Author Archives: Becky Noffsinger

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If you are one of my 16 very loyal readers, I feel that I owe you an explanation about my absence over the past few months. To cut to the chase: I wrote a book.

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Lucie's Kitchen -- or The Book, as it's referred to in my house with varying degrees of affection  and angst --  is  chock full of recipes from Lucie's collection intertwined with her story. I tried to just make this a little thing I did for my family, however, certain friends of mind have pushed encouraged me to get the word out.

Apparently when you write a book you have to tell people about it  and let them read it, which is more terrifying to me than writing a 164 page book. You can watch my agony right here-- I will post pre-ordering info right here in the very near future.

In the meantime, thank you for reading my words. It is so surprising and humbling to hear that you enjoy the words that make their way from my head to the screen. I hope you'll enjoy this book even more, all 100+ recipes and the story of a woman who I've never met, but learned so much from.

Oh, and please share with the world and increase my terror if you are so inclined.

With Gratitude,

Becky

 

Following is an excerpt from Lucie's Kitchen, a collection of stories and recipes from Lucie Olmstead's life coming out soon.

Clyde was home on leave from the Navy. He wasn't sure when he would be home again, so he and Helen planned their wedding on a Friday, August 12, 1955. Her sister Alice's wedding was the next day, but that was OK. Helen's wedding was a happy party, a casual gathering of friends and family glad to see the young couple get their start. Nothing extravagant.

Helen and Clyde would go on to live and raise four children in their hometown, together for close to 60 years-- and counting.

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Newlyweds Helen & Clyde Jenkins (center), with matron of honor Sally McDermid and best man, friend of Clyde.

When asked for a favorite recipe from Aunt Helen's daughter Tricia, this main dish was her pick. But like Edna's Scalloped Corn and Lucie's pies, Helen's Beef Tips and Noodles weren't tied to a hard and fast recipe. "Oh, I just use some leftover roast beef, add some gravy, and boil some noodles." reported Helen. "Homemade noodles though." she added. That's the key: her kids loved this dish, but the noodles are essential. "They're just egg and flour," Helen said "but the kids ate those first."

That's the truth, isn't it? Sometimes the most practical, uncomplicated things are what we crave the most.

Beef Tips and Noodles

by Helen Jenkins

Ingredients
Cooked roast beef
Gravy
Noodles

Cut the roast beef into chunks and brown over medium heat in a heavy skillet. Make gravy separately and add to the pan. Stir in cooked noodles.

Noodles

by Lucie Olmstead

Ingredients
1 egg
salt
1 T cream, milk, or water (or 1 tsp butter)
Flour

Mix the egg, salt, and cream together in a bowl. Add enough flour to form a soft ball.

Roll on a well-floured area to the desired thickness. From one end, roll the sheet up into a log. Cut the rolled dough into 1" wide sliced, then uncurl each noodle. Allow to dry for 1-2 hours. Drop noodles one at a time into boiling water or soup (after everything else in the soup is cooked). Cook in boiling water for 5-7 minutes.

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What I wouldn’t give for a greenhouse right now.

The warm, humid smell of green things growing is enough to make me happy for a week during midwinter’s freeze. 

I have been known to make friends for the express purpose of visiting their hoop houses in winter, oohing and ahhing over tomatoes in March while breathing deeply the moist earthy air.

In winter, I dream of growing again.

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My favorite seed catalog, hands down. Seriously, get this.

Seed companies know this. Delicious catalogs bring hope to my mailbox in January and February, and while the cold winds blow, far away from tedious weeding and watering in summer's sauna, while last year's worries about insects and mildew and blights are a distant memory, I imagine possibilities.

And I buy three years’ worth of seeds.

But in all of my planning and dreaming, I have to watch it. Because right now it's Winter, and it has its purpose too. If I spend too much time looking forward, I’ll wish the time away.

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The apple tree on my parents' farm. We've harvested from it for as long as I can remember.

 

Apple trees know this. In fact, they welcome winter.

Why?

Apple trees, like many fruit trees, need a minimum number of cold winter days before they are able to fruit in the summer. If they don’t get it, their system doesn’t reboot and can’t gear up for the major task of fruiting in summer.

Sure, Becky, you say, I know all about taking a Sabbath day.

But I’m not talking about a day off. I’m talking WINTER: hibernation, Moses in the wilderness, Jesus’ 40 days in the desert. A long isolation from growth and a slowing down, spending only what’s necessary with your reserves. Deep rest.

The apple tree doesn't fight winter. Instead, it prepares for it by moving energy reserves to its roots, dropping leaves, and hardening its wood against the cold. If it pretended that winter wasn't coming, stayed supple and tried to keep growing leaves, it would break and die. So it hunkers down in acceptance.

And it knows that spring will come again.

Winter comes in many forms in our lives. Maybe your finances need a reset, or your health is washed out. Maybe it’s time for a career change or a re-evaluation of relationships. But whatever your winter, don’t waste it.

You'll need it, come spring.

What's your winter these days?