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Member since: Sat Nov 30, 2013, 05:06 AM
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First cold weather of the season, time for Laura Ingalls Wilder's "The Long Winter."

"It was growing chilly. The cold crept under the table, crawling up from Laura's bare feet to her bare knees under her skirts."

That happened to me yesterday, the beginning of several days of cold, steady rain. No more bare feet and legs. Tights and socks. Short-sleeved cotton clothing into the closet, out come long-sleeved clothing made with the help of animals: wool, cashmere, suede; leather bag replaces canvas. Windows closed, heavy curtains hung. Blankets and quilts on the bed, flannel sheets, cozy flannel pajamas. Electric fans retire, heaters report for duty.

Hot coffee and tea, not iced. Heat from the stove and oven is welcome now, and I think about gratins, soups, stews. Roasting, baking, simmering. At the market: grapes, apples, pears, persimmons, mushrooms, squash, beets. Nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, cloves. I want to make an apple pie and baked beans. Every year I plan on making donuts and don't. Will have to read "Farmer Boy" to get in the mood and maybe it'll happen this year. These books are my comfort read from childhood.

Green pumpkin pie:

"'You may cut the pumpkin in slices and peel them while I make the piecrust,' said Ma. ... Ma put the crust in the pie pan and covered the bottom with brown sugar and spices. Then she filled the crust with thin slices of the green pumpkin. She poured half a cup of vinegar over them, put a small piece of butter on top, and laid the top crust over all. 'There,' she said, when she had finished crimping the edges. ... She slipped the pie into the oven and shut the door on it. ... When Ma laid down the shirt that she was making for Pa and opened the oven, the rich smell of baking pie came out. Carrie and Grace stopped to look in while Ma turned the pie so it would brown evenly. ... For an instant, Pa did not see it. Then he said, 'Pie!' ... 'What kind of pie is it?' ... Pa cut off the point with his fork and put it in his mouth. 'Apple pie! Where in the world did you get apples?' Carrie could keep still no longer. She almost shouted, 'It's pumpkin! Ma made it out of green pumpkin!' ... They ate slowly, taking small bites of the sweet spiciness to make it last as long as they could. That was such a happy supper that Laura wanted it never to end."

Bean soup and baked beans:

"'I'm glad I put beans to soak last night,' said Ma. She lifted the lid of the bubbling kettle and quickly popped in a spoonful of soda. The boiling beans roared, foaming up, but did not quite run over. 'There's a little bit of salt pork to put in them too,' Ma said. Now and then she spooned up a few beans and blew on them. When their skins split and curled, she drained the soda water from the kettle and filled it again with hot water. She put in the bit of fat pork. ... The little shanty quivered in the storm. But the steamy smell of boiling beans was good and it seemed to make the air warmer. At noon Ma sliced bread and filled bowls with the hot bean broth and they all ate where they were, close to the stove. They all drank cups of strong, hot tea. ... The hot soup and hot tea warmed them all. They ate the broth from the beans. Then Ma emptied the beans into a milk-pan and set the bit of fat pork in the middle, and laced the top with dribbles of molasses. She set the pan in the oven and shut the oven door. They would have baked beans for supper."
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