Guest post by Kourtney Determan, Marketing & Communications Intern
“The biggest difference is that families and young people have so many different opportunities and choices. It changes the time factor,” Gail explains. Her own two children, Andy and Abby, are involved in many different 4-H projects, so Gail understands how families have had to adjust.
Gail grew up in Franklin County, graduating from CAL (Coulter, Alexander and Latimer) High School. She was involved in 4-H during the time when girls clubs were given the option to focus on one project per year, rotating through Home Improvement, Sewing and Foods project areas. Gail learned to sew, bake and refinish furniture.
“I remember having to constantly battle the heat and humidity when trying to refurbish furniture,” she says. “I also loved the pie baking contest at the fair and then auctioning off the pies after the swine show at the fair.”
Gail is still involved in the 4-H program as a Regional Program Specialist for Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. She provides leadership for five different counties including: Franklin, Cerro Gordo, Mitchell, Worth and Floyd. She helps provide Food Safety and Quality Assurance training, regional camps, leadership training, science, engineering, and technology opportunities, as well as a variety of other programming. Gail also loves the opportunities she gets to share her agricultural background. “Most of our kids are from towns and cities, but it is still a spectacular thing to teach kids where their food comes from, even through horticulture projects.”
Living on acreage outside of Latimer, Gail’s own children get to experience rural living. “I wanted my kids to have the experience of being away from town. Even though we don’t live on a working farm, they get the farm life on my parent’s farm only three miles away.”
Andy and Abby are both active in a variety of 4-H projects including photography, robotics. Sixteen-year-old Andy also serves on county council, while 12-year-old Abby is interested in baking.
Perhaps Abby will even try her hand at baking bread, which is one of the projects Gail entered as a 4-H member. “We call it ‘Bob’s Favorite Bread,’ because it was my dad’s favorite when I was growing up.”
Today Gail is sharing her dad’s favorite bread recipe on TheFieldPosition.com. Do you have a “blue ribbon recipe” that you’d like to share? Feel free to post it below or send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Makes 18 buns or 2 loaves.
- 1 pkg. yeast
- 1/4 cup warm water
- 2 cups milk
- 2 Tablespoons sugar
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 Tablespoon margarine
- 6 to 6-1/4 cups flour
- Mix the yeast and warm water according to instructions on package of yeast. Warm one cup of milk (just warm enough for margarine to melt). In large bowl mix in sugar, salt, and margarine. When margarine is melted, add second cup of milk (cold). Add yeast mixture. Stir in flour.
- Knead dough, cover, let rest. When double in size, punch down and shape into buns or loaves. Bake at 400° for 20 minutes.
Gail’s Pizza Dough (adapted from Fleischmann’s Yeast)
Makes 2 crusts
- 2-1/2 to 3 cups flour
- 1/2 cup corn meal
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese (grated)
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 pkg. rapid rise yeast
- 2 T. olive oil
- 1 cup warm water
- Combine 2 cups flour and other dry ingredients (including yeast). Stir in olive oil and water. Stir in enough remaining flour to make soft dough. Knead until smooth. Cover and let rest.
- Shape into pan and add ingredients as desired. Bake at 400° for about 20 minutes (until cheese is warm and bubbly).