Country Kitchen: May Day Memories

Country Kitchen: May Day Memories
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May Day MemoriesWe celebrated May Day in my childhood with May baskets made for family members and friends. When Mother was a teacher in a one-room school house before her marriage, she enjoyed making with her students the baskets of May. They also took walks to find wild flowers for filling the baskets. Then she passed along this tradition to her children.

Even in Sunday School, we sometimes made May baskets, usually to take home as gifts for our parents. These were created from strips of colored paper, woven together for the basket. Then they were glued to stay in place. We'd draw and color paper flowers and attach them to the basket

Mother found small baskets which we filled with wild flowers if any were blooming. If not, we'd make paper ones. These decorated the table on May 1. If Grandmother was staying with us, we made a basket for her.

Other May Day Celebrations

In some countries and parts of the United States, the May pole is a tradition. Streamers are attached to a pole similar to a flag pole. Then girls in swirling dresses dance around this pole.

Hanging baskets of flowers on doors of friends the night before May Day has been the custom in many areas. These baskets would be of many colors and sizes. Today they may be taken to friends and family in nursing homes, along with goodies to eat.

May Day Treats

Mother made cookies for May Day, either to put into our baskets, or simply to have as a treat when we came home from school. I don't recall that there were any special ones associated with this occasion, just cookies that tasted delicious to hungry children. If Mother had time, she might decorate them for the occasion. Or as we children got older, we helped bake and decorate.

Search through your cookbooks for new cookie recipes to make, or try some that are favorites with your family. Decorate the table with a pretty cloth or placemats and napkins. Nowadays, there are colorful paper plates and cups one might use for the meal on May Day.

APPLESAUCE COOKIES are an old-fashioned type to try.

Mix together 1/2 cup shortening, 1 beaten egg, 1 cup sugar and 1 cup applesauce with 1 teaspoon baking soda mixed into it.

Sift together 2 cups flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon. Mix dry and creamed ingredients together.

Add 1 cup raisins or chocolate bits. Or use 1/2 cup raisins and 1/2 cup chocolate bits.

Drop onto greased cookie sheets with teaspoon. Bake at 375 degrees F. for 15 to 20 minutes until done.

PEANUT BUTTER KRISPIES are favorites with youngsters. Cook 3/4 cup corn syrup and 3/4 white sugar in a pan over medium heat until bubbles. Add 3/4 cup chunky peanut butter and stir until melted.

Pour over 4 1/2 cups krispy rice cereal. Spread into a buttered 9 x 13-inch pan. Drip melted chocolate over the top. Cut when cool.

(C) 2003 Mary Emma Allen

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About The Author

Mary Emma Allen researches and writes from her multi-generational NH home. Check out her new site, Tea Time Notes

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