Summer on the farm and memories of my grandmother’s kitchen

Oh how I wish I had experienced “summer on the farm”! My grandmother grew up on a 42-acre orchard in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, with chickens, cows, and pigs. When they were little, my mother and aunt spent a few weeks there during the summer taking care of my great-grandmother. This took place in the early 1940s. With the antics of six guys, the girls kept screaming! The boys were great at joking around and playing games. Of course the two girls loved every minute of it! The stories I’ve heard over the years make me want to go back in time. Taking a walk in the woods, picking berries in the fields, and sitting at my great-grandmother’s dinner table are great images to me of “living life the old-fashioned.” There was a large amount of farm fresh food served at every meal. What I wouldn’t do to try my great grandmother’s country cooking with her roast chicken made on the old charcoal / wood stove or her homemade bread spread with her own whipped butter and fresh raspberry jam.

In order to me Memories of summer fast-forward to the late 1960s, when he was in his early tens. My grandmother, Elizabeth, invited us every Wednesday for the day. We would get there in the morning for breakfast (usually we had “big pancakes”, also known as crepes) and then had a simple lunch in the afternoon. Being located in the suburbs of Philadelphia, his home was not a farm, but it was defined by its warmth, delicious scents coming from his kitchen, antique dishes and items proudly displayed, and his beautiful and lush gardens. The front porch was covered with a huge wisteria vine that originated from the farm. The “roots” of our family are present here. When you walked into her home, it almost felt like she was enveloping you in her love and comfort. That is why I appreciate every memory I have of those days.

There was a second-story porch right off the kitchen, which was surrounded by a wrought-iron fence covered in vines. Between lunch and dinner I would go out and take a nap on the old cushioned white wicker sofa. It was a time to dream and enjoy being a carefree child. How heavenly and peaceful were those naps! As I fell asleep, I listened to my grandmother and mother chatting in the kitchen as she prepared dinner. I woke up to the wonderful aromas of comfort foods such as roast or fried chicken baked in the oven and delicious side dishes that are cooked on the stove. And of course there was always dessert! How lucky I am that my family raised me like this! And how lucky to have tasted such delicious delicacies that came out of my grandmother’s kitchen!

Below are two of my grandmother’s simple summer recipes that bring back memories of those days. Give them a try and let me know what you think!

Green Beans Salad

Prepare a pound of fresh green beans by trimming the ends and cutting in half lengthwise. Cook in salted water (about 1/2 teaspoon of salt) until cooked through, but not too soft. (Approximately 8-10 minutes) Drain and put in a container. Add a tablespoon of sugar, sprinkle with pepper, 1/4 cup of olive oil, and 1/4 cup of vinegar. Finely chop a tablespoon of onion, a tablespoon of fresh parsley and a clove of garlic. Mix all ingredients lightly until well combined. Serve hot or cold. This recipe is seasoned to taste.

Corn and Apple Fritters

Cut the kernels from three ears of fresh corn. You can use frozen, but fresh is better. Sift 3/4 cup of flour with 1 teaspoon of baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and a pinch of paprika. Add 1 egg yolk and 1/4 cup of milk. Mix well. Add the corn kernels. Beat the egg white until stiff. Stir in the corn mixture. Carefully drop a tablespoon into hot oil over medium heat. They should look flat and round about the size of a silver dollar pancake. Fry on each side until golden brown. Drain on a paper towel. These are delicious drizzled with honey!

You can use this same recipe and use 1 cup of grated apples in place of the corn. Apple fritters are delicious and are best dusted with powdered sugar.