I grew up during the depression on a farm in Northern Alberta. I was born in 1931, right at the beginning of it. I was never hungry. This was one advantage we had over city or town kids. We grew almost everything we needed to eat. The garden was huge, we grew enough vegetables to last to spring or even past spring and then started the cycle again. We were a lot better off then city kids. Meat, moose or deer we could kill them if we needed meat. When I think back on some of the dishes we ate there couldn’t have been very much in the old larder because it wasn’t a real sophisticated type of meal; it would just fill us that’s all….sometimes just hot milk and dumplings or something that created bulk and was warm and filled you now that I think back on it but to us as kids we always left the table full.
There was something Mother made around Christmas that I haven’t had since I left the country. It was called Lutefisk. It’s cod, it’s a Norwegian dish and it’s dried for the sake of preservation. It was hard, as hard as this board. What you did was restore it back to an edible food. This doesn’t sound very good but you soaked it in lye, but then you soaked it in water and flushed all the lye out of it and then it was restored back to cod, good and soft, served with butter. And that is a dish I haven’t had since I left the farm.
This was another favourite recipe of mine. These were not Ukrainian style. I asked Mother one time if she brought that recipe over from Norway. She no, no I found this one in the Free Press Prairie Farmer, which was a Winnipeg paper. Ukrainian cabbage rolls have no meat, theirs is cabbage and rice but Mother’s were just loaded with hamburger and she served them with whipped cream, not whipping cream but at the end of the cooking cycle she poured cream over it and let it cook into the food. It is very rich.