When I first moved to rural Cedar County with my little family in 1977, I was introduced to a neighbor woman who would remain my friend for many years. Her name was Dorothy. Her husband’s name was Hib (short for Hilbert). Hib had a twin brother named Hub (short for Hubert). At first I had a hard time telling the two apart, except that Hub was missing two fingers on his right hand.
Hib and Dorothy lived about a mile from us, and Hub, a bachelor, lived in a house across the road from them. Hib and Hub farmed together and Dorothy was the typical farm wife. Dorothy raised chickens, which she and Hib butchered and sold. She also sold eggs to a lot of folks in the area. I got my eggs (and also eggs for my parents) from Dorothy. Back in the 1970s, Dorothy sold her eggs for 50 cents a dozen. They were beautiful, large, brown eggs. I saved the empty egg cartons to give back to her.
Dorothy didn’t drive. Notice that I said “didn’t,” not couldn’t. Dorothy knew how to drive, I saw her do it in the farm yard, but for some reason she chose not to drive, even though I offered to give her additional driving lessons. No matter, Hib or Hub or any one of her numerous relatives or many friends was always willing to take her where ever she wanted to go, and go she did! Dorothy was always on the go, astonishing to me for a woman who didn’t drive. And I was Dorothy’s willing chauffer on many occasions.
We both belonged to the Farm Bureau Homemakers Club and I, along with my young son, Matt, would pick Dorothy up and go to our monthly meetings, and any other in-between events. I was the youngest Homemaker in our county’s group and the ladies totally welcomed three year old Matt at all of our meetings and get-togethers. He was well-behaved and went with me anywhere I went.
When Matt started kindergarten, I had a new little buddy to bring along with me – my second son, Aaron. And Dorothy and the other Homemaker ladies doted on him like they did Matt.
Dorothy liked to collect things and had an amazing array of knick-knacks throughout her home. Most were remembrances from trips she and Hib had taken, or little things that her grandchildren had given her. Astonishingly, I never saw a speck of dust in her house, and I say astonishingly because anyone with all the do-dads that Dorothy had, you would think that dusting would be something easily put off until another day.
Dorothy’s main focus in the collections department was a fabulous cup and saucer collection. Hib had installed two large, built-in, lighted cases in the living room. I would say that Dorothy had, at the least, 150 sets of cups and saucers in those cases. It was quite a lovely collection.
One of the best things about Dorothy was that she was a wonderful cook and baker. She shared many of her recipes with me. Truly Different Cupcakes is one of my favorites. These cupcakes are like little brownies and you can frost them or not – I usually don’t. Or you could just dust them with powdered sugar. Here is Dorothy’s recipe:
Truly Different Cupcakes
2/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, or 4 squares semi-sweet chocolate
1 cup butter (2 sticks), or 1/2 cup butter and 1/2 cup margarine
1/4 teaspoon instant coffee granules (my own addition – not in the original recipe, but if you have the instant coffee granules on hand, use them)
1 cup chopped nuts, optional
1 3/4 cups white sugar
1 cup all purpose flour, unsifted
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Melt chocolate chips and butter/margarine in a saucepan over low heat. Remove pan from heat. Add instant coffee granules. Stir. Add eggs, one at a time, stirring after each egg is added. Add vanilla. Stir til blended. Add nuts if you are using them. Stir until the nuts are well coated. In a large bowl, combine sugar and flour. Add the chocolate and nut mixture to the sugar and flour mixture. Mix carefully, not beating. Pour batter into muffin tins, lined with paper liners, filling each about 3/4 full. Bake at 325 degrees for approximately 30 to 35 minutes. Makes about 18 cupcakes.
Blessings to you and yours, Cookie