Remember the ‘70s television series The Waltons. The one, where in closing, everyone in the large Great Depression-era Virginia family said goodnight to each other as the house faded to dark. Remember them? Remember the words “Goodnight John boy?”
If you don’t, Google it. Those that do will remember the two elder spinsters, The Baldwin Sisters, who made a home brew they called Papa’s Recipe, and gifted Mason jars of the elixir at Christmas time.
I was reminded of the Walton family and that television program last week. More specifically, those two little old ladies with the fondness for the hootch when a close friend dropped by the office and gifted me with some “special” recipes of her own.
Kathy and Robert Marler, who live in Morton, also have a beautiful “get-away-home” in the North Central Mississippi hamlet of Maben. They have been renovating the Victorian style house for a couple of years now. Their place, Maben Manor, was the former home of a little old lady — whose name I don’t remember — who reportedly liked to entertain with afternoon tea, if you know what I mean, on the expansive veranda. It’s five o’clock somewhere, right?
Last week when Kathy came by she left me with a little bundle of notes she had found taped to the back of a cabinet door in the kitchen of Maben Manor. Apparently the former proprietor of the place had her own way of making Papa’s Recipe.
On the top of one card is written the name James Brown. I’m not sure if that is the name of the concoction or the name of the person who provided the recipe, but here is how it is made — as written.
Five gallon jug with hole in cap so tube can run in water jug so gas can escape. Hot glue to make air tight.
10 lbs. sugar, 2 1/2 gal. water, 1 pkg. yeast, 1 gallon crushed fruit.
Warm water, dissolve sugar, at luke warm add yeast, dissolve. Pour over fruit and let stand for 2 weeks or until it quits bubbling.
That’s all it says, so at that point I suppose you just take you a shot of good ole James Brown.
The second card is titled Kristy Oswalt, Grand Ma McGarr. This is another fruity recipe.
Fruit - 2/3 churn, 10 lbs. sugar, cheese cloth. Crush fruit, add 5 lbs sugar, little water, put in churn and cover with cheese cloth. Set in cool place for 7 days, strain, put back in churn, add sugar to taste, set for 7 days again. Then bottle. Don’t tighten top until it quits working.
Another sheet of paper has one word at the top of it, Wine. This one makes 5 gallons so it must be for a great ole big porch party. To make “Wine” crush one gallon of fruit and cover with water (4 gallons or 3/4 churn). Let rise and fall (4 or 5 days).
Add 5 lbs. sugar and let rise and fall (4 or 5 more days).
Strain and add 5 lbs more sugar and let rise and fall (another 4 or 5 days).
Strain and it is ready to serve.
That one is bound to be sweet!
And finally handwritten, as were the others, but this time in pink ink so it is certainly a favorite — Home Brew.
For Home Brew follow these directions.
1 bag malt Blue Ribbon, 2 pkgs. yeast, 10 lbs. sugar, 4-5 gallons water.
Mix: 1 can malt, 1 pkg. yeast, 5 lbs sugar. Put in churn and add water. Keep warm and let stand until it quits bubbling. 6-10 days.
Add 5 lbs. more sugar and 1 pkg. yeast (mix) let work 6-10 days. “Sipher” off until you get to yuck in the bottom and it is ready to serve.
Christmas time is coming and there is no better time than now to start planning for your holiday libations! Whether it’s a snort of James Brown, a Grand Ma McGarr on the rocks, a dainty aperitif of chilled Wine, or tall pilsner of ice cold Home Brew, your Hoochie Holiday options abound, and I feel certain the Baldwin sisters would agree.
Cheers, and be sure not to get any of that “yuck” in the jar that you gift to me!