When I was little, until I was eight years old I lived in a small dirty white little farmhouse on the end of old dirt road in Boone, Iowa. My parents being split up, my father and my sisters and I lived in their home with them. We have left the trailer house across the way and stayed with them, I guess so there was someone to watch us. I didn’t mind and in fact loved living there.
Being the bay of the family, I was not of dating age and the other girls would run off to spend time with friends and I would sit and listen to granny’s stories of the old farmhouse, the land and of daddy and the Hunter’s for hours. She would tell me how the house was converted from an old schoolhouse to the home we lived in, stories of how they sold off parts of the farm as they got older and stories of recipes came to be.
I remember mornings waking up to the smell of homemade bread cooking downstairs and I would come bounding down the stairs so hard I often would worry if the floor would fall beneath me. As I would get to the base of the stairs Grandpa would cold me for coming down the stairs so fast and hard but I didn’t care. All I wanted was a taste of that bread. You see, I remember a story Granny told me, being a perfectionist she was, that she wanted each of the loaves to be the same size and because of this she would always have a few extra pieces of dough left over and she would put oil in the pan and fry them up. She learned this from her mother and so on.
So when homemade bread was cooking I just knew there was going to be fry bread soon after. I didn’t even care that it was 5 am in the morning! The early bird gets the worm right? Or in this case, the early girl gets the bread!
I loved watching her make bread. To me it was like a magic art. Add a few simple ingredients. Add this magical white dust to the bowl. Add more magical white dust to the table. all of a sudden a big blob of something came out of the bowl and would land on this powdery dust then poof, dust would go everywhere and float through the air, wafting through the kitchen on kitchen fairy wings. She kneaded the dough over and over but not too much. Even by the time I was eight her hands were frail but that did not stop her. She worked the dough, folding it over and over til it was just right. Then she would take this slender knife with a serrated edge and slice pieces of bread and fold them in such a fashion that by itself seemed magical to make it into a perfect shape to fit into the bread tins.
Then whatever was left over and would slice off and roll then pat flattened and work almost like she was making mini pizzas and then add them to this sizzling pan of hot oil, turn the pieces over with tongs and then take them out and put them onto a plate with a hand towel. No paper towels for this lady. She believed that there was no reason to waste when using a real town was just good enough and could be washed and hung on the line at a later time.
After blotting dry she would serve them up to us one by one hot off the plate right onto ours with a jar of her homemade jam or jelly.
It was always such a treat to have fry bread because you did have to get up early to get it, it wasn’t something she always made because if her loaves were perfect that day, no dough was leftover, so it was hit and miss, but oh man, when you could get your hands on Granny’s Homemade Fry Bread. mmm, you wanted to eat it all day! Mouthwatering and delicious couldn’t even begin to describe it!
I asked Granny if she ever just made fry bread and she said yes but as often as she used to. When I was older she shared with the family and us kids many Recipes. I don’t know how exact this is, but this is her Fry Bread Recipe as best as I can remember it if you aren’t making whole loaves of bread.
I got up this morning and shared with my man my stories and my Fry Bread goodnes and he loved it. Now he wants me to make it all the time for his lunches and for tacos and other bread replacements in our house. Maybe you will too! If you make it, I would love to hear what you think, how you use it and how it went over in YOUR house?