A LITTLE ABOUT MAMA, BY ESTELLE STADEM RANGEN
PLAIN VIEW FARM, RURAL BRYANT, SD
GOD'S FOURTH LITTLE ACRE
"A LITTLE ABOUT MAMA,"
by Estelle Stadem Rangen
How Mama's Doughnuts Saved the
Norwegians are noted for their hospitality
centering around the amber brewed coffee. It
was always open house on Plain View Farm. Guests
came and were welcome. This policy could create
challenges, however. One time a truck load
of relatives and friends came on a Sunday afternoon.
We saw them coming over the south hill!
"Oh,"Mama said, "what shall I serve so many?"
Before they arrived in the yard, she decided to make
doughnuts! Now no one was allowed to work
unnecessarily on Sunday at our place, for we honored
the Lord's Day, but this was necessary! We didn't
have a cake or cookie on the place--so Mama's stroke
of genius took some fast thinking for a woman who wasn't
usually pressed for time!
I can still taste
those good hot doughnuts and plenty of cold milk
brought up from the cistern and coffee for the adults.
Perhaps, I remember this incident because
NO baking was allowed on Sundays in our house, but,
fortunately, Mama had taken that into account by
preparing filling food that was FRIED, not baked
--and a cook would have to know the difference.
Our Lo-Fat Ham
Baking we did on another day rather than
on Sunday. Then we did the churning of butter
and baking of the umpteen loaves of bread. Mama
was never known to run out of homemade bread.
Mama won the reputation of a superb cook. Many
guests would ask her for dessert recipes. There
were few left-overs from her table, you can imagine.
What there was, peelings and bones, went to
the hapless hogs. They weren't the pampered porkers
you see today!
As for her cooking skill, it stood
her in good stead when she first came from Norway
as a young girl immigrant. Mama has told us that
she worked in various homes in order to learn
the English language. I think she learned most
of it in Norway, however, and what actually
happened during her time of adapting to a new country
and its ways was that the people in the homes learned
how good her Norwegian cooking could be.
The Queen Sat Sideways
How we remember the potato lefse, flat-brod,
yule kake, head cheese, pickled tongue, blood
bologne ("blod klub"), fruit soup, lutefisk,
dumplings in milk, potteklub, grotte, fattigmon,
and velling--and on and on. Mama would sit sideways
at the table; possibly she acquired the position
from her frequent pregnancies and of having to
wait continuously on her brood. She would pour
the hot coffee in a saucer, blow some ripples to cool it
and sip and all was well. The kitchen was Mama's fortress
and a genius she was.
Mama's Garden of Eden
Mama had to be strong and capable to survive
those hard years with her large family, years
that included the Great Depression and world war,
but cooking was not her total interest and expertise.
She was the queen of pots and pans, but she was aso
adept with a green thumb, growing prolific vegetable
and flower gardens.
Our big dining room bay window
too had its assortments of flowers plus the large
fern which substituted many a year for our Christmas
tree. For special events the rusty coffee and Crisco lard
cans holding Mama's indoor flowering plants were
treated to a fresh paper covering.
Even into her
nineties, she grew many beautiful, blossoming plants,
for she could not live without lovely plants gracing
These sacks Mama sewed into pillow slips,
sheets, dish towels and diapers for the baby.
Even with Mama's lye soap the red and blue ink
that was stamped on them was next to impossible
to remove. The result was that "Pillsbury's Best"
was prominently displayed on the seat of the baby.
Whoever heard of store-bought diapers, anyway?
Mama's hair was always fine and red. Little curls on her
forehead with the rest gathered into a roll at
her neck. Redheads have the reputation
of being fiery; not Mama. A more mild, patient
person we've never met. Oh, there's spunk there!
Fire, too, when it came to sticking up for the truth
and right way!
FOR MORE ABOUT HER LIFE:
RELATED PAGES LINKED BELOW
FOR THE NEXT GOD'S LITTLE
MORE ABOUT FARM LIFE:
GOD'S FIFTH LITTLE ACRE
FOR THE SIXTH GOD'S LITTLE ACRE
BUYING, BARTERING, BUTCHERING, AND
THE SPIRITUAL SIDE:
MORE RELATED LINKS BELOW
You Are The Reason We Did
GOD'S LITTLE ACRES WRITTEN
--by Estelle (Stadem) Rangen
(c) Butterfly Productions, All Rights Reserved
PUBLISHER/FOUNDER/WEBMASTER, JERRY L. GINTHER, PASSED TO GLORY, JULY 2011, & EDITOR: Ron