All the talk of eating squirrels, squab, possums, rabbits, and soft-shell turtles in a previous post reminded me that I’m thankful that those animals are not part of my diet. Here are some other food and food-related items for which I am thankful.
1. standard measurements in recipes—Although I get a kick out of reading old recipes, I’m thankful that I don’t have to estimate the amounts for ingredients, e.g., “butter size of walnut,” or “one tea cup of flour”
2. seedless raisins—Older cookie recipes called for “stoned raisins,” which are raisins with seeds removed. Seeing as how a raisin was a grape in it’s former life, I’m thankful that the tedious work of picking out two to four seeds from each raisin is not one of my prep chores.
3. cream of tartar—An acidic powder (a by product of winemaking) combined with baking soda, makes Snickerdoodles rise just right.
4. pastry blenders—When I first started making pie dough, I would “cut shortening into flour using two table knives until the particles were the size of small peas.” As soon as I discovered the efficient pastry blender, I ditched the knives.
5.cast iron skillets—They make the best cornbread with a crispy crust.
6.farmer’s markets—Locally grown vegetables taste better.
7.tabouli and hummus—My tastebuds would be happy if I ate these every day.
8.refrigeration—I’ve been thankful for electric refrigerators ever since Grandmother told me how Dad would go to town to get a block of ice for their “ice box.”
9.electric stoves—Although I sometimes like to do things the old-fashioned way, I’m thankful that I don’t have to deal with the fluctuating temperature of a wood stove.
10. frozen peas—Hannah refused to eat cooked peas as a toddler, but she loved them straight from the freezer. I’m thankful that I wasn’t coaxing her to eat peas prepared with the following recipe for Christmas dinner.
To Keep Green Peas Till Christmas
Take young peas, shell them, put them in a colander to drain. Then lay a cloth four or five times double on a table, then spread them on. Dry them very well, and have your bottles ready. Fill them, cover them with mutton suet fat when it is a little soft. Fill the necks almost to the top, cork them, tie a bladder and a leather over them and set them in a dry cool place.
From The First American Cookbook: American Cookery, 1796″ by Amelia Simmons.