Monday, February 10, 2014

Prairie Cooking - Love Letters

Back in the pioneer days, there were many lonely hearts here on the prairies. Men far outnumbered women, sometimes by twenty to one. In the countryside, a new female teacher was met with great speculation as to which young farmer would win her heart.

Communities organized fundraisers called Box Socials to which each young lady brought a fancy boxed lunch to be auctioned off to the eligible bachelors, along with the promise of an introduction and a dance. Then there was the joke about the fellow who wrote to the Eaton's catalogue to "order" one of the models on the corset page.

In 1906, a fellow calling himself Big Mike wrote a letter to the editor of Western Home Monthly: "I would like to have a good strong woman for wife who would milk cows and feed calves, and raise plenty of fowl and keep a good garden."

On rare occasion, women also used the pages of farm magazines to find a mate, but they were perhaps a bit pickier in their requirements. In 1917, Saskatchewan Nancy wrote: "I would like to correspond with the other sex between 35 and 40, if they live near a town and own good farms and good houses, not shacks. I am a good cook and buttermaker, and am fond of poultry."

This Czech recipe for Love Letters appeared in the CCF Cookbook of 1944, submitted by Louise Lucas of Mazenod, Sask. Let's hope some of those letters to the editor had happy endings.

Love Letters
1 cup cottage cheese
1 cup butter, room temp.
2 cups flour
Pinch of salt
Jam of your choice

Drain cottage cheese through a sieve, pressing lightly to remove moisture. Beat together cottage cheese and butter. Work in flour and salt. Form dough into a ball, wrap and refrigerate one hour. Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface. Fold and roll again. Do this three more times then let the dough rest 1/2 hour.

Working in batches, roll the dough so thin you can see through it. Cut into 3x3 inch squares. Place a bit of jam in the centre. Fold the corners to the middle so it resembles an envelope, dabbing the corners with water and pressing to seal. Bake at 350F for 12-15 minutes.

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Voltaire2006 said...

When I was growing up on a farm outside of Strasbourg, SK, one of our neighbours used to make these. My recollection is she used homemade applessauce - using crabapples, of course. Tangy and delicious.

Amy Jo Ehman said...

Applesauce is a great idea. I'm going to try that for Valentine's Day. Thanks!