with Horse and Hound

How to Bridle a Green Field Hunter

Humphrey.rosemary coatesIllustration by Rosemary Coates

Back in the late 1950s, Sarah and I—both just nineteen—came to America. We had left Britain, where post-war ration books were still in use. Sarah was to train horses and riders for Jamie Kreuz at Bryn Mawr Farms outside Philadelphia. I was to work for the Insurance Company of North America in Philadelphia and help Sarah on weekends.

What luxury! There were no ration books in sight. Jamie taught Sarah and me to cook for hundreds. There were never less than ten for dinner. Any recipes, if ever referred to, were quadrupled. Jamie made gravy by mixing flour and water in old mayonnaise jars—several quarts at a time. Looking around us, Sarah and I saw crabs and lobsters en masse; moulded jellies; mouldy leftovers; bedevilled eggs; whipped, squashed rutabagas...and Jack Daniels in jugs. As one of our earliest American experiences after leaving war-torn Britain, we had never, ever, seen anything like it.

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