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Scratch As Scratch Can

Scratch As Scratch Can

Extra Values from Grandpa Ebel:


This was anonymous-passed on by Walt & Velma Knigge.

My mother never let me do much in the kitchen except make salads, or stir the gravy.  My cooking ability was practically non-existent when I got married.  But I did remember mother mentioning to her friends that she made certain cakes, pies, etc. from scratch.  So, my first priority after the honeymoon was to locate some scratch.

With mother’s delicious cakes in mind, my first trip to the store was to buy some scratch.  I found the aisle that read “baking items” and spent 15 minutes looking at everything from oil to flour, but no signs of scratch could I see.  And not with pickles or meat.

I asked a clerk if they carried scratch.  He looked at me oddly and said, “Oh, you’ll have to go to the store at the corner of Colfax and Wordsworth.”

When I got there, it turned out to be a feed store.  I thought this odd, but cakes are food, so I went in and said, “I’d like to buy some scratch.”  When the clerk asked me how much I wanted, I suggested a pound or two.  He replied, “how many chickens do you have?  I only comes in 20 pound bags.”  I didn’t understand why he mentioned chickens, but mother said she made a chicken casserole from scratch, so I bought 20 pounds and hurried home, delighted with my purchase.

My next problem was to find a recipe calling for scratch.  I went through every page of my three cookbooks but didn’t find one recipe calling for scratch.  I spent hours at the library searching.  No luck. There I was with 20 pounds of scratch and no recipe.

When I opened the bag, I doubted that a fluffy, moist cake could result from such hard looking ingredients but then, with the addition of liquids and the use of heat, the result could be successful.  I had no desire to mention my problem to my husband as he liked to cook and said he would gladly take over that task.  One day when I raved about his lemon pie, he proudly acknowledged he had made it from scratch, so I was assured it could be done.

Now, as you know, being a new bride is pretty scary, especially when 3 meals a day must be made. During the first week I learned that the muffins, waffles, pancakes, pie, cake, and even pudding he’d made from scratch.  Well, if he’d made all that from scratch, he must have bought a 20 pound bag too, but I couldn’t find where he kept it.

The mystery continued, but I wouldn’t reveal my problem.  The biggest jolt came when a friend bragged to us that he’d built his house himself from scratch.  Then I heard acquaintances say that they’d made dresses and jackets from scratch, in addition to numerous desserts and pastries.

At this point I was about ready to give up because everybody knew everything about scratch except me. But pride kept me going.  If paper can be made from wood and glue from horses’ hoofs, maybe wood or cloth could be made from scratch.

By now, the detective in me was getting weary, so one day, I asked my husband to teach me how to bake a cake.  He got out the flour, sugar, eggs, milk, etc. but there was no sign of scratch.  I watched him blend together the ingredients and put it into the oven.  An hour later, when we were eating the cake, he couldn’t understand my asking, “Honey, why don’t we raise a few chickens?”

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