Thursday, November 13, 2008

My Granny's Apple Stack Cake

I found my granny's recipe for apple stack cake. She used to make this cake for us and we would have to wait until after Sunday dinner before we could eat it. (pure torture for a kid) Usually she would make it on Friday or Saturday because it only gets better when it sits!

The only difference between this recipe and hers is that she liked to use applebutter or Whitehouse applesauce between the layers. She also said you had to bake each layer in an iron skillet. To make it extra special she would warm it up and slather butter on it! Delectible!

My Granny's Apple Stack Cake

4 cups dried apples
2 2/3 cups water
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup shortening
1 1/4 cups white sugar
5/8 cup buttermilk
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 teaspoons ground ginger
3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup dried apple slices for garnish

1 In a large saucepan, combine 4 cups of dried apples and water. Bring to a boil, and let simmer over medium-low heat for 30 minutes, or until apples are very soft. Mash the apples slightly, and stir in the sugar. Set aside to cool.

2 Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).

3 In a large bowl, cream together the shortening and 1 1/4 cups sugar until light and fluffy. Stir in the buttermilk, baking soda, baking powder, salt and ginger. Mix in the flour about 1 cup at a time to form a stiff dough. Divide dough into 5 equal portions. Pat each portion of the dough into a 9 inch circle on greased cookie sheets.

4 Bake for 6 to 8 minutes in the preheated oven, or until edges are golden. Carefully remove layers to a cooling rack. 5 Stack the layers onto a serving plate, spreading about 3/4 cup of the apple filling between each layer. Spread the rest of the filling over the top layer, and arrange dried apple slices on top for garnish. Let stand overnight before serving. Makes 1 - 9 inch round stack cake

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

"I'll give you a house and three rooms of furniture if you'll marry me"

That's what my Pepaw Farley said to my Granny the first time he ever saw her. She was living with her brother, Sherman, and his family (this was in 1938) because it was winter and she had no where else to go. She was walking to the outhouse, barefooted in the snow, when my Pepaw, who was living in the boardinghouse next door saw her. She told him that if he would let her sister live with them that she would marry him and that was that. They got married and he bought her 3 rooms full of furniture and my Granny and Aunt Edna had a home for the first time in their lives.
My Granny Farley, Anna, became an orphan when she was 5 years old in 1925. Her mother died in childbirth. She was not married and she had 5 kids by 5 different men. (My Granny didn't like to discuss her mom because she was a loose woman. My Aunt Edna Ruth told me these things about a month ago) There was nowhere for the 5 kids to go so they roamed southern West Virginia and lived with whomever would take them in. (Usually they were separated) They would work helping to plow gardens in the spring, hoeing gardens all day in the summer, harvesting crops in the fall and helping to can the vegetables or whatever other work could be done. Usually they would get kicked out of the house in the winter because nobody could afford to feed an extra mouth back then.
One time when Granny was 12 years old, she and her sister Edna were living with a family. Edna was younger than Granny, so she looked out for her. They had worked hard all day as they always did and Edna was crying because she was hungery. Granny went into the kitchen and took a biscuit and 1 piece of bacon and gave it to her little sister. The next day the woman kicked them out for stealing. She knew Granny had taken the bacon because there was a mark in the fat where the bacon was laying.
Granny used to speak kindly of a black woman who lived on Hart's Creek. She let her stay with them longer than anybody and Granny appreciated everything she ever did for them. She worked hard but at least she had a roof over her head.
That's all I know about my Granny's early life. She was an Aunt Bea kind of Granny and I was lucky to have her.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Devil Anse Hatfield

Pretty much everybody has heard of the Hatfield and McCoy feud. The leader of the Hatfield clan was Devil Anse Hatfield. The Hatfield family cemetery was about 1/2 a mile around the mountain from my Granny Brennan's house. Sometimes we would sneak around the mountain (we weren't allowed that far from the house) to play in the cemetery. We thought it was haunted.
Devil Anse' grave had a life size statue of him which was imported from Italy at the head of his grave. It was weather beaten and overgrown with vines. A ring of faded white-washed stones surrounded his sunken-in grave. The whole cemetery was overgrown with weeds and vines and the tombstones looked better than any that you can find in a horror movie. We never stayed long because the joke was to play hide and seek and everybody would leave you behind and not look for you. All of a sudden you would find yourself alone in a haunted cemetery!
On the sign marking the entrance to the cemetery it says "Devil Anse Hatfield is buried here. He was the leader of his clan in the bitter family feud with the McCoys. A life-sized statue modeled from photographs and imported from Italy marks his grave. "
Now the cemetery is a tourist attraction. You don't have to pay to see it or anything. It's purpose is to attract tourists to Logan, W.V. and it does. The Hatfield Cemetery has been refurbished and cleaned up and is a proper monument to the dead. I think it was better when we were kids though.

The Abortion Song

My niece has requested the Abortion Song. It is actually a joke. When and if Robin sees this she can make any necessary corrections.
A woman goes to a dr. and requests an abortion. He gives her a little blue pill. She goes home and takes it and the fetus is aborted. Nine months later she gives birth to a newborn baby girl. When the baby comes out she jumps up and belts out this song while doing a little dance and waving a top hat:
Duh Duh Du Du Duh (musical build up)
You Killed My Brother but You didn't Kill Me!
Duh duh Du Du Duh
I Hid Behind My Mother's Left Kidney!
Baby takes a bow.

The Chicken Song

My dad used to sing this song to us when we were children much to my mom's chagrin. I am not sure but the song probably has it's roots in an Appalachian folksong.
When you sing it, belt out the first word and say all the words in the rest of the line real fast.

Maa-ma! killed a chicken but she thought it was a duck.
Pu-ut! it in the pot with it's feet stickin' up.
Coould-n't! keep from laughin' to save my soul.
As the grease ran out - the old ducks elbow!

on that last line you sing the first part fast and add on the last part. (make it rhyme)
I have a feeling that my mom would get mad because these are the words that I figured out in early adulthood:

Maa-ma! killed a chicken and she didn't give a fuck!
Pu-ut! it in the pot with it's ass stickin' up.
Coould-n't! keep from laughin' to save my soul.
As the grease ran out - the old duck's asshole!

It's Not Nice To Fool Mother Nature!

Do you remember:
1. dippity do!
2. James Arness Jr.
4. when it was called playing dr. - not sexual harrassment
5. Johnny Whitaker
6. Hating Nixon because they took Mr. Cartoon off to broadcast the Watergate Trials!
7. Bobby Sherman
8. Opening the door for YOUR mystery date
9. hunting for pop bottles
10. Standing at attention while they raised the American Flag and reciting the Pledge of Allegiance every morning
11. wishing for a private line instead of a party line
Here is a test to tell if somebody is under 40. They can't remember the "Frito Bandito"!
And am I the only one who remembers cutting records off the back of Raisin Bran Boxes?