My mother never let me do much in the kitchen except make salads or stir the gravy. My cooking ability was practically non-existent when I got married. But, I did remember mother mentioning to her friends that she made certain cakes, pies, etc made from scratch. So, my first priority after the honeymoon was to locate some scratch.
With mother’s delicious cakes in mind, my first trip to the store was to buy some scratch. I found the aisle that read ‘baking items’ and spent fifteen minutes looking at everything from oils to flours, but no signs of scratch could I see. And not even with the pickles or meat either!
I asked a clerk if they carried scratch. He looked at me oddly and said, “Oh, you’ll have to go to the store at the corner of Hampshire and Maple.”
When I got there, it turned out to be a feed store. I thought this odd, but cakes are food, so I went inside and said to the store clerk, “I’d like to buy some scratch.” When he asked me how much I wanted, I suggested a pound or two. He replied, ‘how many chicken do you have? It only comes in 20 pound bags. ‘ I didn’t understand why he mentioned chicken, but mother said she made a chicken casserole from scratch, so I bought twenty pounds and hurried on home, delighted with my purchase.
My next problem was to find a recipe calling for scratch. I went through every page of my three cookbooks but didn’t find one recipe calling for scratch. I spent hours at the library searching too. No luck. There I was with 20 pounds of scratch and no recipe.
When I opened the bag, I doubted that a fluffy, moist cake would result from such hard looking ingredients, but then, with the addition of liquids and the use of heat, the result could be very successful. I had no desire to mention my problem to my husband as he very much liked to cook and said he would gladly take over that task. One day when I raved about his lemon pie, he promptly acknowledged that he made it from scratch, so I was then assured it could actually be done.
Now, as you know, being a new bride is pretty scary, especially when three meals a day must be made back in the day. During the first week I learned that the muffins, waffles, pancakes, pies, cakes and even pudding he had made were made from scratch. Well! If he’d made all that from scratch, he must have bought a 20 pound bag too, but I couldn’t find where he kept it stashed away.
The mystery continued , but I wouldn’t reveal my problem. The biggest jolt came when a friend bragged to me that he’d built his house himself from scratch. Then I heard acquaintances say they had made dresses and jackets from scratch, in addition to numerous pastries and desserts.
At this point, I was about ready to give up because everybody knew everything about scratch except me. But pride kept me going. If paper can be made from wood and glue from horses’ hooves, maybe wood or cloth could be made from scratch. Who knows?
By now the detective in me was getting weary, so one day I asked my husband to teach me how to bake a cake. He got out the flour, sugar, eggs, milk, etc. and there was no sign of scratch. I watched him carefully blend all of the ingredients and then put it into the oven. Later, when we were eating the cake, he couldn’t understand my asking…… ‘Honey, why don’t we raise a few chickens?”… and so we did!