Country CousinIssue Date: November 17, 2021
Gathering of the clans...
The high holy days of Deer Season in Wisconsin are upon us. Gun deer season opens at dawn on Saturday, Nov 20. In TIMESland, especially the northern parts, this means a gathering of the clans, a time for renewing family ties, for cousins to get acquainted, for grandmas to pass along favorite family recipes, for grandpas to pass along hunting tips, and for everyone to share favorite stories of days gone by.
Thanksgiving, of course, is a highlight of the week, but in TIMESland, it's only a small part.
For some families, it's a return to their roots, coming back to the old homesteads where their forefathers settled when the forests still covered most of Marinette County. For others, it's a cabin or deer camp, often filled with men, boys, smelly socks, beer cans, and playing cards.
There's more to Deer Season than just stalking the wily Whitetail, although that is a huge part of it. Getting meat for the table is part of it, but nearly all dedicated hunters dream of capturing that legendary 30-point buck, of acquiring an imposing set of antlers to hang on the wall.
Hunters (generally men and boys) who generally prefer to turn off the alarm and snuggle a bit longer on frosty mornings will hop out of bed, don their hunting garb and venture out before the cold grey dawn so they can be in their tree stands before the sun comes up. They want to be ready and waiting when that mighty buck walks by.
If you do get a buck, and don't choose to clean it and eat it yourself, don't dishonor the animal by wasting its meat. Give it to a friend who would enjoy it, or donate it to a local food pantry.
When I was a girl our deer hunters always hoped for a sprinkling of fresh snow on Deer Season nights so they could track deer easily in the morning. In those days, tree stands were not common. The men organized hunting parties and did drives through the woods, hoping to push deer to strategic spots where the best shooters of the group were ready and waiting. Hunting was a group effort, not a solitary sport.
Used to worry about health insurance companies getting defrauded by unscrupulous physicians and their patients, but nowadays am more worried about you, me and everybody of retirement age getting defrauded by insurance companies scrambling to get us signed up with them by the Dec. 7 deadline.
In abrasive and annoying TV ads and in unsolicited phone calls ad nauseam, we are urged to take advantage, to get "all we deserve," and are promised that in some zip codes we can get money added back to our Social Security Account each month by switching insurance policies.
So my little sister in law called her insurance carrier and asked where she had to live to take advantage of the money back feature. The company rep told her that wasn't quite true. The money back feature was for people on Medicaid, not Medicare.
Why is it that Facebook and others can censor us when we express opinions, but seem unable to hold advertisers to honest standards?
The battle of the sexes still rages in some quarters, most recently at the home of a couple down the street. He says he was overjoyed when he married Miss Right. That was before he found out her first name was "Always". He agrees their last fight was his fault though. He'd been bagging her about her housekeeping. Then she asked what was on the TV and he said, "Dust." At last report they still weren't speaking.
Ever wonder how to keep those black clothes really black? First, wash them only in warm, not hot water. Sort the load so they're only with other black or very dark colored clothes.
Here's a tip from a popular brand of laundry detergent. Look for ingredients that neutralize chlorine bleach if you're on a city water supply. That nice clean water that comes out of the faucet probably contains the same chlorine used in swimming pools and in bleach bottles, but greatly diluted. Over time it can cause black and navy blue clothes to fade unless you use the special detergents.
Well water, on the other hand, contains no bleach but often does contain minerals that can dull colors, including black. Put a cup of vinegar in the rinse water occasionally to bring back that "like new" look.
Our grandmothers had the right idea when they used to save rain water to do the laundry. Not only is it extremely soft, making soap more effective, it contains no chlorine so will not dull those colors. Of course today we can buy or rent special softeners and hopefully get the same effect, but that can get costly. Rainwater is free, but we'll need to either travel to points south or wait til spring to get some.
BABIES ARE BACK
Heard a report on TV recently that babies are back in style, in fact we're in the midst of a baby boom rivaling that of the original Post-World War II Baby Boomers.
So maybe this is a good time to remind Moms and Dads of a problem the uninitiated would probably never think of.
If baby's crying and won't stop, look to the clothes. A frequent problem are those scratchy neck tags that annoy us grownups. The difference is if it gets too bad, we can cut the tags off. Babies can't, and they can't tell anyone either. Sometimes there's an allergy to laundry detergent or fabric softener. Sometimes the fabric itself can be irritating. Keep track of what baby's wearing when he gets fussy and if it seems to come down to a particular outfit, get rid of it.
Another thing. Always wash their little socks and sleepers inside out and turn them right side out again for wearing. Pieces of hair and threads can collect in the toes of the garments and get wound so tightly around baby's toe that circulation is cut off. That really, really hurts and if left long enough can even cause loss of a toe.
Chilly days and nights and deer season coming on mean it's time to put the crock pot and oven to good use. Remember the baking mix we used before Bisquick came along? It's still good, and you can make it with butter for an even more delectable flavor, provided you use it up fairly quickly.
CROCK POT STUFFED CABBAGE
Cabbage is a vastly under used vegetable, very healthy and very inexpensive, especially at this time of year. This sounds like work at first glance, but requires very little kitchen time for an impressive and satisfying meal. Best served over boiled wide noodles or mashed potatoes, so prepare for those too. As an alternative, if there's room in your crock pot, tuck a few peeled potato halves and onion and carrot chunks into the bottom of the slow cooker before you abandon it for the day, and then you have a sort of stuffed cabbage boiled dinner. If you do that you don't need to make the sauce, but you can if you want to.
1 head cabbage
1 can beef broth or 2 cups prepared beef bouillon
1/2 pound bulk pork sausage
1/2 pound hamburger
1 cup dried bread crumbs
1 onion, chopped
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 pint sour cream
2 tablespoons tomato paste
garlic salt and pepper to taste
Cut the center out of the cabbage head and save it for cole slaw. You don't have to be fancy about the cut, just make room for the stuffing. Maybe do this part the night before to save time in the morning. Mix stuffing ingredients and pack into the cabbage head. Set the whole thing in the slow cooker. (Put the potatoes, onions and carrots in first if you're using them, or tuck around the outside edges if room. Pour the broth or bouillon around the outside of the cabbage. Cover and cook at low all day, 6 to 8 hours. More won't hurt. About 15 minutes before serving time boil wide noodles or make mashed potatoes. (I use instant.) Remove cabbage from the crock and mix sauce ingredients in a saucepan. Add a bit of the juices from the slo cooker but don't get it too thin. Heat but do not boil. (Sour Cream will probably curdle if it boils.) Serve with buttered noodles or mashed potatoes and pass sauce to pour over all.
PREMIX BAKING MIX
Remember when the Tupperware folks showed us how to make this substitute for purchased "Bisquick" or other prepared baking mix at the home parties where we all bought too many wonderful plastic containers, each designed for a very special purpose? Most of mine are still in use.
8 cups flour
1-1/4 cups nonfat dry milk powder
1/4 cup baking powder
1 tablespoon salt
2 cups solid vegetable shortening
In a large bowl, combine flour, milk, baking powder, and salt. With a pastry blender or two knives, cut in shortening until the mixture looks like coarse cornmeal and the shortening is evenly distributed. Store in tightly closed covered container in a dark, cool place. Use in place of packaged biscuit mix in any recipe. (You can make this mix with butter or margarine also, but then don't store it too long, and keep in the refrigerator.)
2 cup mix
1/2 cup water
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Blend mix and water together in medium bowl just until dry ingredients are moistened. Knead gently on a floured board 4-5 times. Roll or pat dough about 1/2" thick. Cut out biscuits and place on ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 450 degrees about 9-10 minutes or until golden brown.
2 cups mix
1 cup water
Blend the mix, egg and water. Pour by 1/4 cup measures onto lightly greased hot griddle. Cook until bubbles appear on surface and edges look dry. Flip pancakes and cook 1-2 minutes on second side. Makes 12-15 pancakes.
3 cups mix
2 tablespoons sugar
1 cup water
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Blend wet ingredients in one bowl and dry ingredients in another. Stir wet ingredients into dry just to moisten. Spoon batter into greased muffin cups and bake about 12-15 minutes or until light golden brown. Add spices like 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, or 1/4 tsp. nutmeg or 1/4 tsp. allspice, if desired.
2-1/2 cups mix
3 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon dried chives
1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
1/4 cup cold butter or margarine
2/3 cup milk
2 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Combine Bisquick, 3 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, chives and oregano in large bowl. Cut 1/4 cup cold butter into 1/4" pieces. Add butter pieces to Bisquick mixture and blend with fork until particles are fine. Add milk, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened. Turn dough out onto surface dusted with flour. Shape into a ball; knead gently 4-5 times. Roll dough 1/2" thick and cut with 2" biscuit cutter dipped in Bisquick. Brush tops of biscuits with 2 tablespoons melted butter and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese. Place biscuits on lightly greased baking sheet and bake 8-10 minutes at 450 degrees or until light brown.
PREMIX CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES
3/4 cup butter, softened
2-1/2 cups brown sugar
4 cups mix
1 cup chopped nuts
12 oz. semisweet chocolate chips
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Cream together butter, brown sugar and eggs until well mixed; stir in mix, nuts and chocolate chips. Drop by teaspoon 2" apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake about 8-10 minutes until light brown. Makes 4 dozen
PORK CHOP CASSEROLE
Remember this good old casserole? Pork is one of the bargain meats right now, so this is a good time to resurrect this easy one-dish meal. If you have frozen tomatoes you can use them nicely in place of the fresh ones the recipe calls for because they end up cooked anyway. Even 2 cups of canned tomatoes works as long as you pour on all the juice too. Recipe is supposed to serve 6 but won't if they're hungry men.
6 pork chops
3/4 cup rice
1 large onion, sliced
2 large tomatoes, sliced, or 2 cups tomatoes, sliced
1 green pepper, cut into rings
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup water
1 can beef bouillon or tomato juice
1/4 teaspoon thyme
1/4 teaspoon marjoram
Brown pork chops. Butter a deep casserole or baking pan large enough to hold the chops in a single layer. Put in the rice, raw. On top of the rice put the browned pork chops. Sprinkle on most of the salt, pepper, marjoram and thyme. On top of each chop put a thick slice of onion, a thick slice of tomato and a green pepper ring. If there's a lot of fat in the pan you browned the chops in pour some of it off. There usually isn't unless you substitute pork steaks. Pour water and bouillon into the pan and stir up the good brown drippings and pour this over the chops. Cover tightly, preferably with aluminum foil, and bake for one hour at 350 degrees.
THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK: Lord, thank You for family and friends, for freedom from want, for freedom from oppression, for the privilege of living in America, in a land truly overflowing with milk and honey, and blessed by love as well. Also, Lord, please save our nation from throwing away all Your blessings. Help stop us from doing things that surely will bring Your wrath down upon us one day. Please be patient with the foolish, and open our eyes to see clearly what You would have us do. Amen.
(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 email@example.com.)
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