Memorial Day and 20 year old Chicken wings

Memorial Day isn’t jumping in the car and taking off for the weekend. It is not the start of summer or when the pool opens. Memorial day is firmly planted in my memory as a day where we honor the Dead and their sacrifices.

It isn’t surprising considering how close we live to Boalsburg and one of the first sites that may have started the tradition. It also isn’t surprising since one of our locals said his grandfather heard terrible thunder coming from the south of us one day in July while he and friends cut lumber on top of the mountain. It was July, 1863. And south of us was a small quiet village named Gettysburg where one of my ancestors was riding into battle.

My Grandfather would start today for Monday preparing the containers to hold the flowers cut from our yard. On Sunday after the morning chores were done in the barn, he would begin to gather the lilacs, snowballs, Iris, Mums and other flowers to place on our family graves. Some to Aunt Bertha, his first wife and their son. Some to his daughters who died as infants. Some to his and my Grandmothers father and mothers and their brothers and sisters. We left our family flowers to tell them that they as well as the veteran had not been forgot. We remembered and we cared.

Perhaps that is why the Memorial Day Weekend “The start of summer” seems so cheap to me. It seems to have no honor. Nice but just another lets make a party day.

The only tie I can find is the food. We had food. My Grandmother would cook because we would have visitors in the afternoon after we delivered the flowers. It would be those who had the day off to visit or those who had been “around” putting flowers on their own graves. A strong sense of community and continuity that is lacking today in many lives.

I like recipes if you haven’t guessed. I like saving old recipes. One of them could have just as easily been served after our “putting around the flowers”. I named it 20 Year old Chicken Wings for wont of a better name.

It comes from a cookbook I have misplaced published over 20 years ago. It is a good bet it resides on the stack with my cookbooks from 1890s, 1850s, 1900s, 1960s to name a few.

However for your enjoyment a raved about recipe which may not bring back the past but will at least give you some good ‘eatin’ this Memorial Day as you celebrate it as you enjoy. From a 1950s cookbook I bought in the 1970s.

20 Year Old Chicken Wings

4-5 lbs chicken wings
1/2 cup melted butter or margarine
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup cooking sherry
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2-1 teaspoon garlic powder, wings (to taste)

Roll wing sections in melted butter. Place them on a jelly roll pan. Line pan with foil if desired for easier clean up. Bake for 30 minutes at 325 degrees. Combine sauce ingredients in a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Boil for 1 minute. After 30 minutes, pour sauce over wings. Bake one hour longer, turning the wings every 15 minutes. Serve warm.


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