One thing to remember this President’s Day Adams County Deer Harvest down over 21% MLSD amends five-year budget, prepares for future with power plant closings Lady Dragons triumph in sectional opener Lady Hounds eighth graders capture SHAC Tournament title Gary L Fetters Sr Boys Sectional brackets released ‘We’re only as good as the way we treat others’ Another round of smiles Adams County Board of DD members recognized Terry L Unger 8th Grade Lady Devils ousted in tourney semis WU’s McCarty signs with Ohio Christian Joyce A Huddleson Carolyn Spires BREAKING NEWS: Peebles police search for man accused of selling marijuana-laced sweets Decision Time BBN Senior Profile: Summer Grundy Lady Devils fall to Southeastern, 56-48 Devils outlast Manchester 47-44 in double overtime Peebles holds second Hall of Fame Ceremony Senior Profile: Patrick England Sowards hits 1,000, ties PHS three-point mark County agencies prepare for sweeping budget cuts Manchester Council votes to cut police chief’s hours Wrestling debuts in Adams County Peebles Library hosts book signing As plants power down, community must step up Raymond P Dryden Alva Palmer Billie L Shoemaker Judith Long Brent A Arn Girls basketball sectional pairings announced WU’s Weeks will continue gridiron career at next level West Union JH Boys drop pair at Ripley Eighth Grade Lady Hounds roll into SHAC semi-finals Janet A Kennedy DP&L moving ahead with plans to close power plants Outreach Center in Peebles is a hub of giving River Sweep contest winners announced Gordley hits 1,000 mark, but Indians drop crucial SHAC contest to Lynchburg Manchester lifters compete at Piketon Senior Profile: Madelyn Sanders Charles L Hurd Randy Casto Bobby Strunk Dorothy J Scott Chester A Lanter Coach David Smalley picks up 500th career win at Rio Grande Dustin Holbrook Senior Profile: Camron Gordley As usual, optimism abounds on 2017 Reds Caravan Breeze, Beasley newest members of NAHS Athletic HOF Two humble men Adams County Manor Home Health Care makes road to recovery easier Don and Venita Bowles named as Outstanding Fair Supporters ‘Tip off For Tammy’ is a huge success, joint effort by two schools Husted campaign makes stop in Peebles Benefit held for double-lung transplant recipient I loved that muddy water, building in the creek Margaret E Broughton Larry A Hanson DP&L press release confirms closing of power plants Eighth grade girls showdown lives up to hype, North Adams wins in overtime, 45-43 Senior Profile: Raeanna Stamm North Adams Football sign-ups coming soon North Adams JV girls go 11-4 with win over Peebles Harper wins MaxPreps/JJHuddle Athlete of the Week West Union duo headed to the college gridiron Lady Devils make it 11 straight with win at Peebles Adams County residents attend Trump Inauguration A Look back at our Archives Peebles native comes home to film documentary Ohio Valley Wrestling Cub hosting home match on Jan. 31 Ruth A Branscome Velma Hughes Carol L Lewis Betty L Greiner Devils top New Boston 63-53 in finale of Coach Young Classic Lady Devils rout Eastern Pike in Young Classic Indians bounce back with 67-59 win over East OHSAA Baseball Pitch Count Regulation approved for 2017 At the buzzer, Rothwell gives Dragons an overtime win Greyhounds fall to Portsmouth Lady Indians roll past West Union 80-29 From Division II to the Senior Bowl COSI On Wheels visits West Union Elementary News from the Peebles PTO NAJH Basketball hosting ‘Play For The Cure’ Jan. 28 North Adams Elementary recognizes Students and Staff Members of the Month for December Honoring a coaching legend Benefit will assist double-lung transplant patient Peebles to be featured in new documentary Cleaning the stables-the worst job on the farm Wenstrup reselected to serve on House Intelligence Committee Venture Hawks and Sheriff’s Department square off on Feb. 12 Cecil R Dupree Harper wins MaxPreps/JJHuddle Athlete of the Week Star Wars costume exhibition coming to Museum Center

How about some soup beans and cornbread?

It seemed that in the winter months more than any other time of the year Mom made a meal that was basic and very good, soup beans and cornbread. There are some variations to preparing it but not many. Soup beans can usually be made from Navy beans or Great Northern beans, or my personal favorite Pinto Beans. Any of those varieties are good if the cook adds a little pork meat in the pot to flavor them. If not, then your meal is a flop.

I think Mom started preparing this meal back when she was a little girl and for her to think there was a need for a cook book was laughable. The pot of beans soaked overnight in water so the beans would swell to actual size and by morning Mom would add some pork for the seasoning. (I’m not kidding when I say she added cured hog jowl when we were on the farm and cured our own pork.) She would put the pot on to simmer all morning and would check on the progress routinely. One secret I learned was that the longer the beans cooked the better they tasted.

Now as good as she could make those beans they were nothing without her cornbread. Mom would mix up a bowl of white corn meal with clabbered milk (spoiled) and a touch of bacon grease and bit of flour and salt and other items and then pour the batter into a blackened greased skillet ( greased with lard) that she had brought from her home when my folks got married in 1934 and it was blackened then and probably had been black for generations. She put it on the stove and cooked it like a pancake type of cooking.

She called it white cornbread and it was unique in its taste. It wasn’t sweet, but oh was it tasty! I think the real name for it was corn pone instead of cornbread but none of us was going to argue with the cook ( that was just plain foolish). When it was done to her satisfaction, it was browned and crispy on the crust part and tender in the middle. She would cut the cornbread into wedges so that we each could get enough to be crumbled up in a bowl of beans and have some to put butter on and maybe even spread some strawberry preserves on.

It always seemed there would be enough for supper so I would take a glass and pour in milk and then crumble up some of that cornbread in it and it made a great evening meal, even though it sounds anything but good. You will just have to take my word on it but if you had been there and seen us fighting over the cornbread, you might understand. This meal of beans in a seasoned broth and some pork along with a stick to your ribs cornbread that could be eaten in several ways was really a delightful meal for all.

Mom took pride in her cornbread and I have to say I have never tasted any other like it. She made it so many times it only continued to get better. She would say, “I make cornbread from white corn meal, not that yellow corn meal that tastes sweet like a cake. If your cornbread isn’t good then how can your beans taste right?” Based on what I was eating and how it tasted, I could see no reason to argue with her.

Now as I said in the beginning it seemed to me that from tobacco stripping time to spring this meal was offered a few times a week and I must admit that no matter how good she cooked it, a person could grow weary of it. Since Dad was the one who got to eat this meal the most, and since he liked navy beans, that was what Mom prepared the most of. (A benefit of being head of the household I guess.)

Once in a while Mom would switch it up and cook pinto beans. To me, this was a red letter day. One thing was certain, I could never get up up from the kitchen table and not be full.

Time has passed since those days and with Mom went the recipe for her cornbread (if there ever was one in writing). The years have passed since I’ve tasted Mom’s meal in a pot and a skillet that had blackened from generations of serving its owner. I miss her meals of course, but fortunately my wife knows how to put those beans to soak and flavor with some pork and although her cornbread is made with yellow meal, she prepares a meal that can be served that would make her predecessors proud.

When I walk into the kitchen and I smell what is on the stove, I immediately look for a bowl and spoon and all the while I think back to the days past and feel fortunate that I’m getting to eat this here and now. I have no doubt that this meal will never fade into history because it is such a big part of our history.

Rick Houser was raised on a farm near Moscow in Clermont County and loves to share stories about his youth and other topics. He may be reached at houser734@yahoo.com.

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The Good Old Days

Rick Houser

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2016 People's Defender