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Run Down to Mrs. Arment’s and Get a Pinch of Starter
One thing about the thirties was that we were all poor. Then, let me say that our family was poor only by definition. We had an abundance of food and milk. We were actually rich but did not know. The only thing we had little of was money/cash.
Friday was bake day at our house. Yup, we made a lot of homemade biscuits, buns, and loaves of light bread. Hmmm, I have always wondered why it was called light bread. The custom was, in those days, to save a small chunk of dough to add to your next batch of bread. Well, you might forget to do that or perhaps your starch was too old. In cases like that, you just ran over to the neighbor’s house and borrowed a chunk of dough.
Well, our neighbor, Maude Arment, made a lot of homemade bread and thus always had some starter on hand. On occasion, mom would then send one of us kids to take 3 or 4 buns to the Arment’s…sort of one good turn deserves another. Now if all else failed, you could run down to the little store and buy a cake of yeast. Most of us kids were on good behavior on bake day. As soon as the buns had cooled a little, we would break a bun in two while still warm, spread some butter on it, then add some molasses, blackberry or honey on it and make pigs of ourselves. Bake day was also share day, so you might just send a few buns over to a neighbor or a relative. As I remember, mom did most of her baking on the old wood burning cook stove. She always put the fresh bake out in the back porch to cool. Now, that was her mistake if we kids decided to help ourselves to a bun or two.
It always seemed a little strange to me how friends and relatives just so happened to show up on bake day. My older sister was a great cook, her name was Gertrude. Well Gertie always made sweet rolls on Friday. Mom would say Gertie has some sweet rolls for us if you boys want to go over and get them. Well, no sooner said than done and guess who got the first sweet roll.
No, people do not make many sweet rolls today and yes, we are living below our privilege. Will the good times ever return…Don’t hold your breath!
Contributed by Bill Lewis