Chester Chatter: A pantry filled with goodness

By Ruthie Douglas
©2021 Telegraph Publishing LLC

Have you ever eaten a butternut? If you have, you will know what I am talking about. (Not the squash, but the white walnut tree.) Down the back road from our old farm house was the lane that went up to our night pasture that was lined with butternut trees.

This was the time of the year when they ripened and would start falling from the trees. We would carry baskets down to scoop them up. They then had to be dried — about 75 days. We spread them out to dry on the floor of the backroom, usually on newspapers.

The nuts would go into our holiday treats. And with a hunk of railroad track, a hammer and newspaper spread on our kitchen table, Grandpa had the job of opening them up. Once the meats were freed from their shells, they were stored in a jar in the pantry. Our kitchen was the center for everything as we prepared for Thanksgiving.

Every home needs a pantry, a place to store all those good things ready for food preparation. Mother started with fudge. Peanut butter, maple, chocolate and penuche. She would cut the fudge into squares and store those in the pantry. And she also made popcorn balls and stored those in the pantry for the kids. 

A well-stocked pantry made preparing for a large Thanksgiving dinner for 15 to 20 so much better.

Scene and heard

Good luck to Gracie, who worked at the desk for Bayada. She has a new job in Boston and I will miss her.

The traffic going in front of my house has been unbelievable and Vermont seems to be entertaining everyone from Massachusetts, Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey, Connecticut, New York and beyond.

I am thinking of Alan Pelkey on the death of his mother, Linda.

Dooley has returned to his home in Seattle after spending the summer here in Chester. His family used to own what is now the Country Girl Diner.

I think of the sounds of the summers of my youth in Springfield. The clinking of the bottles of milk delivered by the milkman and Sunday morning push mowers.

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Filed Under: Chester ChatterCommunity and Arts Life

About the Author: Ruthie Douglas is originally from Springfield but has called Chester her home for 58 years, and has been writing the Chester Chatter column for more than 40 of those years. Ruthie is also a longtime volunteer throughout the community.

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  1. Tim Palmer says:

    Mom would make a butternut cake with maple frosting. I can still taste this treat.