Core Creek United Methodist Church
by David Cecelski
I recently took my mother back to Core Creek, the little community where her mother grew up. We went by the long dirt road that goes by her first cousin Glenn Hardesty’s farm, and along salt marshes and oyster bays far off the beaten path. There’s not much left of the old community, though there is a big new resort development and marina just up the road now.
My mother remembers a different world there. When she was a child, Core Creek was a flourishing little community. Her grandparents, Guy and Minnie Sabiston, farmed and raised nine children there late in the 19th and early in the 20th century.
The family’s homeplace is gone now and woods and marsh have reclaimed most of the old fields. It’s still a lovely place though and full of memories for my mother. We came out by the new bridge next to the community church and took a long walk around the cemetery, which is where I took this photograph.My mother’s grandparents, her aunts Berle, Hilda, and Boozie, and many cousins are buried there. We sat on a shaded bench in the cemetery and she told me stories about them.
This is a very special recipe from Core Creek. A lady next door to our farm grew up in Core Creek and, late in her life, she gave me this recipe for saving the last tomatoes on the vine from autumn’s first frost and making something really wonderful out of them. Her name was Beatrice Mason—we called her Miss Beadie—and she was born in 1898 and lived to be 99 years old. She learned to make the green tomato pickles when she was a girl, so you know it’s an old, old recipe.
I love eating these pickled green tomatoes straight out of the jar, but I also like them stirred into collard greens or served as a condiment with beef or lamb. Nothing is better. I can’t get enough of their pungent vinegary flavor and, of course, they always remind me of Miss Beadie and Core Creek.
PICKLED GREEN TOMATOES
Combine and cover with 2 quarts cold salt water:
2 quarts green tomatoes, sliced
2 cups, green pepper, sliced
1 cup onion, sliced
4 medium hot peppers
1 tbsp. turmeric
Let stand 3-4 hours. Drain. Cover again with cold water. Let stand 1 hour. Drain.
Tie in cheesecloth and set in pot:
½ cup black pepper
2 tbsp. mustard seed
2 tsp. whole cloves
2 tsp. allspice
Add to pot:
2 sticks cin
1 and ½ cups brown sugar
1 quart apple cider vinegar
Simmer until very hot. Bring to boil. Remove cheesecloth. Seal in sterilized jars.