Grandma Mary Pacukewicz’s Cucumber Salad
Submitted by Bernie McClure
Grandma Pacukewicz came over from Poland, alone. She told my Mother, Emelia, (Pat) that she saw another ship heading back to Europe on her journey to America and was already so homesick that she wanted to go back.
Well, she didn’t. She started her life in America on Long Island, New York, where she met my Grandfather, Leudwig.
She did laundry for a family, and my Grandfather was a gardener on an adjoining estate. They met, they married, and with the help of relatives living in Indiana, moved to Mishawaka.
They had four children, and eventually purchased a home on Barton Lake, in Michigan. My uncle Marion Joseph Pacukewicz and my beautiful aunt Thelma still live in that hand-me-down home.
Two generations, many renovations – yet it retains its original beauty. There is so much more than what you see in a home.
One of the things my mother handed down was recipes. She shared many with me, as I have then shared with my three children. Here is one of our family favorites.
Grandma Mary Pacukewicz’s Cucumber Salad
Suggestion: start this early in the morning, and by lunch or dinner, this wonderful dish will be ready to serve.
- Cucumbers (English cucumbers hold their shape and have good flavor even in Alaska out of season.)
- Three or four green onions, sliced, stems and all
- Crushed fresh dill
- Two cloves of crushed garlic
- Real sour cream
- Cherry tomatoes
Slice the cucumbers to ⅛ inch thickness and soak them in ice water with a teaspoon of Kosher Salt and the juice of one-half of a lemon for at least two hours, and up to overnight.
After the cucumbers have soaked, drain them and mix with the other ingredients, return to refrigerator for several more hours.
All I can say is my mouth is watering now. I want to go home and make this wonderful dish. It goes with everything and in every season, and reminds me of far away family.
Chugiak PTA shared recipes as fundraiser
Submitted by Lee Jordan
People often speak fondly of “Gramma’s cooking.” The “Antique” section of “Something Special Alaska Style,” a cookbook put together by the Chugiak Elementary Parent-Teacher Association nearly a half century ago has some examples.
A recipe for “Know Nothings” cookies taken from an 1856 magazine was submitted by Velma Deavers. Ingredients are 1 cup butter, 1 cup sugar, ½ cup water, 1 teaspoon cream of tartar, ¼ teaspoon salt, nutmeg or spice to taste and flour sufficient to roll out and cut. After the mixture was rolled out and cut, Gramma apparently knew how long to cook it in a moderate oven; the recipe does not say.
The book also offered hints for harried cooks: “To make pork and beans different, add 1 chopped onion, some catchup and syrup to taste, then heat.” It was promised to “taste good.”
Another hint was to “Add brown sugar and margarine to drained canned carrots; heat over slow fire.”
Parents and friends who submitted recipes also contributed ideas for first-aid material, beauty aids and housekeeping solutions.
There was even a complete list of supplies needed to feed 175 hungry men at a house-raising party.
All in all, it was a bargain for readers and a fund-raiser for the PTA. A volunteer typed out the text, and 36 advertisements on six back pages more than covered the cost of printing.
Recipes given by Gold Rush descendants
Of interest to today’s Alaskans are recipes found in the “Pioneer Women of the Yukon Cookbook” 1997 Reunion Edition published in Dawson, Yukon Territory.
Helpful to those lucky enough to fall heir to a big chunk of moose meat is the Moose Jerky recipe found on page 101. Ingredients are 4 to 5 pounds of moose meat, 1 cup China Lily soya sauce, 2 cups flat beer, 2 cloves garlic, crushed. The beer and garlic can easily be procured and presumably another brand of soy sauce could satisfactorily be substituted.
The Pioneer Women write that to prepare: Freeze the moose roast for 3 hours; it is much easier to cup up when half frozen. Slice strips, 1.4 inch thick by 2 inches wide. Trim off the fat, if there is any. Put all cut-up meat in glass casserole. Pour soya sauce, beer and garlic over; stir to cover all meat. Refrigerate for 24 hours, stirring occasionally. When ready to dry, dab meat pieces on paper towel. Hang over oven rack. When done hanging meat, put in oven closest to the top. Set oven at 200 degrees F. Dry for about 6 hours.
Well known to Yukoners was sourdough, the stable mixture used for pancakes and bread whose pungent taste still is favored in the Far North. It was easy to make, refresh and store.
Cookbook contributor Gloria Starkell gave the recipe for Sourdough Starter: 1 cup lukewarm milk (90 to 100 degrees F), 2 Tablespoons plain yogurt, 1 cup flour
Warm a 1-1/2 quart glass, ceramic or plastic container. Add milk and yogurt. Stir until blended. Cover tightly; let stand in a warm place (80 to 100 degrees F) until a curd forms and the mixture doesn’t flow readily, 18 to 24 hours. Add flour gradually, stirring until blended. Cover tightly; let stand in a warm place until the mixture is bubbly and sour smelling, 2 to 5 days. If clear liquid forms, just stir in. If pink liquid forms, discard and start again. Use at once or cover and refrigerate.
When you use some starter, replenish with equal amounts of milk and flour; stir well. Let stand several hours, then refrigerate. If used and replenished regularly (once every 7 to 10 days), starter will stay active. The older the starter, the more sour flavor it has. If too sour, add a small amount of baking soda to cut sour taste.