18-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today:
Thursday, September 4, 1913: I guess most any one could guess what followed for today.
Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:
This modern ham is NOTHING like hams a hundred years ago. Old-time hams were smoked in smoke houses, salty, and very flavorful (and probably had lots of nitrates that weren’t good for us). (Picture Source: Real Simple)
The threshers were at the Muffly farm. The previous day Grandma wrote that the threshing machine had arrived.
Neighbors and the threshing machine operators would all be helping with the threshing. And, the men who came to help expected a big meal. Grandma, her sister Ruth, their mother, and perhaps some neighbor women would have spent the day cooking and serving a huge meal—and then they would have washed mountains of dishes.
What did foods did they serve? . . . desserts . . . potatoes . . .meat. . . .
Ham was popular back then. I bet they served incredible ham that had been cured and smoked on the farm the previous winter.
Here are the directions for cooking a ham in a hundred-year-old cookbook:
Select a medium-sized ham; soak overnight in cold water. Clean and wipe; cover with cold water; bring to the boiling point, and then simmer until tender, allowing thirty minutes to the pound. Cool in water in which it was cooked. Take off the skin, sprinkle with sugar, and cover with seasoned cracker crumbs. Bake twenty to thirty minutes. Decorate with cloves, garnish with parsley and lemon, and serve hot or cold.
A more aromatic flavor is given to the ham if a bouquet of sweet herbs and one half cup each of onions, carrots, and turnips are boiled with it. Many baste the ham, when baking with cider.
Lowney’s Cook Book – Revised Edition (1912)
Here’s a few previous posts with recipes for seasonal foods that may have been served to the threshers: