Random Sampler

By Val Camenish Wilcox

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    Wheat Meat

    We have learned to make a new “fake meat” out of our wheat. It took some daring to try it because the directions sound like a lot of trouble. But once we tried it, we found that the process was really very easy. Besides, the “meat” was so good it would have been worth any amount of effort.

    Here’s what to do:

    1. Place a large double-handful of freshly ground whole wheat flour in a bowl and mix in enough water to form a dough ball.

    2. Let the dough ball sit for a minute while you add to a big pot of water beef bouillon, celery, onion, garlic, or whatever else you would like to use as seasoning. Put this pot of seasoned water on the stove to boil. It will be used later to flavor the meat.

    3. Knead the dough ball until it is elasticized (much like bread dough).

    4. Remove the ball from the bowl and fill the bowl with cold water. Place the ball in the cold water and, using the full, open hand, press the ball together, then press it down, then together, then down. This process washes the starch out. The water will turn a milky white very quickly. Take the dough ball out and change the water. (If the dough ball is left in the bowl, the water pouring on top of it will break it up.)

    5. Keep pressing the dough ball in clear water, changing the water often, until all the starch has been washed out and the water remains clear after pressing the dough ball in it.

    6. The dough will look strange and fibrous. With a rolling pin, roll just the end of the ball. (It will roll like pizza dough, stretching out flat and snapping back when the pressure is let up.) Quickly cut off a strip and toss it into the pot of flavored boiling broth. Repeat the process until the whole dough ball is used.

    7. Cook the strips in the broth for about 1 1/2 hours. Meanwhile, make another batch of dough.

    8. By the time the second batch is ready to roll and cut, the first batch is ready to be taken out of the pot. Take the strips out with a slotted spoon and place them on an oiled cookie sheet. Put the second batch of strips into the broth to cook.

    9. Bake the tray of strips in the oven for about 1/2 hour at 350° or 400°. Remove when they are starting to get crispy. You can use them immediately or freeze them for future use.

    10. How do you use them? In any recipe that calls for beef strips—spaghetti, lasagne, chili, hamburger pie, tamale pie, Stroganoff, or in any Chinese-food recipe. They are really delicious! Mary Johansen, Chelsea, Massachusetts

    Your Field’s Yield

    If this is the first year you’ve ever planted a garden, you will probably be much wiser by fall. The problem of relative abundance versus short supply may even strike you as being funny at first. However, while it may be hilarious that you can supply the whole ward with cucumbers, having only enough peas for four meals and none to freeze is no joke.

    Determining what to plant and how much is tricky business. Garden books may give some guidelines, but they can be miserably off the mark, too. When the advice reads, “A dozen tomato plants can supply all the tomatoes one family can use,” they probably weren’t figuring on your family, or on a year’s supply of tomato juice and spaghetti sauce. Then, too, family tastes differ. What is just a smidgen of broccoli to one family may be all another family would eat over a five-year period.

    It may be a bit late for this year’s garden, but there is something you can do for next year. Keep a record of this year’s garden: how much of what crop you planted, either in length of row or by the plant. This is relatively easy since the notation has to be made only once. Keeping track of the yield is harder and takes real perseverance. Keep the record in a handy place (perhaps taped inside a kitchen cupboard door) and make regular notations.

    At the end of the harvest season you can total up exactly how much each planting yielded. Next spring when you plan your garden, that record will be the most valuable tool you have. Carolyn E. Wright, Oregon City, Oregon

    Happy Birthday, House

    Start a new tradition! Give your house a birthday party. Plan it when you have a big cleaning job in mind or just when the family needs a good work project. Once you’ve set a date, be sure to begin preparations early in the month. Call a family council to discuss the clean-up, the party, and the selection of a gift for making the house a nicer place to live.

    About a week or two before the party, start with a gigantic clean-up. The children won’t mind washing walls and windows, shampooing carpets, or putting a fresh coat of paint on the woodwork if they know it’s all part of the celebration. Plan to give your yard some extra attention. Trim the hedges, pull a few weeds, or consider putting a fresh coat of paint on the house or the fence.

    Make sure the whole family helps to make the decisions on the party. Perhaps you will want to have an open house and invite friends and neighbors. Whatever you decide, let the children help with the refreshments.

    The decision for the house gift will probably depend on the family budget and your needs. If funds are limited, there are still numerous possibilities. Perhaps you might take a trip to the fabric store to select some bright material for some new pillows. Or how about a new plaque for the kitchen or a portrait of the family?

    In addition to the gift, have each member of the family write down a resolution that he will help make the home a more cheerful place in which to live.

    When the celebration ends, you’ll have a cleaner house, a happier family, and a new appreciation for the little space on earth you live in! Candace Smith, Tempe, Arizona

    They Came in a Golf Cart

    Let me tell you about my first Relief Society visiting teachers. When I say my visiting teachers I say it very possessively. They were mine and I was theirs.

    I married out of the Church, and for the first two years my husband and I lived in an apartment in town and I worked six days a week. If visiting teachers came, they never found me at home.

    Then two marvelous things happened: we had a darling baby girl and we bought a house—a 30-year-old bungalow in an old section of town. From a financial point of view, it may not have been the smartest thing to do, but from an eternal perspective, it turned out to be one of the best purchases we ever made.

    We moved in on the first of October, and within two weeks my visiting teachers made their first visit. They arrived in a tiny green electric car, a golf cart really, and drove right up to the front door. Sister Nielsen was tall and thin, about seventy-five years old, and a convert from Sweden. The golf cart belonged to her. Sister Dietz was short and plump, eighty-two years old, and a convert from Germany. Although they had both lived in this country for many years, the language was still a problem. I could not understand much of what they said, and they often could not understand each other.

    Physically, there was nothing they could do for me. I was young and healthy, my husband had a good job, and life was rosy. But spiritually there was a great deal they could do, and they seemed to know just how to do it. They never failed to tell me that they knew this is the true Church. I often wondered if I would have had the courage and strength to leave my native land for the Church as they both had done.

    Sister Dietz had never met my husband, but somehow she knew that he was a good man. Every month without fail she would say in a lecturing tone, sometimes pointing a finger for emphasis, “You’ve got a good man; now you be good to him!”

    Both Sister Dietz and Sister Nielsen had many grandchildren and even great-grandchildren, yet they took an interest in my baby. They seemed to care about her teething and learning to walk. They even took her for a ride in the golf cart.

    It was disappointing when they were transferred the next October and two ordinary women, driving a Ford sedan and with no fascinating accents, took their place. It has now been twenty-four years since the days of Sister Nielsen and Sister Dietz, and in those years there must have been at least twenty-four pairs of visiting teachers. Naturally, I’ve learned to love them all, but there will always be a special place in my heart for those first two wonderful women, my visiting teachers.

    The effects of their visits have been with my family over the years. Six years after they first came, the members of our ward had loved my husband into the Church and we were later sealed in the temple with our children. Our daughter can’t remember the ride in the golf cart, but she has a bit of a legacy from Sister Dietz. When she was married last summer in the Oakland Temple she said, “Mom, do you have any last minute advice for the bride?” The only thing I could think of to say was, “You’ve got a good man; now you be good to him.” Mildred B. Lindley, Walnut Creek, California

    Friendly Letter

    Your postmarked visit came just now.
    It filled my need. I wondered how,
    Despite the miles, you could have known
    My traveled heart is so home-drawn.
    Though it arrived folded and bent,
    How choice the note, “with love,” you sent.

    Family Home Evening Nursery

    Have you ever thought of having a family-home-evening nursery? This is what we do when our married children and their families meet with us once a month for family home evening. While the lesson is being given, the one- and two-year-olds go into the nursery with an assigned adult (the mothers take turns) and have their own special stories and surprises. All of the children are welcome in the nursery, but the small babies usually don’t distract from the adults’ lesson, and the children three years and older are old enough to understand that if they stay out with the grownups they must sit quietly. This really helps with a large family (we have nine children). I’m sure that as more of our children marry and have families, it will be almost a necessity to carry on this tradition! Wanda West Badger, Salt Lake City, Utah

    Because He Values Me

    The one thing I appreciate most about my husband is his open appreciation of me.

    Six-and-a-half years and four children have probably dimmed the youthful glow of the woman my Roger married; still, he seldom starts a day without telling me how lovely I am when I first awaken in the morning. Even on the sleepiest of mornings his tender words make me feel beautiful.

    Though housekeeping can be thankless drudgery, his thoughtfulness chases away both the blues and the blahs.

    He makes a point of helping, too. On his days off, he makes the living room his task, getting rid of old newspapers, dusting, vacuuming. Once started, he usually works the vacuum cleaner through the house. Often he stays with me in the kitchen after dinner, sweeping, straightening, and visiting with me while I wash the evening dishes.

    We were married after our sophomore year in college; and although it would have been easier to enter into the traditional pattern of “putting him through,” Roger insisted that my mind, education, and aspirations were as important as his. With a thirteen-month-old son and a second child on the way we graduated on the same day.

    My Church assignments have often put a strain on our family life. Still, he makes certain the car is available and roadworthy, helps me get dinner over in time, and watches the children while I’m away.

    Pregnancy can be a difficult time for a woman, and her confidence in herself can wane; but when her husband constantly assures her that she is doing a beautiful and loving thing, she can feel like a queen—clumsy, perhaps, but beloved and needed.

    Roger’s appreciation always goes beyond that awkward time. He has always been present at the birth of our children and from the moment of their first breath has extended to them the same abundant love he shows me.

    Though he is the undisputed head of our household, he consults me on all decisions and lets me know he values my counsel. Arguments have grown fewer and fewer as we have come to value one another’s wisdom and have learned to pray together, seeking to follow our Father’s wiser counsel.

    Roger never scorns a question or laughs at an idea, and I know I can always expose my deepest thoughts and fears and he will hear them with sensitivity and empathy.

    He is my best friend, my wisest counselor, and my strongest support. With his love and support, I can do anything. Susan H. Aylworth, Chico, California

    [illustrations] Illustrated by Phyllis Luch