Fort Klock Restoration, A Fortified Stone Homestead in the Mohawk River Valley of Upstate New York
Each morning grandpa Garlock made buttermilk pancakes for my father for breakfast. He did not use today’s prepared mixes. The mix was buckwheat flour and some starter which was always in the batter pitcher on the stove shelf. There were two stoves, one the old standby wood stove and a gas stove. The large ice box had outlived its usefulness being replaced by a turret-top General Electric refrigerator.
For some reason, grandpa didn’t like chicken even though he had fried so much of it through the years. He killed and cleaned lots of it also. Beef and pork such as bacon and ham were his choice. He came from a day and age when pickling was a major way to preserve meats. There weren’t many parts of the pig or beef that were not used. How about beef heart or tongue? Even pig's ears were a favorite dish. At least with some people.
Grandpa Garlock the Cook
I do know the Gar-Well Inn ceased to be before I was born in 1930. Grandma died in 1931 and it was doubtless ended several years before that. The layout of that building remained the same into my childhood. Long enclosed porches were located adjacent to the road. The guests were served there. Years later people sometimes mentioned the great fried chicken dinners they had there. Probably grandpa was the meat expert since he had once had a butcher shop at Argersville. He said that he had delivered meat with a horse and wagon in the early 1900s. Sometime after this he built, from used lumber, the building that was called Gar-Well Inn. It was only a small family business. Grandma Garlock was said to be a fabulous cook also. Together they must have run a great eating establishment. As a young boy I do not remember grandpa baking pies or cakes. My mother did that.
April 28 is now again upon us. This date in 1877 was the birthday of my remarkable grandfather. I have written about him in bits and pieces. Today I’ll try to tell to some small extent about a facet of his life. I do not know if Grandpa was first introduced to cooking as a boy brought up without a father on the ancient Garlock farm near Marshville, NY. I do remember firsthand about his cooking when I was being brought up in the 1930s and 40s. Aunt Pauline, his daughter, after selling her “camp” near West Fort Ann lived for a while in an apartment on West Main Street in Canajoharie. One day she mentioned that her family once ran the hotel a short way to the east of her residence. It was called the Nellis House. No other mention was ever made of this and anyone who could have elaborated on it is now long gone. Years later the Garlock family ran a lunch room called the Gar-Well Inn located in the building I was brought up in at Marshville.
I’ll end this birthday story for grandpa with a personal memory from the late 1930s or early 40s. The depression was upon us and little was wasted. My mother had dinner cooking on a cold winter day. Grandpa came in and said the cooking ham did not smell good and must be spoiled. The house was built on the very edge of the creek bank. So close in fact that a back window could be opened and the creek would become a garbage disposal. It was not right but it was once not that uncommon. Grandpa had stood about all he could of what he thought was spoiled ham cooking on the kitchen stove. He took the kettle to the back porch, opened the window, and cast the ham onto the ice. Relieved he returned to the kitchen to wash the kettle. About that time he discerned that something still smelled. Mother was cooking broccoli, which always smells and he did not know it.
Grandpa went out, climbed down the creek bank, and retrieved the ham off the ice. It went back to cook on the stove and made a meal or two for the family at a period when our nation was locked in the great depression.
Well, grandpa that is your 135 birthday story. I’ll write again about some memory of grandpa Benjamin Jasper Garlock, 1877 – 1971.
April 28, 2012