Archived Story

Fried cakes in a kettle

Published 9:54pm Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Here are some more of my old memories of days long ago.
I can remember some of the folks who were our friends used to like to come to our house and sit at our old kitchen table and drink coffee and eat Mother’s fried cakes and her cookies.
Her fried cakes (doughnuts) were also made in her big old iron kettle.
As I remember, at the time she made her coffee in a large percolator that sat on top of a burner on the gas stove.
I think this may have been made of aluminum and I remember an outfit on a stem into which you put the coffee grounds.
This sat in the water that had marks on the pot to show you how much water you were to put in for how many cups you were going to make.
When it started to perk you could see the color of the coffee in a little glass dome on the lid of the pots’s cover and you could tell when the coffee was done by its color.
Gone now is my mother’s big round iron griddle and her old iron kettle that was used to make those doughnuts that were cut out on a floured bread board.
I can even remember her aluminum doughnut cutter that had a green wooden handle.
Many of those fried cakes were devoured in our house years ago as well as her famous big sugar cookies with a big raisin in the middle and her large molasses cookies that I’ll never forget.
Oh my, how things have changed in my lifetime.
Sorry, I got carried away in my reminiscing.
Back in the 1930s, A&P and Krogers were Dowagiac’s two big grocery stores, but we had nearly 20 small mom-and-pop neighborhood groceries. (I named them years ago in one of my columns.)
I can remember having Jell-O when I was a kid, and Mother used to make tapioca pudding.
We also had Campbell’s tomato soup in the red-and-white cans.
I read where Wonder Bread with the red, blue and yellow balloons on the wrapper was the first sliced bread in 1925.
Jolly Green Giant canned goods came around in 1928, as did the Gerber baby food, which came about when Daniel and Dorothy Gerber started to strain solid foods for their baby Sally born in 1927.
In the 1930s came Birdseye frozen foods, Kraft macaroni and cheese and Spam.
The 1940s brought us Tupperware, Cheerios, Betty Crocker cake mixes and microwave ovens.
The 1950s came with TV dinners and TV trays.
You could then buy Diet Rite Cola.
In the 1960s, glass milk bottles gave way to plastic containers.
Pillsbury Doughboy started those crescent rolls and now has 50 products. In 1966, Cool Whip debuted.
I was around for all of these.

“Cardinal Charlie” Gill writes a nostalgic weekly column about growing up in the Grand Old City.
E-mail him at

By using this website’s user-contribution features, including comments, photo galleries, or any other feature, you agree to abide by the terms of use. Please read this agreement in its entirety because it contains useful information that will help you better understand the rules and general "good manners" that are expected when contributing content to this website.

Editor's Picks