Historical Mad Lib – Fun at Parties – Downloadable Copy!

Well here we sit on the longest day of the year as we prepare for our big Farmhouse Frolic tomorrow! We are all so excited, we will be waxing eggs, bubble bowling, making rhubarb sauce, playing games, watching pigs, ducks and chickens and so much more!!!!

Visiting with the chickens--just one fun activity at the Frolic!

We have had just a wonderful day preparing! Such great and wonderful friends I have here to help!

One thing we could not quite fit into the schedule was a ‘mad lib’ found in a wonderful book called “The American Girls Handy Book” which was published  in 1887! It is called “Biographical Nonsense” which is basically a mad lib! I am providing it here as a download! Print it off and have a blast! Who know that there were historic mad libs. Great fun at a party!


I hope to see you all at the Farmhouse Frolic!


Oatmeal Pancakes

We serve lots of delicious food for breakfast at Hillside Homestead. Here is the recipe for Oatmeal Cakes , which are pancakes made with leftover cooked oatmeal. The recipe originally comes from the 1904 edition of “The Buckeye Cook Book”. Just about my favorite cook book of all time! I love to make these pancakes for my guests. Sometimes my guests even like to help! Learning to make a new recipe is fun and learning to cook on a wood stove is even better! I hope you enjoy this recipe. Drop me a line if you try it out!

The New Buckeye Cook Book 1904

The New Buckeye Cook Book published in 1904. My all time favorite cook book!


Oatmeal Pancakes

Oatmeal Pancakes the original recipe from the Buckeye Cook Book.

1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon sugar
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ cup of water or more
1 cup leftover cooked oatmeal (sometimes I add a little apple sauce If I don’t have quite a cup of oatmeal)

Mix together the dry ingredients in small bowl. Mix together the wet ingredients in a big bowl. Add the dry to the wet and mix well. If it seems too thick add a bit more water to thin it out. This recipe doubles and triples quite nicely. Bake (or fry or cook in modern terminology) on a hot griddle. Flip only once. Serve hot with butter and maple syurp or warmed apple sauce or fruit,etc. Use your imagination add banana or squash or pumpkin to the oatmeal. You could use milk instead of water. Experiment with the amount of liquid to suit your taste. This recipe is a guideline, not a mandate. Enjoy!

Written out by Susan Odom at Hillside Homestead in Suttons Bay, Mich. June 19, 2014





Farmhouse Frolic June 22 from noon to 5pm

You are invited to Hillside Homestead

The Farmhouse Frolic

Sunday June 22, noon to 5pm

Free and Family Friendly!



Hillside Homestead is a historic farm stay, offering overnight lodging, dinners, classes and free events

Hillside Homestead is a historic farm stay, offering overnight lodging, dinners, classes and free events


The Farmhouse Frolic is a time for anyone to come and visit the farm. All are welcome and encouraged to come. Bring your family and friends to experience this early 20th century farm. This is a great opportunity to visit Hillside Homestead and have fun doing it! Visit www.hillsidehomestead.com or www.facebook.com/hillsidehomestead for more info!

Activities at the Farmhouse Frolic will include:

  • Historic cooking demos and tastings in the kitchen focusing on food in season, eggs and early vegetables.
  • Tour the farmhouse and the grounds
  • Waxing eggs for winter storage and a discussion on historic methods of preserving eggs. Learn about raising chickens on a small farm
  • See the farm animals: pigs, chickens, chicks and ducklings and perhaps the itinerant goose, Gypsy, will even appear!
  • Games for all ages
  • Or just enjoy some porch sitting with your friends and relax!


wood cook stove

My wonderful wood cook stove, a Round Oak Range.


Pigs pigs pigs at Hillside Homestead

Pigs pigs pigs at Hillside Homestead

Proprietress Susan Odom feeding the chickens in the yard

Proprietress Susan Odom feeding the chickens in the yard


A little nap after lunch

A little nap after lunch



Turnip Kraut

Yes, you read that right, turnip kraut. That is my most recent historic food experiment.

Turnip Kraut - my first try at fermenting turnips.

Turnip Kraut – my first try at fermenting turnips.

I’ve made sauerkraut for years, the old way, nicely shredded cabbage layered with salt and allowed to naturally ferment in a crock. I had read and heard that it could be done with turnips and I always wanted to try that. And then like magic the turnip fairy came and brought me about 25 pounds of turnips. So when I found the turnips on the porch I knew what I had to do.

By the way Nic Welty runs a nice farm around here called 9 Bean Rows.  And some have said they have seen him drop off turnips on porches, although I’ve never seen that myself. I don’t have to see it, I believe in the turnip fairy!

Now-a-days ‘krauting’ is called lacto-fermentation or cultured vegetables. It is all essentially the same thing. It is a way of preserving vegetables. Pickles use vinegar. Jam uses jelly. Kraut uses fermentation.

So I followed the recipe at the top of this page, circa 1930. And then just today a great historic foodie friend, Pat Reber, sent me this recipe from Philadelphia in 1909…

Turnip Kraut.-—Peel and grate enough turnips in a crock to make a layer about 2 inches deep in the bottom of a 1-gallon jar. Sprinkle a teaspoonful of salt over it. Grate enough to make another 2-inch layer. then a teaspoonful of salt as before, and so on until jar is full. Cover with a plate that will fit down inside the jar. Put a weight on and tie a thick white cloth over top. A smooth clean rock is good for a weight. Some people use smoothing iron for such things, but that is not good for the kraut, nor the iron, either. It will take kraut 10 days or two weeks before ready for use. Should be kept in kitchen where it is warm. The Practical Farmer, Nov. 10, 1909

The two recipes are very similar. I opened up my crock of turnip kraut today…… well not quite. I tried to open it up but the wooden disc I put inside to keep the kraut down under the brine was swollen stuck! I paused for a moment and wondered what will I do? Then it dawns on me; I should ask the guys at Woodbine to help me. Woodbine is this amazing place in Suttons Bay where lumber is turned into furniture/art/apple butter paddles, machines are refurbished or reinvented, old boats are made new, flesh forks are straightened, unique metal parts are fabricated for making cider and many more wondrous and amazing miracles that I can barely understand. The machinery there astounds and there is this really nice cat named Oliver. I knew those guys could get that disc out of my crock. Those guys are great.

Jim, Gary and Fred, in intervals tried a few different approaches, which was all very entertaining. In the end a small saw was produced and the disc was removed without damaging the crock or the turnip kraut. Gary and I tasted some right away and were both quite pleased. It is nice to know that a girl like me can get a little help at place like Woodbine. It is all is so serendipitous. Jim, you know, is responsible for the beautiful built-ins in my house.

The dining room hutch that Jim built. Made of walnut.

The dining room hutch that Jim built. Made of walnut.

Anyway – back to opening the turnip kraut… once the kraut was opened and it was tasted I have to say I am very pleasantly surprised. I’m not a huge fan of the turnip, cooked with other root vegetables it is pretty good. But man oh man, this turnip kraut is just the thing. Crunchy, tangy, a bit peppery hot, strong flavored, not too sour – oh my gosh I’m sold. I like it better than sauerkraut.  It was not that hard to make and only took about 2 weeks to ferment.

Turnip Kraut in the crock

Turnip Kraut in the crock

I plan to serve it as a relish with meals, I think it will go well with pork and poultry and sandwiches with meat. It would also be very nice with some dry cured sausages, cheeses, quince paste and a few walnuts and I think some Riesling.

Turnip Kraut – I’m impressed.


Preserving Eggs with lard and beeswax – success, failure and promise

On April 4, 2013 we, Maggie and I, coated four dozen of our hen’s fresh eggs in lard and stored them in a crock of oats. On May 16, 2013 we coated 3 dozen eggs in beeswax and stored them in another crock of oats. I wrote this blog post when we stored the eggs. This was done to preserve them from spring to winter. Fresh eggs are plentiful in the spring and on shortage in the winter.

Well it is winter time, so we opened up the egg crocks to see what we had! We had mixed results. Some of the eggs coated in bees wax had spoiled and I was afraid they tainted the whole crock. But the eggs coated in lard were good. I was a little disappointed, but not dismayed.

After some reflection on the results I think I understand why the waxed eggs went bad. I often took guests down cellar to show them the salt cured meats, the stored eggs and other intriguing food surprises that are to be found in our cellar.

Eggs coated in bees wax stored big end down in a crock filled with oats. A common way to preserve eggs

Eggs coated in bees wax stored big end down in a crock filled with oats. A common way to preserve eggs

I would open up the waxed egg crock, dig through the oats and pull out an egg to show. I even did some experimental techniques with the wax application; that involved wrapping the egg in tissue paper before dipping it in the wax. But I never opened the larded egg crock. I think my digging around in the waxed crock disturbed the eggs and exposed them to more temperature variation. And I think I found that my experimental waxing methods did not work. The larded eggs were just dipped in melted lard and cooled, no tissue paper.

As a test we fried one of the larded eggs. It did not taste very good, but I did not expect it too. Eggs are stored for baking purposes and not fresh eating. But we wanted to try it and we can report no ill effects.

Next we tried baking a cake. Maggie picked out a new recipe for Cocoanut Loaf Cake (365 Cakes and Cookies, published in 1904), which is like a pound cake with only eggs to leaven it, no baking powder or the like. We were very excited while it was baking and the results were amazing!!! The cake was delicious and the eggs had done just what they should do in the cake, raise it a bit, make it rich and lend a beautiful yellow color. The cake was baked yesterday (Nov 21, 2013) and we both ate some and can report we are in good health.

Cocoanut loaf cake made with eggs preserved with lard. Eggs put in storage on 4/4/13 and cake was baked on 11/21/13

Cocoanut loaf cake made with eggs preserved with lard. Eggs put in storage on 4/4/13 and cake was baked on 11/21/13. Eggs more than 7 months in storage!

Now we have eggs to use for holiday baking!!! Good thing too because my chickens have not laid an egg since November 4!

Next year we will do the experiment again, another crock of larded eggs and another crock of waxed eggs. I will stick to the plain method of coating the eggs with the wax. I think both methods, waxed and larded, hold a lot of promise. Most important I will keep my hands out of the egg crocks during the storage period! Perhaps I should make a demo crock with fake eggs that I can share with guests!

Now of course this is not USDA approved so I can’t tell you to try it at home. But It does seem to hold some promise for me and Hillside Homestead!

So bring on the holidays; I’ve got eggs!