Millican Pecan Company

  (San Saba, Texas)
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The Art of Substitution

We live rather far from town. In fact, what my girlfriends consider “in the sticks”. We moved here as soon as we got married, which has almost been ten years ago. As a result, I have learned the art of substitution in my cooking endeavors. What I mean is that I have learned to use the ingredients that I have on hand. It is not convenient for me to just hop in my car and run to town each time I am in need of an ingredient for the new recipe I am excited to try. Let me also add that I am not good at planning ahead. Hence the reason I have had to learn the art of substitution even more so. I am also one of those people that does not like to wait. When I see a recipe that sparks my interest and I have my heart set on trying it…I must do it then. I can’t wait until tomorrow!

Now, there are some ingredients that really cannot be substituted. But there are many that can. For instance, I rarely have buttermilk on hand, so I mix ¾ milk and ¼ vinegar when a recipe calls for buttermilk. This special ingredient is common in many southern dishes, so you might want to jot it down. I usually don’t have half and half either. I do, however, keep a small carton of heavy cream in my refrigerator for my late night indulgences of fresh whipped cream by the spoonful. And being a mother of two small children who consume a shocking amount of milk each day, I also have milk on hand. So as the product name indicates, I mix ½ heavy cream and ½ milk when I am needing half and half.

My substitution list has grow over the last ten years. When I was younger my personality did not allow for substituting anything. As I have grown older I have embraced the chaos of life and realized that with the art of substitution comes relaxation. And I breathe a sigh of relief!

 
 

Right Where I Want To Be

Most of the time you will read about a pecan orchard and you can tell that the minds that formulated the words came from a man. Of course, I love to listen to my husband talk about life in the pecan orchards because his eyes light up and his voice reflects passion. But I wanted you to see what a pecan orchard looks like from the eyes of a woman.

When I walk through our pecan orchards it brings me to a romantic place. After all, when we were dating my husband and I enjoyed our first picnic together under the shade of his great-great grandfather’s orchard. This historical orchard was planted in the 1880’s. It’s magnificent trees still produce the fruit, or nuts as we say, of his labor to this day. As I stroll through the orchard my mind often wanders back in time as I imagine five generations taking the same steps that my feet currently take. I can picture them picking pecans by hand as they used to before sophisticated machinery was invented. The orchard is also a place that makes me reflect on the family that I have become a part of. I remember my first experience of harvesting pecans. It was my first Thanksgiving with Winston and we joined his family in the pecan orchard. My job was to help pick the pecans on the sorting table with about 4 other people. The rest of the family dispersed on tractors to conquer the other required tasks. It’s been a family effort for a long time. I love that!

Today my daughters and I had some friends over to our house. After lunch we hopped on the four wheeler. Our destination – the orchard. It was our friends’ first time. What a great pleasure it was to see the amazement on their faces as we rode around. Of course, I recognize that face. It’s the same expression I had when I first experienced the orchard in the fall of 1997.

 

-Kristen Millican

 
 
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