Posts Tagged ‘Family Recipes’

Cousin Jane, and Beulah’s Pickle Recipe

Friday, June 15th, 2012

It’s been one year, today, since my Cousin Jane was brutally murdered in her home in Chattanooga. What a difficult year it has been for her family and friends, grappling with ideas of good and evil, and heaven and loss. Not a day goes by for those who loved her that they don’t think of her, with both sadness and fondness. So, like others who loved her, I have been dreading this day, and my heart has felt heavy all week.

But life goes on, whether we want it to or not. Bills to be paid, kids to feed, etc. I got a new iPhone this week, and I was cleaning out my email inbox before setting it up, and let’s just say I had emails saved from YEARS ago. I still had an email that Jane had sent me in November of 2009. My mom had told me that the pickles I’d made were okay, but that I needed to get the recipe for her Aunt Beulah’s pickles from Jane; Beulah’s bread and butter pickles were just the best, said Mom. So, I had emailed Jane, and she had promised to send me the recipe, and sure enough she did.


When you layer the cucumber, onion and bell pepper, I usually sprinkle with a little of the canning salt and a layer of ice, ending with ice on top. You will quickly get your fill of slicing the cucumbers. If you run low on syrup, just whip up some more, maybe cutting the recipe in half. 2 ½ cups of sugar and vinegar, etc. I usually clean my kitchen sink and put all the vegetables in it. Leave the drain open So, at the end of next summer, I expect a jar of pickles. Enjoy, Jane.

I can’t tell you how much I regret not making those pickles, and not taking a jar up to Jane in Chattanooga, and letting her try them, and having her tell me whether they tasted like Beulah’s. Jane and Beulah are gone now (hell, Beulah was gone long before I was born!), so I hope they won’t be mad at me for sharing the family recipe. I think I might make some this summer, and maybe get Tiller to help, then take a jar to my Mama and see if they taste right. I thought other folks, especially those who loved Jane, might have cucumbers coming in, and want to make some of Beulah’s Bread and Butter Pickles. If you do, say a little thank you to Jane and Beulah for sharing with us. I’m not sure why passing down recipes is comforting, but I do know that there is still good in the world and that I found Beulah’s pickle recipe in my inbox this week for a reason.

With Love and a few tears,

John Maghetti

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009

I mentioned that we were having John Maghetti for dinner the other night when we were at the lake, and someone asked me what it was. It is one of those mythical Dunstan recipes that my Mom learned from her mom and my Aunt Dot. Which means that it’s easy, cheap, fattening comfort food. Much like the fabled No Peekie.

Ground beef
egg noodles
can of tomato soup
block of cheddar cheese

  1. Cube cheddar cheese.
  2. Cook noodles.
  3. Brown ground beef. (I supposed you could sub turkey for this.)
  4. Dump in a bowl together.
  5. Pour in a can of condensed tomato soup. (You can put two cans, depending on the amount of noodles and beef you prepare.)
  6. I top with some shredded cheese.
  7. Bake covered at 350 until hot (about 25 minutes). Then uncovered til cheese is gooey and melty on top.

Yum. And my kids like it! I love some stealth tomato trickeration.

Lost Arts

Saturday, December 20th, 2008

I have always been fascinated by the way that people lived, survived, ate, and lived in the past. Maybe it was too much Little House, but i have always been amazed at the things that people knew how to do. Baking, and sewing, candlemaking, fire banking, farming and building things with their hands.. . these have always been things that interested me in a way. I often think of how far removed I have become from those skills in just two generations. My grandparents did not have tvs, cars, electricity and running water when they were small. They had no heat or air conditioning. No malls, target, or Walmart. They had the rolling store. They had Grandma’s Singer sewing machine. They had lathes and planes and saws and mills and plows. They had mules, horses, and wagons. They had chickens and eggs and pigs. They knew how to wring a neck and kill a pig. They made hoecake. They had gardens, and wells. They canned. They made their own clothes.

All of this is becoming lost to us. Sure, I can remember my grandparents talking about these things, but talking and doing are not the same thing. So, sometimes, I like to try and learn little skills such as the ones they knew.

No, I didn’t kill a pig. I made Grandma Palmer’s banana pudding.

This may not seem like a lot. But i didn’t even know that the stuff in the pudding is actually custard. Until i made the custard, I did not even know what was in custard. That fluff on the top is meringue? Huh. I had no idea that was just egg and sugar. I made that bitch and it looks damn good, too. Haven’t tasted it yet, but i don’t know how it could go wrong with ingredients like that.

Not sure why i wanted to make the pudding, except that it makes me think of my grandma Palmer, and i have been thinking about my grandmas a lot lately, and my mom, too. I don’t think that growing up as a tomboy and a daddy’s girl I ever realized just how hard my mother and grandmas worked to put meals on the table, or to make holidays as wonderful as they were. And I never heard a complaint from them.

Rollie and Tiller will not such peaceful memories of their own mother at Christmas time.

Fucking custard and meringue, sugar cookies that look like blobs, and fudge that won’t set up . . .