Tuesday, October 30, 2012


Hallowe'en 1988

The clown from hell

Unlike my mother, I was not very good at making Hallowe'en costumes. So it came as a relief the year that my sister-in-law Sharon gave me a costume that Becky had wore. It fit Laurie perfectly and he didn't seem to care either way, so it was decided quite early that Laurie would be a clown for hallowe'en. That is until he spotted a mask in the Arborg Pharmacy.

It was seldom that Laurie demanded that we buy something so I was stunned. In fact, that was the only time I ever remember him refusing to leave a store without getting his way. So I bought him the mask and he ran around the house wearing it every day leading up to Hallowe'en. What I didn't know at the time is that this mask would create a lasting memory, one of those treasured moments in time that become more precious as the years pass.

Since Laurie only cared about wearing the mask there seemed little point in putting much effort into the rest of the costume. It was always cold Hallowe'en night so he'd have to wear his jacket anyway and the clown costume fit over his coat. So that is what he wore. I called him the "clown from hell." We drove throughout the community, stopping at each neighbour's house and Laurie, thinking that nobody recognized him, growled and roared while knarling his fingers and everyone laughed thinking this was very cute. Everyone except for Keith Halldorson.

When we arrived at Halldorson's house, Keith was frying something on the stove so the kitchen was filled with smoke. It is the only time I have ever seen Keith cook, so that in itself was memorable. I have no idea where Dorothy was . . . it was seldom that they weren't home together, and it is hard to imagine that whatever he was frying became edible in the end. But at any rate, as we stepped into the kitchen, Laurie jumped out from behind me and let out his best growl.

Keith took one look and screamed. Really loud. He threw down the spatula and ran right past us, out the side door, and onto the grass. Laurie took off running after him and I followed to watch as Keith ran around in barefeet and track pants, screaming like a girl, waving his arms frantically as he tried to get away with Laurie knashing teeth right behind him. It was dark, cold and after a few moments, the intensity of it all started to get a bit frightening for Laurie. He pulled off the mask and in a quivering voice said, "It's okay Keith, it's just me! Laurie!"

To fully appreciate this story, you had to know Keith Halldorson.
I'm sure glad that I did.

Under the Dumb Plum Tree

Mom, Paul & Darlene's Dana

October's Leaves

by Jaime Kaufhold
(October 1991)

October is a truly beautiful month. It signals the end of summer and with it comes the most spectacular array of colour. The trees that shaded us during those hot summer days have dropped their leaves, creating a blanket across the ground. My poor old plum tree is naked now.

I just came in from raking leaves, thinking about what to write this month and realized that there is a lot to talk about in October. Of course we could mention how everyone is getting ready for winter - it is the perfect time to winterize cottages, haul out the boat and do any repairs that are necessary. Farmers are thinking about next year's crops, ploughing and preparing their fields and the cattle must be sheltered. And of course, there is always Thanksgiving to plan around.

What a memorable weekend that always was. An extra day off school for the kids who'd bring large paper turkeys home Friday afternoon, that we'd hang on the door. I'd prepare a big meal with all the traditional fare and sometimes friends would join us. By the time Thanksgiving rolled around, the fall foods we'd eat were a much needed change from the barbeque season.

But of course all the children could think about was Hallowe'en. For weeks they would mull over  what they were going to "be" and prepare for the school costume party. They always hoped to have the best and most unusual costumes. Back then, most costumes were home made and I could be pretty inventive. One time we made Mark into a robot by spray painting different sized boxes silver, creating a body, arms, legs and head. And I remember sewing old buttons and bows of different sizes and colours all over Nancy's shirt and pants. One year we turned Karen into a bag lady by sewing all sorts of household items and junk onto an old workshirt and pair of pants. My kids never went to school dressed as a ghost, princess or superman. I wasn't exactly sure what they were, but it was memorable.

When Hallowe'en night finally arrived, off they went to fill their bags with goodies. I was left home to some tricking of my own and usually it was the poor dog who suffered. It was hilarious to watch our big, fat black lab, Minnie, run terrified away from the door each time she saw a goblin arrive. Then, when the loot was brought home and sorted on the rug in the living room, I kept a close eye on who had what. When the kids fell asleep, I'd sneak into their rooms and raid their goodie bags for some of the treats I liked best. They never noticed, or if they did, never mentioned it.

Now it's time to go back outside to rake more leaves. It is windy so I'm hoping the pile will blow next door, but I guess that means I'll end up with the neighbour's leaves who lives upwind of here. Oh well. The grandchildren will come for a visit and the piles provide hours of fun.

After Hallowe'en I usually have a nice, large pumpkin to dispose of. Guess what I make?

Pumpkin Pie

2 cups pumpkin
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
3 tablespoons fancy molasses
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
3 large eggs
1 1/3 cups whipping cream
3 tablespoons brandy or orange liqueur

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
For filling, cook your pumpkin until soft, then let it drain in a mesh colander until fairly dry. Or you can use canned pumpkin from the store. Whisk it in a bowl with all the ingredients then pour into an uncooked, 9” pie shell.

Bake for 10 minutes, then lower temperature to 350 degrees and bake for 20 to 30 minutes, or until filling puffs just a little around edges. Test with a fork by poking the middle. If you like your pie soft, remove when it still jiggles a bit in the center. But if you're like me and prefer it dense, cook until the fork comes out nearly clean. Allow to cool to room temperature, then put in the fridge.

Whipped Cream
1 cup whipping cream
2 teaspoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch nutmeg

Whip it up, spread it all over the pie right before serving and enjoy! If you think you might have leftovers (we never did), don't spread the whipped cream over top, just add spoonfuls to the individual pieces. You'll probably need to re-whip the leftover cream the next day.

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Under the Dumb Plum Tree

Thanksgiving weekend I made Mom's Chili Sauce

Chili Sauce

by Jaime Kaufhold
(September 17, 1991)

September has always been a lovely month for me. This year's weather has been great and it's time to harvest the bountiful crop of tomatoes, onions and peppers from my garden. Summer just wouldn't be complete if I didn't do some canning. I made chili sauce again - oh how I love the aroma of chili sauce simmering on the stove. There is something about canning which demands it be done on a fall day with the windows open so everyone can smell the wonderful infectious aroma.

Every year I say it will be the last time I make chili sauce because we don't eat as much as we used to, but year after year I get many requests for the piquant sauce, so back to the hot kitchen I went last week.

My eldest daughter came for her annual visit and we had a lovely time together. This time, she persuaded me to purchase a word processor, saying that it will be easier for me to write and edit my column. The manual I received with the machine is approximately two inches thick and I am still on page 14. The computer age is here and whether I can figure it out and benefit from it will remain to be seen.

Having Karen here for a week was like stepping back in time. The children all had to visit with one another so of course they all said, "Let's go to Mom's!" I was prepared for them, after filling the grocery cart and making a family meal. Our visit went well and it was just like the good old days as I listened to their happy chatter. It makes me realize how peaceful and quiet my life has become. Now that they are back at their respective homes, I feel like poor old Mother Hubbard.

The week with Karen went by quickly and as she prepared to leave, I found myself asking the same questions as always: "Are you packed? Have you forgotten anything?" The reply was, "of course, Mom, don't worry so much." Pacing, I watched the clock. I have learned from experience that if we don't leave soon, she may miss the plane. I remember well the time my husband and I spent a lovely vacation in Europe visiting with relatives. We were casually saying our good-byes at the Frankfurt airport. I heard the word "Canada," faintly announced and as we ran towards the departure gate, I caught a glimpse of the tail end of a plane with a red maple leaf, backing away. Somehow we managed to catch the flight and found our seats amongst fellow passengers, many laughing at the sight of us. Others were angry for the delay and it was quite embarrassing. So that explains my paranoia about missing the plane.

The bathroom door remained closed and I could hear the hair dryer going at full speed. I wondered how someone with such short hair could take so long to fix it. I glanced at my watch again and after what seemed like an eternity, she emerged lovely as ever. Soon we were on our way and arrived at the airport with plenty of time. We said our good-byes, hugged and kissed and as I watched her go through security, looked forward to the phone call that would come later, as she opened her suitcase to find two carefully wrapped jars of chili sauce that I'd tucked inside. Chili sauce is Karen's favourite and she always serves it when she cooks roast beef, which is often considering they have a cattle farm. She is a busy mother, business owner and writer who doesn't have time to do canning herself.

Maybe someday she will and I hope if she does, she'll follow my recipe.

Mom's Chili Sauce

12 cups ripe tomatoes
4 cups tomato paste or tomato puree
2 large onions
4 green peppers
4 stalks celery
1 cup brown sugar
1 1/4 cup vinegar
1/4 cup lemon juice
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp mustard seed
1 1/2 tbsp salt
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 1/4 tsp cloves
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp allspice
3/4 tsp nutmeg

Wash, peel and cut tomatoes, onions, peppers, celery. Place everything except the tomato paste and lemon juice together in a pot.

Heat until bubbly, then reduce temperature to low and cook for approx. 5 hours, stirring frequently. Add tomato paste and lemon juice. At this point, the sauce should be quite thick so watch it closely as you continue cooking to desired thickness, as it will scorch easily. If you don't have time to finish the process in one day, refrigerate the sauce for a day or two and then warm up in a microwave right before ladling into jars.

This recipe fills 16, 8oz. jars.