Thursday, November 14, 2013

Back in Time

My maternal grandmother died long before I was born, and although I never got to meet her, this week I definitely felt like I got to know her a little.

I always have a dozen projects going on at once (and another three dozen sitting in my queue). I started working on one project this week and ended up getting quite sidetracked on another. While cleaning out the guest room to start converting it into Brayden's toddler room, I came across the stack of recipes I brought here from Florida a few months back. Recipes that were from my grandmother's kitchen.

My grandmother was a famously good cook and I always hear stories from my mom about her parties and amazing hostess abilities. I've long wanted to type up some of her recipes into a book for the other females in my family, but it's quite a large undertaking. There are literally piles of recipes.

Yesterday, I finally started the process and began sifting through everything (nearly 500 recipes it turns out). I ended up rather enjoying the process, as I began to learn more about my grandmother through her cooking. For example, she loved pineapple and bananas (I must have seen at least two dozen banana bread or banana cake recipes alone). She liked cooking with nuts - especially pecans - and was strongly connected to her own heritage (I never realized kolacky could be spelled in so many different ways!). Certain items were held in higher favor than others -- coffee cakes and cheesecakes seemed to be definite favorites of hers.

And then there was the time lapse. It was so interesting to see all these recipes -- taken from newspapers decades ago. Every now and then, I'd come across something else on the page that made me chuckle. My favorite gem was: "The clever hostess will tuck fruit into her cream puff fillings." Lauren couldn't understand why I found that so amusing, but everything about that quote just made me smile at the generation I was immersed in.

It's no secret that I love baking and cooking myself... and some of my grandmother's inclinations and habits made me feel closer to her. Things that she and I both do (i.e. recipe hoarding, adjusting recipes until they're perfect), or just that internal need to make everything from scratch. I loved seeing a recipe jotted down on the back of a bank deposit slip... or something printed from a typewriter rather than a computer.

There was just so much personality, so many stories, and so much tradition in the papers I was looking through. It's funny how something as simple as a pile of recipes can hold so much more than that. ♥

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