‘The Little Colonel’ Gives Old Family
By Helen Leopold, Louisville Times Women’s Editor
“This forlorn thing,”
said Mrs. Albert C. Dick, beloved as the original Little
Colonel, as she thumbed through an old yellowed cookbook. The
paper was torn, pages stained with age, lots of pages loose and
most writing very pale. It belonged to her
mother, Mrs. John Hoadley
“This hasn’t been
used for years,” said Mrs. Dick, “and I hope I can find the
recipes I’m looking for. We use most of them from memory.”
Hattie Cochran Dick
has for several decades been known throughout the
English-speaking world as the child who inspired Mrs. Annie
Fellows Johnston’s series of books for girls.
To her friends now,
she is a pretty, charming, witty, soft-spoken lady with two
married sons. She also sets “one of the best tables in
Serves Regional Food
Guests of Mr. and
Mrs. Dick say that “there never was better food.” It is not
pretentious. It is regional and it is “perfectly prepared.”
As a friend
explained, “Hattie has had several cooks in her married life,
but her food always tastes the same. You know she keeps her
hand in somehow, though she’s never really cooked – even if it’s
just to see that a pinch of this or that is added.”
The other day when
Mrs. Dick was hunting up recipes for us to use she realized that
Mrs. Johnston got the idea for the first Little Colonel book
when she, then Hattie Cochran, was five years old.
“Our family was
spending the summer at Pewee Valley, which used to be sort of a
Louisville summer resort. Mrs. Johnston’s home was there.”
Was Like Old Colonel
“I was so much like
my (maternal) grandfather, Colonel
George Weissinger (he was an imperious, peppery sort of man)
that it amused Mrs. Johnston. She always called me the Little
Colonel, even before the book was started.
“She used to watch me
ride in the saddle with my grandfather on his horse, Maggie Boy,
and she’d see me carry my polly parrot around on a broom handle
and wheel Fritz, my dog, in a doll carriage.”
The original book is
true to life except for the fact that the Little Colonel’s
father and grandfather didn’t speak until the happy ending.
Actually, Colonel Weissinger was very fond of his son-in-law,
John Hoadley Cochran.
What inspired the
book’s tour de force is that Colonel Weissinger was an
unreconstructed Rebel straight out of the Civil War and Mrs.
Archie Cochran, the paternal grandmother, was a Yankee, born in
ever changed views,” said Mrs. Dick, “and they couldn’t even sit
in the same room with each other.”
Then she returned to
the cookbook, murmuring, “This couldn’t be the best recipe.
It’s too easy to read.” She checked for a more crumpled page
with pale handwriting.
“This veal loaf’s
really right good,” she said modestly.
- 1-1/2 lbs. finely grained
ground veal (cutlets work well)
- ½ finely chopped green
- 1 finely chopped onion
- 2 egg yolks
- 2 T cream
- ½ C dry bread crumbs
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Butter for basting
Combine egg yolks, cream and
bread crumbs. Blend with meat. Add seasonings, green pepper and
onion. Mix well.
Bake in a mold or pan no more
than 2 inches high as you don’t want to cook the meat too long.
Dot and baste with butter. Bake in a slow oven (300 degrees)
for about an hour. Serve with mushroom sauce or olive and
Shrimp Cocktail Sauce
(This is the only recipe not out of the old family album,
but was adopted when a friend brought it back from Hollywood.)
- Juice of ½ lemon
- ½ bottle chili sauce
- ½ bottle ketchup
- 3 T Worcestershire sauce
- 1 t Tabasco sauce
- 1 t chopped chives
- Salt to taste
- Pinch of soda
- ½ cup thick cream
Beat ingredients (except soda
and cream) thoroughly , then let stand in refrigerator until
chilled. At last minute, add a pinch of soda and the thick
cream. Pour over shrimp cocktail.
and Curry Croquettes
Famous are Mrs. Dick’s rice and curry croquettes.
Boil 2 cups rice
(“and it must be very dry and fluffy rice”). Prepare it a day
ahead so it’s really dry. Keep in refrigerator.
Then put in a bowl
and drop in the yolks of 3 eggs, 2 teaspoons chopped parsley, 2
tablespoons cream, salt and a dash of Tabasco sauce. Add curry
to taste, starting out with ¼ spoonful. Add more according to
(“The reason some
people don’t like curry is that they use too much and it’s also
an inferior brand. It must be the best brand you can get, else
it tastes like cheap perfume.”)
Blend mixture with
hands until it is very compact and firm. Press down in bowl and
put in refrigerator until chilled.
Then form into
croquettes and roll in bread crumbs. Fry in deep fat.
“We serve these with
lamb chops, lamb roast, broiled chicken and broiled sweetbreads
with mushroom sauce,” says Mrs. Dick.
This simple fare is ambrosia at the Albert Dick
To 1 rounded pint of
sifted (pearl) corn meal, add 1 teaspoon salt, 1 pint boiling
water. Stir vigorously and allow to cool.
Add 1 rounded
teaspoon of lard, 1 egg, ½ pint milk, 1 heaping teaspoon baking
powder. Stir until ingredients are blended. Just before
baking, grease muffin pans with hot grease. Bake about 20
minutes in a hot (400 degree) oven.