My mother’s family were 100% French (Canadian French) when they came to settle in the tiny little country town of Old Mines Missouri. Nobody spoke English even up until their death, when my mother was young. The thing she remembers most about her grandmother, my great grandmother, is that she was a very “cold” woman and that she didn’t show affection. I’d have to guess it was because she had SO many children and they had to work VERY hard just to survive. She didn’t have TIME to show affection. Every Sunday, my grandpa would load up all 10 of his children and they’d visit his parents in Old Mines, for Sunday dinner after church.
My great grandmother would spend the day cooking the most delicious meals. They weren’t elaborate, or sophisticated, but they were the most delicious dishes my mom remembers tasting. In particular, there was the bouillon. Bouillon had to be served before every meal no matter how hot it was outside. It’s a French thing. Most of the time, they’d eat outside because there wasn’t enough room for everyone inside the tiny house. The kitchen that my great grandmother cooked in was not like any kitchen that I’ve ever had to prepare a meal in. Food was prepared usually over an open fire. It was too tiny for anyone to offer help, but they still tried to help. She didn’t have much patience with anyone getting in her way, from what I understand. The other thing I find interesting about their family “get togethers” is that the children were made to eat last. Here’s how it went: The men ate first, then the women and THEN the little children ate what was left. WTH???? Totally not acceptable to me because I’ve ALWAYS made sure that the kids get enough to eat FIRST, before anyone else gets to eat. However, Mom tells me that it really made sense for the old timers to do things this way because they were a “farming” people. It was important to feed the men first so that they can get back out into the field and work. The other reason that the men needed to eat first is that it was necessary that the men have the most food because they needed the food to fuel their hard physical labor. Ok… I’m struggling with the part of my constitution, the STRONG woman part, that says this way of thinking isn’t right! Then there’s the logical part of my brain that tells me “Ok Michelle, you weren’t raised on a farm and don’t know what it was like to work as physically hard as the men did back then”. Here’s my OTHER logical thought: On a Sunday, after church, the men WEREN’T working on the farm! Why couldn’t the rules change for a Sunday? I mean the women’s work was NEVER done but the men got to relax AND eat more food leaving whatever was left behind for the women and the children. Good thing my big mouth didn’t live back then (1940’s and 1950’s)! lol This actually wasn’t the point of my story…. it never ceases to amaze me how easily I get off subject 😉 I was originally just going to post my great grandmother’s recipe for Chicken and dumplings! lol
Now that I’ve come off my “rant”, I want to share with you my great grandmother’s recipe for chicken and dumplings. I actually think it’s SO cool that my family still has her recipes and that they were translated to English for future generations!
Ingredients for chicken:
1 whole roasting chicken (1 used an 8 lb chicken today but any size will do)
3 stalks celery with their tops
3 carrots, washed but not peeled
2 med onions, peeled but whole
3 TBSP salt
3 TBSP pepper
2 tsp dried oregano
2 TBSP garlic powder
2 TBSP dried thyme
Directions for chicken
Place chicken in a very large dutch oven and cover with water. Place all seasonings and vegetables in dutch oven and bring to boil. Cover and simmer on low until chicken starts coming apart. Once chicken is done, let cool so you can start taking the chicken off the bones. Remove vegetables from stock pot and discard. Skim fat from broth and replace chicken back into the pan. Heat broth back up with chicken.
At this point you will want to thicken the soup by:
Heat the desired amount of chicken stock in an appropriately sized saucepan until it reaches a simmering boil.
Measure 1/4 cup of cold water and pour it into a bowl. Add two tablespoons of flour.
Mix the flour and cold water until it dissolves completely into a smooth, even paste.
Add the flour mixture a little at a time until the stock reaches the desired consistency.
This is a little complicated if you’re not a seasoned cook but if I can do it so can you! lol
I also add a stick of butter to the broth because my family (who, btw, believe it or not DON’T have weight issues… lol) tells me the broth needs to be rich and all French recipes call for butter. I’m TOTALLY ok with that!
Grandma Boyer’s Rolled Dumplings
3 cups of flour
2 eggs beaten
3/4 cup chicken broth
2/3 cups lard (yeah, I use shortening)
1 tsp salt
Beat eggs, add COOLED broth to beaten eggs. Mix flour, salt and lard together until crumbles form (I use a pastry blender for this). Add egg mixture and mix well. Roll thin onto floured board. Drop dumplings into boiling, thickened broth.
Note: For an 8 lb chicken, I will double or even triple the dumpling recipe. It just depends on how many people I’m feeding. PLUS, I like leftovers especially if I’m going through the trouble of making dumplings! lol
Hope you all enjoy! We’re having this tonight and LAWDY does my house EVER smell delicious right now! lol