Marilyn Turk: No Iced Tea?

The fillies are handing a big hey welcome to guest blogger Marilyn Turk! Come on in!

When I began planning the menu for the Cowboy Café in my new novella, Love’s Cookin’ at the Cowboy Café, I was pretty sure I knew what foods would be served. After all, my main character, Sarah Beth Taylor, is a southern belle who hails from a Georgia plantation not far from Savannah. Since I, too, am a southern belle, (ahem), I’m familiar with southern food, and I was certain she’d serve iced tea.

But when I discovered our setting in Crinoline, Texas was in 1868 west Texas, I had a problem getting ice to her café. After years in the food service business, I had to rethink how they managed food preservation in 1868. How did they keep things cool in hot, dry Texas? Some of the gracious western writers on this blog offered solutions like spring houses, wells and basements. But ice? Now that was another matter.

Researching the history of commercial ice, I discovered that natural ice was originally harvested in the winter from frozen lakes, ponds and rivers in the north and stored in icehouses through the summer. Frederick Tudor of Boston began the ice trade in 1805, shipping ice blocks stacked with wood shavings and sawdust for insulation by ship or train. By 1847, ice was shipped to 28 cities in the United States, including those in the South like Savannah and Galveston. From there, the product was shipped inland via train or wagon.

As demand grew for natural ice, so did the competition. In 1851, Dr. John Gorrie of Florida (of course) invented mechanical refrigeration and the first ice machine. By 1876, the process had been perfected by other inventors. And in 1877, Elisha Hall and R.R. Everett established the Houston Ice Manufacturing Company, then other ice companies followed. Most ice plants produced 300-pound blocks of ice. Once made, block ice was delivered to homes and commercial businesses, first by mule or horse-drawn wagon. Of course, these wagons were not refrigerated, so they couldn’t travel too far from the ice plant and keep their ice frozen.

But Crinoline Creek was too far to get deliveries by wagon and there was no train there yet. It never got cold enough for the lakes and rivers to freeze, so they couldn’t cut ice from them. So, Sarah Beth couldn’t get ice in 1868 and she couldn’t serve iced tea. The best she could do was make lemonade as long as the general store could get lemons, or maybe order some bottles of sarsaparilla and hope to keep them cool in the well. I’m sure that eventually, ice was available in Crinoline Creek and the Cowboy Café could finally offer iced tea to its customers.

Hey guys, Marilyn has graciously offered to give away a copy of this marvelous book (I know that because I love these authors!!!!) Leave a comment, an opinion, or a pithy remark below about how you’ve managed to “make do” without something you’d like to have over the years? It could be ice… or chocolate?

No. 🙂 Not chocolate! Let’s see what you’ve got below!

Love’s Cookin’ at the Cowboy Café” by Marilyn Turk

A refined but feisty southern belle inherits a saloon she plans to convert into a genteel café. Even though her lack of cooking skills threatens disaster, she rejects the town banker’s advice. What will happen when the two lock horns and an unlikely romance simmers on the back burner?


A “literary archaeologist,” Marilyn Turk writes historical fiction flavored with suspense and romance for Barbour Books, Winged Publications and Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. One of her World War II novels, The Gilded Curse, won a Silver Scroll award. She has also written a series of novels set in 1800 Florida whose settings are lighthouses. In addition, Marilyn’s novellas have been published in the Great Lakes Lighthouse Brides collection and Crinoline Cowboys. Marilyn also writes for Guideposts magazine and Daily Guideposts Devotions.  She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Romance Writers of America, Advanced Writers and Speakers Association and Word Weavers International.

When not writing, Marilyn and her husband enjoy boating, fishing, playing tennis or visiting lighthouses.

Marilyn is a regular contributor to the Heroes, Heroines and History blog. Connect with her at,,,,

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56 thoughts on “Marilyn Turk: No Iced Tea?”

  1. Wow I can do without ice in my drinks, but no chocolate would be very hard. My whole family are definitely chocoholics Thanks for the history lesson

  2. Good morning and Happy Belated Thanksgiving. I hope you and your family had a Blessed one.
    I’m gluten intolerant, it attacks my joints, causes swelling in my extremities, and is also a trigger for my migraines. So I have learned to adapt to not wheat based products in my life. It was really hard at 1st, but I’ve found some many alternatives to eat and ingredients to substitute in place of actual wheat based flours, cerise’s, and pasta.
    I have actually found somethings that taste Even better than their gluten counterparts. It’s been challenging but I feel so much better when I avoid the gluten.
    Thanks for sharing this wonderful blog with us.. it was very interesting. Happy Early Merry Christmas to you and your family.

    • Hi Miss Tonya, I feel so sorry for people who have to avoid gluten because I love breads, cookies, cakes, etc. But when things make you sick, you learn to make do. I’ve learned to make do without my Dr. Peppers and sweet tea but I feel much better without them. I’m glad you had a very nice Thanksgiving with Rob’s sisters. Being with family makes every holiday so much better. Love you dearly.

    • Hi Tonya, Sorry you have to avoid gluten, but there are plenty of substitutes now, thank God. And now you know what to do to feel better! Thanks for your comment and Merry Christmas to you, too!

  3. Honestly I can’t imagine going without ice and refrigeration. There are so many things we have now that we would not have had back then. I guys that’s why so much coffee and hot tea was drank back then. I can’t imagine there not being chocolate either. So all-in-all refrigeration is what I’d miss most and then a/c would follow. I have heat intolerance because I have MS so no a/c, no thank you! I’d love the opportunity to read this book! I hope you had a very Happy Thanksgiving@

    • Hi Miss Steph! I’m so happy you came to visit and read Marilyn’s post. I agree about A/C and refrigeration. Man, that would be hard with our MS! I hope you get to read Crinoline Cowboys. It looks great. Much love!

    • Hi Stephanie, Yes, knowing what we do now about the importance of keeping food refrigerated makes me wonder how more people didn’t get sick and die from food poisoning! Thanks for you comment!

  4. I have had to do without before. You just learn to adjust. And wonder how everyone manages this inthe past.

    • Good after noon loved your post. If its between ice or chocolate then i choose to do without chocolate. Ice is a must have for me.

    • Hi Debra, thanks for coming. Doing without is the pits. In Gone With the Wind and during the Civil War, people had no sugar and few ways to sweeten desserts. And during the Depression and then WWII, they did without even the basics and dealt with rationing. From the accounts it was very hard. I’m glad you enjoyed Marilyn’s post.

    • Yes, Debra. Aren’t we spoiled now by all the conveniences we have? When you have to do without something, you certainly become more thankful for it when you have it!

  5. I have had to do without a lot of things in my life but always managed to come thought it just fine. I can’t imagine doing without a refrigerator because my refrigerator stopped working about a year after we bought it and it was going to be about four days before a repair man could come. We had to go buy a little refrigerator just to keep my milk and eggs and such in. I was also buying bags of ice to set in the refrigerator just to keep everything else cool.

    • I totally understand, Quilt Lady. I lived off the grid until 3 years ago with a 7.7 cu foot propane refrigerator. We kept a cooler of ice in the kitchen for extra cold storage. What I wouldn’t have given for a big electric fridge. Now I have two!

    • Hi Quilt Lady, wow, no refrigerator would be hard! We depend on them for so many things. Mine has gone out a time or two but never for more than a couple of days except after the tornado I was in. At that time we didn’t have a fridge of our own for about a year. We were homeless for all that time. Sure made me appreciate the small things I take for granted. Love you, lady.

    • Yes, Quilt Lady. Do wonder how they handled meat storage? I can see if they had something small like chicken that they could eat in one day, but beef? They really did have a daily existence.

    • Hi Melanie. If I could avoid gluten and sugar, I’d be much thinner! Thank goodness, there are substitutes. My stepdaughter is diabetic and never eats sugar, then went Keto and now avoids carbs of all kinds. That would be very hard for me to do.

  6. Welcome. This must have been a fascinating thing to research. I do without gluten, sugar, soy and a bunch of other things food wise that my body reacts to now. That is ok, I am healthier and better for it. When we moved into our house I had to do without a washer and dryer for about four months. This was not too bad. I grew up on a farm where mom taught all us girls how to wash and hang clothes. For me it was going back many years and remembering. I got soft and lazy. LOL But with a toddler and an infant it was a challenge. I would wash and hang (thankfully it was in the summer) as I got a couple clothes at a time. Made it a lot easier. Got me to thinking about what they did in the past. Then it made me think that canning could work the same way. For the last 30 yrs. this is how I can. As the vegies come ripe I can them. Except the ones we eat right away of course. Happy friday. Thanks for this wonderful give a way.

    • Hi Miss Lori, I’m so happy you came. Thanks for sharing your story. We do tend to get soft and lazy and have to remember how we used to do things. Sounds like you managed okay and especially with the canning. What a great idea to do it in small bunches. Our bodies do tend to turn on us as we age. Darn it! But we learn to get by in order to feel better. Love you, lady. Hope your Thanksgiving was good.

    • Hi Lori, I’m impressed that you can do so much the natural way. We used to hang our clothes on the line to dry, but you certainly need sunny days! I have some friends who have farms and do a lot of canning. I admire them greatly and have no idea how to do that. You are definitely healthier for your life changes while many of us are getting soft and lazy.

  7. Welcome. I grew up in a family of six children and a single mother. A 2 room house and outdoor plumbing. I’ve learned not to get my hopes up and to be thankful for what I received. I’ve gone without for so long I don’t think about the little things.

  8. Until I was a teenager we did not have a refrigerator. We did without ice and sunk our milk in the creek to keep it cool.

  9. I can’t imagine all the work that went into having ice back then! I can’t imagine going without chocolate either. Haha!

  10. Wow, how we take things for granted, too many things. A refrigerator would be pretty hard to get along with, I know that when our electricity has gone out , weather related, we always make sure to not open the fridge until the electricity is restored, lots of times that is hard to do because we just take our things for granted. Electricity would be hard to not have, our house is all electric. 🙂

    • Alicia, you’re so right about electricity! We’ve been without as a result of a hurricane, and we “roughed” it only a few days before it came back on. I really feel for people who are without it much longer.

  11. Ive made do without lots of things over the years. When you have little you learn to make the most of what you *do* have and carry on. I have to say it’s nice when I can afford luxuries but most times it doesn’t work out that way. I can make do without ice I keep my drinks and fridge cold, but choco would be hard. I like my choco. But I’ve been without before so I could do it again…lol

  12. I can’t imagine going without ice, not to mention my A/C!! I live in Florida, and my A/C is on, and so are the ceiling fans!! Next week, when we go down to the 40’s at night, I’ll be happy to turn the A/C off! I can give up chocolate, though I don’t want to, but not ice!

  13. Growing up in Florida in the sixties we did not have air conditioning. We just made do with fans. By the time I was in high school we had air conditioning. I can not imagine living without it in the summer although I live in Wyoming.
    What a beautiful cover for your book and a perfect name for the setting, Crinoline, Texas. Thank you for the opportunity to win this book!

  14. We take our way of life for granted and don’t realize how different things can be. I enjoy baking, especially chocolate chip cookies. When I was in the Peace Corps, cooking was done on a propane 2 burner stove or over a fire. I did discover after a year there that they have metal cubes with a door that sit over a stove burner and act as an oven. You can only get about 6 cookies at a time in to bake and it took me forever to make a batch. I put those cookies in a tin and treated them like gold, only allowing myself one or two a day. I think I used almost w whole tank of propane to make them. Didn’t have much chocolate while there. It was too hot and it would end up a melted mess. I also used a wash board to do laundry during those 3 years. Once you adjust to the difference it really isn’t too bad. They didn’t have dutch ovens there or I would have tried to bake the cookies that way. I have done cakes and biscuits that way since and it works just fine.

    • When we first moved to TN, we had frequent power outages. We made sure we had a wood stove we could cook on and heat the house. We have oil lamps and they work really well. I do love the convenience of electricity and wouldn’t want to give it up, but you can live quite well without it.

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