Unpacking History One Discovery at a Time
Aunt Mildred and Uncle Bud weren’t really my aunt and uncle. They were great friends of my parents and my real Aunt Susie and Uncle Ted. They were rock hounds and campers, and very, very nice to my sister and I. Uncle Bud had a red jeep and would chauffeur my sister and I around on rock trips. We clamored to ride through the desert, standing in the backseat. We’d hang on to the roll bar for dear life and giggle with girlish glee.
My Uncle Bud nick-named me “Chatterbox” because when I was small I wouldn’t stop talking. That nickname stuck with me until the last time I saw him; I was probably 24 years old. It was fine for him to call me that but boy let someone else do it and I’d be mad. Especially if it was my big sister.
Uncle Bud and Aunt Mildred have been gone for many, many years. I have a few pictures, a letter, and a well-used recipe for Pumpkin Bread. I started making Aunt Mildred’s Pumpkin Bread when I was in Jr. High School. I’d get out the sugar and oil, and mix them in my mother’s sturdy black and white Sunbeam Mixmaster. That thing was heavy! Then the canned pumpkin, water, and the sifted dry ingredients. I always made two loaves. I loved to eat this bread still warm from the oven. No cream cheese. No butter. Just this delicious bread.
My mother’s recipe file holds a nearly identical recipe for Pumpkin Bread. The only difference? Two eggs. This year my sister and I did a comparison and baked a loaf with eggs and one without. Gail liked the one with eggs best, but I still favor the no-egg version. Nostalgic? Probably. The no-egg recipe is below so if you want to do your own comparison, just add eggs to one batch. Then let us know which one you like best.
3 Cups sugar
1 Cup oil
2/3 Cup water
2 C (small can) pumpkin
2 Teaspoons of soda
3-1/2 Cups of flour
1-1/2 Teaspoon of salt
1 Teaspoon of cinnamon
1 Teaspoon of nutmeg
Mix sugar, oil, water, and pumpkin. Add dry ingredients that have been sifted together. Bake 1 hour at 350 degrees in 4-1/2 x 8-1/2 pans. Makes two loaves.
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