your toast but since it was all we had we really didn’t know any different.

I remember when Crisco first came out. We thought it was wonderful! It was nice and white and fluffy! First time my little brother saw Crisco he thought it was something else. I think whipped cream. I tried to tell him to get out of the Crisco can but he had grabbed a big tablespoon and dipped it into the Crisco before I could stop him. I told him he would be sorry but he just stuck his tongue out at me and shoved the entire tablespoon full of Crisco into his mouth! His eyes got big, his face turned red, he glared at me and then he ran to the waste basket and starting spitting. Bet he spit for 10 minutes! And then I think he started crying and blaming me!

Mom finally gave him a couple of soda crackers to eat so he could get the taste out of his mouth. I remember looking at him with a big smile on my face saying “I told you so!” Made him cry all the more!! We fried a lot of chicken and fish and pork chops in that Crisco. Made a lot of cookies with Crisco too.

Eventually we moved up to the cooking oils. They were much nicer as you just poured whatever amount you wanted into the pan and you didn’t have to wait for it to melt. And now today everyone uses “olive oil” - suppose to be the absolute healthiest choice for cooking and baking. I also think the price is a whole lot more than that one pound block of lard was!!

Chicken Spaghetti Hot Dish

8 ounces of any pasta (angel hair, spaghetti, or whatever you like)

1 large can of chicken or 2 cups of chopped cooked leftover chicken

1 can cream of mushroom soup

1 can cream of chicken soup

1 can Rotel diced tomatoes & green chilies - undrained

8 ounces sour cream

Some grated cheese of your choice - cheddar, mozzarella, parmesan, Mexican, etc.

Cook the pasta according to directions on package. Drain when done. Mix the chicken, soups, tomatoes, and sour cream together. Add the pasta to this mixture. Pour into a greased 9x13 pan.

Cover tightly with tin boil and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Remove the tin foil and sprinkle the cheese on top - put on as much as your family likes. Place under a broiler to melt and brown the cheese or return to the oven for a few minutes.

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