Grandpa LeClercq was not out on the farm by himself. Grandma kept their home and provided farm-house meals. Many of my memories from the farm include tables full of food… including a variety of homemade pies. In the mid-fifties the farm-house did not have indoor plumbing other than a small hand pump in the kitchen… think chamber pots by night and out-house by day!
I have random memories of Grandma LeClercq and the farm…
- Grandma pulling the chamber pot out from under the bed so that my sister and I could get to it at night.
- A bowl of old fashioned Christmas candy set out where little hands could reach it.
- Grandma and Mom with Judy and I in the kitchen with some kind of “curling iron” they heated up on the stove, fussing with our hair.
- The central room of the house – the room in which Grandpa’s chair sat in the corner – with a long dining table down the center. Most visiting took place around that table.
Ok, it was at that table that one of my not-so-fond, but now very funny memories occurred! I hated green peas, still do! Back in the day of “you will eat some of everything,” I went to great lengths to figure out what to do about the peas! One holiday meal at the farm, I left an inch or two of milk in my glass and spit all the peas into that milk. “Mary, finish your milk!” Busted! No pie for me!
Grandma was a good cook and great baker. It is interesting that Mom was a more ambivalent cook – she cooked out of necessity but never seemed to really enjoy it. As soon as Judy was old enough she did much of the cooking and baking.
I will tell you about Grandma and Grandpa Bessler soon. In contrast, they lived in the city of Chicago. I loved visiting the farm – I was, and still am, more comfortable out in the country; and, despite the food-rules, it was a fun place to visit.
Here is Grandma’s recipe for Crumb Cake; Mom would make it as well. We all loved it!
2 cups flour
1 ½ cups sugar
3/4 cup shortening (Grandma always used lard, Crisco works)
Mix into crumbs. Reserve a small cup of crumbs for the top.
To the remainder of the crumbs, add and cream together:
¾ cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
2 tsp baking powder
Bake in a “slow” oven.