Pioneer Potluck: About bubblegum and Estes Park

Cecile in Grandma Susans herb garden. Cecile is Ann’s greatgrandaughter.

Colorado - 1945


Can you remember your first experience with bubblegum? I do, and I remember where I was. We were at a picnic in Estes Park on this St. Varain River. Dad, Mom, Sonny, Ginger and me, along with grandparents, Grandpa and Grandma Cogswell and my uncles, Les and Marvin, Aunt Ruth and Uncle Norman were also in the travel caravan. Each family traveled in their own car.

The town of Estes Park was small and we had lots of fun running up and down the river bank and streets, especially running by the salt water taffy shop. The plan was always the same. Find a picnic spot along the riverbank. Layout all the blankets and baskets of food, pour lemonade for Dad, Grandpa and Norman. They were always tired and thirsty as they drove the whole way through the mountains, from the farms and orchard.

We got to run down to the river and look for trout and take our shoes off and soak our feet in the ice cold water. Usually Dad joined us in this ritual. He loved to remove his shoes and stick his feet in the water and let out a bellow that bounced off the mountain tops. "BRRRRRRRRRR thththtats cccold!" he would shout, shaking his head from side to side.

By that time Mom, Aunt Ruth and Grandma would have all the goodies laid out on the picnic blanket and have plates filled for us to dig in. Our "apple-tights" were great in the clear mountain air. After dining on fried chicken, potato salad, homemade bread and butter, baked beans and don't forget Mom's dill pickles, deviled eggs ( Grandma made the very best), Jell-O salad with bananas or pineapple in it and cherry and apple pie and chocolate cake, we could go back to the river to play.

That is where Uncle Marvin gave me my first piece of bubblegum! We had to hide behind the willows because chewing gum was not allowed in our family! I still remember the wonderful taste! I had never experienced that taste! It was so good! Then he proceeded to show me how to blow bubbles. After blowing the gum completely out of my mouth several times, I finally got the hang of the art of blowing bubblegum bubbles. I was so proud of my 7-year-old self. The fact it was a secret and hiding under the willow trees, down by the river, because Mom never allowed us to have gum, was even more exciting. Her excuse when we would ask for gum was, "What would Grandpa think?" I often think about this. I think he would've enjoyed bubblegum too. I still hear the river noise in my ears and the taste about wonderful Double Bubble. Thanks Uncle Marvin for the nice memory.

When Dad, Grandpa and Uncle Norman got through with their afternoon naps on the blankets in the hot sun, we all got to go for a walk to the taffy shop. That is my second recollection of something tasting so good and sweet. Dad would buy the combination box for us kids and he would buy the peppermint box for himself. But of course he would "share." His idea of sharing was "I'll give you one piece of my taffy for two pieces of yours." This was all done with a goodhearted grin and for some reason he ended up with more candy than we did. By the time we got home it did not matter, as Mom was always the counterbalance. "No more candy and till tomorrow. I don't want you throwing up in the car!" So in the car going home, we waited for the "you" (whoever) all the way home to get sick. Whheeee! We made it! No one got sick.

Next week: return trip to Estes Park, 1995.

Sour Cream Gingerbread Cake

I have had this recipe or 30 years.

This is made in a 9 x 13 pan.
Serve with whipped cream or lemon sauce.
2 eggs separated
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of ground ginger
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup dark molasses
1/4 teaspoon orange flavored extract
1/2 cup of butter-room temp
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
Beat the egg whites until stiff. Set aside.
Stir together the flour, salt, ginger and soda. Set aside
In another bowl combine the sour cream, molasses, orange extract. Set aside
In a mixer bowl, cream the butter and brown sugar, add the yolks and beat well.
Add the combine dry ingredients alternately with the sour cream mixture.
Fold in the egg whites
Put in an oiled 9 x 13 baking pan or dish. Bake at 350° for 50 minutes, or until cake tests done. 12 large servings.  PS this is good with canned peaches. 

Annie’s Beer Batter for Salmon and Halibut

I want to thank all my old friends for all their input many years ago with this recipe.  There are many versions.  This is mine

Depending on how much Halibut or Salmon you are frying.  This recipe makes a small batch, enough for about two salmon or halibut or one of each. 

Cube and cut fish in about 1 to 2 inch pieces, taking out all the bones, the grey fat and blood.  Soak in lightly salted water for 30 minutes. Drain and pat dry with paper towels.
Set aside on large paper toweled cookie sheet. 
In a large bowl mix:
1 cup pancake mix – Krustez is preferred
1/4 tsp each of
Celery salt, garlic salt, garlic powder, onion powder, lemon pepper.
1/8 or more of Cayenne pepper
1 tsp paprika
1 cup or more of Bob’s beer – warm.  Be sure the beer is room temp or the batter will be too thick. 
Stir until smooth and medium thick, not too thin batter.  A little thinner than pancake batter.  Let set for an hour at room temperature. 
Deep fat fry until golden – do not over cook.  Does not take long to cook fish.
Keep warm in oven until all is fried.  Serve with horseradish sauce.

Red Sauce
1 cup ketchup
1/4 cup horseradish-grated or sauce. 
Add more to taste.
This stores well in refrigerator
Tartar Sauce
2 cups mayonnaise
1/4 cup either dill relish or sweet relish
1 tsp grated onion
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 to 5 or 6 drops of Tabasco
Enough buttermilk or milk to make a nice smooth sauce.  Start with a fourth cup.

This stores well in glass pint jar with lid in refrigerator.


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