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A Visit Sparks Memories

When we visited a cousin last week she mentioned coming to the farm and enjoying chocolate pudding. Since we were dairy farmers, we always had milk on hand. I had forgotten about Evie’s Chocolate Pudding recipe.

My husband would take the two-quart metal bucket to the farm and bring home milk for us to use.

It was a good thing that we moved to Hickory Heights in the fall because I had no refrigerator. All of the appliances stayed in the trailer we were moving out of.

My basement was cold so I used that as a sort of refrigerator. My husband at that time brought a quart of milk every day because that is the amount that we used. I survived like this for about six months. I had no stove either so I used the old Home Comfort wood cooking stove. It was left in the kitchen when the people moved. I think it was sold at the auction, but no one ever came to pick it up.

Using a wood stove to cook was new to me. I had never used one before. Gradually, I got the hang of it. I even made grape jelly for a neighbor who got grapes from her cousin who had a vineyard.

I admit when she gave me the grapes and asked me to make jelly, I was somewhat intimidated. I knew I would have to keep a consistent temperature for a length of time and I was not good at that.

I managed to extract the juice and prepare it to make jelly. Thank goodness the jars sealed without canning. I did get to keep some of the jelly so it was not a lost cause.

Our two children both had fall birthdays so I was on tap to create birthday cakes for them. I decided early on that I would make and decorate cupcakes instead. That way the oven did not need to hold its temperature that long.

I think maybe the oven was too hot at one point since the cupcakes puffed up in the middle. Oh, well, they still tasted good and were an acceptable substitute. We made it through the birthdays just fine.

I used that stove for more than six months. We did not have a turkey that year. I cooked pork chops instead. Grandma was sick so the family did not get together. You do what you have to do!

When my neighbor’s birthday rolled around, I invited her and her father for dinner. I fixed fish on the wood stove. That must have tasted good to Henry because he ate a lot. He was not known as being a very big eater, but that night he ate well. He recalled Mabel, his wife, cooking on her wood stove. It was a joy to watch him devour the fish and fried potatoes.

Back to our visit with our cousin/ niece. She was my cousin, but Don’s niece. The pudding she recalled was a recipe from one of Ethel’s sisters. Aunt Evie made chocolate pudding and tapioca pudding. Both of them were delicious and I asked for her recipes. She willingly gave them both to me.

When the children were at home, I often doubled the pudding recipes. Although they took longer to cook that made enough for everyone to get a taste.

I have tweaked the recipe a little cutting down on the sugar since it seemed too sweet for me. We like this recipe better than any box pudding that you can buy. The contents are basically pantry items that are readily on hand – along with some milk.

CHOCOLATE

PUDDING – THIS IS MY TWEAKED

VERSION – THE

SINGLE RECIPE

¢ c. sugar

pinch of salt

2 tsp. cocoa

1 tsp. vanilla

2 c. milk

2 ¢ T. cornstarch

Mix small amount of milk with the cornstarch. In a saucepan put sugar, cocoa, slat, milk, and cornstarch. Cook over medium heat until mixture comes to a boil stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. To keep from forming a skin, place a piece of wax paper right on top of the pudding. Cool and enjoy!

I think maybe I included the tapioca recipe once but here it is again. Once I found this recipe that is made in the crockpot it is the one I always use. There is no stirring until you mix in the added ingredients. The addition of the Cool Whip and mandarin oranges is Evie’s version.

CROCKPOT TAPIOCA

4 c. milk

1 tsp. vanilla

¢ c. sugar

¢ tsp. salt

¢ c. tapioca

1 egg – slightly beaten

Mix all ingredients and cook on low for 4 – 5 hours. Cool slightly. Add a cup of Cool Whip and a can of drained mandarin oranges. Cool and enjoy! If you double this you have to cook it longer.

Recipes are legacies that are passed down in families. Every time I make these puddings, I think of Aunt Evie.

Ann Swanson writes from her home in Russell, Pa. Contact at hickoryheights1@verizon.net.

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