Fall and farm shows. One is not complete without the other. Dick and I had attended the Rollag (Minnesota) Farm Show near Fargo over Labor Day Weekend. Two weeks later and we were off to Albany (Minnesota) near St. Cloud for one called Albany Pioneer Days that was held September 13, 14 and 15, 2013. In one building on the grounds, there were old-fashioned home crafts being demonstrated. Fabric scrap rug-making, hardanger embroidery, wool dyeing and spinning, hand-stitched quilting... In the far back corner was a farmhouse kitchen.
Lying on the baker's cupboard was a book encased in a brown, tattered cover titled The Home Menu Cook Book published in 1934 by The Goldsmith Publishing Co. in Chicago. It was a book my mother may have referenced as a new wife and mother. I gently turned the pages to reveal menus organized by the seasons. The recipes in each seasonal chapter used garden bounty or, in the winter and early spring menus, food stocked in the larder (pantry) or root cellar. Eating foods that are in season. Not a recent concept at all.
A sampling of fall menus from the cook book... 1)pot roast of beef, browned potatoes, carrots, and onions, cucumber strips, and apple ginger pudding with lemon sauce 2)salmon loaf, scalloped potatoes, baked squash, buttered onions, pickles, fruit sauce, and gingerbread 3)baked fillets of fish, tartar sauce, mashed potatoes, succotash, cabbage salad, and peach pudding.
The Home Menu Cook Book inspired me to make a pot of Corned Beef and Cabbage Soup using cabbage and potatoes from my garden. I purchased the onions from our local CSA farm and the uncured corned beef from the Good Earth Co-op in St. Cloud. I used Black Nile Barley in the recipe which added a sprinkling of attitude.
Corned Beef and Cabbage Soup
2 tbsp butter
1 ½ cups chopped onion
1 cup sliced celery
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 quarts chicken broth
1 ½ cups chopped or julienne-cut carrots (I subbed sweet potatoes and garden potatoes.)
½ small head cabbage, coarsely chopped, about 4 to 5 cups
¼ cup pearled barley (I used ½ cup Black Nile Barley.)
1 small bay leaf
1 tbsp fresh chopped parsley or 1 tsp dried parsley flakes
½ tsp dried leaf thyme
¼ tsp black pepper
2 to 2 ½ cups diced cooked corned beef, about 10 to 12 ounces (I used half this amount.)
1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained
salt, to taste
Heat butter in a soup pot. Sauté onion and celery, stirring frequently, until tender. Add garlic and continue cooking for 1 minute. Stir in chicken broth, carrots (or sweet potatoes and garden potatoes), cabbage, and barley. Add the bay leaf, parsley, thyme, and pepper; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 45 minutes. Stir in corned beef and tomatoes and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes.