Pat Shingleton: "A Mustard Plaster and Hard Cider..."
My grandfather believed that weather patterns caused colds and placed a bowl of apples, onions, and garlic-laced with whiskey-on his nightstand when he experienced chest congestion. Years ago I shared this story with our Mom. She laughed when I reminded her of sending us to school with Vick’s Vapor Rub piled on our chest and throat, preventing me from getting a “date.” She shared another application called a “mustard plaster.” This combination included: three tablespoons of flour, a teaspoon of baking soda, two tablespoons of dried mustard and a tablespoon of shortening, butter, lard or Oleo. Mix this with hot water, place some Vaseline on your chest then load the concoction into a piece of muslin or flannelette. I tried this last week and was asked to immediately remove myself from the bedroom. Another "story..." As a fund raiser at Riverside High in Ellwood City, PA, the Varsity “R” Club collected apples from area orchards to make cider. Our recent crisp autumn weather, Friday and into the weekend, reminded me of this seasonal drink. Apple cider is made from a blend of late harvest apples. Grocers here carry an apple cider that is pasteurized but the cider I remember was unprocessed and the natural yeasts created a fermentation that led to carbonation. A fresh gallon of cider had a distinctive zip and tangy taste and after a few days in our cellar it got zippier. My brother Kevin indulged in some “aged” apple cider that became “hard”, prior to a football game. It was one of the best games he ever played.