16-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today:
Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:
On days when Grandma wrote little, I often wish that she’d somehow known that someone would be reading the diary a hundred years later who wanted to know more about the mundane, routine aspects of her life—like what did her family eat for supper on a rainy evening in October?
Since she didn’t tell us what they ate, I’ll take a guess–
When I was growing up we often ate fried winter squash during the fall and winter. My sense is that this is a very traditional Pennsylvania food that Grandma would have eaten when she was young:
Fried Winter Squash
3/4 pound winter squash (butternut, hubbard, etc.), peeled and thinly sliced (approximate)
Lard or other shortening
salt and pepper
Melt shortening in skillet. It should be about 1/4 inch deep. Put 1 layer of squash in pan. Cook for about 5 minutes; turn squash with a fork. Cook another 5 – 8 minutes; or until squash is tender. Remove squash from pan and drain on paper towels. Put on serving plate. Sprinkle with salt and pepper; serve immediately.
Yield: 2 servings
My husband and I really enjoy this recipe. It is very simple—and it really brings out the wonderful taste of the squash. The amounts are very flexible for this recipe. I usually slice enough squash to cover the bottom of the skillet.
In Grandma’s day they would have fried the squash in lard, but shortening works just fine.
I use butternut squash when I make this recipe—but butternut squash (somewhat surprisingly to me, since it’s so ubiquitous today) was not widely available until the 1940s. A hundred years ago, they probably used hubbard squash, Long Island cheese squash (this is a white squash that looks sort of like a pumpkin), or other traditional variety.