Pioneer Potluck: About Flour Sacks and Feed Sack Underwear

Most of us have worn or knows someone that has worn underwear, bloomers, “panty waists” made out of flour and feed sacks. And most of all they were sewn by the loving hands of your mother or grandma. 

Flour sacks were full of milled flour with a logo of the feed mill or a print in many colors.  Grandmas and moms made bread each week for the family and the wonderful pies, cakes and cookies with flour that came from the flour sacks.  When that sack was empty, the string that held it together was carefully undone and rewound on the ball of string that grandpa kept in a draw.  Grandma washed the sack on wash day – Monday.  It was hung on the clothes line with the rest of the clothes, then ironed, folded and put on the little stack of flour-feed sacks that she had stacked in her closet next to her treadle Singer Sewing Machine. 

Feed sacks held the cracked corn or wheat that grandpa fed the chickens.  When it was empty the same thing applied.  Grandpa brought it into grandma like it was a treasure he had just found.  It was!!  Grandma already had ideas on how to cut, sew and fashion it into a dress, bloomers or “drawers” for the boys. Not one piece of that sack was wasted as the rest of the material was made into quilts.  Bob said he slept under feed sack sheets.   
 When they went to town to sell the eggs and chickens once a week, Grandma would look over all the prints and designs in the feed store, and select the one that she wanted.  I still see grandpa picking that full feed sack up, throw it on his shoulder and pack it out to the old black car.

I was the recipient of flour-feed sack dresses, blouses, bloomers, aprons, doll clothes and quilts.   I loved than all and SO wish I had them today!  Today I own my share of imitation flour-feed sack prints to make quilts and aprons. The tradition has been passed on down and now my daughter Susan, collects reproduction prints. 

I hope you enjoy this poem sent to me by my relative, Bobby Ann who lives in Riverton, Wyoming. 


When I was a maiden so fair
Mama made our underwear
With little tots and Papa’s poor pay
How could she buy lingerie?
Monogram’s and fancy stitches
Were not on our flour sack breeches.
Pantywaists that stood the test
With GOLD MEDAL on the chest
Little pants the best of all
With a scene I still recall
Harvesters were gleaning wheat
Right across the little seat.

Tougher than a grizzle bear
Was our flour sack underwear
Plain of fancy, three feet wide,
Stronger than a hippo’s hide
Throughout the years,
Each Jill and Jack
Wore this sturdy garb of a sack.

“Waste not – want not” was soon learned.
And “A penny saved is a penny earned”
Bedspreads, curtains, tea towels, too
Table clothes, to name a few
But best, beyond compare
Was our flour sack underwear. 
Unknown author

Crockpot Moose Roast

3 to 4 pounds moose rump or beef roast.
1 large onion thickly sliced
2 tblsp vegetable oil
2 tblsp butter
3 carrots thickly sliced
3 ribs celery, large slices
3 potatoes peeled and cubed
2 bay leaves
2 envelopes of onion soup mix
1 tblsp cornstarch
Brown meat in the oil and butter on all sides.  Transfer to hot crock pot.  Add the onions, celery and carrots to the hot oil.  Stir fry for 2 minutes.  Transfer to crock pot, making sure some vegetables are on the bottom of pot as well as covering the top. Add the potatoes.  Sprinkle the onion soup mix over top.  Cover and cook on high about 4 hours.  Remove roast and vegetables. Stir the liquid in the crock pot and add enough water to make about 2 cups.  Stir in the cornstarch mixed with 2 tblsp water.  Stir until smooth and thick.  Slice roast and serve with the vegetables on a warm platter with gravy spooned over top. 

Variations:  Sometimes if it is a tough piece of moose roast I add one can of beer to the beginning of the pot.  Another liquid that I have added to the pot is a can of cola.  Older Alaskans added 1 cup of left over strong coffee to the pot and cooked it all day long on a wood heating stove in the trusty old cast iron Dutch oven.

Alaskan Vegetable Medly

Heat oven to 425 degrees
4 Yukon Gold potatoes
4 Red McClure’s
2 turnips
4 large carrots
Parsnips, rutabaga, kohlrabi from fall garden.
1/2 cup olive oil
1 teas rosemary crushed
1 tea tarragon
1/2 tea garlic salt
1/2 tea black pepper

Scrub and peel vegetables and cut in 2 inch chunks.  Place in large pot of boiling water and parboil for 3 to 5 minutes.  Drain completely.  In a large bowl place vegetables, oil herbs, salt and pepper and stir to coat.  Spread in a single layer on a cookie sheet.  Drizzle the left over oil in bowl over top.  Roast until browned a crispy, turning once, about 25 to 30 minutes.

Orange Blossom Banana Honey Cake

Oven: 350 degrees
Oil 9 x 13 baking dish.
In a large bowl mix with fork or whisk:
3 medium very ripe bananas
2 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup orange juice-I used concentrate-undiluted
In a small bowl mix:
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup raisins or Craisins
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Stir dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.  Mix with a wooden spoon until just blended.

Pour into baking dish and bake for one hour.  Test to see if done.  Let cool for 10 minutes and cut in squares and serve warm with Cool Whip.  OR let cool completely and frost with “in the can” cream cheese frosting.   I sorta put a bunch of recipes together and came up with this good snack cake. It’s moist enough to serve as a birthday cake.