Posts Tagged: Research

Tea, Quilts, and Books in Saint Charles

Tea Time Gregory Frank Harris cropped

Today, I’m flying into Missouri. Here I come Saint Charles!

I’m excited to participate in several Author Events, May 14-18. I hope you’ll join me in St. Charles, the setting for The Quilted Heart, also the launch city for The Boone’s Lick Wagon Train Company in Prairie Song. (more…)

Happy Birthday, Daniel Boone!

Daniel Boone Home Sign Small

Daniel Boone.

What image does the name evoke? A mountain man wearing a beavertail?

If you answered, a mountain man wearing a beavertail cap, you’re likely a baby boomer or a fan of TV reruns.

Daniel Boone Framed

Daniel Boone’s pioneer exploits made him one of the first folk heroes of the United States. He was born on October 22, 1734 in Birdsboro, Pennsylvania, lived in Kentucky, and then at the age of 65, he moved his wife and several children to Missouri.

The Daniel Boone TV ShowAmerican pioneer, explorer, and frontiersman inspired a TV show bearing his name. Fess Parker starred as Daniel Boone in the historical series that ran from 1963 to 1970, and now enjoys an audience of another generation or two through reruns.

I was a fan of the show, and so was my hubby. I had no idea how deep Bob’s fascination with Daniel Boone and the life of a frontiersman ran until March 2012 when he joined me in Saint Charles, Missouri. I was there researching the area for The Quilted Heart novellas and Prairie Song, Book 1 in the Hearts Seeking Home Series, when we discovered The Historic Daniel Boone Home and Heritage Center in Defiance, about 25 miles west of Saint Charles. (more…)

Toasted Ravioli, Fife & Drum Corps, and Daniel Boone

Me and Carol in Granary

My March 2012 research trip for The Quilted Heart novellas returned me to a setting I first discovered in 1999–a charming riverside city that stirred my imagination and captured my heart.

Toured a historical farm that would inspire the farm setting in Dandelions on the Wind.

Bob and I with Bob Sandfort on the Sandfort Family Farm

Bob and I with Bob Sandfort on the Sandfort Family Farm

Savored toasted ravioli (twice) at Little Hills Restaurant and Winery.

Toasted Ravioli

Explored the city and the surrounding areas with Carol Felzien, Director of Communication, Greater Saint Charles Convention & Visitor’s Bureau.

Mona and Carol Felzien touring a granery

Mona and Carol Felzien touring a granery

Nibbled on the sweet treat that is Grandma’s Cookies on Main Street.

Grandma's Cookies, one of many fun stops on Historic Main Street

Grandma’s Cookies, one of many fun stops on Historic Main Street

Drove out to the Daniel Boone Home.

Daniel Boone's Last Home

Daniel Boone’s Last Home

Watched a Fife & Drum Corps practicing at Frontier Park.

Spent lots of time with Dorris Keeven-Franke, the archivist for the St. Charles County Historical Society.

Enjoyed sweet sleep in a bed chamber at the historic Boone’s Lick Inn.

Mona Hodgson at Boone's Lick Inn

Mona at Boone’s Lick Inn

Strolled beside the Missouri River, which plays a key role in Bending Toward the Sun and Ripples Along the Shore.

Missouri River at St. Charles

Met Vicki Erwin, the owner of Main Street Books, and we started plotting a book launch celebration!

Main Street Books

More details later, but please plan now to join me in the spring of 2014 for some historical, bookish fun in St. Charles, Missouri! I’ll be part of several events during the Lewis & Clark Heritage Days, May 18-19, 2014.

In the meantime, I hope you’ll wet your appetite for your visit to St. Charles by reading Dandelions on the Wind, Bending Toward the Sun, and Ripples Along the Shore–my Quilted Heart eBook Novellas, set along the Missouri River in 1865-1866, post Civil War.

Dandelions on the Wind

Bending Toward the Sun

Ripples Along the Shore

Have you ever visited the setting from a favorite book?

© 2013 Mona Hodgson, Author and Speaker

Research, Cookbooks, and Christmas Plum Pudding

PlumPudding[1]

Research can be many things: Fascinating, engaging, time-consuming, surprising, delightful. Even yummy.

If you’ve been reading The Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek novels, you know Miss Hattie attends First Congregational Church in Cripple Creek, Colorado. In Two Brides Too Many, the Sinclair sisters began attending the church. By the end of Too Rich for a Bride, Ida’s husband Tucker Raines served as the church’s new pastor.

Photo Credit: Zarbo Delicatessen & Cafe

Photo Credit: Zarbo Delicatessen & Cafe

As part of my research for a series, I like to visit museums in my setting.

In those museums, I peruse any local books offered in the gift shop.

The Cripple Creek District Museum is one of my favorite hangouts when I’m in Cripple Creek.

Imagine my delight when I came across a red book titled:

Church History Cook Book
First Congregational Church
Cripple Creek, Colo.

The small, thin cook booklet actually lists the names and addresses of the cooks offering the recipes. But there’s more—the year(s) of the cook’s residence in Cripple Creek. The First Congregational Church of Cripple Creek existed for twenty years, spanning the late 1890’s, the time in which the Sinclair Sisters series is set. And now I have a collection of recipes used by women in that time and place. One of the reasons I enjoy researching a time period and setting, its culture and its people.

Since it is December and Christmas is upon us, I thought it would be fun to share three Christmas Plum Pudding recipes from the First Congregational Church cookbook published by the Cripple Creek District Museum.

Christmas pudding is a pudding that was traditionally served on Christmas Day (December 25). It originated in medieval England, and was best know as plum pudding in our Victorian era. Many families had a recipe handed down generation to generation. The early English Christmas pudding was boiled in a pudding cloth, and often presented as a rounded mound of pudding. Victorian tradition involved putting the batter into a basin and steaming it.

Christmas Plum Pudding

One cup currants
1 cup suet, chopped fine
2 cups bread crumbs
1 cup sugar
1 cup seeded raisins
1 cup sour milk
1 level teaspoon soda
½ cup candied citron, sliced
1 teaspoons cloves
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt.

Roll fruit in flour and add flour enough to make a stiff batter. Steam or boil four hours. Serve with a sauce.

Mrs. Philbrick, 1899

Christmas Plum Pudding

3 cups bread crumbs
2 ½ cups suet
2 cups sugar
1 lb raisins
3 cups currants
1 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmegs
1 teaspoon soda
3 cups buttermilk
Flour to thicken quite stiff
Boil four hours.

Dr. B. Murray, 1895

Christmas Plum Pudding

1 cup beef suit, chopped
2 cups bread crumbs
½ cup citron
1 cup English walnuts
1 cup seeded raisins
1 cup currants
1 pint of flour
4 eggs, well beaten
1 heaping cup sugar
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 level teaspoon soda, dissolved in a little warm water

Mix fruit with some of the flour. Put eggs, sugar and salt into the milk and spices, add fruit bread crumbs and suet, then add soda and the rest of the flour. Mix thoroughly. Steam four hours.

Mrs. T. P. Connor, 1895

We’ll want a sauce to go with our pudding.  Favorites include cream, hard sauce, brandy butter, and golden sauce. I’ll share Miss Ella’s recipe for the latter.

Golden Sauce

½ cup butter and 1 cup sugar beaten to a cream. Add 3 egg yolks beaten light, then add the bell beaten whites. Lemon extract to taste. Place in a double boiler, stir till it thickens. Serve hot.  Miss Ella Hummer, 1894-1909

 

Have you ever eaten or made Plum Pudding?

What Family recipe are you most looking forward to this Christmas?

 

© 2012 Mona Hodgson, Author and Speaker

What About Bob?

Glen Eyrie Bob

Bob looking dapper for a book signing at Glen Eyrie in Colorado Springs.

When the idea of writing for publication first flitted through my mind, my hubby Bob began encouraging me. “Well, you do like to write letters and you’re good at it,” he said. When I approached Bob about my desire to attend a writers’ conference, he began a long haul of personal sacrifice and made a way for me to attend the Mount Hermon Christian Writers’ Conference in 1988. Bob has made sure I had a space for my writing paraphernalia. First, a wall here, or a corner there. Now, I have a dedicated office.

Bob taught me how to boot my first computer, cut and paste, and how to load paper into a dot matrix printer. We’ve joked about his job description: “Everything Else.” But it’s no joke. He’s my computer tech, trouble-shooter for anything electronic, and website designer and guru. If I need business cards, flyers, posters, stickers, or address labels, I go to Bob.

I’m hearing from fans of The Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek books who commend me for the authenticity in my settings and time-period details. Bob is due much of the credit. One, he is a walking database. For instance, the particulars, smells, and sounds of a narrow gauge locomotive. Two, he thrives on research. Everything from hats to photographic plates, and telephone switchboards to surreys.

If you enjoy historical fiction, you no doubt thrive on history and research. Good news! Bob’s going to share his wealth of knowledge in “Bob Features” on the blog. He’s taken fun photographs of historical items that he’ll talk about. He’s even shooting videos for us. So, stay tuned!

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