Our first North Dakota recipe takes us to… West Virginia. Hey, sometimes, it works that way.
Fair enough. In 1961, I think there was only one Farm Journal cookbook in print, the one at the left, published in 1959. And it does have this chicken recipe in it, and that’s probably where our recipe box owner in North Dakota got it.
But the Farm Journal cookbooks were collections of recipe submissions. So where’d the original recipe come from?
The earliest mention of this recipe that I’ve been able to find–and the only one predating the cookbook–is in the September 17, 1957 edition of The Charleston (West Virginia) Gazette, as part of their annual “cook book” insert:
Crusty Fried Chicken Gets Grand Prize Award
For this recipe, which Mrs. Baxter says is moist within and brown outside.
3 (3 pound) ready to cook frying chickens (use breasts, thighs and legs)
Wipe chicken pieces with a damp paper towel. Combine salad dressing mix, flour and salt in a small bowl. Add lemon juice and butter; mix to a smooth paste.
Brush all sides of chicken pieces with paste. Stack in bowl; cover. Store in refrigerator overnight. About one-and-a-half hours before serving, place 1/2 inch of fat in bottom of large skillet or dutch oven to heat.
Dip chicken parts in milk, then in dry pancake mix. Coat well. Dust off excess. Lightly brown in hot fat. Turn with tongs. Place chicken one layer deep in shallow baking pan. Spoon about one-half rest of dipping milk over pieces. Cover with lid or aluminum foil. Bake at 375 degrees F. for 30 minutes. Remove lid. Baste with remaining milk. Cook uncovered 20 to 30 minutes or until tender. Makes eight servings.
(Click to expand the cover of the section, if you're interested.)Yes, yes, John Connor. I know, I know.
She married Homer on November 29, 1923. Here’s a wedding announcement from the December 2, 1923 edition of The Charleston (West Virginia) Daily Mail:
Big Chimney Wedding
Miss Mabel Conner and Homer Baxter married Thursday
The marriage ceremony was performed by the Rev. C. B. Jackson, of Big Chimney, and those present besides Mr. and Mrs. Ira E. Baxter were Asa Baxter, a brother, Mrs. Roy Hoover, J.H. Pauley, Miss Clara Pauley, Miss Carolyn Ryan, Mr. and Mrs. A. L. Chapman, Mr. and Mrs. Sidney Teel, and Mr. and Mrs. P. S. Pauley.
The couple will reside at Big Chimney.
In 1930, Mabel’s father gave her a bit of land in Big Chimney. From the July 3, 1930 edition of The Charleston (West Virginia) Daily Mail:
John H. Conner to Mabel Baxter, lot on Elk river and New York Central railway right-of-way.
For reference, Big Chimney is about seven-ish miles Northeast of Charleston, and the New York Central railway followed the river from Blue Creek (about five-ish more miles Northeast) all the way to Charleston. Here’s a photo of Blue Valley from 1912–the bridge in the left of the picture would become the New York Central’s crossing point on the Elk:
The minister who married the couple, Rev. C. B. Jackson, held other services at the Big Chimney Baptist Church, so it’s a reasonable inference that Homer and Mabel were Baptists, at least at some point. But by 1933, Homer took over as at the pastor of the Clendenin Advent Christian Church. From the August 20, 1933 edition of The Charleston (West Virginia) Daily Mail
Rev. Agee Withrow has resigned as pastor of the Advent church, and will preach his farewell sermon Sunday. Rev. Homer D. Bater, of Mink Shoals, will be the new pastor.
Later in the 1930s, Homer was preaching at the First Advent Christian Church in Charleston, and in the early 1940s, at the Elmore Memorial Advent Church, also in Charleston. By the 1940 census, he and Mabel had two children:
In the 1970s, Homer wrote a 16-page booklet titled The Two Adams about Advent theology. (The second Adam is Jesus. Don’t worry, that doesn’t spoil the ending–he discloses it in the opening.) He observes, among other things, that the Original Sin was Adam’s tasting of the forbidden fruit, not Eve’s tasting, because Adam received the commandment to refrain from eating the fruit before Eve was formed.
“Adam was the responsible person, instead of Eve. Nothing unusual occurred until Adam ate of the fruit.” — Homer D. Baxter in The Two Adams
Homer passed in 1982; Mabel followed in 2007. They’re buried next to each other in Sissonville, West Virginia.
Baxter grave marker at Floral Hills Garden of Memories Cemetery, Sissonville, West Virginia. Photo by Kenny Davis. Used with permission.
(Click to expand the Farm Journal's copy of the recipe, if you're interested.)
Crusty Fried Chicken
New way to fix fork-tender chicken–moist within and brown outside. A Farm Journal 5-star recipe
From a box sold in Christine, North Dakota.
Crusty Fried Chicken
2 pkg. dry salad mix, garlic flavored
3 Tbsp. flour
2 tsp. salt
Mix in small bowl and mix to a smooth paste with:
1/4 c. lemon juice
2 Tbsp. soft butter
Brush chicken with above paste. Cover and store overnight in refrigerator.
1 c. milk
1-1/2 c. pancake mix or Bisquick
1-1/2 hours before supper, dip chicken in milk and Bisquick; brown in frying pan using tongs.
Put in roaster 1 layer deep. Pour 1/2 of milk used in dip over chicken. Cover and bake, 375 deg., 30 minutes.
Remove cover. Baste with rest of milk and bake about 30 minutes uncovered.
Very good. [Can anyone read the parenthetical at the top?]