Today marks the first day of the winter season. Soup and stew season has already begun at our house and is a regular feature in our weekly menu.
There is simply nothing better than a hot bowl of soup and a melted, gooey grilled cheese to take the winter chill off after a long day at the hardware store.
During the Christmas season, I love to curl up on the couch and enjoy my favorite Christmas classic movies. This past weekend I stumbled upon a recipe from one of my favorite vintage movies, It Happened on 5th Avenue(1947).
Richard & I have watched this movie countless number of times, but as our conversation took a turn about the stew featured in the movie, I decided to do a quick internet search to find out more about the intriguing dish. Slumgullion Stew, an Irish stew, mentioned in the 5th Avenue movie, was easy enough to find a few different variations of the recipe. I settled on my favorite and then decided to give it a try and see if it will make the cut on our menu board for our family favorites.
One of the central characters in the movie, Mike, enters the room and instantly smells the fragrance of Slumgullion Stew cooking in the kitchen, which transports him to a memory of a better time in his life. This stew scene will ultimately mark the beginning of change for him.
Upon further reflection, many of those old, classic black and white movies have the theme of transformation for the main character in the movie. An iconic example is, It’s a Wonderful Life(1946). The central actor, George Bailey is transformed into a more appreciative person by the end of the movie.
Regardless if you love those old movies or not, I’ve decided to share my version of Slumgullion Stew with y’all today. I believe the original intention with the recipe/movie version is to use what you have. I did conclude that one unique feature of the stew is black eyed peas and pasta from my research.
There are different versions of Slumgullion are out there when you check the internet, but I’m sharing my take on the original movie stew pictured on the big screen.
Recipe for Slumgullion Stew
⁃ 1 to 2 lbs. of stew beef (cooked)
I used my leftovers from earlier in week
⁃ 2 cans of black eyed peas
⁃ Cubed carrots (add as many as you like)
⁃ Potato chunks (I added approximately 3-4 red potatoes)
⁃ 1 15 oz. can tomato sauce
⁃ 1 32 oz. Beef broth
⁃ 1 beef bullion cube with 1 cup water
⁃ Salt and pepper to taste
⁃ 1 tsp. Italian seasoning
⁃ 1 bay leaf
⁃ Pasta (macaroni noodles would be the traditional favorite)
⁃ Add all ingredients into a large crock pot for simmer on low for 8 hours or until vegetables are tender. Add pasta hour before serving.
Special note: The recipe I found online added cabbage, and chopped red peppers. I opted to leave them out. The consistency of my final stew was soup like, which is what I intended since I added the pasta into the recipe. For a thicker stew like consistency add a flour roux.
Lastly, sharing my Classic Christmas Movies Favorites… in no particular order
1. White Christmas (1954)
2. It Happened on 5th Avenue (1947)
3. Going My Way (1944)
4. Shop Around the Corner (1940)
5. Bishop’s Wife (1948)
6. Holiday Inn (1942)
7. Christmas in Connecticut (1945)
8. Remember the Night (1940)
9. It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
10. Holiday Affair (1949)
11. The Thin Man (1934)
Wishing everyone a fantastic holiday season and hoping that you will enjoy the most wonderful time of the year whether it is spent trying new recipes, establishing new Christmas traditions, gathering with friends and family, or even watching a few new classic Christmas movies .
He is the gentleman who built the current building that houses our hardware store in 2022. Mr. Eller placed his business, as you may have guessed, in our current building on the corner of 10th Street and D Street in North Wilkesboro.
To our best known facts, the building dates back to 1905. Mr. EE Eller was a premier poultry & produce dealer in North Wilkesboro. EE Eller Produce Co. was one of the largest turkey, and chicken wholesalers. EE Eller was a major processing center for local farmers to bring turkeys/chickens into North Wilkesboro. Ironically, it was probably one of the first poultry processing plants in our town.
Farmers would literally herd their turkeys from down the mountains in Ashe, Watauga, and Alleghany Counties in order to collect the cash proceeds from their labor filled task.
Eller’s staff would process/sell their flock. Could you imagine the sight that it must have been??? All of the sudden the flock of turkeys appeared on the roads in Wilkes!!!! Men guiding them with corn along the way, flocks of turkeys gobbling, wobbling with wings flying everywhere!!!! I would imagine that the sight of this was pretty common in the early 1900’s in rural Wilkes County. I bet the turkeys never suspected any “fowl play” on their journey. The old newspaper article did say that one of the largest turkey drives that ever was processed by Mr. Eller was 1,500 turkeys in one drive!!!
Once a flock of turkeys arrived at EE Eller Produce, they were processed/ dressed for shipped via train. Our local train station was just down the street from our current store location. The train destinations were mostly in Northern states after leaving the North Wilkesboro station. According to local oral history, it is estimated that Mr. Eller processed at his height of business, 1 million chickens and turkeys!!!! Guess that was all “gravy” for him after that!!!!
I have written about the history of our store before but, new facts have come to light! Let’s “de-feather” this poultry truth!
To those loyal readers of my blog, this will be new information for you. All the “plucky” truth, as we know it… A few months back, we were lucky to have a few family members of Mr. Eller to drop in for a quick visit. Up high on the wall held 4 pictures of what we had thought were the past 4 owners of the building, but it was ultimately revealed that the charcoal drawing on the far left was not Mr. EE Eller.
Further reading and research has revealed that Mr. Eller moved from the corner of 10th and D Street building to Forester Avenue in 1941 to a larger location. Wilkes Hardware moved into the 10th Street location sometime later on, I haven’t been able to determine a definite date yet but we know it was sometime in the 1940’s.
It was fascinating to “pluck out” the facts about the origins of this historic building we currently reside in each day. As time allows, I’ll continue to research more about the history of Wilkes Hardware and even Mr. Eller. For now, I think we have “gobbled up” a few new fascinating facts about our historic past.
My morning usually starts with breakfast and a large mug of steaming, hot coffee. After breakfast, I usually try to check notifications on our social media and put out new stories on our most active social media accounts. My morning routine was in full swing today when I came across a post about the first day of November. It was a cute one, Bette Milder in her best Sanderson sister costume on the left side of the screen and on the right, Chevy Chase as Clark Griswold, of National Lampoons Christmas Vacation. The gist is that Christmas has officially begun today on November 1st.
In reality, yes, it probably has officially begun. Retailers have had all things Christmas up and in stores for a few weeks now… trees, lights, and decorations. Hallmark Christmas movies have been featured on the television for the last few weeks and I would bet some folks are ready to get onto a healthy dose of holiday spirit with Christmas lights, and trees .
So what happened to the season of Thanksgiving? It is now a holiday surrounded by a kickoff of the Christmas shopping season. I’m not debating the right or wrong way to celebrate the month of November in this blog post, but my thoughts are just reflection upon the season of Thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving… a time of gratitude, grace, thanks, blessings, and giving back to our community. After all, the smallest blessing can be received even from the tiniest of things in life.
Thanksgiving is now just 23 days away. What will I do differently over the next few weeks in preparation for this important holiday of Thanksgiving besides shopping for a turkey & dressing???
I’m actively working on my November “bucket list” and I don’t think putting up my Christmas tree is high on the list right now.
Here’s my current brainstorming plan…
1. Create a Thanksgiving playlist of music. ( FYI: I have a working playlist now and will continue to update it as the month progresses.)
2. Make & bake a pumpkin spice treat, pumpkin muffins??? Thanks mom for sharing the recipe.
3. Make Hot Apple Cider – Muddled with spices
4. Fire pit and marshmallows
5. Friendsgiving fun.. it’s been a couple of years since we have done this, but going to try to do this again.
6. Try a new soup or stew recipe for a cool, “fallish” evening meal
7. Enjoy the simplicity of every day life in the season of Fall.
8. Gratitude posts… share posts that are inspiring and complete at least two a week on my personal IG page or Facebook page.
9. Watch A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, with popcorn of course!
10. Create a list of must watch Thanksgiving movies 🍿 or shows. This one will be a work in progress for 2022… so I’ll let you know what ends up on my list when it is finished.
November might actually turn out to be a nice month y’all, with more reflection about blessings, thanks, gratitude, family, friendship and slowing down to enjoy the last days of Fall.