Time for Spring Soul Cleaning - Country Cousin

By: 
Shirley Prudhomme

The Super Bowl, Valentine’s Day, Mardi Gras, Ash Wednesday and President’s Day have all come and gone. Lent is here and Easter is coming up fast.

We’ve finally been having some winter weather, but there still isn’t enough snow for outdoor fun. Days when we can’t play outside are good for some in-depth indoor house cleaning, and Lent is the time for Christians to do some in-depth soul cleaning in preparation for Easter.

START A NEW HABIT

A message from our parish priest this past Sunday was that perhaps instead of giving something up for Lent, we should add something good to our lives.

For anyone with time and a little change to spare, joining the volunteers in “FISH” could prove very rewarding.

FISH is a group that right now has only 10 members. These volunteers give rides without cost to and from medical appointments to folks in the Twin Cities area (Marinette and Menominee) who cannot get there on their own. The group could use a lot more members, not only from the Marinette/Menominee and Peshtigo area, but also from farther out in the county.

The drivers’ help their riders get to and from their vehicles, and carry gear for them. They either keep their passenger company while waiting at the doctor’s office or leave and then come back to give the ride home when called.

When possible, they will give rides to and from more distant places, sometimes even Oconto Falls. The FISH volunteer I spoke with said they would like to be able to provide rides for more folks, including those who live farther out in the county, but due to the small number of volunteers they generally cannot do that.

The volunteers use their own vehicles and provide their own fuel, so becoming a FISH volunteer also is a kind of alms giving, which we are supposed to do throughout the year, but especially during Lent, without blowing our own horn over it.

If becoming a FISH volunteer might be right for you, get more information by calling (715)330-4349. FISH also works with ADAPT and the Marinette County Department of Health and Human Services.

CLEANING SUEDE COLLARS

Favorite jackets can sometimes get a bit grungy around the collar. To clean the collar of your favorite suede jacket, coat the discolored area with cornstarch or baking soda. Leave it overnight. This is an effective way to absorb all the grease and stains. After leaving the cornstarch and baking soda on, brush it with a stiff brush multiple times until you remove the powder and the stains.

For grease stains on other fabrics, pre-treat the area with chalk to absorb the grease. From there, you can wash as usual with laundry soup. 

To remove ink, lipstick or other makeup stains from your clothing begin with a few sprites of hairspray. Let it sit for about 10 minutes, then dab with a wet washcloth and wash as normal.

ON THE SOAP BOX

PRESIDENT’S DAY

Today, more than ever, this nation needs all the heroes we can get, but instead of cherishing the legacy of those who helped establish the United States of America, the liberal element is busy vilifying them. One of the targets of these hate-mongers is George Washington, the man who led the rebel army to free America from the shackles of Great Britain and then became the first president of the new nation.

Monday, Feb. 19, was President’s Day, but that holiday isn’t worth celebrating, because not all presidents are worth celebrating. Coming up on Thursday, Feb. 22, is George Washington’s Birthday.

The man who led our Revolutionary War army to victory over Great Britain, and went on to become the first president of the United States of America, was born at his family’s plantation on Pope’s Creek in Westmoreland County, Virginia, on February 22, 1732, to Augustine and Mary Ball Washington. 

According to the “Mount Vernon” website, little is known of George Washington’s childhood, and it remains the most poorly understood part of his life. In 1738, the family moved to Ferry Farm, a plantation on the Rappahannock River near Fredericksburg, Virginia, where George spent much of his youth.

When he was eleven years old, his father died, leaving most of his property to George’s adult half brothers. The income from what remained was just sufficient to maintain Mary Washington and her children. Unlike many of his contemporaries, Washington never attended college or received a formal education. After the death of their father, family funds for education were limited. Private tutors and possibly a local school in Fredericksburg provided George and his siblings with the only formal instruction he would receive.

In addition to reading, writing and basic legal forms, George studied geometry and trigonometry in preparation for his first career as a surveyor and manners, which would shape his character and conduct for the rest of his life.

At age 22, Washington served with the army for Virginia Gov. Robert Dinwiddie in 1753 during the French and Indian War. He would later serve again under General Edward Braddock. In recognition of his conduct during that time, Washington was given command of Virginia’s entire military force. This provided him with experience in commanding troops through an arduous campaign. In 1758 the British finally ended those battles, peace returned to Virginia and Washington resigned his commission to return to Mount Vernon.

Washington got into politics at age 26. He lost his first attempt to be elected to the Virginia House of Burgess, but won the second one in 1758, and remained a member until its last session, in 1774. On June 15, 1775, Washington was called on to become commander in chief of the Continental Army that was besieging the British in Boston.

Incidentally, the Oneida Indian Nation openly declared its support for the rebel patriots during the Revolutionary War.

Once the war with Britain was over, Washington was offered the chance to become king of the new nation, but he turned it down if favor of the entirely new form of government that became the United States of America. It was he who set the standard of two terms as president and then return home as a common citizen under the laws you helped create.

We need to thank him for that, not cast him aside because he didn’t always think as we do today.

Throughout our lives, as we grow and mature, most of us grow mentally and emotionally and change our opinions on many things. History tells us that Washington’s views on slavery changed over time.

Economic and moral concerns led him to question slavery after the Revolutionary War, though he never lobbied publicly for abolition. Unable to extricate himself from slavery during his lifetime, in his will, Washington chose to free the 123 enslaved people he owned outright. 

Here’s hoping teachers in classrooms across America will take some time on Thursday, Feb. 22 to tell their students about our nation’s first president.

COOKIN’ TIME

During Lent, many of us follow the rules of no meat on Fridays, and meat only at the main meal on other days of the week except Sundays. Since many of us have few recipes for meatless dishes, figured this is a good time to pass along a few.

FISH SOUP

This recipe came a few years ago from a friend who lives in Pound said it is a family favorite handed down from her grandmother. She says when they were able to catch only small fish she dug up Grandma’s old recipe and discovered again how much they love it. If bones are a problem she recommends using boneless fillets, but otherwise almost any nice fish will do.

1/4 pound salt pork

1 medium onion, or more, peeled and sliced

3 medium potatoes, peeled and sliced

3 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

3 cups boiling water

1 1/2 pounds small pan fish or fish filets

5 cups milk

Butter

Parsley, fresh or dried, chopped

If using fish you caught, clean and scale them and salt lightly. Refrigerate while you prepare the rest of the soup. (You don’t need to do this if using fillets.) Cut the salt pork into 1/2 inch squares and fry in Dutch oven or large heavy soup kettle. While it cooks peel and slice the onion and potatoes. Once the pork is golden outside and a generous amount of the fat is cooked out remove the pork and put the sliced onions in. Simmer onions in the pork fat until tender. Stir once in a while. Then arrange the sliced potatoes over the onions, sprinkle on the salt and pepper and add the boiling water. Cover the pan, turn heat down and simmer about 15 minutes. Gently lay the fish on top, and cook another 10 minutes, or until the fish are done. Pour milk into the kettle. Heat to simmering but don’t let boil again. Before serving, lift the fish out gently so they don’t fall apart and put them on a serving plate. Into each soup bowl put some salt pork cubes (unless you’re not eating meat), a sprinkle of parsley and a generous lump of butter. Then ladle in the soup. Serve each person a small plate for their fish so they can clean them and either eats the meat as is or add it to their soup. 

Tip: You could also wrap the small fish in cheesecloth before placing in the soup kettle, in which case they would come out whole without danger of getting bones into the rest of the soup.

MEATLESS MEAL PATTIES

These Cottage Cheese Patties are brand new to me. And they’re good enough to gobble up, even when it isn’t Lent. In fact, they’d go pretty nicely as a side dish with a meat main course for those on low carb diets.  

3 eggs

1 1/2 cups cottage cheese

1 1/2 cups quick oatmeal

3 tablespoons wheat germ (optional)

1 ounce envelope dry onion soup mix

1 teaspoon dried thyme

2 tablespoons vegetable oil (for frying)

1 (10 ounce) can condensed cream of mushroom soup

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat eggs in a large bowl. Stir in cottage cheese, rolled oats, wheat germ, dry onion soup mix and dried thyme. Form into eight patties. Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Place patties in oil, and brown on both sides. Remove patties to a 9x13-inch baking dish. Pour condensed soup into a small bowl. Stir in 1/2 can of water (or milk) to dilute, and then pour over patties. Bake in oven until the sauce is bubbly, about 20 minutes.

CHERRY DUMP CAKE

Bake this easy treat in honor of President George Washington. That old story about him and the cherry tree may not be true, but this easy dessert is truly good! 

1 can (21 ounces) cherry pie filling

1 can (12 ounces) evaporated milk

1 package chocolate cake mix (regular size)

1/3 cup sliced almonds, optional

3/4 cup butter, melted

Vanilla ice cream or whipped cream, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 4-quart Dutch oven with parchment; lightly spray with cooking spray. Combine the pie filling and evaporated milk and spread into bottom of a Dutch oven. Sprinkle with dry cake mix (unprepared) and almonds, if using them. Drizzle melted butter over everything. Bake, covered, until cake springs back when touched, 35-40 minutes. If desired, serve with ice cream or whipped cream.

Thought for the Week: Lord, during Lent and all through the year, please make my days useful, my nights restful, my home peaceful, and my efforts fruitful. Amen.

(This column is written by Shirley Prudhomme of Crivitz. Views expressed are her own and are in no way intended to be an official statement of the opinions of Peshtigo Times editors and publishers. She may be contacted by phone at (715)291-9002 or by e-mail to shirleyprudhommechickadee@yahoo.com.

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