homepage logo

It’s field good food

By Staff | Jul 13, 2016

JOAN ARTHUR and her grandchildren, Jaxon, 5, and Maci, 4, prepare the first steps in making Grandma’s recipe for banana nut bread.

NORA SPRINGS – Joan Arthur was 12 when she decided to start cooking, “because I didn’t want to pick up rocks,” she said.

Arthur grew up the second of four children, the only daughter, on a farm near Westgate, in Fayette County.

She said that rock picking was never ending on her family’s farm, with her mother picking up rocks, too.

Joan and Richard Arthur were married in 1977. Growing up, they lived three miles apart, but attended different schools.

“We were childhood sweethearts,” Joan Arthur said.

JOAN ARTHUR’S grandchildren, Jaxon, 5, and Maci, 4, test the banana nut bread batter for goodness before putting it in the baking pans.

While newlyweds, the Arthurs rented a farm in Fayette County. However, the owner wanted to rent it to a family member, forcing them off.

They eventually found 800 acres available to rent in Cerro Gordo County and made the move in 1983.

“It’s been an awesome move,” she said. “I’ve never regretted coming here.”

During the busy season, Arthur brings food to the field.

“I like quick and simple. They like meat and potatoes,” she said.

“I love to be outside,” Arthur added. “It’s hard to come in and fix food.”

Her recipe for banana nut bread is one for which she is known.

Arthur’s That Hamburger Casserole is a family favorite and stays hot a long time, making it a good choice for serving in the field.

She said the breakfast casserole is convenient as it can be made the night before.

Cheese is a favorite ingredient for the Arthur family.

“We are a cheese family,” she said.

Each family member takes his own lunch, and the evening meal is when everyone is served hot food in the field.

The Arthurs tried waiting to eat the evening meal when the day’s work ended, but that could be too late.

The family members appreciate a break late in the day after many hours of work.

“They look forward to supper,” Arthur said. “I try to have it there at 6:30.”

Whoever’s farm they are working on is responsible for hosting the evening meal.

Her family has told her to be aware of portion control, as much of their work does not require physical labor, just long hours.

“Not so much, Mom,” she has been told.

The mother of four sons, Arthur was a stay-at-home mom until their third son, Darren, started school.

Over the years she worked at the post office, Cerro Gordo County Farm Bureau and a travel agency. She still does work for the travel agency from her home.

On the farm she said she is the bookkeeper, parts runner and tractor driver.

“We’re basically a family farm,” Arthur said.

Eric Arthur, 35, is their oldest son. He is married to Bridget and their children are Jaxon, 5, and Maci, 4. Their third child is due in a month.

Sean Arthur, 32, is married to Kelly. Their children are Brody, 5, and Cooper, 3.

Darren Arthur, 26, farms and works for Pioneer Seed, while Matthew Arthur, 16, is a junior in high school.

All the Arthur boys are involved in farming with, Eric Arthur working as a full-time farmer. The younger sons have some farm ground with the goal of farming on their own in the future.

The family shares their machinery.

Richard and Joan Arthur like to go trail riding and camping in their spare time.

She said her grandchildren and horses are her passions.

“Family means everything to me,” said Joan Arthur.

“My life is pretty good.”

Company potatoes

2 pounds frozen hash browns

1 16-ounce tub sour cream

1 can cream of chicken soup

1/2 cup chopped onion

1 cup cheddar cheese, grated

1 teaspoon salt

Pepper to taste

1 stick butter, melted, divided

1 1/2 cups unsweetened corn flakes, crushed

Mix sour cream, chicken soup, onion, cheese, salt and pepper and half of rnelted butter together.

Add frozen hash browns.

Put into greased 9-by-13 inch baking dish.

Top with corn flakes mixed with the other half melted butter.

Bake in 350-degree oven for 1 1/2 hours.

Banana nut bread

2 cups all purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon soda

1 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup melted margarine

2 eggs

1 1/2 cups bananas, mashed

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Sift flour, salt and soda into large mixer bowl.

Add sugar, melted margarine, eggs, bananas and walnuts.

Mix thoroughly.

Pour into a well-greased and floured 9-by-5-by-3 inch bread pan.

Let stand 20 minutes. Bake in a 350-degree oven for 80 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Remove from pan and let cool on rack.

Funeral sandwiches

24 cocktail buns

Ham or turkey

Swiss, Colby or American cheese

2 sticks butter

2 tablespoons poppy seeds

2 tablespoons yellow mustard

3 tablespoons brown sugar

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

Make sandwiches with meat and cheese and put into two 9-by-13 inch pans.

In a saucepan, combine all other ingredients; bring to boil, then remove from heat and let cool.

Spoon over each sandwich. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours – up to 24.

Before serving, bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 30 minutes.

Breakfast casserole

Ham, bacon or Canadian bacon. Can also use sausage

Shredded hash browns

10 eggs

2 cups milk

4 to 6 ounces shredded cheese

Salt and pepper

Layer in 9-by-13 inch pan. Place hash browns in bottom of pan. Layer the meat.

Beat eggs and milk. Pour over meat.

Sprinkle cheese over top.

Salt and pepper to taste.

Refrigerate overnight.

Bake at 300 degrees for one hour.

That Hamburger


2 pounds hamburger, browned, seasoned to taste with onion, salt and pepper

1 can cream of chicken soup

16 ounces sour cream

1 can green beans

4 cups instant mashed potatoes

Velveeta cheese (optional)

Mix together the hamburger, soup, sour cream and green beans.

Spread potatoes on top. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes covered with foil.

Remove foil the last few minutes of cooking and top with Velveeta cheese, if desired.

Please Enter Your Facebook App ID. Required for FB Comments. Click here for FB Comments Settings page