Volume VIII, No. 3, Spring 1981

Country Menus

by Sheila and Deidra

When spring came to the Ozarks, many people thought they had to purge their bodies of all the winter waste. There were many teas and brews to do the job, but probaly the best tasting was sassafras tea. The spicy taste and fragrance of its twigs, mitten shaped leaves and its bark identify the sassafras. The roots should be dug when the sap is still in them, before the leaves are on the trees. The trees can usually be found in pastures and along fences. Olive Parsons contributed these directions.


sassafras roots
1 qt. water

Scrub the roots clean. Set them out in the sun to dry well to help them break or cut easier. Cut into 2 and 3 inch pieces depending on the size of the pan. Bring water to a boil in a granite pan or any old pan. The tea will stain cookware. Place 5 or 6 pieces of roots in the water and simmer over very low heat for 15 to 20 minutes or until desired strength is reached. Sassafras tea is brewed, not boiled. It can be served iced or with cream, which gives it a delicate pink color. This recipe will make about four servings.

Got left-over pie dough that you don't like throwing out? We've got just the solution for you. Make vinegar rolls with it. Ima June Broyles bakes these rolls the year round for the enjoyment of her family.


This recipe consists of two parts:

     Vinegar Solution

1 cup vinegar (white or cider)
1 cup water
1 cup sugar

Put in sauce pan and bring to a boil.


pie dough (enough for a single crust)

2 tsp. cinnamon
4 Tbs. sugar
2 slices of butter (2 Tbs.)

Roll dough into a thin crust on lightly floured board. Sprinkle on cinnamon and sugar. Cut butter into small pieces and sprinkle on top of the cinnamon and sugar. Roll or fold the dough as you would in preparing cinnamon rolls and cut into one inch pieces. Place rolls in 4 by 9 inch loaf pans. Pour the hot prepared vinegar solution over the rolls. Bake at 350° for 30 to 35 minutes. This serves six to eight people.

The following two recipes were handed down through Katie Robinson's family for several generations. She taught local country schools in the early part of the century and was a life-long resident of Laclede County Missouri.


1 unbaked pie shell
2 Tbs. water
1/2 cup butter
1 egg
1 cup sugar
1 heaping Tbs. cornstarch or 2 Tbs. flour

Put unbaked shell in pie pan. Melt butter. Beat egg and mix in a bowl with sugar, butter, water and either cornstarch or flour. Pour into the pie shell. Sprinkle with nutmeg. Bake in a moderate oven (350°) until the crust is a golden brown.

1 1/2 cups milk
2 egg yolks
3 Tbs. sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla

Scald milk in double boiler. Beat egg yolks, sugar and salt together until light and cover with scalded milk. Add vanilla. Return mixture to double boiler and cook until it coats the spoon, stirring constantly. The sauce is not as thick as pudding. The Robinson family served it as a dessert in a bowl they passed around the table. The sauce is also very good served over plain cake. This recipe serves four to six people.


Copyright © 1981 BITTERSWEET, INC.

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