Ok, I have been asked why I call myself the Hoosier Baker when I live in California. There are two reasons for that. The first one is that I grew up in Indiana and that is where I learned my cooking and baking skills; all from my mother, Grandma Margaret, Grandma Marcella and my aunt. These ladies were not gourmet cooks, they just knew how to put together families meals from your basic ingredients. I consider that a great skill.
So one of my jobs growing up was cooking for the hired-men when they were baling hay, picking corn and making silage (do they still do that anymore?) I fell in love with making large amounts of food for these hungry men. A typical lunch menu would be a couple of meat loaves, mashed potatoes, green beans, slaw, fruit salad, rolls and pies. Nothing fancy at all, just typical country grub.
The other reason for my self-proclaimed title of Hoosier Baker came from when I was a little girl, now I’m a big girl and I still carry the title proudly. My Grandma Margaret lived in an old country farm house on Bear Creek Road, down a long lane surrounded by corn fields, remember this is Indiana. On her back poach sat the most beautiful piece of furniture I ever saw, her Hoosier Cabinet. Here it is, now it’s proudly displayed in my house.
There is some wonderful history with this cabinet. The Hoosier Store was located in New Castle, Indiana, just down the road from Grandma’s house, and for her wedding gift from Grandpa she got to pick out her own Hoosier Cabinet. That was in 1920. She put it to a lot use on the farm. It use to have the flour sifter in it but after years of wear and tear it rusted. I use to play with this cabinet, setting it up as my kitchen with pots and pans, flour and sugar canisters, crocheted pot holders and red handled utensils.
This piece of oak furniture with the old porcelain top is still my most prized possession. Now it holds my collection of Staffordshire china, cooper pots, all the skelaton keys to her house, and my trinkets and do-dads!