Sunday, July 13, 2014

Dinner with Kitchen-Klatter family & friends

Sara, Kristin and Carolin (from left).

I made my position as a huge fan of the Kitchen-Klatter experience and its place in Midwest history clear during late May when writing about the death at age 100 of Lucas County's own Dorothy Driftmier Johnson

Dorothy and her mother, Leanna (Field) Driftmier, and sisters, Lucile and Margery --- in varying combinations at various times --- were the most visible members of the Kitchen-Klatter family, sharing conversation, recipes, wisdom and family news with thousands of Midwestern women through their Shenandoah-based radio program and magazine from 1926 until 1985.

Dorothy, who lived on a farm down along White Breast Creek with her husband, Frank, and daughter, Kristin, wrote a monthly "from the farm" column for the magazine, recorded countless broadcasts with her mother and sisters and for many years spent a week monthly in Shenandoah to help with mailing Kitchen-Klatter Magazine which, at its peak, had 80,000 subscribers.

Anyhow, Kristin Johnson Brase, now with husband, Art, of Tecumseh, Nebraska, was back in Chariton Friday and Saturday and on Saturday evening, the inimitable Sara Speer Palmer invited Kristin, Carolin Cain and myself out for a Kitchen-Klatter supper --- prepared using recipes from the big blue Kitchen-Klatter cookbook. What a treat! 

On Friday, Kristin had delivered her mother's vintage Royal typewriter --- used to write all those columns --- to the museum for safe-keeping.

Sara figures largely in this because she was for many years Dorothy's and Frank's pastor at the Lucas Presbyterian Church --- and when she and husband, Jack, decided to build a new home midway between her two pastoral charges, Chariton and Lucas, they purchsed a piece of beautiful woodland from the Johnsons in the White Breast hills.

The menu Saturday night was fairly typical of a "company" dinner that would have been served in many Iowa dining rooms during the 1970s and other times. There was Dorothy's shredded cabbage and carrot salad in a base of lemon jello, baked steak, garden-fresh "glorified" potatoes, Dorothy's green beans (garden fresh in a rich sauce that included hard-boiled egg), Kristin's apple bread and --- for dessert --- Dorothy's peach custard pie. 

Sara's big Standard Poodle, Roux, spotted that pie as we were sitting around the table talking after supper.

Moved in for a closer look.

And then --- lightning fast ....

The pie was retired to the kitchen shortly thereafter.

We were so busy talking and eating, a thunderstorm passed with little notice --- and then after skies had cleared and just after the sun had set we went outside to listen to the Whip-poor-wills singing in the woods.

One of Kristin's favorite memories of home, down in the valley just to the southwest, was sitting on the front porch with her dad on summer evenings and listening to the Whip-poor-wills. Her degrees are from the University of Wyoming and after she headed as a student to Laramie, where there are no Whip-poor-wills, Frank made a cassette recording of those birds singing on a summer evening and sent it west to remind her of home. She still has it.

And the Whip-poor-wills still sing in the White Breast woods as night settles in.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

A great story! My Mom was a regular reader of Kitchen Klatter, also, Not only was the description of the authentic dinner enjoyable, the addition of a "Poodle" in the picture made it all the more meaningful to me,