Grace Livingston Hill and cooking

Some of my favorite details in GLH books have to do with the foods her heroines often prepare. I read my first GLH in college and I started then making a list of the foods mentioned and worked through it, making every item on the list.

I have yet to cook ham this way, however I think it might be just the thing for the home-grown ham we are usually given for Christmas. It’s strong stuff and is probably the sort of ham people in Joyce’s day were used to:

Looking for a place to live, Joyce Radway spies a delightful little land office, just big enough for one person about to be demolished. In the spirit of Woodman, Spare That Tree! Joyce pays five dollars to the foreman for the house itself (only about 9 or 10 feet by 6 or 7 feet, with five windows, a door, and a cunningly dear little front porch with two seats built in), on the promise that if she can find a spot of land to place her house within the next 90 minutes or so, she can have it.

Off she goes (on foot), looking for the right place. She finds it at the bottom of a large yard connected with a pleasant house, but while talking to the woman of the house, the woman of the house burns her pork chops and nearly the entire house and company is coming for dinner.

The long and short of it is, of course, that Joyce saves the house, promises to help the woman with dinner, gets promised the spot of land for rent for a dollar a month, pays 15.00 total for the house and the work of moving it to the new spot, gets ten of it back when two of the gruff but tenderhearted workmen leave the money she paid them on a nail inside the door of the house– all within an hour or two. No permit required.

Plus, she makes dinner.
She tells the lady of the house to take ham (which she didn’t want to make because it’s too much like farm food), rub it all over with mustard, put it a cast iron pan, cover it with milk, and bake it an hour.
They they make chicken salad to stuff in tomatoes from the garden, placed on a bed of lettuce, likewise from the lady’s garden. The chicken salad is from half a breast, a drumstick, both wings, and a gizzard, combined with a diced stick of celery (the woman had purchased a single stalk for the purpose of using the leaves to flavor bean soup), and mayonnaise Joyce makes from scratch from a special recipe she knows.
Creamed potatoes and new peas out of the garden make the rest of the main meal.

Then we learn that the ice-cream the grocer promised to deliver in time won’t be arriving after all, and all is desperation and heartache until Joyce offers to make a caramel junket using two junket tablets (no, I don’t know, either), carmelized sugar and hot milk, later to be topped with some cherry preserves and whipped cream, which Joyce is about to make by skimming the cream off of two bottles of milk. Somewhere along the way she also makes hot biscuits.

She then dons a white apron to serve the meal to her new landlady and her guests, slipping out the back door from to time to see to the placing of her new home.

The ham looks like veal and cuts like chicken and everybody is simply amazed.

Joyce even does the dishes before leaving the landlady’s house for her first night in the ‘new’ house, where for a bed, she must make do with….

Well, I know you’re all on pins and needles, but I tell you her arrangements for her new little home in a later post.

From Not Under the Law, by Grace Livingston Hill

This post linked at Sunday Favorites

Other GLH posts:

and here

Also here


and here

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  1. Krakovianka
    Posted July 23, 2010 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

    I read that book years and years ago, and I've never forgotten the story of the house and the meal, either. It must have been very well written.

  2. coffeemamma
    Posted July 23, 2010 at 8:12 pm | Permalink
  3. HarmonybearML
    Posted July 23, 2010 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

    I read one of GLH' books back in my college years, and decided one was enough. But you're making me want to give her a second shot. 😉

  4. DHM
    Posted July 23, 2010 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

    I really think it would go down best when you're having a very bad day, maybe laid up sick, and are feeling slightly hungry. I think her food writing rises above the rest.

  5. Joy
    Posted July 23, 2010 at 8:35 pm | Permalink

    That is one of my favorite of GLH's books just because I love the descriptions of how Joyce makes do. They are great comfort reads. 🙂


  6. Arnoldann
    Posted July 23, 2010 at 8:36 pm | Permalink

    Junket -look in the ice cream section along side the homemade ice cream mixes. (The box is small like a small jello mix box with a white background.) It is getting hard to find as most people do not cook from true scratch. My dad was searching and I found some for him in a grocery store that has a lot of elderly customers. The tablets are dissolved in milk and can also be used to make cheese. I have never tried them.

  7. DHM
    Posted July 23, 2010 at 9:25 pm | Permalink


  8. DHM
    Posted July 23, 2010 at 9:30 pm | Permalink

    What's the difference between junket, pudding, & custard?

  9. Happymom4
    Posted July 24, 2010 at 4:59 am | Permalink

    I remember the part about the meal–and now that you mention it, yes, the house part is vaguely familiar too–but surprise, surprise, it's the food part that sticks out in my memory.

  10. Suziepler
    Posted July 24, 2010 at 5:25 am | Permalink

    I actually have a recipe from my mother in law for ice cream that uses junket tablets. I was not able to find them when I made it so I just substituted unflavored gelatin, dissolved of course. I believe that Junket is an unflavored thickener that works either hot or cold, thus why it is used for ice cream, but not exactly sure. Blessings, Suzie E.

  11. God's Dancing Child
    Posted July 25, 2010 at 12:30 am | Permalink

    I have had ham cooked like that before, and it is my very favorite way to have ham – however, I don't have it very often because it tastes so very delicious and I want it to remain special! Also, we don't eat pork very often for various reasons.
    I have never made it myself, but would like to now!

  12. Anne-Marie
    Posted July 25, 2010 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

    As I have heard the terms used, custard is less solid than pudding. It's pourable and it's used as a garnish on pie or cake or ice cream. Pudding is thicker, sometimes stiff enough that it an be molded. Both are based on milk.

    Junket (as a common noun) is a pudding where the milk is thickened using rennet rather than cornstarch, arrowroot, tapioca, etc.

    But the site coffeemama linked to above shows several different pudding mixes with the brand name Junket, some of which contain rennet and some of which don't.

  13. Chari
    Posted August 1, 2010 at 3:15 am | Permalink

    Hello my friend…

    It's sooo very nice to have you join us today for Sunday Favorites…thank you! You know, I have heard of GLH, however I must admit that I have never read any of her books! I just loved your summery…I hung on every word! I will have to look for one of her books and give it a read! Thank you for sharing this fun story with us!!!

    Warmest wishes,
    Chari @Happy To Design

  14. dotsie
    Posted August 1, 2010 at 10:31 am | Permalink

    I enjoyed reading this. My grandmother owned every one of GLH's books and had a wonderful library full of hers and other books. Every summer we spent a week there when I was a kid and guess what I read? I love the humor you put into this! And yes I remember this one, though they all sort of run together.

  15. Keetha
    Posted August 1, 2010 at 11:21 am | Permalink

    such a fun story. I see someone told you what junket is – – -I remember people using it to make jam when I was a kid.

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