Country Kitchen: Winter Fun Times

Country Kitchen: Winter Fun Times

By Mary Emma Allen

As the chill of a wintry night settled on the land, twilight covered the fields and hills, and the farm work was done, we children would have our friends over for a skating party on the pond or sledding on the hill.

Then afterwards, with our cheeks rosy red, our voices filled with excitement, we clustered round the kitchen table for "after skating and sledding " snacks.

Snow dampened, our clothes hung on chairs round the old wood stove or ranged along the clothes line strung up behind the stove. The crackling fire spread heady warmth to thaw our chilled hands and feet.

Skating Party Snacks

Cocoa simmered in a pot on the back of the stove which Mother had ready for us. With a long handled ladle, she'd dip and dip, refilling those seemingly bottomless cups. The homemade doughnuts on the plate disappeared almost as quickly as it was filled.

When cocoa and doughnuts were gone, we'd get long twigs from the bush outside the door, stick marshmallows on the ends, and toast them over the coals of the wood fire which Mother had let die down while we were eating.

Parties Today

Nowadays, itÂ’s "after snowmobiling" parties or "apres ski" get-togethers, when folks gather at one anotherÂ’s homes for hot coffee, cocoa, and snacks.

For simple fare, try sugar cookies, doughnuts, muffins or coffee cake with coffee and cocoa or hot spiced cider. Perhaps you're serving a late supper. Then buffet style serving is easiest, and casseroles come in very handy.

Here are a few ideas you may want to try when you have a group to feed, either for a supper or coffee, during this wintry weather.

SLOPPY JOE CASSEROLE - Combine two 1-pound cans barbecue meat sauce and beans, one 1-pound can pork and beans, 1/2 cup catsup, 6 hot dogs sliced into pieces, 1/4 teaspoon chili powder (if desired). Pour into 2 1/2-qt. casserole; bake at 375 degrees F. about 20 minutes. You can sprinkle some cheese over the top before baking, if desired.

Serve over baking powder biscuits or with corn bread. This can be made ahead, then reheated while the biscuits or corn bread are baking. Canned refrigerator biscuits can be used when you're in a hurry.

HUNGARIAN COFFEE CAKE - Mix together 3 cups sifted flour, 1 cup brown sugar, 1 cup granulated sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt. Blend in 1 cup shortening. Remove 1 cup mixture for topping and add 1 teaspoon cinnamon to it.

Add 1 teaspoon baking soda to 1 cup buttermilk or sour milk; heat slightly until it bubbles over; then add to flour mixture. Add 1 teaspoon vanilla and 2 beaten eggs; blend well.

Pour into greased 9x13-inch pan or two 8-inch round ones. Sprinkle topping over. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 25 to 30 minutes. This may be made ahead and frozen, then reheated after you come in from skiing or snowmobiling.

(C) 2002 Mary Emma Allen

About the Author

Mary Emma Allen has been writing her "Cooking Column" for newspapers and online publications for 30 years and has compiled a family cookbook. SheÂ’s currently compiling a cookbook/story book, "Tales From a Country Kitchen." Visit her web site for more cooking articles. Contact her at

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