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I realize I’ll never be fully self-sufficient with my small yard but I’m determined to produce what I can with container gardening and whatever I grow I know how to preserve. With a properly prepared garden and knowledge of how to get the most per square foot, as much food can be grown in a small space as in a bigger sprawled out garden. My dad was very good at small plot gardening and from him I learned the importance of treating the soil and giving the plants all the nourishment they needed to grow and produce. When Martin made my raised beds he filled them with good compost from a local nursery to keep the soil loose and to be as rich as possible.

I’ve always put up food when I could to eliminate the nasty preservatives and additives in “store-boughten” foods and an extra plus is being able to make a meal without putting a great deal of thought and planning into it.

Wise cooks did likewise in earlier times and there is no better example than my late aunt Dora. She could go in the kitchen when it looked like there was nothing to work with and turn out a meal fit for a king. Women of that generation did not rely on pre-chopped and pre-cooked foods to feed their families. I’d like to share a few recipes for the type things that can be made from basic pantry staples.

1 pint chicken stock or 1 cupful stock and 1 cupful thin cream; ¼ cupful flour; 1 pint canned chicken; Salt and pepper; Onion juice, celery salt, or celery leaves.
Reserve one-fourth cupful of stock. Add the seasoning to the remaining stock, and heat it to the boiling point. Blend the one-fourth cupful of stock smoothly with the flour, and with this thicken the hot stock. Boil the stock vigorously for five minutes. In this gravy warm the canned chicken. Do not boil the meat in the stock, for boiling toughens it. If desired, the chicken meat may be browned in butter before being added to the gravy. Serve the chicken on slices of toast, with baking powder or soda biscuits, or with boiled rice.

1 pint chicken, cut in dice; 2 cupfuls white sauce; 1/8 teaspoonful celery salt.
Warm the chicken in the sauce to which the celery salt has been added. Variations: The creamed chicken may be served with a border of hot boiled rice and canned sweet peppers or a border of mashed potatoes brushed with milk and browned in the oven, or one-fourth cupful of mushrooms cut in slices may be added.

1 cupful chicken stock; 1 cupful cream or milk; 1/3 cupful flour; ½ teaspoonful salt, few grains pepper
¼ cupful butter. Put the butter in a saucepan, and stir it until it is melted and bubbling. Add the flour, mixed with the seasoning, and stir the mixture until it is thoroughly blended. Add the stock and the milk, continue to stir the mixture, and bring it to the boiling point. Boil it for two minutes.

CHICKEN AND OYSTERS A LA METROPOLE. (You can use canned oysters).
1 pint white sauce, made with 2 cupfuls cream and ¼ cupful butter; 1 pint chicken, drained and diced; 1 pint oysters, cleaned and drained; 1/3 cupful finely chopped celery.
Add the chicken and the oysters to the sauce. Cook the mixture until the oysters are plump, and sprinkle it with celery before serving it.

1 pint canned chicken; 6 tomatoes or 1 pint canned tomatoes; 3 sweet red peppers, fresh or canned, chopped; 3 sweet green peppers, chopped; ¼ pound ham or 2 or 3 slices bacon, chopped fine; 4 tablespoonfuls flour; ½ bay leaf; 1 teaspoonful chopped parsley; ½ teaspoonful salt; 1 small onion, chopped fine; 2 tablespoonfuls butter or bacon drippings.
Warm the contents of the can of chicken. Pour off the liquor, and dry the chicken meat. If desired, brown the meat delicately in a little butter or bacon fat. Cook the onion in butter or bacon drippings until it is light yellow, sprinkle into it four tablespoonfuls of flour, and brown the flour delicately. Pour into this mixture the tomatoes, which have been simmered with the bay leaf and salt for fifteen minutes. Allow the mixture to thicken, and strain it. Add the minced ham and parsley, and simmer the mixture for fifteen minutes. Add the chopped peppers and the chicken liquor, and bring the mixture to the boiling point. Simmer, do not boil, the browned chicken in this sauce for ten or fifteen minutes. Serve the chicken in a border of hot boiled rice on a hot platter.

Don’t forget chicken salad, chicken pot pie, chicken soup or stew, rice pilau, etc.

The article instructed canning chicken at home by deboning the meat and placing chunks of raw chicken into a jar with a half teaspoon of salt per jar. No water was added although the cook could add celery, onion, pepper, or other seasonings if desired. In the absence of a pressure canner, the chicken was processed for between 4 and 5 hours. The second method was to cook the chicken, pick off the meat and pack it into a jar, add the salt, fill the jar with the chicken stock, and process for three hours. [See my previous post] I’m thankful for my pressure canner because any time I have that much free time and money for gas I’d rather be on the motorcycle headed into the wind. With the pressure canner I can cut that 4 or 5 hours processing time down to 60 to 75 minutes and knock it out on a work night. Source: New York Dept. of Agriculture. Report. Vol. 1, Pt 2. Dec. 1, 1915.

Blissful Meals, yall.