May Day….days gone by…

May Day….days gone by….

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May Day….days gone by…

FOOD FOR THE SOUL

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Growing up, May Day used to be one of my favorite days of the year, that is, after Christmas and my birthday.  In the seventies we still celebrated May Day in our small town of 1,100 people.  Mom would send us uptown with 2 dollars, and our job was to pick out 100 pieces of penny candy, plus some special candy.  Back in the “dark ages,” as my kids refer to my youth, there was a very nice assortment of penny candy available for stuffing the baskets.  There were those chewy cherry (or strawberry?) circular candies that had the appearance of a coin, Tootsie Rolls in a decent length, Pixie Sticks, Milk Duds, Nik-L-Nips, Candy Buttons on a strip of paper, Bit-O-Honey, Candy cigarettes, about 20 different suckers, Chicklets, candy bracelets, wax lips, Sweet Tarts, Dubble Bubble, Licorice, Lemon Drops, Black Jack Gum, Teaberry Gum, Necco wafers, Sugar Babies, Rasinets, Charms, Razzles, Chocolate coins, Pirates gold gum that came in a little sack, and it you had a little extra money you could get some Brachs candy too.  Now, not all of these candies sold for a penny, but they weren’t more than a dime each.  I can clearly remember going up to the Sweet Shop, money in hand, and beginning the task given to me.  As my sisters got older, they would come up too, and we were like the proverbial “kids in a candy shop.”  We would grab candy and set them in little piles, according to price, on top of the ice cream freezer (self-serve kind with 2 doors that slid both ways)  “Doc,” the owner would stand of the other side of the freezer and divide the piles into smaller piles, to make adding up our total easier.  It seemed like such a huge pile of candy….and we were in heaven.  We gladly gave over our money, while often times having to return some candy because our count was off, and left the store with our bags of happiness.  After the 2 block walk home we would begin making the baskets.  Mom would pop some popcorn on the stove, without butter, to be added to the baskets as a filler.  All we needed now was construction paper, scissors, some crayons for decorating the baskets, and a stapler. Sometimes she would have some paper doilies to make special baskets for family.  We always made them in to a cone shape, and cut an extra strip of paper for the handle.  It was imperative that you have a sturdy handle, because the baskets were to be hung on the door knobs of their front doors.  If it was a boy that you thought was cute, you could ring the door bell, then run…and if they chased after you, then  that meant they liked you.  unfortunately the only thing that chased after me were the family pets…….Sometimes we would go out in the yard and pick some of those little purple wild violets that grew close to the ground (actually, I think they were weeds) and add them to our mix of candy and popcorn.  It was truly one of the best days of the year.  Spring was making its appearance, the tulips were open, and the leaves were turning the trees green.  The long snowy cold winter was behind us.  If it was nice we would load the baskets on our bikes and make our deliveries, and if it was raining Mom would take us around.  Then you would anxiously return home to see how many baskets were left on the porch for us.  Truly magical 🙂

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I tried to continue the tradition when my oldest were in grade school a decade later, but many kids their age just didn’t know about giving out May Day baskets. They had a chosen few that got “special” baskets, including our neighbor Emma, their piano teacher Anne, and any other adults who touched their lives in a personal way.  One year we made them out of construction paper, and another year we used Dixie cups with pipe cleaners for handles.  They were always hand-made and decorated with the love and dedication that only a child can create.   I am a lover of traditions, and this was one that I hated to see die, but eventually we stopped making them as well……so to all of my friends and readers, I am sending you a virtual beautiful May Basket filled with any candy that you can fondly remember, popcorn that was popped on the stove, with a sprinkling little purple violets ♥

FOOD FOR THE BODY

Red Cake

4 (1/2 oz) bottles red food coloring

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 cup buttermilk

1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp. vinegar

3 Tbls. Nestle milk cocoa

1/2 cup Crisco

2 1/4 cup flour

1 tsp Vanilla

1 tsp baking soda

1 egg

Mix food coloring and cocoa together and set aside.

Combine flour and salt, sifting 3 times.

Cream sugar, crisco and egg.

Mix food coloring/ cocoa mixture to above.

Add buttermilk, flour, salt and vanilla.

Add baking soda to vinegar and stir well in to mixture.

Grease and flour pans (I use 2 heart-shaped pans) and bake for 30 -35 minutes in a 350 degree oven.

Frosting:

2 stick oleo

7-8 Tbls Crisco

3 Tbls flour

2./3 cup milk (room temperature)

1 cup granulated sugar

Vanilla to taste

Cream the oleo, Crisco, sugar and flour (add flour one Tbls at a time)

Add milk and vanilla.

Mix with an electric mixer until creamy.