Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Remembering Laura Ingalls Wilder

Laura Elizabeth Ingalls Wilder
Born February 7, 1867

Died February 10, 1957

Long before Laura Ingalls Wilder’s books became part of the Little House on the Prairie television series, the Little House books were a favorite of mine as a child, starting with the Little House in the Big Woods, published by Harper in 1932. It was Wilder’s first book and was based on memories of her early childhood in the big woods near Pepin, Wisconsin, in the early 1870s. It propelled her Little House series consisting of eight more books which recorded pioneer life late in the 19th century based on her family’s experiences on the American frontier.

I was an avid reader of all the Little House books. I remember taking one of them outside on my swing during the summer and devouring it as quickly as possible. There was something magical about the big woods, the prairie, the unsettled Dakota Territory, the farm, the banks of a Plum Creek and life during a blizzard.

Laura Ingalls was the second child of five children to Charles and Caroline Ingalls. During her childhood, her father moved the family many times, but over the winter of 1879-1880, he filed for a formal homestead in De Smet, South Dakota, which became her parents’ and her older sister’s (Mary) home for the remainder of their lives.

Two months before her 16th birthday, Laura Ingalls accepted her first teaching position. In order to help her family financially, she taught three terms in one-room school houses between 1883 and 1885, worked for the local dressmaker, and attend high school in De Smet, although she didn’t graduate. Her teaching career and studies ended when Laura married 28-year-old Almanzo Wilder on August 25, 1885. She was eighteen years old.

Wilder House in De Smet, SD
Although there is much controversy over some works which Laura Ingalls Wilder’s daughter, Rose, supposedly claimed to collaborate on, the brilliance and importance of the books far outweigh second guessing what might be truthful or false claims.

Laura Ingalls Wilder is considered a literary legend. School-age children have been enthralled with the series for decades. I was one of them.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

National Pie Day - January 23rd - Let the Celebration Begin!

According to the American Pie Council, National Pie Day is January 23th. Although pies have been around in various forms since the ancient Egyptians, Romans, and Greeks, the early meat pies (pyes) appeared in England as early as the twelfth century. The crust of the pie was referred to as “coffyn”. It’s amusing to note that these pies were made using fowl, and the legs were left to hang over the side the dish to be used as handles.

It’s speculated that in the 1500s, fruit pies or pasties were made, and the first cherry pie was presented to Queen Elizabeth I.

The first English settlers brought pie to America, but the pies were actually cooked in long narrow pans which they called “coffins” like the crust in England. As in the Roman times, the early America pie crusts were not always eaten, but simply designed to hold the filling while the pie baked.  During the American Revolution, the term crust originated instead of “coffin”.

Over the years, pie has become part of the American culture and is considered one of the most favorite and traditional desserts in America—from the delicious cherry to the pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving, to the apple pie which boasts the saying, “as American as apple pie.”

What’s your favorite type of pie? Mine is toss-up between coconut crème and pumpkin.

But here is a really delicious pecan pie that I won’t pass up!

Pecan Pie
4 eggs
2/3 cup sugar
l cup light corn syrup
½ teaspoonsalt
3 tablesppons melted butter (or
2 ½ tablespoons dark rum
1 cup (about 7 ounces) shelled

1.    Prepare unbaked 9-inch pastry shell, following the recipe.
2.    Beat eggs lightly in a large bowl. Stir in sugar, corn syrup, salt, and butter, missing just to blend. (Do NOT over beat.) Stir in rum and pecans. Pour into a prepared pastry shell.
3.    Bake in moderate over (375 degrees) for 40 minutes or until filling is golden brown and firm to the light touch.  Serve at room temperature with a bowl of whipped cream, Kool Whip, or vanilla ice cream.
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Please visit my "Amazon Author Page" to choose: