Cooking With Betty: Chores and Cream Puffs

Cooking with Betty is a new limited-run blog series showcasing transcriptions from the Betty Welter Fonds. Each week, we will be sharing Betty’s recipes and her thoughts on raising children in Grande Prairie during the 1950’s. Each blog post will feature recipes from her handwritten recipe book and excerpts from her reflection piece Raising Children in Grande Prairie during the 50’s. This blog series is made possible by volunteer Suzanne Dunn, who transcribed the records, and practicum student Alec Moreau, who compiled the posts. We will try to keep things short, simple, and sweet!

 

This week, we are sharing Betty’s no-nonsense perspectives on transportation and household chores. Enjoy this latest excerpt from Raising Children in Grande Prairie during the 50’s:

TRANSPORTATION
Children walked everywhere. Older ones had bikes in the late 50’s.

 

CHORES
Children all helped with assigned chores, according to their age. Helped in the garden preparing fruit or vegetables for preserving. We had coal and wood stoves ’til mid-50’s so helped with splitting wood and kindling, carrying coal and ashes.

We are also bringing you an assortment of recipes for entertaining. The cream puffs sure sound good!

Apple Crisp

 

5 or 6 apples, peeled, sliced in a pudding dish. Sprinkle with cinnamon & 1/2 c. sugar
Add 3 tbsp. water
Blend for crumbs 2 tbsp butter
1 c sugar (brown)
2/3 c. flour

 

Sprinkle over apples & bake in a mod. oven until brown.

Curled Celery

 

1. Cut celery stalks in 2 1/2 “ sticks
2. Slash from each end of the strip to within 1/2″ from centre
3. Place in salted water to curl, about 1/2 hour.

Cream Puffs (Anna)

 

1 c si. flour
3 c. butter
1 c. boiling H2O
3 eggs unbeaten

 

Sift flour once. Melt shortening in water. Stir flour into rapidly boiling H2O. Cook & stir constantly until mixture leaves sides of pan in smooth compact mass. Remove + eggs one at a time beating only until smooth 20-40 sec. Shape on ungreased baking sheet, rounds or strips 5×1”. Bake in hot oven 450o 20 min. then reduce heat to moderate 350oF & bake 25 min. longer. With sharp knife make slit in one side insert Custard Cream Filling. Cover with Hungarian Choc. Frosting. Makes 12

Join us next week as we continue Cooking with Betty!

Image: A page from Betty’s handwritten cookbook (From SPRA 0129.07.01)

Cooking With Betty: Shopping and Hot Drinks

Cooking with Betty is a new limited-run blog series showcasing transcriptions from the Betty Welter Fonds. Each week, we will be sharing Betty’s recipes and her thoughts on raising children in Grande Prairie during the 1950’s. Each blog post will feature recipes from her handwritten recipe book and excerpts from her reflection piece Raising Children in Grande Prairie during the 50’s. This blog series is made possible by volunteer Suzanne Dunn, who transcribed the records, and practicum student Alec Moreau, who compiled the posts. We will try to keep things short, simple, and sweet!

 

When we think of “delivery” nowadays we think of pizza and packages, but in the 50’s essentials such as water and fuel for heating and cooking had be be delivered, as you can see in this week’s section of Raising Children in Grande Prairie during the 50’s:

DELIVERY
Water was delivered by horse-drawn tank, either on wheels or sleighs to areas without water and sewer lines. Milk delivered daily, same way as above, in quart bottles. They were washed and returned. We bought tickets 11 for $1.00, and higher later on. Bread also delivered from our local bakery. Groceries delivered from local stores. Coal and wood when necessary and ordered. Bread was 10 cents a loaf, very little brown bread then.

 

SHOPPING
Mostly local stores on main street. Walked to pick things out and carried home if possible or picked up when Jack got home from work with vehicle. Used mail orders too from Eaton’s and Simpson’s.

Enjoy a pair of recipes for hot drinks today! I’m a little curious how they compare to modern instant powders.

Reception Cocoa

 

1/2 c. cocoa
1/4 “ flour
1/2 “ sugar
1 qt. boiling water
1 “ scalded milk

 

Mix the 3 dry ingredients, add boiling water and cook for 10 min. Add hot milk and add salt or vanilla, beat thoroughly just before serving.
This reception cocoa is used for serving large quantities as it doesn’t separate.

Spanish Chocolate

 

2 c. milk
2 sq. chocolate
1 cup boiling water
1/8 tsp. salt
1/4 c. sugar
1 cup strong coffee

 

Mix chocolate, sugar and salt with the water and cook for 3 min. Then add milk and bring to scalding point., add coffee, beat thoroughly with egg beater until it develop [sic] a foam. You may serve with whipped cream or marshmallow or chill and serve with frozen milk or ice cream.

Join us next week as we continue Cooking with Betty!

Image: A page from Betty’s handwritten cookbook (From SPRA 0129.07.01)

Cooking With Betty: Education and Jelly

Cooking with Betty is a new limited-run blog series showcasing transcriptions from the Betty Welter Fonds. Each week, we will be sharing Betty’s recipes and her thoughts on raising children in Grande Prairie during the 1950’s. Each blog post will feature recipes from her handwritten recipe book and excerpts from her reflection piece Raising Children in Grande Prairie during the 50’s. This blog series is made possible by volunteer Suzanne Dunn, who transcribed the records, and practicum student Alec Moreau, who compiled the posts. We will try to keep things short, simple, and sweet!

 

Education is an important step in an individual’s growth into an adult. Betty plainly thought the same in this section from Raising Children in Grande Prairie during the 50’s:

SCHOOL COSTS
All schools were situated on 101 Avenue and east of Clairmont Road for the four older children. The new high school was built later on and the younger ones attended there. No school lunches – walked home at noon. They had to buy their school supplies as required by the teacher in each room. Mine were all in music, either band or orchestra and there was a rental for these instruments.

 

HIGHER EDUCATION
All graduated from high school here and on to further training at the University of Alberta. Fred was a student the first year our college opened in the now Art Gallery. Ruth at the University Hospital for her RN training. All four at University of Alberta in the 50’s.

Jams, jellies, and preserves are a popular treat for both children and adults. I must say I am intrigued by the pear marmalade!

Pear Marmalade (Mrs. Hnatiuk)

 

3 oranges
6 ripe pears
1 large can pineapple
1 med. jar marachino [sic] cherries

 

Peel pears, remove pods. Put pears & oranges (rind on) through chopper. Add pineapple & cook till quite thick. Put cut cherries in last 5 min. Put in jars & seal.

Jellied Plum Pudding

 

2 pkg lemon jelly powder
2 drops of “ extract
2 tbsp cocoa
4 c liquid – hot H2O or fruit juices
Spices to taste
2 c raisins currants dates or canned fruit (fruit can be mixed)
1/2 c nuts or 1/2 c grapenuts
1/2 c candied cherries
1/4 c mixed candied peel
3 drops of orange extract
1/2 c coconut & 1/2 tsp salt

 

Combine jelly powder cocoa & fruit with 2 c hot H2O. Add fruit juice or more H2O to make 2 more c. Stir in rest of ingredients & mold. Serve with sauce or whipped cream.

Join us next week as we continue Cooking with Betty!

Image: A page from Betty’s handwritten cookbook (From SPRA 0129.07.01)

Cooking With Betty: Expenses and (More) Pickles

Cooking with Betty is a new limited-run blog series showcasing transcriptions from the Betty Welter Fonds. Each week, we will be sharing Betty’s recipes and her thoughts on raising children in Grande Prairie during the 1950’s. Each blog post will feature recipes from her handwritten recipe book and excerpts from her reflection piece Raising Children in Grande Prairie during the 50’s. This blog series is made possible by volunteer Suzanne Dunn, who transcribed the records, and practicum student Alec Moreau, who compiled the posts. We will try to keep things short, simple, and sweet!

 

Like now, balancing expenses and managing credit and finances were just as important to running household in the 1950’s , as you can see in this week’s excerpts from Raising Children in Grande Prairie during the 50’s:

EXPENSES

Water and sewer was installed on 103 Avenue by our house in the summer of 1950 and we got a bathroom installed and water on by the fall. First electric ringer washing machine for me that fall – cost $148.00, before that in the wash tub and scrub board. The electricity and water bill paid every month, property taxes once a year. House heated and cooked on coal and wood stoves, so this had to be ordered and purchased. Natural gas installed on our street in 1953 so changed to a gas heater and electric cook stove. No vehicle for two years, truck ordered and it arrived in ’49 or ’50 – a new Chevy pickup truck – cost $995.00

 

CREDIT AND FINANCES
Most grocery stores ran a monthly credit system, also butcher shops. We didn’t use credit very much – planned and saved for a purchase before buying it and paying cash. With boarders and my gang we were 10-12 per meal, three times a day, so lots of cooking and food bills.

Pickling was an excellent way individual households could preserve food for long periods of time and were, as you can see, quite popular, given Betty had four distinct recipes for them.

Dill Pickles

 

Soak cucumbers overnite [sic] in H2O with alu [sic] about size of 1/2 pea to 1 qt. pickles. In A.M wipe dry & cut & pack in jars with 2 heads of dill. Make following solution & pour over pickles boiling hot & seal.

 

2 c. vinegar 2 c. water & 1/4 c. salt
4 c. 4 c. 1/2 c covers 9 qts
10 lbs cukes makes 8 qts pickles

Green Tomato Pickles

 

19 green tomatoes & 10 onions, soak overnite [sic] in salt H2O. In AM drain and add 4 apples, 8 red peppers, 4 c. br. sugar 1 tbsp. cinnamon & cloves 1 qt. vinegar. Cook slowly 4 hrs or till thick.

Join us next week as we continue Cooking with Betty!

Image: A page from Betty’s handwritten cookbook (From SPRA 0129.07.01)

Cooking With Betty: Finances and Pickles

Cooking with Betty is a new limited-run blog series showcasing transcriptions from the Betty Welter Fonds. Each week, we will be sharing Betty’s recipes and her thoughts on raising children in Grande Prairie during the 1950’s. Each blog post will feature recipes from her handwritten recipe book and excerpts from her reflection piece Raising Children in Grande Prairie during the 50’s. This blog series is made possible by volunteer Suzanne Dunn, who transcribed the records, and practicum student Alec Moreau, who compiled the posts. We will try to keep things short, simple, and sweet!

 

Family finances were as important in the 1950s as they are now. Enjoy Betty’s thoughts from Raising Children in Grande Prairie during the 50’s:

FINANCES
Records in old expense books states take-home pay from $75.00 to $90.00 every two weeks. I did some custom sewing; had boarders (two junior boys who worked for the Royal Bank and Bank of Nova Scotia) their wages were $100.00 a month. They paid $30.00 a month board and room, each sharing a room. I did their laundry for $3.00 a month which included 10-12 dress shirts a week. I also did some mending for them. They had to wear suits or blazers and dress pants and good shoes to work – neither had a car and walked to work. Family allowance was $5.00 a month per child. Senior pension started at age 70 and was $20.00 a month in 1957.

Like any good cook, Betty collected recipes from her friends, family and neighbors. Her recipes are often accompanied by the name of the person who shared them. This week, we are showcasing two of Betty’s pickle recipes.

Thousand Island Pickles (Jessie L.)

 

8 large cucumbers
1 “ cauliflower
12 “ onions
2 sweet green peppers
2 “ red “
1/2 c. salt

 

Dressing
8 c. mild vinegar
6 c. w. sugar
1 tbsp. mustard
1 “ celery seed
3/4 c. flour
6 tbsp. mustard
1 “ turmeric

 

Grind all above veg. sprinkle with salt & add 5 c. H2O let stand 1 hr. Mix above ingred. & cook till thickened stirring carefully. Add well drained vegetables & cook 20 min. Bottle and wax.

Dutch Pickle

 

1 qt chopped green tomatoes, onions, cabbage, cucumber, cauliflower & 3 heads of celery.

 

Soak in salt H2O overnite [sic] and in A M drain & cook in following solution:

5 tbsp. mustard, 2 tsp. turmeric, 1 c. flour, 4 c. br. sugar & a little vinegar.

Stir till smooth & add 3 pts. vinegar & cook slowly till thick. Pour over vegetables & cook slowly 15 min.

Join us next week as we continue Cooking with Betty!

Image: A page from Betty’s handwritten cookbook (From SPRA 0129.07.01)

Cooking With Betty: Meet Betty

Cooking with Betty is a new limited-run blog series showcasing transcriptions from the Betty Welter Fonds. Each week, we will be sharing Betty’s recipes and her thoughts on raising children in Grande Prairie during the 1950’s. Each blog post will feature recipes from her handwritten recipe book and excerpts from her reflection piece Raising Children in Grande Prairie during the 50’s. This blog series is made possible by volunteer Suzanne Dunn, who transcribed the records, and practicum student Alec Moreau, who compiled the posts. We will try to keep things short, simple, and sweet — but first, let’s meet Betty!

Elizabeth “Betty” Smart was born in Bassano, Alberta in 1921, the daughter of Archie Smart and his English War Bride, Mable. In 1928, the family moved north to the Flying Shot Lake District in the Peace River Country. Betty started school in Patricia, Alberta, but grades 2 through 8 were spent at the one-roomed Flying Shot Lake School. Grades 9 and 10 were completed by correspondence through the Western Canada Institute, part of it under very difficult circumstances after her mother passed away in 1938. In 1939, after a year at home, keeping house for her father and two younger siblings, Betty went on to Vermilion Agricultural College for 2 years and obtained a Home Economics Degree. She became an expert cook, seamstress and craftsperson. Returning to Grande Prairie in 1941, Betty cooked for the Grande Prairie Hospital, helped her father with his market garden and later cooked for the first group of students in the Wapiti Dorm (Grande Prairie High School’s student accommodations) when it was located at the Military Training Center. Later she worked at Nelson & Archibald’s General Store. In 1944, Betty married Jack Welter, from Sexsmith. He passed away in 1987. Jack & Betty raised six children: Fred, Margaret, Frances, Ruth, Janet and Wayne. Betty Welter died in 2013.

Image: Ma Brainard, her two nieces, Maude Lucas and Betty Welter in front of Ma’s stopping place at Brainard Lake, 1942. (SPRA 0129.01.05)

Betty enjoyed writing, and the stories were collected and enjoyed by her children & grandchildren. Enjoy the first excerpt from Raising Children in Grande Prairie during the 50’s:

WORK

We had two children born in ’46 & ’48 and four born in the 50’s. Jack, my husband, was a heavy duty mechanic starting with Caterpillar in 1950 at 75 cents an hour – he was 32. He had to buy numerous larger tools, these at he own expense, these were needed for bigger equipment as he was already a mechanic for car motors. I was an at-home Mom ’til the late 60’s. His wages increased to $1.00 in early 1950. Postage was 5 cents per letter; gasoline around 50 cents a gallon.

And here is the first recipe (we’ll start with a good one):

Apple Floating Island

 

Boil together 2 c water & 3/4 c sugar for 10 min.  Wash, pare & core 6 large apples.  Place them in the syrup, cover tightly & cook gently until apples are tender.  Then carefully remove the apples & place them in a shallow baking dish.  Let the syrup boil until reduced & thickened.  Pour it over apples & allow to cool.

 

Make a meringue by beating 2 egg whites stiff & adding to them 3 tbsp. gran sugar.  Pile meringue on top of apples & bake for 15 min. or until a delicate brown.  With egg yolks make a custard sauce.  Beat yolks slightly, add 2 tbsp. sugar mixed with a pinch of salt.  Mix well & add 1 c. milk.  Cook stirring constantly, until the mixture coats a metal spoon.  Remove from fire & cool.  Just before serving pour custard around apple.

Join us next week as we continue Cooking with Betty!

Image: A page from Betty’s handwritten cookbook (From SPRA 0129.07.01)