Cow in the Cellar



My Mother told us many stories from her childhood, fascinating glimpses of a different world. As a girl, they lived in the Great Smoky Mountains above Gatlinburg and grew or made most of what they used.  Here’s a glimpse of this life you might find funny – and interesting.

After Grandmother Watson made new cakes of yeast, she put them on a shelf in the basement to dry. There was an outside entry with doors leading down into the cellar and someone left them open, probably one of the five children. Bessy, the milch cow, wandered down the steps, smelled the yeast drying and ate it all! By the time she was found her stomach(s) had expanded with the gases from the yeast,  making her bellow and also making her too big to get out of the cellar! What a mess! I think she had to live in the cellar for about a week until her belly returned to normal. I also seem to remember my Uncle Bob had to milk her, feed her, and muck out the cellar!

My question: Does anyone still know how to make yeast cakes at home?



In Michael Pollen’s book, the Omnivore’s dilemma, he describes how he made yeast. This describes the process:


Thank you, Nina!

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