Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Hard Times Called for Frugal Fare

From the Ft. Wayne (Indiana) Journal-Gazette. Bonus: hidden inside the article is a recipe for potato candy--no grains required!

"Elizabeth VanHorn of Fort Wayne thinks she makes good baking powder biscuits and sausage gravy.

“That and potato candy,” she says.

Potato candy?

“I made that during World War II to send to my brother. He was stationed at Fort Bragg, N.C., and at Fort Sill in Oklahoma. He was an instructor in field artillery,” she says.

Noting that she never had a recipe for the candy, VanHorn describes how she would make the treat.

Take a small potato and cook it and mash it until there are no lumps in it,” she says. “Add powdered sugar until it becomes a consistency you can roll it without sticking. Add vanilla and roll it out into a rectangle shape. Spread it with peanut butter. Roll it up like a log. Slice it.”

She says that before mailing the candy, she would wrap it in waxed paper and foil. After her brother received the package, he would cut the candy into slices.

VanHorn, 97, says she was around during the Great Depression and thereby learned not to be wasteful – something taught to her by her mother, Mae Smith, and grandmother Caroline Evans.

“I use (leftovers) up. I came up during the first Depression. I’ll keep vegetables, and when I have enough I’ll make soup or combine them with a sauce. Whatever was left I would find a way to combine something,” she says, “My mother could take leftovers and make them taste as good as the first time.”

It wasn’t until she became a 4-H leader that VanHorn realized she needed to use recipes.

“When I learned to cook it was a handful of this or a pinch of that. But then I begun as a 4-H leader, and I started using recipes. I had to teach the children,” she says.

Asked to describe her cooking in one word, VanHorn replies, “Probably country.”

Her reasoning was because her husband was a meat-and-potatoes man.

“I remember my daughter when she was young. I asked her if she was ready to eat her vegetables, and she said, ‘I’ll wait until daddy eats his.’ He ate them,” she says."

Where's our 4-H now? Seemingly, it's restricted to the rural central states. Oh well--we still have county extension offices available online.

The potato candy recipe will be re-published later as a "Look Ma--No Grains!" stand-alone recipe (with full credits to Elizabeth Van Horn). This recipe is also a "cheap food" recipe (well, cheap if powdered sugar hasn't gone through the roof like other sugar has!).


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