Author Archives: Vera Marie Badertscher

Vera Marie Badertscher

About Vera Marie Badertscher

I am a grandma and was named for my grandma. I’ve been an actress, a political strategist and a writer.I grew up in various places, went to high school in Killbuck, Ohio and graduated from Ohio State University. My husband and I moved to Arizona after graduation and have three adult children. I love to travel and read–and have another website for that called A Traveler’s Library. I ponder family as I cook.

Celebrating 2017 at Ancestors in Aprons

First Things First

THANK YOU! My mother and father thank you. My grandparents and great grandparents to the 14th X thank you.

I am so grateful to the ever-increasing number of readers who find Ancestors in Aprons.

Some of those readers turn out to be relatives. I won’t list them all here, but hardly a week goes by that I don’t get a contact from someone who is related. I love the sharing.

And I must thank the wonderful folks at the Facebook Group, Killbuck Gang. They answer questions about our old home town, share photographs, and frequently come and read posts here,

Another Facebook Group provides encouragement and sharing with other people doing the same thing–research and writing. That is the great group of people at Genealogy Bloggers.

Thanks to every library or organization that has digitized records, newspapers, and books.

Thanks to my great-grandmother, grandmother, mother and various cousins for being pack rats and story tellers.  You’ve given me a great treasure to work with (even though sometimes it may seem like a curse).

Most of all, though, thanks to the faithful readers.  Thanks for commenting, thanks for sharing links to posts, thanks for correcting my errors (whether typo or fact).  This blog is for you.

Taking Stock

What I Said Last Year in January

Last year, I warned that I would be concentrating on research and that would mean fewer posts. Indeed, the number of posts in 2017 came to just slightly more than one a week–60 in total. Compare that to 2016 with 86 posts. Also, food posts continue to beat out ancestor stories, but in 2017, I did fewer food posts, and still drew more readers.

If you doubt the value of older posts, consider that in June 2017, I posted nothing-zip-zilch. And yet June 7th was the best day ever for drawing readers! Because Ancestors now has four and a half years worth of posts, overall content continues to grow, and slowly, slowly, more people discover the stories and recipes.

I also started the “Slice of My Life” series in 2016, which has slipped in importance this year, as I shared so many family letters, heirlooms and new research.

Last year I mentioned playing with the Ancestry.com app, We’re Related.  I found I could use it to jump start research on a line, but all together it is not very accurate.  For the time being, my plate is full, so I am not looking at that app these days.

Your Favorites Last Year

Former food posts on food, particularly Perfect Pie Crust, Baked Beans with Molasses, Corn Pone, Corn Meal and Hominy,  American Fruit Desserts, Raisin Pie, and Apples in Nightgowns continue to make the top twenty.  But in 2017, the only food post that shows up was about my Grandma Vera Anderson’s lemon pie.

Other older posts that attracted your attention were the all-time favorite, my sister-in-law’s post on the Dalton Dariette, owned by my husband’s uncle and the story of Hepzibah Death.

The 2017 Top Ten

  1. Scandal Comes to Killbuck Bank (December) I pieced together the story of an ebezzelment from my Grandmother’s December 1943 letter to my mother and newspaper articles from the Coshocton (Ohio) Tribune. I suspect people were attracted to the word “scandal”, but I also shared it with a group on Facebook of people from the small town of Killbuck, Ohio.
  2. This Old House  (October) When I discovered a rare photo of the home of my great-great grandmother, I combined it with other family houses for a photo essay on where ancestors lived. Again, I believe the Facebook group of Killbuck people may have pushed this post to the top.
  3. Dreams Crushed when Mame Kaser Died This sad story revealed a part of my father’s history as a young man. (July)
  4. Who Is This Man?  I discovered a picture of my grandfather as a young man.   (October)
  5. Great Grandma Baked Cakes  A delightful slice-of-life letter from my Grandmother Hattie Morgan to her daughter, Maude gave me new insights into her life. (November)
  6. Which Lemon Pie? In a rare food post, I compared a recipe in my grandmother’s handwriting with another lemon pie and asked people to choose their favorite.(February)
  7. Bless the Census, Curse the Census Taker.  This post aims at fellow researchers as I give an example of unraveling the errors made by a census taker to get the true story.
  8. The Doctor’s Daughter and the Medicine Show  A very precious letter from my grandmother as a young girl to her grandmother, reveals traits that stayed with her all her life.  This may be my favorite heirloom letter. (October)
  9. Martha Bent, American Born  When I wrote about my seventh great-grandmother, Martha Bent, I learned that her family had many fascinating stories, so I spent several weeks researching and writing about her siblings and others. (March)
  10. John Bent, Sr., Father of the American Bents (April)  My 8th treat grandfather, and a founder of Sudbury. Much of the research on John Bent in Sudbury came  from the wonderful book, Puritan Village by Sumner Chilton Powell.

The Positivity

I’m also going to snitch a few of the prompts from Geniaus blog in the “Accentuate the Positive” list.

Elusive Ancestor I Found

Milton Kaser, my father’s brother who died at 16. When I found a letter from Milton, just months before he died, it revealed a lively, ornery teenager.

Other elusive ancestors–all on my father’s side–began to take shape when I spent days at the Family History Center at a nearby LDS church and poured over microfilms of church records from Pennsylvania in the 1700s.

Most Helpful Newspaper Article

I enjoy reading the personals in the Coshocton Tribune, because it tells me about the lives of my Holmes County, Ohio ancestors.  My big find this year turned out to be a date. I had a picture of a family gathering during World War II, and a cousin had identified a date, but the newspaper wrote about the party and solidified the actual date.

I also found in a stash of papers saved by my great-grandmother, a newspaper from the late 1877 that includes an ad for my great-grandfather W. C. Stout’s medical practice. Limited office hours because he spent most of his time making house calls.

Dr. William Stout ad

Holmes County Republican 1877 Doc Stout Ad front page croopped

I Found an Important Record

I am still scratching my head over this one.  While researching the Bents, I dsicovered a foonote in a town history that helped. But the most unexpected summary of a trial that involved family members turned up in a book of passenger lists!  Bless those footnotes.

Newly Found Family Members

If I take this to mean current family members, many, many people have contacted me through emails or Ancestry.com messages this year to share information or ask questions about mutual ancestors.

The Stone Cousins

Mary, Frank and Harriet /Hattie Stone, from collection of pearson 1295 on Ancestors.com

If I take this to mean ancestors, my most interesting find has to be the discovery of information about the Stone sisters from Guernsey County.  They had signed my Great Aunt’s autograph book, but I knew next to nothing about them.

I Got Surprises

We moved our home in August, and I am still finding heirlooms, letters and pictures that I had forgotten or never seen.  The most exciting discovery has to be a photograph of the Switzerland home of my husband’s great-grandparents. I knew it existed, but I had misplaced it and given up finding it.

Second most exciting –the many family letters that will keep me scanning, transcribing and posting on Ancestors in Aprons for the foreseeable future.  These include letters from World War II soldiers, my grandmother, my great-grandmother, my great-uncle.  Those last two are the ONLY things I have in their hand writing.

I quickly shut one box, because I would have been sifting through for weeks.  So I have many more surprises waiting.

One Terrific Find

Autograph books

Vera’s large and Maude’s smaller autograph books

Of all the heirlooms that I have dealt with during our downsizing, the most precious to me may be the autograph books of my Grandmother and her sister.

COMING ATTRACTIONS

I promise to dig up and test out and share more family or vintage recipes next year.

I will continue to try to sort out my father’s ancestors, who continue to be elusive.

I will try to stick more closely to my pedigree list and save the “peripherals” for later. (Lots of luck with that one! I never can resist a good story.)

On my wish list –a trip to Columbus, Ohio to the Ohio History Center, and to Holmes County,Ohio to look for more records there.

But number one BIG DEAL in 2018 involves….nah, I am saving that for my first post in this year’s #52Ancestors series.  Stay tuned.  I will share that project in a couple of days.

Keep those comments coming!

 

Guacamole served with corn ships

Dip Into a Happy New Year with Guacamole

Here’s a Slice of My Life entry that should have come earlier, so you could make Guacamole for New Year’s Eve and Bowl Game parties. But here’s to partying all year round.

When we moved to Arizona from Ohio in the mid 1960s, I started adding Southwestern dishes to my menus.  At restaurants, I frequently have to skip guac because it has onions. I was happy to read that original Mexican quac generally does not have onion–just the Americanized versions.  Although lime might be more common than lemon, I use lemon because that is what I have on hand.

The best hint here, is in how to remove the seed–easily with a deep cut of the knife.

So here’s the process:

Cutting the avocado

Cut into the avocado, pushing the knife into the seed. (Don’t push so hard you’ll squish the other side of the fruit.)

remove seed from avocado

Remove seed from avocado, by lifting up with knife. (I slide the knife through tines of a fork to gently remove the seed and discard it.)

Open the cut avocado

Open the cut avocado and scoop the fruit into a bowl.

Avocado Guacamole Ingredients

Easy Guacamole ingredients: avocado, lemon, garlic salt, hot sauce.  mash together with fork so it still has some lumps. Restaurants with table-side guacamole makers get creative and add all kinds of things. You can experiment, too. Hotter, cooler, more ingredients.

Guacamole served with corn ships

Guacamole served with corn chips.

Happy New Guacamole to you!

 

Waffle Iron Cookies

 

Waffle irons and instructions

When my sister, Paula Kaser Price, inherited our mother’s waffle irons and the oil-stained recipe , she also inherited memories and tradition. Paula’s story gives us a  great example of how donning an apron can lead us back to our memories of those family members long gone. Besides traveling back in time, the story travels from Hilliard, Ohio to Scottsdale Arizona to her home today in Virginia.

UPDATE: Paula adds, “It is a team effort as one cook frys the other dusts each cookie with powdered sugar. They are delicate so the rule is if any break the cooks must eat them immediately.”  And what a shame that would be!

A Note From My Sister, Paula Kaser Price

In later years Mom and I spent  a day making waffle iron cookies. The boys were sent away and we started cookin’. We had a wonderful time especially when the “boys” (Dad, Wayne, Eric and Aaron) showed up and gobbled them up getting powered sugar everywhere. Several dozen cookies were carefully hidden away before their arrival.

  Dad, Paul Kaser; Wayne Price (my sister’s husband); Eric and Aaron (my sister’s sons. Aaron’s name is Paul Aaron and he now goes by Paul.).

Paul and I carry on the tradition spending a day making them then distributing waffle iron cookies to friends. Still use the stained recipe paper with Mom’s handwritten notes.

The Original Recipe

Because each cookie is made individually, given time to dry then sprinkled with powdered sugar, it is a time consuming and messy project. We always made at least a double batch, many times a double double batch. Mom wrote the doubled amounts on the recipe. The recipe came with the box of irons that are  in the shape of a snow flake and a Christmas tree.

Waffle Iron Cookie Recipe

Recipe for waffle iron cookies with Mother’s hand-written doubling amounts

The past several years, because the recipe paper is torn in half and so oil soaked as to be difficult to read, I have thought I should rewrite it on clean paper. Then I reject the idea because using that recipe paper with Mom’s calculations is like having her spirit there watching over Paul and me and joining in with our fun listening to Christmas music, laughing, getting powdered sugar everywhere, anticipating the joy our labor will bring and the happy exhaustion at the end of the day.

So like Mom and I did In the 80s standing around the counter in my little house on Latham [Street, Scottsdale, AZ],  Paul and I  stand around the counter in our little house in the woods and fry us up some Christmas cookies.

Waffle Iron cookies with Santa

Sorry they don’t ship well. Also sorry I wondered down memory lane. Oh well, it is that time of year.

PS. Do you recognize the table cloth under the waffle box? It was always on the Christmas dining table in Hilliard. I think I remember being with Mom when she bought it at Lazarus [Department Store in Columbus OH].  Unfortunately now I can only use it folded in half as there is an ever growing hole on one side.

Recipe for Waffle Iron Cookies, AKA Rosettes

Waffle Iron Cookies

Allergy Egg, Milk, Wheat
Meal type Dessert
Misc Child Friendly, Pre-preparable
Occasion Christmas
Region Swedish
Mother made "waffle cookies", a deep fried confection known as rosettes in Scandinavian countries.

Ingredients

  • 2lb shortening or oil (For frying)
  • 1 cup flour (Sifted or fluffed before measuring)
  • 1/2 cup evaporated milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg (Beaten)
  • confectioner's sugar (To sprinkle over finished waffle cookie.)

Directions

1. Heat about 2 inches of oil or shortening 350 degrees
2. Mix milk, water, sugar, salt and egg together. Stir slowly into flour, then beat until smooth. Batter should be smooth and alost as thick as cream.
3. Heat waffle iron (rosette) in hot oil.
4. Dip iron into batter being careful not to get batter on top of the iron.
5. Dip the battered iron into the oil. As soon as batter begins to separate from the iron, gradually lift it up and allow Waffle to drop off into oil. When waffle is brown on one side, turn to brown on other side. Remove waffle from oil. Drain on paper towel.
6. Sift confectioner's sugar over the waffle when cooled. (Optional: add cinnamon and/or nutmeg to the sugar)
7. Store in air tightly covered container. May be reheated in warm oven.

A reader asks about the term “fluffing the flour”. Here’s my source.  I suggest this alternate because I realize to younger cooks, the flour sifter is a relic of the past.  Sifting is no longer “a thing.”  Do you use a flour sifter?