Of Christmas and Oysters

Image by Kate Baucherel from Pixabay

I am flabbergasted at the number of folks who enjoy oyster soup or stew as a traditional Christmas Eve staple, or on Christmas Day. This delicious, gelatinous gob of phylum Mollusca, (note my sarcasm) satisfies the bellies of many year-round, but especially during the Christmas season.

How you oyster lovers stomach eating them is beyond me! I get nauseous at the very thought. Still, in order to keep the Edgerton Enterprise readership highly educated in all matters of food and story, I present to you today- the history of the oyster.

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“Faith over Fear”, People of the Christmas Story: Zechariah

Welcome to today’s “Time in the Word”. Our scripture today comes from Luke 1:1-23. If you are reading this digitally you can simply click on the highlighted text, otherwise, I invite you to grab your bible and turn to Luke 1. In the coming weeks, we’ll discover how the people of the Christmas Story: Zechariah, Elizabeth, Mary, and Joseph chose “Faith over Fear”.

Our “Faith over Fear” Christmas bible adventure will focus on building our faith through trusting God. God fashions experiences in our lives to build trust. How was God building trust and growing Zechariah’s faith in the face of fear?

Zechariah Fast Facts: Reading Luke 1:1-10

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Thanks-full Recipes!

Image by Franz W. from Pixabay

Greetings and welcome to my most favorite time of the year, THANKSGIVING! YAHOO! I’ve got some oldies and some goodies recipes to share here in our Thanks-full recipes of Thanksgiving. Next year I’m going to have Thanksgiving recipes out 2 weeks before Thanksgiving instead of you getting them on Thanksgiving Eve.

We all have many things to be thankful for and I am thankful for all you kind readers who subscribe to the Edgerton Enterprise! The word meter is running, so I’ll quit my gabbing… onto the recipes! FREEZE! I almost forgot to share my favorite Youtube video about Thanksgiving. All you “Type A” folks are going to love “The Thanksgiving Letter: Marney” It makes me laugh so hard. I hope you get a laugh too… “Stackable!” “Regulation casserole size dish!”

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Give Thanks to the Lord

Welcome to today’s “Time in the Word”. I told you last week we’d finish up our Colossians passage, but I’ve got thankfulness on my mind with the Thanksgiving holiday coming up.

Our scripture today comes from Psalm 136, with our focus on verse 1. If you are reading this digitally you can simply click on the highlighted text, otherwise, I invite you to grab your bible and turn to Psalm 136:1, or I have enclosed the scripture below for you. How are you giving thanks to God? What are you thankful for?

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Algona Cook Book, Circa 1910: Part Four

Welcome back to another week of the Algona Cook Book, Circa 1910. I’ve had fun bringing this to you and I hope you’ve enjoyed reading some cooking history. This week we will begin with some salad recipes and then move on through to the “Scrap Basket”.

Whoever owned this cookbook wrote some recipes on the open pages and inside the jacket, as well as noting a few of their favorites by circling them or a circle with an X. The X with circle must have been his or her favorites! Here we go with some more great Algona Cook Book recipes!

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Algona Cook Book, Circa 1910: Part Three

Image Credit Shutterbug75 from Pixabay

Welcome back to the third week of the “Algona Cook Book, Circa 1910”. I hope you are enjoying reading some interesting cooking and baking “history”. I have spared you, for now, the section on “Reptiles” and will present to you at a later date. Bill Sandbulte gave me a dandy recipe to share, and that can be filed with the reptile section as well.


We begin this section with some “Medicinal Value of Vegetables”.

  • Tomatoes rouse torpid liver and do the work, ordinarily, of the doctor’s prescription. – I am sure you are very curious as to what a “torpid liver” might be. I was very tempted to take you on a detour, but you can read to your hearts content about torpid liver here. Dr. Kellogg will explain this malady from the way back year 1881. Enjoy!-M
  • Lettuce has a soothing, quieting effect upon the nerves and is an insomnia remedy.- I can’t imagine eating lettuce at midnight or during a panic attack.-M
  • Celery is an acknowledged nerve tonic and is more and more used in medical prescriptions.- E.C.D.-

Baked Cabbage with Cheese

Image by stanbalik from Pixabay

-This sounds very interesting! The cheese part got my attention.-M

Boil half a cabbage in boiling salted water until tender; drain and chop; bake in the alternating layer of cabbage and white sauce, with top layer of sauce and grated cheese and cracker crumbs, season with salt, pepper, and a little butter.- Bertha Hall, Cedar Rapids.- Sorry, she doesn’t mention a recipe for a white sauce. -M

Astorian Potatoes

Whip mealy potatoes to a powder with a fork; add one teaspoon of butter and a half cup of hot cream or milk, or more if needed, to make a creamy paste, then the beaten yolks of two eggs, one teaspoon salt, half saltspoon* pepper, and at last whip in the stiffly frothed whites. Heap on a buttered pie plate awash over with a little melted butter and brown lightly in oven.-Mrs. Geo. E. Clarke.

*Saltspoon! Yes, you read that correctly, before the day of free-flowing salt, salt was stored in a block. A piece of salt was broken off a larger block and then placed in small amounts in “salt-cellars” where the head of the house would dispense to you a small amount of precious salt with a saltspoon. Salt was expensive, and it easily absorbed moisture. Great care was taken not to waste salt. A saltspoon held a 1/4 teaspoon salt.

Fried Cucumbers

Cut off the skins from three good-sized cucumbers, slice lengthwise, in rather thick slices, lay in cold water one hour; wipe dry, dip in one beaten egg, then in fine cracker crumbs; season with salt and half saltspoon pepper; fry in deep fat until an ice light brown, drain, dray and serve at once. Delicious with fish.

Boston Baked Beans

Image by pixel1 from Pixabay

Soak one quart of beans in cold water overnight. In the morning put them into fresh cold water and simmer until soft enough to pierce with a pin, being careful not to let them get soft enough to break; then turn them into a colander and pour cold water through to rinse them. Pour boiling water over half a pound of salt pork, part fat, and part lean; scrape the rind until white. Place the beans in a bean pot, cut the rind into half-inch squares, bury the pork in the beans, leaving the rind only exposed. Mix in a cup one teaspoonful of mustard with one dessertspoon of molasses; fill the cup with cold water and when well-mixed pour over the beans and add enough more cold water to cover them. As the water boils away add more boiling water to keep them covered, until the last hour. Then remove the cover and let the pork crisp. Bake in a moderate oven for eight hours. Cold water should always be poured on at first to keep the beans whole. Many add half a teaspoon of soda to the water in which the beans are parboiled to destroy the acid in the skin of the bean. The mustard gives the beans a delicious flavor and also renders them more wholesome. – Mrs. George E. Clarke.

That’s it for this week. Next week we will begin in “Salads” and work our way down to the “Scrap Basket”. Till next time here is to good food, good friends and a good life.

Algona Cook Book, Circa 1910: Part Two

Welcome back to Algona Cook Book, Circa 1910: Part Two. If you missed part one you can catch that here. Today we get to delve into some interesting recipes. I should warn you ahead of time, as will antique recipes they are short, they assume you should know what to do and many times the recipe is vague on temperature and time.

The previous owner of this cookbook liked three things:

  • salad dressing recipes
  • Minnehaha cake
  • writing her other recipes on the blank sheets within the book

Let’s begin with some soups from the start of the cookbook and we will work our way through. I hope you enjoy these deliciously fun and sometimes crazy recipes; it was 1910.


Corn Soup

Score kernels of six ears of corn and scrape pulp, simmer 20 minutes in a pint of water. Remove and rub the pulp through a sieve. Scald a pint of milk with a slice of onion and parsley. Remove the seasoning and add milk to the pulp. Add two tablespoons each of butter and flour rubbed smooth. Serve with whipped cream. – Mrs. M Stephens.

Amber Soup

Brown three pounds of beef from the hind shin, cut in small pieces, put in part of the marrow from the bone, add the fourth pound of ham and shinbone with three quarts of cold water, and heat to the boiling point, skim and let simmer two hours; add a fowl, an onion and half a carrot, cut in slices, like a stalk of celery, a sprig of parsley, three cloves and a piece of red pepper pod, and let simmer until the fowl is tender; then remove the fowl and strain off the broth. When cold remove the fat and pour off the upper part of the stock, avoiding the settlings. Stir into the stock the slightly beaten whites and crushed shells of three eggs, stir until the soup boils, then let boil five minutes, let stand ten minutes, then skin and strain through a cheesecloth, re-heat and add between one and two teaspoonfuls of Kitchen Bouqute® (still around and cooking since 1873!) and serve.- Nobody wanted to claim authorship of this one.


Image by Rick Bella from Pixabay

Planked White Fish

Have a hard maple plank about 18×12 inches. S[read the board lightly with fresh lard, cut the fish down the back, and lay flat on the board with the skin-side down. Prepare mashed potatoes same as for the table and bank them all around the edge of the fish on the board. After baking dress with salt and paper and baste often with melted butter. Bake one hour in moderate over (Ooh, another typo… it’s supposed to be “oven”, so glad mistakes were happening back then too). Serve on the plank. (Return to oven until potatoes are slightly brown.)- Mrs. Frank Nicoulin.

-I was pleasantly surprised to see plank cooking way back then!-M

Oyster Turnovers

Make a rich biscuit dough, cut in thin rounds, lay oysters on half and turn the other half over. Bake and serve warm with a cream sauce using the juice of oysters. Chopped ham may be used in place of oysters. -Mrs. E. B. Tuttle


Image by RitaE from Pixabay

Veal Loaf

Twenty-five cents’ worth (wouldn’t get much nowadays) of veal and beef chopped fine, three well-beaten eggs, two cups rolled crackers, three tablespoons milk, one teaspoon pepper, two eggs. Chop the meat finely, mix it all together, make it into a roll, and bake for two hours.- Mrs. Lester Willson.


One cupful (minced chicken or veal, previously boiled until tender, the unbeaten whites of two eggs, salt, and pepper to taste. Make into small balls and boil in salted boiling water for just four minutes. PPalce on platter and cover with a sauce made as follows: Two tablespoonfuls flour, two of butter, three-fourths of a cupful of stock, three-fourths of a cupful cream, and half cupful of sliced almonds blanched. Cook until it thickens.-Mrs. L. D. Bovee

Alright friends. We will have to stop here for this week, but tune in next week for more recipes from the Algona Cookbook, Circa 1910. Till then, here is to good food, good friends and a good life.

Algona Cookbook, Circa 1910: Part One

Once again I managed to scrounge up an ancient cookbook! This is by far my oldest dated cookbook and I was tickled to find the Algona Cook Book, circa 1910. Blue cloth covering the front and back covers, stapled-open spine, with cream-colored pages with black lettering and unknown font. Interspersed between recipes and “Order of Departments” lie timeless ads from various local businesses. In a word- FUN!

This recipe book couldn’t be bedtime reading material. Far too engaging and randomly humorous, I knew this cookbook was to be shared for light suppertime banter or relaxing moments toward the day’s end. My husband kindly entertains my lively reading and the guffaws that generally follow. I just can’t stop reading and enjoying gone-by-days when they all lived more focused on day-to-day living in the simplicity of time and the hard work of staying alive.

Most folks had a sincere grasp of their eternity and lived their best alongside their neighbor. Those days appear to be slipping fast into the abyss of the current “enlightenment” and society’s ever-growing and purposed “divisional” potholes. Just leaves me sad. So, when I find something that lightens a day, I share my book-bound joy with any listening ear. Well, to be honest… sometimes they become captives.

A trip back to 1910

As I opened the cover of the Algona Cook Book (I know “cookbook” is one word but grammar has evolved from the dictates of 1910 grammar) the Ladies of St. Thomas’ Episcopal Church, Algona, Iowa give to you a collection of practical, tried recipes contributed by various Algona housekeepers.

Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

Dewel and Clark, of Algona, IA, were the printers of this cookbook. Well before the days of the church cookbook committee madly typing out recipes on their old “Smith and Corona” using “white-out”, “correction tabs” or that special pencil and eraser and whisk type attachment at the other end of the pencil. If that’s not dating me, I don’t know what is!

Here is a lovely quote that stirs my heart and gives needed inspiration to those of us gals who “keep house”…

“And above all, let the women, pretty and plain, married and single, study the art of cookery. If you are an artist in the kitchen you will always be esteemed.”

-Elizabeth and Her German Garden.

How’d we get on the subject Elizabeth?

Now, perhaps you are curious as to who “Elizabeth” is, and what of “Elizabeth and Her German Garden“? This was a very popular book in 1886 and the first part of the 20th century. Elizabeth von Arnim was born Mary Annette Beauchamp. Living in Australia till she was three and then the family moved to England. Mary married a German Count and became a Countess. She lived on her husband’s family manor in Nassenheide, Pomerania.

The book “Elizabeth and Her German Garden” was about the main character “Elizabeth”, who gently made fun of her husband and others within the family. It details her efforts to develop a garden on the estate and the humorous mistakes she frequently made. Elizabeth wrote her book under a pseudonym as she didn’t feel her husband would look fondly on her commercial writing, much less her many satire referrals of her husband.

Her first husband Count Henning eventually died, leaving her with 5 children. She struck up a relationship with H. G. Wells which lasted three years and then finally she met and married Frank Russell, who was a brother of the philosopher Bertrand Russell.

Order of departments

Photo by Michele Bruxvoort

Order of departments was 1910 fancy talk for the “table of contents”. Just saying “order of departments” makes me feel like someone very proper and ordered was at the helm of the editorial committee. There wasn’t going to be any slack or lack of decorum.

Order Of Departments

  1. -Soups.
  2. -Fish.
  3. -Meats.
  4. -Vegetables.
  5. -Pickles, Preserves, and Jellies.
  6. -Salads.
  7. -Eggs.
  8. -Cheese Dishes. – (HELLO! Yes, please!)-M
  9. -Chafing Dish Reciepts. (Yes, that’s a typo somebody missed… Ooo, bet that ruffled Mrs. or Mr. proper and orderly)
  10. -Bread.
  11. -Sandwiches.
  12. -Doughnuts, Cookies, and Cakes.
  13. -Candies.
  14. -Beverages.
  15. -Ices and Ice Creams.
  16. -Scrap Basket. (This should be interesting)-M

Friends, I have come to the end of my allotted space for writing. Tune in next week as I begin to share some very interesting recipes and quaint old ads from the Algona Cook Book. Till then, here is to good food, good friends and a very good life.

Dear Mrs. Yoder: Recipes from an Amish Cookbook- Part Three

I hope you have enjoyed our little tour through “Dear Mrs. Yoder: Recipes from an Amish Cookbook”. Today well will be sharing a few more recipes from their unique and fun cookbook! Sometimes when reading some of the “older ladies” recipes, I chuckle and wonder what was meant by a “hot” oven or a “moderate” oven. I jokingly want to write a letter.

The letter

Dear Mrs. Yoder,

I am writing you to tell you how much I have enjoyed reading “Our Favorite Recipes” by the Log Cabin School. I have also delighted in the successful results of your many and delicious recipes. To be certain, one must not be a novice in the kitchen as your vernacular lends to that of a seasoned cook, baker, and canner.

However, I have encountered several instances where I am left scratching my “English” head in wonder. Your temperature directions (ahem… lack thereof) lead me to wonder what degrees of Fahrenheit I should set my sights on.

Recognizing that you operate from sticks of wood. And this “wood” varies in nature from oak, ash, maple, and so on. I am sure that each wood brings its own “heat” as well as the timing of the heat with the number of “sticks of wood” required.

Seeing that I operate with an “electric” oven, I am wondering if you have a conversion chart for wood type, quantity to achieve a certain temperature? Do I need a “rip-roaring fire” or just some good hot coals? Do 8 sticks of Oak get me 350°? You can understand my angst.

I’m sure you can see our “worldly cooking divide”. Any help from you would be greatly appreciated. I will continue to do my “best English guessing” and “press on” cooking through your lovely cookbook.

Kindest Regards,


More Amish Recipes

Image by picturegal from Pixabay

Sour Cream Pumpkin Coffee Cake – Mrs. Roseanna Miller

  • 1/2 c. butter
  • 3/4 c. sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 c. flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 c. sour cream
  • 1 3/4 c. cooked and mashed pumpkin or squash
  • 1 slightly beaten egg
  • 1/3 c. sugar
  • 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

Streusel topping:

  • 1 c. firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 c. butter
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 c. chopped nuts

STREUSEL: Cut brown sugar, butter, and cinnamon together until blended. Stir in chopped nuts.

CAKE: Cream butter, 3/4 cup sugar, and vanilla in mixer bowl. Add 3 eggs, beating well. Combine flour, baking powder, and soda. Add dry ingredients to the butter mixture alternately with sour cream. Combine pumpkin, beaten egg, 1/3 cup sugar, and pie spice. Spoon half of the batter into a 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking pan; spread to corners. Sprinkle half of the Streusel cover batter. Spread pumpkin mixture over streusel. Carefully spread the remaining batter over the pumpkin mixture. Sprinkle remaining streusel over top.. Bake in slow 325° oven for 50 to 60 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.

Lard Can Apple Butter- Mrs. Elenora Shrock

Cut up apples in half; cut the core out. Fill lard can with apples within 3 inches of the top. Then put 10 pounds of sugar over them. Add 1-quart Karo® syrup and cover. Let stand overnight. The next morning DO NOT UNCOVER! Put on the stove. When it starts to cook, have heat low enough to keep on cooking for 3 hours. Then put through a colander and cook 1 1 1/2 hours or less. – I’m not sure you can find a “lard can” in today’s market, much less feel confident in using it over direct heat! Find a tall cooking pot that should do just fine.-M

Mock Ham Loaf- Mrs. Perry Otto

-Here you go hot dog lovers… one more use for the hot dog. Enjoy!

  • 1 lb. hot dogs, ground
  • 2 lbs. hamburger
  • 2 c. cracker crumbs
  • 2 beaten eggs
  • 3/4 c. brown sugar – I knew it! There had to be something in this recipe that makes you want to eat it-M
  • 2 tbsp. vinegar
  • 1 tsp. dried mustard
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • dash of pepper

Mix hot dogs, hamburger, cracker crumbs, and eggs. Combine sugar, vinegar, mustard, salt, and pepper with 3 cups water. Add 1/2 cup syrup to the meat mixture. Place in pan and pour the remaining syrup over top. Bake in 350° oven for 1 1/2 hours.

And that friends, is a wrap on my three-part Amish recipe series. Hope you enjoyed a slice of the Amish cooking life. Till next time. Here is to good food, good friends and simply delicious life.

Dear Mrs. Yoder: Recipes from an Amish Cookbook- Part Two

We are back again with some fabulous Amish recipes in “Dear Mrs. Yoder: Recipes from an Amish Cookbook”. They are sure to please in both interest and deliciousness. I look forward to delivering to you more unique and yummy, tummy tempting Amish recipes. Enjoy!

Sourdough Griddle Cakes- Mrs. Elton Jr. Miller

Image by Tabeajaichhalt from Pixabay
  • 1 tbsp. yeast
  • 2 c. warm water
  • 2 c. whole wheat four
  • 1/4 c. cornmeal
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tbsp. water
  • 1 tbsp. honey
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp. cooking oil

Dissolve yeast in 2 cups water; add sugar to yeast. Add flour and cornmeal; beat well. Cover and let stand at room temperature overnight. In the morning dissolve the baking powder in water; then mix the rest of the ingredients.

Buckwheat Pancake Mix- Miriam Mischler

You’ll be ready to roof your house after these hearty pancakes… or raise a barn- whatever you’ve got time for!-M

  • 8 c. sifted white flour
  • 4 c. buckwheat flour
  • 4 tbsp. salt
  • 3/4 c. baking powder (this recipe has to do some heavy lifting!)
  • 3/4 c. sugar

Mix ingredients and store in an airtight container. When ready to use, add 1 egg, 1 cup milk, and 2 tablespoons melted shortening for each 1 1/2 cups pancake mix. Mix well and fry on a hot griddle.

White Bread- Amelia R. Mishler

Image by congerdesign from Pixabay

WARNING! This bread recipe will make 6-7 loaves!

  • 6 c. liquid (all water or 1 cup scaled milk plus water or some potato water) -Go for the potato water!-M
  • 1 c. instant mashed potatoes
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 3 tbsp. bulk yeast or 3 pkg. dry yeast
  • 1 c. oil
  • 2 tbsp. salt
  • 15-18 c. bread flour -Yep, Amelia isn’t kidding, you read 15-18 cups.-M

Pour hot liquid over instant potatoes. Stir in sugar, salt, and oil. Add yeast and enough flour to whisk or beat for a few minutes. Use a spoon to stir in additional flour; then knead until just before it becomes sticky. Let rise once; then form into 6 or 7 loaves. Let rise again. Bake in 350° oven for 30 minutes.

Biscuits Supreme- Edna Mae Miller

This is my F A V O R I T E biscuit recipe. I make sure to fold the dough over several times making many dough layers to get the pull-apart, butter hiding, yummy biscuits! Enjoy!

  • 2 c. flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • 1/2 c. shortening
  • 2/3 c. milk

Sift dry ingredients together. Cut in shortening until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add milk all at once and stir, just until dough follows fork around bowl Roll 1/2 inch thick. Cut with biscuit cutter. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet in a hot oven for 10 to 12 minutes. Makes 16 medium biscuits.

Schnitz Pie- Mrs. Harry Mishler

Image by congerdesign from Pixabay

Okay, before we get in a fight over is it SCHNITZ or SNITZ, I need you to know that I’ve seen the Amish spell it both ways. I also will enclose this YouTube video and this gal has it spelled both ways… which is kind of crazy. You can view her video here. Basically schnitz is dried apples.

  • 1 lb. dried apple schnitz
  • 1 qt. cold water
  • 2 tbsp. cinnamon
  • 3 c. sugar
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • grated rind and joice of 1 orange
  • pie pastry

Put the shcnitz and the water into a saucepan; cook to a soft pulp. Add cinnamon, sugar, salt, orange juice, and orange peel. Mix well. Set aside to cool. Line a 9- inch pie pan with pastry and fill with the schnitz. Cover top with pastry and cut in several slits. Bake at 450° for 10 minutes then reduce heat to 350° and bake 30 minutes longer.

Friends I am close to running out of space. Stay tuned next week for the last of my Amish recipes… well, at least for a little while. Until next week. Here is to good food, good friends and a great life!