Today I was looking for a recipe in the Blandford Family Reunion cookbook from 2000. My daughter did the hard part of collecting the recipes and stories from so many family members, while dealing with her newly adopted twins, her older adopted son, and moving from Richmond, VA to Frankfort, KY. Pretty amazing, isn’t she? I could have stuck the photo of her with her hair dyed hot pink, but this one is better. So, anyway, I decided to go through the cookbook and share some of the comments different members of the family made when sending in their favorite recipes. Most of them, or maybe I should say, a lot of them, have to do with my mom and her sibs growing up. So, here we go.
Marie Blandford Ward (left, mom on right) recalls: The boys were jokesters. Hubert, usually was the leader, with Damien doing his share and whoever started something was backed by the rest. Our toast was made with real cream instead of butter, and toasted in the oven. One time Maude, a city girl who was dating Joe, asked what made our toast so yellow. Hubert told her they put mustard on it, so that is what she did. After Joe and Maude were married and were visiting us, Maude wanted to learn how to make biscuits. Damien, who could make some good ones, was showing her, and he told her Papa liked a few pinto beans in his biscuits. She put some raw pinto beans in some and gave them to Papa.
Mary Blandford Goetz (above, right, my mom) recalls: Papa never cooked….I’m sure there just weren’t enough hours in the day for that, after tending the farm. He did, however take Mondays off to help Mother with the laundry, which they did on washboards. There was no running water, so water was heated in washtubs over an open fire in the backyard.
Mary Blandford Goetz recalls: As for a typical breakfast when I was growing up, I don’t think there was a typical one: we had whatever was available at the time. You see, I grew during the great depression, and with 10 to 14 mouths to feed every morning, it had to have been very hard. I remember Mother saving bacon grease when we had bacon in the winter time after hog-killing, and making gravy with the grease to eat with our biscuits. We had to sell our eggs to buy sugar and other necessary items that couldn’t be raised on the farm. So most mornings we had gravy and biscuits, or butter and homemade jelly to go with the hot biscuits. Occasionally we would have oatmeal, but not often. Bacon and eggs were a rare commodity, but a most welcome one. Sometimes we had toast, made with Mother’s homemade bread, spread with thick cream and toasted in the oven. Although she made 6 large loaves every day, except Saturday and Sunday, there wasn’t always enough for breakfast, so that’s why we had biscuits. What we considered a real treat was when sometimes they would buy several loaves of bread from the store. Although bread was only a nickel a loaf, there weren’t many nickels available back then.
Note: we seldom had biscuits when I was growing up, because mom was so burned out on them. And the first time I ever had biscuits and gravy was when I had a Sunday breakfast with my then fiancé, Edd. After we were married he wanted me to learn how to make the milk gravy, so we could have it for Sunday breakfasts. I think the only gravy we ever had while I was growing up was a brown gravy, made from the stuff on the bottom of the skillet after frying chicken, or the kind I really liked, made with the broth of a beef roast, and poured over mashed potatoes. That is still my favorite gravy, although I can no longer eat the beef roast. I do still make biscuits and gravy on occasion, because I really love it. Since I still don’t know how to cook for one though, when I make the biscuits and gravy, I will be eating it for a week, three times a day. And I’ll still have enough to share with everyone on my floor of the building.
More tomorrow. I come from a huge family, and there are a lot of stories in this book. I’m a lucky lady to have such a large, loving family, on both sides of the family.