Phyllis ‘baked a lot of bread’


By Betty Street

Phyllis Ten Broek

Phyllis Ten Broek

She’s been informed her name means she’s “wooden-shoe Dutch” from Holland. She’s never been to Holland or worn wooden shoes, but Phyllis Ten Broek would like to try out wooden shoes someday.
She came to Dakota from Roseau County, Minn., and had been working for the Jess Cain family for three weeks when they heard on the radio that the Japanese had bombed Pearl Harbor. It was Dec. 7, 1941, and Phyllis was 16 years old. She said Jess “just froze. He was a veteran,” and he knew what Pearl Harbor foretold.
Still, Phyllis worked for the Cain family for two more years and “they were the best, most wonderful people you ever knew.” The Cains had 10 children and they still stay in touch with Phyllis. She had a call this past Sunday from a daughter of one of the girls, who now lives in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.
Phyllis met future husband Bud at the Cain’s home. She’d heard about this man, Bud Ten Broek, who often came to supper there, but also heard he was somewhat shy. He did not come over to eat for a while after hearing about the new hired girl.
But one night he did come, and Ivan and Verna Mae Cain wanted her to go to a dance with them and Bud that evening. However, after the dishes were done, Phyllis went upstairs to her room. Pretty soon Bud came up and knocked on her door and Phyllis went to the dance.
Two-and-a-half years later, Phyllis and Bud were married. For 59 years they lived and worked on his father’s ranch north of McIntosh where at first Bud earned $20 a month.
Phyllis said Bud would invite folks over for supper and all she had to serve was spaghetti and tomatoes, and she “baked a lot of bread” on a wood-burning stove. After the first year of marriage, Phyllis had a large garden and did a lot of canning. Grandma came over to help shell peas. When Phyllis had some meat, she canned that, too. All the canned goods were kept in the large basement, and Bud and Phyllis had to move down there in the wintertime because it was warmer.
The first of their five children arrived a year later, with the last being born in the sixth year of their marriage.
Phyllis shook her head at that point and said she never thought she had a lot of work to do. It was there and she did it. And now when she hears mothers with two kids complaining, she wonders … why.
But back to baking bread. Phyllis described in some detail how she baked bread in a kerosene oven. She had a three-burner kerosene stove at that point and purchased a kerosene oven to put on top of the burners. When the oven was hot enough, she could bake five regular-sized loaves of bread in the oven at the same time.
The oven was kept in the basement and the only problem she had was once when she accidentally smoked the bread instead of cooking it.
At one time Phyllis figured their family of seven ate 19 loaves of bread in a week. Their daughter could and did eat as much as the boys did—they were all very active children. It was never as economical to buy bread as it was to make it by hand.
For the first two or three years, Phyllis scrubbed the family’s clothes on a washboard and carried water from the river. But then Bud bought himself a buzz saw, a big circle saw. Somehow he fixed a pulley on the tractor to cut wood that way.
He also bought a washing machine for Phyllis, but she still had to hang out the clothes in winter and let them freeze dry. Their youngest child, David, was three years old when they bought their first dryer.
After a while Bud made a haystack mover and Phyllis and Bud moved stacks for their neighbors. There was a wide band that went around the backside of the haystack. Each end of the band was attached to a 25-pound pulley. Bud and Phyllis each hauled on one of those pulleys to move the haystack in back of the stack mover, and then the tractor would pull it onto the stack mover.
Phyllis now suffers back problems.
Bud and Phyllis decided they couldn’t continue to live on $20 a month and that he would go to work for Mr. Wheaton. That’s when Grandpa raised Bud’s salary to $40 a month, so they stayed put and never left. Eventually they got 40 calves to raise and sell in the fall. That’s when they were able to purchase an old car.
They built a barn and kept and milked Harold Gall’s cows. The kids were allowed to go out and play—they each had his or her own horse—but they had to be back in time to do the milking.
So Phyllis packed a lunch for each of her offspring and off they rode out in the hills to play. Beverly had to take a play gun along because they played cowboys. There were also caves in the Devil’s Kitchen two miles north of their place that the kids crawled through all the time. Phyllis didn’t find out about the caves until long after the kids were grown and had left home.
It was up to Phyllis to round up the cows for milking, and she used their car to gather the cows. She honked the horn at them to move them towards the barn. Eventually all she had to do was honk the horn in the barnyard and the cows came to the barn without her having to move.
And the cows had a regular companion, a pig, who stayed with them all the time. However, the pig got stuck under the hayrack one time until Bud lifted it up with a farm hand (a forklift) and they decided to sell the pig.
Bets were made at the sale barn on how much the pig weighed. Barney Peterson won the prize for guessing closest to 840 pounds.
In all her cooking, Phyllis never really had any problems. She used pressure cookers all the time, had a pair of them that she used regularly. But all the time she lived on the ranch, she couldn’t make dill pickles because of the naturally soft water out there.
Now that she lives in Mobridge, she makes very good dill pickles. And she still bakes very fine bread.

Phyllis Ten Broek’s Recipes

Flat Bread
2 c. white flour
1 c. graham flour
1 c. corn flour
1 tsp. soda
1/4 c. sugar
A little salt
1/2 c. shortening
1 c. cold milk
Preheat oven to 275 degrees F. Sift first six ingredients together. Cut in 1/2 c. shortening until fine. Add 1 c. cold milk. Roll out thin on floured board. Bake in oven or a cast iron lefse grate until nice and brown, only a few minutes. Break in pieces and store in dry, covered container when cool.

5-Hour Stew
2 lbs. stew meat
3-4 medium to large potatoes cubed
4-5 large carrots cut in cubes
1 stalk celery cut in cubes
1 onion chopped
2 cans (16-oz.) stewed tomatoes
2 small cans V-8 juice
3-4 Tbs. tapioca
Salt and pepper to taste
2 Tbs. sugar
Brown meat before putting in roaster. Add other ingredients. May add more tapioca if necessary while cooking depending on thickness desired. Bake at 250 degrees F. for 5 hours or in a Crock-Pot for 6-8 hours. Serves 6-8 easily.

Lil Cheddar Meat Loaves
1 egg
3/4 c. milk
1 c. shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 c. quick-cooking oatmeal
1 tsp. salt
1 lb. lean ground beef
1/2 c. chopped onion
2/3 c. ketchup
1/2 c. brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp. prepared mustard
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a bowl, beat the eggs and milk. Stir in cheese, oatmeal, onion and salt. Add beef and mix well. Shape into 8 small loaves. Place in greased 13x9x2 baking dish. Combine ketchup, brown sugar and mustard and spoon over loaves. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until meat is no longer pink or meat thermometer reads 160 degrees. Yields 8 servings. I like this best when the sauce has cooked down some and the meat is cooked real good. I always double the recipe so I have some to warm up. A widower friend tries to keep some of these in his freezer for quick and easy meals.

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