Writing historical fiction brings me delight on many levels.
The process of discovery is one of the things I enjoy most about writing fiction. Yes, it can be great fun getting to know a cast of characters and discovering their story. But deepening my knowledge and understanding of history also brings me delight.
While doing the research for Prairie Song, Book 1 in my Hearts Seeking Home Series, I discovered some new vocabulary words Are you ready to test your knowledge of the terms from the Oregon Trail? (more…)
You’re not likely to find me flipping channels looking for the Food Network. Fact is, my hubby does most of the cooking and baking at our house. But don’t ask me to write about a new setting without a cookbook from the time period and location.
For The Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek Series, I pored over the Church History Cook Book from the First Congregational Church in Cripple Creek, Colorado. A yummy resource for time period dishes and recipes, listings of ingredients, people names from the time and place, and other juicy tidbits.
All four Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek novels, now available!
Here’s a fun tip offered by Mrs. J. S. Bates: “To keep apples from turning dark when peeled, use a silver knife.”
I can hear Ida Sinclair sharing that household hint with her younger sisters in Too Rich for a Bride.
Ginger Snaps with Mrs. Ira Hart and Mrs. Theodore Hartman
1 cup molasses
1 cup sugar
1 cup shortening
1 tablespoon vinegar
1 tablespoon ginger
1 level teaspoon soda
Add flour to roll.
Bake in a quick oven.
Yep, I can see one of the Sinclair sisters nibbling a ginger snaps at Miss Hattie’s Boardinghouse in Two Brides Too Many, Too Rich for a Bride, The Bride Wore Blue, or Twice a Bride.
For The Quilted Heart, three eBook novellas, Celebrating Our Heritage from the St. Charles German Heritage Club provided me with tasty recipes and fun tidbits.
Dandelions on the Wind, Bending Toward the Sun, and Ripples Along the Shore
Hunter’s Schnitzel from the German Club Archives
Pork or veal cutlets
1 lb fresh mushrooms, sliced
Cooking sherry (if desired)
Crushed garlic (if desired)
Onions (if desired)
Butter for browning
Make sure the cutlets are thin. Wash the cutlets, dry with a paper towel and rub with pepper, salt and just a little brown sugar. Cook the cutlets on both sides in real butter in an open pan until the meat is done and takes on a nice brown color. Put the schnitzels in a serving dish and keep hot. In the meat juice left in the pan, cook fresh sliced mushrooms (about one pound for 2 schnitzels) until the liquid is mostly gone, adding pepper, salt and a touch of sugar to taste (not too much sugar or the mushrooms will be spoiled). Stir in fresh cream until you get a thick sauce. Pour on top of the schnitzels and serve with potato pancakes. Another variation is to add a little cooking sherry, onions and/or garlic to the mushroom gravy (the onions and garlic are cooked together with the mushrooms; the sherry is added with the cream).
Sounds to me like a “receipt” we could find in Emilie Heinrich’s kitchen in Bending Toward the Sun, a Quilted Heart novella.
Hunger ist der beste Koch. (Hunger is the best cook.) One of the many sayings I found in the German heritage cookbook, along with fascinating bits of history.
I turned to The Oregon Trail Cookbook, A Historical View of Cooking, Traveling, and Surviving on the Trail
for culinary inspiration and cultural tidbits for Hearts Seeking Home
, my next series. Look for Prairie Song
, Book 1, to release on August 6th!
“Originally called ‘The Emigrant Road’ by the early pioneers, the route commonly became known as ‘The Oregon Trail’ and later as ‘The Overland Trail.’ Regardless of its name, emigrants always referred to it as ‘the road’ and not a ‘trail.’”
Sourdough Griddle Cakes
2 c. sourdough starter
4 c. warm water
4 T. oil
1 tsp. salt
4 T. sugar
5 c. flour
½ c. condensed milk
2 tsp. baking soda
Mix starter, flour and warm water the night before. Reserve 2-3 cups to replenish starter. To what is left, add eggs, oil and milk; over dough and gently fold in. Let rise 3-4 minutes. Fry on hot griddle. Serve immediately.
I can almost smell the griddle cakes Caroline Milburn will cook over the coals of a campfire out on the prairie in Prairie Song.
Read the prequel to Prairie Song in Dandelions on the Wind, Bending Toward the Sun, and Ripples Along the Shore.
Do you have a favorite regional cookbook?
© 2013 Mona Hodgson, Author and Speaker
In celebration of my upcoming wagon train series, I hosted a WAGON TRAIN RECIPE CONTEST! The winning recipe will be published in my next full-length novel with WaterBrook Press!
During the month of October, entrants in the recipe contest sent in beloved old family recipes! Folks voted on the recipes, narrowing the finalists to three. Now my hubby Bob and I are preparing the top three recipes and will decide which is the tastiest. It’s going to be a tough job, but someone has to do it. 🙂
We’re preparing the three recipes and sharing the process in no particular order. The winning recipe will be announced here on Thursday, December 20, 2012!
Company Potatoes by Jodie and Marjorie is one of the three finalists!
1 pt. greek yogurt or sour cream (Grandma’s original ingredient)
1 can cream of chicken
Anna in Prairie Song wouldn’t have had a can of cream of chicken soup on the trail, so she most likely would’ve used chicken broth, cream, and flour as a substitute.
1 c. chopped onion (or how much you want)
1 c. shredded cheese
1 lb. frozen cubed hashbrown potatoes
garlic and salt to taste (though I don’t use extra salt–soup has enough)
crushed potato chips
- Preheat oven to 375. Spray 9×13 pan. Allow potatoes to thaw a little before attempting to mix ingredients. Combine everything except crushed chips in large mixing bowl. Spoon into baking pan and level. Spread a bit extra shredded cheese on top. Bake 45 min covered in foil, then remove foil, add chips to top, and bake 15 more min. Allow to cool a bit to set, and then cut and serve.
What would you serve with the Company Potatoes?
Our next adventure takes us back in time. 1865. Saint Charles, Missiouri. Some came home from the war. Many didn’t.
The women of the Saint Charles Quilting Circle waited and prayed . . . Dandelions on the Wind.
The Quilted Hearts Novella One
An eBook . . . February 19th!
Available now for Pre-Order.