Sunday, August 7, 2011

Johnson Summer Reunion, Part I

Manna on the Prairies


Terrie Jones, New Mexico
Terry and Mike Jones were visiting Molly this weekend. Terry baked some cinnamon buns from a recipe that Virginia put in the Johnson Family Cookbook called ‘Manna on the Prairies’.


Virginia told me, “Terry called me a few years ago and asked if the recipe in the book was right for she was teaching her girls how to make cinnamon buns. Of course I thought it was right, for I have been making the recipe for years, but I have been making it from my original card, so I checked the book. Two tablespoons of yeast are missing, and they couldn’t have been very good if people were using that recipe without the yeast. I haven’t had time to tell anyone else. If you talk to anyone, Arta, mention that they should add that to the recipe.”


Her comment was in response to mine about how many times I have gone to that book to make Nadine’s lemon loaf or Betty’s Brownies. “And Elmoyne’s Corn Chowder,” added Virginia. "If you haven’t tried that one, don’t wait any longer."


... add two tablespoons of yeast ...
I don’t know how anyone would have corn left over to make corn chowder, given the taste of the brand new corn Mr. Pat Shimbashi dropped by the house for Virginia. 

It is from his first picking. The corn isn’t out on the market yet, but he had a few cobs ready, planted in a new fashion. The corn is put in the ground under bio-degradable plastic, and as the corn grows, the plastic disintegrates into the earth into fertilizer.


Shucking corn is usually a task I give to someone else, but this time Virginia was in the kitchen frying the chicken. I sat down with the corn beside me and carefully peeled back the moist green leaves half way until I could separate a few of the silks. Taking a handful of those and tearing the rest of the leaves off didn’t take long – “One cob for the women and two for the men”, Virginia had said and I remembered that in the olden days of Barnwell it was usual for the growing boys to eat their height, measured by the number of cobs they could consume.


But back to the cinnamon buns Terry left behind for our breakfast on Saturday morning. Here is a recipe that doesn’t require getting up at 2 am to start the batch of dough, and with a quick butter icing on top, beats what one can buy in the store. Please, don’t forget the yeast and if you still work from the now vintage cookbook, add the correction of 2 tablespoons of yeast to Virginia’s recipe on p.15.


Cinnamon Rolls – Virginia Johnson


2 tbsp yeast
1 ½ c. scalded milk (Virginia doesn’t scald hers anymore)
1 /12 c. water
2 tbsp shortening
1 ½ tsp salt
1 ½ tsp sugar
2 ¼ c. flour
raisins (optional)


Beat all ingredients; let rise 15 minutes. Cover the sponge. Add 2 eggs (beaten), 4 ½ tbsp. shortening, ½ c. sugar and 4 ½ c. flour. Mix well. Roll ¼” thick. Spread with butter, brown sugar and cinnamon. Roll up. Cut ½ “ thick. Let rise double. Cover (plastic). Bake 20 minutes at 350 – 370 degrees F.


I give a nod to Terri whose hands let me eat my first taste of Virginia’s cinnamon rolls.


So nice to have crossed paths with her this weekend.

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