Ann Berg

Ann Berg

Pioneer Potluck: Memories from the past

Sunshine cake, frank fritters, California pork chops and beans, Russian dressing, eggless mayonnaise

  • By ANN “GRANNIE ANNIE” BERG For the Peninsula Clarion
  • Tuesday, October 8, 2019 10:42pm
  • Life

I received so many comments from family and friends about my article last week on World War II. It also brought up more memories from my memory bank.

Cousin Wayne Scott reminds me that the air force base was Lowry Air Force Base near Denver. It has been closed now and most has moved to Buckley Air Force Base. He also reminded me that the fighters were B-17 and not B-52s, as they were not made yet. There was lots of B-17s in the area and he recalls that at lease two of them crashed west of Fort Collins.

Pat Corbella stated that we need to get the old patriotic America back! I SO agree! My Dad would be so sad at today’s mess. He would tell us in his old Kansas drawl, “Well, I cannot fight in the war but we can help with our prayers and thinking of them each day.” (He was exempt because he was a farmer providing much-needed food resources.)

LaVonne Hill stated that she remembers the tokens. They also had German POWs come to the farm to help top the beets. One day they gave her mom a tub of hotdogs for lunch. Her mom said they are NOT going to eat cold hotdogs, so she cooked them and she and Lavonne took them to the field. Her mom spoke to them in German and they all crowded around the car.

Barbara Romine said as kids they would also stop what they were doing and wave so frantically at the planes over head.

Thank you Lavone, Wayne, Pat, Barb and the many more who stopped me in the post office, grocery stores and Home Depot and told me about their WWII experiences. Nikki Turnbull thanked me for the stories.

Our dad planted beets also, and we had WWII POWs topping beets. They would arrive every morning in a big green Army truck from a POW camp near Greeley. Dad took good care of them and enjoyed their company. He would tell us they were just unfortunate to be where they were at. He also made friends with one of them. The Germany asked for Dad’s address and told him he would write to him IF he every got back home to Germany. He did write to Dad about a year later. Dad was very proud of that letter and showed it to everyone.

As far as food for the POWs, the Army provided lunches for the workers. One day they had bologna sandwiches and potato salad. The salad was contaminated and made lots of the workers sick. They were loaded up in the truck and taken back to camp. However, after the truck left, another POW got sick and Dad put him in the basement of our house. Mom was terrified! She locked all the doors and we could not go outdoors to play. The truck came back for the rest of the men who were in various stages of being sick. The man in the basement thanked Dad over and over for his kindness.

After the beets were topped and the POWs were no longer needed, Dad shook each one’s hand and told them “thank you” as they got back in the truck.

The wars through the years have progressed into different type wars than WWII and I am sure there are war correspondents today, but nothing like the photographs and stories that were published in Life Magazine. I cannot recall all the names, but the correspondents were famous for a long period of time.

Margaret Bourke White was the first photographer hired to photograph WWII for Life Magazine. She later became the first female war correspondent and the first to work in a combat zone. The pictures in that magazine are how I learned about WWII history by looking at the photos. The pictures of German labor camps and extermination camps haunted me in my sleep. Pictures of D-Day and Battle of Iwo Jima were some of the most copied pictures of that time. The pictures of Hiroshima and the destruction of the atom bomb really bothered me.

I had one of the Life Magazines for years and have sadly lost track of it. I am sure if we had that quality of magazine today many of our younger generation would better understand the ravages of war.

And, most of all, I wanted to be Rosie the Riveter. She was a welder and it looked like fun. When I told Dad he said, “well you will have to live in California to do that.” I did not want to leave home! I was about 7 or 8 at the time. Dad had a way of jerking me back down to earth!

Thanks everyone for your interest and contributions.


My kid’s grandmother Mary Bateman taught me how to make eggless mayonnaise.

She was a very intense person with lots of good old-fashioned recipes that she had to use during the Depression and still used. She also claimed she invented the pull-string that used to be on the Quaker Oatmeal box. She told me I should use nothing but Ivory soap and make my own clothes soup. I was intimidated by her scrutiny and eye for detail. She also made sure I used cast-iron skillets and washed the dishes in Ivory soap.

This is a 1920s recipe.

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon dry mustard

3 tablespoons of canned evaporated milk

½ cup or vegetable oil

¼ cup room temperature butter

2 tablespoons of white vinegar or mellower-tasting apple cider vinegar

Combine all the seasonings and add the milk. Gradually beat in the oil and butter with the mixer, (She used the old handheld beater) and whip in the vinegar. Put in quart jar. Refrigerate. If it gets too thick add more milk and stir.

This has a very good taste.


Add to mayonnaise

½ cup chili sauce

1 tablespoon minced pimento

1 tablespoon minced parley

1 ½ tablespoons minced chives or onion

Chill until serving time.


From a 1934 recipe.

4 cups cold water

1 cup dried lima beans

Soak beans overnight in water to cover. In the morning pour off the water and add the 4 cups of cold water.


A pinch of salt and cover and cook over low flame for about an hour and half.


½ cup flour, large pinch of salt and pepper and rub on:

6 pork chops

Fill a large baking pan with alternate layers of beans and 2 sliced onions.

Place the pork chops on top and pour:

¾ cups of apple cider vinegar over the whole thing.

Bake at 350 degrees for about an hour.

Then turn the chops over and cook until browned.

Serve in a soup bowl with buttered sourdough bread.

This was made in an old coal- or wood-fired cooking stove. The sourdough bread was baked along with the beans.


I am sure we all have prepared corn fritters but these are kinda fun. I do not know when corn dogs were invented!

This is a 1933 recipe.

1 pound of good-quality hotdogs

2 tablespoons prepared mustard

Prick hotdogs and boil in water for 10 minutes.

Drain and cool. Slit just enough to spread some mustard inside each one. Put them back in the original shape and set aside.

For batter:

2 eggs

½ cup milk

2 tablespoons room temp vegetable shortening

1 cup flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

Oil for deep frying

Beat eggs and add milk and shortening. Add dry ingredients and add to milk mixture and blend well.

Fill a high-sided iron skillet 2/3 full with vegetable oil. Heat to 370 degrees. Dip each hotdog in batter and fry fitters until brown. Drain. For an unusual treat, the 1930s housewife would pour hot tomato sauce over them at serving time. I like mine just plain — Thank you! Fun and good!


You usually will have everything available in your pantry for this cake.

3 tablespoons shortening

¾ cup sugar

3 egg yolks, beaten until thick

1 teaspoon vanilla, almond or lemon extract (I like lemon)

1 ½ cups flour

3 teaspoons baking powder

½ cup milk

White icing

Cream shortening and add sugar, beat until fluffy.

Add egg yolks and mix well.

Add flavoring

Add flour and baking powder and mix in milk

Pour into greased loaf pan and bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 45 minutes.

When cooled frost with white frosting or your favorite.

• By ANN “GRANNIE ANNIE” BERG, For the Peninsula Clarion

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