This past week, I made a soft landing in Grandma's big, warm, country kitchen. The year was 1972. An Apple Dutch Cake was cooling on the counter, and the room was filled with the smell of cinnamon and vanilla. Coffee perked on the stove, while I made a hard sauce under my grandmother's watchful eye.We poured cups of coffee, cut pieces of cake, and returned to the kitchen table so we could continue working on a project that we had started earlier that morning.
I didn't realize it that day, but my grandmother was giving me the first set of keys that would activate my still non-existant time machine. The table was strewn with Grandma's recipes, and a few packs of note cards. Here's the key that started it all.Grandma dictated the recipes, and I wrote them on the cards. I loved the way she added advice as we went along. Sometimes she would remember a tip that she wanted to give me about a recipe that had been finished several cards ago, and I'd have to retrieve it and add the note.
My grandfather came in while we were 'cutting more keys', and asked what we were doing. My grandmother told him that she was giving me recipes for my hope chest.
"Don't you mean the 'hope to get a man chest'?" he quipped, as he grabbed a piece of cake and a cup of coffee. Before he shuffled off to the sun porch to enjoy his cake, he turned to me and said, "You'll get a husband because you already know how to cook, and having your grandmother's recipes certainly won't hurt." The backhanded compliment was high praise coming from grandad, and my grandmother actually blushed!
Some of the recipes I recieved that day were simple. Tapioca pudding? "Use the recipe on the box. You can't beat it."
Others, that I thought were well guarded family secrets, came from ordinary places. This included Grandma's signature chiffon cake. When we came across the recipe, she told me not to bother with it. "The recipe in the Betty Crocker Cookbook is much better," she confided.
I made this cake for a friend's birthday last year.
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