Category Archives: Uncategorized

Kale Pie–A Family Favorite Quiche-Inspired

This recipe for a Kale Pie is in no way shape or form a vintage recipe–unless maybe it’s forebears came from Italy a couple hundred years ago.

kale pie

Kale pie closeup

I will chalk up my fascination with things in pie crust to my English ancestors who tended to pile all kinds of savory meals into pie crust. That, and the fact that I almost always have some Perfect Pie Dough in my freezer.

Of course, besides being obsessive about baking pies, I am very interested in how fashions in foods change.  Do you remember when quiche appeared in our lives?  Not all that long ago (unless you had run into it in Switzerland, as our family had in the early 80s.).  But when quiche arrived on menus across America, you would not find kale on those same menus. Now kale is the “in” vegetable, and I even grow it in my back yard.  By the way, it is incredibly easy to grow, so if you use it, try growing your own.


Russian Kale in its pot on my patio. (That’s a tomato plant peeking out behind the kale.)

Some time ago, I came across a recipe in my favorite cookbook, Joy of Cooking (the edition that Ethan Becker modernized in 1997).  The recipe is called Chard Tart and other than the fact that it has greens and eggs and cheese in a pie crust doesn’t really taste like my Kale Pie. But when I found the recipe, I didn’t have any chard. I had kale, and was just beginning to figure out how to use it.  So I thought, if it works this way, it would certainly work to add kale to a quiche recipe.

So, I took the quiche recipe which I have made many times with various additions, and substituted parmesan cheese for the swiss cheese, bacon for the ham, and Voila–Kale Pie.

Kale Pie

Serves 8
Prep time 15 minutes
Cook time 30 minutes
Total time 45 minutes
Allergy Egg, Milk, Wheat
Meal type Lunch, Main Dish
Misc Child Friendly, Pre-preparable, Serve Cold, Serve Hot
Kale pie--A twist on familiar quiche, inspired by a Chard Tart from Joy of Cooking.


  • 3 Strips of bacon (Cut in 1-inch pieces)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 /2 cup 1/2 and 1/2
  • 1/2lb kale leaves (rib removed, chopped or torn in small pieces)
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 cup grated cheese (Parmesan or Mixed Italian cheeses)
  • 1 9" pie shell, unbaked.


1. Fry bacon and drain on paper towel. (Save grease for future cooking.)
2. After deveining and tearing or cutting kale in smaller pieces, scatter on the bottom of the pie shell.
3. Beat the eggs with 1/2 and 1/2 and seasoning.
4. Pour egg mixture over kale. Sprinkle gated parmesan over top.
5. Bake at 375 degrees, until filling is set--about 25 to 35 minutes.


Serve Kale Pie hot or cold with salad for light dinner.

Peter Bent, Of Indian Attacks and Fatal Accidents

Peter Bent, Sr. 1629-1678

My last post was about the short life of the  brother of my 7x great-grandmother, Martha Bent, of Sudbury, Massachusetts.  The cause of death was an accidental shooting by his oldest brother, Peter Bent. I can’t stop thinking about how it must have affected Peter, who at 46 was a real go-getter and successful businessman in that part of Massachusetts.

Peter Bent had been born in England and arrived in America in 1638 at the age of eleven.  He married at the age of 24 to a woman named Elizabeth (last name unknown). By the time he was 27, he was one of the young men of the village who felt hemmed in by the town of Sudbury.  His father and he joined other settlers of Sudbury in signing the petition to establish Marlborough. John Bent and his family, Peter Bent and his wife and son, Peter, Jr., moved into the wilderness west of Sudbury from which they would carve the town of Marlborough. The older men had this to say:

 “God hath beene pleased to increase our children, which are now diverse of them grown to man’s estate; and wee, many of us, grown into years, so that wee should bee glad to see them settled before the Lord take us away from hence, as also God having given us some considerable quantity of cattle, so that wee are so straightened that we cannot so comfortably subsist as could be desired and some of us having taken some pains to view the country; wee have found a place which lyeth westward about eight miles from Sudbury which wee conceive might be comfortable for our subsistence . . .”
(From the book, History of Marlborough Massachusetts.)

Peter Bent -Marloborough 1667

This 1667 map of Marlborough shows the Sudbury River where Peter Bent built a toll bridge.

Peter Bent and his wife Elizabeth had a total of eight children, and all but one lived to adulthood, as I will explain below.

In 1660, as a valuable member of the new community of Marlboro, Peter built a grist mill on Stony Brook and the following year he built a bridge over the Sudbury River. These privately built bridges were a source of income for the builder, as he charged a toll.  Also in 1661, Peter and Elizabeth built a home “just south of Williams Pond, a mile from  the now center of Marlboro” according to the Bent Family History, published in 1900.

Peter Bent in Marlborough

Marlborough map 100 years after Peter’s death shows location of Williams Pond where his house was located.

Creating a new town was not easy, as verified in a document presented on the Marlborough History page.  In 1664, after several years of squabbling over rules that sound amazingly similar to present day homeowner’s associations, Half the town petitioned the court to form a committee to solve the problems.  Peter Bent, Sr. was among those on the opposite side. His half of the town did not think problems were serious enough to involve the court. Although he seemed to come down on the laissez-faire side of that argument, he joined, in 1664, a group that petitioned to form a new church. That at was seen as hostile by another group, who promptly fought against it

Forget all about our picture of a peaceful, cooperative group of people taming the wilderness!

In December of 1674, Peter Bent, Sr. wrote his will. Unlike most of the old wills I have found, illness did not suggest the necessity for a will. Instead, Peter was setting off on what was always a dangerous trip–sailing across the Atlantic to England. I have not found any record of why he went to Europe, but I know that several of the settlers had left lands behind in Penton-Grafton, Hampshire. Perhaps Peter’s father, John Bent, owned land and Peter was looking after it. Perhaps he was a trader, buying goods in England. Whatever it was was worth leaving his young family and going on this dangerous journey. At any rate, he survived that 1674 trip to old England, only to come back to chaos in New England.

The Bents and other families who had settled in Marlboro had just fourteen years to build their town before King Philip’s War broke out.  The Indian uprising terrorized Puritan villages in New England for most of  two years–1675 and 1676. The colonists knew trouble was brewing, and they fortified some of the homes in each village so they would have a place to take refuge. A document explains the allocation of garrisons and soldiers. Peter Bent’s house would be home to three soldiers of the thirty-seven allotted to the town, and his family would support those three soldiers. Men made sure to have weapons ready to defend their families.

In the summer of 1675 (probably in June), Peter walked or rode over to Sudbury to visit his brother Joseph and show him the pistols he had received from England. (I am speculating on the details here, but the sequence of events is accurate.)  Peter Bent was known to have traveled to England several times, and could well have purchased the pistols (which the inventory lists in his probate papers a few years later) on a trip he made in 1674.

Although we don’t know exactly how it happened, we know that Peter accidentally shot his brother that summer day in 1675.

I wonder if, when the Indians attacked his mill in November of that year,  Peter felt God was punishing him?  A small band of Indians crept up to his mill and carried off his apprentice, Christopher Muchin.  They also scalped Peter’s young son and left him for dead.  This “young son” could have been Zacheus, who would have been eight years old or John, twelve years old. The boy survived the attack.

Peter’s will refers to his son, Zacheus as “weak in body,” which might indicate lasting effects of the act and the Bent Family History author believes that is the case. However, John died five months later when he was only thirteen years old, which seems to me to point to John as the victim.

But that was just a hint of the horror to come in Marlboro and Sudbury.  On March 26, 1676, King Philip’s allies came into the village while everyone was at church on a Sunday morning and as the people of Marlborough sought protection in one of the fortified homes, the Indians burned most of the town to the ground.

Marlborough church burning

According to the Marlborough historical society this dramatic picture is not accurate. The church, with thatched roof, would have had plank siding rather than logs.

The following month, the Indians mounted an attack on neighboring Sudbury, where most of Peter’s relatives lived.

With no home, and with most of his livelihood destroyed, Peter took his family to Cambridge for refuge.  It was there that the young John died in 1676. The following year, 1677, the residents returned to Marlborough.

Peter lived only two years more, dying in 1678 at the age of 49.  He had taken another ship to England, perhaps trying to rebuild whatever business he had there to make up for the losses in Marlboro.  I wish I had more details about his business in England and the reason for his death.  Apparently he died in England rather than on the passage home.  At any rate, his will and the accompanying inventory provides a good deal of detail about the wealth he had been able to amass in his short life.

His will lists 26 acres of land around his home in Marlboro plus 25 acres of upland adjoining his former home in Sudbury and much other land, the total value: £436.  The inventory lists millstones and mill irons, and a pair of pistols, holsters and three swords.  His personal estate came to £40.

Despite all of this and the family around her, Peter’s wife Elizabeth asked for aid from the General Council, indicating she was destitute.  But in 1704, she still was holding the 1/3 of the estate that she got from the will and she deeded it over to her eldest son, Peter, Jr.

At least one grandson and one great-grandson of Peter Bent served in the Revolution. Thomas Bent, the son of Peter Bent’s son, Hopestill Bent,  was wounded on April 19, 1775 (Concord-Lexington) and died as a result of the wound. Thomas Bent’s son, Johnathan Bent also fought in the battle at Concord and in 1776 was in the battle of Ticonderoga.

How I am Related

  • Vera Marie Kaser Badertscher is the daughter of
  • Harriette Anderson Kaser, the daughter of
  • Vera Stout (Anderson),the daughter of
  • Hattie Morgan (Stout), the daughter of
  • Mary Bassett (Morgan),the daughter of
  • Elizabeth Stone (Bassett) the daughter of
  • Elizabeth Howe (Stone), the daughter of
  • Israel Howe, the son of
  • David How, the son of
  • Samuel and Martha Bent How, the sister of
  • Peter Bent

Notes on Research

  • History of the Town of Marlborough, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, Charles Hudson and Joseph Allen, T. R. Mann and Sons, Marlborough, Massachusetts 1862. Accessed at Google Books.
    • The Bent family in America : being mainly a genealogy of the descendants of John Bent : who settled in Sudbury, Massachusetts, in 1638 : with notes upon the family in England and elsewhere. in North America, Family Histories, 1500-2000 at, Allen H. Bent, 1900
    • Massachusetts Wills and Probate Papers, Probate Papers (Middlesex County, Massachusetts, 1632-1703 Peter Bent, probate date 1678.
    • U. S. and Canada Passenger and Immigration Index, 1500s-1900s, Ancestry. Record for Peter Bent, arrival 1638.This edition was privately printed in 75 quarto copies for W. Elliot Woodward. Same as the octavo edition of 1860 with an additional section, “The First Settlers of Plymouth,” pp. 115-122. Research originally done, 1858-1860, for The New England Historical Society.Source Bibliography:
      DRAKE, SAMUEL G. Result of Some Researches Among the British Archives for Information Relative to the Founders of New England …. 3rd ed. Boston: John Wilson and Son, 1865.
    • U.S. and Canada Passenger and Immigration Index, 1500s-1900s, Ancestry. Record for Peter Bent, arrival 1638

Part 1, pp. 1-43, is a study of emigration to New England in colonial times; part 2, pp. 45-207, lists passengers and the ships they arrived on (3,600 passengers on 213 ships). From the Custom House records of English ports. Much of the information is contained in nos. 7906 and 7907, Savage; nos. 1672 and 1674, Drake; and no. 3283, Hotten.
Bibliography:BANKS, CHARLES EDWARD. The Planters of the Commonwealth; a Study of the Emigrants and Emigration in Colonial Times: To Which Are Added Lists of Passengers to Boston and to the Bay Colony; the Ships which Brought Them; Their English Homes, and the Places of Their Settlement in Massachusetts, 1620-1640. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1930. Reprinted by Genealogical Publishing Co., Baltimore, 1961. Repr. 1984.

  • U. S., New England Marriages prior to 1700, Genealogical Publishing Co.; Baltimore, MD, USA Peter Bent and Elizabeth Bent, marriage date 1653.

Best of 2016, Politics, Baby, Heirlooms and Food

I have published 420 posts since I launched the blog in April 2013, 89 of them in 2016. I tend to write what I am interested in, assuming that surely somebody else must be interested in the same subject, or curious enough to read a bit. What is the Best of 2016?

There are always surprises when I turn to Google Analytics at the end of the year to see what you’ve been reading throughout the year.

The Ten Most Popular Kids on the Block–Best of 2016

Politics tea

Harriette Anderson attending a tea for politician John Bricker. June 1936

10: Family Politics: My Mom and Dad’s Political CourtshipPublished in March as part of a series on family members who have been involved in presidential campaigns for James Madison, William Henry Harrison, Alf Landon, George W. Bush.

tea and scones

Tea and Cranberry Scones and Lemon curd.

9: Cream Tea and Scones, from May, discusses the fine points of proper tea and shares some heirlooms.

8: Colonial Orange Cake, borrowed from the book, The Midwife’s Revolt, in April. I must say I LOVE this cake. And the post also presents my review of the book, which I also recommend highly.

7: Welsh Skillet Cakes, part of my research into my Welsh ancestry, published in August.

Calendar pencil polished

Calendar propelling pencil after polishing

6: The Propelling Pencil–a mysterious object my siblings and I discovered in our great-great-grandmother’s chest of antiques. Another in my occasional posts on heirlooms appeared in June.




Skylar Ross Walters

Skylar September 2016 Prescott

5: Meet the New Twig: Skylar Rose. The birth of our first great-grand daughter in Janaury (after two earlier great-grandsons) warranted a little meditation on the meaning of her name. As you can see, she had changed a lot by the time we visited her in September.

4: Why Genealogical Research is Never Done.  I don’t often write about the nuts and bolts of research, but sometimes the reader needs a warning label–“this work not complete”. Published in July.

3. Invalid Cooking – Rice Pudding. This article about how our ancestors in the 19th century through the early 20th coped with illness appeared in March at the end of flu season. The rice pudding is one of my family favorites. This post followed a more informative one that includes several suggestions for food for the sick. Sick Food – Barley Water. Even though you understandably might not be attracted to barley water, this post gives a worthwhile picture of the sick room of yesteryear.

After School Peanut Butter Cookies

After school snack of peanut butter cookies and milk. Harriette Kaser’s china, vintage Daffy Duck glass and Grandma Vera Anderson’s apron

2. Peanut Butter Cookies. Mothers have shoved aside the beloved treat of my childhood. The increasing problem of peanut allergies forced a change in after-school treat. But I learned that many people share my nostalgia when I published this in April. (Some heirlooms make their appearance in this post.)

1. The Story of a House, The Home of Jeddiah Brink.   I experimented with the Adobe Spark tool that presents a flashy slide show. It provided a good way to show off pictures of this ancestor’s farm house. Newly discovered cousins, the present owner of the house, a Facebook community site, and a fellow ancestor seeker collaborated with me in this June production. I name them all at the end of the post.

Some posts have legs, we say.  Just like in 2015 and 2014, you continued to love the post about Perfect Pie Crust. Another post with legs, about my Grandmother’s Corn Meal Mush (Not Polenta), also first appeared in 2013, but both still earn a place on the best of 2016.

Searches on the site focused mostly on food, with the exception of people looking for Peregrine White and  Jerusha Howe. Otherwise, an overwhelming number of you searched for German desserts. You also looked for Amish buttermilk cookies, Birds’ Nest Pudding, Creamed Celery (REALLY??), Buckwheat Pancakes, Joy of Cooking cookbook, food grinder (Maybe when Cuinsineart recalled the blades on their food processor?) and a recipe for Harvard Beets.

New This Year at Ancestors in Aprons

I launched a new feature called A Slice of My Life, in which I talk about my own experiences.

I increased the number of posts about heirlooms and have been labeling and photographing as fast as possible so that I can share more of them here.

I made a book for siblings and children based on family group pictures and stories I had used at Ancestors in Aprons, dating back as far as the mid 1800s and up to last June.  This is a first step in finding ways to share this famly research with immediate family.

I began to experiment with the new Ancestry app, We’re Related. An addenda about that app below, in case you are curious about it.


Sometimes my idea of the best of 2016 is not the same as yours. My wild great-grandfather Jesse Morgan who ran off to California and got killed on the street in Sacramento did not fascinate you as much as he did me. One of the letters Jesse wrote to his wife to tell her “that I am alive” came in twelfth in the popularity list. Still, I feel blessed to have photocopies of a bunch of his letters to his wife from the period just before his trip to California. I wrote several posts on Jesse, plus some on his family.  I encourage you to seek out his saga.

Coming Next–Fewer Posts

So much for look back–what’s in store for 2017?

I’ll be doing a lot of research, and cleaning up loose ends on the work I have done in the past three years. Plus I have expanded some of my searches into Europe, and would like to wrap that up within six months, so I do not have to continue to pay Ancestry the extra amount for World coverage.

In order to do that, I’ll be writing far fewer blog posts.  Rather than letting the blog rule my life with scheduled posts on Tuesday and Thursday each week, I’ll only be writing when I have something particular to say. So you may not hear from me for stretches of time. Don’t worry. I’m here, and  you can always catch up on things you have missed in the past.

A very Happy New Year to you from Ancestors in Aprons.  Have a piece of Swiss New Year’s Bread, or Scottish Black Bun, or Dutch Olibolen (sorry, no picture available).




The New Toy launched an app called We’re Related that pops up with people they calculated as cousins.  Most of my “relatives” were 6th cousins. And the first ones to show up were both Clilntons–Hillary and Bill; plus Barak Obama, which sent my Republican ancestors whirling in their graves. I don’t get excited about the matches with pop stars, but match me with Ralph Waldo Emerson, or Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Helen Keller, Winston Churchill and many others and I’ll pay attention.

Controversy arises mainly because Ancestsry bases conclusions on a compilation of family trees. Those trees often contain faulty information.  No evidence attached to conclusions breeds serious doubts about truthfulness. (Garbage in, garbage out.)

However, I follow the theory that a monkey can compose a symphony if he bangs on a piano for a thousand years. Some people carefully research their trees. The task calls for a quest to prove or disprove. And I’m learning some valuable things that add to my knowledge of my own line.

I cannot claim Helen Keller, it turns out, because the Ancestry equation links her through my Brink line. They use a great-grandmother whose maiden name I cannot confirm, and the line they assign to that woman doesn’t prove to my satisfaction.

On the other hand, Kevin Bacon, Winston Churchill, Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher, Henry David Thoreau and John F. Kennedy all seem to check out.  “Seem to” because I can only check my own side of the line in most cases. Since most very famous people have verified lines, this turns out not to be a serious barrier. The problems arise when I am allegedly connected to a famous person through a remote overseas ancestor.

Most people recommend using the app  for entertainment, not serious research, but I have chosen to use it as another research tool.  Have you used this app? What do you think? Can you find a way to make it useful?