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Harbingers of Things To Come
Yankee Daughters -- Recipes
Yankee Daughters--An Excerpt
Yankee Daughters: Some Images
Yankee Daughters--Inspiration

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"Roundheads and Ramblings"

Harbingers of Things To Come

Now that the Katzenhaus Summer Promotion is officially over, we’ll be moving on to some major announcements  about upcoming books. Let’s start with the answers to last week’s quiz questions.

Henrietta Ainesworth is a fictional character, which is why no one successfully “googled” her. She is the main character in my next book. She was born in 1832 in Oxford, England. Her father, Sir Ephraim Ainesworth, is the Keeper of Medieval Manuscripts at Oxford’s Bodleian Library. His office in Duke Humfrey’s Reading Room oversees scholarly access to such priceless holdings as the Digby 209—a twelfth-century manuscript containing the works of several prominent churchmen of the period. (Digby 209 is a little different in that the scribes who copied it did a lot of doodling in the margins—and some of the doodles are quite funny and more than a little pornographic.)

In 1832 Henrietta meets Julien Beauchene, an American from Charleston, South Carolina. His family has made a fortune by acting as cotton factors—which means they buy up cotton crops from plantation owners, store it in their warehouse, and then sell it for the highest possible price to textile manufacturers in England and France. When Henrietta and Julien fall in love, Henrietta faces several dilemmas. She is violently opposed to slavery; he is a slave-owner. She has led a sheltered, scholarly life in Oxford; he comes from the brash, energetic, and business-oriented new United States. Henrietta’s only role model as a wife is her mother, who is a take-charge, controlling woman who dominates her meek librarian husband. Julien’s mother died when her children were small, and Julien has grown up with the example of a strong and dominating father.  


Is there any hope for the marriage of Henrietta and Julien? The answer lies in the up-coming book. We’ll do a title and cover reveal in the next couple of days. Stay tuned.

Yankee Daughters -- Recipes

Pennsylvania Dutch Scrapple

Ingredients will vary with what is left after everyone else has claimed the parts of the pig for butchered meat, sausage with casings, or such delicacies as pickled pig’s feet. Similarly, every cook has her own favorite seasonings and cereal choices.
The meat involved is Pork --usually the head (chopped into four pieces), meat scraps from butchering, feet, heart and tongue, or other pork trimmings, if desired, including liver. You may discard the eyeballs if they make you squeamish. 




Instructions:
  • Boil meat in  water in a covered container until the soft tissue separates readily from the bone. Separate tissue from bone and grind with a fine grinder. Return the ground meat to the strained soup container and boil. 
  • Cereal is then added. A common cereal mixture is seven parts cornmeal and three parts of either buckwheat, white, or rye flour.
  • Approximately 4 lbs of the ground meat combined with 3 lbs of soup (liquid) plus 1 lb of cereal is sometimes used. 
  • Gradually moisten the cereal with a cool liquid (water or the cooled soup) to prevent lumping. 
  • Add this premoistened cereal to the ground meat-soup mixture slowly then boil for 30 minutes.
  • Prior to finishing boiling, add seasoning.A suggested seasoning combination for 8 lbs of finished scrapple would include 3 oz salt, 1/4 oz black pepper, 1/4 oz sweetened marjoram, 1/4 oz nutmeg, 1/4 oz sage or thyme, and 2-1/2 oz onions. Some prefer to add a pinch of mace and a pinch of red pepper also.
  • After the seasoning is mixed thoroughly and the onions cooked, pour the scrapple into pans (not bowls) and refrigerate to 30 - 32F degrees immediately.

Note this is usually made in large batches and saved throughout the year until the next butchering. It uses every part of the pig so nothing is wasted. 

To serve, slice, fry in hot lard until crispy on outside, and serve for breakfast with eggs or in sandwiches.




Apple Pan Dowdy

Ingredients: 
  • 6 tart apples
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablesoons butter
  • biscuit dough

Sprinkle with cinnamon (or other spicces); drizzle with molasses; dot with butter.Bake at about 375 degrees for 30 minutes. A few minutes before baking is finished, push pieces of the crust down into the juices. 




Katerina describes Apple pan dowdy: 

"A pan dowdy is like an apple pie, except you cook the apples in an iron skillet with just a top crust. And then about halfway through the baking time, you break up the crust and shove the pieces down into the bubbling apple juice so they soak up all that sweet goodness. It looks a mess, but add a dollop of cream on top, and you’ll beg for mercy!”




Be sure to get your Kindle version of Yankee Daughters while we're offering it for only $0.99 at:https://www.amazon.com/Yankee-Daughters-Grenville-Trilogy-Book-ebook/dp/B01M1LPY2H

Yankee Daughters--An Excerpt

 Chapter 22, “Love Makes the World Go ‘Round




As promised, Mr. Jernigan brought the proof copies of his photos out to the house in mid-afternoon. Katerina pinned them to the wall so that everyone could study them. The formal pose showed the nine women lined up like spoons, their left sides to the camera. In a more casual shot, they clustered on the front steps, three sitting in front and the others facing forward behind them. Katerina and Becca were the first to study the results of the photo session.
“I think I hate photographs,” Katerina declared. “Cameras don’t lie, but it would often be better if they did.” 

“The pictures really came out quite well, Kat. You will cherish these for years.”

“No, don’t try to be diplomatic. I’m looking at all of us here and seeing our personalities on display as clearly as if we were wearing big signs around our necks.”

“I admit, I don’t like the formal line-up as well as the other one. I know convention says one should not smile in a photograph, but I’ve never understood why. You wanted these pictures to show that the long months of mourning were over, but everyone still looks too serious.”

“It’s more than looking serious. We all look like we’ve been sucking on lemons. I suppose those sour expressions are the result of my blow-up at Ruby for showing up in that horrible dress. But there are other things wrong with the pictures, too. I deliberately made Fiona and Sally’s dresses shorter, to show that they are the youngest. But captured this way in a photograph, it just looks like they are sprouting so fast that they’ve outgrown their own skirts.”

“They are growing up fast, I give you that. Look at them. They are easily the tallest. I suppose Mr. Jernigan did the arranging deliberately to put the two shortest girls on the ends and the tallest in the middle. But I see what you mean about the skirt lengths.”

“And the facial expressions! Take us one at a time: Martha is a complete blank. She neither knows nor cares what’s going on around her. I, on the other hand, am clearly biting my tongue to keep from screaming at someone. Nora? Nora looks tired. I think she is tired most of the time, and that makes me worry about her health. Then there’s Lillian—the unhappy, confused, browbeaten wife of a miserable prig!”

“Kat! Really!”

“Well, she is. At best she looks stupid. Then there’s Sally, she of the perpetual pout, and Fiona, she who is so smug about her own charms that she sometimes makes me want to slap her. Millie’s the sweetest of the lot, but here, even she appears to be wondering how she ended up in this group. Gloria is serene. I suppose having a rich man in love with you will do that, although I wouldn’t know from experience. And, of course, Ruby, the perennial bone in my craw, doing whatever she can to upset things and then thoroughly enjoying the show.”

“All right. I admit the line-up looks like it could be added to the post office wall, where they show mug shots of miscreants. But the informal grouping is much more pleasant.”

“Only because some of us are laughing at the rest of us. Something else in that picture bothers me, too. Ruby has her head cocked in that smart-alecky way she has of sneering at us. And if you look on the other side, you’ll see that Sally is doing the same thing. Heaven help us if Sally turns out to be as troublesome as Ruby has been!”

“They are still your daughters, Katerina, and I know you love each one of them.”

Ich liebe dich immer. Love them? Yes. I can’t help that. Aber ich weiß nicht immer Sie mögen. But nobody says I have to like them. And this has been a weekend when I really don’t like any of them. Too bad this was the moment I picked to preserve their images.”


Be sure to get your Kindle version of Yankee Daughters while we're offering it for only $0.99 at:



Yankee Daughters: Some Images

















Here are just a few images to help you visualize the setting and characters of "Yankee Daughters." Historical events include the Charleston, SC, earthquake of 1886, the San Francisco earthquake of 1906, and The United States entry into The Great War of 1917.





























Location shots include the family cemetery, the iconic clock on Pittsburgh's Kaufmann's Department Store, and the McCaskey house at the top of the hill.





Along with one more group shot of the whole McCaskey family taken sometime around 1916. My mother is in the back row, second from the right, peeking over Grandmother Caroline's shoulder.

You can find more photos on my Pinterest boards:











Yankee Daughters--Inspiration


There once were two cats of Kilkenny.
Each thought there was one cat too many,
So they fought and they fit
And they scratched and they bit,
Till, (excepting their nails
And the tips of their tails,)
Instead of two cats, there weren’t any.

—Anonymous


I grew up hearing that limerick.  My mother hauled it out any time I told her about a quarrel or a fight with a playmate. She said my grandmother had used it to remind her house full of daughters that fighting always hurts everyone involved. The origins of the legend go back as far as the fourteenth century, and the anonymous limerick itself has been popular since the 1800s.   It was a good lesson in diplomacy, and it was one of my first thoughts when I decided to write this book.

The inspiration for the story of Yankee Daughters came from my mother’s old family photo album. Margaret McCaskey was the youngest of eight girls, all of them born in western Pennsylvania in the nineteenth century. Most of the photographs  I found were taken between 1900 and 1920; many of them were of people I never knew, relatives who died long before I was born. What I learned of them came from my mother’s occasional family stories and the shaky reminiscences of elderly aunts. They were not the factual material of biography or history, but they stirred my imagination. I wanted to recreate the world these lost relatives had inhabited. 

This book is a novel, and its characters and events, except for historical details, such as the sinking of the Titanic and the San Francisco earthquake, are entirely fictional. They should not be construed as having any factual basis in the lives of members of the McCaskey family, except for the following instances.

The map at the top of the front cover is a fragment of a map of Beaver County, Pennsylvania, hand-drawn in 1860 to show the location of every residence and landmark in the county. The farm I have described as belonging to the Grenvilles in the 1890s lies in the bend of Conoquenessing Creek and is labeled as belonging to a J. McCaskey. Near it, you may be able to identify some of their neighbors mentioned in the story and various landmarks such as the post office, the coal mine, the church, and the cemetery.


This photograph, as well as the pictures on the front and back covers of the book show the real McCaskey girls—my grandmother, my mother, and her seven sisters.  [Left to right: Mary Davis, Caroline McCaskey, Ella Smith, Lola Connor, Margaret Poling, Florence Decker, Minnie Swick, Grace Marony, and Pearl O'Neill.] The pictures were taken by a local Ellwood City photographer in 1912. They have served me as visual models for the fictional Grenville women in the story.

The details of the women’s suffrage talk given by Miss Liliane Howard in Chapter 29 were taken from a pamphlet prepared by the Pennsylvania Women’s Suffrage Association and distributed in Pittsburgh in 1915.

The letters attributed to Sergeant Wilhelm McDevlin in Chapter 34 were actually written by my first cousin once removed, Wilbur Schweinsberg, who served in the Medical Corps during World War I. They were published in the Ellwood City newspaper, and the clippings were preserved in the family scrapbook.



Be sure to get your Kindle version of Yankee Daughters while we're offering it for only $0.99 at:

https://www.amazon.com/Yankee-Daughters-Grenville-Trilogy-Book-ebook/dp/B01M1LPY2H