Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Mother in the Kitchen [Stories from Tried and True Recipe book]

Let me start with some genealogical data, so that you can place my mother in her time and place. She was born in DeSoto, Missouri on 6 March 1891. Her father had a photographer's studio there. They moved to St. Louis in 1900. Her father had a job with Polar Wave — an ice manufacturing company. He serviced the ice-making machines that were on display during the St. Louis fair of 1904l

Mother went to Harris Teachers college (a 2-year normal school at that time) and went on to get her bachelor's degree from the University of Chicago. This places her as Victorian-Edwarding in upbringing and as having a much higher education than did most women of her time.

Adelle in 1930.

She taught elementary school (with a brief stint as a high school teacher) before she married my father in 1925. (There were divorced about 1953). I am the older of their two surviving children — both girls.

Mother was an odd mixture of Victorian style domination plus repression and a person with a very modern outlook. These characteristics are important to her domestic outlook.

Until the fall of 1940 we always had live-in "help." They did some of the cleaning, some of the laundry, and some of the cooking. Mother worked with the help, but she also took more time off than a full-time housekeeper would have been able to choose.  As to cooking, I believe that she planned the meals, but that the help did most of the cooking.

Mother did know how to cook; sometimes she showed the help how she wanted something done and sometimes she learned a kitchen technique from the help. She became good friends with the woman who lived with us from 1934 to about 1937 and corresponded with her and visited with her until Marzella died.

Marzella was followed by a young girl who had come to St. Louis from Kentucky. Mother taught Edna many of mother's kitchen knowledge. Mother also helped Edna with her night-school homework. I remember many afternoons at the big table doing my homework while Edna did hers before she went off to her night-school classes. Mother was always just on hand to answer questions from either of us — but we did the work! Mother showed us how to look things up, she explained words and concepts, but she didn't do our work for us.  Edna had a high-school certificate before whe left us to get married. In the1930s that made Edna a well-educated person,

As to kitchen skills, mother-the-teacher thought that her daughters should know how the kitchen worked. So we helped prepare the applesauce, we cut-up the tomatoes for the chili-sauce Aunt Olive made for our two households. We washed up during the jelly making. Little tasks, but we did know our way around the kitchen.

Mother wasn't particularly an innovative cook but all the foods she prepared were well made. She used to ask us what vegetable we should have for the next meals. Our choices were always peas, carrots, or peas and carrots. We never suggested green beans or tomatoes; they were probably already on the menu. Sometimes she served spinach or turnips — my sister and I never ate either.

She wasn't imaginative, but she did like good food, so she often asked friends for recipes she had enjoyed. My sister has her recipe notebook, but it is still stored from moving. When it is unpacked we will scan it, and more recipes will become available for sharing.

I found 5 recipes in Tried and True that were found, collected, or created by my mother. What follows is the story of each recipe, followed by the recipe itself.


I don't know why this was in mother's notebook and I'm even less sure why I copied it into mine! We didn't drink alcoholic beverages. This wasn't from principals – we just didn't drink. I believe both my parents grew up in "dry" households, so it may have been childhood attitudes. At least partly it was a legal issue; I was seven or eight when Prohibition was repealed and my parents were basically law-abiding people. But they didn't drink after repeal either.

I suspect mother wanted to be able to serve something to any friend who might want a drink. And I suspect I copied it to my cookbook when I married, in case I needed to know how to offer a drink. I'm not sure either one of us ever used this recipe.

Sherry Cobbler       Adelle Strickler (mother)

Put 1 tbsp. sugar in each glass
Add sherry until glass is half full then add
crushed ice Fill up glass with


So there it is — mother's version of the high life!


Mother's primary care doctor gave this recipe to mother about 1939 to 1941. Before it became an 'in' thing, he was weaning mother to a low-fat diet. You will notice that he suggests mineral oil in order to lower the fat. Today olive oil is a "good" fat, so I have substituted olive oil for the mineral oil.

French Dressing           Dr. Rosenfeld,, c. 1940

Beat together with a Dover beater
1 can Campbell’s Tomato Soup
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 scant tsp. paprika
1 tbsp. Worcestershire Sauce
3/4 cup mineral olive oil
1/2 cup vinegar

Drop 1 clove garlic (optional) into the mixture. Leave garlic for a few days then remove.

Quick and easy to prepare. And I don't know of a better tasting recipe for a salad dressing of this type!


"Aunt Jo" was the aunt of a college friend. They were "suite mates" at the University of Chicago: two girls from St. Louis, one from Kansas City, and the fourth from Memphis. The remained good friends all their lives.

Mother only served this vegetable dish as a party food. Since it requires some preparation and presentation I can understand that in this case. But that was her attitude for most of these recipes; they were "company" dishes.

Spinach Ring Aunt Jo  (Anita Hines’ aunt)

Preheat oven to 300°F
Finely chop
2 cups cooked spinach
Add 1 tsp. grated onion which has been browned in
1 tbsp. butter Season with
1/2 tsp. paprika Mix in
2 egg yolks, well beaten
2 cups medium White Sauce 
2 egg whites, stiffly beaten
Place in buttered ring mold which has been dusted with
fine dry bread crumbs Place ring mold in a pan of hot water and bake in moderate (350°F) oven for 20 minutes. Remove from mold and serve with
Peas and Carrots


Mother found this recipe in a "woman's magazine" Christmas issues — in 1932 or 1933. I was always surprised that they published it at that time, because the ingredients were expensive in those days.

Mother baked them for family and friends every Christmas from the first year she made them. My sister continued the tradition; I also baked them until the family got too small. I had never met any one else who had ever know of them until I brought them to the local genealogy meeting in January of this year.

Golden Bars Adelle Strickler (Mother)

Preheat oven to 350° F. Prepare shallow pan
Melt 3/4 cup Canola Harvest in a saucepan in which the batter is to be mixed. Remove melted margarine or butter from heat. Sift together
1-1/2 cups sifted flour
2 tsp. baking powder Stir into the melted shortening with
2 cups brown sugar
2 eggs, well-beaten
1 tsp. vanilla
3/4 cup walnuts, chopped
Spread in shallow pan (12- x 8-inch) which has been greased and lined with wax paper. Bake in moderate oven (350°F) for 30 to 35 minutes, or until surface springs back when pressed lightly
Cool; cut into bars about 1- x 3-1/2 inches.
Makes about 25 bars

Note that Canola Harvest is my cooking fat of choice. I believe the original called for butter.

The next two "recipes" are more a matter of processes then they are actual recipes.


This was the single "fancy dish" that mother served as a family meal. I don't think she considered it to be fancy. It was once a very common way of preparing an economical cut. Beef Round isn't so economic these days — most of it goes into the every popular hamburger trays, so the rest is fairly expensive. And butchers don't prepackage round as steaks. But most butchers will cut it this way if you ask for it.

Smothered Round Steak Adelle Strickler (Mother)

Prepare seasoned flour:
For each serving mix
about 1/4 tsp. to 1 tsp. of the seasonings of your choice.*
Pound the steak with a meat pounder.  Then pound in the seasoned flour on each side of the steak.
Add 1 to 3 tbsp. unsalted butter to a skillet. Brown the steak well on each side. Add about 1/8 to 1/4 inch water to the skillet. Bring to boil and then lower to a simmer. Cover skillet and simmer until steak is fork tender.

Remove steaks to a platter
Add water to the pan juices and reduced to gravy consistency. I pour the gravy over the steaks before serving, but you can put it into a gravy boat if desired.

* I vary my seasonings according to what I have in the rest of the meal. I may use lemon pepper, sage, thyme, savory, various mixed seasonings such as meat rubs, rosemary; or any combination of the above. You want your steak to be well flavored without needing much in the way of seasoning when served.

Note: this recipe wasn't copied from Mother's notebook. She never wrote it down. I did, early in my housekeeping days, and then modernized it to this form, as I worked with it.


And finally, here is mother's one creation. No one needs a recipe for an ice cream soda — right? But, outside of our family,  I don't hear of people using this combination of ingredients. It is my favorite form of float.

Vanilla Ice Cream Soda    Addelle Strickler (mother)

For each serving
1 to 3 scoops vanilla ice cream OR French vanilla ice cream Fill glass with
RED cream soda*

* Kroger “Big K” or Vess (if you can find it. Vess come from the St. Louis area). There may be others. Red Cream soda has a much different taste than the brown type.

There will be more recipes from mother's cookbook later, when my sister has unpacked it.

And there will be other blogs from Tried and True in days to come.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Musing and Lessons from the July tasks for Genealogy Do-Over 2017

I began the 2017 Genealogy Do-Over with discussions of how to handle genealogy work when chronic illness strikes. My next tasks were organizing the information I currently hold on the direct lines in my three trees and in synchronizing that data between two databases. I also initiated some plans to ensure that my jobs: consistency checks; research; reentering older research; and learning tasks would continue to advance in an orderly manner.

This month these techniques have continued to work fairly well. The last two weeks in July were plagued by those allergy attacks. Some days I have slept almost all the time; on those days all I managed was a simple consistency check. On other days, I could work, but I couldn't concentrate; some jobs were just too large. On those days I would stop working on the "difficult" jobs and turn to simpler jobs. Some days I was limited to questions and answers on the internet (some of my learning tasks are solved by consulting one of the genealogy orientated groups on Facebook, for example). In this way I have managed to achieve at least one of my stated objectives on almost every working day; and I was able to turn most days into a working day.

Some of my learnings have been surprising. I discovered that I was using my rotation checklist as my To-Do list. The rotation list was developed as a check list, to ensure that I keep tasks going in as even a manner as possible. It became a ToDo list because it was easier for me to reach it on my computer. I feel my To-Do list should have consist of stated goals as to where I am going and what I hope to accomplish, and that the check list should simply keep those goals proceeding in a timely manner. It has become my habit to make a running comment on what I am doing as I work with the check list. As a temporary notation, this is fine. But each day, I need to transfer the comments to the relevant research log. After all, that is why we have research logs.

Since my very earliest work in genealogy, I have tried to keep research logs. I understand why they exist. But I fail to find a form that fits my personal working habits. This is another example of that problem. This morning I began an attempt to fix this situation. Today has been one of those "difficult jobs" days; I didn't get very far today. But I will continue to work with this until I manage to understand how to make this work. I have been "misusing" my checklist; but, on the affirmative side, I do have data that can be moved to the appropriate spots of my genealogy files, and I have recognized a problem and have started to work with it.

When a blogged about where I was planning to go in July, I assumed that I would return to "keeping up" with the Genealogy Do-Over assignments; that didn't happen. My DoOver notebook (which contains Thomas's monthly suggestions, various teaching materials that support those suggestions, and my related blogs — and sometimes Facebook discussions from the Do-Over group there) is up-to-date and in proper order. It remains a good source for quick review of learning goals and learning plans and achievements.

But I find that I haven't touched the June and July goals; I am still actively setting up my Research Toolbox, an assignment from May. (I know that a Toolbox is never static; some links will prove unhelpful and will be discarded; new links will be found and added. But something fairly comprehensive must be set up before I even have a Research Toolbox.)

WHEN I achieve goals isn't important to me. But I have been attempting to keep my early month and end-of-month blogs in step with the assignments of the month. That is no longer my blogging goal. I will continue with the two blogs a month entries, recording my monthly progress; but I will no longer be concerned with keeping up. I will take all the time I need on an assignment, before I move on the the next one.

My active research goals show the least advancement. I believe that this will usually be the case. The physical search of my house has been stalled because of allergies. I have emptied the four file drawers I mentioned in an earlier blog, but have not yet finished disposing of their content. My next step will be to expand the search to some recycled legal-size hanging file folder boxes and the the many "look at these later" plastic bags in hidden corners of the house. My query about a possible cradle-roll connection to the Methodist church is waiting for an answer. (I will give them a slightly longer curtesy wait, before I attempt to convince them that I am asking serious questions.)

I did use an "easy access" tool which found some new documentation for my children's father. Using the hints at Ancestry led me to some documents I hadn't known about. This not only allowed me to add some information to Joe's profile, it provided some new search locations to be added to my Research Toolbox.

Although I'm "stuck" in months five and six, all in all, I feel that month seven has been pretty productive.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Halfway Through July

— And I a very happy camper! I'm feeling truly productive because something positive has been happening almost every day. Nothing huge has occurred — no brick walls have fallen in and I am still mainly involved in clean-up work.

There are over 3500 names in my original database; almost everyone of these names has at least one source attached (a very few are currently memory only); and most of the sources are more"valuable" than the three "springboard" sources that built the core of that database when I began serious work in genealogy almost 10 years ago. About 100 of these names have been copied into my newer, companion database. This leaves a long list of un-transferred data.

Now that the framework of basic procedures is in place, transfer of information is done smoothly and with reasonable speed. The instructions on procedures are clear to my genealogy heirs; if I don't finish this task, they will be able to do so — if they wish to follow up on all these people. As to "reasonable" speed: I'm not wasting time on statistics, but my worksheet indicates that I am transferring from one to three people most days.

 I transfer each person "by hand" — copying each data set by direct keyboarding into the newer database. I proofread the data in each database to be sure that they agree with each other and to remove any typing mistakes. (A review of some early correspondence indicated that this was attitude from the very beginning of my work; I still feel that it has served me well.) This "hands-on" approach also frees the creative side of me to come up with new suggestions as to areas of approach. It is a slow approach, but I feel that accuracy is more important than speed.

The first half of 2017 was devoted to organization: I did no research and I was not active in learning experiences. Now I am freeing up time for both these activities: life has some added sparkle to it. At this time, most of my learning is solo work. There are finer points concerning the use of both databases. I need to learn about these. And there are those areas Thomas MacEntee has us working on. So I'm reading the on-line manuals for both databases and viewing presentations about these techniques. And I'm following various discussion groups that are centered around the data bases and others that are centered around the more general techniques. I am LEARNING NEW techniques (she says, skipping around the room).

As to advancing my research: in the course of working on my first self-appointed task, I am making GREAT advances — in cleaning house! Somewhere in this house I am saving a copy of my original birth certificate (long form, no longer being issued by the state), a copy of my college transcript, and a large photo-portrait of my father's parents which was created before I was born. I know where these were originally stored, but they appear to have been moved — WHERE are they now?

I went to those two two-drawer files where I had originally stored these important papers. One file drawer at a time, I am emptying all the contents, piling the hanging-file folders in a stack on the guest bed beside a plastic bag of the loose materials found in that drawer. The contents of one drawer have been sorted, mostly discarded, and the few "keepers" have been filed. I am now about halfway through the second drawer.

What I am finding is financial records from the 1980s: checks, bills, account statements. I have found between 5 and 10 papers worth saving, either for nostalgic value or for genealogy purpose. Not much research here, but it IS a good housekeeping move. I have two more drawers to clear in this part of the house. If I am still missing the papers, my husband and I will scour the rest of the house looking for those "check these out later" boxes and bags that procrastinators are so fond of. We shall probably have recycled tons of paper (a hundred pounds?) by the time I do find these missing materials.

I work on relatively small tasks at each sitting, but there is variety in my work which makes me feel better. Tiny steps, but they add up to jobs having been struck off my ToDo lists (and they also add new ideas to those ToDo lists for later action). Some jobs are "on hold" but no area feels "stuck"; I know that I am making progress and I know what next thing to do in order to keep things moving.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Goals for Month 6 (and I hope, the final make-up post for 2017)

Evaluating Evidence — "Go-Over" Style
If you are reviewing your existing research, it may be difficult to evaluate evidence if you haven't cited sources. In addition some genealogy database software programs make it difficult to evaluate evidence. Determine the best method for your current data; it may actually help to use a program suc as Evidentia, Clooze, or one of the other evidence evaluation software packages.

I am on fairly firm ground here, because I DO have source citations and I already use Evidentia. I do need to learn to be sensitive as to the correct time to use this skill. My research logs may point me toward the correct time; I just need to stay alert to the need for this skill.

As an aside, I use Evidentia because of my tendency to become bogged down in details. This particular program helps me to extract each available detail and at the same times keeps the information organized in a manner that avoids information overload.

Reviewing Online Education Options — "Do-Over" Style
Review the "RESOURCES Free Online Educational Resources" (opens in PDF) and consider creating an Educational Plan. Start with small goals for this year and then look for webinars, videos, and other online resources that can help you to achieve your goals.

Again, I have always practiced Online Education, but not in a planned manner. I am able to name many of my early mentors (and I am very grateful to them). My current goal is to study the above resource list and create my plans.

Month Five Goals

In May I was so involved in the work on clearing up my direct lines that I neglected to study and write up the goals for Month 5. Now that I am allowing myself to engage in other activities, I have been going over my Do-Over notebook. I have printed up and inserted materials that I had neglected to add to the notebook, and in this way discovered this neglected task.

To-Do List for Month 5
Citing Sources: If you own a copy of Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace, read Chapters 1 and 2. Doing so will help you understand how source citations are constructed and they are important to genealogy research.

Even though I have used citations from the start of my work with our genealogies, I have chosen to quote and work with the "Do-Over" assignment, rather than the "Go-Over" form. I don't have an in-depth understanding of how source citations are created. I understand the need for source citations, but I seem to be "tone-deaf" to the construction theory.

The citation template that I currently use is based on the "Practical Citation" developed by Ben Sayer. When I read his article, I realized that I could follow his guidelines and create a citation that I could understand. As I mentioned in an earlier blog, I recently added some fields suggested by one of the genealogy software databases I was testing. The additional fields seem to be a good idea; they are a part of my citation template — AND I do not use them, because I do not understand them.

Practical Citations fill the basic needs of using source citations. They leave a record as to where you have been and what you found that can be retraced by you and be people who may be following your work. They do not cover the fine details which appear in Elizabeth Shown Mills examples and they have only one format, which is used wherever a citation appears.

They will do for now, but they are not scholarly. They would not do for use in a publication such as those appearing in the NGS publications.

I plan to continue to study chapters 1 and 2 from Evidence Explained until I have reached an understanding. Then I can gradually reformat each type of citation and use the new template to upgrade my current citations.

I see this as a matter of growth rather than as a duplication of effort. Without Practical Citations, my work would be unsourced. When I learn how to understand and construct more scholarly forms, my work will have become better sourced. This way I can build on what knowledge I have and develop future skills.

Building a Research Toolbox: If you don't already  have a research toolbox, download and read the Building a Research Toolbox handout here: hjttp://www.geneabloggers. com/genrestools

Once again I have chosen the Do-Over assignment as opposed to the Go-Over form. I know that I acted upon this in 2015, but I have no record of it. Did I file the download? Did I make any plans? I do know that I never wrote up a blog about it. I also know that I haven't used such a toolkit during 2016 or the first half of 2017.

Therefore I am a beginner at using this skill. So I shall follow the directive above. I will download the article, add it to my Do-Over notebook, and continue to study it and work with it until I have built a toolbox that fits my style and that has become second nature to me.

Monday, July 3, 2017


My sister was born in August, when I was 3 years and 48 weeks old. I knew that this was so. Why did I sometimes remember seeing a Christmas tree when Aunt Olive told me there was a new baby?

One rainy springtime afternoon (probably in 1931, for this is a clear memory) I was sitting on my mother's lap in the apartment sunroom. My mother had been singing songs to me from a book called "Songs of a Child Year" — a book based on Pestalozzi's theories of early education. My mother had been asking me for my favorite songs. I soon asked for one about civic duty and a young boy being called away from home. She had often sung this song to me, so I was startled when she suddenly started crying and couldn't finish the song. She held me closely and told me that his was her problem; I had done nothing wrong. In later years she often shared this song with me — and with my sister after she became part of the family. But I did wonder sometimes why she had cried.

My mother had an uncanny way of knowing the gender of an unborn child. The only time I ever knew of her being in error was in the case of my sister —who was supposed to have been a boy; the selected name for the baby was Robert Ray.
I wasn't  aware that this fact bothered me until after I had learned the answer.

In 1942 we were staying with my grandmother in Northern Indiana — my mother, my sister, Aunt Ida and I — while my father and his brother (Aunt Ida's husband) stayed in Chicago for the second term of Summer School.

One day Aunt Ida went to the town cemetery with my 11-year-old sister. In the course of the conversation, Aunt Ida asked my sister where our baby brother was buried. Rae's "what brother?" reaction told Aunt Ida that she had erred, so she said it was mother's story to tell.

Rae came to me to find out, but I didn't know either. When we got home to St. Louis, we asked Aunt Olive (my mother's sister). And from Aunt Olive we learned that there had been a boy born Christmas eve who didn't live for even 24 hours. And we learned that mother didn't talk about it — so we never did.

V: Coda
So now I knew that I wasn't wrong about the Christmas tree and now I kew why my mother cried over the boy who left his family and now Rae and I knew why mother thought she'd be a boy.

Very early in my working with genealogy the state of Missouri began to place vital statistics records on line. My reporter son (who lives in Jefferson City) learned about the site. In his explorations, he discovered the existence of baby Strickler"s death certificate. Now we have the document of his story.

VI: Musings

My mother was born in 1891; she grew up with Victorian/Edwardian principles guiding her social learnings. Although she became a modern woman, I believe her silence about the loss was based o those earlier teachings. I wonder if she would have been more happy if she had been able to talk about her hurt.

And — as I was composing this blog, I wonder what my life would have been like had I been big sister to a  boy, instead of the sister I fell in love with the day she came home from the hospital.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

(Dim) LIGHT at the end of the tunnel.

Well month 6 is ending. In March, April, May, and June I have been reorganizing early entries in my original database, creating "exact"* copies of each entry in my secondary database, and generally seeking to give my heirs some ordered information with which work. *"exact" as in the same information, stated as close to the same way as is possible given the obvious existence of different styles between the databases.

This is the only genealogy activity I allowed myself (aside from hanging out with some of the Facebook genealogy groups I belong to). I have been working on the direct line only, I haven't allowed myself to spend time on learning — unless that was required in order to record these ancestors. I haven't allowed myself to do any research. I am "dying of withdrawal".

I have reached the point where there are fewer than 12 "earliest ancestors" to be recorded. The pattern for working with this people is clearly defined for my heirs. I need to go back to the tree, generation by generation, and add the collateral lines. I need to solidify and extend the research needed to keep my tree growing.

I have decided that from now on I can reasonably alternate my tasks. One day I will take up a research task which will be worked on to the next good stopping place. The next time I will pick up the next collateral line. The next time I will work on some organization task I have been leaving a trail of notes to. The next time I will finish the work on one of those early ancestors that still need to be synchronized in both databases. And I will add a learning task as I am attracted to one.

And then I will repeat the cycle. Any time that any of these tasks results in a database entry, both databases will be edited for synchronization. Two databases provide different reporting abilities, different ways of reaching internet information, and so on. If you keep them in sync, you have a strong listing. If you let them differ, you are creating a mess (SWM Genealogy Philosophy 201).

I feel gratified in that a necessary task has been successfully dealt with. I feel liberated — I work better when I vary my tasks as described above.

And finally — in the learning department, I really need to go back over Months 3, 4, 5, and 6 of the Genealogy Do-Over and make sure that I didn't lose out on a learning opportunity there. Don't be surprised if I send out a catch-up post or two.