Savoring the Seasons: Grazing my way through Conway’s cookbook

For The Recorder
Published: 6/13/2017 10:16:32 AM

I had a great chat this week with Kate French about “Conway’s Open” cookbook she pulled together for Conway’s 250th anniversary. She encouraged me to try Jessie Burnett’s tasty maple syrup cake. When French was researching Conway history for the 250th program, Bill Burnett gave her a March 21, 1958 newspaper clipping with an article about the Burnett “sugarhouse on the Sunset Trail.” Did you know Route 116 used to be called the Sunset Trail?

French asked if I’d tried Sukie Kindwall’s kohlrabi recipe. Kindwall’s mother, Lou Kindwall, was a great kohlrabi fan. Kindwall told me that when she was growing up in Connecticut, and Lou was buying kohlrabi at the grocery store, inevitably another shopper would say “What is that?” Lou would enthuse about kohlrabi and share this simple recipe. Kindwall said that decades later, as an adult buying kohlrabi, someone asked her what it was. She laughed, thought of her mother, and passed on this recipe.

This summer, I’ll graze my way through “Conway’s Open” and share recipes from it. Stay tuned for recipes featuring raspberries, peaches, beef ribs, and pesto, along with pickle possibilities and the Garden Special. You can get your own copy at the 250th celebrations happening this weekend.

My friends and neighbors in Conway know you only turn 250 once, so they’ve planned a big party to celebrate. My plan for the 250th is to graze my way through Conway and enjoy food for sale at the many event venues.

On Saturday, I look forward to the pancake breakfast put on by the United Congregational Church of Conway at the Conway Fire Station. The breakfast, which goes from 7 to 10:30 a.m., will feature Pekarski’s sausage and maple syrup from Conway-made Boyden Bros. and Stonegate Farm.

At the living history demonstrations in Pumpkin Hollow, I look forward to delicious Diemand Farm food from our Wendell neighbors. Did you know that Frank Snow started Greenfield’s Snow’s Nice Cream in Conway’s Pumpkin Hollow in 1910? I plan on having some of that sweet, creamy ice cream near the stone foundation of the original Snow’s building close to the Pumpkin Hollow Common.

Later, I’ll be hanging out with friends at the OESCO Sound Stage on the Ballfield. My friends look forward to enjoying locally brewed beverages being served there by Berkshire Brewing Company, Artisan Beverage Cooperative, Building 8 and The People’s Pint. Thanks to OESCO — Conway’s own great supplier of equipment for orchards, gardens, and farms — for generously sponsoring the great music happening all weekend.

I’m not sure if anyone will serve strawberries at the 250th, but I hope so. It’s strawberry season and I’m enjoying them every day. Earlier this month, I ate strawberries at Red Fire Farm’s booth at the Party in the Hollow at Diemand Farm. While there, I talked with Red Fire farmer Sarah Voiland about their farms and farm stores in Montague and Granby. Pick-your-own strawberry season has started and Red Fire is celebrating their organic strawberries on Saturday, June 17, with tastings, tours, and a special feast in the fields at their Granby farm. Visit: www.redfirefarm.com for more information.

This week we’re eating ...

Mom’s kohlrabi with sour cream: by Sukie Kindwall, Conway (In “Conway’s Open”)

Ingredients:

Kohlrabi

Butter, to taste

1 large onion, minced

Sour cream, to taste

Directions:

Peel and slice kohlrabi into bite-size pieces. Boil kohlrabi until just tender. In a separate saucepan, sauté minced onion in lots of butter until golden and transparent. Put drained, cooked, salted kohlrabi in saucepan with sautéed onion. Add sour cream to your preference and stir, adding salt and pepper to taste. Serve nice and hot.

Maple syrup cake: by Jessie Burnett, Conway (In “Conway’s Open”)

Ingredients:

⅓ C. butter

½ C. sugar

¾ C. maple syrup

2¼ C. flour

1 T. baking powder

½ tsp. salt

⅓ C. milk

3 egg whites (beaten stiff)

1 tsp. vanilla

Directions:

Cream butter and sugar. Add syrup and mix well. Sift flour, baking powder and salt. Add alternately with milk to creamed mixture. Fold in beaten egg whites. Add vanilla. Pour into greased loaf pan (9 by 5 by 3). Bake at 350 for 35 minutes.

Local food advocate and community organizer
Mary McClintock lives in Conway and works as a freelance writer, editor, and book indexer. Send column suggestions and recipes to: mmcclinto@yahoo.com.


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