A Story and a Recipe

By Dorothy Johnson


I received many comments about my sardine salad recipe last week.  I did not realize that so many did not like sardines…the sight, taste or smell of them.  I thought that since I was writing a sardine story, that a sardine recipe should follow.  Apparently, I was wrong.

Remember the former home economics teachers we had in high school.  They tried their hardest to teach sewing and cooking along with some other skills like budgeting, making menus and healthy living to us.  In my day, only girls were in my home economics class and I must say I only took the class to be with my friends and because I needed to fill my schedule.  I was not what a teacher would call an eager student.

Maybelle (Cobb) Clark was my teacher and she had plenty of patience.  My classmates, Linda Hatton, Carole Campbell, Bonnie Bothwick, Janet Pomeroy, were all eager learners and smart too.  I was just the jokester.

When I hear about the Woodland High School classes with Mrs. Sprague and Mrs. Perkins though, I think probably the Blue Devil classes were very tame.  In spite of the pranksters, though, some students learned quite a bit in those classes.

In my Woodland High School days, the administration was adding a life skills class to the curriculum and the boys were allowed to enroll.  It was great for the students.  They learned to cook easy recipes they could also eat; they learned to sew a few stitches, and they learned a lot of how to take care of kids, balance a checkbook and figure out a budget.  They will all probably say now that they have used these skills more than their diagramming or mythology knowledge, but I think some of them did enjoy English…if only a little bit.

Now we have no home economic classes at the local high schools.  For that matter we have no industrial classes either.  Students now have to go to the local vocational center to pick up skills that might actually get them a job or help them care for their families.  Is all change for the good?

On the other hand, none of my aunts or uncles on my father’s side of the family went to school beyond the sixth or seventh grade.  Yet they had many life skills.  I suspect that my aunts had on the job training while they were growing up and this training did not just include cooking and sewing.  They learned how to pound a nail, chop wood, plow a furrow and probably kill a chicken.

My uncles knew how to do all of those “manly” jobs, and they could also darn a sock, cook baked beans and Johnny cake, figure math problems and write a letter. They were especially adept at building or repairing sheds and barns, sharpening a saw or axe and fixing the machinery needed for farming.  The farms were almost self-sufficient. 

My grandfather did not have to buy gas for his farm machinery; he only needed Mike and Darby and enough hay to get them through the winter.  He did have to buy fertilizer for the gardens and to my knowledge we did not grind our own flour or make molasses.  He did not buy flour by the five-pound bag though.  Even in my day, my aunt and uncle bought flour by the fifty or one hundred pound barrel. We also bought vinegar and molasses in huge quantities.

Once again I have strayed from the skills past generations acquired that this generation of youngsters do not have.  Is it the new way of living that cuts back on the time they spend with mentors in their families…or am I just old fashioned in thinking that today’s kids will need to know something besides how to turn on a computer?  Maybe the problem is a bit of both.

For this week I did not go looking for a farm recipe.  This week I am sticking to a simple salad recipe, Sunny Waldorf Salad from the Sugar Solution Book.

Sunny Waldorf Salad

Three-fourths cup plain low-fat yogurt
One-half cup of orange juice
One and one-half 
tablespoons honey
One-half teaspoon ground cinnamon
Three apples, cut into one-half inch chunks
One large orange separated into segments
One rib celery, chopped
One-half cup golden raisins
Three tablespoons coarsely chopped cashews

Method: In a large bowl, combine the yogurt, orange juice, honey and cinnamon. Add the apples, orange segments, celery, raisins and cashews. Stir to mix. This recipe offers 162 calories per serving and makes six servings. The diet exchanges for diabetics are two carbohydrates (one and a half fruit and one-half milk).