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Misses haying, corn shelling bees

By Staff | Jul 1, 2011

Shirley Scanlan spoons chocolate across the top of her chocolate cake roll. She said she misses the days of neighbors helping each other with haying and corn shelling.

KIRON – Shirley Scanlan misses the days of making hay and shelling corn.

Growing up the oldest girl in her family, she naturally learned how to cook for those working in the field. She took her skill into adulthood and to her family farm.

“It doesn’t seem all that long ago that I’d have eight men around the table for morning lunch, dinner and afternoon lunch,” Scanlan said. “I’d have cinnamon rolls for breakfast, geese or duck for lunch, and sandwiches and cake in the afternoon.

“Those were the days when neighbors helped each other regularly – it was just what we did.”

Today, Scanlan finds other way to treat others to her cooking. Renae Babcock, a friend of Scanlan’s, recommended her to Farm News with good reason:

Shirley Scanlan and her friend Renae Babcock work together to bring joy into the lives of others. Babcock makes decorative tins, as the one on the table, and Scanlan fills the tins with her cookies. "We take these to people that need a bit of cheering up," Scanlan said. "It's just one of the things that we enjoy doing together."

“Shirley is always willing to share her cooking with others, whether it be for a fundraiser, a funeral, or as hostess for a meeting. Shirley is there.”

Babcock makes decorative can containers in which Scanlan packages her cookies for others. On the can that Scanlan shows off this day, Babcock wrote in pristine penmanship, “Cookies are for sharing. Hearts are for caring.”

Scanlan said the can, with cookies inside, will go to someone who needs a visit.

“Sometimes I take them with me when I visit someone at the hospital or someone who’s lost someone in their life,” said Scanlan.

Family members enjoy her penchant for yeast-based products.

“I love to make anything that’ll rise, such as Danish and cinnamon rolls,” Scanlan explained. “I can be creative when I do that kind of cooking.

“It lends itself to making shapes and playing with the dough.”

Scanlan, who has been on the same Kiron farm for 48 years with her husband, Pat, said that her grandkids love it when she makes doughnuts.

“They get to watch me make them, but then they put the finishing touches on them with sugar or glaze.”

Babcock also commended Scanlan for her pie-making prowess. “Shirley is a great cook and baker. At our annual church turkey supper, there is a mad rush to get a piece of one of her fabulous pies. They don’t last long.”

Scanlan has been known to make both lemon and raisin pie for the annual turkey supper at Odebolt’s St. Martin’s Catholic Church. Husband Pat prefers her cherry pie.

Still she misses the days when neighbors relied upon one another more.

“We always made sure that everyone was well-fed when neighbors helped each other in the fields,” Scanlan said.

Yet Scanlan still takes care of her neighbors. On a late June day, this writer was sent off with a sandwich made of her dilly bread with cheese spread, as well as a slice of chocolate cake roll for dessert.

Mexican corn casserole

Brown 1 pound of hamburger with 1 small onion.

Add 1 can cream-style corn, 2 cans tomato soup, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon chili powder.

Bring to a boil and add 1 1/2 cups of uncooked spaghetti (broken).

Pour into a casserole and bake at 350 degrees for one hour or until tender.

May have to add a little water if it gets too dry. Bake with lid on.

Dilly bread

1 package yeast

1/2 cup warm water

1 cup cottage cheese

1 tablespoon butter

2 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon diced onion or dry onion

2 tablespoons dill seed

1 teaspoon salt

1 egg

1/4 teaspoon soda

2 1/4 to 2 1/2 cups of flour

Mix yeast with water. Heat cottage cheese with soda just until warm to the touch. Add butter, sugar, dill, egg, onion, salt and yeast mixture.

Beat in 1 cup of flour. Add rest of four and stir and knead until stiff dough. Cover. Let rise until double.Punch down. Place in bread pan. Let rise, bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes.

(Note:?Scanlan said she uses small pans. If using a bread machine, she uses an other half-recipe, but does not bake in the bread machine. She removes the dough, kneads it, places it in bread pans to raise and bake.)

Cheese spread

1/2 cup cream

1 tablespoon flour

2 1/2 tablespoons vinegar

1 tablespoon sugar

Heat above ingredients over low heat until thick.

Then add:

1/2 pound Velveeta. Stir until melted.

Add: 1 tablespoon diced onion

1 tablespoon bacon bits. Cool.

Good on Dilly Bread or crackers.

Chocolate cake roll

6 eggs 4 T. Cocoa

4 tablespoons flour

1 cup sugar (divided)

Beat yolks until creamy. Add 1/2 cup sugar and beat. Add flour and cocoa. Set aside.

Beat egg whites with 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar.

Gradually beat in 1/2 cup sugar until stiff peaks.

Fold whites into yolk mixture.

Bake in a waxed paper-lined 15-by-10-by-1 inch jelly roll pan. (Scanlan sprays the waxed paper with cooking oil.)

Bake at 350 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes.

Turn out onto paper towel the size of the pan. Sprinkle powdered sugar on the paper towel first. Peel off wax paper.

Roll the cake and paper towel in a roll starting with the 10-inch side. Cool.


Melt 24 large marshmallows in 1/4 cup milk or strong coffee. Cool.

Beat in six to eight ounces of Cool Whip. Unroll cake and spread with filling. Reroll without the paper.

Place on serving plate.


Heat 1/3 cup of cream. Add 1/2 cup chocolate chips. Stir until melted. Drizzle over cake. Chill.

(Note: Can use softened ice cream to fill. Then freeze.)

Raisin pie

9″ baked pie shell

1 1/2 cups raisins

Cook in water to cover until water is cooked out.

1 1/2 cups whole milk.

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar.

3 tablespoon flour

4 egg yolks.

Cook until thick. Pour in pan shell.


Cook 2 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1/2 cup water until clear

Beat the 4 egg whites and 6 tablespoons sugar until it starts to get stiff.

Add slowly the cooked mixture and beat until stiff. Spread on pie and bake at 350 degrees until brown.

Contact Doug Clough at douglasclough@gmail.com.

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