Country Kitchen: Trails End Quilters and Cooking

Country Kitchen: Trails End Quilters and Cooking

By Mary Emma Allen

As I considered the quiltmakers in my family, I realized there were more than my daughter, granddaughter and me. They went back to former generations to give us truly a century or more of quilting heritage which included my aunt, my grandmother, and other relatives.

I've begun to refer to our group as the Trails End Quilters since those original quilters lived on a farm at "the end of the trail". Our present home also is located at the end of a long driveway near the end of a dead end dirt road. Eventually my grandparents' farm became known as "Trails End".

Memories of Quilting

Some of my quiltmaking memories consist of sitting beside the wood burning cookstove in my grandmother's kitchen hand sewing quilt pieces. Nanny wanted to make quilts for each of us four children. I still have the one with my initials in the corner...well worn, but surviving.

Then when the quilt tops were pieced together, my aunt, grandmother and Susie, a neighbor lady, gathered for a quilting bee. Actually they tied the quilt back, flannel filling, and back together with tufts of yarn instead of stitching.

They didn't have a quilting frame, so spread the quilts on the large dining table,. There they sat and chatted and tied. I was so pleased they included me in the gathering so I could help with this phase of my quilt.

A Mother's Encouragement

My mom wasn't a quilter, except in her childhood. However, for some years she operated a small country general store and sold quilts during the Bicentennial years of the 1970s. With her encouragement, I began quiltmaking again to provide quilts for her customers. This evolved into a mail order quiltmaking business as well.

My daughter and granddaughter have taken up this art and I'm excited to see the designs they create. They're introducing me to many novel new techniques in today's world of quiltmaking.

Foods for Quilters

Quilting bees long have been associated with the quilters' favorite recipes. Also, today's quilters need easy-to-prepare meals, or those they can prepare ahead so their families aren't neglected while the quiltmaking is accomplished.

I have recipes from the early quilters in my heritage as well as those from quilters of today. Some quilt guilds also put together cookbooks as fund raisers for their groups.

Perhaps I should compile a cookbook with recipes from my Trails End Quilters heritage.

HANDY HAMBURGER SOUP - This is a "make-ahead" recipe my daughter developed.

Brown 1 pound ground beef or ground turkey in Dutch oven. Drain off fat. Add 3 1/2 cups water, 3 beef bouillon cubes, 1 chopped onion, 1 can (10 oz.) stewed tomatoes, 1 can (10 oz.) tomato sauce, 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce, 1 bay leaf, 1/4 teaspoon basil, 1/2 teaspoon oregano, 2 tablespoons chopped parsley, 3 sliced carrots, 1 stalk chopped celery and 3 medium potatoes cut into chunks. Simmer until vegetables are cooked through.

Then add 1 can (10 oz.) or 1/2 bag frozen corn and 1 bag frozen Italian vegetables. Simmer until these have cooked.

Each time Beth makes this dish she uses the basic recipe and varies the vegetables depending on what she feels like putting in, has on hand, or finds in season. Hamburger Soup can be cooked in the Dutch oven or a slow cooker.

Good served with freshly baked bread or rolls.

Article (C) 2004 Mary Emma Allen

About the Author

Mary Emma Allen has been writing cooking columns for 40 years. She and her family compiled a cookbook to preserve their food heritage. She teaches workshops to show others how to do this, along with scrapbooking their family recipes. Visit her web site for more cooking articles. Contact her at

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