Thursday, September 4, 2014

My Grandmother's Recipes (no green jello allowed)

So anyway, all thoughts of congealed gelatin surrounding bits of pears, peas and cream cheese in my last post aside, let's get back to what I was doing when that all happened.

I scanned a bunch of my maternal grandmothers recipes.  I really enjoy looking at "old" recipes, and the vast majority of females in my family were and are big recipe collectors, so this was really fun.

I tried to spend time scanning only the recipes I thought my grandmother actually used, not just one's she had saved because they looked good.  I actually managed to toss some that I knew she had never made and had just saved.

What really helped me was that she and her sister Mazie exchanged a LOT of recipes and I have many handwritten recipes from Great Aunt Mazie along with the recipes written in my grandmother Ann's handwriting.  Also, there were recipes written down by my Aunt Becky (Anns' daughter) where she just wrote down what was in my grandmother's head, or re-copied from somewhere else and noted the source.  That was another theme I noticed - my grandmother and great-aunt always noted the source of the recipe - who they got it from either in the name or as a notation at the top.

Now I know which recipes came from their Mom - Cornelia Simpson and I even have one that is noted as "Grandmas" and since Mazie wrote it, that means it's her grandma, my great-great-grandmother - Hattie Kirby Quick Allen.  :-)

Most of the recipes were for baking.  I think this must be because you can't fudge baking and just keep it in your head like a recipe for chicken or beef.  You need those specific measurements.  I remember loving my grandmother's homemade bread and she made wonderful pies from scratch as well.

And my family members who knew my great-grandma Cornelia rave about her baking as well so I think these recipes are a great family treasure trove!

Here are a few for your perusal:

This is in Great Aunt Mazie Mix Patrick's handwriting.  She has her recipe for Cream Johnny Cake and then her Grandma's recipe (Hattie) for Johnny Cake.

I don't think I've ever had Johnny Cakes - I've had cornbread, but not this.  I just might have to give it a try!

And this is for Never Fail Cake - again it's in Mazie's handwriting, noted as her Mom's recipe.

I like how Mazie put at the bottom the editorial comment: "This cake is always tender and light when Mom makes it."


And of course there's this one for Raisin Oatmeal Cookies, this is in my grandmother Ann's handwriting and you have to love a recipe that is stained and tattered because that means it was well used!

Not all the recipes are for baked goods - t his one for Fried Potatoes is in my Aunt Becky's handwriting, with her mom being Ann of course.  You know it's good when there's bacon fat involved!!!

And last but not least, here's Mazie's recipe for Mock Oysters.  She says "tastes and smelles just like oysters". 

She had a lot of recipes for "mock" things - mock sour cream, mock milk, mock whipped cream.  I guess that must come from living through the Depression and hard times - she seemed to come up with a lot of recipes on her own.

I'm glad I have these and was able to scan them so now I can share them all around the family!  Maybe I'll even experiment with a few.  None that contain jello of course.  :-)

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

My Grandmother's Recipes and the Horror of Lime Jello Salad

So I have in my possession lots of handwritten recipes that were originally in my maternal Grandmother's possesion.  She and her sister Mazie exchanged recipes for probably their entire lives and many of the recipes I have are in Mazie's handwriting.

Every one who knew their mother, Cornelia, talks about the amazing food she put on the table, especially the baking, so I was interested to see what kind of old family recipes would turn up.

There are definitely a few, but then something else reared its ugly head.

Something horrible.

Something from the past.


go ahead, make it, I dare you:

You know what I'm talking about - those molded jello salads that came into fashion after the Atomic Age.  Did people feel like they were in control of their molded, brightly colored food?  I don't know but I do know it was an evil trend.

It all came flooding back when I found this:

That's my mother's handwriting.  How could she?  And no, they never put in the pecans.

Mommy how could you

Why is Lime Jello Salad so evil you ask?

Let me count the ways:

1. It's florescent green and food the color of one of my college highlight markers is just wrong.

2. It's lime flavored.  Sorry, the only place where put lime flavoring is:

      a.  in the air around the top of my gin and tonic and then placed gently
           into the garbage disposal to give it that citrus tang, or,

      b. in the coconut.

That's it!  Sorry, lime is NOT a dessert flavor and my family, the WOMEN of my family tried to pass this sorry spectacle of congealed gelatin off as a dessert.

A dessert!

Lime jello by itself is enough of an affront, but then they added

Cream Cheese



So now, as a child, I was much more particular than I am now.  Today I'll try mostly anything, unless its the entire animal on the plate, looking at me, or if I have to use metal tools to break open the outer exoskeleton, but that's another story....

Back then I enjoyed my flavors s e p a r a t e.  My foods did not touch on my plate.  I consumed one food at a time, in order of least liked to most liked.  Sorry, those were the rules, can't deviate.  I'm much better now.  :-D  (And this is what plays in my head when I say those words)

And here these women who were supposed to be nurturing me were mooshing up cream cheese and lime jello and jamming big chunks of pears of all things all together.  And putting delicious fluffy Cool Whip on the plate where the pear juice would touch it and ruin it.

Then, just to be mean, they used the bundt pan as a mold to remind you that it wasn't cake, it was as far from cake as anything ever was.

Oh man, it was bad.  And they'd make me eat it.  Ugggggggh, I feel sick just thinking about it.

I still dislike any kind of citrus flavoring in my desserts, now I know why.  I refused to eat cream cheese until I was 20, now I know why.  And limes weren't part of my life until 2007, NOW I KNOW WHY!  What hath you wrought Mommy!!!  :-D

So anyway, I got over my disgust and kept on scanning.

And then, not only did I find that recipe written out again, but then a third time, both in my grandmothers handwriting.  You know what that means.  When you have a recipe multiple times, hand written, you used it a lot.  I do that now with my print-outs.

Here's the kicker though - this one includes......PEAS!!!!!!!!!!!


Cream cheese, lime, pears, and PEAS?

Did they make me eat this at every gathering?  Is this why big swaths of my childhood are missing from my memory?  How was this even legal?

Then I find this in the loose recipes:

Do you see how old this is?

This is PRE-ZIP CODES!  That means 1963!  I checked!
No really, my grandmother saved this for 50+ years, you need to look at this, just look at it:


People ate this!  Someone invented it in a test kitchen!  What the heck is that thing in the bottom left?  There's carrots in there and layers!  And at the top, those are olives in there!  It's called RING AROUND THE TUNA!  Oh my god, I can't believe it.  Ohhhhhh I'll never be able to eat my little cherry jello squares again!

Ooooooooh man.  I really don't like lime jello.  :-D