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Sharing with Wauneta: Potatoes, a Pioneer favorite . . . PDF Print E-mail
Written by Wauneta Breeze   
Thursday, 20 December 2012 16:44

By Nola Straub

This past weekend we went to Oshkosh for a family get together. Harry’s family has an interesting history. They were of German nationality and moved to Russia in the 1800s to settle on farm ground until the early 1900s when they immigrated to the northern Kansas, southern Nebraska and North Dakota areas to farm once again.

The Troxels were from Switzerland in the early part of the 1700s immigrated to Egypt, Pa. and gradually moved west to settle in new places from there. Mother’s Bush family got started from a Hessian the British brought over to help fight the colonies. All were farmers, how great is that?

Dad’s grandmother was a Scott from Scotland. They left for America from the threats of the English King. Others were Irish. Potatoes are always a staple for farmers who raise a patch of potatoes and have a hand dug root cellar. Most of us are familiar with or at least know someone who has one. Dad never put one on this farm but we had one built for tornadoes.


Modern Pioneer Potato Soup

Pioneer Favorite

6 potatoes, peeled and sliced

1 med. onion, diced

1-2 carrots, sliced

4 chicken bouillon cubes

1 (13 oz.) can evaporated milk

1 tbsp. parsley flakes

5 c. water

1 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. pepper

1/2 c. butter or margarine

Put all ingredients except milk into a large pan. Cover and cook on low heat until the vegetables are tender. Remove the vegetables from the pan and blend in a blender, return to the liquid. Add milk; heat through to serve. Modern and creamy smooth, but if you look hard you can see the farmer’s ingredients into the smoothed vegetables. Only difference is the cellar to store the potatoes, onions, carrots, canned chicken broth, and fresh milk and homemade butter and water from the well and salt and pepper from the local store.


German Potato Salad

Pioneer Favorite

6 med. potatoes, cooked and sliced

6 slices bacon, crumbled

1/2 c. honey

1 sm. onion, minced

6-8 tbsp. vinegar

1 tbsp. water if needed

1 1/2 tbsp. flour

1 tsp. salt

Dash of pepper

Cook potatoes in small amount of boiling salted water. Slice when room temperature, into casserole. Cook bacon until crisp, cool and crumble. Add onion, honey, vinegar, flour, salt, pepper and water, if needed, to bacon drippings and add crumbled bacon. Cook a few minutes. Pour sauce evenly over the potatoes. Heat in 350 degree oven for 20 min. Serves 4-6 or double/triple for a larger group.


Potatoes usually grow well on a farm if they are planted within pipe distance from the wind mill. At the old Troxel homestead north of Wauneta, potatoes were planted close to the windmill.


Scalloped Potatoes

Pioneer Favorite

6 - 10 medium potatoes, sliced

6 - 10 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled

1/2 - 1 c. onion, minced

8 oz. sour cream

2-3 c. milk, enough to cover potatoes

Salt & pepper to taste

Put all the above into casserole. Bake at 375 degrees until the potatoes are soft and tender.

Now think about the diversity of the Nebraska farmers ­— dairy, beans, sheep, pigs, honey, poultry, eggs, popcorn, corn, cheese, wheat, cattle, and cattle feeders. In 1990 Nebraska’s 57,000 farms and ranches utilized 47.1 million acres or about 96 percent if its total land area. — “Taste the Good Life! Nebraska Cookbook”.

Today we see the buying up of farm ground for the water under Nebraska in porous rock beds called aquifers, where nearly billions of acre-feet of good quality groundwater is stored. Most of it is easily accessible . . . that others want to share.

Food for thought: Is it going to run out? How will we replace it? Are we going to have to look for a place to move like our ancestors did? Where? Our TV shows are now showing where people are moving to other places to live like South America and down under. Amazing how people move and adapt to what they have to. Just something to ponder.


Frog Eye Salad or Acini

De Pepe

Alberta Browning

1 c. Acini De Pepe macaroni

Cook in water, drain, and let cool. Drain juice from:

1 can pineapple

1 can mandarin oranges

Set fruit in the refrigerator in covered glass bowl. Heat juice and thicken with

1 c. sugar

2 tsp. flour

3 eggs

And thicken as for pie filling. Mix with macaroni and refrigerate over night and next morning add:

Fruit from glass bowl

1 c. small marshmallows

1 sm. Cool Whip

Refrigerate until serving time.


Hope your holiday season is a merry one and you enjoy your family gatherings. “Life is uncertain, eat your dessert first!”


Send recipes/memories to: Sharing with Wauneta, P.O. Box 303, Wauneta, NE 69045.