Pioneer Potluck: About.. the old cook stove

  • By Grannie Annie
  • Tuesday, January 20, 2015 4:18pm
  • LifeFood

About on the farm in Northern Colorado

1937 To 1947

Our Mother complied a genealogy-heritage type book that has wonderful history and pictures of our life on the farm. Some pages have the past history of her family and Dads. She has years and dates that I rely on almost every week when I write an article for this paper. I appreciate her tiny hand writing and the years and dates that she remembered. It is like a time-lock of our past and seems most sad, as a few years latter she developed Alzheimer’s.

If she had not done all the three or four years work it took to write this book, we would not have the rich time capsule of our childhood. When I want to write certain things that I remember, but do not know the details and dates-I find her wonderful tiny hand writing in this big book of memories and details, so beneficial. Everyone should have such a rich history of their past! She did not use a type writer or a computer, she hand wrote each word!

One of my first memories, the old cook stove. It kept us warm and kept us fed and kept Dad busy hauling coal and corn cobs into the house so we all could stay warm and fed. He also had to hear Mom say, “Now John, don’t get that on the floor!” And when he dug the ashes out as Saturday morning chore, Mom was right there watching to see how careful he should be not to get “those ashes on my clean floor!”

The old worn linoleum was spotless, scrubbed on her hands and knees and then waxed with Johnson Floor Polish. And don’t you even dare come in her house with your shoes on!! We learned all these little rules early in life.

As I told in my earlier article, Dad was the keeper of the stove and was the first to get up and shove corn cobs, a few sticks and sometimes a little straw and a layer of coal on top, into the belly of the big black monster in the corner. We all lovingly gathered around the warmth to get dressed on cold Colorado morning.

The stove came to life and did what it was supposed to do – warm us – warm the house and feed us!

The smell of coffee perking was our alarm clock. The smell of bacon or sausage frying and biscuits in the oven was our calling card to get in our places at the big wooden table.

Mom scurried around and Dad every once in a while poked more coal down into the stove so we all could have memories such as these.

I do remember at an early age the taste of home churned butter and Moms jelly on biscuits and the taste of wonderful home cured bacon and home made sausage. Dad poured us cold milk to drink out of the old ice box and he poured a big glass for himself.

Ice boxes are another memory I have. Ours sat at the other end of the kitchen, not very big, white and black. You were not to ever open it unless you knew exactly what you wanted – because it would melt the ice that was supposed to last a week until the ice man came.

We loved to see him because in the summer he would chip off big pieces of ice with his long ice pick, for each one of us. Sonny, Ginger and me would go around sucking on it like it was the best piece of candy in the world.

I still feel that cold on my hands and lips and the cold dripping down our elbows and onto our clothes. Sometimes Mom would give us a wash cloth to hold the ice in our hands, sometimes not.

We had names for all the men that helped us in our young life.The Ice Man. The Water Man who delivered water to us and put in it our cistern every month.

The Milk Man, not to bring us milk, but to pick it up in the cans full of milk that Dad got up so early to milk cows and fill. The cans were loaded on a “milk cart” and Dad would push it out to the road so The Milk Man could load it on his truck and take it to Poudre Valley Creamery in Fort Collins.

That is why the ice cream cone we got every Sunday after Sunday school and Church tasted so good – it was from Dads cows.

The Neighbor Man, The Mail Man. We never had given names for any of them.

Oh and yes, The Grocery Man. Memories are most precious and molded my life into what it is today.

The series is written by a 47 year resident of Alaska, Ann Berg of Nikiski. Ann shares her collections of recipes from family and friends. She has gathered recipes for more that 50 years. Some are her own creation. Her love of recipes and food came from her Mother, a self taught wonderful cook.


She hopes you enjoy the recipes and that the stories will bring a smile to your day.


Grannie Annie can be reached at


The “Grannie Annie” Cook Book Series includes: “Grannie Annie’s Cookin’ on the Woodstove”; “Grannie Annie’s Cookin’ at the Homestead”; “Grannie Annie’s Cookin’ Fish from Cold Alaskan Waters”; and “Grannie Annie’s Eat Dessert First.” They are available at M & M Market in Nikiski.

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