Friday, July 4, 2014

Robert's Favorite Homemade Ice Cream Recipe

This recipe comes from Up a Country Lane Cookbook, by Evelyn Birkby--just in time for the hottest days of summer!

2 1/4 cups sugar
1/3 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
5 cups milk, scalded
6 eggs, beaten
1 quart half-and-half or whipping cream
1 to 2 tablespoons vanilla flavoring

Combine sugar, flour, and salt in a saucepan. Add scalded milk and cook over medium heat, stirring, until thick. Stir a little of this custard mixture into the beaten eggs, then return all to the hot mixture and cook another minute. Remove from heat and cool. Combine half-and-half or whipping cream and flavoring and stir into cooked mixture. Pour into a 1-gallon freezer can. Put ice and rock salt around the freezer can. Turn the crank until the mixture is frozen, replenishing the ice and salt as needed. This can also be made with an electric ice cream freezer. Makes 32 half-cup servings, but no one wants to stop there, so plan on serving about 16.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Excerpt: THE TALLGRASS PRAIRIE READER, edited by John T. Price

To celebrate the flowers of July, an excerpt from The Tallgrass Prairie Reader, edited by John T. Price.

The sun is high and hot. A single yellow jewelweed blossom, large and pale yellow, not orange like the jewelweeds in the pasture and the draws, dangles above the stream. A hummingbird zooms and sizzles through the flowers. The propeller wash of his wings shakes the whole plant from stem to stern. Mulleins along the stream have reached their peak. Spires plastered with pale-yellow blossoms, pale-green and hairy leaves flopped out. Gold coral fungus grows out of old stumps. One could go about gathering an enormous yellow bouquet out of the heart of July. Fill the arms with orange lilies, the ubiquitous gold; sweep up the sunflowers, the gold honeysuckle, the great stalky suns of compass plants and prairie dock; find clumps of black-eyed Susans rimmed with gold, and wild coreopsis, ragwort and squaw weed through the high, dry woods, yellow hearts of daises and bedstraw in the fields.

Gold bugs, yellow butterflies, orange lilies. What to do with this great fragrant glow? Well, hold on to it. You’ll want it in the days to come.

--Josephine W. Johnson, The Inland Island (1969)

Monday, June 30, 2014

International Year of Family Farming

The Food and Agriculture Organization has declared 2014 the Year of Family Farming with the aim of highlighting the important role family and small farms play in feeding the world. To do our part, throughout 2014 we are featuring some of our favorite images and words from Iowa books on family farms. Here’s the latest!

“Married in 1941, Mabel Schweers and her husband, Art, farmed 400 acres in Adams County, Iowa. They promised each of their eleven children one year of paid tuition at the college of their choosing and expected their farm income would fulfill this promise. Schweers described their diversified farm as productive and stable. She earned cash income through the sale of eggs, provided much of the family’s food through gardening and canning, and sewed most of the family’s clothing…. She believed men and women worked equally hard, saying, ‘On the farm, the women  had just as big a part to play as the men. My daughters milked just like my sons did. They loaded bales. They could do anything. They could drive the tractor. They could do anything.’”