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Country Cousin

Wisconsinisms...

Hi Folks!

Summer seems to be gone again, but if last weekend was the Swan Song for Summer of 2014, it made a beautiful exit. Several consecutive beautiful moonlit nights and bright, sunny days are what Summer in Northeast Wisconsin is all about. There were celebrations galore, and fine days to enjoy them. Then the badly needed rains came on Sunday night. We could have done without the wind and cold, but sometimes we need to take the bad with the good.

SCHOOL DAZE

School bells start ringing this week for schools in several states, but not here, yet. The end of summer vacation is approaching fast, and all too soon youngsters will be back at the books.

But not until after the Marinette County Fair, which starts Thursday, Aug. 21 and runs through Sunday, Aug. 24. Meanwhile, there are still water ski shows, fishing contests, church and community picnics, flea markets, farmer’s markets and more to enjoy.

WE CAN CAN

Speaking of Farmers Markets, anyone who has access to fresh fruits and vegetables, whether from your own garden or a generous friend or neighbor, should take advantage.

Buy when things are on sale. Put forth the effort to can, freeze, dry, preserve whatever is in ample supply or on sale at a good price. Even a quick trip to the supermarket these days can result in severe sticker shock. Prices of necessities are again shooting the moon. At the rate things are going, those home canned green beans could be worth $2 a jar by Spring. It’s too late to do much about it now, but we don’t even want to talk about the price of frozen strawberries!

The overall Consumer Price Index may not have risen hugely, but if anyone bothered to compute on price increases on only necessities, am betting they’d get a whole different number. In the past year, even the last few weeks, prices of milk, butter, eggs, red meats of all kinds, and even simple fruits and vegetables, have risen by staggering amounts.

Every time I go through the checkout line there’s a silent prayer of gratitude that I’m not feeding a family of growing boys these days.

A number of years ago when rampant inflation was predicted, some of the best advice was to invest in cans of tuna, beans and coffee. Store them under the bed if need be. That may still be the best hedge against inflation, as well as a guarantee that your family will eat even if things get really, really tough. Price of groceries is going up faster than the stock market, that’s for sure!

Given the world situation, there’s no guarantee something bad won’t happen again to the price of oil in the near future. And will there be a propane shortage like last year? The wonderful powers that be in Washington still haven’t approved that badly needed pipeline. They really don’t care if we freeze! There aren’t enough votes up here to count any way!

Home canning remains a really, really good idea. If you have enough food put up in glass jars even if the power goes out, you and yours will still be able to eat.

PASS THE KETCHUP

Have just learned that like fireworks, a sort of ketchup was invented by the Chinese. That was back in the 1690, and it had no tomatoes. it was made of pickled fish and spices, but became very popular anyway, and by 1740 it was actually named ketchup, and was popular in the American colonies.

Tomato ketchup, the kind we eat on our burgers, brats and French fries, came along in the 1790s, when New Englanders added tomatoes to the sauce.

It took that long, because until Thomas Jefferson convinced them otherwise, lots of folks thought tomatoes were poisonous. The fear was somewhat justified, because tomatoes are members of the same family as belladonna and nightshade.

Think what we’d be missing if Jefferson hadn’t managed to convince everyone to try his favorite fruit!

That said, wish the tomato harvest would hurry up. The ones we’ve had so far this year were not the finest to ever grace a tomato sandwich! They probably need sunshine and rain and warmth to be really good.

LEGAL TERMS

The small-time self made evangelist was summoned to Federal Court, facing charges of tax evasion. He appeared alone, without an attorney.

“Do you have legal counsel?” the judge asked.

Looking toward the ceiling the man replied piously, “Jesus Christ is my counselor and defender.”

“Well, sir,” the judge said carefully trying to form his next question. “Do you have local counsel?”

Never did hear how that case turned out.

WISCONSINISMS

Having summer people around a lot reminds me of the language barrier that exists between born and bred Wisconsinites and pretty much the rest of the world. For example, you might be from (or in) Wisconsin if:

You refused to buy something because it’s “too pricey.”

You get money from a “TYME” machine. (In other places it’s an ATM.)

Someone in a store offers you assistance, and they don’t even work there.

Your dad’s suntan stops at a line curving around the middle of his forehead.

You may not have actually eaten it, but you have heard of Head Cheese and Blood Sausage, and have seen it in supermarkets.

Your town has an equal number of bars and churches.

You have had a lengthy telephone conversation with someone who dialed a wrong number.

You know how to say Oconomowoc, Waukesha, Menomonie and Manitowoc.

You think ketchup is a little too spicy.

Every time you see moonlight on a lake, you think of a dancing bear, and hear drums beating, “From the land of sky-blue waters,...” (If you think you know exactly where they photographed that commercial, you might be from the Twin Bridge area west of Crivitz in Marinette County.)

Your idea of a traffic jam is 10 cars waiting to pass a tractor on the highway.

You measure distance in hours, not miles.

You know several people who have hit deer more than once.

Your whole family wears Packer Green to church on Sunday, unless they’re wearing camouflage or blaze orange.

ON THE SOAP BOX

PRAY FOR CHRISTIANITY


Please, everyone, say some special prayers for those poor Christians who chose possible death in the waterless mountains rather than give in to the despotic ISIS tyrants and surrender their faith. Our government may not be willing to do what it takes to save them, but God can, and perhaps if we pray hard enough, He will.

Maybe we’d better start saying some special prayers for the whole world. If we do not stand our ground, ISIS may indeed take over the world, enforce their Muslim religion on everyone, and their flag fly over the White House, which is their stated goal! Not far-fetched. Christianity took over the world 2,000 years ago, but we have proven unworthy.

He destroyed the entire world with a flood once, and promised He would never do that again. But He never promised He would not destroy evil mankind by some other means, and we must say the world has become quite evil in recent years, even to the point where we tolerate being called bigots if we express disapproval of sin!

Possible He will destroy us with a flood of Muslim tyrants?

COOKIN’ TIME

Gardens are doing what they do best - producing good fresh food for the family table. Raspberries are ripe, and blackberries are getting there. Tomatoes are finally ripening, zucchini and summer squash abound, and it’s been so cold most of the time that in some gardens spinach and leaf lettuce have not yet gone to seed! Apples too are coming into their own. Enjoy!

CITRUS COD FILLETS

Cooking cod in a simple sauce of canned tomatoes laced with orange zest, onion and garlic keeps it tender and intensifies flavors. The addition of baby spinach leaves, tossed in during the last few minutes of cooking, adds color and nutrition. Serve with buttered rice, or perhaps mac ‘n’ cheese. If you have your own fresh caught skinless, boneless fish fillets, try them instead of the cod. And certainly use fresh tomatoes instead of canned if you have them.

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 cup chopped onion

1 garlic clove, minced

2 tablespoons grated orange peel

1 (28 oz.) can diced tomatoes

1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil or tarragon

4 (6 oz.) skinless cod fillets

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

5 cups baby spinach (5 ounces)

Heat oil in large deep skillet over medium heat until hot. Add onion; cook 4 to 5 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and orange peel; cook 1 minute or until fragrant, stirring frequently. Add tomatoes and basil; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium; boil gently 20 minutes or until slightly thickened, stirring occasionally. Sprinkle fish with salt and pepper; add to skillet, spooning tomatoes on top. Cover and cook 5 minutes or until fish is almost cooked through. Top with spinach; cover and cook 2 to 3 minutes or until spinach is wilted and fish just begins to flake.

ZUCCHINI SQUARES

Serve these with grilled chicken and corn on the cob for a memorable meal. They freeze well, too.

3 cups thinly sliced zucchini

1/2 cup chopped onion

1 cup biscuit mix

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

1/2 cup salad oil

4 eggs, beaten

1/2 cup milk

1 shredded mozzarella cheese

1/2 teaspoon crumbled dried parsley (or 2 teaspoons

chopped, fresh)

1/2 teaspoon ground oregano

1/2 teaspoon marjoram (or basil)

1 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Stir everything together. Bake in a 9”x13” pan for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Cut into squares. Serve with butter if you want to, but it’s not really necessary.

ZUCCHINI JAM

6 cups grated zucchini, peeled and seeded

2 cups crushed pineapple (with juice)

6 cups sugar

1/2 cup lemon juice

1 package Sure Jell

1 large package orange gelatin dessert mix (or other flavor)

Cook zucchini and pineapple together until the zucchini becomes clear. Add the package of Sure Jell, sugar and lemon juice. Bring to a rolling boil and cook for five minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the large package gelatin dessert mix. Stir well. Put into sterilized jars and seal. Water bath for 10 minutes just to be safe.

V-6 JUICE

Not quite V-8, but very good, and very healthy, especially if made with home grown produce that never tasted pesticides or artificial fertilizer.

23 pounds tomatoes

4 large stalks celery

4 carrots

3 onions

3 green peppers

1 small bunch parsley

1/2 cup sugar (or to taste)

1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste

Dash or two hot sauce, if you like it

1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce per quart

Chop the vegetables into coarse pieces and cook until tender. Put through food mill. (Works well to put this through the blender first.) Put the juice into a large kettle. Add the sugar, salt and hot sauce if you’re using it. Taste and add more of whatever it needs. Pour into hot sterilized jars and add a half teaspoon Worcestershire to each jar. Seal. Water bath for about 20 minutes, with water at least two inches over the tops of the jars.

HOMEMADE KETCHUP

This recipe comes from a 1938 cookbook. A bit of work, but worth it. If you’re watching sugars, use a brown sugar type artificial sweetener in place of the real thing. It will taste just as good, and diabetics will love you for it. You’ll need some cheesecloth, though, because you tie the pickling spices into a cheesecloth bag and fish it out after the allotted time. Not difficult, but does take a lot of simmering. The directions are not original. Theirs were a bit confusing.

1 gallon ripe tomatoes, sliced or chunked

2 teaspoons pepper

1 teaspoon mace

1 teaspoon allspice

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon cloves

1 teaspoon dry mustard

2 large onions, sliced

1 cup light brown sugar

1 quart apple vinegar

5 teaspoons salt

2 tablespoons mixed whole pickling spices

Put everything except the vinegar, salt and sugar into a large kettle and boil for about two hours. Put through a sieve, then return to kettle and simmer another two hours. Tie the pickling spices into a cheesecloth bag and suspend it into the simmering ketchup mixture for about 40 minutes. Continue simmering until thick, probably another hour and a half. Add the vinegar, salt and sugar the last five minutes of cooking. Taste, to see if it needs more salt. When cool, pour into sterilized bottles or jars. If you’ll be keeping this a long time you might want to seal and water bath the jars for about 20 minutes. It does keep a long time in the fridge, though.

EASY RASPBERRY KUCHEN

Cake:

1 cup sugar

1 cup milk

2 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 eggs

1 cup unsweetened raspberries

1/2 cup butter or shortening

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all and pour into a buttered 9”x12” cake pan. Bake at 350 degrees about 25 minutes, or until done.

Glaze:

warm water

powdered sugar

butter, softened

Amounts aren’t that important here. Heat a small amount of water and in it dissolve some butter, perhaps 3 tablespoons of each. Stir in enough powdered sugar to become somewhat thick, but still thin enough to drizzle over the hot kuchen. Best served warm, but the leftovers are good cold too.

Thought for the Week: Dear God, how sad death must be for those who do not believe in You. And how comforting to know that You are there, waiting to welcome us and our loved ones at the end of the journey of life. “May He support us all the day long, till the shadows lengthen and the evening comes; and the busy world is hushed and the fever of life is over and our work is done...Then, in His mercy may He give us a safe lodging and a holy rest and peace at the last.” Amen.

God Bless and keep you, Mike, in your new life. Like the rose beyond the wall, may you go on blooming, spreading your smiles and your enthusiasm. We who are left behind will miss you sorely until we meet again.

(This column is written by Shirley Prudhomme of Crivitz. Views expressed are her own and are in no way intended to be an official statement of the opinions of Peshtigo Times editors and publishers. She may be contacted by phone at 715-291-9002 or by e-mail to shirleyprudhommechickadee@yahoo. com.)

COUNTRY COUSIN


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