Thursday, March 5, 2009

Foodie Friday #3 - Nostalgic Desserts

There's a time machine in my kitchen. If you see it on my kitchen counter, you might mistakenly assume that it's just a recipe box, but when I open it and start rummaging around, it transports me back in time. I never know where I'm going, but I'm sure that I'll enjoy the trip. Sometimes, I land in a friend's home in the 1980's or I'm transported back to my parents' ranch house and it's the 50's. Occasionally, I go to Greece or Hungary. There are many places for me to go, but lately it's been taking me back to my grandmother's house.

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.
There's probably a time machine somewhere in your kitchen, too. Why not pull out a key and take a trip back in time? If you do, I wish you a safe trip, but most of all I hope you land in a kitchen where they serve love and dessert in equal portions.
Now please stop over at Designs by Gollum for a listing of bloggers who are participating in Foodie Friday. You'll love what you see...


  1. Nothing like a family recipe -- loved your story.

  2. That was such a sweet story you shared with us...I could almost see you sitting there with your grandmother going over her recipes.
    ;-) Bo

  3. Ahhh what a special memory! Love that you treasure it so.

  4. What a beautifully nostalgic this post...

  5. What a "beautiful" post.. It brought tears to my eyes and a few memories started flooded back of my Grandma's cherry pie and all the fun times we had enjoying and all of her many other delectable dishes.. What a treasure you have..your photos and story are beautiful..hugs ~lynne~

    p.s. forgot to mention they look pretty "yummy" as well... lol

  6. I love your time machine. This was such a heartwarming post--and the recipes are top notch!!!
    Are you enjoying your beautiful dishes? I know you are!

  7. loved your post, and your pics are beautiful~ i am all smiles now...

  8. The cake looks so delicious!
    Love the old recipe card. How sweet. ;)

  9. I love how your choices for today brought back such sweet memories... I'm self taught, so I don't have much, but I did earn enough credits with my mom to earn two of her prized recipes!
    Yummy photos! Thanks for sharing!

  10. what a wonderful have the recipes from your grandma!

  11. What sweet sweet memories..
    love your photos..

  12. What a great FOODIE FRIDAY Girl I loved all the memories of your grandparents..Oh and the food was also great...hugs and smiles Gl♥ria

  13. Wonderful post, Nancy Jane! The memories are great!! The cake looks so delicious! I haven't made Tapioca Pudding in a long time. I should do that!!

  14. How sweet that you have those recipes from your grandmother passed down! When my grandmother would give out a recipe she would leave out a key ingredient!!!!

    That chiffon cake is so very pretty!

    I loved to see that some of your cards look like mine- People can tell which are my favorites by the stains on the cards!!


  15. aww what a sweet story, and your time machine is awesome. thank you so much for your kind words when you stopped by my blog.

  16. Hi Nancy Jane :)

    That was a wonderful post! I take trips all the time with my recipe box too, I just never thought about it that way, but I will now :)


  17. My mother passed away a couple of years ago and one of the few things I managed to get was her recipe book. Some cards are from my grandmother in Grandma's handwriting. Happy St. Patrick's Day from one PA gal to another.

  18. Happy Foodie Friday! Have a great weekend ~ Susan

  19. I love old recipes... this apple dutch cake is a winner - making it today!!

  20. Nice post! I have hand written recipe cards from my mother and using them makes me feel like she is still here.

    Love your blog!

  21. Your Blog and stories are so cute...You must be a professional writer. Thanks for sharing ~Athella


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