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Tag Archive: recipes

Jan 24

From my archived columns: Pancakes, biscuits and ‘Missouri MIX’ – first published in The Examiner, an eastern Jackson County, Mo., daily newspaper.

I can still memory-taste the fresh buttermilk pancakes and hot buttermilk biscuits—both made with lard.” – 

Vernon L. Smith, American economist and author

pancakes

Memories of homemade pancakes and biscuits stay with us forever, but over the years, most of us made the switch from “scratch” to box-style mixes.

Prior to the 1930s, many dishes were indeed prepared from “scratch” and cooking was a time-consuming and priority job for housewives, moms

and grandmothers.

You can imagine the excitement when the first box biscuit mix, Bisquick, hit the stores in 1931.

According to Bisquick company lore, Bisquick was first promoted for making biscuits only. It’s slogan: “90 seconds from package to oven”.

It didn’t take long for cooks to realize that Bisquick could be used to quickly prepare a variety of other foods, such as cake mixes and cookies.

Home baking was never the same again.

I did a little research into the history of baking mixes and found one fact that genuinely surprised me.

Did you know that long before Bisquick emerged in the cooking world, Aunt Jemima pancake flour was invented in 1889 in St. Joseph, Missouri? It was actually the first self-rising flour for pancakes and the first ready-mix food ever to be introduced commercially.
I grew up near St. Joseph never realizing until now that Aunt Jemima flour originated there.

Incidentally, some folks never fully liked or embraced the taste of box mixes and continued to bake from scratch.

In the 1960s, the University of Missouri Extension Division introduced a product called ‘Missouri MIX’ that apparently solved the box-taste problem. It tasted good, very good.

I first heard of this miracle homemade pancake and biscuit mix in 4-H food projects and later in high school home economics classes.

My mother would make up big batches and store in glass jars until we were ready to use it.

Her favorite Missouri Mix creation was making pizza crusts. In 15 minutes or less, one could have a perfect, nice and soft, not-too-thick crust just like you find in pizza shops. Sometimes, she would add a teaspoon of sugar to the Missouri Mix but I never understood exactly why. It’s an easy recipe–one cup of MIX and ¼ cup water, stir, roll out, add sauce and toppings, and bake on cookie sheet for 12-15 minutes at 425 degrees.

Besides pancakes and biscuits, we used Missouri MIX to make something called Salad Sticks, which are what we call bread sticks today. The difference is that Salad Sticks were rolled in garlic butter and sprinkled with your choice of caraway, dill, sesame or anise seed before baking.

We made Swirls (a lot like muffins) loaded with cheese or cinnamon or banana-peanut butter fillings.

One could make coffee cakes, fried pies, date bread, corn fritters, apple fritters, Boston Brown Bread, cobblers and cornbread with Missouri MIX.

It was an entire bakery in a jar.

All one needed to add was a little creativity. Another bonus about MIX that I might mention is that in our current tight economy, MIX can save a great deal of money.

By now you may be wondering, where does one find Missouri MIX, and the answer is: you make it, from scratch.

It took a little searching through my mother’s old cookbooks to find the original MIX recipe, but I did. Incidentally, if you search online for “The New Missouri Mix”, you will find a re-invention of the 60s recipe complete with yummy home baking suggestions.

It is always good to start at the beginning, so here is the original basic Missouri MIX recipe that will yield about 13 cups of MIX:

9 cups sifted all-purpose flour
One-third cup double-acting baking powder
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons nonfat milk solids (dry milk powder)
4 teaspoons salt
1 and three-fourths cups vegetable shortening OR one and one-half cups lard.

Stir baking powder, dry milk and salt into the sifted flour. Sift all dry ingredients together until well mixed.

Cut fat (shortening or lard) into flour mixture until all particles of fat are thoroughly coated and mixture resembles coarse cornmeal.

 

Jul 01

Ah yes, there’s something about pie – from my archived columns first published in The Examiner, an eastern Jackson County, Mo. daily newspaper

bakedlattice

“One little thing can revive a guy, and that is a homemade rhubarb pie. Serve it up nice and hot, maybe things aren’t as bad as you thought.” – A Prairie Home Companion

One thing I know about pie is that in the summertime when there is a bounty of fresh peaches, strawberries and rhubarb, eating a fruit pie is the next best thing to nirvana.

I just wish I could make one, but more about that later.

First let me mention that I found it quite odd that pie was in the news a lot this week. When does that ever happen? I can’t think of a time. This week when news headlines screamed ‘pie’, it was not because pie is a delicious dessert and overdue for accolades.

No, it was because the word ‘pie’ was trending on social media networks in which bloggers argued about whether one should throw a pie in someone’s face or not. That global discussion happened due to the fake custard pie thrown at Rupert Murdoch, media mogul, in the U.K. phone hacking hearings under way this week in London.

At least it wasn’t a real custard pie; what a waste that would be.

I agree with Rabbi Krustofski (Krusty’s Dad on the Simpsons) who said, “Pie is for noshing (eating) not for throwing.”

Since pie was in the news constantly this week, it became difficult for me to think about anything other than pie. That and fresh peaches is probably what drove me to browse through a stack of dust-covered baking cookbooks, long ago stored away and unused.

I am not the pie baker in our household, as you may have guessed by now, so I never needed the cookbooks. But I like to look at the pictures.

The real pie baker in our home, the hubby, doesn’t need a “how to bake a pie” cookbook either, but for a different reason. He knows the recipe by heart.

His mother and sister made glorious pies with perfect flaky crusts, and so did my mother and grandmother. Somewhere along the line, I missed the pie-baking gene, but I am quite good at eating them.

Grandchildren beg for one of “Paw-Paw’s” pies for their birthdays. Grown children love one when we come to visit. We take them to potlucks, funerals and to welcome a new neighbor. Sometimes, they are auctioned off at charity fundraisers, and they always bring a good amount.

I guess you could say pie is a big thing in our household, and the hubby’s homemade pie is shared freely. However, convincing the spousal unit to part with his prize recipe is quite another matter.

I tried.

All he ‘forked over’ was the recipe for the peach pie filling he baked last week. I must say, it could be the best peach pie I ever tasted. However, he was not forthcoming with his pie crust recipe.

Trade secret, he says. Dear readers, I am sorry to say you are on your own when it comes to the crust.

While they are available, find some fresh peaches and try his ‘top-secret’ peach pie recipe shown below. (Baker’s tip: the recipe calls for grenadine syrup, making the filling slightly pink in color. The sweetness of the syrup coupled with the lemon juice makes a perfectly blended sweet and tart filling.)

Ah yes, there is just something about pie.

Top Secret Sweet and Tart Peach Pie Filling:

Three-fourths cup sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
One-fourth teaspoon ground nutmeg
6 cups peaches, peeled and thickly sliced (about 3 pounds)
3 tablespoons (yes, tablespoons) of grenadine syrup
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons butter or margarine

In a large bowl combine sugar, flour and nutmeg; add peaches and toss until well-coated. Let mixture stand 5 minutes. Carefully stir in grenadine and lemon juice. Place mixture in pastry in pie plate spreading peaches evenly; dot with butter or margarine. Cover edges with foil. Bake in 375-degree oven for 25 minutes. Remove foil; bake for 30 to 35 minutes more or until crust is golden. Cool on rack before serving.

“You had me at fruit pies.” – Bobby Hill, “King of the Road” television show

Mar 04

From my archived columns: Pancakes, biscuits and ‘Missouri MIX’

pancakesI can still memory-taste the fresh buttermilk pancakes and hot buttermilk biscuits—both made with lard.” –

Vernon L. Smith, American economist and author

 

Memories of homemade pancakes and biscuits stay with us forever, but over the years, most of us made the switch from “scratch” to box-style mixes.

Prior to the 1930s, many dishes were indeed prepared from “scratch” and cooking was a time-consuming and priority job for housewives, moms and grandmothers.

You can imagine the excitement when the first box biscuit mix, Bisquick, hit the stores in 1931.

According to Bisquick company lore, Bisquick was first promoted for making biscuits only. It’s slogan: “90 seconds from package to oven”.

It didn’t take long for cooks to realize that Bisquick could be used to quickly prepare a variety of other foods, such as cake mixes and cookies.

Home baking was never the same again.

I did a little research into the history of baking mixes and found one fact that genuinely surprised me.

Did you know that long before Bisquick emerged in the cooking world, Aunt Jemima pancake flour was invented in 1889 in St. Joseph, Missouri? It was actually the first self-rising flour for pancakes and the first ready-mix food ever to be introduced commercially.
I grew up near St. Joseph never realizing until now that Aunt Jemima flour originated there.

Incidentally, some folks never fully liked or embraced the taste of box mixes and continued to bake from scratch.

In the 1960s, the University of Missouri Extension Division introduced a product called ‘Missouri MIX’ that apparently solved the box-taste problem. It tasted good, very good.

I first heard of this miracle homemade pancake and biscuit mix in 4-H food projects and later in high school home economics classes.

My mother would make up big batches and store in glass jars until we were ready to use it.

Her favorite Missouri Mix creation was making pizza crusts. In 15 minutes or less, one could have a perfect, nice and soft, not-too-thick crust just like you find in pizza shops. Sometimes, she would add a teaspoon of sugar to the Missouri Mix but I never understood exactly why. It’s an easy recipe–one cup of MIX and ¼ cup water, stir, roll out, add sauce and toppings, and bake on cookie sheet for 12-15 minutes at 425 degrees.

Besides pancakes and biscuits, we used Missouri MIX to make something called Salad Sticks, which are what we call bread sticks today. The difference is that Salad Sticks were rolled in garlic butter and sprinkled with your choice of caraway, dill, sesame or anise seed before baking.

We made Swirls (a lot like muffins) loaded with cheese or cinnamon or banana-peanut butter fillings.

One could make coffee cakes, fried pies, date bread, corn fritters, apple fritters, Boston Brown Bread, cobblers and cornbread with Missouri MIX.

It was an entire bakery in a jar.

All one needed to add was a little creativity. Another bonus about MIX that I might mention is that in our current tight economy, MIX can save a great deal of money.

By now you may be wondering, where does one find Missouri MIX, and the answer is: you make it, from scratch.

It took a little searching through my mother’s old cookbooks to find the original MIX recipe, but I did. Incidentally, if you search online for “The New Missouri Mix”, you will find a re-invention of the 60s recipe complete with yummy home baking suggestions.

It is always good to start at the beginning, so here is the original basic Missouri MIX recipe that will yield about 13 cups of MIX:

9 cups sifted all-purpose flour
One-third cup double-acting baking powder
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons nonfat milk solids (dry milk powder)
4 teaspoons salt
1 and three-fourths cups vegetable shortening OR one and one-half cups lard.

Stir baking powder, dry milk and salt into the sifted flour. Sift all dry ingredients together until well mixed.

Cut fat (shortening or lard) into flour mixture until all particles of fat are thoroughly coated and mixture resembles coarse cornmeal.

 

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