Friday, February 8, 2013

Eating Jumbles and Wearing an Apron with Queenie Bean of The Persian Pickle Club

We invite you to join the free, on-line Quilters' Book Club!  Our book for February is The Persian Pickle Club by Sandra Dallas.  Pick up the book at your local library and begin reading.  If you don't want to miss any of the book club posts, become a follower of my blog or sign up to receive my blog posts through email.  (See the right side of my blog to sign up.  You will need to view the web version of my blog for this.)

On page 20 of The Persian Pickle Club, Queenie Bean says to her husband Grover:   
     "'I've got jumbles and hermits, made with the black walnuts we gathered down on the creek last fall.'
     "'Both kinds.'
     "I took out my plate with the peach-and-plum decal on it and piled it with cookies.  Then I put the pitcher of buttermilk on the table with a glass.  The outside of the pitcher was damp, and little drops of water ran down the sides, forming a wet ring on the tablecloth.  I took off my apron and sat down at the kitchen table across from Grover."

Cinnamon Jumbles were named by Betty Crocker as the best cooky of the 1890-1900 decade.  Here's a recipe from Betty Crocker's Cooky Book, copyright 1963:

Queenie Bean's Jumbles
1/2 cup shortening (part butter)
1 cup sugar
1 egg
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

1.  Mix shortening, 1 cup sugar, and egg thoroughly.  Stir in buttermilk and vanilla.
2.  Blend together flour, soda, and salt; stir in.  Chill dough.
3.  Heat oven to 400 degrees. 
4.  Drop rounded teaspoonfuls of dough about 2" apart on lightly greased baking sheet.  Sprinkle with mixture of 1/4 cup sugar and cinnamon.  Bake 8 to 10 minutes, or until set but not brown.  Makes about 4 dozen 2" cookies. 

"After Grandmother churned the butter, a delicious and digestible liquid remained in the churn - called buttermilk.  It was popular both for drinking and cooking."  - Betty Crocker's Cooky Book

My mother gave me several old family linens.  I used some for their intended purposes but decided I wanted to get creative with the others.  First, I made an apron, using a simple pattern.  Next, I cut one linen in half.  I used one half for the bib of the apron.  Then I gathered the other half of the linen and used it for the pocket.  Finally, I added a simple ruffle to the bottom and added store-bought lace to the ruffle.  I think Queenie would like my apron!

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You might enjoy reading my previous blog post:


  1. Every fall we walked along the creek from our place to my uncle's. We gathered pretty colored leaves for a a door display, picked up black walnuts, and cleaned up the trail of any trash.
    I still remember trying to pick the meat out of those walnuts! I also recall the flavor, something we never got from the store ... and I can guess why!

    1. Julie, I found a You-tube video explaining how to pick the meat out of those black walnuts. It definitely takes perseverance! Here's the link for those of you who don't understand what Julie's talking about and want to see all the steps involved:

  2. Aunt Mary in Ohio gave Mother, (we lived in Michigan,) some black walnuts one time. Mother was at a loss as to how to crack them...she even tried a sledge hammer! I think she ended up throwing them in the (cinder) driveway and running over them with her car. I don't remember eating the walnuts though! I think the Jumbles receipe sounds alot like Snickerdoodles!

    1. I've heard of running over them with a car! Black walnuts are also used for making basket dye. It looks beautiful, but your hands are stained as well if you're not careful! I agree that Jumbles sound a lot like Snickerdoodles.

  3. Julie wrote to me and said that if you used a saw to cut the shell, it was like lace and could be made into buttons. I found someone on etsy who did just that if you'd like to see what black walnut buttons look like:

    I don't know this etsy seller, and the buttons have already sold, but they're really interesting to look at!

  4. I'm certain Queenie Bean would love your apron! It's a nice use of vintage linens. I love Queenie's narrative. It's so personal-I feel I know her

    1. Sometimes characters in a book feel so real to me. And that's the way I feel about Queenie. I just know if I went to Harveyville, I would immediately recognize her and want to have her for a friend! I'm pleased with my apron. It hangs in my kitchen, and I get to see the vintage linens everyday - which I would never do if they were stored in a linen closet.

  5. I have alinen handkerchief that belonged to my great grandmother that was given to me to wear as "something old" in my wedding. It remains in my drawer, but I sure would like something great to do with it. Still thinking on that.

    1. I say better to use something than have it safely stored in a drawer.


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