Fragrance Quote for November 29th, 2012-Corn husking from Prose pastorals By Herbert Milton Sylvester

Corn Husking at Nantucket


The unhusked corn in the great floors lies four or five feet in depth, and if not husked out rapidly will "heat," and the corn will become mouldy and worthless for man or beast. Invitations are sent out to the young farmer-folk to come to the husking. It is as much a season of merry-making as of work, and the invitations are eagerly accepted. But what a busy time for the housewife! What pots of baked-beans, what pans of brown-bread, and what dozens of pies of pumpkin, apple, and mince, go into the huge brick oven! what kneadings of pastry and of fresh, flaky crust occupy the intervening time of preparation! What bustling to and fro of matronly housewife and red-cheeked maid in anticipation of the household event of the year, and what secret errands the boys have run these last two days to the grocery at the "Corners"! The house breathes the delicate perfume of plum-puddings, of pies and pastry, and of steaming baked-beans, as if Thanksgiving had come prematurely; and what a dainty perfume it was! Lubin has no extract whose odor can approach it, — this Epicurean fragrance of a typical New England farm kitchen. Call it a smell if you will, but later years have found no substitute for the homely sweets of boyhood, and they never will for me. No blaze ever looked so cheery as that which gleamed out from the wide mouth of the old-fashioned brick oven, with its cord-wood sticks crackling so musically within, and when its fires went down, and the embers were raked out and piled up on the hearth of the big fireplace beside
it, what a dull red glow stained its overarching walls as they slowly cooled before the mistress should come with her brimming pots and dishes, which were, like the three worthies, to be tried as they never were before. What flavor, what piquancy of taste, the old oven lends to these viands of the true New England table! and to the boy and girl of those days they taught some very simple likings, but likings which were never to be forgotten, wherever their lot in life may have taken them.