Best Thing since Sliced Bread #2

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Best Thing since Sliced Bread is a new historical fiction short story I’m working on, set in the Chillicothe, Missouri in 1928. Luetta isn’t sure what her greatest passion is. It fluctuates between creating new dishes in the kitchen and becoming Mrs. Adams, the town’s newest bride. This newest Vintage Daze Short Story is inspired by two small cookbooks from 1928. I purchased one in an antique store and one I inherited from the two elderly ladies that lived next door when I was a girl. In researching events from 1928, I saw that the first loaf of sliced bread was sold commercially in Chillicothe, Missouri on July 6, 1928. Since that was where my Grandpa Jones is from, and an uncle still lives there, of course I had to set the story in Chillicothe!

I’m proud to be part of a group of authors that write for Tuesday Tales. Every week we write story snippets to a word prompt. Once a month we have a picture prompt. This week we write to a picture prompt. We had several to choose from. Here’s the one I picked. Don’t forget to check out the other fun story snippets from the other Tuesday Tales writers.

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The bustling of Luetta’s mothers skirts behind them halted their conversation. She swept past the girls seated at the table, the hem of her dress brushing the linoleum floor and stopped at the pie safe. “What are you young ladies plotting? Trying to finagle young Mr. Adams to motor you into Kansas City for the Duck Picnic at Swope Park?”

Amanda glared at Luetta. “That’s this weekend? Is Frank taking you?” She lowered her eyes and batted her eyelashes. “You know I’d love to tag along. That is, if you two lovebirds don’t mind.”

“Not hardly. Frank’s in Kansas City this weekend, but it’s all for work.”

“On a weekend? What’s so important about greeting cards or wrapping paper to work on a weekend? I mean, Hall Brothers has grown, but it’s not like the world will end if there’s one less Christmas postcard.”

Luetta shrugged her shoulders and leaned back in her chair. “Something about a big change in production. They’re changing the name from Hall Brothers to Hallmark and they’ll be printing their new symbol on the back of every card now. You know men…he blabbered on about it and I didn’t listen to half of it.”

“You were too busy thinking up recipes in your head,” Amanda giggled.

Nodding her head in agreement, Luetta laughed. “Probably. I do remember one thing. He was excited that they’ll be the first greeting card company to advertise nationally. You’d never guess where.”

For once Amanda was without words. A puzzled expression crossed her face as she tried to think of an answer.

Luetta heaved a mock sigh and threw her hands up in the air. “Just a hint…what’s your favorite thing to buy at Crosfield’s Merchandise?”

For more great story snippets, return to TUESDAY TALES here.

Return to TRISHA FAYE’S WEBSITE here.

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Best Thing Since Sliced Bread #1

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Best Thing since Sliced Bread is a new historical fiction short story I’m working on, set in the Chillicothe, Missouri in 1928. Luetta isn’t sure what her greatest passion is. It fluctuates between creating new dishes in the kitchen and becoming Mrs. Adams, the town’s newest bride. This newest Vintage Daze Short Story is inspired by two small cookbooks from 1928. I purchased one in an antique store and one I inherited from the two elderly ladies that lived next door when I was a girl. In researching events from 1928, I saw that the first loaf of sliced bread was sold commercially in Chillicothe, Missouri on July 6, 1928. Since that was where my Grandpa Jones is from, and an uncle still lives there, of course I had to set the story in Chillicothe!

I’m proud to be part of a group of authors that write for Tuesday Tales. Every week we write story snippets to a word prompt. Once a month we have a picture prompt. This week we write to the prompt ‘angry.’ Don’t forget to check out the other fun story snippets from the other Tuesday Tales writers.

Best Thing since Sliced Bread

June 1928

Luetta fought back a flash of irritation as she heard the stream of incessant chatter headed in her direction. She placed on finger at her place on the page and looked up as her best friend swept into the kitchen, the fringe on her dress swinging in pandemonium. “Really, Amanda. Must you be so…vocal?”

“It appears so, my reclusive friend. To counterbalance your quiet demeanor as you hide away in the kitchen. What are you doing sitting in here on such a fine day?” Her fingers looped through the long strand of pearls draped around her neck in a fidgety manner that Luetta was familiar with.

“If you must know, I’m looking up…”

Amanda cut Luetta’s answer off with a dismissive wave of her hands. “Never mind. It wasn’t a serious question. I know how you are with your cookbooks. Don’t you know there’s more to life than being a drudge in the kitchen?”

Luetta’s mouth dropped open, aghast at the implication. “Hardly. I love cooking and baking and reading about it. Besides, I need to master these delicacies if I aim to become Mrs. Adams one day. Haven’t you heard that a way to a man’s heart is through the stomach?”

Amanda pulled out a cane backed chair and dropped down in the seat. “Horsefeathers! That’s not going to be how I get my man. No dreary kitchen duty for me.” She stretched out a silk clad leg and pointed her toes towards the tin ceiling. “With gams like these, I aim to catch a swell fellow that will hire me a maid for all this…scullery work.”

“Oh, posh. You even have anyone in your sights?” Luetta calmly closed her cookbook with only a small twinge of anger at the interruption. Once Amanda invaded a space, all future peace and quiet was a lost cause.

Stroking her sleek bob cut Amanda rolled her eyes and sighed. “In Chillicothe? This one-horse town? You’ve got to be joking. Although I’m wearing Father down. He’s closer to giving me the money so I can go to Hollywood. I’ll find my Prince Charming there. Once I’m a screen star and famous, like Lillian Gish or Clara Bow.”

IMG_1048[1]Luetta’s gaze lingered on the small Taylor Book of Recipes sitting in front of her on the table. It came with the new candy thermometer Mother had purchased at the mercantile downtown earlier in the week. There were some interesting new fudge recipes she was simply itching to try out.

But, as had happened all their adolescence as they were growing up, Amanda with all of her enthusiasm dominated and Luetta had learned to follow along. Even though they’d graduated from high school – with honors nonetheless – and were both turning eighteen later that summer, the dynamics between the duo hadn’t altered. The decision to choose between the tempting new fudge recipes – all named after popular colleges – was postponed.

Barnard Fudge, Bryn Mawr Fudge, Vassar Fudge, Radcliffe Fudge, Smith Fudge, and Wellesley Fudge. Which would it be? As Amanda chattered away mindlessly, Luetta’s mind drifted to the recipes she’d been contemplating before her best friend intruded on her favorite morning activity. The Vassar Fudge, that’s the one with the rose essence, wasn’t it? I may have to try that one first. Although, with Father being an alumni of Columbia, he’d most likely vote for the women’s affiliate, Barnard.

For more great story snippets, return to TUESDAY TALES here.

Return to TRISHA FAYE’S WEBSITE here.

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Record History in these Three New Journals

Is Aunt Sadie’s candy dish proudly displayed in the center of the table? Does Grandma’s depression plates take center stage in your china cabinet? Do you lovingly polish the small wooden clock that Grandpa Jones crafted by hand in his small garage workshop?

Will your children know where these treasured family heirlooms come from? Will they know about the conversation you and Grandma had when she passed down a treasured piece? Even if you’ve told them…the big question is – will they remember?

If your home is filled with pieces you’ve gathered from family members, here’s a place to record the memories and recollections for each piece. My Family Heirloom Journal has two pages for each item you’d like to document for the future. There’s space for a picture, a place to write your memories about this piece or the loved one where you got it from. There’s also a place to record information you learn about specific manufacturers or other historical tidbits that tie in with that individual heirloom. You can record information about 50 pieces in each journal.

Three new journals are available this month
My Family Heirloom Journal
My Museum Journal
My Historic Homes Journal

My Museum Journal and My Historic Homes Journal have four pages to record information about your visits to these historic sites. In the back is a page where you can list homes and museums that you’d like to visit in the future. In each of these journals, you can record information about 25 different sites.

All three journals are available on Amazon. To celebrate the release of these three journals, during February you can purchase them directly from the author and SAVE!

Until February 10th, you can get all three for only $20, or one for $6.99. (Regularly priced $10.99 each)

From February 11th, through the end of the month, all three are $23, or one for $7.99.

Get yours now and save!

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Flora’s Diary # 9

Flora’s Diary is a new historical fiction short story I’m working on, set in the countryside outside Fayetteville, Arkansas in 1948. Any historical tidbits mentioned in the story are true facts, except for Mr. Franklin who is a fictional addition. The conversations that take place and Flora’s thoughts and actions are all fictional creations from this author’s brain as she tries to honor Flora and keep her memories alive. Dear Flora, please excuse me if I’ve erred in any way in this historical re-creation.

I’m proud to be part of a group of authors that write for Tuesday Tales. Every week we write story snippets to a word prompt. Once a month we have a picture prompt. This week we write to the prompt ‘hideous.’

This is the last snippet from Flora’s Diary. I’ll be wrapping the story up and starting to edit and polish it. Next week we’ll start the new month out with a new story. We’re going to leave 1948 and hop back in time to the 1920’s. See you then. Don’t forget to check out the other fun story snippets from the other Tuesday Tales writers.

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Al was sick a few more days. Flora recorded that religiously in her little brown journal. A week later he was well enough that they were able to journey into Fayetteville and go to the show. Al returned to work and Flora kept tying more grapes, selling her eggs, washing her hair, doing the laundry, and visiting with the women in the community. Mildred, Aunt Lizzie Nolan, Mozelle Graham, Eutha, and Mable Crum were some of the women enjoying Flora’s company.

The cold lessened. The ice disappeared. The countryside began to warm up.

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A few days later Al came home from the factory. “Spinach is starting to come up. They’re looking for more workers. Want to get in a few days’ work?”

“Sure. Every extra nickel helps. When do they need us?”

“Tomorrow.”

“I’ll work. Take me into the washateria after work?”

“Certainly.”

After the supper dishes were washed and put away, Flora pulled the dirty laundry out of the hamper and started sorting it.

“We’re not going tonight, are we?” Al questioned.

“No. Tomorrow. It’ll save us some time since I’ll be at work with you.”

The next morning, Flora sat the breakfast dishes in the sudsy water in the dish pan. She pulled leftovers from the Frigidaire and started making two dinners. Al’s went in his lunch pail. Hers she placed in a crinkled paper bag that had seen many uses before this one.

By seven the sunlight was appearing over the horizon and spreading its light over the hills when Al and Flora pulled out of their driveway. By eight she was punching in at the factory – not a new experience, but not one she’d done for several months.

When the women walked back in from the fields at 4:30 that afternoon, Flora walked slower than when she’d arrived in the morning.

Al was at the car waiting for her. “Knees bothering you?”

“A tad. Haven’t been on my feet for that long at one time for a while. By the time we put in the garden next week, I’ll really be feeling it.”

She eased into the car and winced slightly as she settled on the leather bench seat.

Al looked at her closely. “Still want to do the wash tonight?”

“Need to. Sunday is Easter Sunday. Our best church clothes are in the laundry.”

“Just wondering if you wanted to pass. You’ve had a long day.”

Flora rubbed her belly. “No. Need to do it. But I’ll fix us some supper first, before we go.”

“A day in the spinach make you hungry?”

The corners of her mouth turned down in a pouty frown. “Not so much the day in the spinach as the old dog that got my dinner. Hideous, mangy looking thing. Suppose he was hungrier than I was. Although now I’m hungrier than it is.”

For more great story snippets, return to TUESDAY TALES here.

Return to TRISHA FAYE’S WEBSITE here.

FLORA’S DIARY #8

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Flora’s Diary is a new historical fiction short story I’m working on, set in the countryside outside Fayetteville, Arkansas in 1948. Any historical tidbits mentioned in the story are true facts, except for Mr. Franklin who is a fictional addition. The conversations that take place and Flora’s thoughts and actions are all fictional creations from this author’s brain as she tries to honor Flora and keep her memories alive. Dear Flora, please excuse me if I’ve erred in any way in this historical re-creation.

(This week and next week will be the last of Flora’s Diary. In February we’ll move on to a new story.)

I’m proud to be part of a group of authors that write for Tuesday Tales. Every week we write story snippets to a word prompt. Once a month we have a picture prompt. This week we write to the prompt ‘blue.’

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February kept moving along. Flora kept writing in her diary. Most events were fairly routine.

Warm and clear today.

Papa came at 11:30.

Mopped. Clean. Put more things in the cabinet.

Al brought home first beef from locker.

Some of what Flora recorded was out of the ordinary.

Went to all day doing at Baptist Church in Springdale.

Letter from Margie. They’re moving.

Gala (Flora’s daughter-in-law, Wade’s wife) to be operated on at 8 this morning.

Went to Hazel Luper’s for dinner for the first time.

Soon Flora was writing on March dates. On the evening of March 12th, she wrote:

Cold this morning. Apples froze in the cellar. Al gone to work. Saw no one today. Cold and bad weather. Sewed some. Tea towels. Al about sick with cold.

Flora sat in bed, reading back through some of her earlier entries. She turned to Al, who lay huddled in bed, thick quilts pulled up around his neck. “Look at this. Just two weeks ago, end of February I was writing about Skye’s coming to prune and I tied up a row of grapes.”

She flipped through the pages back to the current day. “And look here. Since then ‘blowing ice’, ‘snow real deep’, ‘most all the schools closed tomorrow, ‘no mail’, ‘no paper’, ‘all roads out of Fayetteville closed this morning’.”

Al shivered and burrowed deeper into the fluffy comforters. “Big change in two weeks. You’ve got it all. You record our whole lives there in that little bound volume of yours.”

“Sure do. Even…” she thumbed back a few pages. “Wrote here, ‘Our second beef roast from locker. Beef roast was good’.”

Al licked his lips. “Sure was a tasty roast. Not that I’m of a mind for eating right now. That black calf is good. Good flavor. Not greasy at all.”

Flora squinted her eyes and tipped her head in his direction. “Of course, you know that some of that deliciousness is due to the cook.”

“Naturally. Stands to reason when a man is married to the best cook in Washington County.”

“You charmer, you.” Flora swatted at his knee. She giggled as she kept reading through previous entries. “Here’s the day the horses got out. Oh, wasn’t that a chore getting them rounded back up! Sold some eggs to Leo Ball that day. Forty cents a dozen. And, oh…here’s the day that the women’s group met here at the house. First day it started blowing ice. Ola left her purse here. Says so right here.”

For more great story snippets, return to TUESDAY TALES here.

Return to TRISHA FAYE’S WEBSITE here.

FLORA’S DIARY #7

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Flora’s Diary is a new historical fiction short story I’m working on, set in the countryside outside Fayetteville, Arkansas in 1948. Any historical tidbits mentioned in the story are true facts, except for Mr. Franklin who is a fictional addition. The conversations that take place and Flora’s thoughts and actions are all fictional creations from this author’s brain as she tries to honor Flora and keep her memories alive. Dear Flora, please excuse me if I’ve erred in any way in this historical re-creation.

I’m proud to be part of a group of authors that write for Tuesday Tales. Every week we write story snippets to a word prompt. Once a month we have a picture prompt. This week we write to a picture prompt. Picture prompt weeks are quick reading, snippets are limited to 300 words. We get to choose from several pictures. I chose this one.

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Flora squeezed his hand in return. “You and me together against the world, with God on our side. That’s all we need.”

Al swiveled his head and gazed deep into Flora’s eyes. “You don’t mind I didn’t do anything fancy or mushy? You don’t mind I didn’t bring you any flowers?”

“Pshhhaw!” The sound burst from Flora’s lips before she could stop it. “If you would have paid the dear price for fresh flowers this time of year, then I’d be mad. Can’t see you spending good money for frivolous items.”

“Good to know. Wouldn’t want to spend the night in the dog house tonight.”

Flora leaned over and bumped his shoulder with hers. “Now you know we don’t have any dog house and you’d never spend the night there. Besides, I’m enjoying those new kitchen cupboards with their fresh paint a load more than I’d enjoy seeing fresh blooms for three days before they died.”

The dryer buzzed, signaling it’s time was done. Al stood up and went to check. When Flora saw him pulling the dried laundry out and putting it in the basket, she went and helped him fold.

Later that night she pulled out her diary. Earlier she’d written:

14th: Clear weather. Snow & ice melting slowly. Painted on cabinet again. Have the clothes sorted. Ready to go to Fayetteville to wash.

She added ‘Went to wash’ and tucked it in her nightstand drawer.

The next night, after a busy day, she added these words:

15th: Al finished painting the cabinet. Thord’s came at 2. We went to Fayetteville. Went to see Wade’s baby. I got him to sleep. Fern, Francis & Frank came tonite.

She smiled as she looked over and saw Al sound asleep, snoring up a storm. A good man beside me, family, and friends. That’s all I need for Valentine’s Day.

 

For more great story snippets, return to TUESDAY TALES here.

Return to TRISHA FAYE’S WEBSITE here.

Grandma Jones’ Kitchen – Cooking on a Wood Stove

Grandma Jones’ Kitchen began as a tribute to Bea Jones a year after her death. Family recipes and memories were compiled and printed in a small paperback book. Ten years later an aunt wanted more copies, but the entire first printing was sold and gone. This time we went back to the family, added more family recipes – some from the 1930’s – more pictures, and more memories – some about Bea (Mother or Grandma) and some about old time cooking.

The old stove featured on the front cover is one that Grandma Jones cooked on and my mother, Iona, learned to cook on as a small girl.

Here’s an excerpt from the revised Grandma Jones’ Kitchen – Cooking on a Wood Stove. (The paperback version is available now. An ebook version will be available by the end of the month.)

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Cooking on a Wood Stove

In today’s modern age, we’ve gotten spoiled. We set the oven to 350 degrees, place our dish inside and walk away feeling confident that the meal or dessert will bake as anticipated. Granted, some ovens vary and we may have learned that we need to set the dial slightly higher or lower than the called for temperature. We may have ovens that don’t heat as evenly as we’d like, causing us to rotate dishes partway through cooking. But all in all, cooking and baking on these modern contraptions is a lot easier than when Grandma Jones was baking for her passel of young children.

Even though it was seventy and eighty years ago when Grandma Jones was cooking on a wood stove, there are still some that cook that way. Although the ones cooking over wood burning stoves now are likely doing it by choice and not a necessity. Many people are working at living more self-reliant lives, less dependent on utilities and technology. Some are so far away from access to utilities that they live ‘off-grid’ – no electricity, no piped-in natural gas, no sewers or water lines.

A homesteading blog at countrysidenetwork.com shares:

“Here in the Upper Peninsula, the weather is fairly cold all the time, so the wood-burning cook stove is always running except in mid-summer. The first thing I do in the morning is light the stove. While the kindling is catching, I feed Muffin, our 15-year old cat. Then I add three or four pieces of wood, light the kerosene lamp, check the temperature outside and add larger logs to the fire. Now it’s time to put the coffee pot over the fire box. Then it’s back to the warmth of the bed. It takes about 20 minutes for the water to boil and another 10 minutes to perk. By the time the coffee is ready, the room is also warm.

I bake something almost every day. Since our refrigeration (an antique ice box is limited, I bake only one loaf of bread at a time. Cookies and biscotti are favorites around here. Dinner is usually started around 4 P.M., and I let the fire go out. The coals are ready to be knocked down into the ash pan by 9:00. Since I don’t want to mess with all the details when it’s cold in the morning, I lay a new fire, clear the stove top and fill the coffee pot at night. I’m ready for a new day.”

On a wood burning stove, you don’t turn it on or off with the twist of a knob. The fire needs to be started ahead of time, allowing the stove to heat up. For frying, boiling, or canning foods, you need a hotter stove. For simmering soups or chili, reheating leftovers, or cooking slow dishes, you’ll need a fire that burns at a low, steady heat for a long period of time. You’ll have to add wood during the cooking/baking process. You’ll also need to pay attention to keep proper heat levels to make sure your food doesn’t burn.

To cook with a wood burning stove, you need to learn to lay a fire, how to keep one going – at the heat range you need – how to cook on one, how to clean one, how to dispose of ash and you’ll also need to learn about woods. Not all woods are created equal when it comes to cooking in a cast iron stove. And no, a wood burning cook stove is a different animal than a wood-burning heat stove.

The PrepperProject.com shares this information about wood burning cook stoves:

“A cook stove has more dampers and draft regulators than a wood heat stove. Dampers and regulators on a cook stove control the amount of air that a fire receives. When the dampers are open, they allow more air to a fire and the fire burns hot and fast. When dampers are closed the air is restricted to the fire, and the fire burns slow and cooler. The dampers on a cook stove are typically located in the stove pipe, on the hob, beneath the firebox and near the oven. All dampers are opened fully when a stove is first lit. From there, the dampers and regulators are adjusted to control the fire and the heat. To hold a fire overnight or from one meal to the next, the pipe damper and all the stove dampers are closed. To cool a cook stove down quickly, all the dampers are opened to allow heat to escape.

For most cookstoves it takes about 15 or 20 minutes for the hob to heat up and be ready for cooking when the fire is first started. The type of wood used in a cook stove has a great effect upon how hot or how long a fire will burn. Small, dry pieces of wood are best for fast fires. Small pieces of green wood will slow a fire down. Poplar or pine burns cool and is considered “summer wood” because it won’t overheat a kitchen. Maple and cherry wood build heat fast but the heat doesn’t last. Hickory or oak wood burns hot and are good choices for frying or boiling water. Apple wood is my favorite wood to make a good hot fire.”

If you want to learn to cook on a wood burning stove, there’s a lot of helpful information online and in current books. Don’t get discouraged, it will take some practice – as do most things in life. But it is possible, you can master this skill. However, for myself and probably the rest of my family, we’ll just enjoy the memories we hear about and we’ll enjoy admiring Grandma Jones’ old cook stove as it reminds us of her life and her love.

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