Kay Wheeler Moore

Welcome to my blog

Hello. . .

The Newfangled Country Gardener is for anyone who has a garden, would like to have a garden, or who simply enjoys eating the garden-fresh way. I don't claim to be an expert; in this blog I'm simply sharing some of the experiences my husband and I have in preparing food that is home-grown.

About the author

Kay Wheeler Moore is the author of a new cookbook, Way Back in the Country Garden, that features six generations of recipes that call for ingredients that are fresh from the garden. With home gardening surging in popularity as frugal people become more resourceful, this recipe collection and the stories that accompany it ideally will inspire others to cook the garden-fresh way and to preserve their own family food stories as well. The stories in this book center around the Three Red-Haired Miller Girls (Kay's mother and aunts) who grew up in Delta County, TX, with their own backyard garden so lavish that they felt as though they were royalty after their Mama wielded her kitchen magic on all that was homegrown. Introduced in Kay's previous book, Way Back in the Country, the lively Miller Girls again draw readers into their growing-up world, in which a stringent economic era--not unlike today's tight times--saw people turn to the earth to put food on the table for their loved ones. The rollicking yarns (all with recipes attached) have love, family, and faith as common denominators and show how food evocatively bonds us to our life experiences.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Cucumber-and-tomato pasta trendy dish recalling earlier time

I couldn’t get it off my mind. All my life I had heard my mother and others of her generation speak of victory gardens, ration books, meatless meals, and shortages during the World War II years. My mother even worked as a ration-board clerk. As I grew up, stories of how the American cook had to stretch the food supply and be ingenious in the kitchen were legendary.

Just a few days back Hubby and I were on a vacation tour to Pearl Harbor in Honolulu. In the gift shop was the book, Cooking on the Home Front: Favorite Recipes of the World War II Years, by Hugh and Judy Gowan. Someone actually had put on paper a collection of those penny-pinching recipes that my mother and those who lived through those times mentioned. 

All during my trip through the USS Arizona Memorial, the USS Missouri, the Bowfin Submarine, and other stops at the Pearl Harbor site, I thought about the cookbook. Then, at the very end of the tour, I returned to the gift shop, purchased it, and brought it home.

Here’s the first of those recipes for me to prepare. The topping of well-seasoned, diced cucumbers, red onions, tomatoes, and fresh parsley was so delicious, no one thought about the absence of meat. This dish was good hot or cold. (We had it as leftovers the second day.) I remarked to Hubby that this kind of veggie pasta seemed more like a trendy dish that one would cook today than a meal that would have been common 70 years ago. 

For a moment I caught a glimpse of how the homemaker of my mother’s era felt she was part of the pull-together effort that the Pearl Harbor museum described. 

Cucumbers with Pasta

1 pound cucumbers
1/2 cup chopped red onions
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1/4 cup olive oil
1-1/2 pounds tomatoes
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon chopped basil
1 pound spaghetti
1/2 teaspoon salt (or salt substitute) 
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
grated Parmesan cheese (I used shaved Parmesan)

Peel and seed cucumbers. Dice the flesh into 1/4-inch pieces; toss with 1/2 teaspoon salt (or salt substitute), 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar, and a dash of pepper. Let set for 20 minutes; drain. Peel, seed, and dice tomatoes; combine with cucumbers, onions, garlic, herbs, and olive oil. Boil spaghetti in several quarts of water until done. Toss the hot spaghetti with the cucumber and tomatoes. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese. Makes 6 servings.

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