An Authentic Kentucky Recipe for Washing Clothes

I was born in New Orleans, Louisiana and lived in Baton Rouge for the greater part of my childhood.  Living “down yonder” allowed me to live in close proximity to my grandparents, aunts, uncles and A LOT of cousins.  We practically lived in each other’s homes.  My mother was an only child, but she didn’t feel like one because she to, had grown up within a few houses, streets and blocks from all of her family as well.  My mother’s mother (Nanaw to me) had 4 sisters.  No one lived more than a mile away.  In fact, Aunt Margaret lived behind her and my great grandparents lived across the street from Aunt Margaret.  Aunt Helen lived with my great grandparents.  Aunt Polly and Aunt Pauline lived a few blocks away. 

Now, everyone has affectionate names for their grandparents.  My grandparents were Nanaw and Tootsie ( I miss them everyday).  Nanaw’s parents were Maw Maw Bussey and Bye-Baby (he use to sing that song “Bye Baby Buntin, Daddys gone a huntin, for to get a rabbit skin to wrap a baby buntin in), I guess it stuck.  Maw Maw and Bye Baby’s house was small, two bedroom and NO AIR CONDITIONING (this is southern Louisiana people).  But, she always managed to crank out a huge lunch for everyone every single day.  I have a lot of fond memories from sitting at that big table in her kitchen.  She made everything from scratch.  She never measured anything either.  “Oh, ye jus stur it til it looks right”.  She was a character.  My favorite thing she made was cherry cobbler.  Lordy Mercy! That woman could cook.  So, last night while digging through some recipes I found the “family cookbook” my cousins Phyllis and Paula put together about 25 years ago.  They dedicated it to my great grandparents Martha Eva Cook Bushart and William Floyd Bushart (see German).  All my great aunts and grandmother (who are no longer with us) contributed their recipes as well as my mother and a few cousins.  I’ll be sharing those tried and true recipes here on my blog.  But, I wanted to share the first recipe in the book.  I find it very touching and humorous.  This is “An authentic Kentucky “recipe” in its original spelling for Washing Clothes”, written by my great-great grandmother Cook.  Enjoy!

1.  bild fire in back yard to heet kettle of rain water

2.  set tubs so smoke wont blow in eyes if wind is pert.

3. shave one hole cake of soap in bilin water

4. sort things, make three piles:  1 pile white, 1 pile cullord, 1 pile work britches and rags.

5.  stur flour in cold water to smooth then thin down with biling water

6.  rub dirty spots on board, scrub hard, then bile.  rub cullord but don’t bile, just rench and starch.

7.  take white things out kettle with broom stick handle then rench, blew and starch.

8.  spread tee towels on grass

9.  hang old rags on fence

10.  pore rench water in flower bed

11.  scrub porch with hot soapy water

12.  turn tubs upside down

13.  go put on clean dress – smooth hair with side combs – brew cup of tee – set and rest and rock a spell and count your blessings.

(I think I’ll go hug my GE washing machine and dryer). 

Ya’ll have a good one!  Check back soon!

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