My Mother’s Book

My mom has been gone now for nearly five years. After my dad passed in August of 2020, we five siblings got to divide up what was left behind (in belongings, not land). This was made possible since they had a trust set up rather than a traditional will. My brother was trustee and he did a fine job.

I have to say that I was always a mommy’s girl and I miss my mom still. There are those days when I just want to talk – wow, what she would say about the shut-downs and COVID. Really, since I know that current events would bother her terribly (she wanted to vote for Ted Cruz after all), I think it’s a blessing that she left this broken earth for Heaven when she did.

But this post is not about American politics or the worldwide COVID stuff. It’s about finding some gems in my parents’ house that I am beyond thrilled to have.

One of those wonderful things is a set of the Foxfire books. Published in the 1970’s, this set of books holds valuable information about cooking, sewing, building, raising animals, making soap, etc. from the Appalachian people at that time. The books hold numerous interviews and pictures, as well as just valuable information for the homesteader of today. When my dad bought the books, one at a time as they were released, my mom thought he was crazy. I love them, though, and will cherish them for my brief time on earth.

Another wonderful find is my mom’s handwritten recipe book. Her writing is not the easiest to read, but I’m used to it and have had fun making some of the dishes from my childhood. Some of the recipes I will never make, as I did not care for them when I was growing up and I’m pretty sure I won’t like them now.

There are no recipes strictly created to be gluten-free, but a lot of them are just because of the nature of the dish. Others are easy enough to alter to make them gluten-free, as is the cornbread recipe that I made this morning. I’d like to share that recipe with you and hope that you will find it as enjoyable as I do. I changed up some of the ingredients to make the bread without gluten and hopefully a little healthier.

Cornbread (made gluten-free)

1 1/2 cups white cornmeal (substitute masa harina)

3 TBSP all-purpose flour (substitute 1 1/2 TBSP tapioca starch)

1 1/2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt (use sea salt)

2 TBSP shortening (substitute coconut oil; you could also use butter, bacon grease, or lard)

1 1/2 cups milk (substitute coconut/almond milk blend; you could use any milk of your choice)

1 egg, beaten

Sift together (or run a whisk through) cornmeal, flour, baking powder, and salt into a bowl. Melt shortening in a 9 inch square baking pan (I used a 9 inch cast iron skillet) in a preheated, very hot oven 450 degrees Fahrenheit (I used 425 degrees). Add milk and egg to dry ingredients, stirring to combine. Add melted shortening from pan to batter. Mix well, but don’t beat. Pour batter into very hot pan. Bake in preheated oven 450 (425 if in cast iron) 20-25 minutes (Mine took 40 minutes).

*I take breads out of the cast iron pans after they have cooled anywhere from 5-10 minutes. Too long sitting in the pan creates moisture and makes the bottom of breads soggy – especially gluten-free breads.

Published by Jeff and Rita

Rita is a wife, mother, homesteader, library branch manager, and freelance writer. She enjoys spending time in the garden and later preserving the harvest. Gardening, knitting, tending to chickens and other critters, and taking long summer walks are among her favorite activities. Jeff has had a long time love of waterfowl and gamebirds. He spends his time working part-time as a courier when he is not enjoying his collection of wild ducks and pheasants from around the world.

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