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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