Tag Archives: cooking

Cemetery or Funeral Cake

Cemetery or Funeral Cake

Milwaukee Public Library Historic Recipe File

In a 2013 op-ed for The Baptist NewsDallas-based pastor Mark Wingfield recalled a disappointing post-funeral feast: “There was no green bean casserole, no fried chicken, no homemade rolls, no chocolate cake. Finally, someone in the family drove over to KFC to bring home the kind of food we all needed in the moment. And did I mention there wasn’t even a single piece of chocolate cake brought to the house?” “Is it wrong of me to think of chocolate cake as heaven-sent?” Not when it brings comfort at a funeral.

A funeral cake is served during the reception held after the service. While some areas have a traditional recipe, others now look to fancy, decorated options that honour their deceased loved one. There were funeral cakes once just as we still have wedding cakes. These funeral cakes were the result of mourners coming from long distances A large cake would be baked, generally with the initials of the departecd iced on the top, cut into slices and served to the mourners, who did then as we now do with the pieces of wedding cake preserved them for a long time, as souvenirs of the occasion. Funeral cakes are still in vogue at funerals in rural England.

The cakes were decorated with symbolic patterns. Molds carved from wood or sometimes made of iron or stone were used to stamp decorative impressions on the cakes before baking Weaver has several molds including one of marble carved by a gravestone-maker from Schenectady NY Weaver said the Hudson Valley was also a centre for the carving of wooden molds from apple or beech wood. “The rose and the heart were the most common designs” he said “The rooster symbolizing resurrection was also used as was the fish for Christ and the dove Designs used on gravestones frequently show up The three plumes that decorate a hearse and the Masonic symbol were some others” Among the Pennsylvania Dutch raisin pie was usually served after a funeral often brought by mourners as a gift to the family of the deceased a tradition imported from Germany– also read How Heavenly Funeral Potatoes Got Their Name

Ms. Eva Mae’s Funeral Cake-Anytime there was a church call for food (usually funerals and wedding showers) you automatically knew you would see this cake somewhere among the dessert table. It was clearly recognizable because it was the longest cake there. It was a pound cake baked in a 16 x 4 loaf pan. The cake was presented in tin foil. Somehow along my growing up days, the name changed to aluminum foil, I just cannot remember when it did. Read the rest here– Click

Uninvited but unobserved, the mourners, partaken of the funeral cake and funeral wine. Being Invested with the conventional black kid gloves, hatband and scarf, and so arrayed had been ushered into a mourning coach, and had followed to the grave the mortal remains of some fellow-creature whom he did not know from the man in the moon”. 

The Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
24 Mar 1899, Fri  •  Page 4
The Morning Call
Allentown, Pennsylvania
19 Oct 1988, Wed  •  Page 71


How Heavenly Funeral Potatoes Got Their Name

How Religion Came to Richmond and the First Masonic Funeral

The Young Family Funeral Home Lanark County

The Woman Who Got the Dead End Sign Removed in Carleton Place

Ed Fleming — The First Funeral Parlour in Carleton Place

Funerals With Dignity in Carleton Place – Just a Surrey with a Fringe on Top —- Our Haunted Heritage

Blast From the Past–Remembering Alan Barker– July 4 1979

Dead Ringers –To Live and Die in Morbid Times

The Ashton Funeral to end all Funerals

The Last Man to Let you Down? Political Leanings at Local Funeral Homes?

Embalming 1891 – A Local Report

What was one of the Largest Funerals in Lanark County?

Things You Just Don’t say at a Funeral— Even if you Are a Professional Mourner

A Tale From the Patterson Funeral Home — Carleton Place

Making the Fudge for that Special School Affair 1940s Noreen Tyers

Making the Fudge for that Special School Affair 1940s Noreen Tyers
Canadian ration Books

When you were raised in the 1940’s and it war wartime, there were things you learned that you could not change as it was the just the way it was

I lived on a street in Eastview Ontario (now part of Ottawa) on a quiet little street. Across the street was a field and the railway tracks were on the other side of that. There were eight families on this street. As kids we all played together and you soon learned who was in charge and sort of in charge of street games like Red Rover and Hide and Seek. We also played baseball in the Summer and Hockey in the winter on the street. You would see little traffic on the street as some of the men were away fighting in the war or you just did not have a car.

The Canadian Home Front in the First and Second World Wars The Oxford  Companion to Canadian Military History

For your baseball game you picked out various articles as your bases, for example the old fire hydrant was third base, a stone on the street was 2nd base, a tree on the side of the road was first. This worked well as there was little to worry about, for they were just there. Grandpa did offer to make us bases but no one wanted the responsibility of picking up the bases when the game was over. For Hockey in Winter time your puck was mostly the droppings from the bread man or the milk man’s horse. One soon learned you wanted colder weather as the pucks stayed frozen in the cold, and that was important, after all no one wanted to be sprayed with horse droppings.

Out of eight families, three Dad’s were in the Army and away at war in Europe, my Dad was not accepted to the armed forces and my Grandpa was to old to join the army, although some of his sons, my Uncles, did go to war. Thank Goodness for Grandpas as he repaired all broken things and did give advice or correct if needed. He was kind of the one you went to if you needed some advice.

On our street money was not always to plentiful and we soon learned that our families did rely on each other for items and Mom might just run out when making a meal. You were never embarrassed to go to your friend’s mother for an item your Mom might need for a recipe. In fact there were times when my Mom would make a desert for all, and the next door neighbour would have the makings of a lunch, so the name of the game was sharing your goods. By the end of the war they were expert at pooling their resources, and no one ever went hungry and there were leftovers that could be the starter for the next meal.

During the war time there were Ration Books which dictated what was available to you and your allotment. Now living on a street where one family kind of overlooked looking after one another, and sharing was most prevalent. We had no car so the gasoline coupons were up grab, and trading was the name of the game, part of the bartering system.

It seems to me the war effort was in force and knitting needles were always handy to make something to send to a loved one overseas. I was taught knitting at a young age and soon was making scarves to send to the Red Cross., to go overseas.

School time was a good time and one did not think of things like war, or whose Dad was away. We participated in school activities and our learning. I cannot say that I ever hesitated going to school as I did enjoy the teachers the social time with friends. We lived close enough that we walked to school with our friends who lived on the same street and it was always enjoyable to be able to wave to our neighbours who lived on adjoining streets on the way to school. In so many ways I do think the older folk did enjoy the children and their laughter, not really a care in the world. The funniest thing was you might be eating an apple on you way back to school from lunch and it was nothing for one of your neighbours to say, now don’t throw that core on the street, make sure you put it in the garbage. As children we did not take exception to this friendly reminder.

Things seemed to be more friendly and people did help and look after each other. It was close to Halloween and there was going to be a get together and a party. As a child I was used to my Mom making fudge for special occasions at school. Well when we all arrived home from school, the Mothers were talking at the front door. I have to admit adults were so smart and in tune to the season and what was happening. Well noisy children coming home announcing was not new to these Moms, Mom we need some fudge for the party. With the ration books and the allotment of sugar, this I can remember being told “I don’t know if we have enough coupons for sugar”, we had the attention of all three Mom’s and there was Grandma and my Mom’s Aunt, and friend Joan, had a grandmother who lived on the street as well. In order for the kids to get their treat for the party, they had to round up coupons from who we could. We pooled our resources and we were just a tad bit short to make enough for three families. My older friend and neighbour up the street, Mrs. Pauquette, I could ask her. I sometimes dusted for her if I was saving for something I wanted. Up the street I went and sure enough she had some extra coupons as they were older and had no children and did not use the same amount as a family with children.

I have to say the next day when we came home for lunch, the fudge had been made, cut into squares and divided into three boxes. We all had our contribution to the party, thanks to the co-operation of family, friends and neighbours. We were all set until Christmas now, that is when the next school celebration would take place.

For some this was not good memories, but the comradeship with your neighbours and family certainly did help. As we take time out to remember on November the 11th, just remember those who did not return.

From the ✒

of Noreen

November 8,2020

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, closeup

This recipe makes about 5 pounds of decadent  fudge.

  • 1 tall can (11 oz) Carnation Evaporated Milk
  • 4 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 18 oz Nestles or Ghiradelli semisweet chocolate chips (three small bags)
  • 1/2 pound butter
  • 3 tablespoons vanilla
  • Nuts, if desired (we’ve added crushed up candy canes on top of the fudge, stuff like that is tasty too!).

Put chocolate chips, butter and vanilla in large mixing bowl, set aside.

Bring milk and sugar to a rolling boil on medium heat in a large pan, stirring occasionally. When it reaches a rolling boil, time it for 6 1/2 minutes, stirring constantly.

Note: Amy suggested a temperature of 248F/120C on a candy thermometer but I needed to cook the fudge for double the time to get it there. Instead, I stopped cooking when flecks of caramelization started showing in the milk–about ten minutes, 225F. I wonder if the difference in altitude between her place and mine is a factor?

Pour the milk and sugar syrup mixture over the contents of the mixing bowl. Stir constantly until butter is completely melted, and the fudge is smooth and isn’t shiny. Add nuts if desired.

A 9×12 baking dish will hold the whole batch (either butter the dish or line with parchment paper first).  Or, pour into smaller containers to share.

read the rest here and amy’s story

Related reading

The Teeter Totter Incident Noreen Tyers

Childhood Movie Nights at Reliance Motor Court in Eastview — Noreen Tyers

Hats, Ogilvy’s and Gaudy Teenage Years — Noreen Tyers

Sending Thoughts of Winter to You, from my Wee Dog Ruffy Noreen Tyers

A Trip in the Carrying Case– Noreen Tyers

Just Me Growing Up in the Early 1940’s Noreen Tyers

Grandma and the Cute Little Mice– From the Pen of Noreen Tyers

Another Broken Bed Incident — Stories from Richards Castle — Noreen Tyers

Lets Play Elevator- Charles Ogilvy Store — From the Pen of Noreen Tyers

At Church on Sunday Morning From the Pen of Noreen Tyers

Jack’s in Charge-Scary Stories — From the Pen of Noreen Tyers

Adventures at Dalhousie Lake at the Duncan’s Cottages —- From the Pen of Noreen Tyers

I am Afraid of Snakes- From the Pen of Noreen Tyers

Hitching a Ride Cross Town — From the Pen of Noreen Tyers

My Old Orange Hat –From the Pen of Noreen Tyers of Perth

Out of the Old Photo Album — From the Pen of Noreen Tyers

Snow Road Ramblings from Richards Castle — From the Pen Of Noreen Tyers

Summer Holidays at Snow Road Cleaning Fish — From the Pen of Noreen Tyers of Perth

Snow Road Adventures- Hikes in the Old Cave — From the Pen of Noreen Tyers of Perth

Putting Brian on the Bus– Stories from my Childhood Noreen Tyers

My Childhood Memory of Richard’s Castle –From the Pen of Noreen Tyers of Perth

Grandpa’s Dandelion Wine — From the Pen of Noreen Tyers of Perth

My Wedding Tiara — From the Pen of Noreen Tyers of Perth

The Art of Learning How to Butter Your Toast the Right Way — From the Pen of Noreen Tyers of Perth

Smocked Dresses–From the Pen of Noreen Tyers of Perth

The Kitchen Stool — From the Pen of Noreen Tyers of Perth

The Flying Teeth in Church — From the Pen of Noreen Tyers of Perth

The Writings of Noreen Tyers of Perth

Memories of Grandpa’s Workshop — Noreen Tyers

Cleaning out Grandmas’ Fridge — Noreen Tyers Summer Vacation at Richard’s Castle

My Flower Seeds — From the Pen of Noreen Tyers of Perth

My Barbra Ann Scott Doll –Noreen Tyers

Greetings From Ruffy on Groundhog Day Noreen Tyers

That Smell Of The Lanark County SAP Being Processed — Noreen Tyers

Adventures at Dalhousie Lake at the Duncan’s Cottages — Noreen Tyers

The old Sheepskin Slippers Noreen Tyers

Was the Butter Tart Really Invented in Barrie, Ontario? Jaan Kolk Files

Was the Butter Tart Really Invented in Barrie, Ontario? Jaan Kolk Files

Jaan Kolk It’s difficult to believe butter tarts were invented in Barrie, Ont. in 1900. The claim is actually “first printed butter tart recipe”, based on Mrs. Malcolm MacLeod’s small submission to a cookbook published to raise funds for Barrie’s Royal Victoria Hospital.

977-08 Opening of the Royal Victoria Hospital, 1897, Copyright: Public Domain

None of the other recipes claim to be original, and it’s difficult to believe no one in the world ever made a simple tart filling consisting mostly of sugar and butter before. Here’s what was in the cookbook:

Image may contain: text
 974-97 Royal Victoria Cook Book, pg. 88-89, Copyright: Public Domain— The recipe was contributed by a Mrs. Malcolm MacLeod of that city. Her own first name was Mary, all as explained in the link. She did not employ the term butter tarts, but her recipe is clearly that, sans the name.

Jaan was right—–While butter tarts are known around the world as the quintessential Canadian dish, the invention of this confection actually goes back to before Canada was even a country. During a ten-year period, from 1663 to 1673, at least 770 young women were sent to Quebec by Louis XIV to help with colonization. These single ladies were sent with dowries to help boost settlement in New France, meaning they were going to marry, then cook, clean and procreate (the baby boom after this immigration was bigger than post-WWII). These King’s Daughters (or Filles du Roi) as they came to be known did what any resourceful baker would do: they made do with what they had. With the abundance of new food they created the butter tart forerunner with baking ingredients readily available like maple sugar and dried fruit. This ancestral tart later led to variations like tarte au sucre and the butter tart.

Jaan Kolk It would be quite a task to scour old cookbooks for a similar recipe, but it’s easy to search newspaper archives for the term “butter tart” (a term not even used in the Barrie cookbook.) Here’s what I found:

1889-1891, several US newspapers published “The Uncle from America” from a French work “The French Epoch.” Uncle Bruno had returned from America and was coming to see his family at his birthplace, near Dieppe. All were keen to impress the uncle. The description of the spread which had been prepared ended with “…and a butter-tart completed the bill of fare which made the children exclaim with delight.”

January 31, 1899, a “cheering, clean, and cheap” Montreal eatery advertised in the Gazette a 10-cent meal which could include butter tarts.

Image may contain: text

Jaan is right on this too. Throughout the early 1900s butter tarts gained popularity and variations were published in Toronto’s Daily News and included in the 1911 Canadian Farm Cook Book. Butter tarts became all the rage in the 1920s and 1930s, and by the 1980s readers were desperately writing The Vancouver Sun’s fictional baking expert, Edith Adams, for a copy of her recipe.

Dear Edith Adams: I’ve lost your recipe for butter tart bars – the one that doesn’t have raisins or currants in the filling. Hope you can find it. – N.B., Richmond

The Vancouver Sun
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
11 Apr 1959, Sat  •  Page 26
Chatelaine page from 1931
he Queen of Tarts from 1931. Photo, Chatelaine.

The Northern Pacific Farmer
Wadena, Minnesota
25 Aug 1881, Thu  •  Page 3–All consideration of apple butter tarts, made that is with the product apple butter, and lemon or orange butter tarts, has been excluded as the dominance of the fresh fruit flavour seems to take these out of the basic Scots-Anglo-Canadian butter tart family.

Jaan Kolk
 Linda, I had come across recipes for lemon butter and apple butter for tarts and pies from the 19th century, but considered them somewhat far from the filling in butter tarts. Pecan pie, I think, is closer.

Slice of Quebec sugar pie on a plate with whipped cream
Quebec Sugar Pie-https://www.ourhappymess.com/quebec-sugar-pie/

  1. relatedreading

Favourite Recipes from Drummond Central School

“Get it On” — Banging Cookies Recipe–This Will Feel Wrong, but Trust Me!

The Invincible Ginger Snap Cookies of Carleton Place

Memories of Woolworths and Chicken in a Van

Slow Cooker Boston Baked Beans–Lanark County Recipes

Easy Christmas Cake- Lanark County Recipes

Holiday Popcorn– Lanark County Recipes

Granny’s Maple Fudge —Lanark County Recipes

Albert Street Canasta Club Chilled Pineapple Dessert

Recipes from Lanark County–Glazed Cranberry Lemon Loaf

Gum Drop Cake — Lanark County Holiday Recipe

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Who Stole the Cookies from the Cookie Jar? Pastry Chef Ben White

“Sex in the Pan” Memories – A RIP Fashion Violation Photo Essay

Katherine Hepburn Did Eat Brownies

I Want Them to Bite into a Cookie and Think of Me and Smile

Lanark County Recipes Beaver Tail and Muskrat — No thanks LOL

The Marvellous Jaan Kolk

Talking Through Your Hat? Jaan Kolk

So Where Was Caldwell Mills? Thanks Jaan Kolk

The Thrift Store Couple – More Information-Jaan Kolk

The House on the Hill — Up the 8th Line of Ramsay — Jaan Kolk Files

Britannia Boat House Doomed— April 1907 Ice Jam –Jaan Kolk Files

Sign, Sign, Everywhere a Sign–Dr. Winters 154-160 Bridge Street Carleton Place –Jaan Kolk Files

Please take the Devil Out of Me? Rev. James Wilson of Lanark

Did You Know we Once Had a Grand Hotel? The Grand Central Hotel

The Cholera Epidemic of 1911

The Ashton Hotel– Questions Questions Flemmings and McFarlanes

Benoit & Richardson Photo– a Mystery

Before there was Baker Bob’s There was The Almonte Bakery

Does Anyone Remember Cohen’s in Lanark Village?

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A. Huckels & Co. -The Story of a Bottle- Thanks to Jaan Kolk

A Logging Camp Story — Beaver Stew

A Logging Camp Story — Beaver Stew

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Working for a logging camp one might come across something unusual in the thick forests. One day working  in the  Gilmour camp near Maniwaki they came upon a camp of 15 Natives all worse from wear from liquor.

They insisted the white men stay for dinner and when the group of men declined the natives grew angry. Rather than see their sentiments grow deeper they decided to stay for dinner. A large pot hung over the campfire and smelled of meat  stew. The men soon found out it was Beaver stew, which they were eager to try.

When the Beaver was served the men found out that the meat was good eating, but carelessly prepared. Chunks of fur was still attached and one of them got served a Beaver leg still with the claws on it.  Needless to say they had to act with great finesse not to irritate their dinner hosts who ate the Beaver stew hair and all.

The story ends that then men were might thankful to get away from the drunken dinner party without the Natives attacking them. Gossip says it was 3 to 1.



  • 2-3 lbs 1 inch cubes beaver
  • Bacon grease
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 2 medium onions
  • 1/2 lb carrots
  • 6 medium potatoes
  • 2 stalks celery


Combine flour, salt and pepper in a closable bag or 2 quart closable plastic container and shake until mixed. Add beaver and shake until well coated.

Dice onions. Melt enough bacon grease in the bottom of a fry pan to sauté onions and beaver. Sauté onions and floured beaver in bacon grease, adding more grease as needed. Place sautéed cubes and onions in a 4 quart pot with enough water to cover. Add water to fry pan to remove the remainder of the bacon grease and flour. Add this pan gravy to your stew.

Slice carrots and dice celery. Add carrots and celery to your stew and simmer until beaver is somewhat tender (about 30 minutes). Taste broth and add salt or pepper to taste. Cut potatoes into 1 inch cubes and add enough water to just cover the meat and vegetables. Simmer until potatoes are done (about 30 minutes)


Lanark County Recipes Beaver Tail and Muskrat — No thanks LOL

The Harold Kettles Series – Blowing up Beaver Dams in Beckwith

Living with the Natives — Mrs Copithorne’s Bread

The Little Door by the River




Pease Pudding in the Pot, Nine Days Old

Pease Pudding in the Pot, Nine Days Old


Pease pudding in the pot, nine days old. Some like it hot, some like it cold, … The dish probably started out as pease porridge, but after the pudding cloth was invented, it became a pudding, often eaten with salt pork. Puddings, in those days, were not the creamy thickened desserts which we call pudding today.


In 1947 there was was a strange advertisement by Dodds and Erwin of Perth, headed “Some Like It Hot.” People thought it might be about boogie woogie but instead it was. about “peas brose”  Ever hear of it? “What’s better than a nice cup of pease porridge right now?” asks the ad.

This goes on: “They say it was pea brose that made Scotland the second best nation on earth (the first being Ireland.) “Others say it was pea brose that drove the Scotsman away from home. So tastes differ.”

It was said that it could be found at Snow Road, and Flower Station. (Both were on the old Kingston and Pembroke branch of the CPR).



Pease pudding is an English dish consisting of boiled peas which are seasoned with salt and other spices, and then cooked together with bacon or ham for extra flavor. The final result is a thick porridge with mild, yet rich flavors. Originally, pease pudding was cooked in large cauldrons which were hanging over an open fire.

Traditionally pease pudding is served with pork and was often cooked in a muslin with the ham. Today, it is even available in cans throughout the United Kingdom.

Recipe here CLICK





Dodds & Erwin has been serving the agricultural community for over 99 years. Established in 1918 the business is now being operated by 4th generation Erwin’s! We supply feed and farm supplies to all the local farms as well as purchase most of our grain locally off those same farms! We also have a wide variety of wild life feeds and pet foods to suite your needs. In the summer months of May-October we have a vast bulk landscape supply depot as well as every variety of lawn seed to garden seed you desire! Stop into our Feeds n’ Needs outlet at 2870 Rideau Ferry road, 1 km south of Perth on county road 1.




Funky Soul Stew was Once Cooking in Carleton Place

Cooking with Findlay’s — Christine Armstrong’s Inheritance and Maple Syrup Recipe

Food Review of the Smorgasbord at The Queen’s Royal Hotel 1947

Fight Over the “Restaurant on Wheels” 1899 — The First Food Truck Fight

How Heavenly Funeral Potatoes Got Their Name

How Heavenly Funeral Potatoes Got Their Name


This week my friend Bobby Lyons from Cincinnati posted a Walmart Facebook ad that has actually been rolling around since 2018  (you’re slippin RG) for “funeral potatoes” from Walmart.  Yup, you read that correctly. But what are they?

Believe it or not, “Funeral Potatoes” is not actually their technical name–it’s usually something like Cheesy Potato Casserole.  These are often found served with ham on festive holiday dinner tables as well as luncheons following funerals which, shockingly, is how they got their name.

Why are funeral potatoes are so delicious? We chalk it up to the heartfelt care and sympathy with which they’re prepared. I’m not crying. You’re crying  carbs and fats which make us happy. Though they have a sombre name, funeral potatoes are truly the ultimate comfort food. Potatoes to die for and Walmart’s version has a shelf life of up to 18 months! Holy Mother of you know who!


A dish of funeral potatoes is supposedly a way to show your support and sympathy for a grieving family. To make them yourself,  and you could follow the Pioneer Woman’s go-to funeral potatoes recipe. The ingredients list isn’t long, nor fancy either. While it’s not difficult to put together, it does bake up into a truly comforting and filling side dish. Her recipe includes as a base frozen shredded hash brown potatoes, which makes the casserole prep even easier. It also includes assorted cheeses, sour cream, and a topping of kettle-cooked potato chips, among other ingredients. While you are at she also has a funeral episode you might want to take a gander at.

Upon doing a little digging through my dusty mind I discovered I’ve actually had funeral potatoes many times, which I always knew as cheesy hash browns. There are countless variations of the casserole-type side dish, but the general recipe calls for ‘taters, cheese, some kind of cream soup, sour cream, and a crunchy top made of cereal or potato chips. Life could be tragic, if some things weren’t so darn funny. I just figured out that lint from my dryer is actually the remains of my missing socks.

Alex Knisely  — When I brings ’em I cooks ’em and I hands ’em over to the kinfolk of the dear departed, sayin’, Take the salt off the table when you serve these, darlin’, ’cause they’re watered with my tears.






Come and visit the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– what’s there? Cool old photos–and lots of things interesting to read. Also check out The Tales of Carleton Place and The Tales of Almonte

How Religion Came to Richmond and the First Masonic Funeral

The Young Family Funeral Home Lanark County

The Woman Who Got the Dead End Sign Removed in Carleton Place

Ed Fleming — The First Funeral Parlour in Carleton Place

Funerals With Dignity in Carleton Place – Just a Surrey with a Fringe on Top —- Our Haunted Heritage

Blast From the Past–Remembering Alan Barker– July 4 1979

Dead Ringers –To Live and Die in Morbid Times

The Ashton Funeral to end all Funerals

The Last Man to Let you Down? Political Leanings at Local Funeral Homes?

Embalming 1891 – A Local Report

What was one of the Largest Funerals in Lanark County?

Things You Just Don’t say at a Funeral— Even if you Are a Professional Mourner

A Tale From the Patterson Funeral Home — Carleton Place

Blast From the Past–Remembering Alan Barker– July 4 1979

Embalming 1891 – A Local Report

Love, From Betty Crocker




I always believed in Betty Crocker– well, I wanted to believe that the first lady of food was real. Similar to finding out that Nancy Drew’s author Carolyn Keene wasn’t real, one day Betty Crocker was no longer real either. I realized that dear old Betty was just a brand name and trademark developed by the Washburn Crosby Company.

The story goes that they chose Betty as her name because it sounded as American as the Apple Pie she would show us all how to make. The original Betty Crocker New Picture Cookbook was first published in 1951 and everyone knows someone that has a Betty Crocker Cookbook in their home. Betty, like Margie Blake from the Carnation Company, was important to me as my mother died young, and food somehow replaced parental figures. Well, that’s what a few years of therapy taught me.

The recipes from any Betty Crocker Cookbook are from leaner times, and in the 50’s my mother used to make Tuna Pinwheels and Canned Devilled Ham Canape’s for her canasta parties. Bernice Ethylene Crittenden Knight was a stickler for an attractive food presentation, and she also made something called Congealed Salad for holiday meals. A combination of Orange Jello, Cool Whip, crushed pineapple, and wait for it, shredded cheese. I think my Dad called it “Sawdust Salad” and I seriously tried to remain clueless as to why. I’m sure everyone has a family member that says they’ll bring a “salad” to a family dinner, but then they bring some Jello concoction. Bonus points if it has marshmallows.  Actually I feel more justified in calling anything a salad if I dump leftover taco beef and salsa onto a little lettuce topped with shredded cheese.

Everyone baked bread, but I guess not all people like Betty’s Fruit Loaf recipes because on page 78 of my vintage Betty Crocker cookbook the former owner of the book hand wrote:

“Terrible, even Nookie the dog turned it down.”

The steamed brown bread baked in a can was another baking tragedy. It was so horrible my Dad took my Grandmother’s failed recipe target shooting at the Cowansville dump. I would like to think that some of those rats got to feast on one of those brown breads. Of course, maybe after sampling it, they might have wanted to be put out of their misery.

I also used to love Betty Crocker’s 7 minute-frosting that my mother would put it on some of her 1950s nuclear coloured cake. Then there were the Floating Islands, homemade Rice Pudding, chilled with whipped cream and cinnamon on top. My grandmother’s specialty was steamed English Pudding, and when she was done, she would soak lumps of sugar with orange extract and then place them decoratively around the pudding. One by one each lump would be lighted with a match which would result in a near miss family dinner explosion each time.

Nostalgic triggers a story about our lives, helping us reflect on traditions and moments about the days when our  parents and grandparents were alive. That’s why we should never lose print recipes, and real paper-based cookbooks. Those mystery meat recipes, books, and foods that were the same colour as radiation will always resonate with us because we get to see and relive the gravy stained favourites, and the personal notes in the margins. If reading about Betty Crocker has you craving a big slice of cake, you’re not alone. Time to bake!




Vintage Culinary Blogging –Fun to Cook Book

“Get it On” — Banging Cookies Recipe–This Will Feel Wrong, but Trust Me!

The Invincible Ginger Snap Cookies of Carleton Place

Memories of Woolworths and Chicken in a Van

Slow Cooker Boston Baked Beans–Lanark County Recipes

Easy Christmas Cake- Lanark County Recipes

Holiday Popcorn– Lanark County Recipes

Granny’s Maple Fudge —Lanark County Recipes

Albert Street Canasta Club Chilled Pineapple Dessert

Recipes from Lanark County–Glazed Cranberry Lemon Loaf

Gum Drop Cake — Lanark County Holiday Recipe

Gluten Free–

Who Stole the Cookies from the Cookie Jar? Pastry Chef Ben White

“Sex in the Pan” Memories – A RIP Fashion Violation Photo Essay

Katherine Hepburn Did Eat Brownies

I Want Them to Bite into a Cookie and Think of Me and Smile

What is this? From Karen Prytula– LCGS

What is this?  From Karen Prytula– LCGS
Hi All
Last year at the Maberly Fair, a man brought a type of pan to the Heritage Table and asked us/everyone if anyone know what this pan was.  He said he found it on a farm in old South Sherbrooke Township (now Tay Valley Township). Nobody knew what it was.  The man said not even Clive’s Curios could help.  (newspaper column in the Lanark Era).
I don’t know who the man was, but he seemed to know the other locals who were hanging around the heritage booth – although I don’t know those people either – however I will recognize them again if they come back this year.  If those same people come back this year, I’ll ask them who the man with the pan was – hopefully they will know and the end result will be that I can get more information about the pan – i.e. – other items it was found with.
The bottom of the pan appears to have a formula on it  23% m, and the peace symbol.  This must mean something.  I wonder if the formula is meant to be pressed, stamped, or branded into something since the text is raised rather than impressed into the pan itself.  Maybe this pan is a mold for something – perhaps a weight was placed in it and the bottom of the pan was pressed into a soft hot metal – something a blacksmith might use- or maybe a foundary….. to mark a …..cast iron wood stove, cannon, etc.
The formula might indicate what the pan was made of – or what its used for.
Out of curiosity I checked the bottom of my own cast iron pans and the makers name is impressed into the bottom of the pan, not raised.
It appears to sit on something that that would have three, rungs, or elements….as the feet are graduated so it can sit flat on something, a little above something, or a little higher above something.  Hard to explain.
Also notice the gear used where the handle attaches to the pan.​
The handle itself has has a hook/crook in the top of it – so that when it hangs on something….it hangs straight or flat so that nothing can tip out of it….i.e. hot liquid ??
Hopefully the man, or the people who knew the man will come back to the Maberly Fair this August.
Karen Prytula–LCGS
Rob Bell thought it might be a spider skillet
I found this online
“There was a black iron skillet in my mother’s kitchen that she always called the spider. “Fetch me down that black iron spider,” she would say when she was getting ready to start on one of her famous dishes –tuna fish casserole, for instance, topped not with potato chips but with baking powder biscuits; or American chop suey, which surely must have had an Italian ancestry, made as it was with ground meat, tomato sauce and elbow macaroni. Or cornbread — no cornbread could ever fulfill its flavor potential, she declared, unless it was baked in that black iron spider.” Read the rest here: CLICK

Come and visit the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– what’s there? Cool old photos–and lots of things interesting to read. Also check out The Tales of Carleton Place.

Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in The Townships Sun and Screamin’ Mamas (USA)


Hobos, Apple Pie, and the Depression–Tales from 569 South Street

Hobos, Apple Pie, and the Depression–Tales from 569 South Street



Canada-Rail Postcard


As a child, my Grandmother used to tell me all sorts of stories about the Depression. Each morning she made sandwiches for the hungry people knocking on her door, and her weathered screened verandah sometimes became a shelter for homeless people during rainy nights.  The train station was just a few blocks down from where they lived on South Street in Cowansville, and those that rode the freight trains would get off daily to see if they could find work or food. Once they came knocking at your door, chances are you would never see them again, as they would never spend too long in any one place.

I was always told that we once had a hobo mark on our side door, and Grammy would also take in needy families until they got on their feet. Grampy once said that he never knew who would be sitting across from him nightly at the dinner table, but each time my Grandmother asked him to go to the grocery store to get another loaf of bread for someone in need he went without complaining.



(image via: D-Arch)



One day Grammy hired a young homeless woman named Gladys who worked for her until she died. I was barely eight years old when Gladys passed, but I still remember her like yesterday. Gladys was an odd looking woman who tried to hide her chain smoking habit from my Grandmother. The ‘manly-looking” woman would talk up a storm while she cleaned with stories that young ears should have never heard– but I did.

Gladys would tell me all about her days as a teenager where she would hide along the tracks outside the train yards. She would run as fast as she could along the train as it gained speed and grab hold and jump into the open boxcars. Sometimes, she missed, and sometimes she watched some of her friends lose their legs or their lives as they jumped off as the train was reaching its destination.


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Knight Residence and business–569 South Street Cowansville Quebec-Photo from Linda Knight Seccaspina Collection


Gladys told me that there was nothing left at home during those horrible years of the Depression. There were too many mouths to feed and she knew she wasn’t going anywhere anyways if she remained there. So she just rode the rails as it was free and she knew she would find food somewhere, which was more than she was going to do at home. So she cut her hair, wore overalls and a cap, and survived life on the road until my Grandmother hired her.

Gladys ended up dying in her sleep in ‘the back room’ of my Grandparents home as it was always called. After she died, my Grandmother promptly labelled it ‘Gladys’s room’. When I was older and came home on weekends, that very same room was where I slept. You have no idea how many times I thought I saw Gladys in the dark shadows scurrying around with her feather duster, and yes, still chain smoking. The room was always really cold, even in the summer, and it never stopped smelling of apples.

You see, Gladys could make anything out of everything. My Grandmother was an apple hoarder among other things, and always had a huge wooden barrel of apples in the shed. The top part of the bin held apples that were crisp and fresh, but, if you ventured to the bottom looking for a better apple, it was nothing but decaying fruit. So when Gladys made an apple pie she insisted on using the older apples, and worked her magic with them. Somehow the odd cigarette ashes sometimes found in that pie gave it that “je ne sais quoi” in added flavour. But Gladys like my Grandmother never bothered with tradition as even in her late years she was still the young woman who had been thrown off trains, begged at back doors of strangers and generally got by because she had too.

Hard times had driven her from home so a few rotten apples were not going to stand in her way of making a great apple pie as those issues were transient to her now. After all, any emotions she had been through in her life from love hate or fear- my Grandmother and apple pie now covered the whole territory for Gladys.  She had left that life somewhere among the years of former crumpled packs of cigarettes and loneliness.



Fred and Mary Knight Cowansville Quebec – Photo from Linda Knight Seccaspina Collection






Whose Depression era grandparents would make a simple dinner for themselves i e my grandfather would cut up 🍅 tomatoes, add mayo like a dressing with salt and pepper …. when I watched him eat it I would say “is that all you’re having !!?? He would say to me “look I’m from a time that if you looked in the ice box you put together what was in there and that’s what you had …. and you learned what you liked and made it for yourself . Remember that my birdie … it isn’t always right there for you when you get home .”

Vintage Culinary Blogging –Fun to Cook Book

Author’s Note- This 47 page book of illustrations and recipes got me through a tramatic time in my childhood so I had to write about it. No little girl should be without one.

December 1, 1958.
Dear Diary,
Today I just got the “Fun to Cook Book” in the mail and I want to try each recipe. Margie Blake is Carnation Milk’s 10 year-old culinary star and I thought this book was very cute. My mother and I carefully collected six labels from the Carnation milk cans to order it and I will begin my cooking adventure tomorrow. My father just had to rush my mother to the hospital. She said she cannot feel her legs.

Image result for bernice knight seccaspina
December 8, 1958.
Dear Diary,
The 47 pages of this book have suddenly become part of my life. I found out today that Margie Blake is as real as Nancy Drew’s Carolyn Keene and that really sucked! My mother is back in the hospital for a long time, so Margie Blake’s imaginary family has become mine.

I close my eyes and dream that Margie’s mother Mary Blake is waiting for me in her blue dress and apron everyday when I come home from school. I made the meatloaf today all by myself and I know if Mary was really here she would have made me mashed potatoes too. But she wasn’t, so I just had canned peas and the peas looked as lonely on the plate as I am.

Image result for bernice knight seccaspina
December 10, 1958.
Dear Diary,
I loved the idea that my Carnation cookbook ‘family’ would make hot tomato soup on a cold winter’s night. They served it with delicious grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato slices on the side. I imagined that we would all sit down together at the dining room table and speak about cooking safety tips that Margie discussed in the cookbook.
Always turn that pot handles in and I remembered to do that as I made the soup tonight. My mother is going to have an operation on her spine tomorrow. I wish I could bring her tomato soup. Maybe that would make her feel better?
December 14, 1958.
Dear Diary,
My favourite page was the middle of the book with all the Carnation Milk pies. In my dreams Margie and I made a new one every day. I had a few mishaps with the Tropical Freeze and my scrambled eggs turned out a little dry, but I completed them. They operated on my mother yesterday and they still could not find out what was wrong with her. They are going to bring in the *world renowned specialist Dr. Gingras to the *Darlington Rehab Centre to see her. He is flying in to Montreal from Russia and is going to treat her like a guinea pig my father said.

December 20, 1958.
Dear Diary,
Saturday I brought over Margie’s recipe for Hot Cocoa to a friend’s house to make after a skating party. All of us sat warming ourselves in front of the fireplace while we stirred a large marshmallow in our cup of hot cocoa. It was delicious!  My friends asked about my mother and I began to cry. Even the Cocoa did not help and I left early.

Image result for bernice knight seccaspina
December 31, 1958.
Dear Diary,
Today I am making the very last recipe. It is Margie’s 1-2-3 Hot Fudge Sauce. My babysitter Janet is coming over tonight. She wears big skirts with a huge crinoline and wears pink lipstick. Her boyfriend looks like Fabian and he is coming over too. It’s 1-2 3 Hot Fudge Sauce for everyone with ice cream!

My father just told me they do not know what is wrong with my mother. He got angry, slammed the door and left and that is why Janet is coming over. I wish Margie Blake was real and could stay with me because I think my mother is never coming home.

Image result for robin nutbrown seccaspina
Photo Sheila Wallet Needham
                                                                       The End
Author’s Note
My mother, Bernice Ethylene Crittenden Knight died five years later in 1963 at 34 years old. Her death was listed as a heart attack as they had no idea what was wrong with her.

My mother was operated on, probed, tested for five years and never complained once. She never regained the feeling in her legs– yet never lost her smile

In 1997 when my sister Robin died at age 40 from cancer the doctors finally figured out that my mother had Lymphoma on the spine. In today’s day and age this disease is hard to detect as it was in my sister; so imagine the 50’s.

The Fun to Cook Book got me through hard times in life and I will always thank my imaginary friend Margie Blake from Carnation Milk. In my china cabinet are two  vintage Fun to Cook Books for each of my granddaughters when they get older. I hope the cookbook means that much to them as it did to me.

Notes from the Peanut Gallery:
One of my favorites of your posts- Kevin
“Never give up and focus on remaining abilities rather than on those lost.”
*Darlington Rehab Centre is now called: Montreal Gingras-Lindsay Rehabilitation Institute

Come and visit the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– what’s there? Cool old photos–and lots of things interesting to read.

Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in Hometown News

Stories about Bernice Ethelyne Crittenden my mother:

What Do You Do if You Just Can’t Walk Right In?

Albert Street Canasta Club Chilled Pineapple Dessert

Patriotic Stink Bugs Celebrating the 4th of July as an Ameri-Canadian Child