musings from Canadian author Cheryl Cooke Harrington ... home of The Write Spot

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

memories are made of this

My mother is haunting me this week. Not as a ghostly apparition – she'd never approve such hijinks. "What would people think?" No, Mom's hauntings are more likely to follow the path of gentle reminder. I might find an unexpected hug in one of her crocheted "love-in-every-stitch" blankets, catch the familiar strains of Que Sera, Sera while channel surfing, or lift the lid on happy memories in the kitchen.
I made harvest soup on Sunday afternoon and as I pulled the old Dutch oven from the depths of the cupboard, Mom was there. 

Sunday's Harvest Soup in Mom's Dutch Oven

Mom and that cast iron pot were ever-present in my childhood, serving up delicious, nourishing (and thrifty) meals, everything from her oddball "Irish" stew made with ground beef and curry, to chicken with melt-in-your-mouth dumplings. And let's not forget the world's finest chili sauce. Mmm, I can almost smell it now. Small wonder lifting that lid still conjures the very best memories of Mom.

Mom's Chili Sauce

·         11 quart basket ripe tomatoes (skinned and coarsely chopped)

·         4 red and 4 green sweet peppers (coarsely chopped)

·         1 or 2 red hot peppers (finely and very carefully chopped – don't get the juice on you!)

·         2 bunches of celery (coarsely chopped)

·         10-12 onions (chopped)

·         5 cups apple cider vinegar

·         5 tablespoons salt

·         3 cups brown sugar

·         2 quarts of apples (coarsely chopped – these help to thicken the sauce)

Seasonings: (tie in a cheesecloth bag and immerse in sauce while it cooks)

·         1 tablespoon cloves

·         1 tablespoon cinnamon

·         2 teaspoons ginger

·         2 teaspoons allspice

Simmer until it thickens. Makes about 12 pint sealers.



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At 8:44 pm, Blogger Sheila Seabrook said...

Cheryl, I almost choked at the amount of vinegar in the recipe, until I came across the amount of brown sugar. This sounds so good, I have to try it on my family. Thanks for sharing your mom -- and her recipe. :)

At 8:40 pm, Blogger Cheryl said...

You won't be disappointed, Sheila. It really is delicious. Great with roast beef or grilled cheese sandwiches - just about anything. The sugar balances out the vinegar nicely. Mom would've laughed at your cringe, though. She loved vinegar and would add it to soup or splash some on her green beans. Tasty!

At 2:08 pm, Anonymous susan mcnicoll said...

This sounds wonderful Cheryl but I am really posting because as soon as you mentioned the old dutch oven I had my own flashback memories of mom and I wonder what happened to hers. I imagine one of my sisters has it. They seem to have most things. I remember the pot filled with spaghetti sauce and the smell making me more and more hungry for dinner. Thanks for the memory. Susan

At 5:38 pm, Blogger Cheryl said...

Susan, I'm delighted to know my little story brought back happy memories. I love when that happens! Now I'm hungry for spaghetti. Mmmm.


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