Over the River…….


English: Lydia Maria Child (February 11, 1802 ...

English: Lydia Maria Child (February 11, 1802 – July 7, 1880) was an American abolitionist, women’s rights activist, opponent of American expansionism, Indian rights activist, novelist, and journalist. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For this post I don’t have to go far from home to remind me of the holiday season, of  Thanksgiving and Christmas.  I’m reminded of one day in the 1980’s when I toured the home of Lydia Maria Childs’ grandparents who had owned an old Georgian Colonial on the other side of the Mystic River in Medford, Massachusetts in the U.S.A.  I had saved up enough money for a down payment on a house and Lydia Maria Childs’ grandparents old home was for sale.  I toured the house with my husband and I was extremely excited by the prospect of owning such a wonderful piece of American history. I said yes to the real estate agents offer of a purchase price of only $42,000.  Unfortunately, after adding up the costs of owning and maintaining such a large structure, we decided against the purchase and moved on to other options.  At a later date, Tufts University bought the home for a huge sum and the house remains on the U.S. Trust for Historic Preservations’ registered historic homes list.

Lydia Maria Child was a author, abolitionist and activist who was born into a prominent New England family in Medford, Massachusetts.  She was schooled in her early years in Medford Schools.  She would often visit her grandparents at their home and wrote this song as an adult.  Sometimes when the snow is deep and the air is chill, you can almost see the her sleigh coming across the old Craddock Bridge in Medford Square.

Over the River and Through the Woods to Grandfather’s House We Go

By Lydia Maria Child

Over the river, and through the wood,
to Grandfather’s house we go:
the horse knows the way to carry the sleigh
through the white and drifted snow.

Over the river, and through the wood,to Grandfather’s house away!
We would not stop for doll or top,
for ’tis Thanksgiving Day.

Over the river, and through the wood
oh, how the wind does blow!
It stings the toes and bites the nose,
as over the ground we go.

Over the river, and through the wood,
and straight trough the barnyard gate,
We seem to go extremely slow,
it is so hard to wait!

Over the river, and through the wood,
when Grandmother sees us come,
She will say, ‘o, dear, the children are here,
bring a pie for every one.’

Over the river, and through the wood,
now Grandmothers cap I spy!
Hurrah for the fun! Is the pudding done?
Hurrah for the pumpkin pie!

May your holidays be as filled with joy as the young Lydia Maria Childs’ was on that long ago Thanksgiving Day.

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Scrappy Pie


Newfoundland Blue Ensign.

Newfoundland Blue Ensign. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Remembrance Day falls this year in Canada on November 11th.  Some provinces and territories celebrate it, also, on November 12th.  My Dad hails from Newfoundland, and at times he made what he called scrappy pie to celebrate it.  It is on Remembrance Day there that Canadians  remember  all of the fallen soldiers from past wars.

My great-uncle Charles was killed in Belgium in the first World War and is buried  where he was killed defending his fallen comrades.  His name is called out and his memory is saluted by a contingent of military members at Parliament every year on this day.  For this I simply give you my father’s Americanized version of Scrappy Pie (or Newfoundland Seafood Pie):

Potato topping ingredients:   1 cup all purpose flour,  1/2 cup fresh mashed potato, 4 ounces butter, 1 tablespoon milk, 2  Tablespoons dried breadcrumbs.

Filling:  16 ounces whitefish (cod, haddock, whiting or your choice), large cooked shrimp (8 ounces), 1 small onion- chopped fine, 1 cup frozen peas, 2 tablespoons fresh parsley – chopped fine, zest of a lemon – grated, 1/4 cup cornstarch, 2 cups milk.

Sift flour into a large bowl.  Using a pastry blender or fork, mix this with the mashed potato until thoroughly blended.  Blend in the  butter,  then draw into a dough, adding a bit of water until dough sticks together.  Wrap dough in pastic and chill in the refrigerator for 1/2 hour.

Prepare filling by cutting fish into chucks and putting them into a 10 inch pie pan or baking dish.   Mix in the seafood, onions, peas, parsley and zest.  Blend the cornstarch with a bit of milk in a bowl.  Heat the remaining milk almost to boiling and stir it into the cornstarch mixture.  Return mixture to pan and stir until the mixture thickens.  Add seasoning and pour over fish filling.  Cool for 20 minutes.  Bring oven to 400F (200C).

Roll out the dough between sheets of wax paper to overlap to of pie plate.  Remove the top of the waxed paper and use the bottom sheet to help position dough on top of seafood mixture.

Press dough around edges of pan and clean up the edges.  Slash center of pie with small knife to vent steam.  Brush the crust with milk and sprinkle liberally with plain breadcrumbs.

Put pie on a baking sheet  Bake for 10 minutes – then drop temperature to 350F (180C).   Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown.

My father cooked this for us when we were very young and it’s the closest I can come to the original recipe.  I sought out Scrappy Pie recipes everywhere to no avail, so if someone could forward me more from the great nation of Canada, I would greatly appreciate it.

May you stay safe and sound on Remembrance Day.  And to my remaining Newfoundland cousins, may the sea treat you right and the cod keep running.

An Essay for Veterans Day


Elks National Veterans Memorial

Elks National Veterans Memorial (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the United States, Veterans Day falls on November 11th this year.   I am offering this little essay for your enjoyment.  It was written by me when I was just a girl of twelve years old in response to a national contest sponsered by the Lodge of Elks in my hometown.  I won the contest in the girls’ division and was very proud to have attended a ceremony where the essay was read by a group of veterans.  The premise of the contest was to write a piece about ‘Old Glory‘ and how it related to veterans who fought in our many conflicts.  I don’t know how appropriate it is to reprint here, but the sentiment then was heartfelt, and it remains that way to me today.

WHAT OLD GLORY MEANS TO ME

To me Old Glory means just what its famous name says, a flaming glory.  It symbolizes the honor, pride, trust and independence of the United State of America.  Old Glory is not just a flag.  It’s more than that.  It’s more than a piece of red, white and blue cloth made up of stars and stripes.  Maybe it’s a beginning of a deserved liberty and feedom, and a country where the freedoms of press, speech, and worship have a chance to thrive.  It describes a democracy in which no man shall suffer discrimination because of his color or race.  To me it means the freedom of all people to choose religion, jobs, and politics.

Old Glory stands for a nation where no man shall be a slave, denied the education and support that every human being positively must have.

In my heart, it means a free land, in which dignity and authority are maintained to the fullest and best of the country’s ability.  This great flag symbolizes our growing and striding country as a whole, a world power seeking peace which stands ready to defend the rights desired and cherished by every single person and American.  It’s a nation in which important officials of the United States are voted on by the people and are responsible to the people and is not a dictatorship.  Under a dictatorship our country might fall as other have done in past wars.  It may also, to me, stand for the bloody battles of past conflicts.  It means honor for the men and women who have sufffered in order to hold this United States together in time of crisis.  Old Glory means much to me.  It is the symbol of my country.

There is much more to this little essay that is lost in the 40 years since it was written and, of course, the conflicts in the Falklands, Kuwait, Iraq, Afghanistan, and others have taken place since that time.  The sentiment was meant to honor our veterans, and I hope that this year you will not forget to remember the sacrifices that those who have served in our armed forces have made for us.  These are men and woman who realize what their flag means to them.  Please try to give our vets the honor they truly deserve for having given their all to their country.

Have a good Veterans Day.

Indian Pudding (sugar free)


Maple syrup houses

Maple syrup houses (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The First Thanksgiving, painted by Jean Leon G...

I often made a version of this Thanksgiving pudding in honor of the Native Americans who shared the first American Thanksgiving that took place close to my home at Plymouth, Massachusetts.  It is an old American tradition to have this simple pudding during this autumn season, but in these modern times, it has fallen out of favor to be replaced by packaged pudding mixes.  It’s very easy to make and would make a good addition to the Thanksgiving table.  Serve it up with some sugar-free dairy whipped topping or a dietetic ice cream for an almost authentic diabetic treat.

INDIAN PUDDING:

1/4 cup cornmeal

2 cups milk

1/3 cup thick sugar-free maple syrup

1 egg, beaten

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1 Tablespoon margarine (60% oil content) or butter if desired

1/4 cup raisins

1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts

1/4 teaspoon salt

Mix together the milk, salt and margarine.  Scald this mixture by bringing it to a rapid boil.  Mix the cornmeal into the milk mixture slowly.  Cook in a double boiler for about 15 minutes until mixture is thick.  Add maple syrup, beaten egg,  salt, cinnamon, and raisins.  Add chopped walnuts and mix thoroughly.  Put into pan that has been sprayed with butter flavored cooking spray and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for approximately two hours.  Pudding should be slightly firm and knife inserted should be slightly dry.  Serve cold or slightly warm.