Old-fashioned Black Walnut Ice Cream Recipe

18-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Sunday, March 1, 1914:

March comes in like a howling lion,

How it goes out, I do not know.

This month at least is a howler,

Or the beginning is for the winds do blow (fiercely).

Went to Sunday School this morning. This afternoon it began to get pretty breezy and by now the winds are howling to beat the band. We had ice cream. Whether attracted by the scent or not, Besse and Curt came out. Besse usually manages to get out when we have ice cream.

DSC08776

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

Besse and Curt Hester were Grandma’s married sister and her husband. They lived in nearby Watsontown.

Throughout the diary, the Muffly’s made ice cream once or twice each winter. Today we think of ice cream as a warm weather food—but I guess in the days before refrigeration that maybe it was a cold weather food. It would have been easier to get the ice needed to make ice cream during the winter months.

What kind of ice cream did they make? Maybe they made Black Walnut Ice Cream. The previous fall Grandma gathered nuts after they fell from the trees—and Black Walnut is an awesome old-fashioned ice cream flavor.

Black Walnut Ice Cream

3/4 cup sugar

2 tablespoons flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

4 cups half and half

2 eggs, slightly beaten

1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla

1 cup chopped black walnuts

In a saucepan combine sugar, flour and salt. Stir in 1/2 of the half and half (2 cups). Stir and cook over moderate heat until thickened. Cook 2 minutes more. Stir a small amount of the hot mixture into the eggs, and then add the egg mixture to the pan. Cook 1 additional minute. Remove from heat; add vanilla and additional half and half. Strain to remove any lumps. Chill for several hours. Stir in black walnuts before putting into ice cream freezer.

Follow freezer directions to make ice cream.

Makes approximately 1 1/2 quarts. Recipe may be doubled or tripled for larger freezers.

This ice cream turned out wonderfully—and my husband says that I should have doubled the recipe because it didn’t last long enough.

This is one of my favorite uses of black walnuts. The coldness of the ice cream and the robust flavor of the walnuts combine to create a wonderful taste treat.

Monthly Poem

The first day of each month Grandma included a poem in the diary. For more information see, the following post:

Monthly Poem in Diary

Awesome Desserts for a Washington’s Birthday Party

18-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Friday, February 20, 1914:  Nothing much doing.

Source: Ladies Home Journal (February, 1914)

Source: Ladies Home Journal (February, 1914)

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

Have you ever heard of anyone holding a party to celebrate Washington’s Birthday. It must have been a much more popular holiday a hundred years ago than what it is now.

Since Grandma didn’t write much a hundred years ago today, I’m going to share some fun food suggestions for a Washington’s Birthday party that appeared in the February, 1914 issue of Ladies Home Journal.

In the 1960s, Washington’s Birthday morphed into President’s Day which is celebrated on the 3rd Monday in February.  But, in 1914, Washington’s Birthday was celebrated on his actual birthdate, February 22—and apparently it was a bigger deal than what it is now.

1914-02-71-b1914-02-71-b1

Old-Fashioned Raisin Filled Cookies Recipe

18-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today:

Wednesday, January 14, 1914:  Did some experimenting in the baking line this afternoon. Didn’t turn out so bad either. That’s ‘bout all I can think of at present.

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Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

Grandma—

What did you make?  Maybe some Raisin Filled Cookies? I remember that we often had them during the winter when I was a kid. They made the perfect after-school snack on cold winter days.

Old-fashioned Raisin Filled Cookies

Filling

3/4 cup raisins

2/3 cup brown sugar

3 tablespoons flour

2/3 cup water

Combine all filling ingredients and cook over medium heat until thick.

Cookie

1/3 cup shortening

2/3 cup brown sugar

1 egg

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1/3 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/4 cup flour

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Combine shortening, brown sugar, egg, vanilla, and soda; then stir in flour. Roll thin and cut into cookies using a round cutter. Place on a lightly greased cookie sheet. Put a spoonful of filling (don’t overfill) in center of cookie. Top with another cookie that has a small circle cut in the center. Firmly press edges together.

Bake for approximately 10 minutes or until cookie is lightly browned.

I have a set of round fondant cut-out cutters. I used the large cutter to make the cookies—and then cut the hole in the center of the top cookies using the small cutter.

When I was a child we made cookies that were a little larger. We used a doughnut cutter that had a removable hole cutter.  We removed the hole cutter to make the bottom cookie.

Rivel Soup (Potato Soup with Small Dumplings) Recipe

18-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Tuesday, January 6, 1914:  Nothing much doing.

Rivel Soup

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

It’s cold here! I like to make old-fashioned hearty soups, like Rivel Soup, on icy days like today. I wonder if the Muffly’s regularly ate soup during the winter months.

Here’s an old recipe of Rivel Soup. It is a potato soup with small dumplings (rivels).

My family often ate this soup when I was a child. I didn’t like it back then, but now my husband and enjoy this nuanced and mild, yet delectable, soup.

Rivel Soup

4 medium-sized potatoes, diced into very small pieces

water

2 tablespoons butter

1/2 cup flour

1 egg, slightly beaten

2 cups milk

1 cup cream

salt

crumbled crisp bacon

Put the diced potatoes in a large saucepan and just barely cover with water. Cook diced potatoes in water until soft. Add butter and milk.

Meanwhile, to make rivels, combine flour and egg in a bowl.  Drop rivels, which are no larger than a raisin, into the boiling potato mixture, while periodically stirring to prevent the rivels from sticking together.

Cook 5 minutes. Add cream and salt to taste; reheat until hot.  Put into serving bowls and garnish with bacon.

4 servings

How to Cut-up a Chicken

18-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Wednesday, December 31, 1913:  Cut up chicken no. 2 and got a breast bone in with the back. That’s one in many of the many failures I’ve committed this year. Wonder how many will occur next year. Hope it will be some different any way.

Photo Source: The Wise Encyclopedia of Cookery

Photo Source: The Wise Encyclopedia of Cookery

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

Good Grief Grandma—

Don’t measure the success or failure of the year based on how well you dress chickens!

In the big scheme of things, how well you cut-up a chicken doesn’t matter much.

I’ve occasionally bought whole chickens and then tried to cut them into pieces—and it’s always been a disaster with mangled parts (such as the breast bone in with the back).

Here are the directions in The American Woman’s Cookbook for cutting up a chicken. (The directions start with a more whole chicken than what you’d find at the store today. :) )

Remove head, tendons, and oil sac. Cut off the legs at thigh joint and separate drumsticks from thigh. Cut the wings from the body, removing tips.

Separate the breast from back by cutting down both sides of bird below ribs. Remove heart, liver, gizzard, entrails and fat together. Remove windpipe, crop and lungs.

Cut back and breast crossswise. The back may be further divided by cutting lengthwise. Remove the wishbone by inserting knife under the tip and cut downward, following the bone.

Old-fashioned Black Walnut Taffy Recipe

18-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Monday, December 22, 1913:  Carrie was over this afternoon. We picked out nuts. Made taffy this evening, but it didn’t get good and the nuts were wasted.

Grandma had problems, but my taffy turned out great.

Grandma had problems, but my taffy turned out great.

The taffy before I wrapped it.

The taffy before I wrapped it.

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

Hmm. . . What kind of taffy did Grandma and her friend Carrie Stout make? . . . Maybe they picked black walnuts out of the shells and then made Black Walnut Taffy.

I decided to give it a try. . . and held my breath. My husband and I cracked, and picked out, some black walnuts last week-end. It was a lot of work—and I really hoped that I’d be more successful making the candy than Grandma was.

Old-fashioned Black Walnut Taffy

1 1/2 cups sugar

1/2 cup molasses

1/2 cup water

1 1/2 tablespoons vinegar

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

4 tablespoons butter

1/8 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 cup finely chopped black walnuts

Combine sugar, molasses, water, and vinegar in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat.  Stir in cream of tartar. Reduce heat and continue to boil until the mixture reaches the hard ball stage (256 degrees on a candy thermometer).

Remove from heat. Stir in butter and baking soda; then stir in the black walnuts.  Pour onto a well-buttered plate or shallow bowl.

As the candy cools along the sides fold into the center.

When cool enough to handle, coat hands with butter,  pull the candy using hands until color lightens, and it becomes airier and less sticky.

Shape into strips approximately 3/4 to 1 inch in diameter, and place on wax paper that has been placed on a cookie sheet.  Chill slightly, then cut the candy into bit-sized pieces.

Cut rectangles of waxed paper approximately 2 inches X 4 inches. Wrap the candy in the waxed paper and twist ends.

The taffy turned out wonderfully. The two intense flavors– molasses and black walnut—merged to a more nuanced, but awesome, taste sensation.  I highly recommend this taffy.

Here are the links to two previous posts that you might enjoy:

How to Crack Black Walnuts

Old-fashioned Sugar Taffy 

Old-time Waffle Recipe

18-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Saturday,  December 6, 1913: The whole family was invited out for dinner today. We all went except Pa. It was up at Tweet’s place. We had something that I always had a curiosity to know what they tasted like. It was waffles.

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

mmm. . . Waffles sound good.

Until I read this I hadn’t realized that waffles were around a hundred years ago. I wonder how they were made back in the days before electric waffle makers.

Here’s an excellent old family recipe for waffles and it may be similar to the recipe that Tweet used.

Waffles

2 cups cake flour

3 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 eggs, separated

1 1/4  cup milk

6 tablespoons melted butter

Beat egg whites until stiff. In a separate bowl combine cake flour, baking powder, salt, egg yolks, milk, and butter. Add flour gradually, beating only until smooth. Gently fold in beaten egg whites. Bake in a hot waffle iron.

Yield: approximately 4 servings

This recipe old, but it’s not a recipe of Grandma’s. Let me tell you its story:

This recipe was in my mother’s recipe card box. I think that it is the waffle recipe that my maternal grandmother used. (The grandmother I write about in this blog is my paternal grandmother).

We often had waffles when I was a child—but we never used this recipe—instead we used the recipe on the Bisquick box.

A few years ago I compiled my recipes—including recipes of my mother’s  which were in my recipe box but that I’d never made—into a family cookbook. I gave the cookbook to my children and other relatives.

A couple of months ago my adult son said, “Mom, that’s a great waffle recipe in your cookbook.”

And, I responded, “What recipe?” since I’d never made the waffle recipe and had forgotten that I’d put it into the cookbook.

I recently actually made this recipe and it’s wonderful—and it’s even more wonderful that my children are discovering their food heritage.

Tweet was the nickname of Helen Wesner. She was a friend of Grandma’s and lived with her family on a farm at the edge of McEwensville.

12/7/13 Update

My readers are wonderful. I now know what an old-fashioned waffle iron looks like. RuthAnn at Labyrinth Living sent me a picture of an old-fashioned cast iron waffle iron that her great-grandmother used. She gave me permission to share it with you. Here is what she wrote:

waffle.iron.1890

It would have been used on a wood cook stove, but I know Grandma also used it later on her electric stove, just right on the elements.  If you can see on one piece, one end has a round socket and the other piece has a round ball that fits into the socket.  So those two halves fit together and are placed on the stove to heat.  One lifts the handle to open the halves, and puts the batter on the waffle grid, then closes it and holds it for about a minute and then lifts the two handles together and swivels it around (the ball in the socket is the swivel) and puts it down to cook the other side.  When it stops steaming, it should be ready to remove and serve.

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