A Story and a Recipe

By Dorothy Johnson


The woods and trees are really beautiful with the sun shining on the ice; it is just too bad that the ice is so destructive that some of the trees will never recover.  We had bad storms when I lived on the farm, but it did not seem to cause such consternation.  For one thing, we always had heat because we had three wood stoves ready to go, one in the kitchen, one in the living room and one upstairs.  The upstairs stove was not lit all of the time, but it did feel good on those long cold nights.

We did not have to worry about keeping water in gallon containers; the outside pump always worked.  Our pump was just off the veranda while my aunt’s pump was on the kitchen sink.  That inside pump seemed like a more convenient arrangement for the cooks in the family.  My grandfather, though, was more interested in having his pump convenient to the barn…and with three or four work horses and fourteen cattle, I can see his point.

Computers were a thing of the future so that was not a problem.  We had an eight party line for our phone so that was often unavailable with or without a storm.  We had rabbit ears on our television and only received one Canadian channel so we did not miss that too much.  The transistor radio worked and we could keep apprised of the weather by radio or by just looking out the window.

The real problem for me was no lights to read by.  Those kerosene lamps with the smoky chimneys did not do it for me.  For one thing, I was too young to be trusted with a lamp so I was dependent upon others to move them around.  Wherever that lamp was, I was with whatever book I was reading at that minute.  I must admit though the kerosene lamp did not really produce much of a light next to electricity.

My point is nothing much changed when the power went off on the farm.  Life went on as usual.  My aunt spent the day cooking just as she always did.  My idea of cooking is to find a pie crust in a box and to make one pie.  My aunt’s idea of cooking was to make enough crust for five pies, bake a ginger bread and a batch of molasses cookies.  She always had sweets in the house and because she worked long hours in the sardine factory or making wreaths, when she cooked, she really cooked.

Of course, I ate everything she cooked, but I really enjoyed her doughnuts (donuts).  She would usually fry them on a Saturday morning in a black frying pan.  When my uncle could not longer breathe after the donuts were fried, she stopped making them.  That was a sad day on the Ridge.  

Aunty only made plain doughnuts.  This week I searched an old Rebekah Cookbook and found an easy recipe for Chocolate Doughnuts.


Chocolate Doughnuts


One and one half cups sugar   •  Two squares chocolate

Three teaspoons shortening   •  Three cups sifted flour

One teaspoon baking powder

One-fourth teaspoon salt

One cup sour milk in which one teaspoon baking soda is dissolved

Two eggs

One teaspoon vanilla


Beat eggs and mix with shortening and melted chocolate together.

Slowly add sugar.

Sift in flour, baking powder and salt. Stir in milk with baking soda.

Roll out on floured board. Pat thin with hand and cut out.

Drop into deep, hot (but not smoking) fat.

A few tips:  Using a deep fat fryer is safer than Aunty’s method of a using a frying pan on a wood stove.  One square of chocolate equals three tablespoons cocoa and one-half tablespoon butter. Using a lot of flour when rolling out the dough will make the doughnuts tough.  Rolling the fried doughnuts in sugar will make a great taste but certainly add to the calories.  Homemade doughnuts are a great “special” treat and doughnuts bought at the store will not even come close in the taste.