Grandma's Favorite Recipes (click photo to read the recipes)
I'm sure some of you have heard me tell how I learned to bake in my Grandma's kitchen at a very early age. Well, it's true, and now I have more proof! Grandma left me her personal Recipe Journal when she passed away. It's a very old and large ledger filled with all her favorite recipes and newspaper clippings, some dating back to 1930. The cover is worn, tattered and the binding is ripped. And even though the pages are smudged and splattered with batter and chocolate, they are amazingly well preserved. Even the newspaper recipes are clear and legible. There are recipes for the ever popular Chocolate Cake and Snickerdoodles. But then there are some really odd recipes for Pork Cake and Doris Belcher's Rocks, whatever they are!
My Cousin and Me
My cousin Cindy and I lost touch with each other for about 15 years. You know how it goes. You're great cousin-friends and then one of you gets married and moves away. Years go by until you're brought back together whether in person or by email. And then you have years of catching up to do. Things that neither of you knew about each other, even though you share a common bloodline.
We're both the same age, and no, I'm not telling you what that number is! The only thing I'll fess up to is that I'm the youngest! Our parents would drop us off at Grandma and Grandpa's house and we would play until we got bored or fell asleep. We both took after Grandma and Grandpa in very different ways. Grandpa painted signs for the City Hall Store in Providence way back then. He had all his paints and charcoals down stairs next to his drawing board. Cindy loved to watch him and spent many, many hours painting and drawing with him. I, on the other hand, hated going down into that creepy basement. There were spiders and webs and icky things down there.
Grandma's Kitchen (click photo to enlarge)
I chose to stay upstairs where the sweet smells of cinnamon rolls and apple pie were intoxicating, even for a kid my age. Grandma's kitchen was the place where magic happened. As a little girl, I thought cookies fell from the sky! Grandma's kitchen was like Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory where everything was sweet and delicious! She was a Grandma that everyone loved to be around. I'd like to think it was for her easygoing ways and pleasant moods. But, I think most remember her fondly for her incredible baking skills! Even during the depression when ingredients were scarce, she could make an Apple Pie with Ritz Crackers! She was born in 1904 or 1905 (can't remember?) and worked for the Warwick, RI school department in ~ you guessed it ~ the kitchen! After cooking and baking all day, she still found time to bake for family and friends! Everyone loved her! I wonder why?
Warm and Fuzzy Memories
So, to get back to the Cindy & Donna story. Cindy loved watching Grandpa paint so much that she became an artist. I loved helping Grandma in the kitchen so much, that I became a baker and caterer. Both of us have such wonderful and personal memories, and it's been fun comparing notes with each other. During one of our chats, I mentioned that I inherited Grandma's Recipe Journal. Cindy wants to see it in the worst way! She didn't even know it existed.
Yikes! I Lost The Journal! (click photo)
Before we moved onto the boat almost 4 years ago, we put everything in storage. I thought I knew right where I put that journal, but for the life of me, I just couldn't find it. I started to panic. Did I lose it? Did someone take it from a pile of give-aways and yard sale stuff? I've been beating myself silly the last few months trying to find Grandma's Journal. But I couldn't find it anywhere. After all the anxious moments and guilt I had, my hubby says, "What does it look like again?" I know I told him at least 10 times what I was looking for. He says, "Oh, that book? I think I know where it is." He goes out to the car and picks it out of a box of photographs and asks, "This one?" Sheesh! "YES, that one!"
We Found It!
I wrote to Cindy that night and told her I had it in my possession. I also told her to be prepared to photocopy all the recipes if she would like them. I don't mind sharing, after all she was Cindy's Grandma too. But this was my gift from Grandma and she told me I would have it one day. Grandma's Original Journal will remain with me until I hand it down to one of my daughters and they do likewise.
Even though she's been gone for about 16 years, I still have fond memories of Grandma's kitchen. If I close my eyes tight and think hard enough, I can still smell the apple pie cooling on a rack in front of the open kitchen window.