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Recipes from Tender Graces

Katie Ivene’s Salt Rising Bread  

To make the sponge:

3 between sized potatoes  

3 tablespoons of meal

1 teaspoon sugar  

Pinch of soda

4 cups water that’s come to the boil  


The next day:

2 cups of sweet milk that’s warmed a bit  

1 cup of water that’s come to the boil

2 teaspoons salt  

1/8 teaspoon of soda

2 tablespoons of shortening (and best not be using any petal puss pig lard in my recipe!)  



Makes three loaves unless it makes four or two, sometimes I change the recipe so you best check it twice. The day ahead, while the kids are still outside playing before supper, peel and slice up the potatoes and add the meal, sugar, soda, and water that’s come to the boil. Put all that in a glass bowl or big jar if you still have one that’s not broke, and cover it up with a good weight-sized dishrag. Let it stand in a warm place all the night and don’t let the kids play around to knock it over or else you got to start over again. The next morning there should be a foam risen up top of it. Get the potatoes out of the mixture, and then add milk, water, soda, salt, and shortening. Add flour just enough to make the dough stiff enough to knead up until it’s right. Keep the kids out of the dough with their dirty hands or else you got to throw the nasty dough away and start all over. While kneading, think on things that’s been bothering you and soon the answer will come. Shape the dough into loaves. Put the loaves in greased up pans, cover with a dishrag, and let them rise again until twice the size. Then bake the loaves in a 400 degree oven until it’s done, maybe 40 minutes or so. Give the kids warm bread with apple butter and send them outside so you can think straight. Serve the bread to your husband so he can see just what you can do when you set your mind to it even if you can do more than bake bread at least the bread gets his attention.


Grandma Faith’s Apple Butter


Pull together:

5 pounds of tart apples  

3 cups of apple cider that’s been made another day

4 cups of sugar  

3 teaspoons of cinnamon unless you like more

1 teaspoon of cloves unless you like more  

A pinch or so of salt to bring out the sweet


Peel the apples, remove the cores, and cut the apples in quarters—if the grandkids are visiting, this will keep their hands busy, but watch the young ones with a knife. In a heavy pot bring the apples and cider up to the boiling. Don’t let this burn by leaving the kitchen to do other things, make your time for it! Cut the heat down and simmer for about twenty-five to thirty minutes. Then take the mixture and put through a sieve or a colander. Mix in the sugar, salt, cinnamon, and cloves. Taste it to make sure it’s perfect. Give the grandkids a taste to see if it is good to their tongue. If everyone is happy, pour the mixture into a dish and bake for two hours at 300 degrees. While this bakes, clean up your mess in the kitchen so that’s all done and let the kids take the peelings and cores out to the pig. You can check your mixture before two hours to see if it’s gone thick enough for your tastes. Then, when it’s done how it should be, pour into canning jars. Make extra for selling—hide those in the secret place. Put the rest up for the family for later. Good on cornbread or biscuits.



Rebekha’s Pralines



1 cup of white sugar  

1 cup of packed light brown sugar

¾ cup of cream  

¼ teaspoon of salt

2 tablespoons of butter (real butter, not margarine!)
1 to 1 ½ cups of pecans (leave them in halves, not pieces)
1 teaspoon of vanilla

This is a good recipe to teach children about passing down traditional recipes, measuring, and soft ball versus hard ball stages. Take a heavy 2-quart-sized saucepan and butter the sides—a child can do this part easily. Add the sugars, the cream, and the salt to the saucepan and cook over a medium heat, stirring constantly, until the sugars are dissolved. Keep stirring with a good heavy wood spoon and continue to cook until the mixture begins to come to a boil. It is not a good idea to let younger kids help with this part, as the mixture gets very hot and can cause bad burns. Turn down the heat and cook until the soft ball stage, about 234 degrees on a candy thermometer. When at soft ball stage take off the stove and add the butter and vanilla. Again, be careful that the children do not burn themselves; this should be the adult only part of the recipe. With your wooden spoon, start stirring to cool and add in the pecans. Keep stirring until the candy has become thick and isn’t shiny anymore. Be fast now! Take a teaspoon or tablespoon and spoon out the mixture onto waxed paper—some newspaper under that wax paper is a good idea. Let the candies cool completely before you let the children at them, or else they’ll eat them before they are ready. Wrap them up in wax paper with a ribbon and share with neighbors!