Ask Jo: An Author Comment, Pies and More

Every so often questions and comments come from readers that I think others would like to hear my response to.  That’s when I feature them on the blog.  This is one of those days…

Do you remember we had the book club book?  Blog readers had written to recommend another book by the same author, Anna Jean Mayhew.  The book they recommended was The Dry Grass of August.

The Dry Grass of August by [Anna Jean Mayhew]

Several of you all read the book along with me.  I did a follow-up post and review HERE.

Imagine my shock when reading through the comments to find this comment.  It’s from the author of the book.  People, the author of the book replied in the comments.  I’m shocked!!

Anna Jean Mayhew wrote:  “Jo, thanks for recommending my novels! I enjoyed reading the comments, and have to say that many people have commented about Jubie driving at the age of 14; my defense is that a 14-year-old could get a license in 1954 in South Carolina (an agrarian state where teenagers could help on the farm driving trucks, tractors, etc.). Many friends from Charlotte took advantage of that law when we were Jubie’s age. Regarding Paula and Bill giving their daughters permission to go with Mary to the tent meeting, a small town like Claxton, GA–less than 2,000 people in 1954–was so much less problematic than say, for instance, the city of Charlotte. And in the summer of ’54, only 3 mos. after Brown v. Board, things weren’t as riled up as they became later. In my writing group, over the course of a dozen years, the same objections were raised; I opted to do a lot of research and be true to the times.

I wish you the best with your book club!!

Um…I was speechless.  The author of the book wrote on my blog.  I feel so honored.  I’m sure she has a program that searches the web for times when people mention the title of her book but still…I’m honored.

The next topic had LOTS of questions…A bit ago I wrote a post on how I made mini pies in canning jar lids.  You can read the post HERE.  The pies were so fun to make.  I thought they tasted even better than a regular pie.  I plan to make them with the kids that are here one day over Christmas break.  The post generated a lot of questions.

Micki asked:  “So do you use the flats with the rubber on them with the rings. If so is that runner good for a person to ingest“.

Cesar wrote:  “What happens to the rubber seal around under the top of the lid when put in the oven?

I am going to answer Micki and Cesar’s questions together.  When I made the pies, I put the ring in the lid upside down.  The rubber never touched the pie.

Also, the rubber is made to work in high heat.  Remember the purpose of the lid originally.  It gets SUPER hot in the boiling water when canning so of course, it doesn’t melt or leave a residue.

Emmyjoyful wrote:  “They are cute for sure. Just use muffin tins. Less washing up.”

True, this could work but I think they would be harder to get out of the tins and the tins are even smaller than the canning jar rings.  Try it and let us know what you think.

Janice wrote:  “Is it alright if I share this on my Facebook page?

YES Janice, please share this on your Facebook page.  Everyone feel free to share any blog from the blog.  Share it on Facebook, message boards, groups, or anywhere you like.  Your sharing really helps me as it generates more traffic to the blog.  It helps me a lot.  If you belong to a recipe group on Facebook or your personal page, share away.  Please share our free quilt patterns, recipes, or anything else.  I’ve had a lot of people share posts I’ve written on grief with their grief support groups.  That’s awesome.  Ultimately sharing posts helps others and helps me.  THANKS for sharing!!

Karen wrote:  “You didn’t mention but assume you push the pies out of the ring when cool. Would like to give some as gifts but not the rings? Please explain that one last step. As you can tell I am not a pie baker but am going to make these for neighbors.”

The pies are pushed out by pushing the lid.  I had a couple I had to run a knife around the edge before I pushed.  They come out quite easily and you will not need to give the lids and rings away.

Linda in NE wrote:  “Those little pies are so cute, but I can see where they would be tedious to do. I hope you used lids from the jars you had opened. As scarce as jar lids have been for months I couldn’t see using brand new ones. I haven’t seen jar lids in the stores in months. I ordered some but what I got was cheap Chinese knock-offs that wouldn’t seal and I had to fight for a refund.”

Good point Linda.  It is great if you can use lids that have been used already.  I am so blessed to have an Amish community south of me and I had no problem getting lids this year.

Bonnie wrote:  “These look good! In my family, there is no such thing as “leftover” pie crust dough. My Mom, and before her, my grandmother, used to make what we have always called “little funny things.” Leftover pie crust dough rolled out into a rectangle about ten inches long, any width, spread some butter on it, sprinkle on cinnamon and sugar (or brown sugar, yum), and roll-up. Cut the roll at about 1/4 inch intervals and bake until browned. I sometimes buy pie crust in the freezer section just to make these!

This sounds awesome Bonnie.  I plan on trying this!!  I thought some of you might like to as well so I included Bonnie’s comment in this post.

About the same post Lu wrote:  “So …. much easier to use muffin tins … and sorry, but “boughten” is not a word. Spell check please.”

I thought Lou might be wrong but thought I would double-check just to make sure.  I have used the word boughten many times in regular conversation.  I decided to do a google search of the word and see what came up.   Here’s what I found:

bought·en   /ˈbôtn/

bought rather than homemade.

“her first store-boughten doll”

I also found this…

Is Boughten grammatically correct?

Yes. Formed from the past tense of buy, the word boughten takes bought and adds -en, just as hidden comes from hid, the past tense of hide. … And like hidden, boughten has two functions: adjective and verb form.

I also saw this:

The adjective ‘boughten’ means “the opposite of homemade,” or “bought.” It can also suggest that something that should have been freely given was paid for, as in “a boughten endorsement.

Next up a question came from Youtube.  Ginny wrote:  “So enjoy watching these videos. I have a couple of questions. 1)  Where did you have it done and how much was the spiraling of your pattern books? and 2)  Does the counter under the pressing mat ever get hot enough to worry about?”

Ginny asked these after watching my “Sew with Jo” episode #4.

Here are the books that I have spiral bound.
I don’t do it with every book.  I pick the ones I know will be used a lot.  I get mine done at Staples.  Typically I can drop them off, do my shopping, and then come back several hours later to pick them up.  I know some people have said that local office stores do it as well.  Just call around in your area and I’m sure you’ll find it somewhere.  As for the cost.  Mine has run about $7 a book.  Others have said that locally they can get it done cheaper.

Personally, I think it’s totally worth it.  These are my most used and loved books.  In fact, Bonnie Hunter’s String Fling book is in there and I made every single one of the quilts in the book.  You can find a blog post I wrote about that HERE.

I don’t think a book with a regular binding would stand up to the use I’ve put into the String Fling book.

Now the other part of the question…I have had ZERO problems with putting the wool pressing mat on my kitchen island.  All of my pressing mats are the Nido brand.  I really only feel comfortable saying that with this brand as I’ve not ever tried the other brands.  I think they would be fine but I can’t guarantee that.

Kathy wrote:
After reading one of your blog posts about taping recipes on the inside of cupboard doors I started doing that. And this recipe is there because it is so good and easy.”

Then she showed a picture of her cupboard doors.

I do tape favorite recipes that I use all the time to the inside of my cabinets.  The brownie recipe is in mine too.  You can find the recipe HERE.

Thanks so much for the questions and comments…I’m still a little “high” on the fact that the author left a comment on my blog.  Oh, my word!!

28 thoughts on “Ask Jo: An Author Comment, Pies and More”

  1. How exciting to have the author herself respond to your post. I did not read the book, but why is it that people always judge a historical novel by the mindset of current times? I grew up in the eighties and it was still quite common for my friends and I to explore the town without adult supervision while our mothers did the grocery shopping. Granted the town was small, but there was a totally different mindset then. Also while we couldn’t legally get a license until we were sixteen, it was not uncommon for any kid who lived on a farm to drive as soon as their feet could touch the pedals and make the mile or so trek to the country store on occasion.

    I don’t think you did anything wrong by exposing the problems with the house Karl looked at. You did not give the address and unless someone was really familiar with that town, it would be hard to recognize that house by what little of the outside of it was in your photos. Unfortunately there are good and bad realtors. Yes, they make a living from the commissions they receive from selling properties, but purposely skirting the question about the foundation was, in my opinion, wrong. As for suing, they should be more worried about being sued by a future buyer if the foundation issue is not pointed out prior to a sale.

  2. Hello Jo
    I think the realtor needs naming and shaming for showing a house so full of clutter with dirty dishes in the sink. Any realtor worth their salt would have insisted that the house be made presentable before accepting on their books. In my opinion any attempt to disguise or ignore serious building faults must be a contravention of whatever code realtors work to in America.
    Incidentally I would not dream to correct anyone’s grammar. What a cheek.

  3. Loved this post – so happy the author contacted you through the blog! How neat!
    As for the realtor, she should be ashamed for NOT pointing out the basement problems and be worried about how she would lose her license for NOT being honest. Sounds like greed to me. We had a realtor like that once – sadly, we did not find out about her until after the sale.
    Love and prayers

  4. What a wonderful surprise having the author leave a comment. If you are reading other books from her, maybe you could get her to join in your little book club. Maybe she would even zoom with everyone? My all time favorite author is Antoinette Stockenberg. I found a couple of her books at a half price store and was hooked. I have all of her books now and reread them often. In one of the books was an address for an autographed bookmark. I sent away for it and my request was returned. I found her email and sent her a message. She sent me all kinds of bookmarks. She is just lovely and I wish she was writing more novels. Her books are romance with mystery in them. I started with Sandcastles which is my favorite. My goal for next year is to read more so thank you for your reviews. I think I might put this book on my list for next year.

  5. In the United Kingdom we eat millions of mince pies at this time of year. There are baking containers that are specifically for making them. Here is an example:

    I wonder how the realtor or owner found out about your blog post.

    So cool to get a reply from the author of the book you had for your book club.

  6. Judith Fairchild

    Wow! An author contacted you! What fun. I’m so glad she covered the questions raised by us readers. Yes we’re definitely different back then. Underage farm kids are still learning to drive vehicles. They just have to stay off of public roads. You could have colored me green with envy when at the age of 12 one of my farm class mates told us she had been driving since she was 10. I considered the m so blessed.

  7. Reactors are as bad as used car salesmen . I remember when someone’s word was All that was needed . He could not sue you as you could prove he’s the one that lied. That was nice of the author to respond. My children were driving at age five but only on the farm , a car not farm machinery.

  8. Judith Fairchild

    Wow! The Author contacted you and answered readers questions. What fun. Yes times were different back then. See could go anywhere as long as mom knew where we were headed. Heaven help us if we didn’t stick to what we said we were going to do. Farm children are still learning to drive. They just have to stay off public roads.

  9. I downloaded the book and intend to read it. But for some reason thought we were supposed to start reading it on the day you posted. Not have it finished. I am anxious to read it though because I have seen some of this prejudice growing up in rural Delaware in the 60’s. We still had colored water fountains and segregated schools until 1964. Its hard to imagine. My Dad sold insurance and he wasn’t permitted by the company to sell to some folks.

  10. For most wool pressing mats, including the brand you use as I bought one, you need to put something under it as the steam will go through it and might damage the surface underneath. I have put my mat on a fold piece of fabric then on the TV table. Do not put in on a cutting mat. Jo, is your kitchen counter a butcher block, if so you might not notice it.

  11. I must not have seen your post with the word, “boughten”, because I would have most definitely remembered it. Growing up, we used that word all the time. As a young adult in the work world, I used that word one day at work and someone asked me what it meant. Then he said it wasn’t a real word. I was sure it was, so I looked it up, which at that time was in an actual dictionary. Nope, it wasn’t there. I remember feeling like some kind of hick and made an effort to erase it from my vocabulary. Fast forward about 40 years when I was at a quilt retreat and heard one of the ladies use that word! She grew up in the same rural area that I did, so I (1) felt vindicated, and (2) figured it must be a regional dialect thing. By then, we had the internet, and I did find the same information you did.

  12. Great post today but the ads were really weird. They were in red and were in a rectangle around your words. Each time it came on for a different vendor, the post went back up near the top. So then I scrolled down to read more but the red box would appear again. It took forever to read. No one mentioned this but it sure happened to me. I did enjoy reading everything eventually.

  13. I grew up in the 60’s and I remember a classmate who was driving a tractor when he was so small he had to look through the steering wheel because he was too small to see over it. I laughed when you used the word “boughten”. being country folk, we used that word all the time. I had a friend at work that came from Long Island and she thought that was such a funny word and said she never heard of it. Just some of the expressions we used. My grandmother had a book of PA Dutch funny expressions and we didn’t think it was so odd, we used most of them. I always enjoy your blog so much.

  14. How cool to have the author contact you! Love it! And I’ll bet she was glad for the publicity your blog provided for her book.
    As for the realtor – just like any line of work, there are good folks and bad. We had one once that complained to my husband’s employer that he wasn’t chosen to represent us – we had no contract with him and didn’t use him after our first meeting because we didn’t think it was a good fit. Also, many states request a “disclosure” by law where any known problems with a house must be revealed to the potential buyer. I’d say your realtor’s demands to take down your impressions/photos were ridiculous – and would hope your son wouldn’t use him! Does your state have such a thing as a “buyer’s agent” where the realtor represents the buyer?

  15. A few years ago my daughter became a realtor. After taking the class she said that she would never buy another house without a realtor. In her state if there is something wrong with the house and the realtor knows about it and doesn’t reveal the problem to the buyer, the realtor can be sued. The realtor becomes responsible when they represent the house. She said in her state realtors carry special insurance to protect themselves. The biggest problem people have had is proving the realtor knew but she has heard of many legal cases where the courts have sided with the buyers.

  16. Enjoyed Bonnie’s use of extra pie dough. My granny used to take the trimmings and lay them on a cookie sheet and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar and bake with the pie. It came out of the oven before the pie and was an early treat. I’ve done it that way also. Never have tried it with butter first.

  17. Kudos for the author commenting! Awesome :) Like Pam, I thought that Lu person has some nerve correcting someone’s grammar. Can’t believe the realtor people have even thought about a lawsuit! It still looks to me someone could have been murdered there and the body buried in the backyard. The glass doorknob was pretty, that’s it, lol. I so enjoy reading your blog posts and now watching your videos! I want to make a spiderweb quilt so it’s been so helpful to watch your progress. Wish I was there to spend the day with you sewing :)

  18. That realtor is a real piece of work, wouldn’t you say? Kudos to you for posting a realistic view on house hunting. It is a jungle out there. Listing a home in that state of disarray much less showing it that way to potential buyers is a big red flag to all of us. I find your point of view interesting and articulate and look forward to each post.

  19. That’s so fun to have heard from the author! I had to think back on what I said about the book lol. I received an email back from the author Lois Lowry, (The Giver…big fan here), and I was so touched that she took time to answer my question! I look forward to the next book you choose.

  20. Cheryl in Dallas

    Reader Helen, Thank you for the link with the mince pie “tin”. I am ordering one! I love mincemeat pie, but I’m in a very small minority. I discovered a few years ago that pie companies no longer make frozen mincemeat pies — at least I can’t find them in Dallas. So, this year, I decided to buy some of the mince filling in the jar or package, but ack! I can’t find that either. Then I remembered that I can’t taste anything (as a result of COVID), so there’s no point in making my own mincemeat. Maybe next Christmas things will be different, and somehow I WILL get some mincemeat pie.

  21. When I was reading Bonnie’s comment in your post, it brought back memories. My mom always make those ‘little funny things’ with the left over pie dough. I don’t know if her mother did or not. Since I don’t bake, I don’t get those little goodies anymore. Thanks for the memories and for sharing.

  22. How cool the author responded. I drove myself to driver’s Ed class. It wasn’t legal and my widowed mother was working and didn’t know. It was a small town. And before being able to drive, I freely played in the neighborhood area. The freedom and safety of that town was priceless.

  23. I remember my grandpa telling the boys that when he went to get his driver’s license (1942ish) that the examiner told him he’d seen him driving farm equipment and didn’t need to give him the driving test. Things were a lot different in previous decades and we should probably make more of an effort to remember that!

    I definitely want to try the little pies. One of my son’s favorite Youtubers did a Halloween video with creepy pie crusts. I think the three of them would love experimenting with some boughten crust and filling. (And I love that word, by the way!)

  24. I’ve used “boughten” for a long time, and once or twice people have questioned me. Before the internet and before spellcheck, it could certainly be found in a good dictionary. All dictionaries are not created equal. Merriam-Webster’s Pocket Dictionary has “40,000+ words,” but Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary has 225,000 definitions (not sure how many words, specifically). There will be many words that don’t make it into smaller dictionaries; it doesn’t mean they’re not words.

    The commenter suggested you use spellcheck. Spellcheck has its uses, for sure, but its focus seems to be on common words that have been around a while. There are a ton of words it marks as incorrect that aren’t, such as “boughten” and “commenter” in this comment. If spellcheck says something isn’t a word, that can be a clue to go make sure of your spelling and usage in a decent online or physical dictionary.

    We also all have different comfort levels when writing. Some people obsess about perfect writing and don’t want to post until it’s just right; others want to get their point across without huge errors, and then get back to living. It’s fine to be wherever you are on that spectrum, but it’s good to allow others to be where they are. When there are actual errors the writer might want to know (like a fanfiction writer who consistently says someone put their arm around someone else’s “waste,” instead of “waist”), an email or a DM (if those are available) is a less public way to let them know.

    Thank you, Jo, for sharing with us!

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