Mother used wood cookstove to feed family during Great Depression

Catherine Mackenzie
Catherine MacKenzie, 81, of Whitewater, WI, says her mother, Ruth Frodl Congdon, used a cookstove like this to help feed her family during the Great Depression.

I remember lots of lids and an oven gauge on the front of my mother's wood cookstove. An even heat was always needed for project recipes or the potential for flops was always possible—sometimes.

My mother used all of her abilities to make food for us. Rationing in the 1940s was a challenge. My mother, Ruth Frodl Congdon, hoarded things like sugar and so forth and would even barter for ingredients by trading.

On the farm strawberries needed picking to be made into jam and jelly for the winter months. Making those treats was a joy on my mother's wood stove. Best of all were the golden brown, homemade biscuits served warm and covered with strawberry jam. Yummy!

Catherine MacKenzie, Whitewater, WI

Homemade biscuits, baked to golden brown perfection are served best warm and smothered in strawberry jam.

Biscuit Quick Mix

From the recipe collection of Ruth Frodl Congdon

6 c. flour

1 T. salt

2 T. baking power

1 c. shortening

2/3 c. milk

Sift together flour, salt and baking powder. Cut in shortening with dry ingredients until fine particles appear. Store in refrigerator. Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees. Add 2 c. of refrigerated biscuit mix into bowl. Add 2/3 c. of milk and mix with fork until dough becomes stiff. Knead with heel of hands until dough is smooth. Roll out on floured surface until 1/2-inch thick. Cut out and place on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until done.