Happy New Year. Time to review the old lifestyle and plan on improvements; or so I’ve been told. I have accomplished one New Year resolution, granted it was from three years ago, but I am still considering it a win.
Several years ago, one of our neighbors had passed away. He was one of the sweetest guys I knew. He would come over and rototill our garden in the spring until the soil was soft and easy to work with. Mr. Trapp and his little red tractor just went back and forth for more than two hours.
Gardeners will appreciate what a gift that was. He would also leave us tidy bundles of fresh asparagus he had growing at his home. He would complain about it growing all over the place, but I knew he had an outstanding patch that only came about by careful cultivation.
When he passed away, the family had an auction to clear away the materials that accumulated from 80 plus years of living. I purchased a box of “miscellaneous” kitchen books; the odds and ends that accumulate when a busy person enjoys cooking.
It contained booklets from small appliances, pamphlets from food manufactures, books from bake-off competitions and a stack of newspaper food and dining sections. I had made small forays into the box as time allowed and disbursed items to various friends after cherry picking ones for my own collection. I was down to the last two inches, and that box had been malingering in the bedroom for two years. It was those newspaper inserts that were killing me. I was getting too big of a kick out of them.
Most of them were printed in 1984, they contained school lunch listings, the TV guide for the new cable companies and advertising for grocery stores and various products. Absolutely fascinating. It wasn’t the professional recipes I was interested in, because frankly, many of them sounded disgusting. Asparagus, mayonnaise and Jell-O should never be on the same plate, let alone in the same dish. Not my idea of “elegant” dining.
I loved the sections where readers submitted recipes that had been requested by other readers. I found myself combing through these gems, laughing over how many recipes included prunes, and a hotly debated section on how to correctly pickle pigs’ feet. Reading these treasures was just enjoyable, the feel of the paper was different; more substantial and rougher than today’s papers. The font was more ornate, and the language was flowery; as though to impress the value of a perfectly molded salmon loaf to dazzle the ladies at your next garden party.
I copied a couple of recipes: Ozark Pudding, “saucy” ham loaf, pickled beets. Eventually, I came to the bottom of the box. I will pass the the items I am not keeping to a friend who also finds them interesting. She too can be bemused by the ten-cent coupons for chopped beefsteak and “Festive Fun with Fancy Fruitcakes”.
This resolution is completed, just not on the original timeline. I did not make a listing of self-improvements for 2020, there are enough suggestions tossed my way by other people to need to come up with my own. I wish you and yours a fabulous 2020 and luck with your resolutions, no matter how long they take to complete.
Written and submitted by Sarah Roush for The Circleville Herald. The views of this column may not necessarily reflect that of the newspaper.