As the early morning farm workday began, the clatter of pots and pans in the summer cook kitchen was only slightly dimmer than the delighted cries of the children as “the putt-putt” came down the country road making ready for a day of threshing as many neighbors gathered to make lighter the difficult task of separating the wheat from the chaff. The “putt-putt” was a steam driven tractor which pulled along a thresher owned by one of the locals which made its way farm by farm until the task of threshing was complete. Hour after hour and row after row the gathering of men, women and children worked shoulder to shoulder bundling wheat or oats onto the wagons and loading the bundles into the barns. Was it hard work? Most certainly, but made a bit easier with the help of neighbors and friends. Meanwhile, the kitchen was alive with the activity of preparing a noontime feast for the workers. Each family brought their own specialty to the mix.
Large crocks of sauerkraut, roasts fresh from the oven, sauces simmering in pots on the stove, fresh fruits and vegetables straight from the garden, pitchers of fresh made lemonade, colas, and a bevy of homemade pies, cookies and cakes. While the larger working farms are few and far between now, the spirit of community effort remains alive and well in the hearts and minds of the people of Wales who fondly remember “the good old days” as friends and neighbors gathered for a common goal. This year the Wales Historical Society celebrates the memory of the old time summer cook kitchen, a place adjacent to the main kitchen, where canning, baking and anything “hot” was done to keep the main kitchen cooler for more comfortable dining during the summer months. The Wales booth this year honors those members we have lost by incorporating items from each of their families. “Everyone worked hard together, and we always had a great time!”. And if you read a small town newspaper, you will find the community still pulling together on local projects and, of course, the infamous “pot luck” dinner is listed at various functions.